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?

22 comments:

yank33 said...

I'm shocked the masses are ready to get rid of Paps for blowing one game. You'd think that going 17 straight post season games without a blown save would get your more credit with the fans, I guess not in Boston."

Well, this is complicated.

The emotions are running high today, but that's not the whole story with Pap. Theo tried to lock him into a contract like the ones Pedey and Youk signed, but Pap seems to want to test the market ASAP. That's the kind of thing that will turn fans against you.

He's also said that he would prefer to play for someone who would put him in the rotation, because starting pitchers make more money. The words may have been taken out of context, but that's how it came across in the papers.

And all year long, he's had one crazy outing after another. Few clean innings, velocity down, walks up. So there's a feeling that his arm may be wearing down.

And right alongside him, there's Bard, throwing 101 right out of spring training and contributing to the team when he was supposed to be a couple of years away. Bard is probably the closer of the future, and in light of these other things I think a lot of Sox fans see him as the closer of the present. (I don't agree.)

"I mean Mo has blown 2 huge post season games, and still there isn't a Yankee fan alive that would've traded him after either event." Mm, you sure? Mo got loudly booed in Yankee Stadium in 2005. I know everyone is loyal now, but I'm just saying...

PL4n said...

I think they'll try to make their young pitchers keep turning the corner. That's the big thing. Buchholz will probably be in the rotation on opening day. Dice-K will be on an off-season fitness program. Maybe they'll figure out what the hell is wrong with Delcarmen. Lackey? Not for me. Good pitcher, but a bit fragile, and a colossal jerk. I'd have a real, real hard time rooting for him.

But I have the creeping feeling that there may be a bombshell involving Pap in exchange for a premium bat. I know that today a lot of my brothers are calling for that, but I don't like it. We don't have anyone else who is ready to do that job day in and day out.
---
I wouldn't invest much in Lackey either, with Lester & Beckett you have a solid 1/2. I'm shocked the masses are ready to get rid of Paps for blowing one game. You'd think that going 17 straight post season games without a blown save would get your more credit with the fans, I guess not in Boston. I mean Mo has blown 2 huge post season games, and still there isn't a Yankee fan alive that would've traded him after either event.

As for getting a bat, I think that's what you guys need desperately. Since losing Manny's bat , your offense hasn't had the same bite, despite how well Jay Bay has hit for you guys. Since he left Ortiz has really declined, and opposing pitchers really aren't afraid to go after anyone from 1 to 9. If you add another big bat behind Youk, in front of Papi, I think this club will respond immediately.

greatdayfor theFens said...

I basically agree with all of that. I don't see Theo making a serious run at Halladay. The presence of Holliday as the top corner outfield FA may make Bay accept the kind of offer he's likely to get.

But then there's Felix...

Theo loves young power arms. He may actually be ready to pull the trigger on that one. But I agree that it's probably not worth the price, unless you can win a game of chicken with the M's.

nxohles said...

.....Honestly, I don't see that much changing with the Sox, or really needing to. Sure Ortiz and Lowell are on the down side of their careers. But they are under contract for a lot of money, and may make nice comebacks next year. Wakefield I think may be done, but lot's of young arms on this team can replace him. I think it's foolish to trade 4-6 pitchers for Felix or Halladay. Really the big possibility, is resign Bay, or go after Matt Holiday. Other than that, hope the young guys, Pedroia, Ellsbury and all the pitchers progress, and ride a team that won 95 games this season back into the playoffs next year, but hope for better health down the stretch, and a better result in the playoffs.

sitewolf said...

I have no problem with they hows and whys the Yankees are front runners in the financial side of the game. I also don't have any problem with them spending it. But the reality is Pohlad doesn't need to invest his personal fortune into a team for a 200 million dollar payroll because his team doesn't pull in enough cash to do it as a fiscally sound business. So to blame him for a low payroll is wrong. Blame the twins fans that don't spend the same as Yankees fans.

waterflow said...

Go Angles! It's the lesser of evils thing. Baseball is a farce. Until they get some equity in the sport the wealthy teams always have the best chance of winning. I like to see the buy me a world series teams get knock out every year. The Soxs are gone, now its onto the Yankees. Don't give me any of that money don't matter garbage either. Out of 8 teams that made the playoffs 5 are in the top 10 in players salaries, while only one was from the bottom 10 teams in players salaries. I say was, because that was the twins and they are already gone. So the best I can hope for is the Angles to play the Rockies and if not the Rockies then the Cardinals (who have a surprisingly low payroll). There needs to be a salary cap that is reasonable or have three leagues. The > $200 mil payroll (Yankees, they can play with themselves), the > $ 100 mil payroll, and the rest.

statman john said...

