Talk about a dominant performance. The Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers all swept their LDS opponents and have moved on the their respective league’s championship game. Wow!
Now, the Yankees simply flexed their muscles in their first round matchup against the Twins. They won both games at home to open the series, despite having to come from behind in a crazy game. When Mark Teixeira hit the walk off homer to left to end the game, the Yankees stormed onto the field and celebrated, leaving a stunned Twins team in the opposite dugout. In the third game of the series, the first in Minnesota, the Twins kept it close again, but when they had the chance to score some runs and put some pressure on the Yankees, they made some key baserunning mistakes that really cost them. It was surely a disappointing series for Twins fans but you can’t say that you didn’t see this coming.
My pick for the ALDS matchup of the Angels and Red Sox had the Red Sox coming out victorious after a five game series. Obviously I was wrong as the Angels really poured it onto the Red Sox and swept them. History wasn’t in line to repeat itself in this series and the Angels soared their way to the ALCS. It was kind of against my prediction but while I was watching the game three between these two teams, which was at Fenway, I told my dad in the eighth inning that the Angels would come back to score three runs against Papelbon and win the game. He didn’t want to believe it but when the game was over I left the room with him staring at the t.v. I felt pretty good about myself about that one.
The ALCS is going to be a very intriguing matchup between two quality powerhouses with good pitching. The Yankees obviously have a pitching advantage but the offense’s of these two teams are pretty evenly matched. The Halos have a very good and underrated offense that will really matchup well against the Yankees. But the key to this seris will be pitching. If the Yankees pitching can overcome the good Angels offense than the Yankees will roll onto the World Series. My Prediction: Yankees win it in six.
Now onto the Dodgers, the team that everyone thought would be leaving the playoffs early due to their end of the season slump. Well, the Dodgers didn’t feel like taking any of that and they went out and swept a very powerful Cardinals team, that a lot of people thought would not be a factor in the Central this season. With the one-two punch of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, how can you go wrong. Well, the Dodgers’ offense poured it on to the top two pitchers in the Cy Young race this year while in LA and when they went to St. Louis, Vincente Padilla put in a great perfornance and kept the Cards at bay while the Dodgers continued to have success against Cardinals pitching as they pushed Pineiro out of the game early. It was a great series for the Dodgers and they will want to use this head of steam going into the NLCS against whoever it is they end up playing.
This drop by Matt Holliday ultimately put the Cardinals in a 2-0 hole and has put a lot of pressure on the Cards to win both games at home. If they lose even one they are done. This is how important that drop turns out to have been. He’s going to be hitting himself when the Cardinals go home early.
The Dodgers truly did get lucky last night but the Dodgers I think have a talented enough team to win a game on the road. If they can win a game on the road already up two games then they can close this thing out early and get some extra rest. That would be really big for them. They are my pick to get to the world series this year.
Speaking of that, my friend and I made a bet about who would make it to the Fall Classic. My pick is the Yankees and Dodgers, the matchup that a lot of people really want to see. Joe Torre returning to Yankee Stadium and facing off against the current Yankee skipper. That would be so great. Now just because I really want to see that matchup doesn’t mean it is the obvious choice but I really think the Dodgers can get there if they play well enough.
My friend’s pick is the Angels and Dodgers. Now I don’t know about the Angels but the Dodgers are obviously my pick too. Whoever wins the bet has to buy the other a snack out of the vending machines at school. Nothing huge but we felt like making it interesting enough so that’s what we came up with.
Well, I’ve got nothing else to talk about right now so…
This phrase is one that most people know and understand, one that applies to every day life. It is a simple one. Meaning that you can’t always expect what is supposed to happen. Sometimes, unexpected occurrences happen and you don’t know what to do. Sometimes the unexpected isn’t anything hard to deal with but you just didn’t expect it to happen. It’s not that hard to understand which is why it is a critical saying to general every day life.
Now, think about this. If I asked you who would win the NL Wild Card, you would probably give me a breakdown of every division and who would come in first and second. Then you would probably figure out who has the best chance at having the best record among the second place teams. So, I did a little experiment with my pal Jay. He was unaware of my intentions to put this in my blog so he’ll figure out later.
