Category Archives: Angels

What a Choke!

What a weekend for sports! The Boston Celtics knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers, in LeBron’s last chance before his upcoming free agency to show what he is made of. The Boston Bruins just died in a game 7 that was eerily similar to the series, as they went up 3-0 only to blow it and lose 4-3. The Celtics then went on to win game 1 in Orlando, at times dominating the Magic. Oh yeah, there was some baseball played too, but it wasn’t that exciting in comparison. With some rather big collapses happening, I decided to reflect on some of the biggest (as well as some of my personal favorite) collapses and chokes in history. With a lot of discussion about chokes in sports, I will start with what I used as a definition.

Choke [chohk] (verb,choked, chok·ing, noun) -A choke is a team failing to execute in a situation where they should be more than just a favorite to win. This often occurs in a situation where any par performance would have resulted in a sound victory. Some sort of failure on the team to execute is required. A choke may be viewed in the context of a single game, a series, or a season.

And with that, my top 13.

#13) 2010 NCAA Tournament: Kansas University loses to Northern Iowa in 2nd round

Kansas was not only the favorite to win this game but one of two favorites to win the tournament. Over 80% of ESPN Tournament Bracket players had either Kansas or Kentucky winning. Neither made the final four, but Kentucky wasn’t eliminated in the second round by a 9-seed. Brackets were decimated.

#12) 2007 ALCS: Cleveland Indians

Cleveland loves their collapses, as they were unable to hold a 3-1 series lead against the Boston Red Sox. For a team with 19 game winners C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, as well as future Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, this team was completely unable to close, allowing the Red Sox to steamroll themselves to their 2nd world series in four years.

#11) 1964 Phillies Phold

After a magical season including Jim Bunning’s perfect game (first in the NL since 1880), the Phightin’ Phils had a 6.5 game lead with 12 to play. After losing 10 games in a row, with the first seven at home, the Phillies had sunk to 3rd place, and would not be a part of any postseason activity. Phail.

#10) 2007/2008 Regular Season: New York Mets

The Mets have recently become the poster child for late season failures. In 2007, the Mets had a 7 game lead on September 12th, with 17 games left to play. The Mets only won 5 of those 17. They lost 5 of 6 to the 4th place Nationals. This one went down to the last game of the season, only to have Tom Glavine let up seven runs in the first culminating in a great collapse.

The Mets then went out and signed two time Cy Young Award Winner Johan Santana, figuring that this would compensate for any weaknesses associated with their collapse. They went into 2008 as surefire favorites to win the NL East, only to be once again eliminated from playoff contention on the last day of season. This was just the beginning of the issues for the Mets as they would plunge to 4th place and a 70 win season in 2009, a team that was once again predicted to contend for a playoff run.

#9) 2007-2008 Pursuit of Perfection: 18-1 New England Patriots

You may note that in my definition above I said that a choke may be defined as a season and I would like to make that distinction here. This was a choked season which is not to be confused with a choked game. The only reason that they make this list was the potential implications of being the greatest NFL team of all time by obtaining a perfect 19-0 record. The Super Bowl itself does not quite qualify to me as a choke. Sure, the Patriots were up 14-3 going into the 4th quarter, but the Giants’ 14 point run bordered on the miraculous. “The Helmet Catch” was a freak play, something one could probably not reproduce in many attempts.  It turned out to be a game where the clock operators were under as much scrutiny as any coach’s decision. There didn’t seem to be a failure on the part of the Patriots to win the game, but more like a spectacular drive by the Giants to put them over the top. The NFL, probably more any other sport, is one where any team can win on any given day. For this reason, I categorize failure to capitalize on the pursuit of perfection as a choke and not the game itself.

#8) 1942 Red Wings / 1975 Penguins

Any team that has ever been up 3-0 in a series and doesn’t win certainly falls into the choke categories. Both of these teams lost to the higher seeded team in the end, after failing to complete their respective underdog runs. For this reason, they get only slightly more credit than #7.

#7) 2010 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals (Hockey): Boston Bruins

They had four chances to beat out the somewhat injured and defeated Flyers, who became only the third hockey team to accomplish such a feat. I thought about ranking this higher, but let us not forget that the Bruins were not a very good team to begin with this season. Two months ago, there were questions as to them even making the playoffs. The Flyers were a lower seed than the Bruins, making this slightly worse than #8. Give it five years for all to settle in, and this will be grouped in the same category as the Wings and Penguins.

