Children, the day of reckoning is upon us. Pioneers, O pioneers. Just kidding, I like that commercial though. The World Series begins tonight and now that I am finally done studying and taking the GRE, I can bring John Q. Reader a full preview of the Fall Classic. This World Series is rare in that I believe that the best teams in each league are involved. With the Wild Card in place, often there are teams that just get hot down the stretch and streak to the World Series. This year is different. That being said, I don't think that this series will be a nail biter or a 7 gamer. Needless to say, there will be quite a bit of power on display, and I think that one team will simply over match the other. I could really see it going either way in 5 games, but for the sake of my hometown, and all of my hypotheses that I have handed down over the past year or so, I will say that the Phillies take the World Series in 5 games. Now for the fun part: position by position analysis.
CATCHER: During the regular season, I would say Jorge Posada has the advantage in a heartbeat. However, Senor Octubre is coming on strong in the postseason. Chooch plays better defense and has a better arm than Posada. Moreover, Posada is being bitched out by one of the Flying Molinas whenever A.J. Burnett pitches. I will still give the nod to Jorge, but not by much.
FIRST BASE: During the regular season, I would most likely give this a PUSH. Teixeira is a bit better of a glove man, while Howard is a bit better of a slugger. In the postseason so far though, I gotta give it to Howie. Teixeira's hitting hasn't been there, while Howard has had an RBI in all but one game for the Phils.
SECOND BASE: Dear Chase, I feel like I can call you Chase because you and me are so much alike. I would love to meet you someday. It would be great to have a catch. I know I can't throw as fast as you, but I think you would be impressed with my speed. I love your hair. You run fast. Did you have a good relationship with your father? Me neither. These are all things we can talk about and more. I know you have not been getting my letters, because I know you would write back if you did. And I hope you write back this time, and we get to be good friends. I am sure our relationship would be a real home run.
SHORTSTOP: Simply put, Jetuh's Awesome! Though Rollins is very good, and might have a step on Jeter defensively, there is no way I could even call this a push.
THIRD BASE: Pedro? Nope. I think it's pretty clear who wins this matchup.
LEFT FIELD: Johnny Damon loses major points for having the weakest arm in all of baseball. I'm not just talking about Major League Baseball. I'm talking about the whole game of baseball. Moreover, Raul Ibanez is a better hitter as well. The only area Damon wins is speed.
CENTER FIELD: I'm gonna put the Melk Man and Shane Victorino at a push offensively. But in terms of speed and defense, Victorino has got the edge.
RIGHT FIELD: Jayson Werth is better than Nick Swisher both offensively and defensively. I also see him dropping bombs in Yankee Stadium
DH: I'll give the Yankees the edge here since they actually have a DH in Matsui. However, I will also mention than not having Matsui in games 3-5 is going to create a hole in the order and be a great disadvantage for the Yanks. Also, I can't wait to see this man DH in Yankee Stadium. Oh boy oh boy oh boy.
STARTING PITCHING: I'd put CC and Clifford the Big Red Dog as a push. After that though, I would give the Yankees a slight edge in the rotation. Burnett and Pettitte are a bit more formidable than Pedro and Cole Hamels these days. If Cole can somehow summon his 2008 playoff form though, watch out.
BULLPEN: Wow, where to start. I'd say that the Phillies middle relief and set up men are better than the Yankees. Chan Ho Park has been simply amazing. Madson is starting to rear back and fire the ball again. Scott Eyre continues to dumbfound me with his ability to get hitters out. Meanwhile, Phil Hughes, Joba Rules et al. have been less than impressive. Then we get to the closer. Mariano is the best closer of all time. Even though Lidge has been solid in the playoffs, he can not stack up to Mariano. It will take an entire bullpen against these great hitting lineups though, so I will give the nod to the Phils in the slightest of margins.
In the final tally, the Phillies win by one category. Very close. How these players match up against each other may not be as important as the parks they play in though. I really see the Phillies having a huge advantage with the short left field porch in Yankee Stadium. With three powerful lefties, the ball could be flying out of there. Not to mention Jayson Werth's affinity for the opposite field blast, and the possibility of a Matt Stairs DH situation. Throw in the Yankees big boppers, and this has all the makings of a straight slugfest. A real slobberknocker. As I said before, I don't see this series going that deep. I see one team winning convincingly, and it could very easily be either team. As has been the case in their past 5 series though, I like the Phils to lose one game but win the series.