Me: Jay, how do you think the NL playoffs will be shaped up at the end of the season.
Jay: The Dodgers, no doubt, are gonna win the West. That’s no question.
Me: I agree 100%. How could Manny and Ethier and Furcal and the O-Dog go without winning that division. They’re just too good and too consistent.
Jay. I think the Cards will pull it out in the Central because they have Holliday now to bat behind Albert. Too much power and good enough pitching to get along. Now the East is the toughy.
Me: It always is. That’s why I say the Phils are gonna repeat as NL East champs.
Jay: I think the Phils will as well. The Mets were my pre-season choice but now with all the injuries I can’t pick them and you’ve got to like what their doing down in Philly.
Me: That addition of Cliff Lee will probably end up being the biggest, most important trade of tbe year if the Phils get deep into the playoffs.
Jay: I think the Cubbies could make a run at the Wild Card. They have been playing better of late and I think they will continue winning and take themselves into the playoffs. I think that’s how it’ll all work out.
Me: That’s a very intersting look at things but it’s your decisions and I can’t make them for you. Thanks man.
Jay: No problem.
This conversation took place over the phone a day after the Cards aquired Matt Holliday from the Athletics.
Now, I agree with every one of those predictions except the one that the Cubs will win the wild card. How can you not think about the Rockies. They have been playing really well of late and they are at the top of the Wild Card standings. Jay said that he still thought the Cubs will streak right past both Colorado and San Fran but I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Cubs may be playing great of late but the Rox are too. I think they will pull away.
Now why would I go to all this trouble just top see who someone would pick to win the Wild Card? Because seriously, who would think the Rockies would be in the playoff picture at all. And how ’bout the Giants too. I don’t think I would meet anyone that thought they would have a chance at the playoffs. This is why you have to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
The Rox have a real good chance at makign the playoffs as the Wild Card. They pulled away another game yesterday with a win and the Giants’ loss. The Rox are riding a four game win streak and I don’t think they will let anyone stop them from getting to the playoffs.
Even though the Rox were in the playoffs in 2007 in which the Red Sox beat them in four games, they were unexpected to be there that year too. They just weren’t considered a good enough team to get that far into the playoffs. Somehow they did and then they got swpet by a really good Red Sox team. But still, the point is that they were unexpected to be there. Same with this year but they may just do it.
Watch out MLB, here come the Rox. And maybe even the Giants.
Strasburg is signed, the Yanks were kept scoreless by their former comrad, and the Cards continue to dominate the Dodgers, MLB’s best team. Here we go…
Yesterday I talked about the whole Strasburg situation. Well, he’s finally signed; it took until 11:58 Monday night to get it done. Another Scott Boras guy, Strasburg was drafted number one by the Nats and is expected to be the start of a reformation in the nation’s capital.
Here’s a comment I got on my post from yesterday by Julia from Julia’s Rants:
“Dillon- Jacoby Ellsbury has to be near the top of your list as well. Many a wall wear scares from him. And Strasburg? Sadly another case of his devil of an agent trying to extort money from teams.”
Julia put it right on the money. Boras has the reputation of extorting money from teams trying to sign his clients. He definitely gets his clients money but he is not like much by other players, teams, and fans because of how he does it. For the Nationals, they are probably ecstatic that they were able to sign Strasburg. Boras took it down to the last minute until Strasburg told him to get it done because of his wanting to play. It’s done now and you can expect to see Strasburg in the nation’s capital next spring.
Hey, Yankee fans! Remember this guy. Yeah. It’s Brett Tomko. He kind of played for us this year until we released him in July because he wasn’t performing to the level of success that we needed him to. Yeah, him. Well, he’s on the Athletics now and he just shut us out yesterday. What a shame.
The Yankees were held to seven hits and were walked twice. Tomko was definitely on his game for the first five innings of the game before he was taken out. And even after he was relieved, the Yankees were still baffled by the Athletics’ pitching. They just couldn’t get it done. After Tomko came out, they only got two more hits. That’s terrible. How could this happen against the A’s of all teams? Well, at least we can say AJ Burnett and Derek Jeter had really really good games.
