Tag Archive: Major League Baseball Playoffs

Oct 18 2012

2012 AL Championship Series- Yankees at Tigers, Game 4 (Redux)

yaaawn….

After waiting out last night’s rain delay (Cardinals over Giants 3 – 1) and postponement I find myself sleepier, less enthused, and with very little to add.  At least we’ll get to see Lola again.

Though when it rains, it pours (have I ever told you that putting a few grains of white rice (not Minute, but Uncle Ben’s is ok) at the bottom of your salt shaker will keep your salt clump free even in high humidity?).  Headlining what little news there is (same line up, same starters) is this interesting factoid- if the series travels back to the Bronx they won’t get a travel day to rest. This means we are seeing CC Sabathia for the last time this series and perhaps for the year unless they can win 3 straight without him.

Hmm, maybe I should have made that a happier story.  Auto Bailout!

In retrospect, Red Sox lucked out on A-Rod

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston Globe Staff

October 17, 2012 11:03 AM

But at least Rodriguez is preparing for the worst. According to published reports in New York, Rodriguez was flirting with Treacy at Yankee Stadium during the final innings of Game 1, acquiring her phone number via a ballboy courier in a 6-4 New York loss during which Rodriguez went 1 for 3 with a strikeout.

A-Rod Benched Again, With Granderson This Time

By NOAH TRISTER AP Baseball Writer

DETROIT October 18, 2012

“We will go forward. Alex will go forward,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before Game 4 was postponed because of a forecast of heavy rain. The game was rescheduled for Thursday.

“That doesn’t mean that he’s done, that he’s finished, that he is not capable. He is still a big threat, but for whatever reason right now we are adjusting to what we are seeing,” he said.

Whether the Yankees keep him on the bench or put him in another postseason game, “it doesn’t mean by doing so we’re not going to have to deal with legitimate questions,” Cashman said.

“That’s all for another day,” he said. “All we are concentrating on is the here and now and what is best for us today.”

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

Oct 18 2012

2012 AL Championship Series- Yankees at Tigers, Game 4

Down 3 – 0 away in a 7 game series is just exactly the position you don’t want to find yourself in.  Though no one may believe it the Yankees are my home town favorites (at least during the playoffs if the Mets aren’t contending).

Besides, I like Lola.

Even if she’s retired after tonight I have to feel this series has been a wake up call and you can expect a busy hot stove league this year as the organization re-tools for 2013 (last title in 2009, World Champions every 4 years on average if you believe in rattles, chants, and Chicago School ‘Revision to the Mean’ Economics).

The Tigers on the other hand have been suffering since 1984, so perhaps after a suitable period of mourning you can summon a little sympathy.  Besides, then you will have been beaten by the best team in Baseball and not perennial cellar dwellers.

As an indicator of lessons learned, tonight Girardi will sit Granderson next to ARod on the bench.  I must say I’m surprised because I was sure he’d bring back all his highly paid non performers in desperation.  Bravo Joe!

Now were I Brian Cashman (when they say ‘Baseball People’ they’re really talking about him), Pettitte, ARod, Swisher, AND Granderson would be put in a package I’d peddle to anyone stupid enough to take them (heck, throw in Cano) and I’d accept any piece of crap I got in return (a few draft picks, some salary offset) as a bonus over flat out giving them their release.

And then I would start spending.  Not on washed up never was and has beens, but the next generation of pinstripes.

It’s true that next year you get back Mariano Rivera and you don’t want to waste a season of his phenomenal career so maybe you pick up a starter or 2 (Kuroda and Hughes are really ok, but only ok), still what has really been lacking in all the Junior League teams has been offense.  If you can fix that you have a legitimate chance.

Anyway the Yankees may see the dawn tonight.  They have CC Sabathia (15 – 6, 3.38 ERA) matched up against Scherzer  (16 – 7, 3.74 ERA), and though they look close on paper Sabathia is a monster, one of the 3 best pitchers left.

I expect this game to be close, a pitcher’s duel won in the 15th or 16th inning by a ARod Home Run.

You heard it here first.

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

Postponed until 4 pm tomorrow.

Oct 17 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Giants at Cardinals, Game 3

Thank goodness I won’t have to retire the Rally Squirrel quite yet.  I’m not sure what I’ll do if the Giants get in and they haven’t made another video yet.

Maybe I’ll force you to suffer through Lumberjack Rabbit.

