Tagged: Playoffs

League Championship Series!

Time once again to show how absolutely horrible I am at prognosticating the winners of playoff series.

For the record, in the last round I was 1-3, successfully picking only the Diamondbacks.  Of course, in no series was I even close in guessing the number of games that would be played…

So with that, here are my picks for the League Championship Series:

NLCS: Is anybody even going to watch this?  It’s kind of sad that this won’t grab any attention outside the Arizona-Colorado markets (other than those who just love baseball), as this will probably be a terrific series.  Both teams are young, full of talent, and running on adrenaline.  Arizona has an edge on pitching, but honestly, how can you pick against the Rockies?  This is a tough one, but going with the incredible September and huge upset over the Phillies, I’m gonna pick the Rockies in 6.

ALCS: Here’s one I’m gonna use my heart over my head.  Boston is a juggernaut, and everything has come together for this team this year (which is good, because they ain’t getting any younger.)  Except for Kenny Lofton, whose T-206 tobacco card recently outsold Honus Wagner’s at auction, is the only old thing about Cleveland.  But youth doesn’t work in the Indians’ favor this time, as Boston knows what their doing (I still have a black eye from the ALDS).  But the 2007 Indians remind me a lot of the 2002 Angels, so I’m an Indians fan.  Besides, I HATE the Red Sox!  They’ve smacked the Angels around in the playoffs one too many times.  I’m going with Indians in 7.

There you have my predictions.  Be sure to stop by here and leave a comment during game one of the World Series, when the Diamondbacks play the Red Sox.

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Turn Out The Lights

Alds_2Pray for a miracle.  That’s all we can do.  The Red Sox are owning us so far.

Yeah, I just got done with a live blog, but I’m writing a new one because I want the point I made in that entry to be made even clearer.

More than a month ago, I liveblogged  a game against the Mariners where I said this:

"But yeah, K-Rod is a disaster in the making.  Ralph Branca.  Donnie Moore.  Bill Buckner.

Soon enough, mark my words, K-Rod will find his name among those."

So it wasn’t as big a game as any of those three blew.  I was still right.

Live Blogging – ALDS Game 2 – 10/5 vs. Red Sox

Angels_vs_red_sox_1

Welcome to the ALDSAngels Live Blog!  Be sure to add me to your MSN Messenger friends list
and chat with me while watching the game on TBS today!

ANGELSBLOGGING@HOTMAIL.COM

6:04 PM:  Bottom of the 1st, 0-0:  Boy, it sure seems like there’s an exciting game being played right now.  Sure wish I could watch it.  Unfortunately, Joba Chamberlain picked today to show the world that he is human, and blew a 1-0 lead for the Yankees in Game 2 of their half of the ALDS, and the Yankees and Indians are tied up 1-1 in the top of the 11th.

So, I have to follow it pitch-by-pitch on MLB.com.

Congrats, Joba.  You just made the list.

6:10 PM:  Bottom of the 1st, 2 out, 0-0:  OK, update:  I’m an idiot.  Thank goodness my father has a brain on his shoulders and switched over to TNT, or I’d still be watching the lame pitch-by-pitch.

So Escobar is throwing lots of pitches.  Great.  Nothing inspires confidence like base runners.

****.  Lowell walks, loading the bases.  Only two walks this inning.  I suppose I should feel a bit comfortable that J.D. Drew is batting, but I don’t.

And there’s why.  J.D. Drew drives in two.  Yeah, two walks in the inning, and now we’re down 2-0 in the first inning.

Pray that Matsuzaka panics like Escobar is doing.

6:30 PM:  Top of the 2nd, 1 out, 2-0 Boston:  Man on first and third, one out…  At least we’re getting base runners tonight!  Mathis up.  I have to hand it to the Angels, they seem to have shown up more offensively tonight than they did Wednesday.

WOOHOO!  Fielder’s choice, Kendry Morales scores!  Angels on the board!

Figgins up.  Gotta love Chone Figgins and his blog.  The only thing I don’t understand is how "C-H-O-N-E" sounds like "S-E-A-N."

