Friday, October 30, 2009

Yankees get the performance they need from AJ, now must avoid road sweep

AJ Burnett pitched his best game of the post season in game 2 as the Yankees evened the series with the Phillies at a game a piece. Burnet previously had a 4.57 ERA against the Phillies going into game 2 but shaved that significantly, allowing just one run seven innings of work. Now if the Empire can avoid a three-game sweep by Philadelphia at home they’ll get an opportunity to win it at home. One positive is that Philly will have to beat CC again if they hope to make good on Rollin’s prediction and avoid going back to Yankee Stadium, however the key bat in game 2 was Hideki Matsui (DH) who as a DH, will not be in the starting line-up for all three games in Philly, but will be a stick in waiting for DH purposes. Interleague didn’t make much a difference this year to the Yankees so they added strategy of deciding weather to pull a pitcher for an opportunity to score more runs is one they have managed well. How Godzilla will perform sitting on ice for perhaps 7 innings is another question. Everyone knows Philly had the worst home record of any of the playoff teams but is 4-1 in the postseason with the only loss coming at the hands of Rockies in a tough 1-run game. They obviously have proven they can run off consecutive wins as illustrated by a sweep of the Dodgers who had the best record in the NL this season. Of course, repeating the feat against the club with the best record in the AL, is a different task all together. However if they can pull it off there’s rings waiting for them at the other end of it. Can the Phills sweep away the Evil Empire? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.
World Series Scoreboard
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Complete Game 1 Box Score
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World Series Schedule

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lee pitches a gem as the Phillies take game 1

He had the Yankees shut out for the first time in their history through nine games an only an error on Rollins allowed the Yankees to get an unearned run as Cliff Lee went the distance and gave the Phillies a 1-0 series lead with a 6-1 victory. Now Philadelphia has home field advantage and if they can hold serve at home will make Jimmy Rollins a prophet. Chase Utley provided all of the offense the Phils would need with two solo jacks. Although they were on 6 days rest, the Phillies didn’t lose any of their pop or momentum that disposed of the NL’s best team in 5 games, and they have their sights set on the team with the AL’s best record. The Yankees certainly can turn this around but they’re going to need to get into that Philly bullpen to do so. Round one to the City of Brotherly Love, let’s see how much sleep NY gets now that they’re down 0-1. Do you expect the Yankees to bounce back? Can they take a game in Philadelphia? Let us know here and in any of the quick links, also chime in on the poll question.
Howard and Pedro not pullin' punches, now Phills have to back it up

Rollins called hit shot on the Jay Leno show, saying the Phillies would win the series in 5 games, and Pedro Martinez said he was the most influential player ever to play in the house that Ruth built. Now that they got the Yankees all hot n’ bothered they need to step up and deliver. What they did do was land the first punch in the Heavyweight Brawl as now weather they really are or not, they have the perception that they’re NOT intimidated by the Yankees, and haven’t come to kiss their rings but win one at their expense. Meanwhile if New York needed any motivation other than another World Championship, they now have the bulletin board material needed to jumpstart their effort and make sure they don’t come out flat. Were the comments by Rollins and Martinez equivalent to waking the sleeping giant or did Philly need to send a message that they weren’t intimidated? Let us know here and in any of the quick links:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

“Freeway” World Series turns out to be I-95

As the Dodgers and Angels had the best records in their respective divisions for the entire season and best even the Leagues for some, many on the West coast dreamed of an I-5 Series. The second half of that vision was derailed Sunday evening as the Yankees put the finishing touches on a 100 win season with a game 6 victory over the LA Angeles and another trip to the WS. However there will be an interstate series, it will just run north/south on the I-95 between Manhattan and Philadelphia. The Empire has struck back and now are only 4 wins away from returning to glory. Lost in the hype of the Bronx Bombers are the defending World Champions who looked more that poised to repeat the feat as they disposed of the team with the best record in the NL the Dodgers in a quick 5 game series. The Phillies don’t feel respected and perhaps that’s the chip on their shoulder they’ll need to stave off the intimidation factor. There’s no doubt these are the best two teams in baseball with lineups that can do damage top to bottom. The question is can the Philly pitching hold up against a Yankee lineup that 45% of their batting order would be hitting clean up for other teams. It they can get 7 games in between weather delays it could be one for the ages, so buckle up. Who is your pick to win the series and in how many games? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sun setting quickly in LA