There are those who are already shoveling dirt on the Cardinals but they’re not dead yet.  They’re not even in a particularly bad position.  They split on the road which is what you expect.  Yes they took a 7 – 1 pasting and gave back 4 of a 6 run lead, but a W is a W and that’s all it is even if you lose (or win) by Lady Husky basketball digits.

What the Giants showed us is that they have some offense and really the Senior League sides haven’t lacked for it (Reds Game 2 (9 – 0), Giants Game 4 (8 – 3), Cardinals Games 2 (12 – 4), 3 (8 – 0), and 5 (9 – 7).  Those ‘Powerhouse’ Junior Leaguers… not so much.

So what can we expect at Busch Stadium this afternoon?

Well there is rain in the forecast so the game may be delayed or suspended at pretty much any point.  If the game is suspended after it starts it will resume at the point of interruption, even in the first inning.  It can cause problems with your pitching rotation as we saw last year because once your starter warms up you pretty much lose him for 4 days whether he pitches 1 inning or 9.

This is why it’s a big deal that the Giants didn’t pitch Lincecum Monday, now they have him available as a Zito replacement (and Barry was distinctly uninspiring) or in case a rain suspension spoils Cain’s (16 – 5, 2.79 ERA) outing.  Frankly if they’re pitching Cain I’d pray for rain because he didn’t look at all good in the opener against the Reds and barely better in Game 5 even though they won.

It would hurt the Cardinals if they were to lose a start by Lohse (16 – 3, 2.86 ERA) though.  It’s doubtful he could pitch again before Game 6 (if necessary) and he is an Ace, fully worthy of mentioning with Sabbathia and Verlander the unstoppable winning machine.

Dan: Eh, all right, I’ll buy that, but it still feels like it’s missing something.

(They think for a moment, then…)

Dan and Swampy: The song!

Dan: Okay, how about something like… ♪ Zubada, yia! Zubada, yia! ♪

Swampy: Do it again.

No, that wasn’t it.  Oh wait, Scutaro (2nd Base, hard slide) says he’s ok and will start today.

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

Oct 17 2012

2012 AL Championship Series- Yankees at Tigers, Game 3

As all my readers know I’m just a warm fuzzy teddy bear of nurturant positivity, so as I promised last night I’m going to attempt to alleviate the anxieties of the Yankee fans in my audience.

First of all I can’t help but feel that Derek Jeter’s unexpected injury has opened Yankee management’s eyes to the vulnerability of their current line up.  Win or lose the team of destiny has all the resources they need to make dramatic changes (I understand the Cardinals are lousy with minor league pitching prospects) and as I think I’ve made clear I have no quarrel at all with their goals (173 victories) or strategy (whatever it costs), but merely with some tactical decisions ($27.5 Million a year until 2017?!  What were you thinking?).

Other positive signs include the fact that the Tigers are terrible at Comerica.  Didn’t they just lose 2 straight to the As there?  Also in playoff games without Alex Rodriguez the Yankees are an undefeated 1 – 0, you can’t beat that.

Tonight we’ll have Phil Hughes (16 – 13, 4.23 ERA) on the mound who is their 3rd best pitcher after Sabbathia and Kuroda.  Girardi has changed his mind and will pitch Sabbathia on full rest in Game 4 tomorrow.

On the other hand the Tigers will be starting Verlander (17 – 8, 2.64 ERA) and he’s an unstoppable winning machine.  Leyland probably won’t even have to call on the questionable Valverde though he says he’s willing to if necessary.

Still it’s not hyperbole to call this a ‘must win’ game.  In a playoff you have to do everything you can to avoid being placed in a elimination situation.  If the Yankees lose tonight they’ll have to win every single one of the remaining 4 games to advance or it will be a whole 3 years since their last World Championship in 2009 (their average is 4).

Unacceptable!

Junior League Games will be carried on TBS.

Oct 16 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Cardinals at Giants, Game 2

The Giants are wisely going with one of their 3 playoff winners tonight and not a moment too soon.  It is certainly possible (as I will be telling Yankee fans tomorrow) to overcome a 2 game home losing streak, especially in a longer series where you don’t immediately face road elimination, but it’s not a desirable position to be in if you can avoid it.

The Cardinals can’t afford to be complacent.  A split away is what you expect, however their Bullpen didn’t look overpowering by any means and they can’t expect a 6 run cushion every game.

Tonight the Left Coasters will start Vogelsong (14 – 9, 3.37 ERA) who is as good as anyone in their rotation post season.  They’ll face Carpenter (0 – 2, 3.71 ERA) who allowed the Nats 7 hits in their Game 3 8 – 0 defeat.

