Results tagged ‘ Postseason ’

World Series

I just officially heard it for the first time, from a radio personality here:

"I just can’t see Colorado beating Boston in a seven-game series."

Absolutely preposterous. Just simply and utterly ridiculous. Please, everyone, don’t buy into this line of thinking, because it’s foolish. Baseball simply doesn’t work that way.


The ORIOLES could beat the Red Sox in a seven-game series. The GIANTS could beat the Red Sox in a seven-game series. This is not an 80-20 proposition. No playoff-caliber baseball team is a prohibitive favorite over any other playoff-caliber baseball team. The best team in the postseason is MAYBE a 60-40 favorite over the worst team in the postseason. And the Rox, assuredly, are not the worst team in the postseason.

Are the Red Sox the better team? You bet they are. They’re deep and balanced and the best team in baseball this year. If the two teams played 200 games, I’d say there was very little chance the Rockies would beat the Red Sox in the majority of those 200 games. But they’re playing seven games. And over seven games, one good team has pretty close to an even-money chance against another good team.

Then again, later in the same show I also just heard one of the on-air talents asking whether Colorado would have an advantage in cold weather. As though the Red Sox have never played games in the cold. You know, like, in Boston in the playoffs most years. ARGH. Trust me, I was there at Fenway in 04. Brutal weather.

I need to stop listening to sports radio.

-M, see below for the TLR post.

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, I covered the single best nine-inning game I’ve ever seen in my life.

The 2004 NLCS was a better series than last year’s, no doubt about it. Start to finish, amazing baseball. But for a single game, I don’t expect to top Game 7 of the ’06 NLCS. Endy Chavez’s catch was probably the best play I’ve ever seen, and that includes Edmonds on Brad Ausmus in Game 7 in 2004. Jeff Suppan‘s escape in the next inning was huge, and IMO, as critical as any other juncture in the entire game. Molina’s home run was just stunning, and of course Wainwright’s escape in the ninth was classic baseball drama. That one will be remembered for a long time, not just in St. Louis.

Really phenomenal baseball. Sometime about the seventh inning or so, I just started saying things like, "I can’t believe I’m paid to be here."

Here’s hoping that the ALCS and/or World Series deliver some ball of that quality before October is out.

-M.

(now playing: Timbaland, Shock Value.)

We're talking about unchecked aggression here

(BTW, first of all thanks to the truly awesome Big Lebowski Quote Generator for many of my recent subject headers. Though if you click on the link, be warned that it includes some decidedly R-rated language. Anyway.)

I called Matt Holliday’s homer in the fourth tonight. Knew Micah Owings was going to make a mistake to him, and knew Holliday would pounce. And there’s a reason I was able to call it — because there’s absolutely no way Owings should still have been in the ballgame. He was clearly flagging. He’d thrown 29 pitches in the inning — twenty-nine! He’d taken a pretty good tumble on Torrealba’s ball earlier in the inning.

Oh, and it was Matt Bloody Holliday coming to the plate, only the best hitter in the stadium.

So it’s Game 4. Win or your season is done. You’ve got a very good, very deep bullpen with guys who can go more than an inning. Your starter is clearly fading and has worked extremely hard. The best hitter on either team is at the plate. It’s a two-run game and your team is still in it, but one big hit and the lead is probably too big to overcome. Why, exactly, is Owings still in the game?

(Note — Holliday is 5-for-8 against Juan Cruz, the reliever who eventually came in. So there’s that. But still.)

I like how Melvin has managed for much of the postseason. For the most part, he seems to have a grasp of the single most crucial element of postseason tactical managing — you MUST win today’s game, never mind anything after today. But I really think he dropped the ball tonight. It’s a no-tomorrow game and he didn’t seize on a chance to keep it winnable.

-M.

