The Orioles and Royals are set to face each other in the ALCS

The Royals will have to bring their stellar pitching to Baltimore to face the Orioles and their hot bats. (l) Greg Holland, closer Royals. (r) Nelson Cruz, outfielder, Orioles.

The Royals will have to bring their stellar pitching to Baltimore to face the Orioles and their hot bats. (l) Greg Holland, closer Royals. (r) Nelson Cruz, outfielder, Orioles.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Both American League division series ended Sunday, October 5, with both teams completing a 3-game sweep. In the evening, the Baltimore Orioles swept the Detroit Tigers with a final score of 2 – 1 to be the first team to advance to the next round. In the nightcap, the Kansas City Royals defeated the Los Angeles Angels 8 – 3, to advance to the American League Championship Series.

Adam Jones (l) and Nelson Cruz (r) must stay hot if they are to help lead their team to the World Series.

Adam Jones (l) and Nelson Cruz (r) must stay hot if they are to help lead their team to the World Series.

The ALCS should be an excellent matchup of contrasting styles. The Orioles are one of the best scoring teams in MLB this season. They displayed their scoring prowess in the ALDS by scoring 21 total runs in the 3-game series against the Tigers. The Royals, on the other hand, have leaned heavily on their pitching. They were able to hold the high-powered Angels offense to 6 combined runs in the 3-game ALDS series.

The Royals must continue their excellent pitching and defense to have a chance to slow down the high-powered Orioles. (l - r) Alcides Escobar - Shortstop, Lorenzo Cain - Center fielder, Mike Moustakas - Third Baseman.

The Royals must continue their excellent pitching and defense to have a chance to slow down the high-powered Orioles. (l – r) Alcides Escobar – Shortstop, Lorenzo Cain – Center fielder, Mike Moustakas – Third Baseman.

The ALCS will begin on Friday, October 10 with the Orioles playing host to the Royals to begin the 7-game series. It will be interesting to see if the Royals can continue to show resiliency and clutch hitting or if the Orioles can keep their offense flowing. Either way, don’t expect a sweep in this series to determine who will head to the World Series.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Specific things to look for when the 2014 MLB playoffs begin 9/30/14

Many are predicting an all Los Angeles World  Series based off of the stellar play by two of the best players in MLB, Mike Trout of the Angels (l) and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers (r).

Many are predicting an all Los Angeles World Series based off the stellar play by two of the best players in MLB, Mike Trout of the Angels (l) and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers (r).

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Major League Baseball (MLB) teams will start their World Series push with the Wildcard round beginning for the American League (AL) on September 30 and the National League (NL) starting on October 1. Some of the sports’ biggest stars will be center stage while some teams will be making their first appearance in the playoffs for quite some time.

The Oakland A's will have their top trade acquisition Jon Lester on the mound to take on the Royals top trade acquisition from a season ago in James Shields as the AL WIldcard begins Sept. 30.

The Oakland A’s will have their top trade acquisition Jon Lester on the mound to take on the Royals top trade acquisition from a season ago in James Shields as the AL WIldcard begins Sept. 30.

The AL Wildcard game is between the Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals. The winner of that game will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem in the Divisional Series. The other Divisional Series will feature the Detroit Tigers versus the Baltimore Orioles.

Former NL MVP's Buster Posey (l) and Andrew McCutchen (r) are in positions to build on their personal resume with good performances by their  teams this postseason.

Former NL MVP’s Buster Posey (l) and Andrew McCutchen (r) are in positions to build on their personal resume with good performances by their teams this postseason.

The NL Wildcard game is between the San Fransisco Giants and Pitsburgh Pirates. The winner will face the Washington Nationals in the Divisional Series. The other Divisional Series will feature the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Detroit Tigers hope that former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (r) and former MVP Miguel Cabrera can lead the team on another deep playoff run.

The Detroit Tigers hope that former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (r) and former MVP Miguel Cabrera can lead the team on another deep playoff run.

There are three questions that are already present as the playoffs begin:

1) Will AL pitching carry their teams through the playoffs?

The conventional wisdom when it comes to AL teams is their offense tends to carry them as the Designated Hitter (DH) allows teams to have more offense regularly. While this is mostly true, recent examples from the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Detroit Tigers have shows that pitching has been more valuable and consistent for AL teams lately. Starting pitching usually gets the headlines but pitchers out of the bullpen are more important in the post-season when scoring is at a premium. With only 13 Blown Saves and an %81 Save percentage, the Kansas City Royals can make this first playoff appearance in 29 years a memorable one.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright (r) will have their hands full trying to slow down Adrian Gonzalez (l) and his Dodgers teammates this post-season.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright (r) will have their hands full trying to slow down Adrian Gonzalez (l) and his Dodgers teammates this post-season.