P.S. Look for me and Ryan Firkser on the news on Saturday night. I portend bad things.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The earth's axis will rotate precisely on South Bend, Indiana this Saturday. The Boston College Eagles will be taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the "Holy War" aka the battle of the pompous rich white Catholic schools. These schools both have a bevy of famous alumni; Amy Poehler, Chris O'Donnell and Casey Dorne for BC, Regis Philbin, Jason Zimbler and Joe Montana for ND, and I expect all the students to be pumped for this big game. Maroon and gold caravans have been seen heading from Chestnut Hill to South Bend the entire week (fridges stocked with Busch Light and Jell-o shots of course) and the Notre Dame students have been getting home well before their curfew to throw up a few prayers for the Irish. Despite the great hoopla and interest surrounding this game, it is not that great of a game. It is the equivalent of the Chiefs/Raiders rivalry nowadays. Great history, not so great football. I like the Irish in a rout this year.
There is nothing like a battle for supremacy between two unranked teams! Both BC and Notre Dame students think that they go to the mecca of college football programs, unfortunately that is not the case. 20 years ago, maybe, but not anymore. Virginia Tech made it abundantly clear to BC that they are a second rate team, and USC's dominance over the Irish have the students longing for the Lou Holtz era. The Holy War is a way for both teams to vent their frustrations, and over the years has been very entertaining and competitive. Fans of each team should not let this win go to their heads though.
This year the Irish are playing some decent ball. Jimmy Clausen has rallied the troops after a tough loss to Michigan and they played very well against USC last week. BC has beaten up on some mediocre competition, but got crushed by the Hokies in a real litmus test. I like the Irish to wake up the echoes of the Notre Dame teams of old and to shake down the thunder on BC, rolling them to the tune of about 35-10. In turn Casey Dorne will cease all booster and fundraising activities for his alma mater.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Wow! I must admit, I thought the series was tied. I was thinking that Cole has to win on Wednesday and then we will have a good chance with Cliff Lee on Friday. Then it happened. The indomitable Jonathan Broxton met his kryptonite again. Matt Stairs came lumbering up to the plate and drew a walk. Then Ruiz got hit. After a measly Greg Dobb's line out, Jimmy Rollins defied the odds and ripped a 99mph fastball into the gap for a game winning double. In an eerily similar scene to game 4 of 2008, Jon Broxton shuffled his meaty, child bearing ass back to the dugout as the loser again.
I remember game 4 last year like it was yesterday. Before the game, I was just a die hard Phillies fan without a real cause. Without a true love. The Phils had taken a 2-0 lead in the series only to drop the next game, and in the 8th inning of game 4 it wasn't looking good. I was preparing for game 5 with the series tied, when Shane Victorino hit a game tying two run shot. Then a few batters later, I saw god. With the game in the balance, Matt Stairs stepped in and showed then set up man Jonathan Broxton what it means to be a man by ripping one into the night. Way outta here. I'm not sure, but I think Broxton had pee dripping down his leg and was crying after the exchange. Of course the Phils went on to win the game, and the series on their way to a World Series title.
This year, different park, different situation, same ending. Broxton, now the closer, appeared to be cruising. He got Werth on a fly out to finish the 8th, and Ibanez on a ground out to start the 9th. Phillies fans would be lying to you if they weren't thinking that the series was returning to L.A. at this point. Then that man came to the plate again. Immediately the 6 foot 5 inch, 290 (on a good day) pound Broxton began to resemble someone more like this. I've never seen 4 more timid pitches to Stairs. Walk. Next batter, Ruiz gets hit. Wow. Up comes Dobbs and fists one (becoming commonplace in these playoffs) to third. Two out. Still very worried as J-Roll strides up to the plate. He has not had what you would call a standout playoff series.
Then it happened again. Phillies win, Broxton waddles that tank ass off the mound, and the Phillies turn what looked like a tied series into a 3-1 stranglehold. It was Deja vu all over again. Absolutely insane.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Despite the clear cut story of the day being that the Detroit Shock are relocating to Tulsa, I would like to take a moment to talk about a player who is quickly becoming a folk hero in Philadelphia. The man they call "Chooch" (get it right TBS) could be most accurately described as an offensive liability all year. It was safe to say that he was in there for his defense, and the way he can handle the pitching staff. Yet somehow, in the postseason he has become a hitting sensation while still playing great defense and calling great games. If the Phillies win this series, Ryan Howard will probably garner most of the attention for his amazing RBI streak, but in my opinion it is Chooch that has been the most valuable player for the Phillies.
