Tag Archive: Major League Baseball Playoffs

Oct 04 2017

2017 Playoffs: Senior League Wild Card (Rockies at Diamondbacks)

I thought it would be harder to pick a side in this one until I remembered Colorado has legal recreational marijuana (they don’t call Denver the Mile High City for nothing). Arizona is also the home of many reprehensible policies (particularly directed at those of hispanic descent) and if John McCain dies you can be …

Continue reading »

Oct 03 2017

2017 Playoffs: Junior League Wild Card (Twins at Yankees)

Damn Yankees. Did you know they started off as the Baltimore Orioles? As the most recent (2 years ago) YouTube comment points out, this song and dance is supposed to be ironic. Lola is a demon. On the other hand it is highly appropriate considering this musical is about both teams. On paper the Twins …

Continue reading »

Oct 29 2012

2012 World Series- Giants at Tigers, Game 4

I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan.

I know things.

For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring… which makes it like sex.

There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I’d never sleep with a player hitting under .250… not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there’s a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds.

Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone, I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. ‘Course, a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. ‘Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games.

Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball – now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God’s sake? It’s a long season and you gotta trust it. I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.

Well, about the only good news for Tigers fans is that tonight Scherzer (6 – 7, 3.74 ERA) is starting against Cain (16 – 5, 2.79 ERA) and if there has been a pitcher most consistently under rated this post season, it’s Scherzer and one consistently most over rated it’s Cain.

That said this looks like the last game of the year.

As always my feelings are mixed, I suppose if I were really a huge fan I’d have watched every single pitch of every single game.

At least the ones the Mets played.  At least the repeats of games I already knew were victories.  At least the ‘Fast Forward’ versions that skip the boring parts.  At least I could have slept through them.

Instead I’m a poor fanatic, easily distracted and influenced by outside events, hardly able to focus even at this late hour on the passing of moments that never come back and mourning them at the same time they’re squandered.

Of course I think that way all the time about everything, for instance the rice and bean burrito I just ate for dinner (I could have had anything), and at its best, when it captures my attention, it can make me forget about futility and the second law of thermodynamics for a time.

The wonderful thing about rice and bean burritos is they taste good and take exactly 45 seconds to make if you happen to have the rice and beans prepared and if not you’re only 25 unsupervised minutes away in any case.

You can use that time to head out to the store and buy your burritos and be hyper efficient.

For the Giants it’s a chance to close out and put a cap on a 2nd magical season in 3 years.  For the Senior League it extends their dominance and illustrates the inferiority of Junior almost but not quite Baseball.

For the Tigers it’s Scherzer and Cain and pray for rain since if they extend tonight it’s highly likely that we face 2 days of postponement for underwater Squirrels and that for sure will bring Verlander back into the picture and I refuse to believe that he’s as bad as his Game 1 start.

But above all I hope for bright and shiny objects.

This game played on Faux.

Oct 28 2012

2012 World Series- Giants at Tigers, Game 3

It’s hard to call any game where you don’t face elimination a ‘must win’ situation, but a game where you can put yourself in that position is certainly cause for alarm.  If anything I’m more discouraged about the Tigers’ prospects after the 8 – 3 loss Thursday than I was by their 2 – 0 shutout on Wednesday (Oops, swap Wednesday and Thursday).

I mean, if your bats are working and your pitching and defense can’t keep you in the game enough to make them matter you are really being outclassed.  Bumgarner, totally ineffective throughout the post season, is suddenly invincible and Verlander the unstoppable winning machine looks like a minor leaguer tossing practice.

And unless the Tigers extend tonight there’s every prospect he can dust off his putter in time for a quick round on the front nine while it’s not too dark to see.

“Then George had the heart attack and for the next 3 holes it was hit the ball, drag George, hit the ball, drag George.”

It’s only a game.

Baseball on Objectivism

I always figured it was talent made a man big, you know, if I was the best at something. I mean, we’re the guys they come to see. Without us, there ain’t a ballgame. Yeah, but look at who’s holding the money and look at who’s facing a jail cell. Talent don’t mean nothing. And where’s Comiskey and Sullivan, Attell, Rothstein? Out in the back room cutting up profits, that’s where. That’s the damn conspiracy.

