Originally Posted by doublem23
The White Sox were also significantly better than the Astros. But come on, the Tigers went from scoring 4 RPG in the ALDS and ALCS to going on a 20-inning shut out streak in the World Series? If you want to believe the Giants were just that dominant on the mound, that's fine, but I think it's pretty clear the lay-off hurt Detroit. Anyone who would argue that a week-long layoff in a sport of such routine like baseball is just completely out of their mind.
That's fine, except that a baseball season is longer than a week. Sure, it's great that the Cardinals and Giants looked nice last week. There were a couple of weeks this summer when the Sox looked like legitimate contenders in the American League. Unfortunately, a baseball season is a 6-month marathon. It's pretty clear that the Rangers and Yankees were probably the best teams in baseball that just couldn't finish this year; Texas because their injury problems and getting caught by a red hot A's team and the Yankees because they probably ran out of gas from that crazy pennant chase in the East. But that's just baseball, rarely does the best team in the league win the World Series. I think you could replay the 2012 season 100 times and you'd probably end up with at least 5-10 different teams who could win a championship and probably most would win more often than the Giants. Lucky for them this was their year.
I think it's silly to proclaim the era of AL dominance is over when the AL continues to wipe the floor with the NL over the course of interleague play (which may come to an end now that they're giving us their worst team) just because two middle of the road teams in each league played and the one from the NL happened to win the series. Using that logic, you can argue the 55-win Astros were better than the 85-win White Sox because Houston took 2 of 3 from them this year.
I believe the Giants were significantly better than the Tigers. I belived that in late August. I believed it in September when the Tigers sadly were barely good enough to beat out the White Sox. I also believed the Tigers were clearly better than the Yankees. Two years ago, I thought the difference between the Giants and the Rangers was closer, but the Giants won that series 4-1, and the Rangers didn't have a long-layoff excuse.
I don't believe there is a big difference between leagues right now in that I don't believe the AL is domant over the NL or the NL has acheived dominamce over the AL. The AL held an edge over the NL in interleague play, but seven of the 14 AL teams were no better than .500 against the NL with a wildly unbalanced interleague schedule.
One difference between the leagues is that I see the top teams in the National League being tougher than the top teams in the American League, although the bottom teams in the American League are far more competitive than the bottom teams in the National League. Granted, the Nationals needed more pitching in the postseason, but the NL postseason had a stronger group of teams. But when I look at the Twins, Indians, Red Sox and Blue Jays, I think they were clearly better this year than the than the Astros, Cubs, Rockies and Marlins.
It isn't that the AL is the major of the two major leagues, as it may have seemed in the middle of the last decade. It's that there are more very good teams in the AL and a much smaller difference between top and bottom, which may be mitigated net year by the NL sending their worst team to the AL's most competitive division.
It is also true that good teams grow during the season. The Giants weren't just a hot team as the Cardinals would have been if they made it to the World Series. The Giants were a team that came together in August, a first-place team that kicked it into high gear when they lost the NL's leading hitter, who was having an outstanding defensive season. If you were following the Giants in April, you would have seen a team with inconsistent pitching that couldn't catch the ball. They committed 25 errors in their first 21 games. But they kept tweaking and improving.
I don't think the Tigers' layoff made any difference. It allowed them to set up their rotation and establish what everyone believed to be superior pitching matchups. And it provided them with an excuse.