During the regular season in 2009, Carlos Ruiz batted a mediocre .255 with 9 home runs, 43 RBIs and 32 runs scored in 107 games. It is safe to say that in the postseason, the expectations of him were to play great defense and to control the pitching staff. So far, Ruiz has gone well above and beyond those expectations. In 7 postseason games, Ruiz is batting a robust .429 (.538 OBP) with a homer, 7 RBIs (one less than A-Rod), 3 runs scored and one stolen base. His 3 run tater off of Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLCS set the tone for the series and took the wind out of the Dodgers' sails right away. And as usual, he has played wonderfully behind the plate, keeping the Dodger bats in check and gunning down would be base stealers. Chooch has certainly been a huge surprise in the postseason.
By no means do I want to sell Ryan Howard short. His 2 out two run double in game 4 against the Rockies to tie the game was the epitome of clutch hitting and playoff heroism. Moreover, his streak of RBIs in 7 straight games is unbelievable. He will certainly be a leading candidate for NLCS MVP should the Phils move on to the World Series. However, RBI production and power hitting are what we have come to expect from Howard. Is anyone really surprised that he is doing this? Maybe a little surprised at the magnitude of his success, but quite frankly, that is what Howard does. He is an RBI machine. In that regard, I would throw my vote in for Ruiz as MVP. He is doing things that nobody thought he was capable of.
Never before have I been excited at the thought of the batter in the 8 hole coming up to the plate. Chooch has given the bottom of the order some serious clout and has given the opposing pitchers no breaks in the order. Carlos Ruiz was worthy of playing everyday even when his offense was mediocre, but now he is invaluable due to his clutch postseason hitting. Don't believe me? Just listen to the crowd at CBP when he comes to bat.
Friday, October 16, 2009
The Red River Shootout is upon us, and this year it is going to be a doozy. Sam Bradford is back from injury, Colt McCoy is looking to prove that his Longhorns are for real, and both teams have their eyes on the Big XII title. This promises to be a clash of the titans. The Red River Shootout represents everything that is good about college football, and in this year's showdown a shootout is exactly what I expect. In the end though, I imagine we will be hearing"Boomer Sooner" a few more times than we hear "Texas Fight".
For those of you unfamiliar, the Red River Shootout (now referred to as the Red River Rivalry due to pinko leftists) is the annual football game between Texas and Oklahoma that occurs during the Texas State Fair. The game is named as such because the Red River is what creates much of the border between the two states. The rivalry dates back to 1900, before Oklahoma was even a state, and since 1912 has been played in Dallas. Since 1932, the game has been played in the Cotton Bowl, situated evenly between both Austin, TX and Norman, OK where both campuses are located, and the tickets have been distributed evenly to both schools. The best part about it: they split them right down the 50 yard line. Texas holds the all time lead in the series with a record of 58-40-5.
Not only is this rivalry so great because of its history, but each team brings with it great tradition and pomp. Whether it be Hook 'em horns, BeVo, the Sooner Schooner, the cheerleaders, Boomer and Sooner themselves (or their mascot counterparts), the fight songs, the chants, the bands or the fact that they play for a Golden Hat, it all adds up to so much more than just a game. There are two ways of life on the line here. That is what makes this game so special. Simply put, it makes Lehigh football look like a pee wee program.
More often than not, both of the teams have been ranked for this game, and this year is no different. Moreover, some of the best players in the game of football are on display in the Red River Shootout and many of them go on to play in the NFL. This year is no different as Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy look to add to their resumes as two of the best QB's in college football with a win in the Shootout.
This year, even though Texas is sitting pretty at 5-0 and #3 in the nation, I like the #20 ranked Sooners (3-2) to pull off the upset. Texas hasn't really played anybody yet. Sure they have crushed the likes of Lousiana-Monroe, UTEP and Wyoming, but they have also looked very vulnerable in wins against Colorado and Texas Tech. Oklahoma has played tough through the injury to Sam Bradford and lost both of their games by one point to ranked opponents. I think OU's running game of DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown could give Texas lots of trouble, which could then open up the passing game for Sam Bradford to pick apart the Texas D. Whichever way it goes, I'm guessing that it is going to live up to the Texas/Oklahoma formula and be wild.
