Posted on: November 3, 2009 3:38 pm
 

World Series: Game 6

Note:
  • To all the sports writers on any and all the major sports sites who wrote articles today about how poor a decision it was for the Yankees to start A.J. Burnett on three days rest, I'd like to remind you that before the game you were all writing about how good Burnett has been on short rest in his career and that it was a brilliant move.
  • If the Phillies do manage to come back from being now 3-1 and win this World Series, they will owe everything to Chase Utley. If it's possible to give out more than a whole share, he deserves it. 
  • It doesn't matter if you make mistakes, as long as you win. Charlie Manuel can thank that simple fact for him not getting roasted today. Manuel already took heat for not starting Cliff Lee in game 4, and in my opinion, rightfully so. He waited until game 5, and then almost blew it. He kept Cliff Lee in for the 8th inning when he had over 100 pitches, after throwing almost 130 in game one. That decision led to 3 Yankee runs, and suddenly, the game was a lot closer then it should have been. So now we have Cliff Lee's line from last night. 7 IP 7 hits 5 ER 3 BB 3K's. So where was the advantage in starting Cliff Lee in game 5 instead of 4. I can't be the only one wondering whether the Phillies could have won game 4 with Lee pitching. Lucky for Manuel, the Phillies won last night. So he won't have to answer that question
Things to watch for Wednesday Night:
  • Look for Pettitte to attack Shane Victorino inside, trying to capitalize on Victorino's hand injury. If the Yankees manage to keep Victorino off base, that collapses the front of the Phillies lineup. Jimmy Rollins has been a weak link in the front of the lineup. Which makes Victorino important.
  • Also Look for Chase Utley to be walked intentionally if the situation allows for it. Ryan Howard only has three hits in the world series so far. Howard and Rollins have a single RBI each the entire series.
  • The Phillies are going to attack Mark Teixeira hard, knowing that he's in a slump. They don't want to have anyone on base for when Alex Rodriguez comes up. The key for Pedro will be feeding fastball after fastball to Teixeira, who's been having trouble with fastballs all series. They'll just have to be careful, because that could blow up in their face at any moment.
  • We know now, how much Charlie Manuel trusts Brad Lidge. He was not brought in yesterday to face the heart of the Yankees Lineup. The same group he gave up 3 runs to the game before. Even after the Yankees started off the 9th with two hits, place a runner on 1st and third. They do not trust Brad Lidge to hold the lead. Pedro Martinez will have trouble lasting 6 innings tomorrow, which means the burden lies firmly on the bullpen to carry the day. That should scare Phillies fans
  • The bullpen woes of the Yankees have been grossy over-stated. The Yankees have 4 relievers who have yet to give up a run this world series, over a combined 10 innings. And people failed to notice how great chamberlain pitched to the first two batters he faced, before serving up the home run to the third on a mistake. I think the Yankees bullpen will be fine once Pettitte comes out in the 6th or 7th inning.
  • In game 5, they gave up 2 runs over 7 innings of relief, both coming on solo shots of Phil Coke, who needless to say, probably will not be called upon tomorrow.
  • The Phillies on the otherhand have only two pitcher, Park and Eyre, who have yet to give up a run. And those two have only pitched a combined 3 innings. Lidge has given up 3 runs in a single inning
  • The Yankees bullpen advantage is further enhanced by Mariano Rivera, who will most likely be available for a two inning save if necessary. The Phillies cannot say the same about Brad Lidge.  It appears Madson will take over those duties.
  • Expect a well fought pitcher's duel in the early innings between two of the biggest grinders in baseball. There won't be any easy runs scored early. Neither pitcher will last long though, as both teams have shown patience and run up the opposing starters pitch counts. Both Burnett and Lee were at 70 pitches after 4 innings yesterday.
Posted on: October 31, 2009 7:11 pm
 

