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Daily Tribe News/Playoffs Thread: October 8, 2011

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The Brewers and Cardinals will face off in the NLCS, and might be the most contentious playoff series since the Yankees and Red Sox faced off in 2003 and 2004.
The Brewers and Cardinals will face off in the NLCS, and might be the most contentious playoff series since the Yankees and Red Sox faced off in 2003 and 2004.

Brewers win thriller, get home-field edge rest of the way - JSOnline
Both games yesterday would have been memorable even if both had been Game Ones rather than Game Fives, but with that added urgency tacked onto the quality of play, the two contests in my opinion rank among the best Division Series games ever. Both contests were played with the trailing team never down more than a run, had exceptional pitching, great defensive plays, and a tenseness palpable even from a television.

The first game had four major turning points, with two of them in the same inning. With the game tied at 1, the Brewers looked to be on the cusp of taking the lead when Jerry Hairston hit a line drive that seemed to be over center field Chris Young's head. But Young caught the drive in full stride and with his back to home plate. But whatever momentum was taken by the catch was short-lived, as Yuniesky Betancourt drove home the go-ahead run with a weakly-hit blooper into short right-center field.

After Francisco Rodriguez got out of an eighth-inning jam of his own making, John Axford was greeted in the ninth inning with a Gerardo Parra double into the gap in right-center. He would be driven home by a safety squeeze two batters later. The final turn came in the bottom of the tenth. With a runner on second and one out and the heart of the Brewer order looming, Nyjer Morgan got a pitch out over the plate and smoked it into center field to drive home the series-winning run.

Bernie: Carpenter channels Gibby in epic victory

Game 5 in Philadelphia looked on paper to be classic pitching matchup with Cy Young winners (and former teammates) Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay facing off, and it turned out to be that and so much more.The Cardinals scored the only run of the game in the first inning, and for the rest of the game, Carpenter held that lead.

Losing a 1-0 game when the first run is scored early is as frustrating a way to lose as any. For the entire game, the lead is tantalizingly close, and reason tells you that your club will eventually score. But for Philadelphia, one of the best lineups in the game couldn't touch Carpenter. The one major opportunity for the them to score came in the bottom of the sixth. With a Chase Utley at first and Hunter Pence at the plate, Utley took off a favorable pitch, a slow curve. But Yadier Molina waited on the pitch to get there, and uncorked a seed to nail Utley at second. Had Utley been safe, both Pence and Ryan Howard would have chances to tied the game with a single.

The game ended double sucker-punch for the Phillies. Ryan Howard grounded out to end the series, and in the midst to getting out of the batter's box, severely injured an achilles tendon. So while the Cardinals were celebrating, Howard was lying in agony just a couple feet down the first base line. So Philadelphia's best season in franchise history (at least as far as wins go) were ended by a club who was left for dead at the beginning of September. In the playoffs, just getting there means you have a good chance of taking home a championship.

Aguilar's offense lifts Phoenix to win | indians.com: News
Jesus Aguilar, a 21-year-old first baseman, went 3-for-3 with a home run as Phoenix topped Peoria in Arizona Fall League play. Aguilar, who played with both Lake County and Kinston in 2011, hit 23 home runs this season, and is one of the system's best power prospects.

Today's Game

American League Championship Series

Detroit at Texas, 8:05 PM (Game 1) - FOX

Verlander vs. Wilson