As the MLB playoffs creep closer to the World Series, a recap is in order for how the first round played out. Now that we are down to the final four teams, let’s take a look at each individual team’s road to reach this point.
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals are the biggest shocker of the four teams, not being necessarily underdogs, but in the fashion that they have won their games. In the AL Wild Card games against the Oakland A’s, the Royals never surrendered despite being down as many as 4 runs at one point. After finally defeating the A’s in the 12th inning, the Royals won in similar fashion in the three games against the assumed favorite to win the World Series, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They swept the Angels with a combined score of 15-6, even though the first 2 games of the series went into extra innings. Now, having jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS, it seems that the Royals are on a hot streak that has no intention of cooling off.
The Baltimore Orioles are no doubt the best team on paper left in the playoffs. The Orioles had a stellar regular season record (96-66), the second best record in the American League. Their first round series against the Detroit Tigers, a team predicted to make a deep run in the playoffs, was a total steam roll for the opener of the series. They defeated the Tigers 12-3, making a huge statement and reassuring the regular season was no fluke. The next two games were won in closer fashion, 7-6 and 2-1 respectively, but still managed a three game sweep. With a bid to the World Series hanging in the balance, it will be interesting to see if Baltimore can keep their season alive, having fallen behind 3-0 against the Royals.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals, who have been to the World Series in two of the last three seasons and also won the 2011 Championship, are back in the hunt again. Their first round series against the Dodgers was an absolute thriller, with three of the four games being decided by one run apiece (10-9 Cards, 3-2 L.A, 3-1 Cards, 3-2 Cards). The primetime performer of the series for St. Louis was most certainly Matt Carpenter, who had a batting average of .375 with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs. The Cardinals are pitted up against the San Francisco Giants for the right to represent the National League in the World Series. The Cardinals were 4-2 against the Giants, but the Giants currently lead the series 2-1.
San Francisco Giants
The last of the four competitors is the San Francisco Giants, a team that has won two of the past four World Series titles. Although they have the worst regular season of the four remaining teams (88-74), the team is a constant threat to make a run to the Series. Their Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was a shocker, blowing them out 8-0 in Pittsburgh. The Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals was something like a roller coaster, but ultimately defeated the Nationals 3-1 in the series with an exciting 18-inning game ending with a Brandon Belt homer. While on the subject of Belt, he’s on a hot streak hitting .476 with 1 HR, 5 RBIs and 10 hits in 21 at bats.
In the Royals-Orioles Series, the Kansas City Royals will take the W with a 4-2 record. In the Giants-Cardinals Series, the Giants will win the series 4-3.
In the World Series matchup, the Royals will defeat the Giants 4-1 to take home the title.