October in the Golden State started with dreams of an I-5 World Series but although the weather for the East Coast teams has been cloudy, rainy, and even snowing, the horizon looks much better than it does in LA where the games have been played in sunny 72 degree weather, because LA Dodgers/Angels (take your pick) find themselves down 3 games to 1 and headed to Malibu for the winter. In the Dodgers case the one component that figured to be in their favor, the bullpen, has let them down. Even the reliable John Broxton couldn’t get the three outs needed to take home filed advantage back and now the Blue Crew is one game away from elimination, and facing a rested Cole Hamels in game 5. The Angeles had their opportunity in game 2 but couldn’t deliver with men in scoring position on multiple occasions and finally froze in the middle of a bitter cold New York night, in extra innings. So unless they both have a Hollywood ending written we can expect to have a sub-zero World Series beginning next week with one thing guaranteed, there will be plenty of action for fans of the long ball in the Fall Classic. Who do you like to win the whole thing? Let us know here and in the MLB chat rooms and team rooms. Also visit any of the quick links:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Matchups set for Championship Series

It may not be the final four many expected but it is full of the usual suspects. The National League will be a rematch of last year as the Dodgers and Phillies will match up again, only this year LA will have home field advantage. In the AL it will be two familiar foes as well as the Angeles and Yankees meet again and the road to the series must go through Manhattan. In surprising fashion the Dodgers dispensed of the Cardinals in straight sets allowing only six runs in three games. The St. Louis Boardwalk & Parkplace (Carpenter/Wainwight)couldn’t get in done in the first two on the road which the Cards expected, and then they were surprised by a pitching gem by Padilla, the late season acquisition, in his first post-season start. Obviously, the pivotal point in the series came in game 2 with the ‘Holliday hearkbreak’ which will go down in halls of shame with the Buckner and Barton, but just the same the cardinals bullpen’s inability to close games out deserves just as much criticism.

If you look back at our post from before the All-Star game we called an I-5 world series between the Dodgers and Angels when they both had the best record in their respective leagues. Since then the Yankees caught fire and past them both but the Angels were playing the best baseball going into the playoffs of anyone still left and they continued that pace by giving the Red Sox a new curse to think about by sweeping them in 3 straight after all the talk was how many time Boston had taken them out. The pivotal point in this series came in game three when Paps couldn’t get the save for the first time in his post-season career. Not one of the 38,704 in attendance or millions watching on TV thought Paps could blow a two-run lead, but then again most of those people had the Sox and Yankees matching up to decide the AL as well.

Unfortunately the Yankees/Twins series will be remembered for as the series that was the catalyst for the initiation of instant replay to baseball. The outcry for umpires to “get it right” will fall outweigh the purist or time concerns as the foul ball that wasn’t will continue to be brought up until the Yankees lose, and if they win the whole thing, well…It was bad and it did cost them the game, but c’mon Twins fans, the mental lapses you displayed on the base paths, in games where runs are at a premium, were inexcusable and would have come back to haunt you with or without replay.

Not without it’s own controversial missed call was the Philly/Rockies series where a swinging bunt that clearly hit the plate was crucial call that also cost the Rockies a game that could have given them a commanding lead and a chance to close it out at home. Instead the drop the next two and are hitting the slopes instead of batting practice. However, the common denominator in all of the teams home for the winter is the lack of ability to close games out and the Rocks had a two-run lead with their ace on the bump needing just 3 outs to survive and advance and they couldn’t get it done (please see Red Sox). You can’t score 3 runs off a swinging bunt.

So on one side we’ve got a rematch on the NLCS from last year Philly vs. LA and a vintage East Coast vs. West Coast, LA vs. NY, in the other. Who do you like to advance to the series?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dodgers, Yankees, and Angels in driver’s seat at 2-0

The gift came out of left field but the Dodgers will take it as Holliday’s error turns a 1-1 series tie into an overwhelming 0-2 deficit from which no National League team has ever recovered in the history of the 5-game series. There’s no way around it, it may not have been a game 7 but it’s in the same park as Buckner’s in 86’ because the game was over. Now the series is over for the Cards. Meanwhile LA rides into St. Louis with a chance to sweep, which had better happen because they have the unpredictable Chad Billingsly is on the bump for them in game 4.

The other play that will be talked about when this year’s post season is folklore is the home cookin’ the Yankees got at home, with the phantom foul ball call that would have been the go ahead run prior the single the next batter hit. The Twins have not only hung in there but should have been going back home with a split similar to the Cards but they’re down 0-2 (0-9 vs. NYY all time) and it doesn’t look good but the “piranhas” didn’t get their name by accident. They’ll take the first one in the dome but all bets are off for game 4.

So much for jinxes, and the Sox should know all about that. This time their the victim of the antidote as the Angles seem to have all the answers to the Red Sox bats only allowing 1 run in 18 innings en route to a commanding 2-0 lead. There’s no relief for Boston in game 3 as Kazmir’s a gamer and although he may not go 7 1/3 like the two previous LAA on the bump, look for him to go 6 strong and leave the Angels pen 3 innings away from the ALCS.

