Monday, October 12, 2009

Division Series Wrap-Up

Quick hitters, by series...

Dodgers- Cardinals

- This one was over the second that Matt Holiday took one off the, um, cajones.
- Cards looked content to just pack it in down 0-2, even though they were at home
- Matt Holliday and Brendan Ryan combined to go 3-24 in the series, with the only home run, RBI and run scored on a homer by Holliday in game two
- Conversely, Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier both hit .500 for the Dodgers
- Ethier also hit two home runs and scored five times, which is one run fewer than the Cardinals team
- Albert Pujols didn't score a run and had one RBI... Holliday and Carpenter struggled, the Cards lost. It's just that simple
- The real drama begins now with the Cards, as Holliday is a free agent, as is manager Tony LaRussa, who has been rumored to have drawn interest in Cincinatti and Houston
- Whereever LaRussa goes, magic man pitching coach Dave Duncan is sure to follow
- The Dodgers won in large part thanks to their superior bullpen depth. Power arms live in the Dodger pen. Lots of 'em.

- The Twins had so many chances to win Friday's game two, they'll probably think about it all off-season. I don't even have the time or the energy to recount them, particularly because of how angry they made me
- Joe Mauer's flare on the line in left in the 11th inning of game two was a double, yes. But when the bases are loaded with no one out, you have to score. Just that simple.
- Joe Nathan is too good a pitcher to groove a fastball that could tie a game to a hitter like A-Rod. That pitch, and alot of the series, looked like the Twins were affected by the big stage.
- The Yankees swept, but they'll have to play much better to win a series to beat a good team. Minnesota was the best in the AL Central, but clearly not on par with the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox.
- The Yankees hit only .225 against Minnesota, led by A-Rod going .445/2/6
- Yes, THAT A-Rod
- I heard Ken Rosenthal explain that this performance doesn't mean A-Rod is clutch, it's just that, like Barry Bonds several years ago, a player this good can't choke in the playoffs EVERY time
- The Yankees feasted on Twins mistakes- fielding, pitching, baserunning.
- The Angels don't make mistakes like that, nor do they beat themselves
- Nothing really to see here, the Yankees won three games against a team they should beat

Angels- Red Sox
-Wow. The Angels beat Boston in every way you can. They roughed up starters, squelched the lineup, roughed up middle relief, roughed up the closer.
- The Halos clearly are not intimidated by the Sox any longer
- Turns out the weakness Boston had, which I neglected to see, was the lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury lead the Sawx with a .250 batting average in the series. Pedroia, Bay, Youkillis were all terrible.
- It's not hard to see why the Sox think they have a closer for the future in Daniel Bard
- Jonathan Papelbon picked a bad time to give up his first playoff runs ever
- The Angels look like the most focused, inspired team thus far. Maybe that's just a product of dominating the series, but they did so in impressive fashion

- The only non-sweep of the first round, these two played in two great playoff games in Denver
- Game four deserves it's own entry, which I'll start after I finish this
- Six of the Phils eight regulars hit over .300 in the series against the Rockies
- Carlos Gonzalez is going to be some kind of player. It seemed like he was on base every time he came to the plate. He can run, he's got a little pop, good arm, but he's got to get a bit better tracking balls in the outfield.
- Cliff Lee was a man in his first two playoff appearances. Two earned runs and 11 hits in 16.1 innings, with a 10/3 strikeout to walk ratio.
- Ubaldo Jimenez could be a complete dominator if he can refine a secondary pitch. He's got to be able to put hitters away better and keep his pitch counts down. Only 25, he throws an awful lot of pitches and innings, which worries me in terms of injury potential in the following season.
-Scott Eyre came up HUGE for the Phillies as a lefty specialist in the absence of J.C. Romero
-Yorvit Torrealba apparently is one of those players who is pretty ordinary during the season, but turns it on in the playoffs
- Colorado didn't play Ian Stewart or Brad Hawpe much in the series, opting instead for Garrett Atkins and Ryan Spillborghs/Seth Smith. That worked out for the Phillies, as lesser righthanded hitters were in the lineup against the Phils lefthanded starters.
- Clint Barmes pulled the ohfer. As in zero for the series.

Overarching Themes Across Multiple Series
- The umpiring in the Division Series' was terrible. Just awful. Big calls, bad strike zones, everything. However, since everyone was mad at the umpires, that probably means no one got screwed more than anyone else. I saw way, way too many managers jogging out to argue numerous calls.
- Very good 2009 regular season closers Jonathan Papelbon, Ryan Franklin, Huston Street and Joe Nathan impode. Terrible 2009 regular season closer Brad Lidge goes perfect
- It seems like everyone made out trading or trading for Matt Holliday except for the A's. Holliday helped vault the Cardinals into the playoffs, while Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street helped Colorado win the NL wild card
- The Cardinals and Rockies combined to win only one playoff game, however
- MLB should be embarrassed to have some of these start times. If the Phillies had swept the Rockies, then some good fans with good 9-5 jobs (as in, those who buy tickets and merchandise) would not have been able to see even one game of the series, with games one and two during the afternoon in the work week, and game three starting at 10:05 on Sunday night, and not ending until 2:14 am. That's shameful to do to any team, never mind the defending World Series champions. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a Phillies fan, it's not fair for any team's fans to get the shaft like that. I'd venture to say that if you put on Phillies-Rockies at 7 pm and Yankees-Twins at 7 pm, the ratings would be comparable to the teams not playing in the same time slot. After all, why did baseball move to nights in the first place? More people can watch.

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