Tag:NLDS
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:55 pm
 

ALDS Game 5 earns big ratings for TBS

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Thursday night's Game 5 of the American League division series was the highest-rated LDS game since moving to cable and the highest-rated overall since 2005. The Tigers' 3-2 victory over the Yankees was viewed by 9,720,000 viewers and a 6.2 rating, according to a release from TBS.

Detroit averaged a rating of 27.6 and New York an 18.3 rating, as TBS with the highest-rated cable network on Thursday and third overall. 

The network is televising both NLDS games tonight, starting with Arizona at Milwaukee at 5 p.m. ET and St. Louis at Philadelphia at 8:30 p.m. ET. The NLCS will stay on TBS, while the ALDS between the Tigers and Rangers will be telecast on Fox.

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Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 1:35 pm
 

NLDS Game 5 preview: Braun to play on holiday

Ryan Braun
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks vs. Brewers, Miller Park, 5:07 p.m. ET on TBS

Diamondbacks Brewers
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Willie Bloomquist SS 1 Corey Hart RF
2 Aaron Hill 2B 2 Nyjer Morgan CF
3 Justin Upton RF 3 Ryan Braun LF
4 Miguel Montero C 4 Prince Fielder 1B
5 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 5 Rickie Weeks 2B
6 Chris Young CF 6 Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
7 Ryan Roberts 3B 7 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
8 Gerardo Parra LF 8 Jonathan Lucroy C
9 Ian Kennedy RHP 9 Yovani Gallardo RHP

One of the more famous stories in American sports history is that of Sandy Koufax refusing to play on Yom Kippur. Koufax, who is Jewish, decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on the Jewish holiday, which is also known as Day of Atonement and is the holiest of day of the year in the religion. It is traditionally observed by a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer.

Yom Kippur begins tonight at sundown and perhaps the most visible Jewish athlete in American sports has what could be the biggest game of his life, as Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun prepares for Game 5 of the National League division series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. A win, and Braun will advance in the playoffs for the first time in his career. Braun is a big part of the Brewers' lineup, he's a potential MVP and is hitting .467/.529/.867 with three doubles and a homer, driving in four in the series. 

The game is scheduled to being at 4:07 p.m. local time in Milwaukee, so the game could finish before the scheduled 6:23 p.m. setting of the sun. But that is unlikely to be an issue anyway. The Brewers faced a similar situation in 2007 and the then-rookie Braun said he would play regardless.

"I am half Jewish, and I am not Orthodox," Braun told MLB.com in 2007. "So I never grew up celebrating the holidays. I'm going to play."

In addition to Koufax, another famous Jewish baseball player chose not to play on Yom Kippur, when Hank Greenberg played on Rosh Hashanah, but not on Yom Kippur during a Tigers pennant race in 1934.

What's interesting to me is the reactions -- in 1934 Greenberg was bashed by the Detroit press for putting himself over the team. In 1965 Koufax was praised for sticking to his ideals and being true to himself. In 2011, it's not really an issue for Braun -- and that's OK. I think the interesting thing is the different reactions based on the different times.

I don't for a moment want it to be interpreted as me judging Braun for playing -- it's his decision and his alone to judge. He's doing what he feels is right, and as a non-practicing Jew, why should he step aside? I'm sure someone in the comments will say I'm judging him -- and I'm the last person who can judge another man's religious convictions -- good, bad or indifferent. I've worked on every holiday known to man, from Christmas Day to Arbor Day -- and I usually volunteer. To me, it's just interesting to see the changes we've made in a society as far as this issue is concerned, and use Braun as a way of looking back at Greenberg and Koufax and admiring what they did in their own time.

LINEUPS

Lineups have yet to be released

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Kennedy vs. Brewers: Kennedy was a little worse than average in Game 1, allowing four earned runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings in the Diamondbacks' loss. The big blow was Prince Fielder's two-run, two-out homer that chased Kennedy in the seventh inning. Fielder is 4 for 12 in his career against Kennedy with a double and two homers and six strikeouts.

Gallardo vs. Diamondbacks: Game 1 came down to Gallardo's mastery of the Diamondbacks, as Gallardo held Arizona to four hits and one run, striking out nine over eight innings. Arizona threatened in the first inning of Game 1, but Willie Bloomquist was thrown out at the plate by Ryan Braun for the inning's second out and then Gallardo retired the next seven batters he faced. After asking his only batter of the game in the fourth, he retired his next eight. By the time Ryan Roberts homered in the eighth, Milwaukee led 4-1 and the Brewers were in control. Counting his Game 1 performance, Gallardo is 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA in his career against Arizona.  

