Tag Archive: 2011 MLB Playoffs

Oct 29 2011

2011 World Series- Rangers at Cardinals Game 7

Late night?  Who, me?  I got a whole 3 hours of sleep before the banging from the roofers woke me up.  Fresh as a daisy I am.  But we’ll get to Qualifying in India when we get to it, for now let’s contemplate how huge yesterday’s loss was for the Rangers.  In a word, immense.

The only thing missing was Bill Buckner.

ek you say, how can you be so sanguine after a close fought 10 – 9 victory in 11 innings?  Well for one thing the home team has won 7 of the last 7 game 7s and there is that natural Senior League advantage in a Senior League park.  Also Washington wasted Holland who’s been the only starter who looked good the entire Series in relief when he could have started today on full rest.  In fairness my Dad points out that if they’d won Washington would have looked like a genius.

Instead they’ll pitch Matt Harrison, who gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings in Saturday’s 16 – 7 blowout.  The Cardinals will counter with Chris Carpenter who hasn’t looked all that impressive but better than Harrison.  The Bullpens are a ‘pick ’em’ after all the work they’ve had though Ogando and Feliz appear particularly tired.

Napoli will start which is good for the Rangers because they desperately need his bat, though how long his bad ankle will permit him to squat is a question.  Cruz will also start despite his groin pull.  Holliday will be benched in favor of Craig which is no handicap for the Cardinals given his pathetic .158 average.

And they have the Rally Squirrel-

Unless there is a rain delay this is the last game of the season and as I mentioned last night the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires December 11th, so enjoy your Baseball while you can.

Oct 28 2011

2011 World Series- Rangers at Cardinals Game 6

So we might get some Baseball tonight, but everyone except the players seems to be focused on last night’s rainout and the potential for a Carpenter/Harrison matchup tomorrow in Game 7.

And how’s that parity thing working out for you Bud?

Major League Baseball had what might have been considered a stroke of good luck in its matchup against N.F.L. football on Sunday night. NBC had what looked like a dreadful game on paper, with the winless Colts – minus the marquee quarterback Peyton Manning – against the powerful New Orleans Saints.

The game was a blowout from the start, with the final 62-7 score the most lopsided regular-season game since the merger of the N.F.L. with the A.F.L. in 1970. If ever the World Series had a chance to demonstrate its ratings strength, this was it.

Instead, it seems that younger viewers prefer even the least-compelling N.F.L. game to one of baseball’s most compelling.

In the 18-49 rating that determines so much about ratings supremacy in television, Sunday night football beat the World Series game – a close contest with a 1-0 score through seven innings – with a 5.2 rating to a 4.2 for the baseball game.

The downside is that the Cardinals have to get there first.  I’m putting up the Rally Squirrel early not because I believe in magical thinking, but because I really like Phineas and Ferb.

Still, there is no denying a lot rides on the outcome of tonight’s game (not the ratings, that’s cast in stone) if you want the Cardinals to win or the Rangers to lose or just want to see another Baseball game this year.

You may not know this, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association expires December 11th and there is no guarantee that there will even be a 2012 season, let alone games in March (though informed speculation is that there will be no problems).  This explains the dearth of news on reporting dates and other off season events.

Tonight’s matchup is Jaime Garcia against Colby Lewis.  On paper Garcia is stronger, but if LaRussa has a brain fart like he did in Game 5 and sends in the wrong pitcher from the Bullpen this season could be over sooner than you would hope.

I’m firmly expecting there will be another game and an eventual Cardinal victory.  Regardless there will be another stage of the disappointing end to the Formula One season Saturday (Qualifying) and Sunday at 4:30 and 5:00 am ET respectively.

Oct 25 2011

2011 World Series- Cardinals at Rangers Game 5

First, I want to emphasize that last night’s Cardinals loss wasn’t either unexpected or particularly decisive.  There were only 2 scores, a Solo Shot and a 3 Run HR, otherwise it was a pitchers duel just as I predicted.

It was kind of surprising that Derek Holland was the one to give the Rangers Bullpen a rest, but it was a ‘quality’ start on both sides so all the drek you read about advantage there is just that.

Tonight we have the Junior League version of Game 1 with C.J. Wilson and Chris Carpenter on the mound.  I don’t think having a DH gives the Rangers any benefit though it’s always more comfortable playing at home, especially one with a short porch.

What could be significant is how ineffective Wilson has been in the post season.  Counting Wednesday’s 3 – 2 loss he is 0 – 3 with a 7.17 ERA.

So I cheerfully expect some hitting after last night’s yawn fest.  Win or lose we’re headed back to Busch Stadium where the scalpers will be charging more for nosebleed seats than the Rangers’ measly $100.

As Stephen would say, the market has spoken.