The Phillies are doomed

The most tell-tale sign of this World Series was an Article on Si.com about Cole Hamels, in response to the Phillies decision to start Blanton in game 4. Hamels has been atrocious this season, in the regular season and the playoffs. They are banking thus entire series on him recapturing his 2008 mojo, and beating the pitching with the most wins in playoff history.  If they don't win game 3, they face an epic mismatch in game 4, C.C. Sabathia vs Joe Blanton, down 2-1. Come, just try to convince me the Phillies win that game.  That means they're staring down defeat in game 5 down 3-1, and Cliff Lee vs A.J. Burnett will come down to which A.J. shows up, and which offense can break the other Ace. It will also come down to whether Lee can go deep into the game, because as much as the Phillies say they have faith in Brad Lidge, you know they don't want their World Series hopes riding on him. Let's say the Phillies win that game, then you have Andy Pettitte vs Pedro Martinez in game 6. The advantage goes to the Yankees there. But again, let's say the Phillies win and force a game 7. Here's your Marquee game 7 matchup, C.C Sabathia vs Cole Hamels. Oh, pardon me, I mean C.C. Sabathia vs Cliff Lee after the Yankees knock Hamels out early and the Phillies bring in Lee as relief ala Randy Johnson. In the 5 remaining games of the series, the Phillies have a favorable pitching matchup just once, game 5 with Cliff Lee vs A.J. Burnett. How do the Phillies make up that difference when their lineup is weaker than the Yankees? When their intangibles, their clutchness, is matched and beaten by that of the Yankees. The moment Charlie Manuel chose to not have Cliff Lee start game 4, the moment Lee decided not to press for that start, was the moment the Phillies lost all chance of winning, and the fans were robbed of what could have been the most epic World Series in a decade. Who wants it more? Cliff Lee's already told us that. C.C. Sabathia wants that start, he wants the ball with the season on the line. Cliff Lee, he'll start game 5. He better be ready to save his team from elimination.
Posted on: October 30, 2009 10:43 am
 

How Foolish the Phillies are

Today, there was an article on cbs sports about the Phillies confidence that they will break Mariano Rivera. They said by forcing him to throw 39 pitches in game two of the world series, they've improved their chances, and will now study those pitches to figure out his weakness. I'm sorry, but the Phillies need to learn some respect. If that was the case, people would have figured out his one pitch ages ago. This is Mariano Rivera, the man who throws one single pitch, the most devastating pitch in baseball history, and no one can hit it. When a batter steps into the batters box against Mariano Rivera, they know what pitch is coming. His famous cut fastball. They still can't hit it. The Phillies had one of the best lineups in the National League, but learn some respect. You are not the Mariners of 1996 whom the Yankees faced in the ALDS, a team, that had Juan Gonzales, Ken Griffey Jr., and Alex Rodriguez in the middle of the order. You are not the Boston Red Sox,with David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in their prime. You are not any of the Brave teams from the 90's. Your lineup, when compared to some of those the Yankees have faced, isn't all that great. What makes you think you can do what they can not. What Hall of Famers have been unable to do. This is a man with a .76 career post season ERA. In 85 post season games, he has lost just once. Yes, he blew 3 saves in 2004. Did you also know his ERA that post season was .71. And you, a mere National League lineup, masquerading as an American League lineup, thinks you have what it takes to beat him? He faced the best you had, and got 6 outs. He struck out your best, and hottest hitter on three pitches. You, of the 3 automatic outs in the bottom third of your lineup. God help you if it is those three Rivera faces in the 9th inning.
Learn some respect. When Rivera comes into the game, it's Game-Set and Match. What makes your team any different? He'll throw the same pitch at you every time, and the result will be the same.
Posted on: October 18, 2009 4:26 pm
 