So when you wake up tomorrow after a long night of beer drinking and mirth, put on your slippers, throw a hot pocket in the microwave and sit back in your favorite baseball glove chair and enjoy the spectacle that is the Red River Shootout. It starts at noon on ABC.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Well, I've lost sleep, I have no fingernails left and I have eaten way too much beef jerky in the last two days, but the Phillies came through in dramatic fashion again last night to take the series 3-1 and put a quick end to the month of Rocktober. In a playoff round with very little drama, the Phillies and Rockies made things very interesting and some heroes stepped forward. As did some goats (Tulo, Street). Let's take a more in depth look at the Phillies/Rockies series, as well as look forward to both the ALCS and NLCS.
What a series. The Phillies in Rockies were very evenly matched, and ultimately the series came down to a slight pitching advantage for the Phillies. Both teams sure could hit. I'm pretty happy I don't have to here the name Carlos Gonzalez again until next year, and Yorvit Torrealba officially has become the most annoying player in baseball. Partially because of his clutch hitting (where was that all season?), but mostly because of his stupid parlor games behind home plate. Nobody was falling for your stupid fake set ups Yorvit. Torrealba paled in comparison to the annoying Rockies fan in the Fargo winter hat behind home plate though. Did anybody else see him? He was yelling at the ump to call strikes on pitches in the dirt, and waving a towel or moving spasmodically before every pitch a Phillies player made. That kid made me want to remember when I had my first beer, as well as fly to Denver, take a cab to the Historic Ballpark District, buy a ticket from a scalper, walk to my section behind home plate, have the usher show me my seat, then repeatedly punch that kid in the face until my entire arm was covered in blood, then head down to the Blake Street Tavern to celebrate.
I apologize for that rant. I had to get it off my chest though. In the end, the Phillies hitting was just a little more clutch than the Rox. Howard, Utley and Victorino were great, but Jayson Werth (see the resemblance?) really stood out in this series. Of course he had the game winning hit last night (someone please help me find a picture of him on first base celebrating after the hit) but it seemed that during every at bat he had the potential to get a hit, if not a homer. If there were an NLDS MVP, Werth would be the man. Moreover, the pitching that was a huge question mark for the Phils turned out to one up the Rockies. Cliff Lee looked like Cole Hamels of last year, and the much maligned Lights Out Lidge had 2 saves while Huston Street, whom the announcers were sweating all series, blew two huge saves. That was the difference my friends.
Coming into the NLCS, there is no reason why the Phils can't send the Dodgers packing again this year. However, there are a few that need to happen if this is going to occur. First and most frustrating, the Phillies need to play better defense. I don't know how many bunts and infield singles the Rockies got because of misplays by the Phils D. It seemed every time Todd Helton was up, he hit a little dribbler but got on base somehow because of a defensive miscue. The Phillies need to get the sure outs and work on their fielding a little bit more. Just play smart. Secondly, we need the Hamels of old back. In a 7 game series, the Phils can't rely on only Cliff Lee. We need a bit of that 2008 Hamels magic. Do it for your son! If those two things can come to fruition, I see no reason why the Phils bats can't beat the Dodgers into submission in 5 or 6 games. Just as an aside, I would love to see a Pedro vs. Manny showdown, as well as a encore of "The Home Run".
In the ALCS, we have the Evil Empire against a team on a mission from gahd. Both teams swept their way to the ALCS (why they aren't playing yet eludes me), and kncoked around some top flight closers in the process. As far as MVPs go, Torii Hunter has got to be the Angels most valuable player. His shot in game 1 was a thing of beauty and sent the message that the Angels are for real. For the Yanks, despite A-Rod's coming out party (pun intended), I gotta give the MVP to Jeter. He is the epitome of the Yankees in the playoffs and seems to get all of his hits at the right time. Moreover, he is an amazing leadoff hitter and is the model of patience at the plate. He didn't strike out once, and his two run jack to tie it up in game one seemed to suck the life right out of the Twins. It was all downhill from there.
