The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘mlb playoffs’

NLCS GO TIME

Posted by keithosaunders on October 17, 2015

mets hatSomewhere on a lonely, deserted, slab of rock in the desolate radiation-infused paradise in the middle of the San Francisco Bay that is Treasure Island there exists a lone, abandoned Mets cap. But this is no ordinary bit of refuse. This is a cap with the power to see a little team from Flushing known as THE METS on a journey through the baseball post season. It is a journey that has only one possible ending; a trip down the canyon of heroes on a different island. The island in which my brain has been spattered. All over. Manhattan.

So to all you Cubbies fans who have waited 107 years for a title. I say to you, what’s one more year? For it is the pride, the power, the Treasure Island radiation, that is going to insure the inevitable. Oh yeah, folks.

It…is…GO TIME!!!!!

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Match point

Posted by keithosaunders on October 15, 2015

This is the 3rd playoff series between the Mets and the Dodgers.  The first, in 1988, featured Orel Hershiser pitching a complete game gem in the 7th and deciding game.  Who can forget Mike Scioscia’s shocking, game-tying home run off of Dwight Gooden in game 4; a game the Mets lost in 12 innings. (Kirk Gibson’s 12th inning home run was the difference)

In 2006, which was the last time the Mets were in the post season, they swept the Dodgers in the NLDS.  There are two players, one from each roster, that are playing in this current series.  They are Andre Ethier and David Wright.  That 2006 Dodger squad included veterans Kenny Lofton, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, and Nomar Garciaparra.  The Mets had a more youthful lineup, featuring Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and the aforementioned Wright.  Their roster also included veterans Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd. That Mets team would go on to lose a heartbreaking NLCS to the St Louis Cardinals and the next two years they would suffer gut wrenching late-season collapses.

This brings us to tonight’s series-deciding epic matchup between another veteran Dodgers team and an upstart young Mets club. Jacob deGrom versus Zack Greinke.  If deGrom falters manager Terry Collins will use Noah Syndergaard and even Matt Harvey. (Scott Boras be damned)  I imagine big Bartolo will be on hand as well –  anything it takes to get to the one pitcher that matters the most: Jeurys Familia. For if he is in the game that’s a good sign that the Mets have a lead and what was once unthinkable — a trip to the NLCS — may yet come to pass.

Let’s go METS!!!

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It’s go time

Posted by keithosaunders on October 13, 2015

If you had told me on April 6th when the Mets opened In Washington against the Nationals, that on October 13th they would be playing a playoff game against the Dodgers that could propel them to the NLCS, I would have laughed in your face. But here they are, poised for success in this most improbable season that turned on a dime with the July 31st acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes.

Matt Harvey was mediocre last night versus the feckless Dodgers, but when you’re facing third-rate starters such as Brett Anderson and your lineup possesses gamers like Curtis Granderson and the aforementioned Cespedes, it doesn’t much matter. The Dodgers [probably wisely] sat Chase Utley, but at this stage of his career he is not an impact player unless you count chippy slides.

As for Harvey, I don’t blame him for not being sharp, what with nearly a two week layoff.  In this era of pitch counts and coddling it is unrealistic to expect your ‘ace’ starter to have any kind of rhythm in his biggest start of the year. I wonder what Juan Marichal and Bob Gibson think of today’s crop of tin-men. Hopefully, if the Mets move on, Harvey will be stronger in the NLCS.  They will need him against a frothing-at-the-mouth, too young to be scared Cubs lineup. (yes I have written the Cardinals off)

In the meantime the Mets have a game to win.  Rookie Steven Matz and his sore back will face Clayton Kershaw, who will be starting on three days of rest. The realist in me wants to believe that the pressure of pitching in a closeout game in hostile Citi Field will be too much for Kershaw, who thus far in his storied career has been a playoff washout.  The fatalist in me, however, hears a voice buried deep inside of my head saying, ‘He’s due.  He’s due.’

This is it, Mets.  FINISH THEM.

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Terry Collins mans up

Posted by keithosaunders on October 10, 2015

At last a manager showed some guts and sticks with his ace rather than adhere to the one-size-fits-all pitch count of 100. Terry Collins’ decision to allow Jacob deGrom to hit in the 7th inning with one out and men on 1st and 2nd paid off in spades.  The Mets came away with a 3-1 victory in LA against erstwhile ace and longtime playoff underachiever, Clayton Kershaw.  DeGrom, who had thrown 102 pitches, laid down a picture perfect bunt, nearly beating it out, setting the table for gamer David Wright.

Out came Mattingly to remind us that this is indeed the era of pussy baseball. He pulled his ace, the big bad, unbeatable (or so I have been told by Dodgers fans the past two weeks) Kershaw to bring in Pedro Baez, because we all know only righties can get other righties out.  Baez got behind in the count and at 3-2 grooved a fast ball which Wright banged into center for a 2 run double.  Ballgame.

By taking Kershaw out Mattingly undermined his ace’s confidence.  Do you have an ace or not?  If the answer is yes then has to be able to work out of tough spots in big games I don’t care how many pitches he has thrown.  it’s go time!  What’s the good of having an ace if he can’t pitch through late innings bases loaded situations? This is what you work for all season long. It comes down to who do you want to pitch to Wright:  Your Cy Young winning pitcher who had been untouchable all year long, or Pedro straight-down-the-middle-fast-ball Baez.

