Sports Summary Logo
Your Ad Here
Sports Update

2010 MLB Post Season Graphic

  • World
    Series
  • Championship
    Series
  • Division
    Series
  • Roadmap to the
    World Series
  • Article
    Archive

World Series (Rangers vs. Giants):

Best of Seven Series with home field advantage going to the San Francisco Giants.
The World Series (also called the Fall Classic) will begin on October 27th in San Francisco.

The Giants will host up to four of the possible seven games.  If it goes seven games, the World Series will end on November 4th.

Giants Win World Series 4 Games to 1

GAME 5 Recap: Giants win 3-1 

Game 5 went the same way as the rest of the Series.  The Giants’ pitching was again top shelf.  This time Tim Lincecum outdueled Cliff Lee and the Giants won 3-1.  They finished off the Rangers in five games and have won the World Series for the first time since the team moved to San Francisco in 1958. 

All the offense they needed came on a 3-run homerun by Edgar Renteria.  His home-run in the 7th inning broke a scoreless tie and earned him the World Series MVP award.  He hit over .400 during the series and had at least one hit in all four of the games that the Giants won.

Lincecum was the real star on Monday night, though.  He went eight full innings and struck out 10.  He shut down a team that had a very potent offense and made it look easy while doing it.  In general, this was the trend with the Giants’ pitchers.  Over the course of the five game series they outscored the Rangers by a count of 29-12. 

They shut out the Rangers twice and only allowed one run in Game 5.  The Rangers’ Cliff Lee pitched very well on Monday night.  He went 7 innings and really only made the mistake to Renteria.  He had to pitch out of a few jams but was in control most of the night.  He’s a free agent, now, so it’ll be interesting to see if he follows the money and ends up on a big market roster very soon. 

This World Series was different than expected, as it didn’t have a big market team, a la the Yankees or Phillies.  It was traditional, though, in the sense that pitching won out in a big way.  It certainly was a fitting way to end the “Year of the Pitcher.”

 

GAME 5 Preview:  (TONIGHT at 8 ET on Fox)  Do or die time and Cliff Lee is taking the mound.  The Rangers will be hoping that Cliff Lee will shake off his Game 1 disappointing start and get the Rangers kick started.  Game 5 will be a rematch of the two aces, Lee and Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum.  In Game 1, everyone expected a low scoring affair, but the game ended up at 11-7.  Both Lincecum and Lee are expected to keep the score a lot lower this time.  The Rangers get to host Game 5, but if they win, they’ll need to win games 6 and 7 on the road as the Series will travel back to San Francisco.

GAME 4 Recap: The Giants’ pitching continues to be the story of the World Series as they won Game 4 by a score of 4-0.  They are now one win away from winning it all and own a commanding 3 games to 1 lead in the Series.

The pitching star on Sunday night was rookie Madison Bumgarner, who was supposedly the weakest of the four starting pitchers for the Giants.  They just do not seem to have any weak spots in the rotation.  On Sunday Bumgarner went 8 innings, only giving up 3 hits.  Their second shutout in the World Series marks the first time since 1966 that a team has done that twice in World Series. 
It’s interesting to note that all four of the Giants starters in the playoffs are “home-grown,” meaning they have been in the Giants organization for their entire playing career.  It is very rare these days to find that, since most teams are always looking for starting pitchers through trades and the free-agent market. The Giants’ bats were powerful as well, hitting two homeruns and eight hits to provide the offense to support their pitching.

GAME 3 Recap: Colby Lewis held the Giants to 2 runs giving Texas a 4-2 win in Game 3 of the World Series. Giants Pitcher Jonathan Sanchez allowed a double and a walk in the second inning setting up Mitch Moreland for a 3 run homer which ultimately gave the Rangers the win.

GAME 2 Recap: That was ridiculous.  A very close game turned into a route in the 8th inning.  Matt Cain was brilliant for the Giants, who are only two wins away from winning their first World Series since they moved from New York.  Cain pitched 7 2/3 innings and only walked two batters.  For his part, CJ Wilson pitched well, going 6 innings and only giving up 2 runs.    

Everyone knew the Giants could pitch, but the big question was going to be their hitting.  That hasn’t been a problem, as they’ve scored 20 runs in the first two games.  This is in stark contrast to their total of 19 runs that they scored in the 6 games against the Phillies.  Edgar Renteria spearheaded the offense for the Giants with a homerun in the fifth inning.  In the eighth he added a 2-run single putting the game out of reach.  Then it seemed like everyone else got on board as the Giants added a total of seven runs in the eighth inning.