Wait…  YANKEES JUST LOST!  OK, I’m happy for the Indians, but I’m not a huge Yankees hater, soYankeeschoke
I’m not jumping up and down with glee.  But now, the Yankees are SCREWED.  And poor, poor A-Rod…  0-for-4 with 3 K’s.  He’s gonna hear it tomorrow.

Orlando Cabrera doubles!  Angels take the lead!  First time I’ve been happy watching a ballgame since Wednesday!

Yay!

6:46 PM: Top of the 3rd, no outs, 3-2 Angels:  Garrett Anderson’s eye must be better today, because he’s 2-for-2, just blooped a double into right field.  And now he gets caught at third…  Dammit.  Maybe that eye isn’t so great.

Izturis steals second while Kotchman bats.  OK, so that takes away the double play and puts a man back in scoring position.  Casey Kotchman hits it up the middle, out, but Izturis moves to third.  IF it weren’t for that steal, that would have been a double play.  Once again proving how the Angels win.

Ah, Morales flies out.  Inning over.

7:06 PM: Top of the 4th, no outs, 3-2 Angels:  Escobar has finally found his footing, getting out of last inning with only a walk to David Ortiz.  It’s a shame Lackey couldn’t look this good on Wednesday, but then again, it wouldn’t have mattered if he channeled Sandy Koufax, he still would have lost.

Kendrick singles to lead off the inning!  Three straight innings the leadoff batter has got on base!

Matsuzaka has thrown over 75 pitches so far.  This is what happens when the Angels play their game.  Ack, Mathis pops out to Varitek.  One out.

Figgins hit it sharp, but Youkilis makes a diving stop to get Figgins.  2 out, Kendrick on 2nd.  So now it’s gonna take a hit by Orlando Cabrera to go up by another run.  No such luck, OC grounds out to 2nd.  Middle of the 4th, Angels lead 3-2.

7:16 PM: Bottom of the 4th, 1 out, 3-2 Angels:  I’m not sure who is doing the commentary for tonight’s game, but they’re not too bad.  Of course, Timmy and Jimmy from South Park would make a better announcing team than Hudler and Physioc.  But one of the announcers just said "If the Angels can hold the lead through the 6th inning, they have Speier, Shields, and K-Rod, and nobody hits them very well."  I had to laugh, as apparently these postseason announcers haven’t watched much Angels baseball the second half of the season.  Especiall Shields and Rodriguez.

Two outs.  Coco Crisp singles on a bunt, then steals second.  With two outs, I hope he doesn’t care about the runner too much.  Especially with Lugo at the plate.  Sure, you gotta be careful with any hitter, but Manny or Papi he ain’t.

Lugo strikes out looking for Escobar’s 5th K of the night.  On to the 5th inning!  Let’s go Angels!

7:41 PM:  Bottom of the 5th, no outs, 3-2 Angels:  Dice-K didn’t last 5.  They pulled him with 2 outs in the top of the inning.  I wouldn’t say he pitched badly, just that he didn’t look like a $100 million man.

Pedroia gets a lead-off double, bring up Kevin Youkilis.

There’s something I just don’t like about Youkilis.  Every time I see him, he’s whining about some play or call or something.  Thankfully, he’s out on a check swing.  Pedroia moves to third, one out.  Intentional walk to Ortiz.  Can’t say I blame them; set up the double play.  Not like "Big Papi" is much of a stolen base threat either.

This says a lot about the opinion they have of Manny Ramirez.  It used to be death to walk Ortiz, as Manny would make you pay for it.  ****, it wouldn’t surprise me if I jinxed it and he makes them pay for it here.  But with Manny’s injuries this year, I suppose they don’t see him as much of a threat.  Manny pops up to the right of home plate, and Mathis almost has a play, but a fan gets it.  If that had happened in Anaheim, a million crybabies from "Red Sox Nation" would be shouting "STEVE BARTMAN!" right now.  0-2 to Ramirez.

****, the announcers just jinxed it, I know it.  They said "Escobar has only allowed 11 home runs this year, and Ramirez has only hit one against him."  I hate when they do that.  Nope, they walked him.  Bases loaded.