Oct 24 2011

2011 World Series- Cardinals at Rangers Game 4

Oh I am so totally putting up the Rally Squirrel, not because I’m superstitious mind you, but so you have something to watch instead of W throwing out the first pitch.

I can hardly complain about last night’s results and all of a sudden those sport pundit statistics that were trending against the Cardinals are working in their favor.  The Rangers now look sorry and sad and are playing against zombie Mr. October or as I like to call it- The Pujols Problem.

He’ll never get another pitch to swing at unless it’s a mistake and it’s too bad for the Rangers he also runs and fields and is setting the table for good bats.

Now will the Rangers win another game?  I fully expect it and tonight may be their best opportunity.  Derek Holland is marginally better on paper than Edwin Jackson, but it boggles my mind that they’re not putting up Wilson and Carpenter on 3 days rest so they’re available for a game 6 or 7.  Maybe for the Rangers this makes sense since if they lose tonight they face elimination tomorrow.

Both Bullpens are tired and need what are called ‘quality’ starts where pitchers, if not exactly successful, at least eat up some innings.  The constantly wrong commentariat are looking for a repeat of yesterday’s slug fest, so I confidently predict a pitcher’s duel.

If the Cardinals do not win tonight, or even tomorrow, their fans (and you should certainly be rooting against the Rangers at a minimum) ought not be discouraged.  Last night’s victory ensures a return to Busch Stadium and the Rangers are at a serious disadvantage there.

Oct 23 2011

2011 World Series- Cardinals at Rangers Game 3

As it turns out, in a 1 – 1 series Game 3 can be kind of determinative (16 of the last 18) and I’m not at all sure why that is so.

It is the game in which you typically start your 3rd best pitcher for their one and only appearance while your Ace and 2nd best come up in your regular playoff rotation before their emergency, short rest, desperation starts in games 5 and 6 (if necessary).  Certainly the Rangers don’t want to visit Busch Stadium again where their team is at a distinct disadvantage, and any Cardinals victory at Arlington will ensure that.

On the mound will be Matt Harrison and Kyle Lohse.  Harrison has been doing much better in the playoffs with one win and a 4.22 ERA.  Lohse sports 2 losses and a 7.45, so you can expect an early hook if he looks like he’s in trouble.

The Cardinals will be able to play their pinch hitting phenom Allen Craig in Right with Lance Berkman moving to DH.

And in case you need a reminder of why we hate the Rangers, W is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch tomorrow night.

It might be a late game as they are predicting scattered thunderstorms and there could be delays.

Oct 21 2011

2011 World Series- Rangers at Cardinals Game 2

And how are things working out for you Mr. Selig (warning- NY Post link)?  From a more reputable source

(T)he overnight ratings for the Series – which have dwindled over the years – were 8 percent below last year’s overnights for Game 1. Fox can only hope the Fall Classic will go beyond four or five games, because interest substantially builds for sixth and seventh games(.)

Last year’s five-game Series averaged 14.2 million viewers – the second-lowest after 13.6 million in 2008. In 2009, the New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies series drew 19.4 million viewers.

Your shouldn’t really need any other reasons to hate on the Rangers, but just in case

“With all due respect to the Cardinals and their legendary fan base, it’s really their bad luck that they’re running up against the Texas Rangers, a team of destiny poised to win the World Series,” Perry said in a statement. “The Cardinals have had a great run, but this is about the here and now, and as Gov. Nixon and his fellow Missourians are about to discover, you simply can’t mess with Texas.”

Didn’t look too much like a team of destiny last night.

Even if the Cardinals win again today, a 2 – 0 deficit is not impossible to overcome though a Red Bird loss will force them to win a game in Arlington (which they should be planning on anyway).  However a Rangers loss will send them home looking plenty vincible.  It would be the same way they opened against the Giants last year when they were gone in 5.

The Cardinals will be starting Jaime Garcia, the Rangers Colby Lewis.  On paper this is a mismatch, Garcia is 0 – 2 in the post season with a 5.74 ERA and Lewis has a 4 – 1 record and 2.37.

On the other hand the Rangers still have a Pujols problem and the Cardinals have been particularly effective against right handers (remember, the Rangers only have a single lefty in the Bullpen) while the Rangers are unimpressive against leftys.

About that Senior/Junior League stuff

Part of the NL strategy, though, is not just filling out the lineup card. It’s getting your players into the game in the high-leverage moments that decide the outcome.



(I)n what turned out to be the Rangers’ last gasp, that seventh inning, Washington pinch hit Craig Gentry for David Murphy and then Esteban German for pitcher Alexi Ogando.

Both struck out. Gentry seemed overmatched, not only by lefty Marc Rzepczynski but also by the moment. German, meanwhile, hadn’t batted in nearly a month.

