MLB Playoff thread

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Ray Sachs, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    OK, I know this is gonna be a sore subject to some (sorry Alan) and mostly limited in interest to the American subset of the forum, but if we have an NFL football thread, I think we need something as the MLB post season gets going.

    Outcomes aside (easier for some of us to put aside than others!), last night was the most thrilling couple of hours of watching sports I can ever remember in my 52 years. Four teams coming down to the last game of the 162 game season, fighting for two remaining playoff spots and four other teams playing against them with varying interests in the whole process.

    In the NL, the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals were both trying to get that last spot in the playoffs. Atlanta has been in the midst of a late season collapse unique and terrible but for the Boston Red Sox going through a very slightly worse one at the same time. St. Louis is the hottest team in the National League, hitting like the 1927 Yankees and pitching well as they try to sneak into the playoffs. My Philadelphia Phillies (who I humbly contend were far and away the best team in the Majors during the regular season, winning 102 games despite an 8 game losing streak of a vacation right after clinching everything there was to clinch!) were playing the Atlanta Braves, knowing that if they beat the Braves, they'd have to face the red-hot St. Louis team in the first round of the playoffs starting on Saturday. A good time to tank a game if you're of low moral character (see J Reyes, NL batting crown winner and gutless scumbag), but one you have to try to win to uphold the honor of the game. My brain wanted the Phillies to lose - my gut, of course, wanted them to win. They won in extra innings after a tough game of attrition that Atlanta managed to lose more than the Phillies won. So now they play the hottest team in the NL in a short series starting on Saturday. I have big respect for Milwaukee and Arizona, but I'd have rather my Phillies had started the playoffs against either of those teams. The Phillies SHOULD win, but they could easily lose and it wouldn't be a fluke at all - St. Louis is one of two teams in the NL that matches up very very well against my guys.

    But that was NOTHING compared to the American League. To spare Alan and the other New Englander's the agony of a detailed retelling, lets just say that the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox respectively won and lost their games last night in the most dramatic and unlikely of ways, the results coming within three minutes of each other, in a reversal of fortune unmatched in my lifetime. Boston, who came into the season as the favorite to win EVERYTHING, is out. Tampa Bay, with a payroll of about 1/3 the size and no expectations, is in the playoffs, the hottest team in the American League, and the team that nobody should want to play in the playoffs. And the most beautiful irony of all is that Boston fans actually had to be rooting for the overwhelmingly hated NY Yankees to WIN against Tampa Bay in order for the Red Sox to get into the playoffs. The mere thought of BoSox fans EVER having a need to root for the Yankees sends me and many others into paroxysms of spits and giggles at the absurdity of it all.

    I've been a fairly dedicated sports fan for all but the first three or four of my 52 years on this planet, and I've never seen ANYTHING that even came CLOSE to last night's action for drama and magical improbability. Should be fun to watch it go forward. Unless the Cards come in here and manage to beat the Phillies, in which case I'll be on suicide watch for a couple of days. And it could happen!

    -Ray
     
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  2. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Ray, with all due respect, it doesn't matter who your Phillies play in the first round. The Brewers will eradicate them in the second. I'm hoping the Panasonic 100-300 that I just scored on eBay gets here in time for the weekend so I can share a few photos with you of the Brew Crew shredding Arizona.
     
  3. RonSmith

    RonSmith Mu-43 Top Veteran

    505
    Apr 7, 2010
    Michigan
    Tigers!
     
  4. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Massachusetts
    Herbert
    This is my first view (will probably be my last) of the thread, as the BEST-TEAM-EVER (!!!!) Dead Sox just wilted away in September. But I have to tell you the Rays are hungry, and they're tough. They earned their spot, and may just go all the way.

    Now, next season if I see Lackey ("Not only is he coming off the worst season a Red Sox starting pitcher has ever submitted, but he's a miserable, dim, finger-pointing, unaccountable wretch of a teammate, and those may be his good qualities." from Boston Globe) and maybe-good-for-small-market Crawford wearing the B's uniform and Ellsbury is not, I'm out. It's just not worth the torment.

    * End of Dead Sux rant *
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Possible, but I doubt it. The Brewers have two great hitters and a few other serviceable guys - not as relentless as the St Louis lineup. IIRC, the Phillies took 3 of 4 in their most recent series and shut em down pretty well in all four games. And I don't recall for sure, but I don't think you even had to face Halliday in that series (edit - my mistake, Oswalt is the one you didn't face, but our top 3 shut em down pretty totally). Good pitching beats good hitting almost every time, so I like the Phils against your guys. But the Cards scare me now with both Albert and Holliday healthy and their other .300 hitters keeping the pressure on.

    Anything can happen in the playoffs and the Brewers could certainly beat the Phils, but the Phils would and should be heavily favored. Against St Louis, I see it as about a 50/50 proposition. As I saw the NLCS against the Giants last year and we saw how that one turned out. Nothing more terrifying than a red hot wild card team with nothing to lose! Particularly in a short series.

    But Braun should have had a shot at the batting title yesterday - Reyes is a punk. A talented punk, but a punk nonetheless.

    -Ray
     
  6. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Braun did have a shot at the title. He just needed to get 3 hits and then get pulled from the game, but you're right.....Reyes is a punk. I think if the shoe had been on the other foot, Braun might have stayed in the game to see if he could add a few more hits. That kid certainly isn't lacking in the confidence category.
     