Carpenter is much nastier than those figures suggest because he can hit too and has a great record in the playoffs.  Then there is the fact that basically no team has demonstrated much Home Field advantage, even in the Regular Season.

On the positive side Tim Lincecum is set to start Game 4 even after last night’s relief appearance unless he gets called for relief tonight or in Busch Stadium Wednesday.

Since I have a feeling we’ll be seeing lots more of the Rally Squirrel here’s the 2010 official hype video again.

No, they don’t have a new one as far as I can tell, but my searches are all messed up by Sunday’s ‘9ers/Giants game.

Senior League Games will be carried on Faux.

Oct 15 2012

2012 NL Championship Series- Cardinals at Giants, Game 1

Braiiiins!

Over on the Seniors’ side they can’t stop talking about the Zombie team comebacks of the Giants and Cards.  They should give out promotional pacemakers instead of bats.

These are both really good teams, the 2 consecutive previous World Champions, and this is the first matchup between teams with these credentials in a League Championship (Braves/Yankees ’58 in the Series).

Most observers rate the Cardinals as favorites despite their inferior record.  I find myself in rare agreement.  They’re a team without many weaknesses.

The Giants, on the other hand, have a problem with pitching and it starts with Bumgarner (16 – 11, 3.37 ERA).  If he’s as ineffective as he was against the Reds it could be a very short series since he’s scheduled to pitch twice including tonight.  They’ve also returned Lincecum to the rotation from Bullpen exile on the basis of his strong performance in long relief and Zito’s unconvincing effort.

The Cardinals start Lynn (18 – 7, 3.78 ERA) and follow with Lohse, Carpenter, and Wainwright.  Lohse in particular is very dangerous, better than anyone left except Sabbathia and Verlander.

We’ll start tonight with the Rally Squirrel since I haven’t had time to check YouTube recently.

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

Oct 14 2012

2012 AL Championship Series- Tigers at Yankees, Game 2

It could be worse.

No, I’m not kidding.  Focusing on Derek Jeter’s broken ankle is missing the other problems that need to be addressed if the Yankees are to advance to the World Series this year.

First, about Jeter.  He’s about as well as can be expected when you break your ankle like that, it’s not a career ending injury, the 3 month rehab time frame puts him back at Legends field at the start of spring training just as if nothing had happened except another one of those years as Emily puts it.

And everyone likes and admires the Captain, especially his clubhouse leadership which is undiminished.

But, it’s not as if he was making Tiger pitching quake in their boots either.

The reason the Yankees are not dominating is because they’re a very ordinary team with some notable flaws.  They are not hitting.  ARod isn’t the only one, just the most over rated and expensive.  They have no pitching outside of Sabbathia and Kuroda and their bull pen is suspect at best without Rivera.

It would be a mistake to think that last night’s game turned on the events of the Top of the 12th, it was decided in the Top of the 6th when Andy Pettitte put them in a 2 – 0 hole.

It’s easy to get discouraged at this point.  Listening to the New York media you’d think it was the end of the world, but there are hopeful signs.  They have only lost 1 game in a 7 game series and have identified several weaknesses which they might be able to correct.  Kuroda (16 – 11, 3.32 ERA) is a good pitcher, the second best they have and on paper much better than the Tigers’ Sanchez (9 – 13, 3.86 ERA).  The Tigers are not hitting well either and they are especially not setting the table for Cabrera.

Believe me, if in 3 days the Yankees have split at the Stadium and taken 1 at Comerica to lead the ALCS 2 – 1 you’ll be hearing all about the inspiring ‘comeback’ and the same ‘team of destiny’ crap you heard before.

And it won’t be any truer.

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

Oct 14 2012

2012 AL Championship Series- Tigers at Yankees, Game 1

My stellar predictions have led some of my associates to suggest a career in sports futures, but for now I’m content to have my vast fortune safely invested in shows so off Broadway that even New Jersey is closer.

With the Yankees, Tigers, Cardinals, and Giants the contenders for the League Championships I could just take a nap until the 24th and wake up with a team worth rooting for in the World Series, but as you know I have this thing about completeness.

The Championships are the first four of seven and follow the traditional 2-3-2 format which means the Tigers will be starting off in the Stadium tonight.  Personally I think crowd participation is over rated but home field advantage does manifest itself in other ways, particularly batting second in each inning.