NOTES

NLDS Game 5
  • Like the first four games of the series, the roof will be closed for Friday's Game 5 at Miller Park. The Brewers are 29-12 with the roof closed this season (including the first two games of the series) and 30-12 with it open.
  • The home team has won every game in this series, making it the only series in the division series dominated by home teams. The Brewers, of course, had baseball's best home record in the regular season, going 57-24.
  • Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks is just 1 for 15 in the series, tripling in the Brewers' Game 2 victory at Miller Park.
  • Brewers closer John Axford saved both Brewers wins and hasn't allowed a hit in his two innings, walking two.
  • Zack Greinke will be available out of the bullpen if Gallardo struggles, manager Ron Roenicke said during Thursday's news conference.
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Posted on: October 6, 2011 7:54 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 5:13 pm
 

NLDS Game 5: Halladay, Carpenter square off

Halladay, Carpenter

By Evan Brunell

Cardinals vs. Phillies, Citizen's Bank Ballpark, 8:37 p.m. ET on TBS

When the playoffs began, no one gave the Cardinals a shot. Really, no one.

Not one of CBSSports.com's baseball experts picked St. Louis to advance, and only Danny Knobler thought it would go the maximum five games. And yet, here we are, Game 5 in Philadelphia with Roy Halladay going up against Chris Carpenter. The Phillies are still the more vaunted team but when it comes down to one game, anything goes. The Cardinals already took a game in Philadelphia, so they don't have the bugaboo of having to play in Citizen's Bank Park. Add in a rather convincing win on Wednesday, in which Philadelphia didn't score after the first, and one has to think the Cardinals just might have the upper hand heading into Thursday's game.

One problem with that, though: Halladay. The right-hander may or may not win the NL Cy Young Award this year if Clayton Kershaw has anything to say about it, but either way, he had a Cy Young-caliber season and already has two of these trophies to his name. On paper, it's a drastic mismatch against a former Cy Young Award winner himself in Carp, who took home the award in 2005. Both Carpenter and Halladay are ex-Blue Jays teammates, which makes the matchup that much sweeter.

LINEUPS

Cardinals Phillies
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Rafael Furcal SS 1 Jimmy Rollins SS
2 Skip Schumaker CF 2 Chase Utley 2B
3 Albert Pujols 1B 3 Hunter Pence RF
4 Lance Berkman RF 4 Ryan Howard 1B
5 Matt Holliday LF 5 Shane Victorino CF
6 Yadier Molina C 6 Raul Ibanez LF
7 David Freese 3B 7 Placido Polanco 3B
8 Nick Punto 2B 8 Carlos Ruiz C
9 Chris Carpenter RHP 9 Roy Halladay RHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Carpenter vs. Phillies: Carpenter blew up against Philadelphia in Game 2, going on three-days rest although St. Louis eventually won the game. Going just three innings, Carpenter coughed up four runs on five hits and also walked an uncharacteristic, struggling with the strike zone. That was the game Tony La Russa complained on national TV about the zone despite no evidence toward the umpire displaying prejudice to St. Louis. The extra day of rest could help Carpenter return to his dominating ways, as he gave up just one run in two starts against the Phillies in the regular season. Chase Utley is 7 for 15 in his career against Carpenter, and Ryan Howard is 3-for-11 with a home run.

Halladay vs. Cardinals: Halladay coughed up three runs in Game 1, all coming in the first inning on a three-run home run by Lance Berkman -- the second straight time Berkman homered off Halladay in the first inning. In the regular season, Halladay registered a 3.21 ERA, losing in September after surrendering four runs.  Including Game 1, Albert Pujols is just 3 for 14. Skip Schumaker, who collected two hits in Game 1, has a .364 batting average against the right-hander in 12 plate appearances. 

 NLDS Game 5

NOTES

  • Matt Holliday finally made his first start of the postseason in Game 4 and is expected to start again in Game 5.
  • Cliff Lee volunteered to be available in the bullpen if needed, but its doubtful Charlie Manuel will use him. The Phils have a capable bullpen, but never say never -- it is Lee's throw day, so it could happen.
  • The Cardinals and Phillies will be playing the second Game 5 of the LDS, with the Yankees and Tigers playing the first on Thursday night. Arizona and Milwaukee are also slated to play a Game 5 later Friday, giving the 2011 season three Game 5s in the LDS. From 2004 to 2011, there were just two Game 5s total.
  • The forecast is currently projected to be 51 degrees at nighttime with no chance of rain and minimal wind.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Former teammates meet in NLDS Game 5



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter were supposed to be pitching in the playoffs -- but for the Toronto Blue Jays. Both pitchers were drafted and developed by the Blue Jays and spent five years in Toronto as teammates. 