If I was Terry Collins I would name Matt Harvey today’s starter.  Here’s your chance to drive a stake through the heart of the Dodgers and take a 2-0 lead in games back to New York.  Then you have Syndergaard pitching at home where he is much more effective than the road.  You would always have DeGrom for a game five, or if you’re man enough, a game four.  If Scott Boras responded with as a much of a peep I would ban him from Citi Field.  What’s the worst that can happen?  The Mets miss out on the chance to sign a non-gamer pitcher for 30 million a year.  Boo hoo.

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Baseball’s wildcard fiasco

Posted by keithosaunders on October 8, 2015

In 2011 the fate of four teams and two playoff races were decided on the last day of baseball’s regular season.  The Cardinals defeated the Astros to win the National League wild card berth after the Braves had lost to the Phillies. In the Junior Circuit the Tampa Rays defeated  the Yankees in extra innings  after the Orioles had defeated the Red Sox on a walk-off single.  Tom Verducci, a writer for Sports Illustrated wrote, “These will go down as the most thrilling 129 minutes in baseball history.” 

He’s right.

MLB, in their infinite, corporate profit-driven interests decided that they could have this football-style do or die games every year and thus the current play-in wild card system was born.  Thanks to this unimaginative gimmick never again will we have the end of season drama that existed for over a hundred years.

Since the really good teams will have their divisions locked up, the best we can hope for is a race for the final wild card spot. In the event there are multiple great teams in one division, such as this year’s NL Central, all the teams will make the playoffs thus insuring that a superior team will suffer the ignominious fate of a one game post season.

What a shame that a team as talented as the Pittsburgh Pirates (98 wins) had to bow out of the playoffs so early.  Had the Cubs lost it would have been equally as egregious. Instead we are stuck with Dodgers and Mets teams that backed their way into the playoffs.  Full disclosure:  I’m a Mets fan, but come on, they’re not as good as the Pirates.

At any rate, let’s put this travesty of sports behind us and get ready for some real playoff baseball.  Accept no substitutions!

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Tommy Hunter, this is your hour!

Posted by keithosaunders on October 19, 2010

I actually still think the Yankees are going to win this thing, but I’d admit to feeling a little cocky if the Rangers can somehow win tonight. The Yankees have their worst pitcher going — AJ Burnett — even though last year he somehow pitched a great World Series game in a similar situation. You never know what you’re going to get with A.J.

Why aren’t the Yankees starting C.C. Sabathia tonight? I seem to remember him going on short rest during last year’s playoffs and Series. Would they use him in game 5 and 7? (or would that be 2 days rest?)

Of course none of the Yankee fans have heard of Tommy Hunter, but he had a pretty good season going 13-4 with a 3.73 era. If it wasn’t for the 8th inning of game 1 the Yankees would be all but dead.

Unfortunately this means they are due to wake up. How long can you hold Texeira and Arod down?

So come on Rangers, remember the alamo, or whatever is it that psyches you up!

Cliff Lee riding herd.

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At last…the MLB playoffs!

Posted by keithosaunders on October 6, 2010

As we turn the page on another disappointing Mets season it’s time to focus on the playoffs.  The divisional series I’m most intrigued by is Phillies vs Reds — two classic teams which date back to before the turn of the 19th century. 

The Reds won the Black Sox Series of 1919 — there probably should be an asterisk after that one – and they appeared in back to back Series in 1939 and ’40, winning in 7 games against the Tigers in 1940.  They then endured a 21 year Series drought before losing to the Yankees in 5 games in 1961.  They lost to the Orioles in 1970 and the As in ’72, but by 1975 the Big Red Machine was in full bloom and they won a classic 7 game Series against the Boston Redsox.  Next year they would go on to sweep the Yankees.  Throw in a sweep of the steroidally-infused Oakland As of 1990 and you are up to date with Reds Series history.

It’s a much simpler endeavor to chronicle the Philadelphia Phillies World Series appearances.  In fact, until I was 20 years of age they had yet to win one.  They first appeared in the Series in 1915, losing to the Redsox in 5 games.  If you had been born in November of that year you would have had to wait until your 35th birthday to see them play post-season ball.  That’s 1950, for those of you scoring at home, when the team known as the Whiz kids finally returned to the Series.  They were the youngest National League champs in history with an average age of 26.  Youth was not served, however, as they were swept by the Yankees, who were in the midst of winning 5 consecutive championships.

In the 70s the Phillies got good again.  (note:  I am magnanimously skipping over the great pennant race collapse of 1964.)  With a nucleus of Mike Schmidt, Bake McBride, Larry Bowa, Steve Carlton, and Tug McGraw they appeared in 3 straight playoffs — from 1976 to ’78 — losing all of them.  Just when it appeared they would never get over the hump, they beat the Houston Astros in the 1980 NLCS, a series in which 4 out of the 5 games went to extra innings!  The Phillies would go on to win their first World Series ever, beating the Kansas City Royals in 6 games.

In 1983 the Phillies lost to the Orioles in 5 games, and in 1993 their Lenny Dykstra/John Kruk/Mitch Williams version lost to the Toronto Bluejays in 6 games.  (I’ll thank you not to mention Joe Carter)  That takes us into the current millennium in which the Phillies won their second Series, a 5 gamer against the upstart Tampa Bay Rays.  Throw in last year’s loss to the Yankees in 6 games and you are up to date.

Now let the games begin!

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