GAME 2 Preview:  at San Francisco at 8 ET TONIGHT!

The Rangers lost Game 1 to the Yankees in a fashion that was equally as devastating as Wednesday’s Game 1 World Series loss.  They were able to bounce back in the ALCS against the Yankees, so they know they can still win this series.   

The Giants have some great pitching, and we get to see the second of their stars pitch in Game 2.  Matt Cain will be pitching for the Giants.  Cain has been great in the postseason, beating both the Phillies and the Braves once each.  Each game he went deep into the game and struck out an average of almost one batter per inning.

The Rangers will be looking for a big game from CJ Wilson as they try to climb back in the series.  It’s too early to call it a must win for Texas, but no one likes going down 2 games to 0.

Updated Prediction: I still think the Rangers, but probably in 6 games now.  No one was counting on Cliff Lee getting shelled in Game 1.  The Rangers need to pick up the pieces and move on.  They are a very mature team that will likely tell you that it’s only one game and none of that carries over into Game 2.  The Giants, on the other hand, will look to carry the momentum into the rest of the series.  They were hitting the ball harder than they did against the Braves or Phillies, which is a good sign for them.  And they did it against Cliff Lee, which is a great sign.

GAME 3:  at Texas at 7 ET on SATURDAY

GAME 4:  at Texas at 8 ET Sunday

GAME 5:  at Texas at 8 ET on MONDAY

GAME 6:  at San Francisco at 8 ET on 11/3

GAME 7:  at San Francisco at 8 ET on 11/4

American League Championship Series

Yankees vs. Rangers on TBS: CJ-Wilson Pictching For the Rangers(Rangers win 4 games to 2)

Game 6 Recap: The Rangers bested the Yankees 6-1 to win the American League Championship Series 4 games to 2. The Ranger’s Colby Lewis outpitched Phil Hughes and Josh Hamilton was awarded ALCS MVP. This Game 6 win allows the Rangers to save their ace pitcher  Cliff Lee for the first game of the World Series.

Prediction:  

I think the Rangers win this one in Game 6.  While the Yankees won big in Game 5, they still gave up a lot of hits.  Don’t expect the Rangers’ offense to only score two runs in Game 6—they will come out swinging and probably put up a lot of runs.  I think the difference will come on the basepaths.  At some point there will be a game changing event created by the Rangers running rampant on Yankee catcher Jorge Posada.  The Rangers have already stolen 7 bases in the series through the first five games compared to just 1 for the Yankees.

Key for Yankees: continue th eir patient hitting style, making the Rangers’ pitchers either throw walks or pitches that are easier to hit.  The Yankees must limit the Rangers baserunners or the Rangers will wreak havoc against Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.

Key for Rangers:  win the two Cliff Lee games (3 and 7) and run very aggressively whenever they get on base.  The Rangers can lose the two Sabathia games (1 and 5) and still win the series with aggressive base running against the others.  

Game 5 Recap:  As expected, the Yankees avoided the home sweep by salvaging one win out of the three games at Yankee Stadium.  They rode the arm of their ace, CC Sabathia, for six innings and cruised to a 7-2 win.  This game was never really in doubt.  The Yankees led 5-0 after three innings including back to back homeruns by Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano in the third inning.  The Texas offense produced a lot of hits in this game (they had 13 hits total), but they could only muster a couple of runs off of the Yankees. Whenever the Rangers would threaten, the Yankees would either get a big strikeout or force the Rangers’ hitters into an easy out.

Game 4 Recap:  The Rangers are one win away from the World Series after a dominating 10-3 victory on Tuesday night.  The Yankees could not have felt very confident going into this game anyway.  Their starting pitcher, AJ Burnett, lost 15 games during the regular season and gave up, on average, over five runs in each game.  The powerful Texas offense took advantage.  Josh Hamilton hit two solo homeruns in this game to give him four total for the series.  The big blow came from catcher Bengie Molinawho put the Rangers up for good in the sixth inning with a three run homerun off Burnett.  Molina, who is listed generously at 225 pounds and had only five homeruns on the season, had a great quote after the game—“It's not bad for a fat kid that everyone makes fun of when he runs.”  True story Bengie--not bad for a fat kid and a team that no one really expected to do this well in the playoffs.  This win put Texas at 5-0 in road games during the playoffs and one win away from their first World Series trip in franchise history.

