MLB Playoffs 2013: Top Remaining Stars Who Will Decide World Series
The stage is set for both the NLCS and ALCS. The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals will do battle on one side, and the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers will do battle on the other.
In what is set to be the most intriguing slate of matchups in recent history on the path to the World Series, a select few players will have the biggest impacts on the outcome of the postseason.
While a variety of stars have helped their respective teams make it to this point, only a fraction of the best will dictate the World Series.
The following players are the stars to watch at all times.
St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright, Starting Pitcher
The St. Louis Cardinals had little issue moving past the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS thanks to strong pitching from Michael Wacha and the ever-elite Adam Wainwright.
Wainwright was easily the unofficial Most Valuable Player of the NLDS after he not only won the first game of the series but also finished what he started by closing the series with a win.
In that time span, Wainwright gave up just 11 hits and struck out 15 batters with an impressive 1.13 ERA.
With names like Joe Kelly, who could only make it 5.1 innings in his lone start, struggling, Wainwright is far and away one of the biggest names to watch in the chase for the World Series.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Brian Wilson, Relief Pitcher
Brian Wilson is at it again.
Wilson pitched the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves on Monday night and recorded the win as the Los Angeles Dodgers moved on to encounter St. Louis in the NLCS.
As far as importance to a championship run goes, fans would be hard-pressed to find a name more critical than Wilson.
In the regular season, Wilson was more than stellar, posting a 0.66 ERA in 13.2 innings. That sort of production in critical moments, to which Wilson is no stranger, will be key if the Dodgers are going to advance past what is a very evenly matched NLCS.
Boston Red Sox: Clay Buchholz, Starting Pitcher
Jon Lester has performed as advertised for the Boston Red Sox to this point, but it's going to take more than one quality pitcher for the Red Sox to continue to advance.
Clay Buchholz is the name on the hot seat for the Red Sox here, and his success or failure behind Lester in the rotation will go a long way in deciding just how far the Red Sox can go.
Lester went 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in the regular season but only lasted six innings in the ALDS, surrendering seven hits and three runs. By definition, it was a quality start, but a better performance will be necessary in the upcoming ALCS.
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, Third Baseman
This was easy to see coming, no?
Miguel Cabrera awoke from his postseason slumber (in which he was batting just .250 in the ALDS) and ripped off a two-run homer to propel Detroit over Oakland, as perfectly captured by the MLB and ESPN:
Miguel Cabrera's 21 postseason RBI with the Tigers are 1 shy of the team record, held by Hall-of-Famer Hank Greenberg (22)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 11, 2013
As fans are well aware, Cabrera was capable of exploding at any moment after his Triple Crown season of 2012. This year, he was first in batting average at .348, second in home runs with 44 and second in RBI with an impressive 137 across the plate.
So yes, stars litter the Detroit roster, but none will go further in deciding Detroit's fate on the road to a championship than Cabrera.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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