Left unused was the Rangers’ best right-handed bat on the bench, Yorvit Torrealba.



In the merry-go-round of pinch hitters and relievers that inning, Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando’s night was wasted by only facing two batters.

It’s not rocket science, this National League stuff. They have books and things.

Oct 20 2011

2011 World Series- Rangers at Cardinals Game 1

It’s hardly an earthshattering insight that these 2 teams have made it into the Series with some similar strengths and a shared glaring weakness.

The strengths are offense and relief pitching, the weakness is starting pitching.  The Rangers have not had a single win from any of their starters, the Cardinals but one from Chris Carpenter who starts tonight opposed by C.J. Wilson.

There are two other slight advantages for the Red Birds.  They have 2 leftys in the Bullpen while the Rangers have but one, and they have home field advantage.

Beware the Rally Squirrel!

Now most of the Sports Media (who rival our bootlicking punditry in laziness and stupidity) are picking the Rangers to win, but I think that the above advantages give the Cardinals the edge.  A Senior League team gets marginally stronger in a Junior League park playing Designated Hitter Derby, but a Junior League team gets noticeably weaker in Senior League venues- they give up both offense (the pitcher, most of whom can’t even lay down a bunt) AND defense as they lose a glove so an aging and slow DH can play a position they haven’t practiced at all season.

I predict the Cardinals in 6 or less.

Oct 16 2011

2011 NLCS- Cardinals at Brewers Game 6

I won’t pretend to be happy about the Rangers win and whether or not the Cardinals do the same tonight I’ll have a day off on Tuesday before the start of the World Series on Wednesday, though I am rooting for the Birds because of Scott Walker whom my Dad points out (because he’s favoring the Brewers) the Crew is not responsible for.

I’ll also get to post S.I.M.P. video so many times you’ll be as sick of it as I am.

In tonight’s Battle of the Beers (when I drink it, it’s seldom Dos Equis), the Brewers are going to be hoping to solve their Pujols problem with Shaun Marcum who’s so far shown no indications of meriting their confidence.  The Cardinals will counter with Edwin Jackson and then rely on their freshly rested Bullpen just as they have all series (if Jackson is pulled before the 5th they will have a majority of outs).

There are those who think reserving Gallardo on short rest for a hypothetical Game 7 is a mistake and we will no doubt hear from them should things go badly, but I think your energy is better spent hating on the Rangers.

I apologize to my Texan readers and realize that there are pockets of sanity and personal circumstances that dictate residence, but I have very little good to say about a State created to preserve slavery when the Mexican government outlawed it.

Oct 16 2011

2011 NLCS- Cardinals at Brewers Game 6

I won’t pretend to be happy about the Rangers win and whether or not the Cardinals do the same tonight I’ll have a day off on Tuesday before the start of the World Series on Wednesday, though I am rooting for the Birds because of Scott Walker whom my Dad points out (because he’s favoring the Brewers) the Crew is not responsible for.

I’ll also get to post S.I.M.P. video so many times you’ll be as sick of it as I am.

In tonight’s Battle of the Beers (when I drink it, it’s seldom Dos Equis), the Brewers are going to be hoping to solve their Pujols problem with Shaun Marcum who’s so far shown no indications of meriting their confidence.  The Cardinals will counter with Edwin Jackson and then rely on their freshly rested Bullpen just as they have all series (if Jackson is pulled before the 5th they will have a majority of outs).

There are those who think reserving Gallardo on short rest for a hypothetical Game 7 is a mistake and we will no doubt hear from them should things go badly, but I think your energy is better spent hating on the Rangers.

I apologize to my Texan readers and realize that there are pockets of sanity and personal circumstances that dictate residence, but I have very little good to say about a State created to preserve slavery when the Mexican government outlawed it.

Oct 16 2011

2011 ALCS Tigers at Rangers Game 6

There is really no reason to be hopeful about the Tigers’ chances against the Rangers tonight, down 3 – 2, playing away, except for the pitching.

The Rangers will be starting Derek Holland who has been in a word, terrible.  In the 2nd Game he wasn’t able to get out of the 3rd inning, Max Scherzer on the other hand went 6.

The day off after so many rain delays followed by consecutive starts may have allowed the Tigers to get a little better rested and healthier too.

IF (and it’s a big one) the Grrs squeak by and into Game 7 the matchup gets even better.  Game 7 is scheduled to be Colby Lewis against Doug Fister.  Lewis was decidedly underwhelming in his Game 3 appearance.

On the other hand the travel day gave the Ranger’s bullpen a rest too after covering some 23 innings in the first 5 games (that’s a little under half) during which their collective ERA has been 1.17.

So expect the hook quick and if the record is any guide I’ll have plenty of time to write my Yeongam Formula One piece (1:30 am) during the 123 late innings.

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