With the Red Sox beating the Yankees in Game 4 last night, the Championship Series in both leagues are now set. We've got the Red Sox facing the defending World Champion Astros, and the Brewers taking on the Dodgers. Some high power teams facing off for the right to win it all. If you take a close look at the teams (minus Houston) there are Orioles all over the place on these teams, Baltimore has had by far the biggest impact on the playoffs so far, it's not up for discussion. So our team lost 115 games, big whoop. We still like to watch the playoffs, but who do we root for? I have your breakdown here.
The Milwaukee Brewers vs The Los Angeles Dodgers - Game 1 Friday, October 12th
This should be a fantastic matchup. Arguably the hottest team in baseball in the Brewers, a team that has only four losses since September 12th vs the star studded lineup of the Dodgers.
As I mentioned before, there are former Orioles all over in this matchup. Obviously the biggest one being Manny Machado, the superstar infielder who was traded to the Dodgers after the All Star break. What has he done since being moved there? Oh nothing really, only a gigantic 3-run homer in the clinching game on Monday and managed to hit .273 with 13 homers, 14 doubles, 42 RBI, and 36 runs in the 66 games he played in LA. He has my rooting interest and I've watched a ton of Dodger games since he moved out there. He is the golden child of Baltimore, so people around here will stay up late to watch their favorite latino son. He's not the only former Oriole out in LA though, people forget Rich Hill made an appearance in Baltimore back in 2009, and he was god awful. The ginger hot corner man, Justin Turner was also a member of the O's back in 2009 and 2010, again, he was trash. Just having Manny on their team makes them the instant HOT choice for current O's fans to root for.
Milwaukee has been sneaky one of the best teams to watch this season, and the last few years. Their addition of Christian Yelich this offseason has been huge, he'll likely take home the MVP and is a very easy guy to root for. They are a dope logo, dope uniform, sick park, and they have a great young core of players, some with DMV area connections. The first one isn't a great connection? Josh Hader grew up about 10 minutes from where I live now and played high school ball at Old Mill in Anne Arundel County. While I don't condone anything he tweeted back in the day, the kid can play ball, he's arguably the most dominant reliever in baseball right now. He was also drafted by the Orioles back in 2012 and then was traded with LJ Hoes to the Astros for Bud Norris. How could I forget Wade Miley on the O's too? He arrived via trade with the Mariners in 2016 and was an absolute non-factor in his time in Baltimore, now he's starting deciding games for the Brew Crew in a deciding game. Not many people know that slugger, Eric Thames was traded from Seattle to Baltimore in 2013. He played a few games in Triple-A Norfolk and then was DFA'd. Another Brewer with Baltimore ties is Jonathan Schoop. Schoop was moved at the deadline from Baltimore to Milwaukee in exchange for Jonathan Millar, Luis Ortiz, and Jean Carmona. Like Machado, Schoop was a fan favorite here in Baltimore, and it hurt to see him leave. It's great that these two were best friends in Baltimore, and now face off in the NLCS.
But gun to my head, this is easy, I think a majority of the fans in Baltimore are rooting for the Dodgers in this matchup. They want to see Manny get a chance to shine on the World Series stage, no doubt he will kill it.
The Houston Astros vs The Boston Red Sox- Game 1 on Saturday, October 13th
Not as many Oriole connections on these teams, but they're teams the Birds are familiar with. They see the Sox 19 times a season, and they ended the season with a four game set with Houston, so they're familiar with them. This is another high powered series with two of the best offenses in baseball going at it. The Astros have the superior starters, and neither of them have the best bullpens. This will be a fun series to watch. But as an Oriole fan, who do you root for?
In the Boston - New York series, I think all of Baltimore was rooting against the Yankees. As much as we hate the Sox down here, they don't hold a candle to the Yanks. That was an easy team to pull for against New York, but in this series, not so much. The guy on the Red Sox who has a connection to Baltimore is Steve Pearce. If it were up to me, Steve Pearce would be in the Orioles Hall Of Fame, strictly for his performance with the 2014 Os. I truly love that guy, and all of Baltimore does too. Pearce has done well since coming to Boston, and if Mitch Moreland's hammy is still acting up, you'll see a lot more of Pearce. He just does the small stuff, plays a good first base, can pinch hit, even can run a little, at his age, he's still getting it done. I love that man. They also have former farmhand, Eduardo Rodriguez in the bullpen, a guy the Orioles traded for Andrew Miller back in 2014. Although he never made the bigs in Baltimore, he was signed as an International Free Agent in 2010 by the Os. Never forget where you came from, E-Rod.
As far as former O's on the Astros, there are none. They almost had Zach Britton back in 2016, but that deal fell apart last minute. Man would that have been nice. But even though there are no former Orioles on this team, it's clear that this is the team us Baltimorons are rooting for in the ALCS. It's a no brainer. We all wanted the Sox to beat the Yankees, but I don't want them to go any farther. I think that is a pretty easy answer.
I think I can speak for all Orioles fans when I say that we are rooting for a repeat of last season's World Series, Dodgers vs Astros. We want to see Manny get a ring if possible, and don't want anymore hardware going to Boston. If Houston repeats, that doesn't really affect anyone in Baltimore, no one hates the Astros, but we all don't like Boston. Even if the Brewers advanced and found a way to win, that would be fantastic. A ring for Schoop would be dope, but if I had my choice, I'm riding with LA to win it all this season. I need to see Manny win that ring.