In the Championship series I still like the Angels. They have a rotation of 4 great pitchers and a lineup that can certainly compete with the Yankees. I think CC is due for a let down game, as his past stats have shown, and the Angels 4 switch hitters will make for very tough outs for all of the Yankees pitchers. Look for John Lackey to continue to pitch very well, Mike Scioscia to out manage Joe Girardi, and the big man from Naples (Mike Napoli) to get some big time hits. The Angels will continue to ride the memory of their lost teammate Nick Adenhart and take the ALCS in 7.
Let's hope that both of these series are as good as the Rockies/Phils series. If so, we are in for some amazing baseball.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sometimes in the business of sports writing we all make bad predictions. The A's, Indians, Cubs and Diamondbacks in the playoffs? What was I thinking? Tiger to win every major this year? WHO COMES UP WITH THIS STUFF? I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them right now. The most popular, and most glaring error made this year by writers though was in regard to the Denver Broncos. Before the season even started, I was calling for McDaniels' job and saying that Denver would be one of the worst teams in football. Now they are sitting at 5-0 and have just defeated the mighty Bill Billabill, King of the poofy jacket, and the Pats. As Jack Black once said in perhaps his finest role ever, Augie the goalie in "Airborne", "I guess we just figured you all wrong. Shoot man, I am really sorry". If you've never seen "Airborne", you must. Fast forward to about 9:20 to catch the Jack Black scene. Or watch the movie in its entirety. Anyway, looks like Josh McDaniels has earned the respect of the sports writing community.
The Broncos putrid uniforms (Jabar Gaffney's crooked socks yesterday hearkened back to images of this) and signing of the filthy whore of a turncoat Brian Dawkins aside, they have made all the right moves this year. Their defense has been very stout, and Kyle Orton and Brandon Marshall have been enough for them to win every game. A lot of credit has to go to Josh McDaniels for all of this. When it looked like his team was spinning out of control earlier this year, he has been able to unify everyone and get them to play as a team. Bravo.
At first I thought that the Broncos were the benefactors of an easy schedule (and lucky), but their win this weekend showed that they are for real. That said though, I still think they have a lot more to do to be an elite team. Nonetheless, I am very impressed with Josh McDaniels so far this year and for lunch I will be eating my words, with a side of crow. Lookin' tough.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Before I get into today's post, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about how awful the playoff baseball coverage has been so far on TBS. The commentary is decent, but the video and sound has been just awful. Every 5 minutes it seems that the sound goes out or the camera angle is off. Just terrible. How could TBS fuck this up so badly? Moreover, did they not learn anything from last year with the commercials? One day in and I am already sick of every commercial. You think they could get a few more interested parties in their commercial spots during the playoffs, but apparently not. No, we have to watch commercial after commercial about avocados for Christ's sake. Honestly, that is the worst commercial I have ever seen. Definitely a company from California. I cringe every time I hear the baseball player say "That's bush league bra!". Also, who puts avocado on hot dogs? Moreover, is there any need for an avocado company to make a commercial? I didn't even know avocados came from a company. I thought they were just in the produce section. Fuck Hass. Then we have the second coming of FrankTV with The George Lopez Show. I give you one week Jorge. Finally, WHY IS THE WOMAN IN THE AVIS COMMERCIAL NOT PUSHING THE COPY BUTTON? I'm about to lose my mind!
Now, if I may shift gearssssss for a moment, to the President's Cup. For those of you unfamiliar, The Presidents Cup is the ugly stepbrother of the Ryder Cup in which golfers from the USA compete against the rest of the world excluding Europe. While it is not as popular as the USA/Europe Ryder Cup, it should make for some quality golf. Since its inception in 1994, the US has owned the World team with a record of 5-1-1, and I think this year will be no different.
The first thing the jumps out at me for this year's cup are the captains. Freddy "Boom Boom" Couples and Greg "The Shark" Norman. These guys are both still competitive golfers, whereas in years past the captains have been crusty old guys like Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. Norman has been the consummate runner up (see picture) in golf history though so I think that this might echo in his team. It will be interesting to see how Boom Boom and honorary captain Michael "The Aaaair....man" Jordan fire up their team. I think it could be a smoke show. Pun intended. Damn California hippies "I ordered a Zima, not emphysema." MJ is the perfect guy to have as a captain because he wants to win at all costs, and gamble. By Sunday, Jordan will probably have a 12 way parlay for 100 grand going on the match play events. They should get Barkley out there too for more gambling, and for comedic value of course.