Game 3 Recap:  This just in: the Rangers are really good!  Cliff Lee was dominant and Josh Hamilton staked them to an early 2-0 lead with a home run in the first inning.  Lee struck out 13 hitters on a team that led the major leagues in runs scored this year.  Lee didn’t even allow a baserunner until the fourth inning and only allowed two singles in his eight innings.  He would have finished off the game, but the Rangers scored 6 runs in the 9th inning to blow the game open.
 
The Rangers have led in all but 2 of the 27 innings in this series.  Aside from about 20 minutes in the 8th inning of Game 1, the Rangers have flat-out dominated the Yankees.  The amazing thing is that this if far from over.  The Rangers have to win two more games and Cliff Lee only pitches one of them, Game 7 if it gets that far.  The Yankees have tons of offense and tons of experience, so don’t go buying your Rangers’ World Series tickets yet.  In fact, lost in this blowout was a very good outing by Andy Pettitte, who only made one mistake – the curveball that Josh Hamilton hit into the right field stands.

GAME 2 Recap: Rangers win 7-2

 The Rangers were impressive on Saturday afternoon as they beat the Yankees 7-2.  Only 16 hours after suffering a monumental collapse, they jumped right back out to a 5 run lead in the first 3 innings.  Again they got a strong performance from a starting pitcher.  This time, when they gave the ball to the relief pitchers coming out of the bullpen it worked.  On Saturday the Rangers used 3 of the same pitchers as the bullpen closed out the final 3 1/3 innings to tie the series. 
Monday night is the most anticipated game of the series, as the Rangers’ Cliff Lee takes the mound in Yankee Stadium.  Lee has been phenomenal in the playoffs throughout the last two years.  Pettite starts for the Yankees and is the all-time winningest pitcher in playoff history.

Game 1 Recap: Yankees win 6-5
“What just happened?!”  Game 1 hurt for Rangers fans and solidified the Yankees position as dominant postseason performers.  The Rangers inexplicably jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the Yankees’ ace CC Sabathia.  Even more inexplicably, they blew it and lost 6-5.  The stunned look on the Rangers’ faces at the end says it all.

Rangers starter CJ Wilson pitched very well, taking a 5-1 lead into the 8th inning.  Before the Rangers knew what happened the Yankees were up 6-5.  Kerry Wood pitched a shaky 8th inning for the Yankees, but escaped unscathed after the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler was picked off first base in the 8th.  That was essentially the end.  Mariano Rivera came in for the ninth and closed the door.

In all it was a devastating loss for the Rangers.  Game 2 is at 4 PM ET on Sunday.  The way the Rangers come out in the first inning could indicate which way the rest of series will go.  If the Rangers come out carrying their shocked look with them, look for the Yankees to make quick work of them and head home to NY with a commanding 2-0 series lead.

NEWS/NOTES:
10/14 Update: Yankees vs. Rangers stat of the day:  82 base runners attempted steals against Yankees Jorge Posada this year.  Posada caught only 10 of them.  Relevance?  Look for the Rangers to gamble on the base paths a lot, trying to get Posada to throw the ball away. 
 
10/13 Update: The Rangers won Game 5 and their first Postseason Series last night behind the dominant pitching performance of Cliff Lee.  He struck out 11 in a complete game against the Rays.  The aggressive running of the Rangers paid off, resulting in the first 3 runs.

National League Championship Series

Phillies vs. Giants:  (Giants win 4 games to 2)

Game 6 Recap: The Giants upset the Phillies in the National League Championship Series and will return to the World Series for the first time since 2002.  In a tightly contested matchup on Saturday night, the Giants used every bullet they had to win Game 6 by a score of 3-2. 
Juan Uribe hit a solo homerun in the eighth inning to take a 3-2 lead.  In the bottom of the eighth, San Fran brought in their best starting pitcher to try to hold the lead.  Tim Lincecum, who pitched only two days ago, came in and left very quickly.  He didn’t seem to have much control and left after one out and a runner on first.  Giants’ closer Brian Wilson and his killer beard came in to finish the final five outs.  The last out came as a strike out against the Phillies best hitter, MVP Candidate Ryan Howard.  Cody Ross was voted NLCS MVP, after hitting .350 for the series and hitting 3 home runs.  The World Series starts on Wednesday night when the Giants host the Rangers.