Playoff Update

They say that pitching wins Championships, and that has never been more true then in the postseason this year. The four teams that advanced to the Championship series all featured team ERA's under 4. The surprise lies in which teams have had the best pitching. The Cardinals went into the postseason with what was unquestionably thought of to be the best 1-2 punch, which is the biggest advantage in a best of seven series, and yet the Cardinals lost in three straight despite also having a team ERA under 4.  Of course, pitching can only do so much. The Cardinals managed all of six runs against the Dodgers, who currently sport a shiny 2.28 ERA. Any other year, that would be good enough to lead the league, but this year the Yankees have given up a total of 9 earned runs in 5 games for a rediculous 1.59 ERA. As of right now, no one is questioning the Yankees choice to stick with the 3-man rotation for the ALCS, despite that requiring games 4 and 5-6-7 if necessary, to be started by a pitcher on short rest, with C.C. drawing the short stick of three starts on short rest.
The scary thing at the moment is the Yankees pitching staff. No one expects the Yankees bats to stay cold forever, one game soon, perhaps even tomorrow, some poor opposing pitcher is going to get shelled, and it's not going to be pretty. Until then, the Yankees have been winning with pitching. A.J. Burnett was the first Yankees starter to give up more than a single run this postseason. Which begs the question, with the Yankees starters pitching so well, and with easily the best bullpen in the playoffs backed by Mariano Rivera, can anyone beat the Yankees, knowing that the Yankees lineup won't stay slumbering forever. You just know that when Alex Rodriguez starts doing his best impersonation of Reggie Jackson, that something special is going on here. The Angels though, don't seem to worried, and aren't intimidated by the Yankees. At least they say they aren't. We'll see what happens in game 3.
Posted on: October 7, 2009 12:25 am
 

Postseason Predictions

Predictions are probably moot considering we all know which team is going to win the World Series but...
American League
ALDS
Yankees vs. Twins: Congratulations on beating the Tigers, Twins. Your prize, a first round boot by the New York Yankees. I just don't see how a drained Twins team puts up any level of a fight with that pitching staff. Yankees in 3 games, with a +25 run differential. Difference Maker: Everything. The Twins are only better than the Yankees at one position, Catcher. And Jorge Posada shouldn't be counted out. This is the Post Season, so the difference isn't too huge.
Red Sox vs. L.A. Angels: This has got to get a bit repetitive for the Angels, losing to the Sox in the Division Series. Great story this year, the Angels. I'd give them a fighters chance in a 7 game series because I trust them 4 deep more than I trust the Sox. But 5 deep, Lester and Big Game Becket win it for the Sox in 5. Difference Maker: Intimidation and Josh Beckett.
ALCS
Yankees vs. Red Sox: Is there any doubt that these are the two best teams in all of Baseball, regardless of League. Call this the real World Series. As I said earlier, I don't trust the Sox in a 7 game series because after Lester and Beckett it gets sketchy real fast. Matsuzaka walks to many batters to be considered an Ace and this is the postseason, Bucholz is young, and I don't trust him facing the Yankees lineup in the Playoffs. The Yankees after C.C Sabathia aren't exactly iron clad, but you know what you're getting from Pettitte. Burnett can obviously go either way, and since this is his first time in the postseason, I'm tossing all past performance out the window. Admit it, the Yanks pitchers only have to give up less that 6 runs and they're going to win. Yanks in seven because well...the Yanks and Sox always go 7 in the post season. Difference Maker: Yankees offense and the team of Rivera and Hughes make the difference by going all Rivera/Wetland on us.
National League
NLDS
Phillies vs. Rockies: As much as I would love for Rocktober to continue, and as much as I think the Rockies have some real magic this year, they'd have to at minimum, win 2 of the 4 games they will play facing Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. To bad, cause I'd give them a chance in seven. Phillies in 5.  Difference Maker: Cliff Lee and Experience.
Cardinals vs. Dodgers: Sorry Torre, I love you man for all the wins you gave my Yankees, but there is no chance the Dodgers win a single game against either Wainwright or Carpenter. Cardinals in 4 because I do think the Dodgers will win game 3. Difference Maker: Carpenter and Wainright.
NLCS
Cardinals vs. Phillies: The way things would work ideally for the Cardinals would be to pitch Carpenter three times and Wainwright twice. Oh, and they got that Joel Pineiro guy going out of the third rotation spot. He has an ERA of 3.49.  I don't see how the Phillies trump the Cardinals when the Cardinals have Carpenter and Wainwright as a one-two punch and Pujols and Holliday going 3,4. Pitching wins in the postseason. And the Phillies have Brad Lidge closing games atm. Cardinals in 5. Difference Maker: See Cardinals/Dodgers.
World Series: 
Yankees vs. Cardinals: Okay, remember when I said Pitching wins in the Postseason? Throw that out the window now. Because these Yankees are not some National League offense. I'm a firm believer that the Regular Season doesn't mean much in the Playoffs. But that's to an extent. You can use the Regular season to judge the potency of a lineup. And the Yankees scored 185 more runs during the regular season then the Cardinals. That's more than a run per game. There isn't a single easy out in the Yankees lineup. I see the Yankees in 5 games, only because I think they'll be the only team able to take at least 2 out of 4 from the wainwright/carpenter combo. Especially considering the number of innings they will have pitched. I see the long season getting to Chris Carpenter. Even if the Yankees take just two out of four from that combo, Joel Pineiro doesn't have what it takes to shut them down. And the Cardinals don't have Hughes and Rivera closing the game out. Yankees in 5. Difference Maker: The Bullpen, Depth of the Yankees lineup.
And there you have it. Take it to the bank.

