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Category Archives: playoffs

2012 NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals vs San Francisco Giants

St. Louis: 88-74; 2nd in NL Central (2nd Wild Card)
San Francisco: 9468-74; 1st in NL West

Game 1: Oct. 14, 8:00 – (Lance Lynn vs Madison Bumgarner)
Game 2: Oct. 15, 8:00 PM – (TBA vs Ryan Vogelson)
Game 3: Oct. 17, 4:00 PM – (Adam Wainwright vs Matt Cain)
Game 4: Oct. 18, 8:00 PM – (TBA vs TBA)
Game 5*: Oct. 19, 8:00 PM
Game 6*: Oct. 21, 4:30 PM
Game 7*: Oct. 22, 8:00 PM



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2012 ALCS Preview: New York Yankees vs Detroit Tigers

New York: 95-67; 1st in AL East
Detroit: 88-74; 1st in AL Central

Game 1: Oct. 13, 8:00 – (Andy Pettitte vs Doug Fister)
Game 2: Oct. 14, 4:00 PM – (TBA vs Anibal Sanchez)
Game 3: Oct. 16, 8:00 PM – (C.C. Sabbathia vs Justin Verlander)
Game 4: Oct. 17, 8:00 PM – (TBA vs Max Scherzer)
Game 5*: Oct. 18, 4:00 PM
Game 6*: Oct. 20, 8:00 PM
Game 7*: Oct. 21, 8:00 PM

Position Players (13): R Martin, M Teixeira, R Cano, D Jeter, A Rodriguez, I Suzuki, C Granderson, N Swisher, J Nix, R Ibanez, B Gardner, C Stewart, E Chavez.

Pitchers (12): C Sabbathia, H Kuroda, D Phelps, P Hughes, A Pettitte, B Logan, C Rapada, J Chamberlain, C Eppley, D Lowe, D Robertson, R Soriano (CL).

Position Players (14): A Avila, G Laird, M Cabrera, P Fielder, O Infante, J Peralta, R Santiago, D Worth, Q Berry, A Dirks, A Garcia, A Jackson, D Kelly, D Young.

Pitchers (11): A Alburquerque, J Benoit, P Coke, O Dotel, D Fister, R Porcello, A Sanchez, M Scherzer, D Smyly, J Valverde (CL), J Verlander.

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Game 5 Mayhem

The Texas Rangers, fresh off an elimination of the Rays, can sit at home while six teams fight to move onto the League Championship Series.

The Yanks forced a fifth game on Tuesday while the Cardinals and Diamondbacks, with their backs seemingly on the ropes, punched back at the Phillies and Brewers respectively. The NLDS Game 5’s will be tomorrow.

So, who will move on and who will go home? Detroit’s Doug Fister and Yankee rookie Ivan Nova have the weight of their seasons lying firmly on their shoulders. Tonight, those two will duel at 8:07 ET.

For the Diamondbacks, their ace Ian Kennedy will face Brewers #2 Yovani Gollardo at 5:07 ET. Kennedy was lit up in his Game 1 start and Gollardo cruised to a Game 2 win. Arizona won both Games 3 and 4 at home, forcing the series to return to Milwaukee.

The Phils and Cards traded blows. Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter will match up once again. If you remember, Halladay gave up a three-run homer to Lance Berkman in Game 1 before settling down. Carpenter proceeded to implode in the 4th inning and his night ended drastically.

Tune in to TBS (shameless plug for an awful sports broadcasting station) for the games

Rangers move on to ALCS

Texas' Adrian Beltre hits one of his three homers in Game 4. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

The Texas Rangers finished off the Tampa Bay Rays earlier today.

After getting blown out in Game 1 in their home park, the Rangers took the next three games to win their series, advancing to the ALDS while waiting for the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers to finish their series. The Tigers currently hold a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 tonight at 8:37.

Today’s Game 4 win was a thriller. Adrian Beltre, acquired this off season as a free agent, continued his tear from the regular season. The third baseman slugged three homers, his third providing the most important run when Tampa Bay cut the lead in half in the 9th inning.

The Rays, trailing 4-2 going into their final three outs, got a run back with one out when Casey Kotchman drove in Nelson Cruz. But the Rangers closer Neftali Feliz got the next two outs rather easily and the Rangers moved on.

Rookies, post season roster and contracts discussed today

A lot was discussed this past hour about the post season roster and beyond.

This includes the fate of the Phillies September call-ups, the size of the post season roster and a few off season moves.

