As the National League finished a terrific set of playoff games on the heels of a great Yankees/Tigers game yesterday, I have to ask the rhetorical question, "how much better can the next round of games be?"
Friday's games featured Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter dueling it out in my favorite kind of game: that being 1-0, with the lone run scored in the first. Both hurlers were first round picks of the Blue Jays, and both are also Cy Young winners (not to mention they are both 6'6" and around 230 pounds) suggesting just how even the match up was.
So, while I do think a slugfest and come-from-behind games are a kick, nothing beats a tight well played game in my view. And, if you have to think about how smooth the contest was, well, the game ended with TBS having to kill 40 minutes worth of viewer time as the next scheduled program on the channel was not till 9 PM (Pacific).
Meaning we got to watch all the post-game press conferences and interviews live on TBS rather than on the MLB channel or ESPN or somewhere else.
As if that game was not enough, the 3-2 Brewers victory wherein two of the Millwaukee runs were tallied by Nyjer Morgan--one as a sacrifice on a pop to right field Aaron Hill picked running away from the dish - plus driving in the winner in the bottom of the tenth after those dogged Diamondbacks came back on John Axford with a run to tie the Brewers.
Arizona actually had a compelling top of the ninth when the forced a blown save on Axford, who then shut down Arizona, thus pushing the Brewers amazing stat of 81-1 when the team had a lead after the eighth, to 82-1. Although equally compelling was Halladay's pitching out of a bases loaded, none out eighth without allowing a run.
This was a day after those equally dogged Tigers knocked the Bronx Bombers out of the running with a 4-3 win, meaning only the Rangers had any kind of a cake walk to the respective League Championship Series.
I know this is Madison Avenues nightmare: Playoffs without a big market club. But, I don't care. We have seen the Yankees and the Phillies win their share of championships over the past handful of years. I mean, even the Cards did their thing with a title in 2006 beating the then Cinderella Tigers for whom Justin Verlander was a sensation. Now Verlander is simply one of the best pitchers in baseball, as well as the American League's version of Halladay.
And, though the Rangers went to the party last year, Ron Washington's guys ran into the Giants pitching juggernaut, making the trip pretty much for naught.
As for the Brewers, though they too had a playoff visit a couple of years back, the last time they made the series names like Gorman Thomas and Sixto Lezcano and Robin Yount drove their team to a win against those Cardinals, as that was back when Millwaukee was still in the American League.
I will still root for my bud Wash and his Rangers, but to tell the truth I would be fine with Detroit continuing a renaisance and keeping the sports mojo up, complementing those wonderful 2011 Detroit Lions.
As for the NL, well, based upon the Cards somewhat recent success, the Brewers and Wisconsin could be as much fun as Detroit in grabbing a title. Although, if memory serves, that state seems to own the Super Bowl champs as well, and we certainly don't want them to get a big head or anything.
Ultimately, it does not matter as long as the next round of playoffs proves to be as well played and exciting as the first round. Bring em' on.