#6) 2010 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals (Basketball): Cleveland Cavaliers

In a collapse that left LeBron James without a title in Cleveland, the Celtics may have not only made headlines for themselves, but they may have just cost LeBron a huge part of his legacy.  Cleveland was his city and his team. After numerous opportunities to make a championship run and numerous failures, one can accuse coaching, front office management, and the players themselves.

The fact is that LeBron will take the brunt of this, and Cleveland will suffer if he leaves. For a team that was the best home team in Basketball for several years, they squandered their last two home games. Boston may have earned this win with spectacular defense and a tremendously elevated level of play, but the fact remains that LeBron choked in his abilities to bring a championship to the Cavs.

#5) 1978 Red Sox

Boston held a 14 game lead over the New York Yankees, a lead that would dwindle only to be eventually erased after being swept in a four game set by New York, now referred to as The Boston Massacre. The Yankees forced a one game playoff tie breaker where Bucky Dent, who had hit an average of three HR’s per season in his career; hit a 3 run homer to lead the Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the Sox. The Yankees went on to win the World Series. Bucky ******* Dent.

#4) 1990-1994 Buffalo Bills

The only thing worse than being 0-4 in Super Bowl appearances (Vikings, Bills) is doing it in four straight years. The Bills made their first appearance in the Super Bowl in 1991, only to lose by one point to the New York Giants. They would repeat their Super Bowl run in the next three years losing to the Redskins, and then in back to back years to the Cowboys.

#3) 2003 NLCS: Chicago Cubs

Similar to #11, the Cubs squandered a 3-1 series lead. What makes this much worse than the Indians, was that in game 6, the Cubs had a 3-0 lead behind Matt Clement’s three hitter with just five outs to go. Lifetime Cubs fan Steve Bartman interfered with a foul ball off the bat of Louis Castillo, preventing Moises Alou from making the catch. The thread had been pulled, and the unraveling began. Bartman was escorted out of the stadium for his own safety, and has been ridiculed ever since. The Curse of the Billy Goat lives on.

#2) 1986 World Series: Boston Red Sox

It was game 6 and the Red Sox had a 3-2 series lead. After scoring two in the top of the 10th, the Red Sox had a 5-3 lead with two out. They were one out from their first championship since 1918, and one out from defeating the curse of the Bambino. A few hits later it was 5-4. Enter Mookie Wilson. Mookie Wilson was at the plate and fought out a ten pitch at bat. On the 7th pitch of the at bat, Bob Stanley’s wild pitch tied the game at five. Pitch number ten to Wilson was the infamous grounder through the legs of Bill Buckner, scoring Ray Knight to win the ball game. There is no guarantee that had Buckner fielded the ball that they would have won, however their inability to close out this game, as well as game 7, lands them in the #2 spot all time. I refuse to lower this on the list on the basis that the “curse” has been broken, or that Boston has more or less forgiven Buckner. At the time this was an epic collapse, and it should remain so when talking about it.

#1) 2004 ALCS: New York Yankees

The biggest collapse in sports history, as well as my personal favorite, was the New York Yankees failing to close out the Boston Red Sox after a 3-0 series lead with home field advantage. With a lead going into the 9th inning of game 4, Kevin Millar led off with a walk, off of arguably the best closer of all time, Mariano Rivera. Pinch runner Dave Roberts was Boston’s personal savior that night. The entire world knew that Roberts was stealing second, and after several pickoff attempts he went on the first pitch Rivera sent home. Safe.

This was the single turning point, as Bill Mueller would single him in for the tie. David Ortiz would then hit a two run shot in the 12th, giving the Sox their first win in the series. This was just a taste of what was coming. Rivera would blow the save again in game 5, this time with some help from Tom Gordon. Boston went on to win this game in the 14th where David Ortiz was the walk-off star again singling in Damon. Curt Shilling would pitch the “Bloody Sock” game in game 6 in Yankee Stadium, and the Boston bats beat up the Yankees in game 7 to cap the greatest comeback ever. Everything made this series epic. It was Sox/Yanks, it was Rivera, it was David Ortiz, it was long games ending well after midnight, it was the lovable idiots taking down the evil empire, and it was certainly the biggest choke ever.

