The phenomenon that was the Philadelphia bullpen seems to have been forgotten as the Phillies’ ‘pen closed out the NLCS against the Dodgers last night with a 10-4 victory. The Phillies, the defending world champions, went into the postseason with probably the most inconsistent bullpen of the eight playoff teams. Brad Lidge, who was about as solid a closer as there was last year, had struggled over the course of the regular season with blown saves, bad decision making and incosistency. This was a big worry as many skeptics came about believing the Phillies would fall due to their bullpen. Those skeptics have been silenced for the time being as the Phillies bullpen has been nearly flawless throughout this postseason.
Last night’s picture of Brad Lidge pumping his fist is reminiscent of last season’s fist pumping as he closed out the World Series. Well, with only one more series to win, we could well be seeing this again very soon. But then again, we can’t forget about the Yankees.
The Yanks are on the verge of clinching a trip to the world series. With their ALCS lead, the Yanks are one win away to making one step closer to their 27th World Championship in franchise history. With phenominal pitching, the most explosive offense in the league and a consistent and solid bullpen, the Yankees are definitely the team to beat. The Phillies are a fantastic group of baseball players with some outstanding athletes up and down their roster, but the Yankees really have a group of guys that can match up with the best teams in the history of the MLB. If the Yankees beat the Angels today in their game five of the ALCS, they will advance onto the World Series and will create a matchup that is definitely not worth missing. Here’s a look at how the Yanks and Phils will matchup assuming the Yankees defeat the Angels. (No offense to the Angels of any Angels fans out there but it certainly looks as if the Yankees are going to advance to the World Series).
The two leadoff batters are certainly two guys that can lead off a game with big hit, spark a rally, or make a key defensive play. Both veterans of the league, Jeter and Rollins will top off the top two lineups in baseball.
Jeter has been a number two hitter most of his career and isn’t your typical leadoff hitter. Now, I’m not saying it’s like a usual number four hitter batting leadoff but more like a number two guy batting first. Jeter is definitely capable of producing in the leadoff spot, I’m mean look at his stats from this year. Joe Girardi’s decision to move Johnny Damon to the second spot in the lineup and move Jeter up one has proven successful as they have put up some staggering numbers.
Jimmy Rollins on the other hand is your typical leadoff guy. A guy that can get on base, run and score runs with ease. That’s what you generally think of in a leadoff guy. Not that Jeter can’t do that but Rollins fits the profile better due to the way the Phillies offense runs. Rollins came up with a big hit late in game 4 against the Dodgers where he drove in the winning run from first to pu the Phils up 3-1 in the series. J-Rol is clearly a great guy to start off your lineup with.
Johnny Damon, as I stated already, was moved down to the second spot in the lineup by Joe Girardi at the beginning of the season. The main reason for this was to let Jeter do his magic with his bat and let Damon, who can hit for power, hit in a more key spot with guys on base. Now, again, this swop can go either way but it has obviously worked out the way it is currently. Damon can hit for power, drive some guys in, and can still run better than most people think he can. Watch out for Damon, you don’t really want to underestimate him.
“The Flyin’ Hawaiin” Shane Victorino has been a solid force at the second spot in the Phillies lineup for years now. The switch hitter can hit well from both sides of the plate, can generate some power (as shown last night when he hit a bomb to left field) and can really run. This guy can really carry a team with his speed because with the guys following him in the lineup, he will most likely get to score some runs. With his speed, he can easily get into scoring position to make it easier on the guys following him.
To me, this is the most intriguing matchup of any of the players on either roster. Mark Teixeira can field, hit and has a great smile. Chase Utley, exactly the same. Both guys can hit, field and are just a great presence on their respective squads. I can’t really compare them any further, they are just so similar.
Two guys with a lot of power and good gloves at their respective positions fill up the middle of the lineup. Ryan Howard is a powerful guy that probably doesn’t think anything other than homer when coming up to the plate. Alex Rodriguez has had a great career and his play this postseason has been a sight for sore eyes. He has been phenominal. Rodriguez may have a better glove than Howard, but Howard is the next power hitting phenomenon that will hit the MLB. Rodriguez went under that category when he came up with the Mariners and now the likes of Howard, Prince Fielder and Pablo Sandoval fit that list. These two will most certainly fill a very very important role in this series.
I honestly have to give the advantage to the Phillies and Jayson Werth in this matchup. Nothing against the long time Yankee but the fact that Jayson Werth can consistently hit for a lot of power and has driven in more runs than Posada, Werth has the advantage. Posada has been such a key to the Yankees for so long. A great pitch caller who has always called great games for Yankee pitchers. He has had his great offensive games and he has had his tough ones, just like every baseball player ever to live. This matchup right now goes to Werth but just wait and see, Posada will still play a key part in this sereis.
Again, Ibanez and Matsui are a great matchup of players in the lineup. Ibanez can still play the outfield whereas Matsui has had a bad knee keeping him from playing the field. This isn’t all that big of a deal since we have had plenty of guys fill in with quality games and very successful seasons. His bat is still going and he may be getting old, but he still has plenty in his tank to put in his two cents for this series.
