Monday, October 27, 2008

Phillies can clinch title tonight *UPDATE*

The Rays got a stay of execution, divine intervention, or what ever you want to call it in the top of the 6th inning as BJ Upton got a base hit, stole second, then scored on a base knock to left field tying the score at two. The game was called due to weather then next inning and pushed to Tuesday. If the Rays did not send him to the plate and the stranded the tying run 90-feet away, then Philly’s series clenching win would have come as rain-induced shortened game. Do the Rays feel like they are off of life support and if they come back over the next 3 innings can they sweep the final two at the Trop and take the series?

As the Phillies Ryan Howard busted out of his slump in a big way Evan “don’t call me Eva” Longoria has fallen in a big one, and at the best and the worst of times. When the Phillies needed to put their foot on the throat of the Rays Howard went 3-for-4, with two jacks, five Ribbi’s, and raised his average to .353. Meanwhile when the Rays need a victory to get back in the series Eva goes 0-for-4, is still hitless in the series, with an average of .000. That could be the long and the short of it as game 5 takes shape tonight in Philly. I for one am done second guessing the Rays as they have come back from the brink time after time this season and defied the odds by holding off the perannual AL East snobs Sox and Yanks, but all of their “McGuyver-esque” moves may not get them out of this jam. The good news is, if they win tonight they make it back home where they have the best record in the Majors this year AND they have Kazmir on the bump. The bad news is need only one win to SEND them back home for the summer ant they have Cole “as the other side of the pillow” Hamels on the mound. I don’t dare say it but, you may see some Rays sitting courtside watch Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic kick off their season.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Rays “Shielded” from insurmountable 0-2 deficit

Tampa Bay got another pitching gem from James Shields when they needed it most shutting the Phillies out when he left the game and the Rays held on for a 4-2 win. Shields usually flourishes at home, where he was 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA during the season and continued his dominance in not allowing even that little. Coming to the aid of the Rays again was 23-year old David Price who came out of the pen to pitch well under World Series pressure once again. However when all is said and done the Phillies got what they came for, a split on the road and now go back home to try and hold serve and return to Tropicana Field with the commanding 3-1 lead needing only one win to secure the World Championship. One concern in the Philly clubhouse has to be the futility of Ryan Howard with runners in scoring position. Howard picked up his first two hits of the WS but is still does not have an RBI and is only hitting .222. If they hope to get back to the Trop even they will need more production from him and also Jason Werth hitting in the second spot. Do you like the Phills’ to sweep at home? Let us know here or in the MLB chat rooms.





Phillies play usual 8 innings and steal home field advantage

Runs were at a premium in game one of the World Series unlike the both Championship Series, where sending six across the plate was by no means a guarantee of victory. The Phillies only had half of that total but it was enough take home filed away from the Rays with a 3-2 win. In typical ‘Philly Fashion’ they held a one-run lead going into the ninth then handed the pill over to Lidge who slammed the door shut as he had done 41 times this year and improving Philly’s unbeaten mark when leading after 8 innings to an unbelievable 79-0. The Ray’s normally play the long-ball despite all of their speed in the line-up but they were only able to muster a solo jack in game 1. Now that the Phillies have rustled the home field away from the club with the best record in MLB this year, they just need to hold serve on the terrible green pavement in Philly to win their first title in 28 years, but we have counted the Rays out several times this year and won’t do it this time. Look for them to do what isn’t expected again and climb back in this series. Do you think the Rays still have a chance or is losing the Tropicana edge too much to overcome?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phillies play usual 8 innings and steal home field advantage

Runs were at a premium in game one of the World Series unlike the both Championship Series, where sending six across the plate was by no means a guarantee of victory. The Phillies only had half of that total but it was enough take home filed away from the Rays with a 3-2 win. In typical ‘Philly Fashion’ they held a one-run lead going into the ninth then handed the pill over to Lidge who slammed the door shut as he had done 41 times this year and improving Philly’s unbeaten mark when leading after 8 innings to an unbelievable 79-0. The Ray’s normally play the long-ball despite all of their speed in the line-up but they were only able to muster a solo jack in game 1. Now that the Phillies have rustled the home field away from the club with the best record in MLB this year, they just need to hold serve on the terrible green pavement in Philly to win their first title in 28 years, but we have counted the Rays out several times this year and won’t do it this time. Look for them to do what isn’t expected again and climb back in this series. Do you think the Rays still have a chance or is losing the Tropicana edge too much to overcome?



