Fans to decide League Championships' top player
Scutaro, Vogelsong, Young, Coke are candidates after outstanding series
Marco Scutaro and Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants and Phil Coke and Delmon Young of the Tigers are the choices as voting is under way to determine the best of the Note-able Postseason Performances presented by Samsung.
Cast your ballots now to decide which of the four candidates will be voted the top star of the League Championship Series.
As attention shifts to the greatest stage for the 108th World Series, starting Wednesday at AT&T Park in San Francisco, by voting you'll be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to the 2013 Fall Classic.
Here is a closer look at the candidates:
Coke: When Tigers manager Jim Leyland needed a fill-in for suddenly erratic closer Jose Valverde, Coke was the pleasantly surprising answer. He saved Games 2 and 3 of the ALCS after Valverde imploded in the ninth inning of Game 1, and the sheer ability to retire Raul Ibanez in a late clutch situation and preserve a Justin Verlander masterpiece was the coup de grace for the former Yankees left-hander.
"He's making a name for himself," Hall of Famer and TBS studio analyst Dennis Eckersley said during the Tigers' pennant clincher. "You get an opportunity like this on the big stage; it goes such a long way. ... This guy is special."
"It's a blessing," Coke said, "with all the craziness [of the playoffs], to be able to throw the way I'm throwing is awesome. So I'm not questioning anything."
Scutaro: No matter what happens from here on out, the Giants second baseman may always be remembered for that classic scene out of a baseball movie -- looking up into the impossible "Champagne Rain" on the field and then receiving his NLCS MVP trophy, awash in it. He batted .500 and tied an LCS record with 14 hits.
"When we won that game in St. Louis, last game, that kind of got us going," Scutaro said, referring to the Giants' 5-0 win in Game 5. "And just bringing the series here, back home, just like the way everybody went out there and took care of business, it seems like it got us going. And my teammates, seems like, since day one, since I got traded here, they made me feel good. They just welcome me here."
Vogelsong: While it was Barry Zito's Game 5 performance that started the just-in-time run of dominating Giants pitching that helped them overcome a 3-1 series deficit, you have to single out the Game 2 and Game 6 starts by Vogelsong that smothered the Cardinals' offense. In both of those games, Chris Carpenter was the opposing starter, but No. 32 was the horse for San Francisco.
Vogelsong allowed just two earned runs over 14 innings, striking out 13 and walking three. It continued the amazing comeback story of the 35-year-old right-hander, whose performances brought a loud chorus of "Vogey! Vogey!" chants at AT&T Park and the well-used hashtags #RallyVogel and #VogelSTRONG to Twitter.
"These guys believe in me," Vogelsong said. "Every person in that clubhouse, to the coaching staff, to the front office, they believe in me, and that rubs off. It doesn't make the game any easier, but it's easier to go out there when you know everyone's behind you and thinks that you're going to get the job done. Nobody wants to be the guy that doesn't get it done."
Young: In each of the first three games of the ALCS, Young knocked in the run that put the Tigers ahead for good. He became the first player to accomplish that feat in three consecutive postseason games. Young hit .375 (6-for-16) with two home runs, two walks, three runs scored and six RBIs to win ALCS MVP honors -- becoming just the sixth player in ALCS history to collect at least six RBIs in four or fewer games played.
"Delmon has a pretty good idea, and when he stays in the strike zone, he's very, very dangerous," Leyland said. "You know, most people that get Delmon out when he is not swinging good, is when he is swinging at stuff out of the strike zone, which happens to most players."
Vote for this curtain call and then it's on to the World Series.