Tonight begins the semi-final round, if you will, of Major League Baseball's playoff tournament, starting with the American League Championship Series.
Detroit at Texas: The Tigers needed 5 games to eliminate the Yankees, leaving the tabloid media to point fingers at certain Yankees stars for failing to deliver. I honestly didn't think the Rangers had enough pitching to complement their offense vs. Tampa Bay, but they did. However, the Tigers are another story entirely. Are we looking at a possible rematch of the '06 World Series? Maybe. Detroit does have a stronger starting staff than Texas, and mid-season pickup Doug Fister, acquired from Seattle, proved his moxie in outdueling Ivan Nova in Thursday's finale vs. the Yanks. The Rangers certainly don't want to see Justin Verlander 3 times in this series. Then again, twice may be too much. The Pick: Tigers in 6.
St. Louis at Milwaukee: There is history here between these two clubs. In 1982, when the Brewers were an American League club, Milwaukee hosted its last World Series, losing to the Cardinals in a thrilling 7 game series. This year, the Brewers held off the Cards to win the Central Division title, and in order for St. Louis to be rematched with the Tigers in the Fall Classic, they have to get past Milwaukee. Chris Carpenter checked Philadelphia on 3 hits in a complete game shutout Friday to get to this point, and will likely pitch game 3 at home. Milwaukee has the best home record of the remaining teams, which may not be much of a difference maker, but it does give them a bit of an edge. These are not the run-happy Cardinals of the Whitey Herzog era, but they may have to do some running in order to keep pace with the Brewers. The Pick: Brewers in 7.
Then again, I could be wrong.....