2 Comments

Filed under Angels, Baseball, Blogroll, Boston Red Sox, Bruins, Cardinals, Celtics, Colorado, Contracts, Cubs, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, General Baseball, Indians, Kevin Youkilis, Mets, Mike Lowell, MLB, MVP, Padres, Papelbon, Philadelphia, Phillies, Playoffs, Red Sox, Rockies, San Diego, Save, Sox, Sports, Tigers, Trades, Uncategorized, World Series, Yankees

Lackey Lacking Nothing

For the 2nd time in three games, I had the privilege of going to Fenway Park (Right Field Box, Section 1, Row D, Seat 3.) It was another great game in a completely different way than Monday was. I was able to get down to Fenway much earlier, and enjoy some pre-game excitement. After wandering around a little, we made it to Jerry Remy’s. The baseball gods smiled on me from above as they opened up a seat right at the window in front. It was pretty fun, being able to watch the street action and bar at the same time.

I made it to the park just in time for Nomar’s ceremony. I found it interesting that it meant more to me to see Brian Daubach, Lou Merloni, and Trot Nixon. I was very excited when Trot came out, as was the rest of Fenway judging by the ovation. It was nice to see him (Nomar) honored, and they did a good job at keeping it short and sweet. I expected a long drawn out event, but it was over quickly and they got on with the game in a reasonable fashion. On top of that all, Nomar’s first pitch was classic. That is something I will not forget, as he made it so unique to him and what I remember from his days playing for us.

It was a very quick game, especially since I had just been calibrated to the near four hour slugfest that was Monday night. This game had a brisk pace to it, as Lackey was moving through hitters very efficiently. Lackey certainly deserved a win for this one only allowing 2 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings of work. Lackey just dominated his old team, and made them look silly on quite a few swings. Lackey got his ERA under 4 in this outing (3.89) which is very nice to see after some of the big ERA’s we saw early this year. Lester was able to accomplish this in his last start as well.

Dustin Pedroia had his typical scrappy fantastic defense, and David Ortiz hit a home run, keeping me from calling for his benching for just a little longer. Beltre also had a HR, his second of the season, both of which were at my games this week! Bard and Papelbon were forceful in their slamming of the door, always nice to see.

I was awfully surprised to see Pinero come out for the 6th, as the Sox did a great job of getting his pitch count way up. For 8 hits and 3 walks, he did a good job (or the Red Sox did a poor job) in only allowing 2 runs.

The Red Sox are back to a .500 record, and look to have gained some momentum going into the Yankee series this weekend. ERA’s are sinking, and the offense has picked up a little. This team still has a lot of work to do but I do feel like they are coming together. Before that ugly sweep in Baltimore the Sox were in a 7 of 9 run. Now they have won 3 in a row. There is talent and promise on this team and there is no reason to think they can’t do something big in 2010.

1 Comment

Filed under Adrian Beltre, Angels, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, General Baseball, MLB, Playoffs, Red Sox, Save, Sox, Sports, Uncategorized

Lowell and Behold – Offense!

What a wild game! I was present at the ballpark last night and it was electric. (Box 69, Row E, Seat 3; 3 rows from the Angel Dugout.) In a night where both the Celtics and Bruins won their respective playoff games, the Sox came through with a big win of their own. It was not just a big win in stopping a 3 game skid consisting of an Orioles sweep, but it was a big night for the bats. 20 hits, 17 runs, and some beautiful swings.

I saw great things in all aspects of this game. Not only did every member of the starting lineup have a hit, but everyone except Dustin Pedroia and Marco Scutaro had multi hit games. Pedroia had a 3 run HR to make up for it. Mike Lowell and JD Drew had 4 hits apiece, and Adrian Beltre and Bill Hall both hit their first in a Sox uniform. The offense was a team effort, with everybody going off. All 4 home runs (Youkilis, Hall, Beltre, and Pedroia) were absolutely crushed over the Green Monster. They were beautiful swings, and no doubt about it right off the bat. More than one of them cleared the Green Monster seats all together. Kevin Youkilis could have had a second home run, but his double in the 6th was a few feet to the left of the vertical home run line in center field. Several of the doubles in the game, Lowell’s hits come to mind, were also very well struck. It seemed like everyone saw the ball well last night.