Relivers Joe Savery and Justin De Fratus will go to Clearwater when playoffs begin to keep throwing just in case. They will be joined by Domonic Brown, who will not be an option for the post season roster.

Reliever Michael Schwimer and outfield Brandon Moss will be sent home at the end of the regular season.

In regards to the post season roster, the Phils ar flirting with the idea of carrying 11 pitchers. That will include the four starters, Ryan Madson, Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lidge, Michael Stutes and Vance Worley. Kyle Kendrick, Joe Blanton and David Herndon will battle for the 10th and optional 11th pitching spot.

By carrying 14 hitters, they will have eight starters, a back-up catcher and five bench players for hitting, running and fielding.

And in some future news, the Phillies have extended contract offers to every single coaching position for next season. A 99-win season would do that.

D League: Expanding the MLB Playoffs

As you may know by now, I write a weekly MLB column for the guys at The D League. But their site isn’t just a blog. Their main focus is the radio show run by Patrick Gallagher and Jack Bevenour. They bring you a unique approach to sports commentary. Their focus isn’t stats. It’s all about the game. Check out their show which starts at 8 ET/5 PT on Wednesday nights on the website.

Here is an excerpt from my column posted today on the D League’s website:

As a nation, we have been expanding for over 400 years. New land, new technology, new era’s in this great nation’s life have been a constant theme. It’s no surprise that one of our most prized possessions, sports, has gone through some serious tinkering as well.

Baseball is America’s past time. Football is America’s game. Both are looking at possible changes in the next few years that could see their post season and regular season expand respectively. You hear so much about the National Football League’s imminent expansion so you don’t want to hear me babble on about that. But you won’t be spared with the Major League Baseball playoffs looking at a possible change.

The playoffs have quadrupled since it’s original format. From the merging of the National and American Leagues in 1903 until 1968, the teams with the best record in both the NL and AL played each other in the World Series. But it expanded to two teams in each league at the start of the 1969 season to play each other for a chance to represent their league in the World Series. That format halted after the 1993 season to bring us to our current system of four teams in each League.

With there being an East, Central and West division and 30 teams in each league, a winner from each division along with a Wild Card (the team with the best record of non-division winners) all compete for a chance to play in the Fall Classic.

Talks started up this past year in adding another Wild Card team. With the AL East being a prime example of a playoff-worthy team being left out of the hunt, fans are starting to wonder if that’s fair.

The proposal is adding a second Wild Card team to the playoffs, having them face each other in a three or five-game series and then go up against the top team in the league. All three division winners would get a bye for that round, allowing them a week to rest up and prepare for the playoffs.

By doing this, it allows two more teams a chance at playing in the World Series, a very fair system.

But it has it’s flaws. The NFL allows 12 teams (six in each conference) to compete in the playoffs out of 32 teams. The National Hockey League and National Basketball Association have 16 teams (eight in each conference) compete out of 30 teams in the league. With that amount of teams, it waters down the competition in the playoffs.

It also expands the playoffs, forcing them to drag on. It takes a month and a half for the Stanley Cup to be raised and two months before a champion is crowned in the NBA. With how grueling the Stanley Cup playoffs are, their system works and it has even seen some lower seeds do damage in the playoffs. But a team that backs into the playoffs doesn’t stand a chance against one of the three or four elite teams in the NBA, forcing fans to lose interest for the first month or more of the playoffs and wait until they see the match-ups they want.

The other fear is how late the season in baseball has been running. You’re seeing players freezing to death in Philadelphia in 2008, in Philly and New York in 2009 and San Francisco in 2010. A World Series game was postponed midway through and resumed two days later, a first in baseball history, in 2008 because of rain. Even new apparel was created for the players and fans with a new hat being introduced with ear flaps.

There is no longer a Mr. October but a Mr. November (who fans in Philadelphia claim to be Carlos Ruiz). How do you fix that? Shrink the regular season back to 154 games? That’s a lot of money lost in revenue, beer and food, and merchandise. Owners will throw a fit.

But despite those fears fans bring up with watering down the playoffs in baseball, I just don’t see this falling on its face. You still get three division winners and the two Wild Card teams are only playing for a chance to play the top seed. Every team will be competent and there will be no loss in fan interest. MLB will still boast the best playoff format and that will continue to be a good thing.