Burnett went a complete game (8 innings) of STELLAR work. He only allowed six hits, one less than the Yankees had as a team. He struck out five and walked two. Not a bad performance. In fact, it’s a very good performance. This would be the kind of performance we would assume came in a Yankee victory. But unfortunately the Yankee bats were held quiet. But not Derek Jeter.
Jeter went 3-4 with three singles. He didn’t do much more than that but at least he was able to have some success agaisnt the Oakland pitching. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher both hit doubles, their only hits of the game. Jorge Posada and Ramiro Pena both hit singles as well. The Yankees still have a seven game lead on the Red Sox in the AL East.
Chris Carpenter was dealing last night against the Dodgers. He went eight innings of work giving up only five hits and a walk. He struck out eight. He only gave up two runs on the game which is a good sign as for his run control goes. The offense also helped out. It took until the end of the game to pull ahead but it happened eventually and Carpenter was still on the mound to record the win. Pujols homered in the fourth to tie the game at one apiece. Then in the seventh, Rick Ankiel sent a bomb to deep right center to go ahead 3-2. The Cards kept the lead with Trevor Miller and Ryan Franklin who combined to pitch the ninth. The Dodgers seem to have no answer for the Cards this season. They could be a deadly foe for the Dodgers in the playoffs as the Cards may have the top of the Central division come the end of the season. Who knows, maybe the Cards will out play the MLB’s best team.
Being a Yankee fan, or even for those Red Sox fans on this MLBlogosphere, these next four days should present nothing else but Red Sox-Yankees analysis on any Yankee fan’s or Red Sox fan’s blog. That’s so simple. The best rivalry in baseball is nothing short of what it is put up to be. It is the single best part of the MLB. It is my favorite part of the year when the Yankees and Red Sox face off and everyone else’s involved in this rivalry. And basically, it is the only thing that should be talked about by any Red Sox or Yankee fan during the 18 games they play each other every year. It is just STELLAR.
So, everyone knows that the Yankees have been unsuccessful against the Red Sox thus far this season. They have been unable to win at home or on the road; extremely disappointing to Yankee fans. Now, with first place in our posession (meaning the Yankees), the Bronx Bombers have a certain upside to things now, now that they have succeeded past the Sox without actually beating them. But these next few games they play against the Red Sox will be played with a bigger sense of importance. The Yankees can really pull away from the Red Sox, and push their already solid 2.5 game lead to maybe a 5 game lead or a 6 game lead at best. A sweep would be phenominal seeing that we haven’t beaten them once this season. Four straight wins would be STELLAR.
The Yankees and Red Sox play a total of ten games to finish off the season series. Three of those are in Boston and the rest of them are in New York. This is a huge advantage for the Yankees and they need to take advantage of it. I can’t think of any better way to say it than that. If you can’t win at home, you don’t have as good a chance to win on the road.
Victor Martinez… just aquired in a blockbuster deal from the Cleveland Indians. A catcher/first baseman that has helped the Red Sox immensely in their current infield situation. They have Mike Lowell who hasn’t been to the top of his health. Since this has been the case, he has not started at third in the recent past and has forced Kevin Youkilis to shift over to third, the position he came to the Red Sox to play. Victor Martinez has fit into the first base position and has let Jason Varitek remain behind the plate. Late in the games, Mike Lowell has appeared to pinch hit giving the Red Sox much needed depth. Martinez will get his first dose of the Yankees-Red Sox action and will be a huge part in it. Martinez is the offensive bat that has fit into an already loaded lineup for the Red Sox that has its fair share of power and just general good hitting. It will be interesting to watch how he performs.
Now, going sort of off topic. How about that Kung Fu Panda?
No not that one… this one.
