For the divisional round of the Major League Baseball playoffs, we anointed the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays our two teams. The Brewers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10th inning of their fifth and final game (MOT Ryan Braun went 2-for-3 with a walk). But the Rays went down to the Texas Rangers in a quick four that felt over soon after they began. Now we are into the two seven-game league championship series, and we need two teams for those, too.
One, of course, is/remains the Brewers, who have split their first two games against the St. Louis Cardinals, their National League Central archrivals (over whom they have home-field advantage). In their seven postseason games so far, I guess you could say Braun’s been playing okay, what with his .500 average, two home runs and eight RBI, and stratospheric 1.528 OPS. Third game of the Midwest Brewfest is tomorrow night in St. Louis, We personally prefer Budweiser to Miller, but are taking Milwaukee.
In the American League, there is a wonderful sort of parity, as the Rays and the New York Yankees, this year’s version of the perennial two teams from the American League East (the Chanel of divisions), both lost their divisional series, leaving us with the AL West champs, the Rangers, versus the AL Central champs, the Detroit Tigers. Indeed, of the final four teams, the one with the highest payroll is the Tigers, whose $105 million figure is good for only tenth-most and is barely half the Yankees’. The Tigers are wonderfully likable, and Lord knows that city could use a break (although they are already getting one in the form of the resurgent, undefeated Lions). And, sure, the Rangers defeated our beloved Rays. But the Rangers also have second baseman Ian Kinsler, who is coming off a career year and batting leadoff. He is slumping a bit; let’s hope he picks up by tonight, when game three moves to Detroit following the Rangers’ first two wins at home, and we become the first Jews to root en masse for Rangers owner Nolan Ryan since he was on the Mets’ rotation in 1971.
Earlier: Playoff Time!
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.