Of course if you haven’t irresponsibly committed yourself in print or have a natural affinity for pretty places that could slide into the ocean at any random instant it may look like a a fairly good Series to you until it all comes to a crashing (but triumphant) end tomorrow when it will be wait until Pitchers and Catchers for everybody.

Well I fell asleep, then I woke feelin kinda queer

Lola looked at me and said, ooh you look so weird.

She said, man, there’s really something wrong with you.

One day you’re gonna self-destruct.

Youre up, you’re down, I can’t work you out

You get a good thing goin then you blow yourself out.

On Opening Day every team starts out leading.

I think I’ve mentioned my former brother-in-law who thought ‘good sport’ meant sitting on an insurmountable advantage and tormenting you with it.  He was (and is) a huge Red Sox fan in a sea of pinstripes because he feels violent encounters with random strangers is more entertaining than the game.  I had the good fortune to watch Game 6 in ’86 with him, at least until he beat his wreck room TV into spark spitting submission with a cue and my sister wisely moved the party to a room with a better working and far more expensive unit and fewer potential missiles and blunt objects.

Which is, I guess, my way of saying that miracles can happen and tonight is as good a time as any.

The Giants are starting Vogelsong (14 – 9, 3.37 ERA)  against Sanchez (4 – 6, 3.74 ERA).  This is good news for the ‘Grrs because if history teaches us anything it’s that Aces are the worst pitchers on your staff and never, ever win.  Too bad they will only face him once.

And win or lose there is always Sunday when we shall worship at the Church of Baseball at least one last time this year.

All games played on Faux.

Oct 26 2012

2012 World Series- Tigers at Giants, Game 2

Split away, win at home.  The Tigers can still avoid a return trip to AT&T if they win tonight and sweep Comerica, but that prospect is less likely than even the 8 – 3 score would indicate.  They looked bad last night and had their Ace blown away by arguably the 2nd worst pitcher in the Giants’ rotation.

Today they send their second best, Fister (10 – 10, 3.45 ERA), against Bumgarner (16 – 11, 3.37 ERA) who is clearly the biggest under performer in the post season other than ARod and the rest of the hapless Yankee bats.  Sabathia went in for bone spur surgery today by the way.

We’ve been bombing cities every day and every night all over the U.S., only people never know it.

I’m not sure why people find solace or redemption in Baseball, it’s just a game.  Like most sport the only entertaining quality is novelty in the detail and the only benefit to humanity the distraction it provides from the bigger indignities.  Is toughing it out to prove a B-47 can fly to Japan and back worth your 5 minutes as a Doctor ‘Moonlight’ Graham?

Don’t tell me about your little problems! I’m only interested in results!

Oct 25 2012

2012 World Series- Tigers at Giants, Game 1

Bottom Line First

Much as I hate to admit it, I think the Tigers will beat the Giants despite-

The Inherent Senior League Advantage

With all the great players playing ball right now, how well do you think you would do against today’s pitchers?

Well, I figure against today’s pitchers I’d only probably hit about .290.

.290? Well that’s amazing, because you batted over .400 a… a whole bunch of times. Now tell us all, we’d all like to know, why do you think you’d only hit .290?

Well, I’m 72 fucking years old you ignorant son of a bitch.

Now I’m over 120 years old (mid 30s in 1923, do the math) so I got to see Ty Cobb play and “sadistic, slashing, swashbuckling despot who waged war in the guise of sport” is the way he described himself (I also agree with Al Stump about the less redeeming aspects of his character, revisionists are simply using contrarian posing and novelty to peddle their publications when they are not being willfully disingenuous to advance an agenda).

Back in the day (before 1973 so not all that long ago) there was no such thing as a ‘Designated Hitter’.  Strategically the very best things that can be said about it are that it eats up a roster position better used for a younger and more talented player to extend the career of a popular has been, and that it ‘saves’ your highly paid prima donna pitchers from the indignity of batting practice and injury.

Tactically it means that in any game you play in a Senior League Stadium you-

a) Have to bat a Pitcher for a likely out due to sheer lack of practice if nothing else (and still expose him to injury).

b) Have to field a player who, if he was any good at all any more, would still have a real job instead of riding the bench because he’s too hopelessly unco-ordinated and clumsy even for right field.

So you’re effectively ruining 2 positions out of the 9 in your line up, a 22% waste.

