Monday, September 29, 2008

'South Siders' hold off Twins in one game playoff

In a dramatic one-game playoff the Chicago White Sox got contributions from their senior citizens/future hall of famers Jim Thome and Ken Griffey Jr. One did it with the stick and the other with the arm as they defeated the Twins 1-0, turning the table in a game that resembled Minnesota’s 1-0 memorable victory over the Braves in the World Series where JoMo pitched his gem. Thome hit what proved to be the game winning 461 foot hr in the 7th inning after Jr. threw out a runner at the plate in the sixth. Both pitchers had excellent games but John Danks ,who went eight innings despite the Twins starters have a .434 career batting average against him, was the story of the game. Now after winning two straight games that could have ended their season, the ‘South Siders’ get on a plane to Tampa to take on the Rays on Thursday. Do they have enough left in the tank to carry them through the ALDS?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One train left to leave the station en route to October

As one of the most exciting regular seasons in recent memory comes to a close, after 181 games all is not decided as there is still one ‘hanging chad’ yet to be tabulated. The Chicago White Sox have let their lead in the AL Central slip away the last week and a half of the season and now trail the Minnesota Twins by ½ game with one game to play. A make up game with the Tigers will take place on Monday and, if victorious, a one game playoff will be played to determine the division winner. It seems as if Ozzie’s always on the hotseat but don’t discount the 2005 champs so quickly as a fortuitous coin flip means if there is a one-game playoff it will be held at US Cellular Field. Can the ‘Ozzie and the South Siders’ run the table and get back to playoffs? If so, how far can they go?

It was going to take a memorable season to help Met Fans forget the collapse at the end of the 2007 season, instead they now have another reason to be miserable after fading down the stretch again and you can’t blame Willy for this one. For the second straight season the team with the second highest payroll in baseball will not participate in the post season. A 4-2 loss to the Marlins accompanied with the Brewers comeback 3-1 win vs. the Cubs sealed the fate of the Metropolitans now the largest television market in the world will not have a team playing fall baseball. Who, if anyone, is responsible for the Met Meltdown? Did they just run out of juice the final weeks of the season?

Meanwhile the other positions are set for what will be a great postseason stretch. Can anyone in the AL contest the Angles single season dominance? It’s obvious the NL is wide open but is this FINALLY the year for the Cubs, or can LA Joe ride the Dodger wave to their first series win since the Regan Administration?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another memorable weekend for MLB

The Yankees said goodbye to a sports icon as they played their last game in Yankee Stadium, and you could hear the ghost throughout the game. Meanwhile across town, The Braves rallied for four runs in the eighth inning and a 7-6 win Sunday that stalled New York's playoff push. The Mets fell 1½ games behind Philadelphia in the NL East, who beat Florida 5-2. New York's edge in the wild-card race was cut to 1½ games by Milwaukee, which beat Cincinnati 8-1. In the NL West the Dodgers got stung by their incessant nemesis San Francisco losing 2 of 3 and clinging to a 2.5 game lead with six to play. Oh yea, don’t hold your breath but the Cubs are one win away from assuring that the road to the World Series will have to go through Wrigley. In the AL the Rays/Sox and Sox/Twins treaded water over the weekend which suits Tampa and the South Siders just fine, but rest assured there is more to come before the week is over. What was the top story over the weekend, the NY drama of the closing of the house that Ruth built? The Metropolitans failure to secure key wins? The Cubs in position to end a century of futility?

Monday, September 15, 2008

MLB gears up from grand finale

Where else can you start but the AL East as the current has shifted once again, and now the Red Sox are again in position to steal the division away from the Rays (whose fans still don’t seem to care). Getting help from their nemesis NYY, the Sox are down by only a game going into Tampa for a 3-game set where they are 0-6 this year. However they do have the ‘Ace’ of their pen, Matsuzaka (16-2) on the bump to start the series who has not lost a game since July 28. Conversely, the Rays will counter with their ace, Kazmir(11-6) and look to extend their lead. Keep in mind the loser does not automatically go home for the year, but the consolation prize is a round trip ticket to Anaheim, California to visit Disneyland and Angels, and an exit from the playoffs. Keep in mind the Rays must go on the road for their next TEN after this series so at least a 2 -1 split is mandatory. The schedule and fate favor the Sox, do you think the Rays can hold them off?

