Predictions for the Rest of the MLB Postseason
With a couple weeks worth of postseason baseball in our rear-view mirrors, it seems like the burner is getting turned up a couple notches as teams position themselves for a shot at MLB's ultimate prize.
For all the memorable performances we've seen during these past weeks, there are that many more to come, as individuals and teams alike step up to the occasion and answer the call.
Whether it's the miraculous long balls from Raul Ibanez or the home-field collapse from the Cincinnati Reds, postseason baseball is hard to predict.
But that doesn't mean we can't try.
Here are a few things we might see before the final hardware is hoisted.
Kyle Lohse Puts Cards Up 2-1 with a Game 3 Gem
The St. Louis Cardinals are certainly hoping they have what it takes to make it back to the World Series.
With the series tied 1-1, they face a crucial Game 3 on Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants as both team jockey for position in the latter part of the series.
Kyle Lohse has established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the league when he's at his best, though his postseason track record isn't as impressive as one would hope.
He'll do everything in his power to buck that trend this week, taking Game 3 by storm and giving the offense an opportunity to do its part.
Yankees Win Games 4 and 5
Given their rich history and star-studded roster, it's hard to see the New York Yankees struggling to the extent that they have in the ALCS.
Their backs are firmly against the wall as they sit in a 3-0 hole, but as evidenced by their efforts in the ninth inning of Game 2, they don't go down without a fight.
Sending CC Sabathia to the mound in Game 3 will certainly help their chances, and while Robinson Cano's stat-line doesn't get much more impressive now that he's ended his hitless streak, a hit can sometimes be all it takes to trigger something good.
Prince Fielder's Hitless Streak Grows
On Tuesday night we saw Robinson Cano's hitless streak end just before it could hit the 30-at-bat mark.
We also saw a hitless streak grow, as Prince Fielder went 0-3 for the second straight night.
Things won't get any easier for Fielder in Game 4 as he'll stand in the batter's box against CC Sabathia.
Buster Posey Clinches NLCS with Walk-off Home Run
When we see Buster Posey crouch behind the plate, we're watching one of the best young catchers in the game. His grand slam in Game 5 against Cincinnati was just the latest of his exploits.
It's a tall task to predict the hit that will decide a series, but with the clutch hitting we've seen from Posey, you can't rule out the possibility of him finding a crowd of teammates waiting for him at home plate.
Alex Rodriguez Goes Deep
Keeping in mind that Alex Rodriguez is one of the best home run hitters the game has ever seen, it might not seem like much of a stretch to predict that he'll hit a home run at some point in the Yankees postseason run.
But when you think about just how much A-Rod has struggled of late, a round-tripper is in no way a sure thing.
He's been benched several times in the past week, and though he's found ways to keep busy in the dugout, Rodriguez is still a threat when he sets foot in the batter's box.
Tim Lincecum Plays a Big Role the Rest of the Way in San Fran
After struggling to a 10-15 record and career high 5.18 ERA this season, Tim Lincecum's role in the postseason for the San Francisco Giants was called into question.
His struggles appear to be under control for the time being, however, as Lincecum has made three relief appearances this postseason, allowing only three hits in 8.1 innings.
He now looks poised to get the nod as the starter in Game 4 for the Giants and could really give his team a jolt with a solid start.
Justin Verlander Will Earn World Series MVP Honors
On Tuesday in Detroit, we witnessed another masterful performance from Justin Verlander as he nearly went the distance in a 2-1 win that gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the ALCS.
With the Tigers in the driver's seat in the series, he may not get another start until a potential trip to the World Series.
He already has an American League MVP and Rookie of the Year trophy, as well as a Cy Young Award to his name, so there's no reason to think that, after a couple more masterful performances, he won't add a new piece of hardware to the mix.