Sunday, October 12, 2008

Belated NLCS Predictions / ALCS Comments

So at the end of every year, I take all of the individual and team baseball statistics and churn them. It's a lot like working with butter and the cramping's the same. Unfortunately, I decided to churn the AL before I churned the NL. So I didn't finish churning the NL until midway through Game 2 of the NLCS last night.
Well, my original prediction probably would have been Dodgers in 7. Or Phillies in 7. I'm still not sure which way I would have gone. Besides, making a prediction now would be a lame exercise, since the Phillies took the first two in grand style. Game 2, especially, was pretty captivating. It's high time we saw another LCS go 7 games.
So in lieu of my NLCS predictions, here are a few comments and observations:

  • The Dodgers look to be on the ropes, but going to Dodger Stadium is a big plus for them, and their pitching staff has better depth than Philadelphia's. That is if there aren't too many useless off-days stuck in the middle of the series (wtf?).
  • Is anyone more amazing than Brett Myers? People really gave him short shrift coming into the series, but he's a hell of a pitcher . . . and hitter ... ?
  • Chad Billingsley is a lot better than he looked last night. We finally got to see what the Phillies' offense can really do. Although it's baffling that most of the rallies were started by the Mendoza-ish Carlos Ruiz.
  • Ryan Howard looked like Pedro freakin' Cerrano out there. McCarver eventually said, "You think they'd at least throw him a fastball to keep him honest." But instead, Myers was able to get him with breaking balls, just like Hamels. Howard isn't as bad as he looks, but we are getting a great display of what separates him from the truly great hitters in the game.
  • When Shane Victorino lined that unlikely triple into the gap and Myers was chugging around to score from first, I looked at him running and thought, "My God, that looks like me!"
  • How wonderful is Chase Utley?
  • How potent is the Phillies offense when the bottom of their order pretends to be good?
  • The Dodgers will take at least two at Dodger Stadium and maybe sweep it. Call it a hunch, but I think the other shoe is going to drop on this series.
  • What the hell was with that strike zone last night?
And now a few comments on Game 2 of the ALCS, which is in the bottom of the 10th as I type this:
  • Jonathon Papelbon just took a liner off of his pitching elbow, or so it looked on the replay. And earlier, a Rays player (I forget who) fouled off a bunt that hit him right in the face. Rough game.
  • Josh Beckett didn't have it, but he was tantalizingly close. He threw some really tight curveballs that looked good early. And then he threw some batting practice fastballs to Evan Longoria. He was toast way before Francona took him out.
  • I'm not really sure what happened to Scott Kazmir, except that he fell victim to the Boston war of attrition, throwing 38 pitches in the first inning. The Sox batting order is just so good, even with the likes of Mark Kotsay and Jason Varitek.
  • Longoria is a single away from hitting for the cycle (I think; I never found out for sure what the official scorer said about his triple). Has a player ever hit for the cycle in a postseason game?
  • Chip Caray and Buck Martinez give me severe gas. They got onto a disastrously ill-informed critique of Moneyball during a game last week, and Martinez especially isn't making the TBS announce crew look too good. I'm wondering what happened to John Smoltz, who embarrassed Martinez by sounding like a pro in his first try. Ron Darling should be allowed to talk more; give him Buck's airtime.
    What's the only thing worse than the TBS broadcasters? The FOX broadcasters. And at least TBS has Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken or Ernie Johnson back in the studio. FOX gives us Kevin "I Used to Be a Manager, I Swear" Kennedy, Mark "&*$%" Grace, and the Hairdo.
  • I usually find myself rooting for Boston, but Tampa Bay making the series would be so much better for baseball (all except the ratings).
  • Francona probably should have had someone shadowing Beckett. As it is, he went to his high-leverage relievers (Papelbon excepted) earlier than planned.
  • I still want someone to explain to me why Mark Kotsay is playing first base and Sean Casey isn't.
I'd like to do something like this during a game, as sort of a "running commentary" blog. I could post every few minutes or so with my reactions to the game, the announcers, etc. It'll have to wait until Wednesday, though, because I work nights.

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