The American League Championship Series was officially set over the weekend, with both the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals sweeping their respective series’. While the two clubs that will battle to represent the American League in the World Series aren’t the juggernauts that we’re used to seeing, both teams have risen to the occasion so far this postseason. Kansas City first made their presence felt when they came from behind 3 times, and beat the Oakland Athletics in the AL Wild Card game. The Royals continued their winning ways in the divisional series, as they swept the Anaheim Angels in three straight games. Kansas City took care of business by winning back-to-back 11 inning games, and then delivered an 8-3 knock out blow to Anaheim upon returning home to Kauffman Stadium. Likewise, the Baltimore Orioles only needed three games to cash in their ticket to the American League Championship Series. While in Baltimore, the Orioles took advantage of the Detroit Tigers bullpen woes, and enjoyed a commanding 2-0 series lead. The Orioles then traveled to Detroit, and finished off the 3 game sweep with a 2-1 win on Sunday. Having not lost a game yet this postseason, both the Orioles and the Royals enter the ALCS with a lot of momentum, so watching these two clubs clash should be a lot of fun.
- As the Orioles and Royals are now set to meet in the American League Championship Series, both roster will be compared and contrasted to see who has the edge in the series. But while both teams have their different strengths and weaknesses, it’s plain to see that both clubs find common ground in the bullpen. The Royals and Orioles have relied heavily on their relievers to carry them this far, and will continue to put their trust in their respective bullpens. (Bullpens guiding Orioles, Royals toward one another)
- The Red Sox announced over the weekend that assistant hitting coach Greg Colbrunn will not return to the Sox dugout next season. Colbrunn, 45, elected to bow out for 2015 after questioning whether he wanted to continue to work in baseball. While he didn’t cite health concerns as a reason for leaving, Colbrunn was rushed to the hospital earlier this year with a brain hemorrhage. (Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn won’t return in 2015)
- While the Red Sox’ mid-summer trades of Jon Lester and Andrew Miller were almost necessary, the same can’t be said for the deal that sent John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals. Unlike Lester, Boston had Lackey under contract for the 2015 season at league minimum. So what exactly was Boston thinking when they dealt their second best starter, directly after dealing their ace? The Red Sox could have been trying to avoid offseason drama with the right-hander, but they could have just as easily shot themselves in the foot. (Will the Red Sox come to regret trading John Lackey?)
- At this time last season, the likes of Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley were dominating the top spots on Sox prospect rankings. Since then, a few of the teams top prospects have graduated from their rookie title, ushering in a new crop of top tier talent. Catcher Blake Swihart currently occupies the top spot in Boston’s farm, while starting pitcher Henry Owens and outfielder Manuel Margot follow suit. (SoxProspects.com: Top 10 Sox prospects)
- Let the offseason conjecture begin! While it’s only October, the rumor mill is up and running for what should be an active offseason for the Red Sox. Boston is expected to be in the market for a left-handed hitting third baseman, and early reports have linked the team to soon-to-be free agent Pablo Sandoval. A switch-hitter, Sandoval is in the midst of a decent season, and could cash in this winter. (Pablo Sandoval could get big deal from Red Sox, Yankees, or Dodgers)
- Tweet of the weekend: Breaking: The TBS crew had a pulse this weekend.
Lorenzo Cain is so good at fielding that he got Ernie Johnson excited about baseball.
— Brendan O'Toole (@unexpectedbass) October 6, 2014