Now let's take a look at the teams. Simply put, the USA is going to dominate. The teams are split with major winners Cink and Glover for USA, and Cabrera and Yang for World, but as far as overall success this season, the US is way better. Tiger, Fat Phil, Steve Stricker, Kenny Perry and Sean O'Hair were all in the running for the Fed Ex Cup this year on the final day. Who can say that on the World team? Exactly. They are trotting out faded superstars like Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh (my boy) It will be interesting to watch how the young guns on each side compete though. Hunter Mahan, Anthony Kim and Sean O'Hair will be tested against the likes of Ryo Ishikawa, Camillo Villegas and Adam Scott for the battle of who's next in professional golf. As I said though, the World team overall should be no match for the USA.
Look for the raucous home crowd at Harding Park Golf Club (yes, named after Warren Harding) to benefit the USA team, as well the experience that the Americans have at this course to play a role. Tiger Woods won the only event held at this course since it was re-opened. John Daly came in second and should be on this team. That said, some guys that I think could stand out in this year's cup are Tiger Woods of course, Geoff Ogilvy (esp. in match play), Y.E. Yang, Camillo Villegas, Sean O'Hair and Hunter Mahan. As I said before though, I like USA in a romp 20-14. Now let's sit back, put on our favorite flannel, click the on button for the fireplace, and watch some playoff baseball and mix in a little fall golf as the leaves begin to fall on the greens.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Hhhhhholy smokes!!!! We've seen one game playoffs with high drama in '08 and '07 but neither of them were anywhere close to last night's game. Twins fans and Tigers fans probably have no fingernails left. Last night's game was certainly one of the best games I have ever seen, but not because of how good the game was. Last night's game was so amazing because it perfectly summed up the two teams that were playing in it. Neither the Twins nor the Tigers played a perfect game, and it is clear why both teams were only 10 games over .500, and why a playoff game was necessary in the first place.
Last night's game was so full of mistakes that it is hard to believe that either team ever did enough right to win. I can't count how many mistakes I saw each team and manager make in this game: Casilla's terrible tag up, Denard Span's throw to third, Ryan Raburn's misplay in the outfield, Porcello's throwing error, Leyland taking Ordonez out for a pinch runner, Gardenhire removing Kubel in the 8th for a defensive replacement, Gardenhire not bringing Nathan in to start the 8th, both teams failing to score with RISP many many times, all of these mistakes in my mind had a huge effect on the outcome of the game. But they also made the game amazing to watch.
This game was a perfect play out for these two teams. Neither team is perfect. As a matter of fact, either team would have been the worst team in the playoffs record wise at 87-76. Moreover, last night's game shed light on just why both of these teams were deadlocked at 86-76 after 162 games. Both of these teams probably had chances to go about 91-71 but just made some of these small mistakes we saw last night throughout the season. In short, I have never seen two teams so evenly matched and evenly flawed. But hey, it made for one AMAZING baseball game.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
First we got to 50, then 100, but now it is time for the ever important Sesquicentennial post. Instead of a review of posts long past, I would like to look forward to the future. Most pressing is the baseball playoffs. With the do or die play in game tonight deciding the 8th and final playoff spot, let's take a look at what might happen this October.
As I have said, I like the Twins to take the one game playoff tonight. They are on a roll coming into tonight's game, and Miguel Cabrera will probably be too shitfaced to do anything for the Tigers. Therefore, we have the Twins facing the Yankees in the Divisional series along with the Red Sox against the Angels.
Yankees over Twins- I like the Yankees to dispel of the Twins in 3 or 4 games. The Twins have had a great run, but they simply will be gassed by the time they have to take on the Bronx Bombers. They will have to go up against a rested C.C., Burnett and Pettitte, whereas the Yankees will be facing several tired pitchers. This simply is not fair. But that is what you get when you need an extra game to decide your fate. The Yankees clinched everything long ago and will be more than the Twins are prepared for.
Angels over Red Sox- The Red Sox backed their way into the playoffs and haven't really showed us anything in a while. This leads me to believe that they will finally be vanquished by the Angels, who are playing for their lost teammate Nick Adenhart. The Sox certainly have an advantage in power pitching with Lester and Beckett to start games 1 and 2. But Lackey, Weaver and Kazmir (HUGE pickup) are no stiffs. I like the Angels to exercise their playoff demons and finally beat the sluggish Red Sox in 5 games.