Game 5 Recap: The Phillies forced at least a Game 6 by winning Game 5.  After scoring 3 runs in the third inning, the Phillies clung to a 3-2 lead for most of the game.  In the top of the ninth they added an insurance run and finished out the game 4-2.  Tim Lincecum pitched well for the Giants, but he was out pitched by Roy Halladay (Roy1).  The Phillies’ bull pen was effective, holding the Giants without a run in the final three innings.  Halladay strained his groin muscle on a pitch in the second inning.  He gutted through the next four innings.  .      
The series returns to Philly for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.  Philadelphia still has their backs to the wall and is in a win or go home situation in Game 6 on Saturday.

Game 4 Recap:  The Giants are one win away from upsetting the Phillies in the NLCS.  Juan Uribe hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth scoring the winning run for a “walk-off” win and a commanding 3-1 series lead.

The game was close the entire night.  The Phillies scored 4 runs in the 5th inning to take a 4-2 lead.  The Giants came right back, though and by the end of the 6th inning, they were leading 5-4.  Giants rookie catcher Buster Posey had 4 hits on Wednesday.  He also drove in two runs and got a key hit to help produce the winning run in the ninth.  Neither starting pitcher lasted even five innings.

Game 3 Recap:  The Phillies offense apparently suffered from some jet lag on the trip from Philadelphia to San Francisco as they were blanked by the Giants 3-0 on Tuesday night.  The Phillies were supposed to be the team with the great pitching in this series, and they sent one of their best, Cole Hamels, to the mound in Game 3.  Hamels pitched well, allowing three runs and just five hits over six innings, but it’s hard to win when you don’t score any runs.  The Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, seems to be making all of the right moves right now.  He started pitcher Matt Cain in this game instead of in Game 2 because Cain on average surrenders two less runs when pitching at home than in the Phillies’ stadium.  The move worked as Cain only allowed two hits over seven innings.  Bochy also moved the hot hitting Cody Ross, the Game 1 hero who has three home runs in the series, up from the number eight slot in the batting order to number five (typically a spot where a hitter has a better chance to bat in runs).  Ross responded with a single that scored the game’s first run in the fourth inning, and that was all the Giants would need to win this one.

GAME 2 Recap:

This is more like what we expected.  The Phillies dominated the Giants in Game 2, winning 6-1.  Roy2 (Roy Oswalt) picked up Roy1’s (Roy Halladay’s) slack from Game 1.  Roy1 through 8 innings and only gave up 1 earned run, a solo homerun by Cody Ross.

The Phillies bats backed up Oswalt as they scored 4 runs in the 7th inning to break the game open.  Oswalt was so good that he got involved in the offense.  After singling to center, he advanced to second base on a bunt and then went from second base to home on a single.  The third base coach actually tried hard to stop Oswalt, but Roy2 correctly identified that he would beat the throw home and ran right through the third base coach’s stop sign.

Game 1 Recap: The Giants outmatched the Phillies 4-3 on Saturday night.  WhilePhillies-Braves both pitchers were good, they were much closer to human than they were in their Game 1 starts in the Divisional Series.  Halladay gave up 8 hits to the Giants on Saturday, which was 8 more hits than he gave up to the Reds last week.  Both Halladay and Lincecum went 7 innings and gave up 2 home runs, which accounted for 5 of the 7 total runs scored on Saturday night.  The Phillies will try to bounce back on Sunday night in Game 2.

GAME 6: 10/23 at 8 ET at Philly
GAME 7: 10/24 at 8 ET at Philly  
 
NEWS/NOTES:
 
10/14 Update:  Phillies vs. Giants stat of the day: the Giants hit .212 against the Braves in the four game series that just ended.  Relevance?  Look for the Phillies pitching to look even more dominant as they face the weak hitting Giants in the NLCS.

Reds vs. Phillies    Giants vs. Braves    Yankees vs. Twins    Rangers vs. Rays

Reds vs. Phillies  (Phillies WON 3 games to 0):

GAME 3:  Utter domination was the trend.  As predicted, the Phillies’ pitching was way too much for the Reds to handle.  The Phillies now have until Saturday to get their pitching set up for the winner of the Braves-Giants series. 
On Sunday, Cole Hamels pitched the second complete game shutout of the short series for the Phillies.  Hamels struck out 9 and only allowed five hits.  The Reds pitching great on Sunday, too, but fielding problems hurt them again.  An errant throw in the first inning gave the Phillies a lead from the very first inning.  The Reds showed all series that they just were a lesser caliber team than the Phillies.