Posted on: October 4, 2009 6:46 pm
 

MVP Awards

Today, the regular season ends for all but the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. So that means that it's time for the awards. Now, without further ado, we have the awards, starting off with the most contentious.
AL MVP
1. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I think Teixeira was the most valuable player in the American League this season. When I look at which player was the most valuable, I want to see which player helped their team win the most. How does a team win? They have to score runs. Maybe I'm old fashioned like that. Teixeira drove in the most runs in the American League, and had the most Home Runs. He was also the most dangerous hitter in the best offense in baseball.
2. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins. Yeah, In placed him second. I just can't get over that missed month. If he'd played the entire season, it is probably unlikely that we would be having this conversation. But when you miss a month, and some of your stats are so far behind other candidates, what do you expect. A high batting average alone is not enough. Yes, he had a high OBP, but that's solely because he was the only dangerous hitter in a crappy lineup. You can't walk Mark Teixeira in the Yankees lineup. Bottom line, he beat Teixeira in one of the triple crown categories, OBP and SLG (barely), and Teixeira won everything else.
3. Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox. His numbers are closer to Mark Teixeira's then anyone would have guessed. Perhaps the only big threat in a surprisingly light lineup for the first half. 
4. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers. One of the most balenced players in the game. I like to refer to him as Hanley Ramirez without the speed and slightly more power.
5. Derek Jeter, New York Yankeess. Derek Jeter was considered by most to be in the top 3 of the race. But I just can't do it. Jeter and Mauer both play one of the two most important defensive positions. Positions where offense is admittedly second. The only stat Jeter beat Mauer in was runs. I can't place him above either of the players in the top 4.
6. Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays. I'm not really sure how his season continues to slip under the radar. All I know is that it has, and it makes no sense.
7. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees. Someone please tell me why CBSsports has Cano ranked behind Pedroia in the positional rankings. Out of the 5th, 6th and 7th spots, he has 25 HR, 85 RBI, and 103 Runs. Yes, the Yankees lineup is that scary.
8. Evan Langoria, Tampa Bay Rays. Just missed a 30-100-100 season.
HN: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees. Has anyone looked to see what he's done in a mere 443 AB's. How about 30 Home Runs and 100 RBI. Tacked on 14 SB for good measure too.
NL MVP
1. Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals. I love it when awards are so cut in dry. I'm just going to end here. I'm not a fan of stating the obvious.
2. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers. Barely beats out Hanley Ramirez. The stats he put up this season would be monsterous, if Pujols didn't exist that is
3. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins. The games premier 5-tool player. .342-24-106-101-27. Do I really have to say more.
4. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers need to get themselves some pitching. The offencive talents of Fielder and Braun are being wasted on that team.
5. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies. Gets the nod over his team mate because he plays a far harder defensive position. Any other year, he's the premier second baseman in the league. Better by both Cano and Lind in the AL though.
6. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies. The panic from last year seems so long ago now that Tulowitzki has turned himself into an MVP-level player.
7. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals. They need to get some talent period to put around him. Continues to be wasted in Washington.
8. Ryan Howard. How often does a guy with 45 Home Runs and 141 RBI's end up in 8th. Well, that just goes to show how competitive the NL MVP race is this year.
HN: Mark Reynolds, Arizona Diamondbacks. I'm putting the league on notice, if this man ever learns to strikeout even half as often, which would still be 110 times, watch out. That would be really scary.
Posted on: September 8, 2009 3:37 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2009 3:39 pm
 

AL MVP Race...

