Thursday, October 8, 2009

Playoff Day One Wrap-Up

It's late and I'm tired, so please excuse any incorrect spelling or syntax. But here are my immediate thoughts after Wednesday's (and into Thursday morning) action...

- Cliff Lee was dominating against Colorado, giving up only a garbage-time run to the Rockies. He worked quick, he was aggressive, he stayed ahead of hitters and worked both sides of the plate. Masterful performance by Lee.

- Yorvit Torrealba is terrible trying to nail base stealers. Cliff Lee stole second for crying out loud. The Phillies clearly made it a point to run on Torrealba, and he did nothing to slow them down. Gunning Ryan Howard isn't exactly a prized kill, and Howard beat the throw but short legged the slide. Chris Iannetta is better defensively, but isn't nearly the hitter. We'll see how Jim Tracy plays that.

- Judging by ninth inning bullpen activity (Ryan Madson and J.A. Happ), Charlie Manuel looks ready to use whoever is the best matchup to close games out this postseason.

- Games three and four for the Phillies will be started by two of the three that aren't used out of the pen between Joe Blanton, Happ, and Pedro Martinez. Because of Colorado's struggle with lefthanders, I'd be shocked if he didn't get a start.

- The wind affected a few plays in the game, most notably on Jayson Werth's blast to left that would have been gone by 20 rows on most days. Upon reaching third with a triple, Werth visibly expressed his disbelief that the ball hadn't left the yard and appeared to mouth an incredulous "I hit the (bleeping bleep) out of that ball." Indeed, each fly ball was an adventure in the Phils-Rocks matchup, particularly those hit to the left side.

- The biggest at-bat in the Phils-Rocks game was turned in by Carlos Ruiz, who turned in a great at-bat against Ubaldo Jimenez that culminated in an RBI hit that put the Phils up 2-0. Ruiz fouled off a 1-2 pitch, took a ball, then spit on a tough breaking ball that was just inside to make the count 3-2. He then fouled off another pitch before driving a ball to right to give the Phillies a multi-run lead, and they would never look back.

- The Twins looked like a team that played a 12-inning elimination game 1500 miles away 20 hours prior.

- Phil Hughes is better as a setup man than I thought

- Francisco Liriano is nowhere close to his pre-Tommy John surgery self.

- Hong-Chih Kuo can bring it. He blew away Troy Glaus with straight gas.

- The Dodger bullpen is deep with power arms, anchored by Jonathan Broxton and his 100 mph last pitch of the game.

- It appears easy enough to not let Albert Pujols beat you. Walk him.

- Good day: Cliff Lee, Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes, Alex Rodriguez, Matt Kemp

- Bad day: Yorvit Torrealba, Ubaldo Jimenez, Phillies-Rockies umpiring crew, Brian Duensing, Chris Carpenter

- Finally, the fourth Division Series matchup kicks off Thursday in Anaheim, with the Red Sox taking on the Angels for the fourth time in six seasons. On his blog, Curt Schilling offers his analysis of the series. Schilling may be seen as a blowhard by some, but he is undeniably one of the more thoughtful and articulate players to pass through MLB in the last generation. And if anyone is qualified to analyze this series, it would be Schilling, who pitched for the Red Sox against Anaheim in '04 and '07, and was on the DL in '08.

- Finally, you've got to be kidding me.

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