GAME 2: If it’s possible, the Reds did worse on Friday than they did on Thursday when they were no-hit by Roy1 (Roy Halladay).  Roy2 (Roy Oswalt) is no Roy1, but the Reds could not take capitalize.  Brandon Phillips hit the 4th pitch of the game out of the park and the Reds continued to hit, jumping out to a 4-0 lead, but then the defense fell apart.  The Phillies’ bats and the Reds’ poor fielding combined to let the Phils come back with 7 unanswered runs and win 7-4. Five of those runs were unearned, meaning an error in the field led to the score.  The Reds were a solid defensive team all season, but seemed to be out of sorts tonight. 
The Phillies now have a stranglehold on the series and should close it out on Sunday afternoon in Game 3.  Cole Hamels, the MVP from the 2008 World Series, pitches for the Phillies against the Reds’ Johnny Cueto.

GAME 1: Remember when I said this was not the Year of the No-Hitter?  Just kidding… it is.  Roy Halladay made me look pretty smart last night when he pitched only the second no-hitter in post-season history.  After dominating the regular season (including throwing a perfect game), the only question remaining was how Roy Halladay would do in the playoffs, since he’d never been.  He answered that question emphatically. (For the difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game, check out that exact topic in our answers section.) How big of a deal is this?  Huge!  The last guy to do this was Don Larsen for the Yankees in 1956.  It’s been 54 years and hundreds of playoff games since the last one.  To no-hit a playoff team is an amazing feat because, by definition, playoff teams are pretty good.  The Reds are full of offensive firepower, including MVP candidate Joey Votto.  To shut them down was a herculean feat to be sure.

In most no-hitters there is a big play where the pitcher’s defense bailed him out by making a sliding catch or making a strong throw to get an out where they might not have been expected to.  In this case, though, Halladay was flat out dominant.  He walked Jay Bruce in the fifth inning, and didn’t look back after that. 

Giants vs. Braves  (Giants WON 3 games to 1):

GAME 4: Braves starter Derek Lowe (’04 Red Sox World Champion) pitched 5-plus no-hit innings, but the Giants pulled off another late inning comeback on Monday night, exploiting the injured Braves bullpen.  Cody Ross of the Giants drove in 2 of the 3 Giants runs, including a homerun for their first run and a single to score the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.  With the win, the Giants advance to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2002.  They will take on the Phillies on Saturday in Game 1.

The big story of the night was Bobby Cox’ retirement.  After 2500+ regular season wins and countless records and accolades, Bobby Cox retired Monday night.  Having already announced that this would be his last year, it just took Giants closer Brian Wilson’s nasty slider to make it happen tonight.  As the Giants were celebrating the Atlanta crowd was chanting “Bobby, Bobby.”  The fans were rewarded with the classic baseball move of Cox emerging from the dugout and tipping his cap to the fans.  The Giants stopped their on-field antics and tipped their caps to Cox.  A nice moment and fitting salute to a certain hall of famer. 
Possibly the best record Cox holds is the most ejections from a baseball game at 158.  That’s four games shy of an entire season!  Outfielder Jeff Francoeur gave a great commentary on this record one night when both he and Bobby Cox were ejected from the same game:
“I’m like, ‘What do I do?’ [Francoeur] said, ‘Go have a couple cold beers and get in the cold tub or something and relax. And then you’ll probably have to write a $500 check. Or you can do what I do, write a $10,000 one and tell them when it runs out, let me know'."

GAME 3:  After an exciting, extra-inning, come-from-behind victory on Friday, they looked like they were doing it again on Sunday.  The Braves scored 2 in the bottom of the eighth to take a 2-1 lead, but couldn’t hold on because of some embarrassing fielding by their second baseman.  Brooks Conrad was filling in at second base because of some injuries to the Braves’ starters.  Conrad made three errors in the game, two of them directly leading to runs.  The worst came in the ninth inning after the Giants had tied the game.  A very playable ball was slapped to Conrad with two outs.  Field it cleanly and the game moves to the bottom of the ninth still tied.  Conrad booted it, though, and the Giants scored to take the lead.  The Braves couldn’t manage anything in the bottom of the ninth and the Giants took the game (and the Series lead) 2-1.
GAME 2: Free Baseball!  (That’s what we say when the games go into extra innings.)  The Braves rescued victory from the jaws of defeat twice on Friday night in the most exciting game in the short playoff season so far.  After trailing 4-1, the Braves finished on top 5-4. 

