#3 Joe Saunders Beats Yu Darvish
Why It Should Win
Joe Saunders only made a brief pit stop in Baltimore, but he undoubtedly made his mark in the time he had. In case you don’t remember, guessing who the starter was going to be for the Wild Card game played out like a game of Clue. Would it Tillman in the ballroom with the wrench? Steve Johnson in the study with the rope?
No, instead just minutes before the press conference was to take place, Buck tapped the 31 year old journeyman to toe the rubber for the most important game of the season. It certainly wasn’t the sexy choice, but Saunders had no threat of getting knocked out early (he had pitched 5+ innings in all but two of his starts) and he minimized unforced errors (he hadn’t allowed a walk in his previous three starts).
Opposing him was Japanese phenom Yu Darvish, who after some early season control problems, had honed in his nasty stuff during a dominant month of September. Combined with a Texas lineup that had previously feasted on Saunders when he was with the Angels, the degree of difficulty was pretty high in this game.
Fortunately, everything fell into place. The O’s scrapped together two runs off Darvish over his 6.2 IP, and Saunders held the fort by inducing ground ball after ground ball against Texas. All that was left was a matchup of the bullpens where the Orioles had a huge advantage, and that was all she wrote. The Orioles walked out of Texas the winner of the first ever Wild Card game in MLB history.
#2 – The Prayer in Thin Air
Why It Should Win
As a Jets fan who had no stake in it, the Broncos vs the Ravens in the playoffs was the best game in the NFL this season. Just two extremely talented teams throwing haymakers at each other all afternoon and night until one couldn’t stand anymore. Going along with that thought, the Prayer in Thin Air was the most memorable play of the season for me.
If you can recall, this game had been going poorly for Jacoby Jones. He muffed an early kickoff return giving the Ravens poor field position, and dropped a crucial third down pass in the fourth quarter. By the time he had a chance to turn it around, the Ravens were dead in the water.
Down 7 points with 40 seconds left and no timeouts, it looked for all the world like Baltimore was going to come up on the short end of an all-time great NFL battle. Instead, Jim Caldwell decided it was time to take his shot. Jacoby Jones streaked up the sideline against Cover 2, got behind the corner and then somehow the safety on the way to an improbable heart-stopping 70 yard touchdown.
Voting is open from 11:00 AM on Tuesday March 5 to 11:00 AM Wednesday March 6.