Does this ever work to your advantage?  No.  A Senior League Manager can point at any random player on his bench and reasonably expect him to be a better batter than his Pitcher (though not always, Babe Ruth could hit too).  Problem solved!

“ek,” you say, “why then are you picking the Junior League to win?”

Rotation, rotation, rotation

Are you getting dizzy yet?

Not that these couldn’t change mind you, but this is the way the match ups are setting up

Tigers Giants
Wednesday Verlander (17 – 8, 2.64 ERA) Zito (15 – 8, 4.15 ERA)
Thursday Fister (10 – 10, 3.45 ERA) Bumgarner (16 – 11, 3.37 ERA)
Saturday Sanchez (4 – 6, 3.74 ERA) Vogelsong (14 – 9, 3.37 ERA)
Sunday Scherzer (6 – 7, 3.74 ERA) Cain (16 – 5, 2.79 ERA)
*Monday Verlander (17 – 8, 2.64 ERA) Zito (15 – 8, 4.15 ERA)
*Wednesday Fister (10 – 10, 3.45 ERA) Bumgarner (16 – 11, 3.37 ERA)
*Thursday Verlander? (17 – 8, 2.64 ERA) Vogelsong (14 – 9, 3.37 ERA)

* == if needed.

I would pitch Verlander on 4 days rest, theoretically he could go 3 for a critical game.  He’s been throwing 130 pitch 8 inning outings in the post season and the man is an unstoppable winning machine.  The Giants have no one that even compares (spare me the whining about Cain, he’s looked good the last 2 games but was distinctly ordinary before that).

Bumgarner has been hopeless and there is no reason to expect a change.  Vogelson is probably a Giants victory.  Scherzer beats Cain twice on Sundays.

My natural sympathies are with the Seniors.  There is nothing unworthy about the Giants, you can find reasons they should win, but on paper the Tigers are superior and superior enough that they should be able to overcome their disadvantages.  Cabrera could start hitting like a Triple Crown winner for example.

So now I’m committed on paper.  Enjoy the World Series.

All games played on Faux.

Oct 23 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Cardinals at Giants, Game 7

I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

It is the time of year when the long nights and horizon hugging days make me especially contentious and disagreeable, arguing with people who should be my friends and allies over infinitesimal differences between teams who’s fundamental distinguishing characteristics are the color of their uniforms and whether I have a good video for them or not.

Of course I’m talking about Baseball.  What else would I be talking about?

Unlike some other contests I’ve been fairly satisfied with the choices since the Divisional Series were decided and I’m not going to be especially unhappy regardless of who wins.  The Tigers are the team of my heritage, I was even born close to their Stadium.  I’ve been to San Francisco and think it’s a remarkably beautiful city and the weather is outstanding.

On the other hand we have St. Louis and the Cardinals.

It’s better than Kansas City (Missouri or Kansas) but that’s hardly a ringing endorsement.  What makes it special to me is the type of Baseball they’ve played there, at the same Mid-Western stand, for over 120 years (yup, they’re older than I am and I was in my mid-30s in 1923).  It is real Baseball of the hard slide with sharpened spikes variety, the one without fences so the only Home Runs that count are the kind where you can circle all the bases before there is a play at the plate.

No 5 run Super Slams with exploding scoreboards and clowns, 6 Doubles will do quite nicely thank you.

Since last year (they were World Champions you know, 7 games over the Rangers) I’ve come to appreciate the Cardinals strengths, good pitching- starting and relief, good hitting, and good defense.  Smart management and base running.

They don’t have many weaknesses, the personnel changes that led some to discount their prospects this season seem to have effected them hardly at all.  They are farm deep in talent yet willing to deal to improve.  When you think about dictionary definitions of the Senior League you can do much worse than to simply frame the most successful franchise in the history of the sport except for the Yankees.

Can they lose tonight?  Sure.  They’re not a ‘Team of Destiny’, they play pretty good Baseball.  They’ll be starting Lohse (16 – 3, 2.86 ERA) against Cain (16 – 5, 2.79 ERA) which I feel gives them an edge.  Should the City by the Bay emerge victorious you may hear some grousing from me that the Giants were full and enthusiastic participants in the Quisling exodus of the Senior League from the only baseball city you’ll ever need, but that’s just me being objectionable and obnoxious.

And now, while I still can, I give you…

The Rally Squirrel

Senior League Games are carried on Faux.

