Friday, October 3, 2014

MLB Playoffs: Day 1

The MLB Playoffs started yesterday.  In most sports, the playoffs are an imperfect, but necessary, way of distinguishing between multiple teams, each of which has a legitimate claim to be the best.  That's how MLB came up with the World Series -- there was no easier way to distinguish between the champion of the National League and the Champion of the American League.

But these days, the MLB Playoffs are about as logical as Rock-'em Sock-'em Robots.  For example, we know -- as much as you can know anything in sports -- that the Angels are the best team in the American League.  They had the best record in the whole league, they played in a tough division, and they have proven themselves over 162 games.  But now that all counts for nothing, and the Angels have to survive a best 3 out of 5 series against the Royals -- a team that won nine fewer games than the Angels during the regular season.  The whole thing is so wildly unfair to the Angels that in order to enjoy the spectacle, you have to simply put that out of your mind.

If you can do that, then the playoffs are a lot of fun.  Yesterday, before a manic crowd in Baltimore, the Orioles and Tigers -- who years ago were rivals in the AL East -- were locked in a tense contest, with the O's clinging to a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 8th.  But then the Orioles blasted out eight runs, and cruised to a 12-3 victory.  Later, in Anaheim, eight different Kansas City pitchers held the dangerous Angels to only 2 runs and 4 hits in 11 innings.  In the top of the 11th, the ninth-place hitter for Kansas City -- third baseman Mike Moustakas -- came to the plate with the following statistics for the year:  batting average of .212, 15 homers, and 54 RBI's.  He then hit the home run that sent Kansas City to a 3-2 win.  Amazing stuff.

So after one day, the playoffs look like this:

American League Divisional Series:
Baltimore leads Detroit 1-0
Kansas City leads Los Angeles 1-0

National League Divisional Series:
Washington and San Francisco are tied 0-0
Los Angeles and St. Louis are ties 0-0

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