From there we jump to the other side as the NL East and Central have dogfights of their own going with just as many sub plots. A Milwaukee collapse down the stretch (3-7 last 10) has opened the door and Houston (winners of 13/15) has walked right through it and find themselves only 2 games out. An immediate byproduct of this was the firing of manager Ned Yoast Monday. However divine intervention may want to see the Brew Crew back in the playoffs for the first time since the Regan Administration. Due to the turbulent hurricane weather the games had to be move to a dome stadium as a stipulation of Bud Selig, and they indeed up in Milwaukee at Miller Park, and were promptly ‘No-Hit’ by Carlos Zambrano in a game they almost had to have. Obviously there is outrage coming form the Astro clubhouse but the show will go on, on the road for the Stros’ that is, and they miss out on two crucial home games down the stretch. Is thre incredible late season surge over?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Joe has the Dodgers in first, Mets salvage series, Tampa cramping up near the tape

We were SO CLOSE to becoming profits by sticking with the Rays through thick and thin but they appear to be fading down the stretch and that lead that looked so insurmountable a little over a month ago is down to .5 as of the time of this posting and will probably be -.5 at the end of the night. They continue to play great at home but with only six or their remaining games in Tampa, things don’t look good for them holding on. Meanwhile the “Mannyless” Sox appear to be hitting their stride and honestly no one wants to travel to Anaheim in the first round as the Wild Card. In the Central, the Sox of White are doing just enough to hold of the Twins but by the end of the week we could possibly have to update again as the South Siders’ have a nasty 10-game roadie upcoming. On the other side the Joe and his boys in blue have taken over the NL Division lead after sweeping the D-Backs in a three game series in LA. Zona’s two aces continue to let the side down as once the Cy Young favorite, Brandon Webb has not been able to notch a W, the D-Backs have lost 7 of their last 10, and are lucky to only be a game and half out. Only in the WAC Conference could 3 over .500 be good enough for a comfortable lead in early September. After letting a chance to sweep the Mets and pull within a half-game slip away, Philly host the fading fish and the Metropolitans get to beat up on the Nats so don’t look for much ground to be made up over the next three days but this race will come down to how Philly takes care of the non-BCS teams on the road the last 2 weeks of the season. Let us know who you like to take each division crown.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Baseball saves it's best for last and gears up for a great September

Where do you begin when talking about the amazing September this is going to be for MLB? With divisional and wild card races that will more than likely come down to the last weekend of the season the only thing that will be missing is are the Yankees. Starting in the AL Central where the White Sox and Twins have played about 140 games and still can’t pick a winner, only separated by a game. They have three more with each other near the end of September that could decide it. The winner moves on and the loser goes home with the Sox of Red owning the WC. It looked like the afore mentioned Red Sox were content in pulling off another wild card run to the World Series, but a recent stumble by the Rays have given them visions of taking down the division. It has been over 100 years since a club has gone from the worst record in baseball to the best, and that was before MLB as we know it, so odds would be in favor of a Tampa collapse, and with 17 of their last 25 on the road it doesn’t look good. However, the entire baseball world has doubted them all year, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them stare down adversity and take this thing at the wire. Hey, the Republicans had more people at their convention that the Rays draw for a home game so going on the road may not be such a bad thing after all.

On the flip side of the coin, each NL race is still up for grabs and the Wild Card is slated to go to Milwaukee right now, but don’t pencil them in just yet as of all the teams left in the hunt, in either division, the Cubs have the least home games (6), and the most road (16) to that 4.5 game deficit may not be as secure as it looks in the morning paper. On the right coast, the Mets must try to hold off Philly (3 back) which will be tough due to the offensive power of the new “Lumber Company”, the upcoming 3 game series could open the door for the Phils and put the fear of life into the NY faithful that it will be a reenactment of last year’s collapse, or the Mets could turn over a new leaf, with their new coach, and slam the door shut. Lastly, we come to MLB’s version of Division II the NL West, as bad as the division is, the race has made up for it. The Dodgers and D-Backs hook up for three-game stint that will put one of them in the cat bird seat. They both have more games on the road than they do at home and are BARELY playing .500 ball now so don’t look for much to change down the stretch. In other words, a 3 game lead could prove to be insurmountable. No worries, the winner of this division goes in as the default playoff entry and will be a “feeder fish” for some lucky team with the second best record. So, of all the subplots coming down the stretch, who will be left standing? Talk about it here and on in the MLB chat rooms.
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