Pablo Sandoval has been a huge part of bringing the San Francisco Giants back into the playoff race. They are currently first in the wild card race in the NL, only a half game ahead of their closest competitors in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies. The Giants aren’t going to get to the top of the division, with the Dodgers easily pulling away from day one, but with Sandoval leading the way offensively, the Giants could be the underdog that gets into the playoffs. They have the pitching; Lincecum and Cain. They have the defense; Rowand and Molina among them. They have the offense; Sandoval and Sanchez. What else is their that they need. Obviously they don’t have an overly great team, but they have what it takes to perform to a high standard and they could surely make it to the playoffs. Now, how far will they go in the playoffs? I’m not so sure. They do have to face off against the best of the best in the NL; the Dodgers, the Phils, most likely, and possibly the Cards, the Cubbies, or even the Brew Crew. All tough teams, but they should have enough to get into the playoffs in the first place. Sandoval leads the way offensively and all I can say to the Giants is this:
THE KUNG FU PANDA WILL LEAD YOU TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.
The Cards went shopping on Friday as they snagged Matt Holliday off the trading block from the Oakland Athletics. I know everyone else is talking about this but this is a big story in my opinion. So here we go.
You know that guy, Albert something… PUJOLS yeah that’s it. That guy that is really really really good. Yeah him. He’s that guy that keeps the Cardinals offense going. And now, he’s finally got the protection in that lineup that he needs to be better. But honestly, can he get any better?
Matt Holliday will slip right into the fourth spot in that lineup and will surely produce the numbers that he did with Colorado. With Albert in the same lineup, this automatically becomes one of the best 3-4 batter duos in the MLB. Albert’s got more protection and the Cardinals may have gotten the piece they need to stay ahead of the rest of the tightening NL Central race. It’s going to be good and this move makes them a lot better. And what a better start with a new team than by going 4-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
With the Athletics, Holliday struggled. Going from a homer friendly park in Coors Field to a homer not so friendly park in Oakland is a tough transition. Holliday is now in St. Louis and I think his offensive numbers will improve. His production in St. Louis will be worth the three guys the Cards gave up.
I’ve been pretty busy the past few days and have been unable to get a post up here so I’m sorry for all of you readers who have had to wait for another post to come up. Well, I had some people staying at my house and we’ve been pretty busy. So that’s that.
When the people who were staying at my house left this morning, the first thing I did was check the MLB.com page to see what’s been going on the past few days. So here are my headlines.
- Yanks are still 3 games back of the Red Sox.
- The Yankees and Phillies both made clutch late performances to come up with wins.
- Clay Buchholz was phenominal in his return to the Red Sox rotation against the Jays.
- Roy Oswalt had it going against the Dodgers.
- Ryan Braun got hit in the hand by Bronson Arroyo and left the game with a sore wrist.
So now that I am all caught up, I thought I’d talk a little about the second half and what is to come in the MLB. It’s going to be exciting and I can’t wait. I am pumped for the playoff runs to come, to see who will take the top spots in the divisions around the league, who will get that wild card spot. It’s going to be great.
Let’s start off with them Yankees. Of course. Right now, they are 3 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East. They’ve been stuck in this position for a while now and I’d like to see it change. If we could get a few games back from the Red Sox that would be STELLAR. We got a win last night apparently against the Tigers. Some late game heroics from Mr. Teixeira gave us the lead and we kept it to take the series opener 5-3. This is good but Clay Buchholz and the rest of the Red Sox pitching kept the Jays at bay and won their game as well. So the standings stayed the same… again. It’s great that we’re winning, but we need the Red Sox to lose to get anywhere.
Now, transitioning from the Yankees-Tigers game… Curtis Granderson, the Tigers centerfielder, one of the heroes from the All Star Game, and my favorite player kept his STELLAR play going by going 2-4 with a home run and 2 runs scored. He has been having a great season so far and I love to see him keep it up. The Tigers are at the top of the AL Central right now and Granderson has been a big part of their offensive success. Keep it up man.
Next on my list from inside my head is the Dodgers. Man, how good are they. Now, they lose some here and there but so far in the first half of the season, they have racked up the wins and have the best record in baseball. They do it so quietly too. It’s weird. They have the play-makers on their team that are starting to be recognized for what they have done such as Andre Ethier, the O-Dog and Rafael Furcal. But as a team, they are very quiet and do very well without making a ton of noise. I think they will continue to play extremely well and will most likely have the best record at the end of the regular season and will have the top spot in the NL West… as usual. Manny’s return just strengthened a team that had already been thriving without him.