Lowell drives it into Center Field, sacrifice fly.  Pedroia scores.  Dammit.  Let’s go, Escobar!  Scot Shields is up in the bullpen.  Come on, one more out!  Drew is batting.  I jinxed it last time, so I’ll keep my mouth shut this time and not mention what a disappointing crybaby J.D. Drew has been his whole career.  Full count.  Now he’s fouling them off like he’s Kirk Gibson or something.  9 pitch at bat, Drew grounds out to Kotchman at first.

But the Red Sox tie it up.

8:11 PM:  Bottom of the 6th, no outs, 3-3:  Shields in for Escobar, strikes out Jason Varitek for the first out.  This is where I get nervous.  A year ago the bullpen was the strongest part of the Angels team.  Flash forward to the second half of the 2007 season, and it’s become ulcer-inducing and tough to watch.

Speaking of which, Shields walks Coco Crisp.  Great, now Crisp is on.  Just what we need, a speedy guy on the bases.  And considering that Shields couldn’t get the ball down in that at bat, I’ll admit I’m worried.

Darren Oliver warming up in the bullpen.  In 2004, the Angels lost the ALDS in a sweep to the Red Sox because they didn’t have a single lefty in the bullpen.  Thank God for Oliver, otherwise they’d have to somehow bring Jarrod Washburn back to pitch to Ortiz in an extra innings situation.  Oh wait, that happened in 2004.  Washburn threw one pitch.  Ortiz put it in the stands.

OK, that was weird…  Lugo pops out to Center Field, Crisp loses the ball, goes back, and he’s out at second…  Oh, apparently Crisp passed 2nd base and didn’t touch 2nd on his way back to first.  Oh, Terry Francona has to LOVE that.  Mental errors always make a manager happy!  On to the 7th, 3-3 tie.

8:24 PM: top of the 7th, 1 out, 3-3:  Vladimir Guerrero just got hit in the left shoulder, and he is none too happy about it.  Can’t say I blame him, this guy has had a target painted on him the last month or so.  It didn’t look like it was done purposefully, but it is odd that the only guy racking up HBP numbers for the Angels recently has been their big hitter.  I wouldn’t be surprised in Ortiz gets one under the chin next time he’s up.

Pitching change.  Guerrero is OK, I probably should have mentioned that.  Hideki Okajima in.  Watching this guy is strange.  I’ve never seen a pitcher who actually turns his head away as he throws the ball.  He doesn’t even look at the target as he releases the pitch.

Garrett Anderson at bat.  That eye still looks bad.  There was an article in the Orange County Register today where Mike Scioscia expressed surprise about Anderson saying his eye was affecting his vision in Game 1.  Apparently, Anderson had told Scioscia that everything was OK.  It goes to show, managers should not trust players when it comes to injuries.  Of course, tonight he’s 2-for-2, so any speculation about the first game is moot.  3-2 count to GA.  Flies out to center.  He’s now 2-for-3.  2 outs.

Izturis strikes out.  On to the bottom of the 7th, score tied, Ortiz due up.

8:47 PM: Bottom of the 7th, 2 out, 3-3:  So Shields comes in, gets a couple of outs, then delivers back-to-back walks to Ortiz and Ramirez.  Admittedly, Papi had a great at bat, fouling off a few.  But for Manny, Scot Shields couldn’t get the ball below the shoulders.  He comes out, has some great at-bats, then some lousy ones.

And people wonder why I’m nervous.

Thankfully, he gets Lowell to pop out to Figgins.  End of the 7th.  Still tied.

9:12 PM: Bottom of the 8th, no outs, 3-3:  Dammit.  We **** near had Papelbon.  Runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 out, and Figgins at the plate.  Chone struck out looking.  It’s not at all likely that we’ll have that opportunity again.

Nice part was that they made Papelbon throw a LOT a pitches.  Twenty-five that inning, in fact.  Considering that he’ll most probably be back in the 9th (he is the Red Sox closer, of course), the more you tire him, the better your chances.