Clay Buchholz did very well in my opinion. He had a bit of a hiccup in the 4th inning, but to be fair it was right after he took a ball off his ankle. Maybe it affected him, maybe it didn’t, but shortly after being struck he allowed 2 walks out of only 3 the entire game. This had him in bases loaded trouble, and some runs were very likely to score at that point. He rallied with a groundout and a strike out to get out of the inning with minimal damage. He only allowed one other run and it was on a sacrifice fly as he was up over 100 pitches. I was a little surprised when I saw his final hit total of eight, when my personal feeling was he did better than that.

On top of all of that, Buchholz did his job preventing the stolen base. He picked off Tori Hunter in what could have been a worse 4th inning for him, and between him and Victor Martinez, Maicer Izturis was caught stealing in the 6th. This is certainly an aspect of the game the Sox have been weak in, and it’s great to see them come out on this end of it.

Most of all, I think what I was most happy to see last night was Mike Lowell’s offensive effort. He went 4/4, 4 RBI, and a walk. Three of those hits were doubles, where most of his RBI came from. One particular double I was very impressed with. In the 6th inning, he hit a double off the Green Monster just above the scoreboard. The ball must have hit an edge, because it took a funny bounce straight at Matsui. Matsui barehanded the catch, much like I remember Manny Ramirez doing many times. Manny generated several of his outfield assists due to this quick turnaround and the short wall. It is a very deceptive hit, and runners get caught trying to get into second. This was my first thought when I saw Matsui barehanded the ball, Lowell was in danger at 2nd. Matsui threw to the cutoff man in an attempt to cut down Drew at home (mistake), and Lowell took advantage, he rounded second with a sly fox look on his face, and as soon as the ball was released towards the plate Lowell took third easily. I was very happy to see this awareness, even though it wound up not mattering at all as Beltre hit his home run 2 pitches later.

All and all it was a very exciting game, and I am glad I was there. The Sox are now 1-2 in my trips to Fenway this season, and I will try and improve on that record tomorrow night (Wednesday) when John Lackey faces his former team for the first time. I’ll make sure to let them know that they need to win so I get back to .500. I’m sure they will cooperate for me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Adrian Beltre, Angels, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, General Baseball, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, Red Sox, Sports, Uncategorized

Baseball Baseball Baseball!

Snow is falling, and all I can think about is the upcoming baseball season.  Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, and the likes of Youk, Papelbon, and Lester are all already at camp, and have been for a week. It already feels like the players are more focused than last year. Nobody was satisfied with 2009 and I hope that restores some of the hunger and drive to win that I personally felt was absent down the stretch last year.

Let’s start with the rotation. I am super excited. I wasn’t blown away with the Lackey signing when it happened, but I get more and more excited about it every day. With the news of Matzusaka’s sore back, I excpect he will be the odd man out to start the season. I don’t say this with the expectation that he is seroiously hurt, but more along the lines of how they handled his recovery last season. They will give him his time, let him get his strength and endurance where it needs to be and certainly wont rush anything. There is no reason to with the rest of the staff here.  That allows Clay Buchholz to get some early season starts, as he would be the other so called “odd man out”, competing with Daisuke for a spot in the rotation.

I say that, because I do not think Tim Wakefield needs to, or will, have to compete for his spot in the rotation. Moving him to the bullpen does not make much sense. The new 2 year deal ($3.5 M in 2010, $1.5 M 2011 + incentives) tells me a few things about Wakefield. Hes almost done, and he knows it. This is a pay cut from the previous $4 M per year he was making before, at his unlimited 1 year options. This tells me that two more seasons is all he wants to do. Hes got his 2 years, and then he will retire on his terms.