Phillies over Rockies- In case you were wondering about the title of today's post, it pertains to the Phillies schedule. Afternoon games on Wednesday and Thursday? For the defending World Series Champs? This may be more due to the fact that they are facing the Rockies, but it still seems that the Phils can't get no respect. Regardless, I like the Phillies in 5 in this series. The Phillies bullpen may not be too solid right now, but they should still have enough to beat the Rox. Cliff Lee stymied the Colorado lineup last time he faced them, and the Phillies have been all over game 2 starter Aaron Cook this year. Finally, the Phillies have home field advantage this year, as opposed to 2007 when they were swept en route to Colorado's World Series run. Different year, different teams, different result. Let's go Phils.
Cards over Dodgers- The Dodgers have been playing some of the worst baseball since the All Star break of any of the playoff teams. Manny Ramirez clearly needed whatever substance he was using because he hasn't done jack since his return from suspension. Moreover, the Cardinals 1-2 punch of Carpenter and Wainwright is extremely formidable and should snatch home field advantage right out of the Dodgers hands. Did I mention that they have these guys named Pujols and Holliday too? Both proven playoff heroes. Look for the Cards to put the Dodgers out of their misery pretty quickly. Cards in 3.
Angels over Yankees- What the Red Sox have been to the Angels over the years, so too have the Angels been to the Yankees. I think the Angels might be on a mission from gahd in this postseason. In a classic playoff series, I like the Angels to somehow work their magic against the Yankees and take the series in 7 games. Their pitching is a bit deeper in my opinion and their hitting can match up with the Yankees just fine. Besides, the Yankees can't win. They are the highest paid team in baseball.
Phillies over Cardinals- As much as I agree that the Phillies are a flawed team, I don't really see any team in the NL that is perfect. The Phillies went 4-1 against the Cardinals this year and I think that they are capable of winning in the postseason even without a solid closer. I could easily see this one going the other way as well though too. It's very hard to predict how teams will do in the postseason, but I like the Phillies bats, and starting pitching to somehow pull this one out in 6 or 7. Call me crazy, but at least someone is going to give the Phillies some respect.
Angels over Phillies- The Angels are on a mission from god. Plus the Phils were terrible against the AL in interleague this year. As much as I will be rooting for the contrary if this scenario plays out. I see the Angels winning it all this year. Too bad I picked the A's to win that division in the pre-season.
That's the way I see it. I wouldn't be surprised if every pick is wrong, but who knows. If you don't like it, you can go suck a railroad spike with Koey. Let's hear how you guys see it. 150.
Monday, October 5, 2009
There is quite a bit going on in the land of 10,000 lakes early this week. Tonight, we have Brett Favre facing his old team in the Metrodome, and tomorrow the homer hankies will be waving as the Twins take on the Tigers for all the marbles in the AL Central. The Metrodome ought to keep Gordon Bombay on retainer to flip the coin tonight and throw out the first pitch tomorrow, as this is the greatest spotlight that will ever shine on the Twin Cities. Let's break down both games, shall we.
Tonight, we should be in for a real treat as Brett Favre faces his old team. As detailed in last week's power rankings, I think that the Vikings are pretty overrated. Their defense is not where it has been in the last few years and has looked average against three less than average offenses (Cleveland, Cincy and Detroit). I gotta feeling, that tonight's gonna be a good night for Ryan Grant. The Packers defense on the other hand is due for a big game I think. Look for them to put some serious pressure on Favre and do their best to bottle up AP. I like the Packers to rain on the parade in Minneapolis and defeat the Vikes by a score of 35-21. Look for a few classic Favre INTs as well.
Tomorrow though, I can't see the Twins losing. The Homerdome will be rocking like it was when Kirby Puckett roamed the glass walls in the outfield, so weird, and the Twins will take advantage of not having to face Justin Verlander as he pitched yesterday. I see Joe Mauer going a very good looking 4-5 and proving he is the MVP by carrying the Twins into the playoffs. Scott Baker will shut down the inconsistent Tiger bats and the Twins will move on to face the Yankees. At that point they may want to call up Jack Morris or Frank Viola because they will not have any pitchers left to face the Yanks.
