October 2008

ALCS and NLDS predictions/overview

Even though I am an avid Red Sox fan, let’s try and analyze as objectively as possible the division series. As October Gonzo says, we’re down to the “final four” and he’s made some predictions, but I have plenty of my own.

ALCS: Red Sox vs Rays
Lots of people have been talking about experience, and if you’re talking about that, then the Red Sox have it, but not necessarily in the best of ways. We’ve won the world series seven times, but think about all the times that we didn’t win. It’s a lot. Then again, the Sox did make the biggest comeback in major league history in the ’04 ALCS. But we’re not talking about the past, we’re talking about the present, and the future. The Rays have ultimately represented the “Cinderella Story” of baseball, they were dead last in 2007 and they won the division in 2008. What a turnaround. The question is, when do they run out of gas? As for the Red Sox, well, we have continually been plagued by injuries (as you can see in my first entry). Now we’re playing with an injured JD Drew and an injured Beckett (and his Game 3 ALDS performance was not satisfactory). Mike Lowell isn’t even eligible for play until the World Series, but as of now, he has no range of motion and his hitting is anything but stellar. Regardless of the injuries (which were evident in the ALDS), we just beat the best team in major league baseball, the Angels (100-62). The Rays have a lot to do. 
My prediction: Red Sox in 6 or 7 (just because we like to make it difficult for ourselves in the ALCS)
Dodgers vs Philles
To be honest, I don’t really keep up with the national league as much, but I’ll give you what I can. It is clear that the Dodgers have a renewed sense of spirit since their acquisition of Manny Ramirez, a future hall-of-fame man and a menace in the post season. It’s not much to say that they beat the Cubs in the ALDS because the Cubs just looked horrendous. Unfortunately, that’s just about all I can give you. The Philles on the other hand have been consistent throughout the season in a tough division. They have a scary offense too, look at Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell. I am no expert on predictions but I’m still going to make one. 
My prediction: Dodgers in 6 
Let’s take a look at the other teams who are no longer in the post season and what made them crumble.
Brewers: C.C. Sabbathia did not come through, and if he can’t come through, then I honestly don’t know who can. Against a strong Philadelphia pitching staff (assuming there…) their offense could only produce one win. They did have a nice run going for them though.
Cubs: It now marks 100 long years that the Cubs have not won a World Series, and watching that series, I wondered where the goat was. Their pitching was actually decent but their offense was just horrendous. Alfonso Soriano going 0-5? There’s definitely something off right there. They were so consistent throughout the year too, Cubs fans must be devastated. 
Angels: They had the best record in baseball, and last year, the team with the best record (the Red Sox) won it all. So the question is, how could they not win it? They have Vladmir Guerrero, Torii Hunter (SEVEN gold gloves), Chone Figgins, and the infamous K-Rod. On the one hand, they snapped a long drought of losses against the Red Sox in post season play, but they still failed to pick up more than one game. Virtually every game was close though since both teams are so strong. People like Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, JD Drew and of course, Jed Lowrie really did come through. Games 3 and 4 were undoubtedly the best. Game 3 lasted 12 long innings and Game 4 quite literally, went to the bottom of the ninth. This series, truly represented the beauty of baseball. Numbers don’t really matter, anyone can do it. 
White Sox: Their record was not as good as Tampa Bay (or the Red Sox for that matter) and the White Sox only won one game against the Rays… THE RAYS. What a crazy story that is. It’s not that they played horribly like their fellow Chicago team, they just could not matchup against the Rays. 

Jed Lowrie with a walk off hit

To start off on an irrelevant note, I was unaware of the fact that they put stars around profane language. I’ll have to watch myself seeing that I curse like a sailor. 

