2016 American League Championship Series: 90s Throwbacks
[lead align=”default”]The team emerging from the 2016 American League Championship Series last made the Fall Classic in the 1990s.[/lead]
For the Toronto Blue Jays, their last World Series appearance was in 1993, the year Frasier came on the air and Seinfeld got big. As for the Cleveland Indians, their last trip was in 1997, the year the first Austin Powers movie burst onto the screen.
Oddly enough, both ended on walk-offs. Toronto won the 1993 World Series on a walk-off homer from Joe Carter. Cleveland lost the 1997 Series to Florida on an Edgar Renteria single. Someone in 2016 gets a chance to either build on or erase those memories, as the case may be.
2016 American League Championship Series: Pitching & Defense
In Game 1 in Cleveland, Marco Estrada faces Corey Kluber. Two righties, two ERAs in the threes, and a lot of strikeouts, yet Kluber’s had the more impressive season. Both of these teams sweeping their ALDS means time to reset the pitching rotation as they see fit. Kluber did not go in Game 1 of the ALDS, Trevor Bauer did, so he’s a candidate for Game 2.
Andrew Miller was the big acquisition out of the bullpen from the Yankees, appearing in two games out of the bullpen in the ALDS. Cody Allen is their closer, and with a 2.51 ERA this season, one can see why. In the Division Series, he threw three innings and despite a WHIP of 2.0, allowed no runs and struck out five.
Toronto started Estrada in the first game of their series with Texas, and he went deep into the contest. His offense lit up Cole Hamels relatively early, so the pressure declined as the game proceeded.
J.A. Happ is another starter you’re likely to see, but when the starters come out, the Blue Jays have a list of relievers ready to go. Roberto Osuna, the closer, had the most innings out of the bullpen in the ALDS. It makes sense that he’s also been the best performer out of the pen. Joe Biagini is another guy you can expect to see a lot of, and given that he throws strikes at about a 2-to-1 ratio, that makes sense, too.
2016 American League Championship Series: Offense
Cleveland took out the team with the best offense in the AL, and they’re the team with the most runs standing in their league. Toronto only scored 18 fewer, so it’s a negligible difference.
Jose Ramirez was arguably the star of the Cleveland ALDS offensively, going 5-for-10 and walking twice for an OBP of .583. The only problem is that he batted in no runs, while Jason Kipnis knocked in three. Coming into the playoffs, Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli led the Indians in homers with 34 each, but both had ineffective series.
The Jays got major production out of Josh Donaldson, who batted .538 with four doubles. Edwin Encarnacion, one of the big three in the Toronto lineup, hit .417 in the series with the Red Sox with two homers. Finally, Jose Bautista had a light-hitting ALDS, yet it was also on the lighter side this season with a .234 batting average.
2016 American League Championship Series: The Edge
Toronto found their way to the ALCS last year, losing to a team that was in a back-to-back appearance of their own. The Blue Jays are the more experienced postseason club, and they swept the best team in the American League.
Cleveland swept their series as well, but now we see if they can beat a team that’s been here before, and recently.