Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Phillies’

A Baseball Evening for the Ages

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

What a wild and crazy night it was. Heading into the final day of the 2011 MLB season, four teams were tied for the final two playoff spots. The National League Wild Card race came down to a contentious battle between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, while the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays slugged it out for the coveted American League Wild Card spot. Within a span of two hours, two teams were knocked out of the MLB playoff race and two were getting ready for October baseball.

Amazingly enough, the Atlanta Braves began September with a firm 8.5 game lead in the Wild Card standings against the St. Louis Cardinals however, injuries and poor starting pitcher performance proved to be their downfall. Their comfy lead all but disappeared and they were tied for the Wild Card spot with the Cardinals heading into the final game of the season. St. Louis played their last game earlier in the day and dropped a final notch in the W column with a victory over the Houston Astros. From there all the Cards could do was wait to see if the Braves could top the Phillies and force a one game playoff but as midnight approached on the East Coast, the Braves couldn’t hold their ground and fell to the Philadelphia Phillies, thus ensuring a final playoff spot for the Cardinals.

Like the Braves, the Boston Red Sox sat atop a nice lead in the American League East. At the beginning of September, the Bo Sox looked down at both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, and even held a comfortable 9 game lead over the third place Rays. Boston’s comfortable lead dwindled and they soon found themselves tied for the final playoff spot at the last regular game of the season. Unfortunately, the Red Sox came up short against the Baltimore Orioles. Meanwhile, down 7-0, the Rays staged an epic comeback against the New York Yankees to win thus securing the Rays the final playoff spot.

In terms of tension and fun, you could not have asked for a better day of baseball and an exhilarating end-of-season run. With four teams tied for two playoff spots heading into the final day of the season, September 28 will go down as an epic day in sports history.

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Baseball Playoff Races Heating Up

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Ah—the Dog Days of Summer . . . while this is usually the time when parents and children count the days until it’s school’s back in session—we baseball fans do some counting of our own—how many games up, back or out are our favorite teams from playing October baseball.

From opening day and beyond, this baseball season has seen many division rivals compete head to head for 1st and now that it’s coming down to the home stretch, expect these teams to show off with electrifying performances that will inevitably go down to the wire.

The National League Central division has experienced close and competitive races all season. While the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals are battling it out for division domination, it looks like the Pittsburgh Pirates have felt the bite of summer. Though they were previously on a tear, the Buccos have succumbed to summer’s sultry heat dropping their last 10 games in the L column and it looks like they are going to miss the playoffs for a record 19th straight year.

In American League news, it’s business as usual as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox battle it out to see who gets the division crown and who gets the wild card spot. The AL West has the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vying for a division title against the defending American League champs–the Texas Rangers. Although the Cleveland Indians are battling the Detroit Tigers for AL Central bragging rights, don’t count out the Minnesota Twins just yet—they are usually good for a late season surge in this mediocre division.

As for the rest of the playoff landscape, expect to see solid teams like the San Francisco Giants, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies play strong through the rest of the regular season. And, as the summer winds down, now is the perfect time to take in a game at your favorite ballpark and we have sports tickets for every team and every league.

Stras

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg delivers to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth inning of their MLB baseball game in Washington, June 8, 2010.    REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Strasday. Strasmas. No matter what you call it, Stephen Strasburg’s debut for the Washington Nationals was a landmark day for a franchise that hasn’t had many since it returned to the nation’s capitol.

Stephen Strasburg, the top pick in last year’s draft, who breezed through the minors in less than a year, whose fastball clocks in at over 100mph, whose arsenal of pitches includes a curve that falls off the table and a changeup that is thrown faster than many major leaguer’s fastballs; a man who appreciates a good pair of socks; a man who will save baseball in Washington D.C., nay the world, pitched his first major league game against the Pittsburgh Pirates last night.

Strasburg threw about 90 pitches. The Pirates took about 90 swings. Very few made any contact.

The kid is alright.

I’m sad for my Phillies because I don’t see them having a lot of success against this guy over the next 10 or 15 years. But the last super prospect came and went in the blink of an eye basically, so for all of baseball, I hope Strasburg’s stay is a little longer.

Then again, if all of his games end like this and he decides he wants to try his hand at professional fishing or maybe open up an HVAC repair service back in San Diego, well that just might be okay by me too.

MLB PostView: Colorado Rockies

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Well I’m really starting to lap the field here. But being the tallest, quickest and best looking of the group, it’s only to be expected.

We continue with our PostView of the 30 MLB teams. Loyal readers probably need to prepare themselves for the frightening possibility that my 10 teams will be comepleted in the near future while the other two tortoises may never reach the finish line. It’s a grim reality, I know.

Today we take a gander at the Colorado Rockies. Yet another ingenious expansion name. We are the Rockies. We are mountains. You will not climb us.

The Rockies are a pretty good young team. They have two solid young starting pitchers in Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa is one of those names you can say for about five minutes straight when you’re stuck in traffic to entertain yourself. Trust me.

MLB 2010 - Padres Beat Rockies 5-4

Thier lineup is packed with solid hitters at nearly every position. Troy Tulowitzki is the star of the show and in Denver I’m guessing he is enjoying life.

The bullpen is a little shaky right now, but this is a team that has made the playoffs two of the last three years, and a team I think will play in October again. Excuse me Rocktober. You see, these names really are brilliant.

Predictions:

Team MVP – Huston Street…if he can return from the DL and lock down 9th innings like he did last year, the Rockies have a good chance of winning the division or wild card.