Now that the predictions are over, here are some things you might not have known about Minnesota:
Bob Dylan and Prince (#3) both hail from Minnesota
Bill Belichick is not from Minnesota
State Bird: the mosquito (fast forward to 36 seconds) . Actually its the Common Loon
My cousin went to college in Minnesota
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Fire up the grill, cram as many Busch Light cans into the standard issue Boston College fridge as you can, get the solo cups ready and Febreeze your favorite BC Superfan t-shirt, College Gameday is coming to Chestnut Hill.
The Mods will be the place to be on Saturday afternoon. This Hooverville style area where seniors at BC line up to live is home to the biggest tailgating area for this "party school". It is basically a big, caged in area that looks like a military barracks. On Saturday this is where the best parties are thrown before the BC football games. Journey can be heard from a mile away and nary a black person is seen. When Ray Kinsella asked "Is this heaven?" in Field of Dreams, the Mods is why Shoeless Joe Jackson replied "It's Iowa." This weekend should be a rocker.
The Eagles will be taking on Florida State in a battle of unranked teams. Why ESPN passed on #4 LSU between the hedges against #18 Georgia, or #7 USC at #24 Cal, or even #8 Oklahoma at #17 Miami for College Gameday eludes me, but fans of the ACC should be treated to a decent game. I like the Eagles to show that they are for real and upend the Seminoles, who seem very susceptible to let down games. Who knows, BC could even be ranked in the top 25 by Monday. One thing is for sure though, Alumni Stadium will be a sea of maroon and gold. LESSGOOOEEEEGULLLLSSS!!!!!
In other college football news, the game to watch is LSU at Georgia. Will the top 5 upsets continue for another week? This writer says "perhaps". LSU might be looking ahead to next week's tilt against the Gators, and could let this one slip away to those pesky bulldogs. In other ranked games, I like the Sooners to put the kibosh on the Hurricanes stint as darlings of the sports media, and USC to re-assert themselves as the class of the Pac-10 against Cal.
In the meantime, enjoy the Colorado/West Virginia game tonight, and keep your eyes peeled for #7 Noel Devine on WVU. Now you see him, now you don't. Also, don't forget to tip back a few Busch Lights and a jello shot or two for the kids from that Jesuit school in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Today's post will discuss two pressing issues. The first one will be the Philadelphia Phillies, and the second will be college football including but not limited to the Boston College Eagles. First things first, we will discuss the Phillies and their postseason chances.
In case you were living under a rock and missed it, the Phillies clinched the NL East for the third year in a row last night. Could the Phillies be turning into the Braves of the new millennium? Let's hope not, because that would mean that they aren't going to win another World Series. Burn.
To close out their 10-3 romp over the Astros last night, the Phillies turned to Brad Lidge with 2 outs in the 9th inning to seal the deal. This was a smart move by Charlie Manuel, putting Lidge in to clinch the NL East and hear the ovation from the fans. But honestly, if I was Lidge I would probably feel like a jackass. They won't even put me in for the entire inning? They have to wait for two outs (as a matter of fact I got a text from a certain ESPNBethlehem.com cover boy saying "Lidge is gonna blow this")? I understand the ideology behind the move, but is this going to cure Lidge? Doubtful.
It appears that this move means that Charlie Manuel is intent on returning Lidge to the closer role. I still think that this is going to be potentially very bad for the Phils. However, one thing going in their favor right now is that the offense is back. During the home stretch (and also the Fantasy Baseball playoffs, much to my chagrin) the Phils bats were very quiet and they had a lot of close games that Lidge promptly screwed up. Now it looks as though the bats are back in action, which could lead to a lot of high scoring games for the Phils and less save situations.
Besides the bats heating up, the Phils also got three very key players back from injury: J.C. Romero, Scott Eyre and Brett Myers. These guys are all going to be very important in the back end of the bullpen, and will give guys like Madson, Lidge and Chad Durbin a rest in the last few games here. That said, everyone will be fresh for the playoffs. Bada bing, bada boom. KABOOM! The Phils are back.
The way I see it now, there is no reason that the Phillies can't return to the World Series this year. No National League team is playing great right now, and as long as the Phils can get any sort of late game relief pitching they are just as good as everybody else. Plus they are the defending champs! Watch for the bats to go on a tear in October.