Angels vs. Yankees playoff stats, team with edge in parenthesis ...total runs 56-45 (Angels) runs per game 6.22-5.00 (Angels) BA .323-.266 (Angels) ERA 4.90-6.12 (Angels) Hits/Game 11.33-8.89 (Angels) Angels are 6-3 against the Yankees and won both post season series! Angels are also 33-19 against the Yankees in their last 52 regular season games.

eddie burgos said...

will boston fan i guess it time to get your tickets for next year bad bullpen and no timely hitting send u home thats to bad because i was looking forward to see the yanks put that smack down on does redsox will i guess its time to say goodbuy ha ha ha ha see u later u got sweep

afkas said...

HEY BOSTON FANS, How does it feel? God that was one of the worst jobs by a closer I have ever seen. I mean all that he had to do was get 1 out and so you intentionally walk Hunter to get to Vlad? Are you guys ########! I guess Vlad hasnt been very good through his career. I bet Victor cant wait to get out of your old piece of #### bandwagon town. Have fun watching the rest of the playoffs with nothing to cheer for. Enjoy watching the yankees while you all sit on your #### twiddling your thumbs in disappointment. Man I bet you guys wish that Manny would still be on your team now dont you? whats happen in the post season since they traded him? And also its hard to win a playoff series with no STEROIDS!

old time greats said...

Ok this Red Sox fan yesterday was trying to congradualte the Halo fans on there victory. But I got intercepted more than Kordell Stewart in his QB days! Anyway, the better team won. Yes, I said the better team! You can blame one blown save of losing the series, when you are in a elimination game and have to win three to stay alive you are putting yourself in a position that likely will fail! And the Red Sox did just that! Did not hit in the first two games had they did that this series might be going to game four, had Francona not guessed wrong on his relievers then the same thing, however it doesn't matter, the better team won! Congrats Halos you finally got over the shnide of the Red Sox now go beat the hated Yankees and get to the WS!

thaddeus said...

I actually hate to see it: it would have helped to have Varitek behind the plate at several points, but especially in the ninth inning today. For some reason, Red Sox fans, and finally management, have long undervalued his importance as a receiver and manager of pitchers under pressure.

kebdog said...

Pabalbon is a detriment to the success of the Red Sox. Cut and dry. To leave the outcome of a game in his hands was done, I hope, for the last time today. Pabalbon proved his worth for the last time today. He bloviates that he's the next Mariano Rivera. The blow-hard commentators spew out the stats that he'd never given up an earned run in "post-season". But the bloviators never mentioned the inherited runs Pabalbon gave up...like today...and unlike Daniel Bard, today.

Anonymous said...

After letting the Yankees clinch the division at their expense and getting into the playoffs due to someone elses loss, this just seemed to be they way things were going to go for the Red Sox at the end of this season.
I am a fan, but they really have no gas left. Time for new blood in a lot of areas on the team.

stevequinn said...

Hey Tahaddeus, Veritek???? Surely you jest. My mother hits better than Veritek and she passed away in 1978. Hopefully, Victor Martinez will be the Sox catcher for many years to come. I think the Sox will be saying goodbye to Veritek, Bay, and Ortiz this Winter. And I wouldn't be surprised if Paplebon is in a different uniform next year. Daniel Bard is a stud and Billy Wagner is no slouch. The Sox don't need Paplebon any longer. Ahhhh well, at least they made the playoffs and won 95 games.

On another note, wouldn't be surprised to see Matt (Got his bells rung) Holiday in LF next year. Hope he learns how to catch before the season starts. Hope I'm wrong and they re-sign Jason Bay.

ncparrotthead said...

wow, what a bummer of an ending. There are lots of holes and issues to work out in the off season but I'm with you Mystic, I still love this team. It's a game and they can't win every year but it still stings. Mystic, you know I'm a positive guy but I can't resist asking why Francona sent Lowrie to the plate in the 9th inning? I don't see how pitching Dice-K in this game would have made any difference, this game was lost by Papelbon in the 9th and Clay pitched a pretty good game except for the 6th inning. The Sox had this game but let it slip away. Go Angels! See you in April with a very different looking Sox team.

jazad said...