The Braves rallied and scored 3 runs in the eighth inning to tie the game up at 4-4.  In extra innings, the Giants loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th inning with a bunt single, a batter hit by a pitch, and a walk.  I guess you could say that the Braves loaded the bases for the Giants.   Reliever Billy Wagner got Posey to ground into a double play to extend the game for the Braves.  Rick Ankiel (who used to be a pitcher for the Cardinals) hit a home run in the top of the 11th inning and Kyle Farnsworth closed the game out for the Braves in the bottom of the 11th.

GAME 1:  Wow!  Tim Lincecum struck out 14 in his playoff debut and the Giants won a classic against the Braves 1-0.  Roy Halladay’s pitching was historic last night for the Phillies, but Lincecum was not far behind in terms of quality.  The Braves pieced together five pitchers who held the Giants to five hits and just the one run.  An impressive performance that yields a victory on most nights.  There was a bit of controversy because the replay shows that the one run that did score should have been called out at second base earlier in the inning.  Cody Ross got credit for the first stolen base of his career, even though the Ump likely got it wrong.  Give credit to the Giants, though, because they capitalized.  Whenever there is a bad call like that, both teams still have to finish playing and the Giants did that better tonight.  In any event, this looks like it might be the only series worth watching.

Rangers vs. Rays  (Rangers WON 3 games to 2):

GAME 5:  The Rangers won Game 5 and their first Postseason Series last night behind the dominant pitching performance of Cliff Lee.  He struck out 11 in a complete game against the Rays.  The aggressive running of the Rangers paid off, resulting in the first 3 runs.

GAME 5 PREVIEW:  Cliff Lee (Texas) vs. David Price (Tampa Bay) is about as good of a matchup as one could hope for in a Game 5.  The Rays were down 2-0 in the series, but have battled back to tie it up at 2 games apiece.  There are all kinds of stats about the fact that almost no one ever comes back from down 2-0 in a best of five series, but the truth is that the previous four games have no bearing on Tuesday night’s game.  Ask any Rangers hitter if they think the fact that they won Games 1 and 2 will make it easier to hit a David Price fastball.  I’m sure they will tell you that it is now a one game series and both teams get to roll their best starters out to take on fairly potent offenses.

Be sure to tune in (or at least check here before you go to work in the morning), because nothing else of interest is going on in the sports world on Tuesday night.
GAME 4: Don’t look now, but we’ve got a winner-take-all Game 5.  This is as good as it gets in this divisional round.  The Rays have rallied to take the last two games to tie up the series.  Evan Longoria (not to be confused with the Desperate Housewife) is recovering from a leg injury and is finally hitting.  He hit a home run and two doubles, sparking the Rays offense to their 5 -2 win.

In 2008, the Phillies and Rays met in the World Series and the Rays feel like there is some unfinished business.  They certainly have not been as dominant as the Phillies in the National League, but if they continue the way they’ve played for the last game and a half, we might be looking at a rematch.  Longoria hit a rookie-record 6 home runs in the playoffs that year.

GAME 3: This series looked like it was over until the 8th inning of Saturday's game three.  The Tampa Bay Rays' offense had been terrible throughout this playoff series, but all of a sudden they came to life, scoring five times to give them a 6-3 victory over Texas on Sunday.  The Rays won the AL East Division and most thought they would at least make it to the American League Championship series, but they are really struggling in this series against a powerful Texas offense.  Game 4 will be Sunday afternoon and is another elimination game for the Rays--they will send Wade Davis to the mound, a pitcher that doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of opposing hitters.  Don't be surprised if the Rays' season ends on Sunday.

GAME 3 PREVIEW: The series is moving to Texas for Game 3.  The Rays roll 15 game winner Matt Garza out on the mound against Colby Lewis.  The Rays have the advantage in the pitching matchup and face a “win or go home” situation on Saturday afternoon.

GAME 2: The Rangers have staked themselves to a 2-0 lead and it looks like it’s in the bag.  On Thursday, three Rangers pitchers combined for the shutout, including starter CJ Wilson who pitched into the seventh inning and left with a 6-0 lead.  The bullpen came in for the final 2 and 2/3 innings and slammed the door, possibly on the Rays’ season.  The Rangers’ only risk now is looking ahead to the Yankees (who look like they’re about to wrap up their series with the Twins).

GAME 2 PREVIEW:  Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.  CJ Wilson of the Rangers will go against Scott Shields for Tampa. Neither pitcher could be considered unbeatable, so the game should be entertaining as the Rangers take the next step toward winning a series for the first time in their franchise’s history.

