Division Series MVPs
The 2013 Division Series round is now in the books, and before we move on to the League Championship Series discussion that will begin here at TheSportsNotebook today, there’s one piece of business to clear up. MLB doesn’t officially name Division Series MVPs, the way that will be done for each series the rest of the way. How about we rectify that omission with a shout-out to the top performers in all four LDS matchups?
Boston over Tampa Bay: The Red Sox offense set the tone in this one, scoring 19 runs in grabbing the first two games at Fenway Park over Matt Moore and David Price. And while Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino were solid, with Victorino getting plunked a Division Series record four times, the choice has to be David Ortiz. The big man had a .556 OBP, a .923 slugging, hit two home runs off Price in Game 2, had what a big RBI in Game 3 even if his team eventually lost that game, and at one point reached base seven straight times.
Detroit over Oakland: Justin Verlander pitched 15 innings, didn’t allow a run and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of a decisive Game 5 on the road. There is no one else worth considering.
St. Louis over Pittsburgh: Adam Wainwright is no less an obvious choice. He won Games 1 & 5, and though he got 15 runs of support, we should note that Game 5 was still a 3-1 game into the eighth inning. If you were going to look at a hitter, Pedro Alvarez for Pittsburgh would have been one, with three home runs and another big RBI hit in a Pirate win. But in a best-of-five series, it’s just very tough to argue against a starting pitcher who only gives up two runs in winning two games.
LA Dodgers over Atlanta: This one is the toughest call, with Carl Crawford and Clayton Kershaw having the strongest cases. Kershaw has the two great starts thing going for him, and he ended with an 0.69 ERA. But he took a no-decision in Game 4 as his team had to rally late. Crawford hit two home runs to set an early tone in Game 3 and another in the clinching Game 4.
Still…I have to go with Kershaw. He set the tone with a win on the road, and still pitched six good innings on three days rest in Game 4 and left with the score tied 2-2. The only real reason to go against him is if you’re tired of picking starting pitchers. And as reasons go, that one’s unfair to history. Kershaw’s presence overshadowed this entire series, and his performance backed it up.