Tonight the Yankees will be sending Andy Pettitte (5 – 4 2.87 ERA) against Doug Fister (10 – 10, 3.45 ERA).  The New York media rate Pettitte’s performance in Game 2 as brilliant, I call it barely adequate in a game that everyone forgets the Yankees lost 3 – 2.  Fister on the other hand pitched better than expected in the Tigers 5 – 4 victory.  The Tigers are better rested, finishing their Division Series on Thursday, not barely 18 hours ago.  The Tigers have Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera who isn’t as dominant as his stats would suggest (though in fairness they haven’t been setting the table for him the way they should).  The Yankees have…

ARod, who bats 6th tonight.

As I said, it wouldn’t disappoint me to see any of the remaining teams victorious, I’m not a Yankee hater and I think any Mets fan who indulges in that pointless rivalry is wasting the energy that could be much better directed to contemplating the misery of our own situation.

But realistically I expect the Tigers to advance.  Their bats are not nearly as somnolent and Verlander is an unstoppable winning machine, better than Sabathia.

Richard will be happy, Emily not so much.

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

Oct 13 2012

2012 NL Division Series- Cards at Nats, Game 5

I need less drama in my life.

All 4 series have gone the full five games which with Suzuka (Yeongam Qualifying tonight at 1 am) and America’s Cup San Francisco Regatta and a debate have made for quite a busy week.

Only one game tomorrow, Opening Game of the AL Championship Series at 8 pm on TBS and I’ll bet that the Yankees or Orioles would much prefer a travel day before facing the Tigers.

Tonight it’s Cards/Nats for their Game 5 in a series that shouldn’t have gone nearly this far.  What’s particularly galling is all the vacuous Villagers are proclaiming their Nats love as an inside baseball suck up to the other execrable members of their tribe of sychophants and bootlickers.

I actually like the Cardinals because of their gritty ‘come from behind’ play (they’ve faced elimination 6 times in the last 2 years) but it’s all about who you hate and I can’t wait to wipe the Washington elite’s smug smirks off their faces.

And so, The Rally Squirrel.

The Cards will start Wainwright  (14 – 13, 3.94 ERA) who’s not as good on paper as Gonzalez  (21 – 8, 2.89 ERA), but they have out scored the Nats 23 – 9.  I hope they saved some for tonight.

Oct 12 2012

2012 AL Division Series- Orioles at Yankees, Game 5

Alex Rodriguez benched for decisive Game 5 vs. Orioles

Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY Sports

10/12/12

4:02PM EDT October 12. 2012 – Alex Rodriguez’s epic playoff struggles compelled New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi to do what was once unthinkable: bench his $29 million third baseman.



Rodriguez’s track record in decisive games is about as bad as it can get: 0-for-13 in his career as a Yankee, dating to Game 7 of the 2004 AL Championship Series.



“I think he’s just going through a difficult time,” said Girardi, who said he made the decision at 1 p.m. on Friday and informed Rodriguez via telephone. “He’s meant a lot to our organization. But he’s struggled against right-handers in this series. So I made the decision to start Chavvy today.”



“It’s never about Joe,” Rodriguez said. “I always have to look in the mirror. I’ve got to do what I can do, whatever I can do, to help the team.

“Don’t assume that you’ve heard the last from us, or me.”

The Yankees Still Owe Alex Rodriguez $114 Million

Cork Gaines, Business Insider

10/12/12

If Alex Rodriguez were a free agent this off-season, would anybody give the aging slugger a $100 million contract? Would anybody even think about giving the 37-year-old a five-year deal?

Well, that is the scenario facing the New York Yankees who still owe ARod $114 million over the next five years. And that number goes up to $120 million if Rodriguez hits 13 home runs in 2013, matching Willie Mays’ 660 career home runs.

That’s a lot of money for a guy that has hit 34 home runs in the past two seasons, combined! That’s a lot of money for a player that is not even good enough to be in the lineup for tonight’s crucial win-or-go-home game five against the Orioles.

Live Analysis: A.L.D.S. Game 5, Orioles vs. Yankees

By JUSTIN SABLICH, The New York Times

October 12, 2012, 2:05 pm

Rodriguez is certainly not the only Yankees batter struggling mightily in this division series. Just look at these numbers from some of the team’s other power hitters.

Robinson Cano: 2 for 18, 0 HR

Curtis Granderson: 1 for 16, 0 HR

Nick Swisher: 2 for 15, 0 HR

With friends like these, what starting pitcher would feel good going into a must-win game?

In this particular case CC Sabathia (15 – 6, 3.38 ERA), who with Hiroki Kuroda are the Yankees’ only real Aces.  The Orioles will try and benefit from the implosion with Jason Hammel (8 – 6, 3.43 ERA).

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