After a long season, we are down to the final four teams in baseball. Three of the four were there last year, after the biggest playoff, in baseball history. The new team to the party is the Boston Red Sox, who upset the Tampa Bay Rays in 4 games, to play the losers of last year’s championship final, the Houston Astro’s. The National League final will be a rematch, between the L. A. Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves, with only difference being, the Braves will have the home field for 4 of a possible 7 games. We all know what happened in the division series, with the 5th game of the Dodger-Giant series being marred by a horrible check swing call. The first base umpire wasn’t the only one to have a bad night, as the home plate umpire made some very bad balls and strikes calls, that probably affected the outcome of game. Umpiring over the last 5 years, has deteriorated to the point of being barely competent. If the umpires ever go on strike again, the scabs will be an improvement. Last nights home plate umpire, should be the poster child for the electronic strike zone. Enough about the past, let’s get to the future.
There is no doubt that the most hated team in all of sports, at the moment, is the Houston Astro’s. The fact that the fans cheer, when a Houston player gets hit by a pitch, leaves no doubt. Even getting Dusty Baker his first World Series Championship, to put a big exclamation point, on a long and illustrious managerial career, won’t be enough to quell the venom that every fan base feels against the Astro’s. Of course on the other side, you have Alex Cora, the manager of the Red Sox, the supposed brains of the sign stealing method that the Astro’s used. No matter who wins this series, the National League representative will have the overall fan base behind them, even if it is the Dodgers. There is no doubt, that at the moment Houston is swinging the bat better than any of the other 3 teams. If they can continue to do so, then I see no stopping them from getting into the World Series. But hitting can disappear faster than a magicians assistant and if by some pitching magic, the Red Sox can hold the Astro’s to 4 runs or under per game then they may have a fighting chance.
In the National League Championship Series unless the bats of both teams wake up, then runs are going to be hard to come by. All of these games should be close, hard fought games. The Dodgers will be the favorites, but what is interesting about the Braves is, that this is their 4th consecutive year in the playoffs, and they have improved their performance in each of the 3 previous years. The only way they can improve their performance this year, is by going to the World Series. There is no doubt that this is a playoff hardened team. To have gotten this far as been amazing, since they lost Ron Acuna Jr. to injury, and Marcell Orzuna to legal problems, for most of the season. As stated before, they will have the home field for this series, but will that be enough. This time it will depend on the Dodger bats. Will they remain asleep, or will the Dodger offense start to wake up, and score a slew of runs. Only time will tell. I am looking forward to a great week of baseball. Now, if we can only find some competent umpires.