Carpenter, the team's first-round pick in 1993, was released by the Blue Jays after the 2002 season when he went 4-5 with a 5.28 ERA in just 13 starts because of a shoulder injury that required surgery on his labrum. He signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals and missed all of 2003, but returned in 2004 and won 15 games in his first season back and the Cy Young in his second.

Halladay, on the other hand, did develop into the ace the Blue Jays expected when they drafted him in the first round of the 1995 draft. However, as the years went on, the Blue Jays didn't sniff the playoffs and could no longer afford their ace, trading him to Philadelphia before the 2010 season.

The two were teammates from 1998-2002 and went a combined 46-43 with a 4.80 ERA -- hardly the thing deciding playoff "dream matchups" are made of.

"I really did feel like we kind of learned together, more mentally how to approach the game and how to play the game, and it was a lot of fun. I remember a couple times going to dinner and talking about how we were on a roll at the time, and we really felt like that we had kind of both turned the corner," Halladay said in a news conference on Thursday. "You know, it was a great experience for me going through that with a guy that was in a similar situation. We really felt like we kind of came up together and learned together, and you know, to be able to do that with another guy, I think, helps you not only learn from him but you see things that he goes through, and you pick up on that. It was just a great experience to go through that together, to learn together, to get better together, and ultimately coming out of there feeling like the time that we spent had really benefitted both of us."

Neither was an immediate success in the majors. Halladay had a 10.64 ERA in 13 starts for the Blue Jays as a 23-year-old in 2000, while Carpenter had a 49-50 record with a 4.83 ERA in his six seasons in Toronto. 

Friday the two will face off in Game 5 of the National League division series, the winner heads to the NLCS and the loser gets ready for 2012. While Carpenter has been a Cardinal since leaving Toronto and Halladay made his move to the National League before last season, this will be the first time the two have started against each other.

"You know, we've talked about this scenario. I think it's something we're both looking forward to," Halladay said. "It's going to be a challenge. Going in, you know what you're up against, you know how good they are. You know how good Chris is. And I think everybody expects that he's going to obviously be a lot better than his last time out. We have our work cut out for us, but yeah, I'm looking forward to it, and I know Chris is, also. You know, it's fun. We haven't got a chance to pitch against each other, and if you're going to do it for the first time, might as well be now."

Halladay started Game 1 of the series, getting roughed up in the first inning, allowing three runs, but cruising from then on. Carpenter, starting on short rest, gave up four runs in the first two innings of his start in Game 2 and being lifted after the third, having given up four earned runs on five hits, throwing 64 strikes. He'll be back on regular rest for Friday's deciding game, making it the matchup everyone's looked for ward to seeing. 

"And I look at tomorrow's game as, yeah, we've got two great pitchers pitching against one another and there's two good teams, and I look at that as that's kind of what it should be," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said at a news conference. "That's what playoff baseball should be. And that's where it's at."

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Phillies-Cardinals series | 2011 playoffs

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 11:01 am
 

Brewers, D-Backs find home is where the runs are

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In the National League divisional series between the Diamondbacks and Brewers, home is where the offense is, as the home team has outscored the visitors 31-12 in the first four games of the series, winning each game.

Forget the starting pitchers, geography could be the biggest factor in the deciding Friday's Game 5 and which team moves on to the NLDS. Not only have the two teams held serve at home through the first four games, but their offenses have responded to home cooking.

The sample sizes are small, but the difference in offense between the home and road teams in this series is glaring, and also in line with the teams' regular-season performances.

So far in the NLDS, Arizona is hitting .343/.410/.586 at home and .212/.278/.424 on the road. During the season, Arizona's splits were .262/.337/.444 at Chase Field and and .239/.308/.383 away from home. The Diamondbacks scored 400 runs at Chase FIeld and 331 away from it during the season.

Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero was hitless in the first two games in Milwaukee, but then went 5 for 8 in Games 3 and 4. During the season, Montero was actually better away from home, hitting .291/.363/.482 with 10 of his homers away from Chase Field and .273/.339/.455 at home.

The Brewers are also continuing their trend of struggles away from Miller Park. Milwaukee hit .313/.356/.522 in the first two games at Miller Park and .215/.278/.369 at Chase Field. During the regular season, the Brewers -- owners of baseball's best home record -- scored 389 runs at home with a .277/.344/.461 slash line and scored 332 runs while hitting .246/.307/.391 away from home.

The Brewers' three All-Star starters -- Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks -- have gone a combined 10-22 at home and 3-23 at Chase Field. For the season, the trio has hit .326/.421/.612 at Miller Park and .281/.362/.494 on the road.