Ibanez has surprised everyone in the league this year with his outstanding outbreak in offensive production. He opened the season with some great power but over the season it has decreased in power. He still has a lot of power and can go off any tme which makes him so dangerous. Both these guys can go off on you and can really hurt an opposing pitcher. Watch out Phillies and Yankees pitching.
Alright, sorry I couldn’t finish today but I’ll get the rest of my matchup analysis tomorrow. Stay tuned.
I’ve got to do a research paper on Napoleon that is due tomorrow and I have been the biggest procrastinator over the past couple years and I don’t even have an opeing paragraph done yet. I’ve got to move fast and I don’t really have time to write much more than this. So here’s my predictions for the NL and AL championship series’.
Dodgers in six
Yankees is five
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…
Well, as much as I thought I would be busy this upcoming year, I have realized that I have a lot more time on my hands than I thought I would. I had planned on not being able to write on this blog for a while, since I would be doing track this year. Since I have the extra time, I figured I’d get back to blogging on the MLBlogosphere. And I mean c’mon. Can you blame me. I couldn’t stay away from this too long. And what a perfect time to come back, right as the playoff races are coming to a conclusionn. There is still no winner in the AL Central and NL West, the Yankees are dominating and the Red Sox got lucky to even get into the playoffs as the wild card, considering they haven’t been able to win consistently recently. Well, I’m back and… HERE WE GO!
To start off, the Tigers’- Twins series last week was phenominal. Every morning before school I would make sure I got to the t.v. and see the score of the game. It was a great series. Orlando Cabrera came up big in one game. Another, the Tigers’ pitchihng was dominating. The Twins had no answer. It was a great series.
The Yankees have been 100% untouchable over the past few weeks. Now, by untouchable, I don’t mean they haven’t been able to lose, because they have, but when they did, it hasn’t really struck anybody as a tough blow, the Yankees haven’t lost that much recently but when they did, it didn’t hurt. They have been on that kind of roll.
The Red Sox… well, I guess I can say they deserve to be in the playoffs over the Rangers who have all but fallen off the edge of the earth this past month. The Red Sox haven’t done all that much better. They clinched on a night when both them and the Rangers lost. They have been about as inconsistent of late than any other losing team. They won’t make it very far into the playoffs. If history runs its course, they will beat the Angels, but they won’t get past the Yankees in the ALCS if they even get that far.
The playoff race in the NL West has gotten a little slow lately but that is comparing it to the way it was when the Rockies were unbeatable. They have lost a few key games over the past few weeks but the race is still close. Neither the Dodgers or the Rox have clinched and it will most certainly go down to the wire. One thing that is definite… the Giants made a run but their pitching couldn’t carry them all the way. They need to hit too. All I have to say to the Rockies is this… if you’re gonna go out there and lose, you better watch out for the Braves who could easily sweep out of no where and take the wild card.
That’s all for now and I feel great. Until next time…
Over the course of the season, the Dodgers have been designated as the best team in the NL West. Well, since June, when the Rox were something like 15 games back of first place, the Rox have been one of the better overall teams in the Majors. They have been hitting, pitching, and playing good defense. The coaching has been really good as well with all the decision making they have to do over the course of a game. Jim Tracy has been the core of that team which has been so successful since June.
Last night, the Rox, as they have been for a while now, were on center stage, playing games that meant so much. If they lost, their position in either the West or the Wild Card would be affected. But they have been playing well and they have been winning. They have been moving up and past the Giants who were their closest competition in the Wild Card race. Now, they have their eyes on the Dodgers who they play a three game series against this week. Another very important series for the Rox that will keep them on the edge of their toes. That is another reason the team has been so successful lately. They know how important the games are and the way they prepare for them is effected by this.
Last night, the Rox and Giants finished off a series that took place over the weekend. The Rox really took advantage of the series as they won 3 out of 4 games. Last night’s victory came with hard work and determination. They were down late in the game and they came back from three down to win it. Jim Tracy was in a tough spot having only one bench player available to pinch hit. He worked around it though. In the final inning, Dexter Fowler took one off the knee and went down. He stayed in the game and was walked. Tracy told their pitcher who had to bat for himself since there was no one else to bat for him, to take every pitch since the opposing pitcher had walked the previous batter. The pitcher did what Tracy said and he got a nice four pitch walk to send him down to first. Another chance for the Rox.
Eventually, after a very wild inning of suspense, Ryan Spilborghs came up to the plate with the bases loaded and jacked one to right center field. A walk off grand slam ended a game that was one of the best in a while. A great game to watch I can assume. I am not anywhere near the Rockies’ television broadcasting but the replays on ESPN’s Sportscenter were amazing enough that I can assume the game was a great one.
The Rockies are in position to take over first place soon, as long as they have success against the Dodgers this week. If they can win a couple, or even complete a sweep, the Rox will surely take over first place before the season is over. The Yankees are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now…. I think the Rox are the next hottest team at the moment.
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.