It is also worth noting that Wakefield is 18 wins away from the Red Sox all time win mark, held by Roger Clemens and Cy Young. He will start for 2 years (provided he is consistant with his last few years of perfomance.) He will get his 9 wins per year if he does this, and become the all time Red Sox win leader. He couldn’t be more deserving.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, General Baseball, MLB, Playoffs, Red Sox, Sox, Sports

2008 Red Sox: What They Should/Could and Will Look Like in the Future

2007 is over. The Red Sox were the best team in baseball, best regular season record and a World Series ring. The best part about this is, 2008 is going to look largely the same. Here is a position by position analysis of what the 2008 Boston Red Sox will look like, and what they should and will likely do with any holes that may exist.

1st Base: Kevin Youkilis
Does anyone else realize that was his SECOND full major league season? Only his second season as a full time player and he was absolutely spectacular. Youkilis is going to put up another big season, and will be a spectacular on base machine again. I also expect his power numbers go up.

2nd Base: Dustin Pedroia
Look at this, another fantastic youth produced by the Red Sox organization. This guy was fantastic May through October. His sophomore year is going to be fun to watch. Still calling for ROTY ’07.

Short Stop: Julio Lugo
This guy has 3 more years on contract with the Sox, and I pretty much expect them to give Lugo another chance. He showed several signs of promise this year, and hopefully the Sox can stick to their guns and let Lugo get a second year in with a little less pressure on him. I think he can come through and be a great speed guy for us for the next three years.

3rd Base: EMPTY
There are a few options here.

Option #1: I vote Mike Lowell. Lowell is looking for a 3-4 year deal before he retires. GIVE IT TO HIM! Lowell is a great guy and offers so much to this team. With the youth movement the Sox are moving towards, Lowell could be a great veteran guy to have around for a few more years.

Option #2: Alex Rodriguez. I don’t see this happening at all. Mainly because I see the Sox agreeing with me on the resigning Lowell. There is one and only one situation in which Alex Rodriguez comes to Boston. Boston would have to TRADE Julio Lugo, and play A-Rod at short. I’m so confidant in the Sox signing Lowell that this is the only way A-Rod comes to Boston. The Red Sox are going to put a price tag on A-Rod, and they will not go above that. They will not overpay. My guess, is that they won’t pay more than 26 Mil a year for him, which is insane in the first place. Someone is going to bid higher, or Boras is gonig to demand more, and A-Rod will not wind up in Boston.

Option #3: Move Youkilis to third. I say not, an errorless season is good enough for me. Keep him over at first.

Left Field: Manny Rameriez
One more year on the contract, I see no reason why this changes.

Center Field: ?

Hard call here. Jacoby Ellsbury or Coco Crisp? I think it’s time for Ellsbury! Let Ellsbury start the season there and give him a real shot at the majors. I in no way think Crisp should be let go though. Let Crisp be a bench player for one year. Let him play every few days, do a 4 man outfield rotation to a certain degree. Coco can be a great player on the bench and can be used as a defensive replacement for Manny late in games, and can also be a great Dave Roberts type weapon. Manny has one more year on his contract, keep Coco for that year and start ’09 with an outfield of Coco, Ellsbury, and Drew.

Right Field: JD Drew
Everyone keeps referring to the JD Drew signing as a failure by the Sox. I say nay. Drew had a poor year in general, but he started fantastic, and ended fantastic. Drew could be an great bat in this lineup and I think, like Lugo, a second year in Boston would drastically help him.

Rotation:

Josh Beckett: Is there any question now that this guy is #1?
Daisuke Matsuzaka: Tagging this guy to start #2. He’s had a whole season of AL ball, I look to him to improve in year two just as Josh Beckett did.
Jon Lester: I want this guy in my 3 hole. Game 4 was great, he can perform, give him the chance to do it for a full season.
Tim Wakefield: Take this $4 million option once again! This is why I wrote about him being tremendously valueable. Let him take 30 or so starts, he will win a good number of them and take innings away from everyone else. This also means keeping Mirabelli around.
Clay Buccholz: Let the rookie regime begin.

Yes ladies and gents, Curt Schilling is not in my ’08 rotation. Curt, I want you to retire. I know you said one more year, but please, finish your career as a Sox and go down in the books with a ring. I don’t want to see you go anywhere else and I really think the Sox are going with youth here and are not going to resign you. Call it quits, I love you and I love your hall of fame career. Go out with some pride.

