2014 MLB Division Series MVPs

One omission in baseball’s postseason award structure is that they don’t give out an MVP for the Division Series round, the way is done in the League Championship Series and World Series. To rectify that, here’s TheSportsNotebook’s pick for the 2014 MLB Division Series MVPs…

Baltimore over Detroit 3-0: Andrew Miller (RP, Baltimore): The bullpens were the difference in the Orioles-Tigers series and no one was better for Buck Showalter than Andrew Miller. The tall lefty got five outs in Game 1 while it was still a one-run game, and again in Game 3’s 2-1 clinching win.
The stark contrast in the Oriole pen, as exemplified by Miller, and the Tiger pen, is what makes me lean to Miller over Nelson Cruz for this award. Cruz hit two home runs, for the first runs of Game 1, and the game-winning shot in Game 3. If you think the pick should be Cruz, there’s a lot of logic there, but I feel relief pitching should define this series.
BaseballKansas City over LA Angels 3-0: Eric Hosmer (1B, Kansas City): Hosmer went 4-for-10 and drew three walks, marking him the most productive offensive player of the series by far. Further sealing his choice is that the hits were big ones—the extra-inning home run that won Game 2 and the bases-loaded double that set the Royals on their way in Game 3.
San Francisco over Washington 3-1: Yusmeiro Petit (RP, San Francisco): It’s normally hard to take a pitcher who only appears once in a short series, but Petit’s six shutout innings in relief during the 18-inning marathon of Game 2 is just too much to ignore. That game likely swung the series.
Petit’s choice was made easier by the fact that only Buster Posey had a decent series swinging the bat for San Francisco, and he was thrown out twice at the plate in big situations.
I’ll also admit to being tempted to go with a player for the losing team—Bryce Harper hit three massive home runs and all were big ones. I don’t have an objection to picking a player from a losing team, but that can only happen if there’s not a credible choice on the winning side. Petit is more than credible.
St. Louis over LA Dodgers 3-1: Matt Carpenter (3B, St. Louis): Carpenter hit .375 for the series and hit three home runs, all big ones in close games. But no hit was bigger than his two-out bases-clearing double that completing St. Louis’ stunning Game 1 comeback against Clayton Kershaw and set the tone for the series.