Raul Ibanez takes Jose Valverde deep for one of his three "very clutch" postseason home runs.
We go into every postseason looking for October fireworks, ridiculous surprises and thinking that this just may have the makings to be the best postseason ever. Nearly every October brings those fireworks and ridiculous surprises, but only a very few turn out to be one for the ages.
Well, folks, the 2012 MLB Postseason is turning out to be one for the ages. Just over a week into it we have already witnessed enough excitement for a full 60-minute TV segment.
Lets's start with the lead-up. Nearly all season we were convinced that the Texas Rangers were runaway victors in the AL West. For a while we were even convinced they had the No. 1 seed locked up. Let's just say we were wrong.
Those pesky Athletics had their own story to write and swept right in at the end to capture the title—sending Texas to a one-game showdown with Baltimore and setting the stage for what was to come. Texas would end up one-and-done, and well, Oakland would give it a good ride just to come up short in Game 5 of its NLDS showdown with the Tigers.
All four MLB Divisional Series' went to a Game 5 for the first time ever.
The Cincinnati Reds would overcome the loss of ace Johnny Cueto only eight pitches into Game 1 against the San Francisco Giants. They would go on to take a 2-0 lead in the series just to completely collapse. Or, you can look at it from the other side. The Giants became the first NL team to recover from a 0-2 deficit and prevail in a five-game NLDS series—setting the scene for what could become an epic October run.
We've already had walk-off home runs galore. Well, Raul Ibanez has anyway. He single-handedly won Game 3 of the ALDS for the Yankees over the Orioles—hitting the game-tying home run in the ninth-inning and following that up with a walk-off game-winning home run his next time to the plate. As if that wasn't enough, he decided to belt a two-run game-tying homer during a four-run bottom of the ninth comeback in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Tigers.
On a more somber note though, that game-tying home run would lead to extra frames that would see Derek Jeter go on to break his ankle and end his season. Do the Yankees have any more magic left in the hats/bats in 2012?
The Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals seem to find a way to win just enough games to make it to October every year. But, when they get there they are true forces to be reckoned with.
The Cardinals made an improbable run last season and sent Tony LaRussa into retirement a World Series champion. They are playing like a team that could make an even more improbable run in 2012—becoming the first team to survive a one-game playoff and become WS champs. Not only that, they would do it with a rookie manager and after having had lost one of the greatest players of all-time in Albert Pulols.
The Tigers swept in the last month of the season to take the AL Central. Led by Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera and the best starting pitcher in the universe, Justin Verlander, the Tigers have quietly been getting the job done.
Raul Ibanez may have gotten the best of Jose Valverde, but it is the Tigers who are leaving New York with a 2-0 lead in the series. Could the Motor City Kitties bring home another title?
Halfway through the 2012 MLB Postseason, we see the makings of a classic. Things could fizzle out from here, but they could also continue on par. Continuing at this pace would most definitely rank 2012 up there as one for the ages.
Will 2012 go down as one of the top three MLB Postseason's ever?
I mean, just look at these possible story lines:
"Yanks Overcome Loss of Jeter to Bring Home Yet Another Title"
"Cardinals Improbable Once Again!"
"From Possible Three-and-Done to WS Champions, Giants Do it Again!"
"Tigers Take the Triple Crown, ALDS Winners, ALCS Champs and World Series Champs"
All we can do is continue to watch as the storylines evolve. One thing is for sure—they are not going to be dull.
What are your thoughts about the Major League Baseball's 2012 Postseason? Chime in with your thoughts and tell us why you think this year will be one to remember.
You can follow Josh Ramsey on Twitter @JRamCincy