Speier is in to pitch, and Chone Figgins is in right field for Vladimir Guerrero.  Vladdy was due up 2nd in the 9th, but is now out of the lineup.  Odd.  Now they’re saying that Vladdy is out of the game due to a bruise suffered from the HBP he took in the 7th.  Great, just great.  As if we don’t have enough offensive problems.

Speier has gotten Drew and Varitek to ground out.  2 outs.  Crisp flies out to Figgins in right.  On to the 9th, 3-3 tie.

9:41 PM: Bottom of the 9th, 2 out, 3-3:  This is just **** nerve wracking.  K-Rod is in now, Julio Lugo is on 2nd, Papi coming up.  They’re walking Ortiz, and I can’t blame them a bit.  So two out,   two on, Manny Ramirez vs. Francisco Rodriguez.  Come on, Frankie, I don’t care how shaky you’ve been all year.  We remember the 2002 World Series and how dominating you were.  Channel that.  Get them out.

Nevermind.  Manny hits it out.  Red Sox wins.

Anybody remember what I said a while back? 

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo.

Do or Die

Alds_1It’s funny to think that any game this early in October is a "must win," but that’s just the case for the Yankees and Angels today.

It’s not so much that the teams lost, it’s how they lost.  The Angels were completely shut down by Josh Beckett and the Red Sox on Wednesday.  The Yankees were blown out by the Indians yesterday.  In either of these situations, if they lose Game 2, it’ll probably be too big a psychological hurdle to overcome.  The Yankees just need to beat Fausto Carmona tonight (not an easy task).  The Angels need to make a statement that their "small ball" will still be a viable strategy.

As per Wednesday, I’ll be liveblogging tonight’s Angels vs. Red Sox game.  First pitch is at 5:30 PM PST (8:30 PM EST), and I’ll be on MSN Messenger at ANGELSBLOGGING@HOTMAIL.COM.  So be sure to add me and stop by to say hello!

Until game time, cross your fingers, knock on wood, and for God’s sake, put on your lucky article of clothing!

Yankees Swallow

Note:  The original title of this post was "YankeesS*u-c*k."  But the oh-so-good MLB profanity filter nailed it, along
with any usage of the word "m-o-r-o-n."  I’m glad that MLBlogs finds
the current title much more acceptable.

No, that title isn’t a gross estimation of my opinion of the New York squad representing the American League.  It’s an indictment of their play against the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS in Cleveland today.

I have to say, it sure is nice to see that the Angels aren’t the only ones who decided not to show up for the first game of their series.  The Angels got shut out in their game 1; the Yankees got blown out in theirs.

I suppose it’s fitting, given the Yankees opinion of the Wild Card.

With the Yankees losing 12-3, what will be the big story tomorrow?  Will it be Sabathia out-dueling Wang?  Will it be the Yankees held to only 4 hits?  Will it be the Yankees’ bullpen unable to get outs?  How about Derek "Yankee Captain" Jeter going 0-for-4?

No, I can pretty much guarantee that the most talked about aspect of this game tomorrow will be A-Rod going hitless tonight.

Notice I said "hitless" for Alex Rodriguez and "0-for-4" for Jeter.  See, A-Rod walked twice, including an intentional free base in the 5th.  So an accurate accounting of his game would be "0-for-2 with 2 BB."  Once again, Jeter, Posada and Matsui will probably get free passes (all three were 0-for-4), and the sporting world (or, rather, the vultures that pass as writers today) will feast on A-Rod’s poor performance.  As proof, one of the announcers (not Tony Gwynn) said "It’s kinda tough to pin tonight all on A-Rod," showing once again that brains aren’t a requirement to call a ball game.

I hope I’m wrong.  I hope his incredible season this year has bought him some respect.

But I won’t hold my breath.

The real story tonight should be Kenny Lofton, who went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI’s and a stolen base.  Considering that he’s been around so long that Ken Burns had old photos of him in the early chapters of his "Baseball" documentary, he’s had a **** of a game and is showing these young Indians how to play.

Big day tomorrow.  The Angels play, the Yankees play, and both must win.

