The stage is finally set for the League Championship Series in Major League Baseball. And with the way things have shaken out thus far, you can’t help but be a bit giddy about the four teams that have made it. Two of the teams that remain were able to win their divisions during the regular season, while the other two were Wild Card teams. All four of them have looked impressive in the postseason thus far, so we can’t help but be excited for what’s in store.
Here’s a look at the four teams that will be vying for their spot in the 2014 World Series.
Kansas City Royals vs. Baltimore Orioles
What started as the feel good story of the 2014 MLB season is quickly becoming something that could end up in as a part of history. The Kansas City Royals hadn’t made the playoffs since 1985, but they’ve now won three games a row and find themselves making a push for just their second World Series. The team that started the MLB playoffs with the worst odds has now jumped up to 5/2 odds, which is tied with Baltimore.
What may have been the biggest surprise of the postseason thus far is how easily the Royals were able to defeat the LA Angels. After a close 3-2 win in extra innings in Game One, the Royals then went on to dominate the next two games quite handedly, as they swept an Angels team that was thought to have one of the best lineups in the majors.
On offense, KC will hope that Eric Hosmer can keep up his hot hitting. Hosmer is hitting .500 on 7/14 batting, and he also has 2 homeruns and 5 RBIs. James Shields will get the starting nod on the mound in Game One, as he looks for his first credited win of the postseason. He’s had two outings thus far, but he’s failed to get a W in both of his two games.
For Baltimore, they have been riding the heat wave that has come from Nelson Cruz. In 12 plate appearances, Cruz has had six hits, including 2 homeruns and 5 RBIs. The O’s also have four other players batting .500 or better; including Alejandro De Aza, JJ Hardy, Steve Pearce, and Jonathan Schoop. It’s undecided who will get the nod for Baltimore on the mound come Friday night, but you can check back with sportspicks.com handicappers for more insight once the game gets a bit closer.
The last time that the Royals won the World Series was in 1985. Ironically, the last time that the Orioles won it was in 1983. With that in mind, it’s going to surely be a special time for whoever advances from the ALCS. With both teams at 5/2 odds to win the World Series, it should be a great ALCS.
San Francisco vs. St. Louis
The St. Louis Cardinals were able to win their division during the regular season, but it was still quite a surprise when they easily dismantled the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Game One was a close 10-9 thriller, and they then lost Game Two, 2-3. However, they then went on to win the next two games as they advanced to their fourth NLCS in a row. The defending National League Champions find themselves with 3/1 odds to win the World Series, but don’t expect the Giants to let those numbers affect things.
San Francisco, who currently has 11/4 odds, won their Wild Card game against Pittsburgh, before going on to beat the Nationals in four games. Buster Posey and Brandon Belt have been leading the way for the Giants, averaging .391 and .333, respectively. While Posey may get majority of the credit on this team, Belt already has 5 RBIs and a homerun, as well as a .476 slugging percentage.
This will be the second time in the last three seasons where the Giants and Cardinals meet one another in the NLCS. Both teams also make up for three of the last four World Series Champions, as the Giants won it in 2012 and 2010, with the Cards taking it in 2011.
When this series starts on Saturday, Adam Wainwright will get the start for St. Louis, but we’re still waiting to see who will get the nod for San Francisco. If it’s October, it only makes sense that the Giants and Cardinals are going at it in the NLCS. Lets just hope that they can provide the same type of entertaining series that they’ve had in the past.