GAME 1:  The Rangers have never won a playoff series.  They are the only team in baseball to have never won a series.  On Wednesday, they what they planned on doing: batters all the way through the lineup hit the ball hard and  Cliff Lee got the win that they brought him to Texas for.  Lee was acquired at the trade deadline and has done well for the Rangers.  He shut down the Rays on Wednesday, allowing just a solo homer run in the 7th inning.  Only two of the Rangers’ starters did not get a hit in Game 1.  Both teams spent their best pitcher on Game 1, and now we will see a step down in terms of pitching quality. 

Yankees vs. Twins (Yankees won 3 games to 0):

GAME 3: The Twins finally rolled over and died Saturday against the Yankees.  The game resembled a match between you and your older brother when you were little kids--you always knew the Yankees were going to win, it was just a matter of whether they were going to let the Twins score any runs or not.  Well, they let them score 1 in an easy 6-1 victory.  This series disappointed a lot of folks who were hoping the Twins would make a run--instead they failed to notch a single victory in this series as the Yankees went on to the sweep.  The Yankees will now wait to find out who their opponent will be--they will face the winner of the Rays/Rangers series.  The quick victory over the Twins was especially beneficial for the Yankees--their pitching staff features some older veterans, so now they get quite a few off days before the American League Championship Series (ALCS).  The first game of the ALCS is not until Friday, August 15th.

GAME 3 PREVIEW: Game 3 is in the Bronx and the Twins need to get their miracle orders in early.  They face elimination on Saturday night.  Unfortunately they’re facing Phil Hughes who won 18 games for the Yankees this year and the Yanks will be ready to slam the door since they’re in the own home again.  There is certainly a chance for the Twins, but they have little room for error.

GAME 2:  The Twins are complaining over a pitch that should have been strike three to Lance Berkman.  After the pitch was called a ball, Berkman hit the next one for a double to give the Yankees a lead they would not surrender.  Of course it took more than just that one pitch for the Yankees to win this game, 5-2.  As a Yankee hater, I keep hoping that one of these years these guys will just be too old to get it done.  Andy Pettite proved that is not the case as he racked up an impressive 19th career postseason win, while his buddy Mariano Rivera came in again and slammed the (very cold) door on the Minnesota Twins.  I was lucky enough to catch a Twins game in the new Target Field about three weeks ago and it was cold enough then.  I can’t imagine what it’d be like in the first week of November if the Twins were to make it that far!  Maybe that’s the bright side to the Yankees’ eighth straight playoff win over the Twins (spanning 3 different seasons).  The Twins are becoming a team I can really get behind.  With tonight’s loss they hold the second longest losing streak in the playoffs at 11 games.  The longest streak?  The Boston Red Sox’ 13 straight losses from 1986 – 1995.  The Sox did it with more flair, though.  We had ground balls through legs (reference: 1986 Bill Buckner), a star pitcher being ejected in the second inning because of ‘Roid Rage (reference: 1990 Roger Clemens’ ejection after arguing balls and strikes), and the steroids laced Bash Brothers doing most of the damage along the way (reference: 8 of the 13 losses came in the form of four-game sweeps by Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire’s A’s in 1988 and 1990).   Somehow this update turned into a Red Sox history lesson.  Sorry.  I just can’t get excited about the Yankees sweeping the Twins… again.

GAME 1: After an up and down game, the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, came into Game 1 in the eighth and pitched well for his 35th playoff save.  The Yankees came back from down 3-0 and finally take a 6-4 lead, which Mariano held onto.  Outside of Mariano, the pitching was fairly average.  It appeared that both starting pitchers stayed in about 3 batters too long and paid the price.  CC Sabathia rallied a bit and stuck around long enough to earn the win.

Roadmap to the World Series

MLB Postseason Roadmap 

First Playoff No-Hitter since 1956

07 October 2010

Remember when I said this was not the Year of the No-Hitter?  Just kidding… it is.  Roy Halladay made me look pretty smart last night when he pitched only the second no-hitter in post-season history.  After dominating the regular season (including throwing a perfect game), the only question remaining was how Roy Halladay would do in the playoffs, since he’d never been.  He answered that question emphatically. More...

Baseball Playoff Overview!

06 October 2010

The playoffs start on Wednesday and this is the most even the teams have been in a long time.  The Phillies seem to be a full step ahead of everyone else.  The rest of the teams are very close together and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will emerge from the best-of-five Division Series. More...

