Cowboys beat 12thman; Ravens smash Bucs; ALCS & NLCS
The Cowboys are shocking the world and I'm loving it. I was very critical of my boys before the season started just because I did not know what to expect from them. The defense is the biggest surprise for me. All throughout the off-season, "experts" said that the Cowboys would have the worse defense in the league, those predictions aren't looking to accurate.
This victory against the defending champs, in Seattle, is very big for the Cowboys. The outplayed the Seahwks in every aspect, even out gaining the Seahawks 401 yards total offense to 206. The Cowboys has become a balanced team, running the ball and throwing. They lead the league in rushing on the legs of DeMarco Murray, who has rushed for 100 yards in every game this season. He also leads the league in attempts, which scares me a little bit.
As long as Murray can stay healthy, the Cowboys will be a playoff team. I'm upset that it took them this long to realize that running the ball would be the best thing for Tony Romo, who is playing pretty good football.
The Ravens didn't play no games with the Bucs, as they shouldn't. I need to see some more consistency from the Ravens. They are playing great against the sub-par teams like the Bucs, but loss both games to potential playoff teams.
Today they did everything right. The defense played like bullies on the front line, the offense was balanced, and everything that we were complaining about last weekend was fixed. Joe Flacco threw 5 TDs to 4 different receivers, Torrey Smith catching 2 of them. Torrey needed this game because he was catching a lot of heat after he dropped that pass last week against the Colts.
Next for the Ravens is the Falcons, who isn't playing well either. Ravens must play like they did against the Bucs. Of course they might not have the same results, but I don't think I have seem them execute so well on all sides of the ball like that all season. Consistency is a must for this team.
Going into this series, I said playing the Royals would be tough because they are a scrappy team. I still expected the O's to protect home field with the first two games in Camden Yards. I also said that the team to win on the road first will win this series, and I'm praying to the baseball gods that I am wrong.
The Royals continue their winning ways, now 5-0 in the postseason. Both of their victories in Baltimore were very similar, early leads and late game heroics. In the game 1, the Royals had a 4-1 lead going into the 4th inning, game 2 they were up 4-3 in the 5th inning. Both times the O's managed to come back and tie the game, but also failed to take advantage of fortunate situations.
In game 1, the O's found themselves with the bases loaded and 0 outs in the top of 9th, game tied at 5. Somehow they managed to get out of the jam, allowing 0 runs with an opportunity to win the game in the bottom half of the inning. Wade Davis, who I personally heckled from the stands while he warmed up in the bullpen, went out and struck out Alejandro De Aza, Adam Jones, and Nelson Cruz. Next inning, Alex Gordon sent long ball to right field which sucked the energy out of Camden Yards. It wasn't over there though, Mike Moustakas later that inning sent another long ball to right-center field with a man on 2nd, giving the Royals a 8-5 lead.
Game 2 was tied at four going into the 7th inning and the O's missed out on another opportunity. With the bases loaded and 1 out the O's failed to bring home a run. If the Orioles do happen to lose this series, that will be the story, how they missed opportunities to take over the game. It's hard for me to necessarily say the O's are playing bad because both games were close and came down to the final inning but the missed opportunities have been overwhelming.
Royals really looks to be the team of destiny. They are outplaying teams at every aspect and their bullpen so far has outshined the O's bullpen, not to mention they have hit more home runs also. The O's have kept the Royals from stealing bases, 0 in the series so far, but has allowed 4 long balls, 2 from Moustakas. This series isn't over but the Royals are in complete control.
Unlike the participants in the ALCS, the Cardinals and Giants are very familiar with the NLCS. I expect this to be a very good series. Both teams have been at the top of the NLCS for awhile now and since 2010, the Championship Series has included one of them. In 2012, they met in the NLCS and the Giants came back from a 3-1 series deficit, outscoring the Cardinals 20-1 in the final 3 games. While the Giants come in winning their last 8 postseason series, the Cardinals are in their 4th straight NLCS.
The Giants take Game 1 but the biggest story from it is Adam Wainwright. Wainwright in his last two starts has allowed 17 hits, 8 earned runs, and a 8.00 era in 9 innings of work. Wainwright has yet to pitched more than 5 innings so far this postseason and dating back to last year World Series, Wainwright is 0-4 in his last 4 postseason starts. Wainwright said before this series that his pitching elbow isn't 100% but it's no time for that. The Cardinals got pass the Dodgers without a quality start by Wainwright but that won't work against the Giants, who has a few good pitchers themselves.
Madison Bumgarner has been the complete opposite of Wainwright. In his 3 postseason starts, he has allowed 14 hits, 2 earned runs, with a 0.76 ERA, and a complete game shut-out against the Pirates in the Wild-Card round. This was Bumgarner's 4th postseason start pitching at least 7 innings with 0 runs allowed. In the postseason, he has 9 career starts with a 2.58 ERA, a lot better than Clayton Kershaw's 5.12 postseason ERA. This man is quickly becoming one of the best postseason pitchers in recent memory, and another title will put into a different conversations.
Game 2 was a roller coaster ride and a very entertaining one. The Cards needed to win this game with the series going back to San Fran. Losing Yadier Molina will really hurt them for the rest of the season and it almost hurt them this game. The allowed the tying run after a wild pitch got away from replacement, Tony Cruz.
Kolten Wong is turning into a postseason player. He hit a 2-run homer in Game 2 of the NLDS that helped give the Cards a 2-1 lead in the series over the Dodgers and tonight his walk off pretty much gave the Cards new life.