Oct 22 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Cardinals at Giants, Game 6

I’ll be kicking of tonight’s Game 6 of the National League Championship. ek hornbeck has been traveling this weekend and without internet access (hmmm, no cell phone either). While, I don’t quite have the same panache and mastery of my erstwhile friend, I will do my best using my limited knowledge of the “Great American Pastime” to inform and entertain you. My Pop used to take me to Yankee home games back in the 50’s, and with ek hornbeck’s expertise much of what Pop taught me about the basics of the game is coming back to me now.

We expected this series to be over Friday night, after the 8 – 3 blow out to the Cardinals on Thursday. The Giants fooled us and pulled off a 5 zip win that was pitched mostly by Barry Zito who was  left off the postseason roster when the Giants won the World Series in 2010. According to the New York Times sports writer, Tyler Kepner, if the Giants win the “pennant”, Zito will pitch Game 1 of the World Series against Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. However, the next two games are “must wins” for the Giants, as the Cardinals lead the series with 3 wins.

Tonight the pitching battle will be between the Giant’s right-handed, Ryan Vogelsong and the Cardinal’s right-handed, Chris Carpenter. This is Kepner’s analysis of the series so far:

The series has yielded few trends and little tension. The eventual winning team has never trailed at the end of any inning. Three games have been decided by at least five runs, somewhat obscuring the stellar work of both bullpens.

“We feel confident in our stuff,” said the Cardinals’ closer, Jason Motte, with good reason. Motte and his primary setup men – Mitchell Boggs, Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal – have allowed one run in 111/3 innings.

That run came off Boggs in the eighth inning of Game 5, when Pablo Sandoval hooked a homer down the right-field line. Sandoval also homered in the ninth inning of Game 4, making him the only player in the series with more than one home run.

Sandoval is 13 for 42 (.310) in the postseason, and his fans should be out in force at AT&T Park, wearing Panda hats. Like Zito, he has rediscovered a star that had dimmed two years ago. A late-season slump that stretched into the 2010 playoffs put Sandoval on the bench for four of the Giants’ five World Series games. [..]

The Cardinals have done a better job containing Buster Posey, the N.L. batting champion and the favorite for the M.V.P. award. Posey has managed just three singles in 18 at-bats this series, while his St. Louis counterpart, Yadier Molina, leads the Cardinals’ regulars with a .350 average.

Posey and Molina were behind the plate at the end of the last two World Series, and the pedigrees of the teams they guide may be the real story of this N.L.C.S. The Cardinals seem to thrive on brinkmanship, coming one strike from elimination in each of their last two postseason series, only to prevail in the end. The Giants won three elimination games on the road to win their division series.

But one game at a time, tonight’s game could go either way.

So in honor of the Giant’s home stadium advantage, don’t stop believing.

Senior League Games will be carried on Faux.

Oct 20 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Giants at Cardinals, Game 5

So the Yankees are done and the Grrrs wait until Wednesday to travel.  My Dad the Tigers fan shakes his head and says that it’s all well and good except that the Senior League is going to crush the upstart Juniors because they suck this season.  I agree but contend it’s for not-so-subtle structural reasons I’ll elaborate for you later, suffice it to say I strongly suspect I’ve been written out of the will.  My pinstriped Mom mimes in that charades way that she’s never talking to me again and she wants my ceremonial ‘The Next’ Lorelai ableskiver pan back because I’m a disgrace to the Gilmore name.  Baseball fever.  Catch it.

I imagine that my Left Coast readers will feel the same way after I sadly inform them the Giants have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

Now personally I have no horse in this race except for my always inappropriate (raw dripping animal skin, it’s the new black) but funny to me Rally Squirrel video.

Heh.

It’s not so much that they’re losing games, it’s that their offense is getting shut down by Cardinals pitching where Cardinals offense is just beating up their pitchers and that’s not going to change.  If Wainwright (Wainwright!) can put them away with Beltran benched (and I’ll admit straight up that Lincecum is an interesting story but a problematic pitcher) what the heck are they going to do tonight when they send Zito (15 – 8, 4.15 ERA) up against Lynn (18 – 7, 3.78 ERA)?  Put up the same 5 relievers (Kontos, Mijares, Mota, Affeldt, and Lopez) who allowed 4 runs after Lincecum sat?  That’s still a 4 – 2 Cardinals victory.