Widening the gap

01 October 2010

Six of the eight playoff teams have been identified and they are setting their team up for a playoff run.  San Diego does not appear to be part of this picture. More...

Staying up Late to Watch This Race

30 September 2010

One of the big complaints about West Coast sports is that the games seem to go all night.  I’m sure the Braves are staying up for these games, though. More...

Reds, Yankees, and Rays are drinking champagne.

29 September 2010

The Reds clinched their division in dramatic fashion with a walk-off home run.  The Yankees and Rays both clinched playoff spots as they won and eliminated the threat of the Red Sox More...

Divisions going fast!  Get them while they’re hot!

28 September 2010

The NL West race and the NL Wild Card races are the most exciting this  year.  The Braves are now out of the NL East running, but they are still trying to secure the Wild Card spot. More...

Don’t Forget About Baseball Just Yet

15 September 2010

Baseball in September is completely underrated.  It is a great way to pass those five days that don’t have television schedules full of football. More...

Only a Few Races Left!

10 September 2010

The baseball season is often referred to as a horse race.  If this were a horse race, the excited announcer who yelled, “and down the stretch they come!” would now be yelling, “stay with me, we’re almost there!” More...

Where Did Your Pink Hat Go?

27 August 2010

Why does your coworker like the Red Sox so much?  And a better question, why hasn’t she worn that shiny, new Sox hat since July? More...

And down the stretch they come…

22 August 2010

There are six weeks to go in the marathon that is a Major League Baseball season.  If you haven’t been paying attention, don’t worry – there is still a lot of meaningful baseball to be played. More...

Serious Misfire by the “Rocket”

19 August 2010

In a surprise announcement today, former Major League Pitcher Roger Clemens has been indicted by federal prosecutors on six counts of charges to include obstruction of Congress, making false statements, and perjury.  More...

Soap Opera?  Nope, just baseball in New York.

13 August 2010

A bizarre incident happened Wednesday night and spilled over into Thursday at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. More...

MLB Basics

Baseball is  has been labeled "America's Pastime" because during the late 19th and early 20th century it was the  most widely played sport in the country. More..

Terminology:

Batting Average: How often a player gets a hit.  Batting average is calculated by dividing the number of hits by total chances to hit.   If a player walks or is hit by a pitch, such actions are not counted as a chance to hit in calculating the batting average.  A .300 batting average (getting a hit 30% of the time) is considered to be above average for a MLB player.

Double play: When a fielding team is able to get two outs during one at bat.  Typically this occurs when a runner is on first base and a ground ball is hit to a player in the infield which throws a ball to get the runner out trying to advance to second base, then throws the ball to first base to get the hitter out as well.  Double plays can come in multiple combinations, however (see strike’em out, throw’em out double play).

Perfect Game – when a pitcher goes a minimum of 9 innings (the length of a normal baseball game) without allowing a single runner to get on base.  This includes not allowing a single walk or hitting a batter (gives the batter an automatic walk to first base).
 
No Hitter (also called a no-no) – when a pitcher goes a minimum of 9 innings without allowing a single hit.  As opposed to a perfect game, a pitcher can still be credited with a no hitter if a batter gets on base through a walk or by an error.
 
Error – when a runner advances a base because of a physical mistake in fielding the ball when perfect execution in the field would have not resulted in the advance.
 
Fielding – As in fielding the ball – the action of collecting the ball by any player on the baseball field.
 
Walk (also called a “base on balls”) – When a batter is pitched 4 balls (as opposed to 3 strikes) he automatically advances to first base.  When a batter is hit by the pitcher, he also advances to first, but it is not statistically counted as a walk.

Mendoza Line: A euphemism for a .200 batting average.  The term came from a reference to Mario Mendoza, a light hitting infielder in the 1970s that usually batted around .200.  A player that is hitting around the Mendoza Line is lucky to still have a job in the Major Leagues.

Pinch Hit: When a player that did not start the game comes in to bat for a player that did start the game. 
Pitcher’s duel: A low scoring baseball game in which very few runs are scored—typically 2 or less per team. 

Rally caps: An expression meaning that the team needs to score some runs in order to win the game typically because the game is getting into the final innings, so the team does not have many more opportunities to score.  The term comes from the habit of baseball players turning their hats inside out or wearing them backwards in order to change their luck for the better.

Strike’em out, throw’em out double play: A double play that results from the fielding team striking the batter out on a third strike call and then throwing a runner out that was trying to steal a base during the same pitch.