How about that Albert Pujols? After a disappointing All Star Game, Pujols bursted out with a 2-4 night, including a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. He was just STELLAR. His offensive production is the single most important aspect to the Cardinals’ game. If he is not playing well, the Cardinals are going to struggle. Now, I don’t see that happening but if it does, that’s how things are going to be. Pujols is the best player in the MLB and is clearly recognized for it and has a very important role. He’s fantastic!
That’s all for now, so until next time…
Tim Lincecum… man what a great young stud this is. He is athletic, he is a great pitcher, he is really good looking… as many of my female friends say (but that’s besides the point). The point is, this kid is good. And I mean really good. Yesterday he displayed work that proves exactly how good he is in his outing against the St. Louis Cardinals. He tossed a two hitter, complete game shutout to the Cards in front of the opposing Cardinal crowd.
Well, I don’t think he could have gotten any better without throwing a perfect game. He struck out eight, gave up no walks. He had a commanding fastball (as he has his whole career) and was dominating with his secondary pitches. He was even doing it on the defensive end. In the fifth inning, Lincecum fielded a ball that was grounded just over the reach of his glove. He slid on the grass, picked it up and threw to first for the out. Did I mention he was really athletic?
He was just STELLAR. Seriously. He was great. He is definitely in contention for another Cy Young award. And the triple crown.. well I’m just saying it’s not out of reach.
Now, Lincecum wasn’t the only ace to throw a two hit, complete game shutout. Astros ace Roy Oswalt also did so. The only difference between these two starts is that Oswalt allowed one run and gave up two walkes. Other than that, Oswalt was STELLAR. He also got the win and the Astros got their series with the Padres under way with a win.
Oswalt has had a tough start to the season. Some say the WBC took its toll on him. Some say he is just slumping and is having a tough season. Well, this win is going to give him a tremendous boost in confidence. You can’t pitch much better than he did yesterday without throwing a no hitter of perfect game. He is starting to get older but still has a lot left in him. I think he will get back into the groove of things soon because this win is going to get him going.
Oswalt now has a record of 4-4. This isn’t all that bad. He has a 4.02 ERA which is also respectable. He is going to get better as the season goes on so you can count on him being the ace the Astros are used to having.
So that’s the wrapup for today. They are both great pitchers and are going to continue to be great throughout their careers. Especially Lincecum. He is really something special. I’m excited to see him grow into a true professional. Not that he isn’t already there but there’s a little more to go. They both were absolutely STELLAR yesterday and I thought they should be recognized for it. Congrats guys.
Well that’s all. Adios!
As most of you who read Jeff Lung’s and Allen Krause’s “RedStateBlueState” blog would know, Jeff’s favorite team is the Tigers and Allen’s favorite team is the Cards. Well, the two teams faced off in the rubber match of their interleague series and the Tigers avoided a sweep with a 6-3 victory. With the 2-1 series win for the Redbirds, Allen gets bragging rights in this years Tigers-Cardinals matchup. Fortunately for Jeff, and his sanity, the Tigers were not swept and Jeff won’t go totally insane.
So, it was a pitching matchup of Joel Piniero and Rick Porcello. Both good arms that have had their share of good games and bad games this season. Porcello went 5.2 innings giving up 3 runs (1 Earned) on eight hits and two walks. He also had three K’s. Piniero went deeper into the game but ultimately got the loss. He went 7, giving up 4 runs (1 Earned) on 5 hits. He didn’t walk anyone and had 4 K’s. Other than Jason Motte, who gave up two runs on three hits (2 homers), the relievers were pretty good. Fernando Rodney did walk three guys in his save attempt but still got the save after shutting down the rest of the batters he faced.
Curtis Granderson (my guy), Placido Polanco, and Brandon Inge all had two hits on the day. Polanco had a homer off Motte in the eighth. Other than these three guys, the rest of the offense was quiet. Marcus Thames also had a homer, his only hit of the day, to drive in one. Gerald Laird also drove in one on one hit. So overall, the Tigers offense didn’t do too bad, but they did better than the Cards’ offense which is all that needs to be done to win a game.
So, Allen, don’t get on Jeff’s back too much. And Jeff, good luck.