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rays breakthrough in Game 7 and will face Philly in World Series

After Matt Garza gave up the first inning jack to Dustin Pedroia Red Sox nation was creating t-shirts with “The Greatest Comeback Ever” imprinted on them, however the Rays stopped the presses in the middle innings and took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning where a rookie named David Price, who has only been with the club since May, came in out of the pin, shut the Sox down, leaving the bases loaded in the process and smothered the last gasp of the cardiac kids. With the exception of the afore mentioned Pedroia home run Garza pitched an absolute gem, exceeding his normal pitch count and allowing the Rays enough time to catch and pass the Sox. Then the kid comes in with this 12-1 minor league record and gets out of a big league jam via strike out and the rest could be history. So it will be the Phillies and Rays, the two teams Major League Baseball did NOT want in the World Series but rest assured the best teams of 2008 are competing for the prize and don’t be surprised if this is one of the best series of the last decade, and New York my breathe easier for now because the Boston didn’t make it, but these Rays are going to be around for a little while.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Red Sox rally as Dodgers fold

The reports of the Red Sox demise seemed to have been greatly exaggerated as they made the most amazing comeback that I have ever seen. Down three games to one, and 7-0 in game 5, if this was at any other stadium other than Fenway Park, half the fans would be gone, to a course of boos and the team would fold. But the Sox chose to disagree, battled, and came back to not only win the game but have a decent shot of forcing a game 7 as Josh Beckett is on the bump in game 6, and then anything can happen. If it does it will rank up there with “the comeback” vs. the Yankees resulting in their World Series victory. Can they do the impossible again? Meanwhile out in Tinsel Town Manny and the Blues could not recover from a far less daunting situation after serving up back-to-back two run jacks which reciprocated a two run deficit. The dodgers, in similar fashion to when Tom Niedenfeuer served up the 2-run homer to Jack Clark against the Cardinals in inning some years ago, simply folded their tent for the rest of that game and then mailed in game 5, going down four games to one. The run was nice while it lasted but ManRam will move on to what he calls “the highest bidder” and LA will go back to being a sub .500 club, still with no WS appearances in two decades. Props must go to Philly who woke the sleeping sticks and pounded the closest things LA had to ‘aces’ in Lowe and Billingsly, as neither posted one win in the series. Now they rest up for AL rep who now could be either one. Selig and many fans won’t get the series they wanted but don’t forget the 85’ series between the Cards/Royals when everyone wanted to see the Mets/Dodgers go up against the Angels (Reggie, Carew and Co.) that was one of the most exciting series to date. Could you get up for a Rays/Phillies series? Talk about here and in the MLB chat rooms.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Dodgers play a little 'chin music' of thier own

The ALCS may be even at one game a piece but the Sox did what they set out to do and got a split at Tropicana Field which recently has become a tough place to play now that they actually have more than five thousand fans at the games. Boston sends out Lester and the Knuckleballer Wakefield in games 3 and 4 while the Rays counter with Garza and Sonnanstine. I don’t why we bother to list the starting pitchers because they don’t seem to make it out of the fifth inning. In any case these have been two great games so far and are making believers out of the baseball faithful that you don’t need a team from New York to have an exciting post season. The powers that be would want to see a rematch of the NBA finals with Boston/LA and the return of Manny, but if the Sox don’t take game 3 at home and send a .500 pitcher in Wakfield to the mound in game 4 they may have to deal with ratings worse than the forgotten Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Seattle. In the NL the Dodgers showed some pride, heart, and a little huevos in not only standing up to Philly but making them duck for a change. After taking a commanding five run lead Dodger pitcher Kuroda retaliated for the behind the head pitch to Man Ram with an over-the-head pitch of his own. This cleared the bases but most importantly made a statement that they won’t going to be intimidated. An impressive home win for LA but if they don’t hold serve in game four it won’t mean a thing. Is there a collision course for another Boston/LA showdown? Would you like to see that or a fresh face in the World Series? Talk about it here and in the MLB chat rooms.



Phils and Rays now in driver seat

Phils one win away after 4 run 8th

For the first time in the post season the Dodger relief staff was less than optimal and the Phillies took full advantage of it, pounding out two 2-run jacks in the 8th inning to find themselves one win away from the World Series. The normally ice-cold and reliable LA staff was flaccid, serving up big flys of epic proportions. Taking a 2 run lead into the 8th inning Philly got a power surge from unexpected places, Jose Victorino and some guy named Matt Stairs and when they finally found the balls Philly was up two with two to go. Now it is all over but the shouting as LA must sweet the last three of the series, two of which are in Philadelphia. Joe made a great run at it, and for his first year got better results than LA had showed in twenty years but he will have to wait until next year to prove he was more than the beneficiary of a Steinbrenner exorbitant pay roll.