Closer: Papelbon
Quite possibly a few more postseasons from being considered one of the best closers of all time, right up there with Rivera. This guy is fantastic and he is going to keep being so. With the team the Sox have build, expect Papelbon to have plenty of chances to prove himself as a Rivera level closer.

Bullpen:

Okijima: Of course they keep him around. Big part of the team this year.
Delcarmen: This is your year little Manny, step up and be a fantastic 7th or 8th inning guy for us. You have the stuff to make it happen.

Bench: Alex Cora

Keep this guy around. Great utility infielder.

I’m not going to bother with the other bullpen or bench slots because there’s nearly no chance to get them right. Those are a few slots where Theo will chose what our best options are and I do not have enough information to really know what those last few players are.

2008 is going to be a fantastic year for the Red Sox in which I think they can easily put up another 95 wins, and a legitimate shot at 100 wins.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Dodgers, ESPN, General Baseball, Indians, MLB, Red Sox, Save, Sox, Sports, World Series, Yankees

Postseason ’07

October. I love it. This is what baseball fans wait all year for. This year has a completely different look to it. Last year was a year where the Red Sox collapsed due to injury, the Tigers were the young guns proving they belong. Only the Yankees and Padres were in the playoffs last year and managed to make it back again this year. That’s right, only 2 teams. The other 6 all missed in ’06 and all have something to prove. Here are my predictions and reasoning for the 2007 Major League Baseball Playoffs.

 ALDS: Angles Vs. Red Sox

Prediction: Red Sox in 4

The Red Sox are in my mind the only team who really can take out the Angles. The Angles are a very strong team, and I do not doubt that they will pull off a win against either Matsuzaka or Schilling, but overall, I think this Red Sox starting rotation is going to keep the big Angles bats quiet. This series could go 5 games, but even if it does, I’m sticking with the Sox on this one. Trust that Beckett will get this team out to an early series lead.

ALDS: Yankees Vs. Indians

Prediction: Indians in 5

Yes that’s right ladies and gentlemen. I’m going to be the bold one here and say that the Yankees will not make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Yes the Yankees have been a hot second season team, and yes they have a fantastic offense, but I’m siding with Sabathia and Carmona. The Yanks will no doubt win 2 games by hitting the ball to the moon, but if we see Sabathia in a game 5 I have to side with the Indians.

ALCS: Indians Vs. Red Sox

Prediction: Red Sox in 7 (Maybe 6)

This is a very tough one for me to call. If this was Red Sox – Yankees, I say Red Sox no problem. I think Cleveland is the one team that can give the Sox real trouble in this playoff race. That being said, I expect this series to be absolutely amazing, some great pitchers duels, but I think the Red Sox and home field advantage will come out on top.

NLDS: Rockies Vs. Phillies

Prediction: Phillies in 3

If you want to talk about a streaking team, the Phillies are it. That combined with a huge Mets collapse got them to a Division Title. They are on fire, and they are all on top of the world right now. Expect them to come out swinging hard and to put up some big numbers in their first few games.

Okay, I know what you are thinking, the Rockies just won the 163rd game of the season in the 13th inning. They are equally pumped right now. The difference is that games 1 and 2 are in Philadelphia. Philly wants a championship and I expect Citizens Bank Park to be just as loud as a Red Sox / Yankees Playoff game in Fenway. Advantage Phillies.

NLDS: Cubs Vs. Diamondbacks

Prediction: Diamondbacks in 4

Youth versus Money. I’m going with youth on this one. I will admit however, I don’t see much of these teams. I get the occasional sports center recap, but on the whole, I don’t know these teams. This is probably the prediction I am most unsure about.

NLCS: Phillies Vs Diamondbacks

Prediction: Diamondbacks in 6 

I would love to see the Phillies win this, I think a Boston-Philadelphia World series would be amazing, unfortunately I think Philadelphia is in for another heartbreak. They just aren’t a world series team this year. Pitching is going to hurt them and the Diamondbacks will advance.