 

Live Blogging – ALDS Game 1 – 10/3 vs. Red Sox

Angels_vs_red_sox

Welcome to the ALDS Angels Live Blog!  Be sure to add me to your MSN Messenger friends list and chat with me while watching the game on TBS today!

ANGELSBLOGGING@HOTMAIL.COM

October 3rd, 2007 – 3:15 PM: 15 minutes to game time! The Rockies just beat the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS.

It’s hard to believe the season has gone by so quickly, and here we are in the first day of playoffs!  Combine the excitement of this season with the feeling that, as I get older, every year is only half as long as the one before it, I suppose the 2007 baseball season was just destined to fly by as if it were piloted by Chuck Yeager.

This isn’t the match-up I’d have wanted though.  In fact, I’m downright terrified of the Red Sox.  The Angels are probably the only team in baseball who’d rather face the Yankees than anybody else in the playoffs, but I have to remember that all these fears and hopes are based on years past; they mean nothing today.  Yeah, Boston has eliminated the Angels from the playoffs twice.  In 1986, in infamous Dave Henderson home run against Donnie Moore.  In 2004, the Red Sox swept the Angels on their way to a World Series Championship.

But that is all meaningless.  The regular season is meaningless.  The only thing that matters are the next five games.

And we’ve got just as good a shot as anybody.

3:39 PM: Top of the First, no out, 0-0:  Play ball!  I’ve just been informed that Figgins (leading off tonight, as usual) ended the year on an 0-22 slump.  But still he batted .330.  I suppose I would have known that if I had actually watched the last few games of the season, rather than suffer through Hudler burnout and a desire not to watch my team phone it in and rest.

WOOHOO!  Figgins leads off with a hit off Dustin Pedroia’s glove!  Good start!

3:46 PM:  Middle of the First, 0-0:  Figgins gets on with a single, steals two bases (well, both were hit-and-runs), and Garret Anderson strikes out to end the inning.  Speaking of GA, his eye looks HORRIBLE.  Apparently he has conjunctivitis, and it has nearly swollen his right eye shut.  I have no idea how he can see a pitch clearly with that, but the doctors cleared him to play, so again, what do I know?

3:58 PM:  Bottom of the first, 1-0 Boston:  Dammit.  Lackey Meltdown Inning #1.  A solo home run by Kevin Youkilis.  No biggie, a solo shot won’t hurt you.  But then he puts two runners on, and requires a visit from the coaching staff.

Nice.  Pop-up by Lowell.  2 out.  J.D. Drew up.  Ack!  Dad’s home, I gotta help him out of the car.

Woohoo!  I come back in, the Angels got out of it!  1-0 Boston.

4:19 PM:  Top of the 3rd, no outs, 1-0 Boston:  Well, it looks like Lackey got his meltdown inning out of the way early (knock on wood), and it wasn’t too bad.  He blew through them in the 2nd.  Single to Varitek, double play, single to Lugo, caught stealing.

Now TBS is becoming like ESPN.  They just missed an at-bat because they had to get their commercials in.  1 out, Willits at bat.  If you’d have told me in March that Reggie Willits would have had the year he’s had, I’d have called you crazy.  But Willits above anybody else in this lineup has proven how flexible and loaded the Angels are.

You know, I have no idea who is calling this game, but I like ’em.  They’re low key, they’re not overtly rooting for Boston like McCarver and Buck would be doing, and they’re definitely not Hudler and Physioc.  Somebody tell Arte Moreno to hire these guys.

Willits pops out to Manny Ramirez.  Figgins up again.  It was nice to see him lead off with a hit.  That first at-bat can lay the ground work for an entire series.  Don’t believe me?  If A-Rod gets a hit in his first at-bat tomorrow, look to see how big the smile on his face is.

Strikeout.  Beckett is on his game so far, I’ll give him that.  Middle of the 3rd, 1-0 Boston.  Let’s go Big John Lackey!

4:31 PM: Bottom of the 3rd, 1 out, 3-0 Red Sox:  Double to Youkilis, and a shot by David Ortiz that still hasn’t landed.  Seven hits Lackey has given up so far.  Dammit.