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Brewers-Diamondbacks series | 2011 playoffs

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:32 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 3:05 am
 

Gibson's move, Roenicke's non-move prove big



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Kirk Gibson had a quick hook -- and Ron Roenicke's was too slow. Because of that, the Diamondbacks and Brewers are headed back to Milwaukee for a Game 5 on Friday.

Both managers had pivotal decisions to make in the third inning in Wednesday's Game 4 of the National League division series -- usually much too early for managerial tinkering but with the season on the line, it's never too early to make a bold decision. And that's exactly what Gibson did.

MIL-ARI NLDS Game 4

Even with a 5-3 lead, Gibson gambled that the Brewers high-powered offense could score more runs and every run the Diamondbacks added would be vital to victory. So, with two outs and runners on second and third, Gibson sent pinch hitter Collin Cowgil to hit for starter Joe Saunders.

Meanwhile, Roenicke kept his struggling starter, Randy Wolf, in the game.

"There's been a lot of outings this year he's first inning scuffled and then turned it around and really got us to the sixth seventh inning," Roenicke said in the postgame news conference. "That's what we were hoping to do."

Saunders gave up runs in each of the first three innings, but actually got out of a deep hole in the top of the third, getting out of a two-on, no-out jam with just one run surrendered. After walking Ryan Braun, Saunders got Prince Fielder to fly out to center, Rickie Weeks to fly out to right and Yuniesky Betancourt to pop up to second. It seemed he'd found himself and was starting to find the strike zone. Saunders had a 5.18 ERA in the first inning this season and a 2.99 ERA in innings 4-6.

However, with a chance to put more runs on the board, Gibson gambled by going with the pinch-hitter and leaving the final six innings up to his bullpen.

Cowgill, a .239 hitter in his rookie season, came through with a single to score two runs and increase the Arizona lead. Wolf got Willie Bloomquist to fly out to end the inning, but that would be the end of his night -- a batter too early.

Wolf was the third batter scheduled to bat in the top of the fourth, so perhaps Roenicke didn't want to burn two relievers and a pinch-hitter in one move, but that would have been a small price to pay to avoid a four-run deficit.

After Micah Owings gave the Diamondbacks two scoreless innings, rookie Jarrod Parker -- in just his second big-league appearance -- struggled, loading the bases, but once again Gibson knew when to head to the mound in time to limit damage, as Bryan Shaw came in to save the day, surrendering just one run and keeping the Diamondbacks on top. 

Gibson was roundly criticized early in this series, but Wednesday he made all the right moves and there's a Game 5 on Friday because of them.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:25 am
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Posted on: October 6, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 1:26 am
 

Instant Reaction: Diamondbacks force Game 5

Ryan Roberts

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Hero: In such a jam-packed game, it's easy to overlook something that happened in the first inning, but from the moment the ball left Ryan Roberts' bat with two outs in the first inning, the Brewers were playing catchup. It was Roberts' only hit of the night, but when you can drive in four runs with one hit -- especially in the first -- you've had a pretty good night.

MIL-ARI NLDS Game 4

Goat: Brewers starter Randy Wolf not only gave up Reynolds' grand slam in the first, he also gave up a homer to Chris Young right after Reynolds' blast. Wolf's offense kept him in the game, scoring runs in the second and third to make it 5-3, but then the Brewers left-hander gave up a two-out single to pinch-hitter Collin Cowgill in the third to return Arizona's lead to four. Wolf's final line: three innings, eight hits, seven earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts and two homers. 

Turning point: In the first inning of Game 1, Arizona third base coach Matt Williams sent Willie Bloomquist on a single to the outfield and the Diamondback shortstop was thrown out at the plate, killing the Diamondbacks' momentum and their only real shot at Yovani Gallardo. On Wednesday, Williams threw up the stop sign for Bloomquist on a single to right by Miguel Montero. Two batters later, the conservative call paid off as Roberts blasted the grand slam.

It was over when … It seems odd for a scoring play for the losing team to occupy this spot, but when Corey Hart's drive in the sixth inning stayed in the park, it seemed like some air was let out of the Brewers' balloon. Hart's drive to left-center was corralled by Gerardo Parra, allowing Yuniesky Betancourt to score, making it 7-4. But a single run was a disappointment after Hart crushed Bryan Shaw's pitch. Jerry Hairston Jr. followed with a fielder's choice to end the inning with two on and Ryan Braun in the on-deck circle.

Next: Just like the other NLDS matchup, this one's going the distance, and Arizona's Cy Young candidate, Ian Kennedy, will get another shot at the Brewers and Gallardo. Gallardo was dominant in a 4-1 Game 1 victory in Milwaukee. Gallardo allowed just four hits and struck out nine Diamondback batters in the win, while Kennedy gave up four runs on eight hits.

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