Look at what Wild Card teams have done since being added to the format. The Florida Marlins have never won a division title yet have won two World Championships as the Wild Card team in 1997 and 2003. In 2002, the Anaheim Angels and San Francisco Giants became the first Wild Card teams to meet up in the Fall Classic with the Angels taking the series. The 2004 Red Sox are probably the most notable Wild Card winner, coming back from a 3-0 series deficit in the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees to win before sweeping the Houston Astros, another Wild Card team, in the World Series.

The Detroit Tigers in 2006 lost to the Cardinals in the World Series. The Colorado Rockies made a late season surge and snuck into the playoffs as a Wild Card. They made it all the way to the World Series before being bounced by the Boston Red Sox.

Other crazy Wild Card teams include the 2001 Oakland Athletics, who were the only Wild Card team to win over 100 games.

The Wild Card has thrown some crazy competition into the playoffs. A quarter of the last 16 champions have been Wild Cards with them representing a quarter of the playoff competitors. This expansion will merely be another great step in bettering the game of baseball. It’s the right move, Bud Selig. Make it happen.

Read the entire column here.

Phillies Name NLDS Starters

In the highly anticipated news of the past week since the Phils won their fourth straight division, manager Charlie Manuel finally announced his game one and two starters. He didn’t announce the game three pitcher “officially” but by process of elimination, it’s going to go to a Big Three member.

Roy Halladay, the staff ace and top candidate for the NL Cy Young will pitch game one. Roy Oswalt, the Phils latest acquisition from Houston in exchange for J.A. Happ and prospects, will pitch game two. That leaves the sole left-hander in the rotation, and youngest of the Big Three, Cole Hamels to start game three.

Taking a look back on what these guys gave the Phillies, the team is blessed to have three pitchers of this caliber to throw in 17 out of 19 possible playoff games.

Halladay enjoyed a Cy Young-caliber year with a 21-10 record, 2.44 ERA, 219 strike outs, and a league-high 250.2 innings pitched, nine complete games, and four shut outs. He will pitch game one in Philly and game four in Cincy, the Phils likely opponent.

The choice to go with Oswalt in game two was an easy one for Manuel. On the season, Oswalt finished 13-13 with a 2.73 ERA and 192 strike outs. He saw his ERA drop nearly .70 since being traded to the Phils. Oswalt is 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts in Philadelphia this year. He will be pitching games two and five, both in Philadelphia.

Hamels will take game three in Cincy. He enjoyed a great 2010 season, going 12-11 with a 3.09 ERA and 209 strike outs. Hamels is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in three career starts at Great American Ball Park, making the game three decision an easy one as well.

2010 Playoff Schedule

Though the times haven’t been made official nor whoever the Phillies will be playing in the first round, the NLDS schedule will was put out. It is believed the Phils will be getting the afternoon games for the entire NLDS and a confirmation will be made most likely once the season is over.

Here are the days Philadelphia will be playing their best-of-five series:
Game 1: Wedneday, Oct. 6
Game 2: Friday, Oct. 8
Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 10
Game 4: Monday, Oct. 11*
Game 5: Wednesday, Oct. 13*
*if necessary

Now for a more important playoff schedule in the minds of fans, Charlie Manuel is not tipping his hand on who will be the starters for the first three games. But like a lot of people, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer has an “educated guess.

Most likely, Roy Halladay will go in game one and Roy Oswalt in the second. The reason this is believed is because both pitchers are not set to start for the remainder of the season and Manuel may give Hamels a short start on either Saturday or Sunday to keep the left-hander fresh.

As for opponent, it could either be Cincinnati if Atlanta wins the wild card or it could be either San Francisco or San Diego depending on who wins the West and if either can upseat the Braves from their 1.5-game lead on the wild card.

NLDS/ALDS schedules

For those who want to watch every game: here is the schedules for the other three series’:

#1 Los Angelas Dodgers vs #3 St. Louis Cardinals
1) Oct. 7, 9:37 EST
2) Oct. 8, 6:07 EST
3) Oct. 10, 6:07 EST
*4) Oct. 11, TBA
*5) Oct. 13, TBA

#1 New York Yankees vs #3 Minnesota Twins
1) Oct. 7, 6:07 ET
2)Oct. 9, 6:07 ET
3) Oct. 11, TBA
*4) Oct. 12, TBA
*5) Oct. 14, TBA

#2 Los Angelas Angels vs # 4 Boston Red Sox
1) Oct. 8, 9:37 EST
2) Oct. 9, 9:37 EST
3) Oct. 11, TBA
*4) Oct. 12, TBA
*5) Oct. 14, TBA