Now a walk to Manny Ramirez.  You can see it on his face, the frustration.  I’ve been saying it all year, Arte Moreno needs to hire a good sports psychologist.  This pitching staff can handle the physical side of the game; they’re toast on the mental side.  And while Lackey has been mentally tougher this year, allowing many fewer meltdown innings this year, look at Ervin Santana, Scot Shields, and Francisco Rodriguez.

Lowell singles to center, Manny scores.

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo.

4:56 PM: Top of the 5th, no outs, 4-0 Red Sox:  It appears that even innings are GOOD for Lackey, odd innings BAD.  Lackey blew through the Sox in the bottom of the fourth.

Of course, Beckett has blown through the Angels in every inning.

Izturis pops up, but had a **** of an at-bat, going into a full count.  More Angels need to be doing that.

HEY!  Jose Mota got a job for the playoffs!  He just did some commentary from the field level.  If I have to see a familiar face from the Angels broadcasting team, at least it was Mota.  If Hudler had shown up, I may have puked.

Kotchman strikes out.  5 K’s, 14 consecutive batters retired by Beckett.  Yeah, he owns us tonight.

Let’s change that.  GO ANGELS!  Ah, Kendrick grounds out.  15 straight.

****, it’s an odd inning.  Cross your fingers, pray for John Lackey.

5:28 PM: Top of the 7th, 1 out, 4-0 Boston:  19 straight outs for Beckett.  The guy OWNS us tonight.  The heart of the order is batting this inning, with Vlad up right now.  He’s 0-for-2 tonight.  ****, everybody except Figgins is 0-for.

Hey!  Vladimir Guerrero gets a hit!  OK guys, time to start a rally here!

Just please don’t break out a monkey in the dugout…

Now Garret Anderson pops up.  I’d like to blame his eye, but if that’s the case, then everybody seems to have an eye infection tonight.  Two outs.

And Izturis grounds out.  Josh Beckett is unbeatable.

5:38 PM: Bottom of the 7th, 1 out, 4-0 Boston:  Ervin Santana is in the game, Lackey is out.  Seems weird to see Ervin in there in relief.  And it’s not at all comforting.  Last year, it would have been great.  But unfortunately, Santana is the strongest indicator of the mental fragility of the Angels pitching staff this year.  Though he looks pretty decent right now…  Two strikeouts, a pop fly foul caught by Izturis, and the inning is over.  Good job, Ervin.

6:10 PM: Final Score:  4-0 Boston:  OK, Lackey wasn’t horrible.  Sure, he had his problems, but he hung in there and pitched a decent game.  Not great, but acceptable.

I sure with the bats had shown up.

Garret Anderson looked silly at the plate tonight.  I don’t care what he says, having his right eye (the lead eye for a left-handed batter) swelled shut like that had to affect him, and it showed.  But he wasn’t alone.  The entire lineup might as well have dragged along seeing-eye dogs to Fenway as effective as they were.

OK, so we’re down 1-0.  It’s not the end of the world.  But the offense has to show up Friday, and they have to pound Matsuzaka early and often.

If not, it’ll be a sad day in Anaheim on Sunday.

God I hate the Red Sox.

Live Blogging the ALDS

Alds

In just a few minutes, the first pitch of the 2007 playoffs will be thrown.  In roughly 3 hours 38 minutes, the Boston Red Sox will host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Game 1 of the ALDS on TBS!

And, I will be liveblogging it.

Join me here and on MSN Messenger as you watch the game!  Just load up the front page of this blog, refreshing it occaisionally as I update the post.  Sign into your MSN Messenger and add my as a friend so you can chat with me, ask questions, rag on me for being an Angels fan, whatever you want!  My MSN screenname is:

ANGELSBLOGGING@HOTMAIL.COM

Here’s a few examples of my previous liveblogging efforts:

8/28/07 vs. Mariners

8/21/07 vs. Yankees

I’ll see you here at 3:30 PM PST (6:30 PM EST)!