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    They look REAL strong Ron. I'd love to see them take the Yankees out. I hate the Yankees, but I never bet much against them - I've been watching them come through too many times. But I live in hope. Actually, I'd love nothing more than a Philly-Yankee rematch of the 2009 Series. We didn't have any pitching beyond Lee that year. This year we have a bit more than that and I'd really like our chances.

    -Ray
     
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I feel your pain. I was hoping for ties in both leagues to see the one-game playoffs today. And it looked likely in the NL and an absolute sure thing in the AL. Seeing the Rays come back from down 7 in the 8th inning and Boston lose after needing just one strike TWICE in the 9th. Jeez, I've just never seen anything like it.

    -Ray
     
  9. jbuch84

    jbuch84 Mu-43 Veteran

    233
    Feb 9, 2011
    Orlando, FL
    James
    Let's go red birds!
     
  10. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    563
    Sep 3, 2011
    L.A.
    I was watching the Rays game, and it was probably the first time I had ever rooted against my Yankees. When Longoria homered to end the game against our B team, it gave me chills. In a twisted sort of way, it reminded me of watching the Bucky Dent home run clear the Big Monster in '78.

    I like our chances to make the WS, as we've played well against all of the AL playoff teams. Not as sure against the Phils, or even the Cards, either of which seem to have the best odds to make the WS.
     
  11. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    The Red Sox played a season that was reminiscent of many I remember while growing up. It was the closest to perfection of their own special way of playing a season I've ever seen. Recent years have been a fluke that made feel vaguely uneasy. All is right with the word again.

    The baseball season ended last night. There is no need for this thread. I suggest closing it.

    As we always said growing up, "There's always next year."

    Fred
     
  12. UnivTex34

    UnivTex34 Mu-43 Regular

    78
    May 11, 2011
    Just dropping in to say Hi, I imagine you can guess who my team is and who I am rooting for...

    24 years of watching crappy baseball, and you can count on another World Series in The Ballpark! I hope all you yanks get your hopes up, because its gonna be 2 years in a row that the "lowly Rangers" send you boys back home!
     
  13. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Prediction - Phillie post-season ERA will be 3.2.

    Question - can Phillie bats score 3.3 runs per game?
    Question - can Ryan Howard anchor the offense in the post-season

    Nothing else matters.
     
  14. UnivTex34

    UnivTex34 Mu-43 Regular

    78
    May 11, 2011
    Unfortunately, I think you are dead right here...

    It really is a race to see who gets to hang around with philly...

    I predict a Texas-philly WS....

    And then we get to see if Texas can hit philly's great bunch of throwers...

    We sure did have better pitching last year, but we have a more complete team this year....
     
  15. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    563
    Sep 3, 2011
    L.A.
    Beware the curse. The last team that was supposed to meet the Phillies in the WS didn't even advance.
     
  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    But IF it actually happens (and I'm on the record as counting NO chickens just yet!), you're gonna have less pitching and you're gonna FACE more pitching than you did last year. The Giants had a great 1-2 punch - we've got a great 1-2-3-4 punch. If they're pitching at close to their peak (and every one of them has pitched great in the post-season so far - Halliday a no hitter in the NLDS, Lee - well, you know all about HIM, Oswalt was strong for Houston and us last year in the post season, and Hamels was NLCS and WS MVP in 2008 and he's a waaaaay better pitcher now). I like our starters a lot. Our offense is capable of going really hot but also really cold, so that's a vulnerability. And our 7-8 inning relief has been a little soft late in the season. But I like our odds, despite recognizing what COULD happen.

    -Ray
     
  17. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Ray,

    We no longer play major league baseball in Boston. :crying:

    This was not a very likable team, by any standard. Their "no big deal" attitude was distressing for most fans.

    If I were king I'd keep: Pedroia, Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia, Lester, Papplebon and not much else.

    Hows this for money well spent?

    1 Josh Beckett 17,000,000
    2 John Lackey 15,950,000
    3 Carl Crawford 14,857,143
    4 J.D. Drew 14,000,000
    5 David Ortiz 12,500,000

    I'm rooting for Detroit in the AL, and Philly in the NL. Philly looks a shoo in based on pitching alone.

    I'd love to see Detroit do well in the MLB playoffs, and they have become my NFC rooting interest in the NFL too.

    Detroit could really use some good news, just like Buffalo...
     
  18. Bluegrass

    Bluegrass Mu-43 Regular

    46
    Apr 10, 2011
    Cards Fan

    A month ago I wouldn't have give a plug nickel for St. Louis' chance in reaching the post season. They started the season red hot...then faded with the summer heat only to find their bats and pitching again in September. Being a life long Redbird fan I have seen this type of cyclical season before and been heart broken by it when the tide turns downward (which in baseball can happen at any point). I am glad to see them cycling hot just in time for post season play but given the years of heart break, I don't completely trust that they will stay hot long enough to progress through to the World Series. But they have done it before so I can't completely count them out. First steps first. They have to deal with the Phillies and they are going to be tough. Consistently good all season.

    My secretary has tickets to game three in St. Louis. I am a bit jealous.
     
  19. UnivTex34

    UnivTex34 Mu-43 Regular

    78
    May 11, 2011
    Oh I hear you...

    Chew on this, since august, rangers lead nearly every offensive category as a team for MLB.

    This year is a much more complete team. Last year, without cliff, we don't make it to the show. This year, completely different, as you can see.
     
  20. UnivTex34

    UnivTex34 Mu-43 Regular

    78
    May 11, 2011
    Until last season, the rangers organization had never won a playoff game. This is a whole new rangers.