Michael Wacha and the Cardinals have a lot to be pleased about.
The postseason has always been a vehicle for pedestrian players to be elevated to hero status. Even though there hasn’t been a Francisco Cabrera moment as of yet, that doesn’t mean some players’ performances haven’t been heroic.
For instance, David Ortiz jolted the entire city of Boston with his clutch eighth-inning grand slam against the Detroit Tigers in Game 2. Trailing by four runs, Ortiz deflated what would have been a decisive victory for the Tigers—and a morale boost for closer Joaquin Benoit.
Instead, with the swing of his bat, Ortiz quickly changed the momentum in favor of the Boston Red Sox. But while Ortiz has long been a source of October magic, there are other players’ successful 2013 postseasons that might be a tad more surprising (and more difficult to maintain).
Read on to see odds of the 2013 MLB postseason’s heroes keeping up their hot steaks.
All statistics sourced from Baseball-Reference.com.
Justin Verlander has been the Tigers' best pitcher in the postseason.
After posting a 3.46 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 121 ERA+), 1.31 WHIP and 2.89 K/BB during the regular season, some critics and fans felt the ace had lost a step. Especially with fellow rotation mates Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez boasting superior years, Verlander essentially dropped to the Tigers’ third-best starting pitcher in 2013.
But the Justin Verlander of old has showed up in the playoffs.
In his two games against the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS, the 30-year-old pitched to the tune of a 0.00 ERA, 0.53 WHIP and 10.5 K/BB. With a mere .118 batting average against, Verlander has essentially been unhittable this October.
Now tied 1-1 in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, the Tigers will look to Verlander tonight to put them ahead in the series.
Odds of Continuing Hot Streak: Very Good
Victor Martinez has been a hit machine for the Tigers.
It’s only natural to expect Miguel Cabrera to be leading the Detroit Tigers offense. But so far in the 2013 playoffs, it’s been Victor Martinez—not Cabrera and his .259 batting average—who has been the true source of offensive production.
Martinez has channeled his inner Ted Williams, posting a .407 batting average, 1.095 OPS, one home run and three RBI in October. V-Mart boasts four multi-hit games and five extra-base hits too.
Considering the 34-year-old missed all of 2012 with a torn ACL, his successful return in 2013 has been a blessing for the Tigers.
Odds of Continuing Hot Streak: Good
David Ortiz is the epitome of a postseason hero.
The city of Boston was very pleased on Sunday, October 13. Down 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, David Ortiz stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and launched a grand slam to tie the game for the Boston Red Sox.
Ortiz’s timely home run would have been surprising if he hadn’t done it so many times before. But ever since 2003, the slugger has owned a .285 batting average, .967 OPS, 15 home runs and 50 RBI in the playoffs.
The 37-year-old's postseason production hasn't slowed in 2013 either. Ortiz collected two home runs in Game 2 of the ALDS and has posted a .300 batting average with three home runs and seven RBI to date.
Odds of Continuing Hot Streak: Excellent
Rookie Michael Wacha has been a dependable option for the Cardinals in the playoffs.
Ever since Michael Wacha got the call on May 30, the 22-year-old rookie has been sensational for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wacha owned a 2.78 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 131 ERA+), 1.09 WHIP and 3.42 K/BB during the regular season.
Despite just logging 64.2 innings in his major league career, Wacha has looked like a veteran in the playoffs.
The right-hander had little trouble stifling the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS, tossing a one-hitter (and one earned run) over 7.1 innings. Wacha looked brilliant against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 as well, posting a shutout over 6.2 frames. Between his two postseason starts, the rookie has combined for a 0.64 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 5.66 K/BB.
Wacha could get another turn in the NLCS but might have a rare opportunity to gain true cult status if he facilitated a Cardinals World Series victory.
Odds of Continuing Hot Streak: Pretty Good
Hanley Ramirez has continued his hot regular season so far in October.
After missing most of April and May with a variety of injuries, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2012 acquisition of Hanley Ramirez and his sizable contract seemed like a regrettable decision. But Ramirez restored faith in his doubters quickly.
The infielder posted a .345 batting average, park-adjusted 190 OPS+ and 20 home runs in his injury-shortened season. But perhaps Ramirez’s best stick work has been in the playoffs.
In his first career postseason, Ramirez has collected a .455 batting average, 1.435 OPS, one home run and seven RBI for the Dodgers. The 29-year-old has even enjoyed three multi-hit games with six extra-base hits.
Odds of Continuing Hot Streak: Great