MLB Week in Review (October 9-15)

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The first round is over as the last four teams all play for the pennant and a chance to play for the World Series.

The Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, and New York Mets/Los Angeles Dodgers will all have their chances in a much tougher seven game series.

As the pressure ramps up for each team they will all be looking to their best players to help lead them through the best-of-seven series.

That is far easier than it seems though as the postseason is a different monster than the regular season.

There are those players that can step up and do everything that their teams ask them to do plus more in the postseason.

Some players just know how to keep an even keel and perform at the same level through the regular season and the postseason.

That is not everybody though as the postseason can provide too much pressure for some of the best players in the game.

Whether it is that they crumble under the pressure or their issues are exposed against the best players there are plenty of players who struggle to do anything when it matters most.

This postseason has seen its fair share of those players who just can’t seem to get things going when it matters most.

The Texas Rangers had two of those players during their ALDS run against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Both Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton are known as power hitters that can change the game with a swing of the bat.

Yet lately when they enter the postseason they have not been that breakout player that their teams need.

Hamilton came into the 2015 postseason going hitless in 44 straight plate appearances.

It was a far departure from his 2010 ALCS MVP performance when the Rangers went to the World Series.

In the ALDS He final broke through in the third game for his first hit but still ended the postseason batting .167 with no home runs or an RBI.

Fielder was much the same as he had better contact but for a guy that hits people in he was struggling heading into the ALDS.

Throughout his postseason career Fielder has only earned 12 RBIs and hit 5 home runs.

Most of those came early in his career though as he came into the ALDS having 60 plate appearances and no RBIs.

That continued this year until Game 5 when he earned his first RBI in the last three years.

Both players have struggled in the postseason and their lack of offence was part of the reason they were eliminated early this year by the Blue Jays.baseball-sidebar

They weren’t the only players though as Jose Altuve has not been the usual hitter that has propelled the Houston Astros.

In the ALDS in particular he had a tough time getting the bat on the ball hitting .136 throughout the five game series.

Altuve’s struggles were one of the reasons for the Astros falling out of the postseason after their first series.

The batters were not the only people struggling heading into the postseason this year. Pitchers have had their own struggles throughout the postseason.

The Toronto Blue Jays signed David Price to be their ace and in the regular season he more than qualifies as their best pitcher.

In the postseason it is a different story though as he only had one postseason win in his career and it came in a relief effort.

As a starter he went into the new postseason winless as his dominant pitching seemed to go away in the postseason.

This year was the same as he lost the first game for the Blue Jays in a good but not ace-like effort against the Texans.

He did pick up a win in the ALDS after allowing three runs in Game 4 after replacing R.A. Dickey.

Clayton Kershaw has followed a similar path as the league’s best regular season pitcher has not been as sharp in the postseason.

With a 5.04 ERA and a 2-6 record through the end of the NLDS Kershaw has been far from his usual self.

In his Game 4 start against the Mets he showed signs of improvement with a solid start but he still has not been as good as he is in the regular season.

The superstar of the games are not always going to be the stars of the postseason but they are expected to be the steady players that a team can depend on.

They will continue to be looked to as the postseason continues and those who perform up to their usual levels will help their teams win while those who can’t do it will see an early exit after the Championship Series.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

The Utley Rule?
Chase Utley made headlines for all of the wrong reasons in the NLDS when he slid into second base to break up a double play but never went for the bag instead aiming for the second baseman and ending the season for Ruben Tejada and leading to an outcry to change the rules

A Big First
In the long history of the Chicago Cubs they have never won a series at Wrigley Field but all that ended when the 2015 Cubs won Game 4 at home and eliminated the St. Louis Cardinals moving one step closer to eliminating the curse

Bullpen Woes
The bullpen has quickly become one of the most important parts to a postseason team and the Toronto Blue Jays are trying to piece one together especially after Brett Cecil was hurt on a fielding play and leaving them with one left hander out of the bullpen

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