Do or die. Sudden death. Win or go home. Winner-take-all.
The Major League Baseball playoffs are providing the ultimate drama. Tonight is the first of three Game 5′s in the first round. Either the Yankees or the Tigers will be packing their bags for the winter at the end of the night.
Tomorrow night, fans will witness two great pitching match-ups. The Phillies send defending Cy Young winner Roy Halladay against Cardinals’ ace Chris Carpenter, and the Brewers and Diamondbacks will throw their aces (Yovani Gallardo and Ian Kennedy, respectively) with the season on the line. Baseball fans can’t ask for much more.
Facing elimination on Tuesday night, the Yankees got a performance from starter A.J. Burnett that they had been looking for all season. He allowed just one run over 5 2/3 innings while the Yankees bats gave him more than enough run support. Burnett’s stellar outing was aided by two game-saving catches by centerfielder Curtis Granderson. Tonight, they will put the weight of the season on the back of rookie Ivan Nova, who got the win in the rain-altered Game 1. Prior to his Game 4 gem, the veteran Burnett got some words of encouragement FROM the rookie Nova.
The Cardinals overcame two runs by the Phillies in the 1st inning of Game 4 to send the series back to Philadelphia for the deciding game. Third baseman David Freese doubled and homered, driving in four of the five Cardinals runs. Matt Holliday, who came off the bench in the first three games while recovering from an inflamed tendon in the middle finger on his throwing finger, returned to the starting lineup and scored two runs.
After losing the first two games in Milwaukee, the Diamondbacks’ bats came out to play in the friendly confines of Chase Field. The Snakes became the second team to hit a grand slam in consecutive playoff games. Those two swings of the bat came from unlikely heroes. Rookie slugger Paul Goldschmidt put the finishing touches on Arizona’s 8-1 Game 3 win, and Ryan “Tatman” Roberts’ slam in the 1st inning started a 10-run onslaught on Game 4.
The Texas Rangers didn’t need five games to dispatch of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second straight season, but Adrian Beltre smacked three home runs in the clinching Game 4, tying a postseason record. The Rangers will either host the Tigers in the ALCS or face the Yankees for the second straight year with a World Series berth on the line.
So find a comfortable seat in front of the TV and prepare to be thrilled. Oh, and you might want to clear some space in front of your seat because you might find yourself leaving that comfortable seat, jumping up as the drama unfolds over the next two nights.