World Series: Diamondbacks Vs. Red Sox

Prediction: Red Sox in 5

Home field advantage, DH, strong lineup, strong rotation, stronger league. Everything here makes me think the National League doesn’t really stand a chance against any of the AL teams.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Colorado, Cubs, Diamondbacks, General Baseball, Indians, Mets, MLB, Padres, Philadelphia, Phillies, Playoffs, Red Sox, Rockies, San Diego, Sox, Sports, Tigers, Uncategorized, Yankees

2007’s Best Playoff Races

I love September baseball. In recent years, it’s come down to the wire. Every game matters. I expect 2007 to be no different, giving fans a reason to watch right up until playoffs start. Here is a rundown of all 8 playoff races, in order of how good I think each race will be.

#1 NL Wild Card – Fantastic Race

Current Standings
San Diego —
Philadelphia 2.5 GB
Colorado 3.5 GB
Los Angeles (Dodgers) 3.5 GB

As it has been the last 2 years, the NL Wild Card will be the last playoff spot won. Yes I know wildcards are usually last, but once again, this may be a last-game-of-the-season type race. I personally will be rooting for the Phillies, but it is going to take a lot to take a lot to get San Diego off their roost. I’m declaring the Braves, Cubs, and Cardinals out of this race as they are not only 5 or more games behind, but have too many teams to leapfrog.

#2 NL Central – Good Race

Current Standings
Milwaukee —
Chicago 1.0 GB
St. Louis 4.0 GB

The best part about this race is that it’s a win or go home race. None of these teams have a high enough winning percentage to be considered in the wild card race. These guys will be scrapping for playoff glory. I’d like to see Milwaukee win this, just because they deserve the playoffs. They have been so bad in recent years I love to see a team like this get a shot. I also wouldn’t mind the Cubs there. If my Red Sox or Phillies aren’t winning a world series, I wouldn’t mind seeing a curse be broken.

#3 NL West – It is in fact, a race.

Current Standings
Arizona —
San Diego 2.5 GB

I think its great that the Diamondbacks have surfaced here. After their championship in ’01, they died off a little and weren’t really a threatening team. They are BACK, with or without Randy Johnson. They will win this race, but San Diego will be right there the whole way.

#4 AL Wild Card – Could be a race?

Current Standings
Yankees —
Tigers 4.0 GB

It pains me to say it, but I think the Yankees will be in the 2007 playoff picture. They have been far to hot to just go and miss it. The better the Red Sox do this weekend, the closer the Tigers can get to making this a race. Come on Detroit, you know you want it. Sorry Seattle, you buried yourselves and filled in your own grave on top of yourselves. At 6.5 out, I’m declaring you done.

#5 AL East – Talk to me on Monday.

Current Standings
Boston —
New York (Yankees) 5 GB

Just because I’ve ranked this at #5 doesn’t change my prediction that the Yankees will not win this. I still stand buy that. There is one and only one reason that the AL East even finished at #5, and that is this weekend’s head to head series.

Pettitte Vs. Matsuzaka
Wang Vs. Beckett
Clemens Vs. Schilling

Wow. Can you say playoff baseball? In a series where Roger Clemens makes his first return to Fenway Park since 2003, the Yankees COULD make this a playoff race. I say the Sox take 2 of 3 over this series, and then it will no longer be a race. If the Yankees sweep by some chance, this race could jump up to #2 or #3.

#6 AL Central – Possibility of a race, not likely.

Current Standings
Cleveland —
Detroit 6.5 GB

Only in a world where the Indians collapse and Detroit plays super hot is there any chance that the Indians blow this one. This is not really a race, but is more of a race than #7 and #8 because Detroit is only 6.5 out and is a good team.

#7 NL East – Race? What’s a Race?

New York (Mets) —
Phillies 6.0 GB

I think the Mets had this division won at the all star break. They are the best team there, and no matter how the Phillies do the Mets have this one won.

#8 AL West – Hahaha you are STILL falling.

Los Angeles (Angels) —
Seattle 9.5 GB

If you were to ask me what the biggest collapse of a team was this year, I’m going to point you right here. The Mariners had it going, and completely blew it. You guys were my hope for keeping the Yanks out of October. Thanks a lot. See you in the playoffs Angels, and good luck with home field Advantage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Boston Red Sox, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, General Baseball, Indians, Mariners, Mets, MLB, Padres, Phillies, Playoffs, Red Sox, Rockies, Sox, Sports, Tigers, Yankees