Last night’s game was epic so to speak. Jon Lester pitched out of jams and has yet to give up a run in the 2008 post season. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia both got RBI’s (and with Dustin’s, he also snapped his hitting slump) but it was the eighth inning that almost made me puke my dinner up. Hideki Okajima comes in and walks Teixera and is then taken out. Justin Masterson, the man that the Red Sox have relied on thus far in the eighth inning (postseason that is) came in and gave up two runs. Seeing that he is a rookie in his first postseason series ever and he has been over used, what do you expect? I was sitting on my bathroom floor for five minutes trying not to puke my guts up, I was that nervous.2-2 game four, the Red Sox did not want to go back to Anaheim. . In the top of the ninth, there’s a man on third and Aybar tries to drop a suicide squeeze but misses the bunt so Varitek has the man on third caught! Varitek runs and kind of tackles the man and the out is recorded. When Tek falls to the ground the ball rolls out. Still out! That could’ve saved the game right there. Our captain, leading us to victory as usual.It was the bottom of the ninth inning, and this is what true baseball fans live for. Sitting on the edge of your seats, about to pop a blood vessel Jason Bay hits a double down the right field line and there we have it, a man in scoring position. The next batter is the somewhat useless Mark Kotsay (who groped the umpire earlier in the game if you didn’t happen to witness that awkward moment) and he lined out to the second basemen. Then, the trusty rookie Jed Lowrie comes up. He lined out with the bases loaded the night before and was with a chance to redeem himself. Did he take that chance? Yes, he sure as hell did! He hits another one into right field and Jason Bay is running with his life and he slides across the plate. SAFE!!! GAME OVER! The Red Sox win on a walk off hit by Jed Lowrie! One of only four other walk off hits in major league history hit by a rookie. And the Red Sox are going to the ALCS along with Tampa. See you Friday night folks! 

ALDS Game 3 (I fell asleep with a broom)

Game 3 was quite intense huh? Beckett was obviously off… so we had five innings of hell (or somewhere around five). Mike Napoli… two home runs? What the hell? That was pretty annoying. Lucky for us, our trusty rookie Jacoby was involved in all four runs. Pretty amazing. And by the way, they were not cheap RBI’s, it’s not my fault if Torii Hunter sucks. That one play had three RBI’s and then in the eighth (I really don’t remember this game too well, way too tired anyway) he hit a double right over the right fielder’s head (whoever it is) and then Kevin Youkilis hit another double to score Jacoby. Unfortunately, Jed Lowrie couldn’t produce with the bases loaded and Jacoby struck out even though the ball was CLEARLY AS **** outside. That could’ve cost us the game right there. But then again, that’s the beauty of baseball. Can’t rely on one man to always score the runs for you. Masterson pitched beautifully yet AGAIN. I’m enjoying that I can rely on him in the post season. Him and Papelbon😀. Ironically, the probable MVP is 0-13 (or something ungodly like that) in the ALDS. He is due! We’ll see about that tonight. David Ortiz is also due for some type of home run. Crazy as I am, I was holding on to a broom from the seventh inning on. So I ended up falling asleep with it, holding it very tightly. Kind of disappointing. 

Other than that the NLCS has been locked up. The Philles beat the Brewers and the Dodgers swept the Cubs. Someone bring out a goat, please. Hopefully the suicide rate in Chicago won’t increase. I’m not even sure of who is winning the White Sox-Rays series… I think it’s the Rays. That’d be an epic matchup, the Rays and the Red Sox. Such a rivalry has erupted this year, it’d be great to see another fight. Plus, I’m going to Tampa if it’s the Red Sox and the Rays. That’d be wicked. It’s annoying to see the Dodgers in the NLCS. I’m very annoyed at Manny Ramirez right now, mostly because I miss him, even though I really don’t want to. He was one of my favorite players and he was a total *** about leaving. But I’m kind of in love with Jason Bay (well, not as much as Jacoby Ellsbury) and I want to babysit his new daughter. We’ll see how it all goes down tomorrow. I want to go into school happy (and well rested tomorrow). It’s Lester vs Lackey tonight. Should be great (:
-Mrs. Jacoby Ellsbury (the future one)

ALDS Game 2 and part of 3

I didn’t get to see Game 2, but it must have been great. I saw it get to 5-5, it must have been crazy. Dice-K did decently as always… always putting two on and then miraculously getting out of it. Masterson did well, pretty cool how he’s a ROOKIE in the post season… hasn’t even been up the entire year. He’s kind of like the new set up man if you think about it. Papelbon pitched GREAT. And then in the top of the ninth with Youkilis on, JD Drew SLAMS ONE and the score is 7-5 and Papelbon closes it out! Hopefully he’ll have a pretty good break now since he (and Masterson) have pitched in the first two games.

