Tigers-Rangers and Cardinals-Brewers. Did you have that LCS combo in March? Heck, did you have it two weeks ago? This has become one bizarro October.
The Red Sox and Braves, who looked solid all summer, went bellyup before we even got out of September. The Cinderella Rays were gonzo. Then the Yankees went down -- and you'll note I picked that one. But the biggest shocker of all was the Phillies losing to St. Louis.
They were the best team in baseball all year but their offense failed them. That eight-game losing streak after they clinched the NL East was, in fact, a bad omen. And Cliff Lee blowing a 4-0 lead in Game Two when they were in complete control of the NLDS was another major issue.
Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer correctly says this is the lowest point for the Phillies since they won the World Series in 2008. And it appears Ryan Howard may have a torn Achilles tendon after making the last out.
So while the Phillies and Yankees try to figure out what's next (Cheap plug: Read more on the Yankees in Sunday's Inside Baseball column), the final four play on. The ALCS opens tonight in Texas with the NLCS opening Sunday in Milwaukee. Here's my thoughts:
Tigers vs. Rangers -- Big loss for the Tigers came out today with Delmon Young being taken off the roster with a strained oblique. He's been huge since he was acquired at the trade deadline. Still, I like the roll this team is on. I like Justin Verlander in Game One and potentially going three times. Doug Fister and Max Scherzer provide great help in the rotation and the bullpen has been solid led by Jose Valverde. The Rangers looked terrific against the Rays, like they completely expect to go back to the World Series. Think the Red Sox still wish they had Adrian Beltre? FOX may wish this was Yankees-Red Sox but they will still get a great series. Tigers in seven.
Cardinals vs. Brewers -- All the momentum in the world has me wanting to pick the Cardinals but I have questions about their rotation after Chris Carpenter. The Brewers, meanwhile, are just about unbeatable at Miller Park. Great offense, great bullpen, solid rotation. Plus they know this is their one chance with Prince Fielder having one foot out of the door en route to free agency. Prince and old man Cecil have long been estranged so it will be interesting to see how he deals with all the questions about his father if he meets the Tigers, Cecil's old team, in a World Series. The Cardinals have been a great story but the road ends here. Brewers in five.
Now you make your picks.
taggedALCS | NLCS