It is pretty widely acknowledged that the AL MVP race is down to two people, Joe Mauer of the Twins and Mark Teixeria of the Yankees. I'm going to tell you right now, Joe Mauer should not win the Most Valuable Player award. The thing about Baseball is this: The team that scores the most runs wins. Therefore, the player that is most responsible for netting his team runs would theoretically be the Most Valuable Player. Joe Mauer is not that player, Mark Teixeira is. I am going to completely ignore two things in comparison: Batting Average and Home Runs. Having a high number in both is obviously great, and both merely serve as a way to drive in runs. And last time I checked, runs counted the same, whether they came from a home run or a sacrifice fly. Thus, because they each beat the other in one of those categories, it's a wash.
Here's the deal:
Joe Mauer: 82 RBI 81 Runs
Mark Teixeira: 106 RBI 90 Runs
Joe Mauer has been in some way responsible for 163 runs for the Twins.
Mark Teixeira has been responsible for 196 runs for the Yankees
For those of you who are into those new-age stats. Runs Created (RC) lists Mark Teixeira with 109 and Joe Mauer with 106. So there you have my somewhat simpleminded argument for why Teixeira should win the AL MVP. And for those of you who gripe about defence, Teixeira has the 5th highest fielding percentage in the league and the second highest zone rating. So you shall get no sympathy from me. Now I know there are those of you whom will argue that Mauer missed a sizeable portion of the season, and thus should get some unfounded benefit from having those totals through lesser AB. Those who think that should look back at last season and see whether they thought the same for Alex Rodriguez, who missed 31 games of the season.
As for other competitors in the MVP race. Derek Jeter, while having played excellent, has roughly the same number of runs created as Joe Mauer. And in the case of such a tie, the higher Batting Average and Home Run totals do serve as a good tie breaker. Miguel Cabrera is well behind Mark Teixeira in every stat that matters except BA. And I've already told you my views on Batting Average. A bad June and July torpedoed any chance that Kevin Youkalis had at the award. Jason Bay's candicay was killed by a particuraly horrid stretch from May-July which saw him bat under the mendoza line for the month of July. Carlos Pena just lost any chance he had when he was lost for the season. And he had little chance to begin with considering that his BA was so atrociously bad that I would have had to consider it. Evan Langoria and Justin Morneau have been near duplicates all season, and both are slightly behind Mark Teixeira in every stat that matters.
Top 5 AL MVP

  1. Mark Teixeira: It's close, very close. But his better stats win the day on a playoff team
  2. Joe Mauer: Yes, I realize we should be debating whether Mauer should be on his way to winning his third MVP. Cause he definetly 
  3. Derek Jeter: Yes, I gave him superlative nod for being Derek Jeter. But after the top two, the rest is a tight pack
  4. Justin Morneau/Evan Langoria: The twins Mini-Mark's
  5. Ichiro Suzuki: Put him on a team with a competant offence and he might have a chance at an MVP one of these days. As it is, all he has is a high BA, not a whole lot of runs or RBI.

Posted on: May 9, 2009 12:06 am
 

That didn't take long...

The entire world has probably heard by now that Alex Rodriguez hit the first pitch he saw all season for a three run homerun. They've probably also forgotten that it was his only hit of the evening. But what matters is that Rodriguez made an impression. His home run was a shot at his critics, a message telling them to put the past behind them like he says he has and let him do what he does best, be the best player in baseball. 
Also of note is that C.C Sabathia finally pitched like the pitcher the Yankees though they were getting when they dished out $168 Million dollars for him. Sabathia lowered his ERA almost a full run, in allowing zero runs, four hits and a walk while striking out 8 over a Complete Game shutout. But what was probably the most important thing was that he conserved his pitches, needing only 84 to get through 7 innings, and a total of 112 for the entire 9 innings. He had great placement of all of his pitchers, a good sign considering the control issues he was having earlier in the season. 
What is a cause for concern is that they still hit poorly with runners on base, something they had difficulty with in their previous two series. Also of note is that teixeria still had an 0-fer with 3K's despite having Rodriguez as protection, though he did draw a walk.
Note
-Ian Kennedy is expected to have Surgery and will be out for the remainder of the Season. It is uncertain at this time whether he will be able to continue pitching.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com