The exciting first round of baseball came to an end last night when the St. Louis Cardinals came back from trailing two games to one to improbably upset the World Series favorite Philadelphia Phillies.
The Milwaukee Brewers nearly met a similar fate to the Phillies. However, they held on to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in ten innings, winning their series 3-2.
The ALDS was similar. The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium to win their roller coaster series in five games.
Meanwhile, the only ALDS series that didn't go all five games was the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers'. The Rangers quickly advanced past Tampa Bay and into the ALCS with a 3-1 series win that included two straight wins on the Rays' home lawn.
So why am I telling you the results? Because some of the better starting rotations got wiped out in the first round.
The Phillies rotation consisting of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt will be hitting the golf courses much earlier than they expected. They were clearly the most dominant rotation in the playoffs, and even the league.
The Rays had a great rotation too, with James Shields, David Price, Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson.
There are still some good rotations out there, though, and unlike the first round, the better pitching rotation may be a key in the second round.
C.J. Wilson is the ace of the Texas Rangers, finishing the season with a 16-7 record and an ERA of 2.94. He is a great pitcher, but he wouldn't exactly be the ace on quite a few teams.
My reasoning for ranking the Rangers' rotation last of the four remaining teams is that they don't have a great number two starter and lack some depth.
Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, and Colby Lewis are all pretty good pitchers, but none are a great number two—at least with the teams that are still standing.
The Rangers will need Wilson, who got blown up by Tampa Bay, to come back against the Tigers and pitch as well as he can against them.
They'll also need at least any combination of Holland, Lewis, and Harrison to turn in good starts in addition to Wilson.
Holland is a good young talent, who finished with a record of 16-5 and an ERA of 3.95.
The Rangers will need to rely on their offense to help their rotation out.
Chris Carpenter after his shutout over the Phillies
To be honest, I found it a tough call between the Cardinals and Rangers. However, I gave the Cards the nod for the number three spot because of the masterful way Chris Carpenter pitched last night.
Carpenter finished the season with a record of 11-9 and an ERA of 3.45. Don't let those fool you, though, Carpenter is still an amazing pitcher when he's on.
He pitched a three-hit shutout over the Phillies last night, capping a remarkable series where the Cardinals completely stunned the powerful Phils to end their dream season.
If he can keep that up, he should be able to stifle the Brewers.
The Cards also have some decent pitchers like Jaime Garcia, who finished the season with a 3.56 ERA. Garcia is a great complement to Carpenter, giving the Cards a great lefty pitcher to throw.
The other Cards starters seen in the postseason are Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse.
Jackson pitched great over the Phillies earlier in that series, and Lohse pitched alright until a disastrous sixth inning.
The Cards will need Lohse to fare better against the Brewers, and get solid outings out of Carpenter, Garcia, and Jackson.
The Tigers earn the number two ranking behind Justin Verlander, their ace who will more than likely emerge as the American League Cy Young award winner.
Verlander finished the season with 24 wins to a mere five losses and an ERA of 2.40.
He has a great backup as well in Doug Fister. Fister was traded to the Tigers from the Mariners at the non-waiver trade deadline, and has helped them immensely. With the Tigers in the second half of the season, Fister went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA, and allowed just a run and five hits over five innings on the way to their 3-2 series-clinching victory over the Yankees.
The Tigers also have Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, who are inconsistent. However, when both are on, they can stifle the opponet's lineup.
With the great one-two punch that Verlander and Fister bring, the Tigers grab the number two spot.
The Brewers. They have a dynamic rotation, filled with the likes of Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, and Shaun Marcum. Randy Wolf rounds out the postseason rotation of the Brewers.
Greinke will open the NLCS tomorrow night for the Brewers against the Cardinals in Milwaukee. Greinke has been virtually unstoppable at home, going 11-0 with a 3.13 ERA.
Make that literally unstoppable.
Gallardo went 17-10 with an ERA of 3.52, and is a stud. He could easily blow through the Cards lineup if he's on.
Marcum went 13-7 with an ERA of 3.54 this season. Again, he can do great against the Cardinals if he's on.
Randy Wolf is another pretty good pitcher, who will be looking to rebound from getting blown out by the Diamondbacks last round.
These four pitchers make a great rotation; better than some of their ERA may depict. Since the Phillies are out, they're the best rotation left standing.