After losing in humiliating fashion last season, and despite losing one of the best players in baseball, the Angels quietly went out and made their team stronger. They picked up Abreu for a bargain price of 5million. There's no reason whey the Sox couldn't have gotten him. Even though the bats finally came alive (for two innings), the Sox made it easy on Kazmir. The could've built an insurmountable lead, but from the 4th inning to the 8th, they were easy outs, reverting to game one and two performances.

I'm sure the FO will look at this year and say - we won 95 games so everything's all right, but the reality is that there is now a gulf between the Yanks, Angels and us. That means the Sox should re-group, open up their bank account and sign some proven professionals who don't look like a deer in the headlights when they're at the plate or in the field.

malitopr said...

what a shame. not for the Red Sox fans... for the Red Sox team. you fans crack at the slightest bit of pressure. No wonder your team choked when the heat was on. Now, I was really looking forward to the Yanks taking you guys outside and beating you like red headed step-children in the next round. But I guess I'll have to wait till next year. If your team makes it that far. Remember, fan is short for fanatic. Love em' till the end. NO MATER WHAT!

No hate, only love for the game.

rassman said...

This team was an assembly of some ol graybeards who are ready to go off in the sunset ( Tek and Lowell, maybe Papi ) a closer who has seen beter days, and now what? This team's personality was Vanilla at best. An MVP who wilted under real pressure.
Should make for an interesting of season. Here's hoping that Bay returns, Lowell and Tek ride off together, Papi..... That Wagner stays, Dice K goes to the mountain top and returns to show Beckett how to pitch with confidence.
Beckett and Paps get their chit together for 2010.
Basketball starts soon....

captain313 said...

The Angels played like a team whose goal is to win the World Series. The Sox played like a team that was satisfied to win the Wild Card. Francona's strategy of playing for the WC, resting the players and generally sending a message of complacency really paid off. Terry is now 0-2 in his last two elimination games. The team looked flat, and Francona's decisions yesterday all backfired - pulling an effective Wagner, walking Hunter and PHing Lowrie. 165 games and he still hadn't figured out this team.

twinsfanforlife said...

This talk about payroll comes down to the simple fact that a bigger city is going to have more of a fan base to draw revunue from and therefore have more money to work with. I'm not sure how much money an owner has has to do with it. I don't think Steinbenner uses his personal resources to pay for salaries, but the revenue generated from the Yankees. It isn't a bad reflection on either city, it is just a fact. Given this fact they will be able to pay players more, and use that as an incentive to draw the big names. I mean the yankee line up averaged around 27 homeruns per person in their lineup which is just crazy. That doesn't mean they're guaranteed to win, but having the ability to have higher revunue and therefore a higher payroll which tends to be able to attract more of those big names is a fact. The Twins hurt themselves though in this series. The Yankees seem to have some kind of jinx on them that doesn't seem to have anything to do with payroll. They do things I don't see them do normally. I mean Punto, really, what was that? That's not the type of mistake he usually makes. Also leaving 17 batters on base is not typical. They don't have the same homerun power as the Yankees, but they were 5th in the majors in runs batted in. I don't know if they psyche themselves out, but they can't seem to get beyond whatever block it is.

tenolein said...

"ever notice how the losing sides is quick to blame the other team's owners, the umps, the crowd, the city, the league, etc.

hey, here's a clever idea, why don't you place the blame where it belongs, on the PLAYERS and the COACHES? They are the ones expected to produce wins. They don't produce, you don't win.

even if the Twins had just as much $$$ as the Yankees, they would have lost because their tema was INFERIOR!!!"

The Twins didn't play well, that I agree.

But everything else you said, is not only ridiculous, it's 'tarded. Seriously? If the Twins had the money the Yanks do, they wouldn't be fielding a small market team. Thus, you can't say they would have been the inferior team. Second, did you even SEE those games, markedly game 2? Go watch them again, but without your NY glasses on, punk.

BTW, good luck on another failed buyout of the World Series.

yank33 said...

Here's an idea for your twinkies next year - don't wait until the last month to play over .500 baseball and squeak into the playoffs. Don't cry to me about rest, that's nobody's fault but your team. Your owner has plenty of money, but he finds it in his best interest to spend it on himself or other business ventures. Maybe you should write him a letter instead of crying on our boards teeny.

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