2) Will power bats be present for NL teams in these playoffs?

There was a period recently when teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, or the Cincinnati Reds would be built with plenty of offense and power in the middle of the lineup. That period has changed drastically as none of the 4 NL playoff teams had a player on their team that hit for more than 30 Home Runs (HR). Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers is the only NL player with more than 100 Runs Batted In (RBI), leading the NL with 116 RBI. Since runs will be at a premium, those quick scores will make a huge impact on the outcomes of series. With the Pirates finishing the season third in the NL in HR’s and Slugging percentage, they seems prepared to use some quick scoring to put them over the top and advance through the post-season.

Bryce Harper (l) plays with lots of flare and energy for the Nationals. The same can be said for Yasiel Puig (r) for the Dodgers.

Bryce Harper (l) plays with lots of flare and energy for the Nationals. The same can be said for Yasiel Puig (r) for the Dodgers.

3) Which of MLB’s stars will shine the brightest in the playoffs?

Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) is regarded by most baseball pundits as the best pitcher in the game. Mike Trout (Angels) holds the distinction by many as being the best all around player in the game. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) has earned the title as the best hitter in baseball over the past few seasons. All of these players will have a chance to build their post-season resumes this year. Former MVP’s like Buster Posey (Giants), Justin Verlander (Tigers), and Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) will also have chances to enhance their playoff legacy. Young stars like Yasiel Puig (Dodgers) and Bryce Harper (Nationals) will also have the spotlight on them as the march to the World Series begins for MLB teams on Tuesday.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Yankees, famous friends, honor Derek Jeter with his own special day

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was honored for his exemplary career on Sunday.

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was honored for his exemplary career on Sunday.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Sunday, September 7 was a busy sports day with the majority of the NFL regular season opening games, the women’s U.S. Open, and the WNBA Finals beginning. It was also Derek Jeter Day in the Bronx, with the New York Yankees hosting the Kansas City Royals in the closing weeks of the MLB regular season.

Jeter was surrounded by several big names in sports as he was honored on Sunday

Jeter was surrounded by several big names in sports as he was honored on Sunday

Jeter’s star-studded ceremony featured MLB Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr., Dave Winfield, and Joe Torre. Some of Jeter’s former Yankees teammates that were present were Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, David Cone, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera. Torre shared, “Somebody asked me to use one word to describe him, I said trustworthy.”

Jeter has been a fan favorite since he was called up to join the team in 1995.

Jeter has been a fan favorite since he was called up to join the team in 1995.

Jeter’s current teammates surprised him by not joining him on the field at the beginning of the game, allowing the Yankees Captain to have one last chance to be cheered by the fans before the game began. Jeter said of the gesture by his teammates, “My first thought was that I had run out there too early. I appreciate my teammates doing that for me.”

Michael Jordan applauded Jeter on a wonderful career.

Michael Jordan applauded Jeter on a wonderful career.

Perhaps the biggest star to attend the ceremony celebrating the captain was NBA Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who has been friends with the shortstop since they met in 1994. Jeter is also signed to Jordan’s brand. In his remarks about Jeter, Jordan said:

“Winning thrives on great leadership and he’s a great leader. Being in the city of New York where one little hiccup can basically fry your personality or your persona and this kid has done everything the right way.”

Derek Jeter pictured with his mother Dorothy (l), sister Sharlee (c) and father Charles (r).

Derek Jeter pictured with his mother Dorothy (l), sister Sharlee (c) and father Charles (r).

Among the gifts presented to Jeter during the ceremony were:
– A proclamation from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that Sunday Sept. 7, 2014 is Derek Jeter Day
– A Mettler G5 clinical massage therapy machine
– A framed and matted piece with patches from the 14 appearances Derek Jeter made to the All-Star game
– A 10-day trip to Tuscany
– A check for $222,222.22 for his Turn 2 Foundation
– A custom-made Waterford Crystal etched with Jeter’s final season logo

Jeter's Career statistics (through September 5, 2014): Batting average- .310 Hits - 3,448 Home runs - 259 Runs batted in (RBI) - 1,300 Stolen bases - 357

Jeter’s Career statistics (through September 5, 2014):
Batting average – .310
Hits – 3,448
Home runs – 259
Runs batted in (RBI) – 1,300
Stolen bases – 357

Yankees fans hope the team can overcome a rough season to send their captain off with a championship but that seems unlikely. After losing yesterday’s game to the Royals (2 – 0), the Yankees are now 9 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the division and 4 1/2 games out of the Wildcard to make the playoffs. No matter how the season ends, Yankees fans will always celebrate their captain, Derek Jeter.-OnPointPress.net-

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.