Playoffs Day 2 and the Infield Fly Rule? Really?

More Playoff controversy, it’s almost like we should have expected this to happen.

Alright, alright, alright. Today is the start of the Division Series. The ACTUAL playoffs. I mean not to take anything away from the Cardinals, Braves, Rangers, and Orioles but the Wild Card is somewhat of a buffer. Excuse my arrogance towards the Wild Card after the A’s won the division, this time last WEEK I would have been satisfied with the Wild Card but somehow the A’s won the division and here we are. But I will admit last night’s games were very exciting and if that’s any indication of how those games will be played in the future, I am all about it.

Last nights opening game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals was full of controversy. Surprise Surprise it was from the umpiring crew. Which to me is a joke, considering all the controversy with the NFL refs lately as well as past umpiring blunders in MLB postseason ball. Not the way we wanted to see the future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones end his career. It was unfortunate to see one of baseball’s icons go out like that, amid controversy at the game and with the home fans throwing debris on the field during the game.

It happened in the bottom half of the 8th inning. Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons was at the plate, with runners and first and second and one out, he popped a ball into short left field. Maybe it was the humidity, maybe it was the umpires jumping the gun but the ball carried into left field and eventually fell between left fielder Matt Holiday and shortstop Pete Kozma. The call on the field was made, batter is out and the runners were allowed to advance. But that killed the momentum for the Braves, along with the 15 minute delay for all the debris that was thrown on the field. Here is the play.

But you can understand why they were upset. They would have had bases loaded with 1 out, and pinch hitter Brian McCann coming to the plate. Instead, 2 outs and the same hitter at the plate. Atlanta had its chances though, but all the mental errors and missed bunts didn’t help, and like last year they missed out on the Wild Card to the St. Louis Cardinals. Even worse, we weren’t even able to get one last curtain call for Chipper Jones.

On to the next round though. Cardinals Nationals should be a good series. Nationals seem to be the favorite going into this playoffs, but as we have learned this year and last, you can’t ever count out the Cardinals. Even without Pujols, this team is dangerous and has a formidable 1-2 punch in the rotation. Should be a good series, but I think the Nationals will take the series in 4.

Over in the night game, the Rangers and Orioles surprisingly fought out a pitchers duel in which the Orioles were able to come up with hit after hit in the clutch. it was a little depressing to watch for Rangers fans. Not only did they have the heartbreaking collapse to end the season. They could not get anything going in the game. Grounding into countless double plays and killing any rally before the were even started. They stayed close, but we all knew that if Baltimore had a lead late, their bullpen would stand pat and they did. One of the best bullpens in the American League was not going to let a lead go late, and they made Joe Saunders the victor.

Next up for the Orioles, a showdown with their American League East Rivals the Yankees. This series is going to be a lot closer than many think, and I am pretty sure that there will be some bad blood brewing during it. With these teams already playing each

other around 15 times a year, a possible 5 more games could just heat things up even more. Look for the Yankees to take it in 5, but the thing is, I am not a 100% sure about it. The Orioles have been counted out all season, but somehow they have maintained. Never know, after game 1 I could be singing a different tune.

Tonight’s games should be interesting. It’s the Bay Area on display to the national media. The Oakland A’s travel to Detroit for game 1 of the ALDS. A rematch of the A’s last playoff appearance in which they got swept by Detroit back in 2006. It is another case of a team in which nobody is giving a chance, versus a team we all thought would be better. In this case I am sticking with the underdog A’s and picking them to win. It will be a good series, but if the A’s take one in Detroit, they have 3 opportunities to end the series at home. I like those odds. A’s in 4.

In the night cap, the San Francisco Giants are hosting the Cincinnati Reds. This is the hardest series in my opinion to predict. Both teams are scary good, but also quietly very good. The Reds have a staff which can matchup with the Giants so it should be interesting. But the problem is that it is hard to score runs at AT&T park and runs are at a premium at Great American Ballpark. Let the fireworks begin! My prediction, Reds win in 5. Too much offense and like with the A’s series, 3 games at home to end the series is too much of an advantage. But hey, I have been wrong about the Giants before.

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