I’m in the process of watching game 3 now, and Jacoby has been involved in all 4 runs. First getting 3 RBIs on this crazy bloop single that Torii Hunter surprisingly did not catch. It was a ***********. Then, in the fifth, Jacoby hits a double off the wall and Youk hits another double that scores Jacoby. And Mike Napoli? What the hell? He doesn’t do ANYTHING!!! Beckett hasn’t looked that great. 4-4 bottom six. Gotta love it. I live for this. 

A Brief Overview on the Red Sox year and Game 1 ALDS Assessment

Well, coming off of last year, everyone expected the Red Sox to win again. Our roster was the exact same as the World Series roster. We were golden right? Too bad we were continually plagued with injuries or unfortunate mishaps. David Ortiz’s continuous slump throughout the year to produce his worse offensive year ever in a Red Sox uniform. This is pretty much blamable on his wrist which has always been a problem for him. Other injuries included JD Drew, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Julio Lugo and Clay Buchholz. JD Drew was on fire during the month of June only to be shut down with a back problem, but I am confident in a comeback. Mike Lowell hurt his hip and was out for an extended period of time. Josh Beckett, a candidate for the Cy Young award last year (and was virtually ROBBED of it) did not have a great followup season and was on the disabled list with various injuries (back spasms… etc.). Daisuke Matsuzaka went on for a while and had a great year, but he was really ******* lucky since he only went like five innings half the time -_-. I had so much faith in Clay Buchholz at the beginning of the season, and that faith has slowly dwindled away, to essentially nothing now. However, it is not ALL his fault. Remember back when he hurt that finger nail? Yeah, he went down to the Paw Sox and they changed his pitching mechanics which really threw him off which was why HE COULDNT WIN A ******* GAME (sorry). Manny Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers and was a total ******* about it. Seriously, in that last game against the Angles, the guy stopped trying. Sorry, but that just screams ****** right there. I had defended him COUNTLESS times against the ******** who never let me live it down for being a Red Sox fan, but now, he’s number 99 (wtf) on the Dodgers kickin it. Grr. But look at what we got out of it. Jason Bay. Jason Bay has been absolutely exceptional. He was so underrated merely because he played with the Pirates. But he’s phenomenal offensively and pretty damn solid defensively. I have no complaints. Justin Masterson came up from the Paw Sox upon Dice-K’s injury and proved quite successful and soon returned in the bullpen, which has helped to balance out the incoherentness of David Aardsma and Mike Timlin as well as the struggles of Okajima. Julio Lugo’s injury was ultimately a blessing in disguise since Jed Lowrie came up as a result of it (which I called at the beginning of the year, by the way). Jed has been great at short stop, errorless in the regular season (until last night that is) and is a pretty solid hitter. As for the other players: Jacoby Ellsbury (my future husband) had his ups and downs. He is undoubtedly one of the best fielders in the league because he makes catches that no human should make. However, his hitting was a bit inconsistent but he did make up for it with the American League leading 50 steals. Dustin Pedroia. Do I need to expand on that point? I think I will. Let’s just say: leads in batting average, leads in hits, pretty ******* good fielder. MVP! Gotta love him. Kevin Youkilis is quite literally, the rock of the Red Sox. He is so determined and has such a great mentality. His numbers were consistently great and he truly helped the Red Sox. 

Game 1 ALDS Assessment Time!:
So, the Red Sox entered the playoffs as a wild card team and the division, surprisingly enough, went to the Rays (who, in 2007, were in DEAD LAST). They took Game 1 against the Angels (the best team in baseball) in a very intense game. Jon Lester pitched a gem, he didn’t even have an earned run (the only run scored was due to an error by Jed Lowrie). So we’re trailing 1-0 right? And Kevin Youkilis is on first and Jason Bay is up. Jason Bay has never been in the post season. So I’m sitting there and I call it. I said: Jason, you’re gonna hit your first post season home run tonight and it’s gonna go right in between left and center field. And guess what? Well, you know the story. 2-1. In your face *******! In the top of the eighth inning, Jacoby Ellsbury bats in Jed Lowrie to make it 3-1 and scores to make it 4-1. He is arguably the hero of that game. Not only did he go 3-5, but he had two steals to get himself into scoring position, an RBI and made this absolutely incredible catch to stop the potential rally. Masterson pitched a great eighth inning and Papelbon shut down the ninth. I’ve said it once and I’ll sure as hell say it again: Jon Lester was incredible. Absolutely beautiful.
How’s Game 2 gonna turn out? Y’all will see (but unfortunately I will be unable to).