Rays take trip to Fenway and regain home field

Barring ALCS game one the Rays have been the most consistent offensive team in the post season thus far, as once again they scored more runs than they have total playoff games and sent the Fenway crowd home early in game 3. Now the worst they can do is go back home retaining their home field advantage. However with Tim Wakefield on the bump in game four they will look to do more than that, mainly take a commanding 3-1 lead back home with a chance to clinch at home. The matchup Bud Selig and most of the baseball world wanted to see looks like a dim fantasy right now, being read it’s last rights. The RedSox bats may have something to say about it before it’s all said and done but had better show some stick tonight to counter the run-production of the Rays. This time there won’t a Manny speech to draw the attention off the futility they will have to handle that on their own.


The ALCS may be even at one game a piece but the Sox did what they set out to do and got a split at Tropicana Field which recently has become a tough place to play now that they actually have more than five thousand fans at the games. Boston sends out Lester and the Knuckleballer Wakefield in games 3 and 4 while the Rays counter with Garza and Sonnanstine. I don’t why we bother to list the starting pitchers because they don’t seem to make it out of the fifth inning. In any case these have been two great games so far and are making believers out of the baseball faithful that you don’t need a team from New York to have an exciting post season. The powers that be would want to see a rematch of the NBA finals with Boston/LA and the return of Manny, but if the Sox don’t take game 3 at home and send a .500 pitcher in Wakfield to the mound in game 4 they may have to deal with ratings worse than the forgotten Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Seattle. In the NL the Dodgers showed some pride, heart, and a little huevos in not only standing up to Philly but making them duck for a change. After taking a commanding five run lead Dodger pitcher Kuroda retaliated for the behind the head pitch to Man Ram with an over-the-head pitch of his own. This cleared the bases but most importantly made a statement that they won’t going to be intimidated. An impressive home win for LA but if they don’t hold serve in game four it won’t mean a thing. Is there a collision course for another Boston/LA showdown? Would you like to see that or a fresh face in the World Series? Talk about it here and in the MLB chat rooms.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Best record no guarantee to playing in October

The Angels needed two games, five hours, and 12 innings to finally break a curse of their own against the Red Sox. They still trail the series 1-2 but this was the type of game that could swing the mo’ back to Anaheim. The Sox were one wide pitch, or one base hit away from the ALCS on several occasions only for the largest crowd at Fenway Park to see a game since WWII walk away disappointed. It’s the type of game that can turn a series around, and rest assured the pressure is now on the Sox to close things out in game 4 or risk going back to the home of the 100 game winners. The team with the best record in the NL did not have as much resolve as the Dodgers swept away the past and the Cubs all at once. A 3-1 win in game 3 signified the first series win for LA since Captain Kirk beamed them up in 88’ for a World Series Championship and the end of the season for the 97-win Cubs and their fans who thought the drought was over. Was this a collapse or did they just run into the hottest team in baseball right now? The Dodgers have always had good pitching (best ERA in the NL), but now they have some stick to go with it. How far can Manny and Blues go? The NLCS is set as the Phillies took care of business themselves with a 6-2 win over Milwaukee to end the other DS three games to one. During the year both LA and Philly swept each other in 4 game series, but this could come down to LA doing what not many around the league were able to do, not silence but at least keep the Philadelphia bats under control. Lastly, don’t count out Ozzie’s crazy train just yet as they move on to game four after a close 5-3 win over the Rays. As good as the LA/Bos series has been, is anyone giving the winner of this series a chance?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Top Dogs in Big Trouble

After the first three rounds of the MLB playoffs the team with the best record both the NL and AL have yet to record a victory, as the Cubs (0-2) and Angels (0-1) find their backs against the wall. The Cubs sent their ace to the mound in Game 2 and the “Great Zambrano” was greeted with hits from the Dodgers and errors from his defense, as each member of his infield contributed one and they tied an NLDS record for futility, with the sum of parts equaling a 10-3 loss and almost and insurmountable 0-2 deficit for the Cubs. Meanwhile the best record in baseball, the LA Angels, dropped game one against the defending champion Red Sox and now face Daisuke in must win game 2 or risk having to scale Mount Everest in winter. The Brewers also find themselves down 0-2 and had their ace rocked as well as Phills got a huge 2 strike Grand Slam from Shane Victorino in the second providing the all the juice Philly needed to last the remaining 7 innings. Sabathia had his worst outing as a Brewer and it could not have come at a worse time as they must now sweep a team with a whole lot of momentum. Lastly, the Rays won their first ever playoff game and look to take the commander in game 2. Are the Cubs destined to continue the heartbreak? Are the Angels going to right the ship? Regardless of play during the season, who looks the best NOW?
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