X-Factor – Carlos Gonzalez…Carlos Gonzalez (Cargo to his friends and fantasy owners) haunted my dreams for a 5 day period last fall when he hit somewhere north of .500 in the divisional round against the Phillies. He’s a top prospect from Oakland in the Matt Holliday trade and projects as a 5 tool player. He’s out with a tight hamstring currently, an injury that this writer encourages him to, “rub some dirt on it and get back out there.”

Standings – 1st in the NL West.

MLB (Post)View: Seattle Mariners

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Okay, so our 30 teams before the start of the season timeline was a little aggressive. So was our 500 word limit that regularly ran over for each post.

In hopes of simply completing my 10 required teams and in the way a desk calendar attempts to give you a brief chuckle in the morning, I now give to you my incredibly inadequate PostView of the 2010 Seattle Mariners.

Diamondbacks vs. Mariners in Seattle.

Cliff Lee. Chone Figgins. They are new. Add them to Felix Hernandez, Ichiro and … Well that’s really the question isn’t it? Subscribing to the stars and scrubs strategy of the fantasy world, the Mariners have a few players of supreme talent and some other guys that are very enthusiastic clappers on the bench.

However, the Angels have lost some players, Texas still plays in Arlington and Oakland‘s everyday lineup includes only one guy I could potentially pick out of a crowd, so anything is possible in the AL West this year.

And hey, if it doesnt work out, we’ll always re-swap those prospects for Cliff Lee in Philly.

Predictions:

Team MVP – Ichiro…he’ll have to score 120 runs for them to have a chance

X Factor – Anyone claiming to be the cleanup hitter. Ichiro and Figgins will get on base for Seattle, but who will drive them in? Jose Lopez can’t do it all by himself from the six hole. Milton Bradley…just ask fans in Cleveland, San Diego, Chicago and I’m guessing most of the other spots Milton has spent a year–and only one year–in lately.

Standings – 2nd in AL West

Meet the New York Mets: A 2010 MLB Season Preview

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Agonizing. That’s how I’d describe the New York Mets 2009 season.

They didn’t excel in many areas last season. One category the Mets dominated? Injuries.

Down goes Reyes. Down goes Beltran. Down goes Delgado. 7…8…9… The Metropolitans dropped harder, and more repeatedly, than someone on the receiving end of Muhammed Ali’s right hand.

Fans had great expectations for a team celebrating its inaugural season in Citi Field. Unfortunately, the on-field product had as much success in 2009 as the company for which its field is named.

At least their two biggest rivals didn’t square off in the World Series or anything…

Enough about the past. The year is 2010. Time for a fresh start. A new beginning. A….no…it can’t be…more injuries?

Carlos Beltran is out until at least May following “minor” knee surgery (against team doctor’s orders – no less).

And, just days ago, doctors diagnosed Jose Reyes with an overactive thyroid. Healing instructions include refraining from athletic activity for two to eight weeks – is swinging a bat considered an athletic activity? Reyes will surely begin the season alongside Beltran – on the disabled list.

What about players on the field? Everyday Lineup…eventually:

C – Rod Barajas
1B – Daniel Murphy
2B – Luis Castillo
3B – David Wright
SS – Jose Reyes
LF – Jason Bay
CF – Carlos Beltran
RF – Jeff Francoeur
SP – Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Fernando Nieve
RP – Kelvim Escobar, Ryota Igarashi, Pedro Feliciano, Sean Green, Tobi Stoner
CL – Francisco Rodriguez

The Mets entered the offseason with one significant hole, starting pitching. Free agent possibilities included John Lackey, Rich Harden, Randy Wolf and Joel Piniero. So who did the Mets sign? You guessed it, Josh Fogg.

But let’s talk about what they’ve done right.

The Mets made one major free agent splash, signing OF Jason Bay to a high-priced contract. They will lean on his power bat to make up for other lineup shortcomings (Murphy’s lack of power, Francoeur’s lack of contact, etc).

Speaking of shortcomings, the Mets front office heeded their player’s advice and lowered the outfield fences. Sorry pitchers.

Since we’re on the subject of pitching…

Everyone knows about Johan Santana (and if you don’t, read below). The jury is still out on the likes of John Maine, Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez. Do they have talent? Sure. Are they consistent? No. All three recorded double-digit victories in 2008. Last season? 20 wins – combined. Time for a renaissance.

Enough with the jokes. No one can argue this team is devoid of talent. Add David Wright, Luis Castillo, a (rejuvenated?) Gary Matthews Jr. and K-Rod to the aforementioned list – and you have the makings of a winning team.

And they’ll have to prove it – immediately. The Mets face one of the toughest opening months in baseball. Four of their first eight series are against 2009 National League playoff participants – three of which are on the road. In a division with the back-to-back World Series participant Philadelphia Phillies, a young and improving Florida Marlins and an always steady Atlanta Braves, the Mets will have their work cut out for them.

Can they win the division? No. But at least they’ll have a chance to get off the mat.

Team MVP: Johan Santana…because if he’s not…this team is in BIG TROUBLE. The staff ace must live up to his billing to hide other rotational deficiencies. The 2-time Cy Young Award winner recorded only 13 wins last season. He’ll need a lot more than that for this team to contend.

X-Factor: Can I pick health? Fine…I’ll take David Wright. Why choose a 2-time Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner? Wright hit only 10 home runs last season. A baffling number for someone who hadn’t hit less than 26 in his previous four full seasons. He blamed his spacious home park. Was it the truth or is he the boy who cried Citi Field?

Standings: 4th in the NL East…76-86