The good news is if they win tonight the Giants go back to AT&T Park and they’ll have Vogelsong and Cain facing Carpenter and Lohse.  Hypothetically in their favor for Game 6, not so much for Game 7.  You have to feel the Cards will be looking to close out so things don’t get that far.  They could use the rest to set up their rotation (which is otherwise pretty screwed) and I could sure use it to get ready for the World Series.

Not that my material will improve.  Like Slushy Dogs it will never get any better.

Senior League Games are carried on Faux.

Oct 19 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Giants at Cardinals, Game 4

So far the Cardinals have followed the ‘scrappy underdog’ playbook perfectly.  Split on the road, win at Home.  They could even look on today as a day off, but that would be a mistake.

When you’re winning you don’t want to give your opponents a chance.  First of all, why work harder than you have to?  By closing out now you get extra rest to straighten out your rotation and your Bullpen and heal up.

Also it’s fairer to your opponent.  I think I’ve told you about my ex-brother-in-law who liked to pile up insurmountable leads and then wait until you were close enough to finish you off.  Let’s start again at even you jerk.

Finally, I’m not sure it wouldn’t be less painful for Giants fans.  I keep thinking about this one kid in the stands couldn’t have been more than 12 or 13 years old, wearing his rally cap like his Dad and watching on the verge of tears as the runs ticked down.

When you’re that age it seems like forever.

But we’re still 2 games at Busch away and if they head back to AT&T Park with the Cards down 3 – 2 needing a sweep not a split anything could happen.

That’s why they play the games.

Starting tonight for the Cardinals is Adam Wainwright (14 – 13, 3.94 ERA) facing Tim Lincecum (10 – 15, 5.18 ERA) of the Giants.  Beltran will sit to rest last night’s injury.  You can tell the Giants think this game is important because they’ve shuffled the line up moving Posey to bat 3rd and Pence down to 6th.

Lincecum is an interesting story

Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports: He was the game’s best pitcher. He is now the guy whom the Giants sent into relief to start Barry Zito. This one start will not answer the question of who Lincecum will be – a washout whose league-worst 5.18 ERA indicates the beginning of a quick and painful downfall or the victim of a bad season bound to recover – nor is it trying to. What’s material in the postseason is how someone is playing now. It is a season for small-sample-size guesses, for gut feelings – for a marriage of numbers and scouting. And based as much on the latter as the former, Bochy is convinced that the Lincecum who revealed himself over the past two weeks as a crack relief pitcher – 8 1/3 innings, one run, one walk, nine strikeouts – is more real than the up-and-down mess who time and again followed one good start with a handful of bad ones.

Gwenn Knapp, Sports on Earth: After losing Game 3 to the Cardinals, Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced that, yes, the most decorated player on his team would be promoted from middle relief. Bochy had no other reasonable choice. The other options, Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner, had not delivered much beyond anxiety in their postseason appearances. There’s more to it than a default, though. Lincecum seduced Bochy. He beguiled his way back into the rotation with three stalwart relief appearances that blurred the memories of a 10-15 regular season, a 5.18 ERA and two wan final starts. One can assume that he barely made the playoff roster at all — who carries five starters in the postseason? — except for the quirks that allow him to relieve in a way that few starters can, and a history that demanded his presence. The Giants didn’t owe it to Lincecum to keep him for the playoffs. They owed it to themselves.

On the other hand-

Jayson Stark, ESPN.com: So what won’t those St. Louis Cardinals put themselves through to win a postseason baseball game, huh? That whole one-strike-away thing? Mastered. That death-defying, six-runs-behind-and-live-to-tell-about-it act? Done. That fabled infield-fly-rule magic? Been there. Done it. And that old gong-the-starter-in-the-second-inning trick? Perfected that one, too. So you know all that nutty stuff that happened to them in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday? Why the heck would that be a big deal? A 3½-hour rain delay in the bottom of the seventh inning? . . . A starting pitcher who allows 12 baserunners in 5? innings? . . . The scary sight of Carlos ‘Mr. October’ Beltran grabbing his knee and leaving the game in the second inning? . . . And ripping through the bullpen before the raindrops and then having to ask the closer to rip off the first six-out save of his life? No problema.

And lest you think I’m getting all soft and sentimental-

Junior League Games will be carried on TBS, Senior on Faux.

Older posts «

Fetch more items