Will any of the 2-0 teams be pressed to a game 5? Let us know here or in any of the quick links. MLB Wild Card Standings

Monday, October 5, 2009

Playoff picture finally set, almost.

Twins at Yankees – Coming off one of/the best 1-game playoff games ever the Twins overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings, adding insult to injury, as the Tigers let a huge divisional lead slip away down the stretch(3 games w/4 to play). Now they try to ride this momentum into the Bronx to take on the Evil Empire, winners of 103 games on the year. The Yankees are well rested but haven’t had to play that has mattered in months. Will that be enough to balance the scale? We don’t think so. It has been amazing run for the Twins, winners of 17 out of 21 (0-7 vs. the Yankees on the year), but the dream ends here.

What else can you say after a marathon 162 game season isn’t enough to decide winner. The Tigers have had more than enough chances to put this division away, now it’s one game for all the marbles and now they’re have to go on the road to do it, due to losing the season series. Going 4-6 down the stretch did not help their chances and now all the hopes of the city of Detroit, rest on the arm of Rick Porcello (14-9), the Twins will counter with Scott Baker (15-9). After the being the focus of attention in MLB over the past two weeks and magazine covers from Time and SI, the Tigers have simply wilted under the pressure and needed some great defensive plays to avoid dropping game 3 to the ‘South Siders’ on the last game of the year. Add in the fact that, although a 14 game winner, Porcello is 0-2 against the Twins this season with a stratospheric ERA just over 6 and its starting to look like the Tigers will home before it’s time to carve pumpkins.

The other matchups are inked to go but surprisingly the pundits seem to think they will not be much of a contest, but we beg to differ.

View Complete Playoff Schedule Here

Cardinals at Dodgers – The Cards late season acquisition of Holliday gives them plenty of ‘stick’ in the lineup and on paper it appears that they will just shell the Dodger pitching staff which has not looked good down the stretch but keep this in mind; the Cards are hitting just over .220 against left handed pitching and LA starts to tough, young, lefties that are pitching as well as they have all season. Furthermore, St. Louis has lost 8 of their last 10 coming into the post-season and isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. We think this one will go 5 games and the home field advantage that was there for the taking that no one seemed to want, may make the difference. Dodgers in 5

Rockies at Phillies – The Defending champs attempt to be the first team to repeat since the Big Red Machine of 75-76 and the table is well set for them. Finishing with the second best record in the NL, they host the Rocks, and normally the Wild Card is the team that no one wants to play because they often come into the playoffs playing the best baseball of everyone because they need to get on a solid run just to get in, this year is not so much the case and this is not the same Colorado team that came in last winning 21/22 games en route to the Show. However, do not forget that the Phills do have some questions on the consistency on their pitching and if they drop one at home and have to move up to Mile High in a must win situation, they could find themselves on the outside looking in, but we like the Phillies in 5.

Who do you think will advance to the NL/ALCS? Let us know here and in the live chat rooms and team rooms.
Which team is most likely to take a first round exit in this years playoffs?Let us know where and in all of the quick links:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Unlike other sports home filed doesn’t seem to matter in baseball

Firstly, if things got started today here's how the matchups would look like:

American League
Detroit at NY Yankees (Yankees Lead Series 5-1)
Red Sox at LA Angels (Angels lead Series 5-4)

National League
Cardinals at Dodgers (Cards lead Series 5-2)
Rockies at Phillies (Phillies lead series 4-2)

Down the stretch of this year’s MLB season one thing has become incredibly evident, that the division leaders in the NL don’t seem to be any hurry to wrap up their respective division or secure a home field advantage in the upcoming DS/CS, especially in the National League. The Cardinals and Dodgers have both gone 4-6 their last 10, where mere percentage points separate the three division leaders LA, Philly, and STL. The Dodgers STILL haven’t even wrapped up the division as they’ve had a magic number for what seems like half the season, and they’ve failed to nail it down in five consecutive tries and now they’ve opened the door for the Rockies to come into their house and take it from them with a sweep. Perhaps it’s an “LA thang” and they’re taking their cues from the Lakers who were not fond of putting teams away either en route to a championship. Not sure what Joe’s is saying to them in the clubhouse but it’s not motivational. The Cards have an opportunity to host a home series AND dictate when it begins to benefit an very potent pitching staff but also can’t get out of their own way with only a 3 game set with the non-contending Brewers to deal with. Which brings us to Philly, who is percentage points behind LA for the best record, but you wouldn’t know it by their .500 performance of the their last 10 games. They get the ‘Stros for one then the Marlins for 3 at home to finish but then again, with the worst home record of all remaining playoff teams maybe they know something we don’t. Who is in the best position to advance past the Divisional Series? Let us know here or any of the other quick links:

Major League Baseball Schedule

Major League Baseball Scoreboard

Major League Baseball Betting Lines
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