October 8, 2011 [LINK / comment]

Brewers, Cardinals advance to NLCS

As the 2011 playoffs began, the most likely World Series matchup was the Yankees vs. the Phillies, just like in 2009. Not gonna happen. To the dismay of the home crowd in Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies' vaunted batters could not figure out how to get hits off Cardinals' starter Chris Carpenter. Even weirder, the first two Cardinals batters got extra-base hits off Roy Halladay: a triple by Rafael Furcal and a double by Skip Schumaker. Weirdest of all, the resulting run was the only score of the entire game! Since the Phillies were top-ranked, this has to be an even bigger upset than the Tigers' triumph over the Yankees on Thursday night. See MLB.com.

In Milwaukee, the home crowd had a lot more to cheer about, but the win by the Brewers didn't come easy. In fact, the Diamondbacks tied the game in the top of the ninth, on a squeeze bunt that first baseman Prince Fielder was unable to field. (!) In the bottom of the tenth inning, Nyjer Morgan (a former Washington National) hit a base hit up the middle, getting the winning run across home plate for the Brewers, sparking jubiliation in Miller Park. It's the Brewers' first postseason series win since they went to the World Series in 1982. See MLB.com.

In Arlington, Texas right now, Game 1 of the ALCS has just resumed play after two (2) rain delays in the fifth inning, with the Rangers ahead of the Tigers, 3-2.

Longitudinal disparity

Since I pay more attention to the AL and NL Eastern Divisions during the regular season, I find myself having to do a lot of catching up on teams from other divisions during October. This year the situation is especially bad: Not a single team from the East made it past the first round of baseball playoffs. In fact, no teams from the West Coast or even the Mountain Time Zones are in the league championship series. It is the first time since the three-division playoff format began in 1995 that all four teams in the second round are from the Central [Time Zone or divisions].* In 1997 and 1999 all four teams were from the Eastern Time Zone. See the Postseason scores page, which goes back to 2002.

* Corrected (twice); Detroit is in the AL Central Division, but not the Central Time Zone; Texas is in the the Central Time Zone, but not the AL Central Division.