Playoff blogging from Phoenix

Greetings, all…

Although the Cardenales are done for the year, your faithful correspondent is not. After the utterly awesome Mrs. got up early and procured us a delicious breakfast (I’m usually a yogurt-and-a-banana kind of guy), I got on a plane this morning and headed west for the Valley of the Sun. It’s hot and sunny and beautiful here, though I’ve heard we could have some dicey weather over the weekend in Chicago.

Anyway. I plan to do some Cardinals season-wrapup blogging at some point in the coming days, but I also wanted to let y’all know that I’ll be checking in from the division series. I’ll also be gaining weight, as Phoenix is the only city in America with the nation’s two greatest burger chains: In-N-Out (though not the one on Camrose) and Whataburger.

Hope y’all are well. Talk at you later this week — and thanks again for the greetings.

-M.

Has the whole world gone crazy?!?

Postseason workout days challenge writers in many ways — coming up with clever story angles when there’s not a game, making your travel arrangements work so as to be there for early afternoon starts, etc. etc. This is not a complaint, as I absolutely love the postseason. It’s just that workout days are more of a challenge than game days.

But this is the big one: food. You arrive at the park late morning or very early afternoon, and you’re there until the evening. And there just. is. no. food. The popcorn machine? Turned off. Peanuts? No way. The box lunches that we get on game days? Ha!

So veteran scribes know to be creative. I bring a little bag of munchies — today a granola bar and some potato chips, sometimes some fruit, whatever. And then there’s the sad case of one out-of-town writer, who arrived at Busch Stadium with a tasty burger and fries. He sat it down, turned to speak with another writer, looked back — and his fries were gone.

This, friends, is just wrong. Just plain wrong. I hope they cause great indigestional distress for the person who swiped them.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me. I need to go home and have some dinner. I’m starting to fade a little bit — nothing but a granola bar and pringles since this morning, y’know.

-M.

This is bowling. There are rules.

Hope y’all don’t mind a flood of posts today. Just one more thing on yesterday’s clincher — a few things I observed in the midst of the celebration yesterday.

  • At one point while Reggie Sanders was talking to reporters, he was jumped by a slew of teammates chanting "M-V-P" and dousing him. Unfortunately there is no MVP award for a Division Series.
  • Throughout the celebration, there were little groups that appeared like champagne flash mobs. You’d see one guy signal to 3 or 4 or 5 others, and suddenly they’d all be on one unsuspecting teammate. Funny stuff. Dave Duncan was one of the main victims.
  • Maybe the funniest moment, to me, came when Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis were near each other. One said to the other — wish I remembered which — "let’s get a picture of the Game 4 starters!" And a photo was taken of the two of them.


-M.

Putting a bow on it

So, just a few odds and ends and thoughts on the wrapped-up Division Series…

  • Cardinals starters were really impressive. Mulder has been excellent, Carpenter had a fine game and Matt Morris may have impressed me most of all. He wasn’t perfect, but he consistently hit 93-94 with his sinker and mostly kept it down in the zone, and he had a better curveball than I can remember seeing from him in quite a few starts. Very encouraging going forward.

  • The bullpen concerns are valid, to an extent. I personally expect Ray King to have a strong LCS, and Randy Flores has to be considered a plus at this point. The right side misses Al Reyes, and Julian Tavarez’s difficulties against Houston seem to be an issue.

  • However, the offense is really a plus at this point. Albert Pujols quietly had a fine series, and his "supporting cast" nearly all did good things in the Div. Series. It’s easy to forget just how much the Cardinals missed having Reggie Sanders and Larry Walker at full strength. Those guys are essential.

  • The Cards should greatly benefit from some time off. Watch the Mulder situation closely; if he throws a bullpen Monday or Tuesday, that will be good news. Walker can almost certainly use a couple of days after being hit by a pitch and tumbling over the wall.

  • I don’t expect the roster to change significantly for the LCS, though I wouldn’t rule out a small tweak or two.

I’m in San Diego right now, heading back to STL on Monday. So greetings from "America’s Finest City." Can’t wait to be home with my bride-to-be and our dog and cat. Even in an beautiful city like this, there’s a lot to be said for home.

-M.

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