Power Ranking the MLB Playoff Teams That Are Still Alive
The 2012 MLB playoffs are halfway over, and only four teams remain standing: the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants and reigning champion St. Louis Cardinals.
With at least one game in the books in each series, it's time to take a look at where each of the remaining teams rank.
Will the loss of Derek Jeter affect the Yankees' position in the ranking? Will the defending champions' experience help them top the list as they look to repeat? Will the best team in the MLB come from the NL or the AL?
Take a look at the power rankings for the MLB's final four.
4. New York Yankees
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Despite having a lineup that showcases several future members of the Hall of Fame, the New York Yankees find themselves at No. 4 on these postseason power rankings.
When Derek Jeter suffered a broken ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday evening, the Bronx Bombers lost more than just a great baseball player. The Yankees lost all the intangibles that Jeter brings to the field with him.
The leadership and experience that Jeter brought to the team is something that cannot be replaced and will be missed greatly.
Offensively, the Yankees can be as dangerous as any team left when they are hitting the ball. The lack of all-around consistency shown by the Yankees this postseason has put them in dangerous situations like the one they are in now, down 2-0 in the ALCS.
3. Detroit Tigers
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There is no denying the fact that the Detroit Tigers starting pitching staff is a force to be reckoned with right now. Led by Justin Verlander, the Tigers starters have put up a 0.94 ERA through the first seven playoff games.
The problems for the Tigers have come in the later innings, once the starting pitcher has been removed.
Jose Valverde has struggled mightily this postseason. While Phil Coke is expected to temporarily put an end to the Tigers' closer woes, the Tigers will look back to Valverde in the near future.
If the Tigers want to be successful and win the World Series, they will need to fix their bullpen and fast.
Offensively, the Tigers boast a lineup that can produce runs with ease. Led by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the Tigers can challenge any team offensively. The Tiger lineup is not the most dangerous in the majors, though.
Omar Infante and Alex Avila's offensive struggles in the Tigers lineup have proved troublesome at times, as rallies started by Fielder, Cabrera and Austin Jackson have been brought to a screeching halt.
2. San Francisco Giants
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Even without star Melky Cabrera, the San Francisco Giants are one of baseball's final four teams.
The Giants were overshadowed at times this season by their free-spending rivals from Los Angeles, but without anyone to overshadow them in the playoffs, the Giants have seized the spotlight so far this postseason.
The Giants pitching staff has been nothing short of stellar all season, as Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and crew have led the Giants. Consistency has been the key in San Francisco pitching-wise, with both a solid bullpen and starting staff this season.
Catcher Buster Posey has been a stud for the Giants offensively, as he ended the regular season batting .336 with 24 home runs.
Pablo Sandoval and Gregor Blanco have also stepped up at the end of the regular season and in the playoffs for the Giants, shouldering some of the load that would have been carried by Cabrera had he not been suspended.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
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The reigning World Series champions roll into the NLCS after mounting an amazing comeback against the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS.
The Cardinals come into the NLCS with a lineup that is as scary as any right now. From top to bottom, the Cards have been getting production from every part of their lineup.
St. Louis' lineup has no obvious holes in it right now. The experience the Cardinals have is gushing from their offense, and experience is never a bad thing at this time year.
Moving on to the Cardinals bullpen, enough cannot be said about Jason Motte. The Cardinals closer is pitching lights out in the playoffs to this point. When the Cardinals trot Motte out to the mound with a lead in the last two innings of a game, the game is over.
As far as starting pitching, the Cardinals rotation has been good, but not spectacular. The offense has been able to produce enough that the Cardinal pitchers have not had to be spectacular so far.