With the Series all tied up at two games each, we go back to the Game 1 pitching match-up with Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals facing off with Texas’ CJ Wilson.
I know it’s a 7-game series, but it sure seems to me that the winner of this game becomes the heavy favorite to take home the hardware when it’s all over with. Josh Hamilton looked to me like he was getting better cuts at the ball Sunday night and if that’s indicative of him feeling healthier, I like the Rangers’ chances. Then again, I predicted the Rangers to win the Series in 7 games, so I could just be reaching for some kind of basis to ultimately prove me right.
It should be a good game, despite all efforts of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to ruin it with their horsecrap announcing.
And now we go back to St. Louis with the Cardinals needing to win both games there in order to dig themselves out of the hole they dug. I’m not sure who’s more to blame for the loss in game 5, the players who collectively went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position or their manager who seems intent on proving how smart he is… and failing miserably.
Well who ever thought Nick Punto would ever be listed as a starter for the World Series?? Something tells me that even LNP wouldn’t have placed any bets on that happening but there is his name as plain as can be…
That being said, I think we have a really great matchup for the World Series this year. I’m looking forward to these games!
Well, it’s finally decided. It will be the Rangers vs the Cardinals. I have to admit that there are players I like very much on both teams. I might miss a little of the early action in the series just because of the whole wedding thing I have going on this week but I’m still going to try to get the games in.
I haven’t decided if I am cheering for CJ Wilson who just rocks as a person and a pitcher or if I am cheering for Nick Punto to get a WS ring just for karmic balance! Maybe I’ll just cheer for both.
Here’s the schedule for the upcoming games – all times in Central time to help me remember:
Not sure if I’ll get to watch any of the baseball today since it’s “home improvement day” as well as football but I wanted to be sure that anyone who WAS watching had a chance to chat with whoever else was available.
hehehe… even though the Tigers almost gave their game away in the final inning, they managed to hold on and take down the Yankees IN New York… I’m at least glad that someone can. And yeah, the Brewers and Cardinals are actually looking pretty strong!
Thought I would just put up an updated post-season schedule and a chat window for all those who might like to partake. I’m still dealing with the moving out/moving in requirements from one roommate to another so I’ll join in when I can.
The rather spectacular end to the regular season seems to have brought out the creative side of many baseball fans. I’m glad! It brings no end to the amusement for those of us who aren’t really represented anymore (we aren’t going to count players that used to be on our team that we wish still were… ).
So here’s the REAL question, now that the post-season has begun, who are you going to cheer for? Well our friends over at IBD decided to put together another one of their fabulous charts to help you decide!!
Clicking on the picture will take you over to their blog where you can view a bigger image in case that little tiny print is beyond you… LOL Enjoy the post-season folks!
Just under a year ago in my post-mortem of the Twins’ 2010 season, I reviewed the list of players that we were likely going to be saying good-bye to over the offseason and offered my own humble predictions concerning which would be returning and which would not. I wasn’t far off, either. Then again, how tough was it to predict that Randy Flores wouldn’t be coming back to Minnesota?
As things turned out, by my count, the Twins parted ways with 11 Major League players between the time they were so rudely dispatched by the Yankees in the ALDS and Opening Day 2011. Most of those players managed to find some form of gainful employment with other teams. In addition to the aforementioned Flores, here’s a list of others that Twins fans bid farewell to last offseason:
Ron Mahay, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek, Orlando Hudson, Brendan Harris, and JJ Hardy.
Do you see the common thread running between all of these players?
Yes… they are all going to have the same view of the MLB post-season that their former Twins team mates are going to have… from the outside looking in. They may not have all ended up playing for last-place teams as bad as the one they left behind in Minnesota, but none of them hitched their wagon to a playoff team.
But there is one name I left off that list. Yes, one player that the Twins could find no use for will be playing extra baseball this season.
Nick Punto is going to the playoffs.
Punto had a pretty typical Puntoesque season for the St. Louis Cardinals. By that, I mean he spent a fair amount of time not playing baseball, appearing in only 63 games. But when he played, his numbers were more in line with the 2008 version we saw in Minnesota than what we had seen in his last two seasons. He hit .278, got on base at a .388 clip and had a respectable .421 slugging percentage. That’s good for an .809 OPS.
That’s nothing to scoff at, especially when you put it up next to many of the members of the chorus line of mediocrity that populated the Twins infield this season.
Anyway… like it or not, if you’re a Twins fan that likes to root in the playoffs for teams with guys you’ve come to know because of their recent service with the home town team, Nick Punto is carrying that banner.
Of course, Nick isn’t entirely alone. The Twins did, after all, make a couple of in-season deals that sent players to contenders. Things didn’t work out the way we hoped they might for Jim Thome in Cleveland, but Delmon Young and his Tigers will be in New York on Friday night to do battle with the Evil Empire. I’m hoping he and his new team have better luck in that crusade than he did with the Twins a year ago.
Finally, it feels like I’m not doing my job as a blogger if I don’t mention something about Wednesday night’s baseball games on the final night of the regular season. In fact, I really wanted to write something about how I sat watching four games on my laptop and a fifth on the television all evening long… how I cheered for my adopted Orioles and for the Rays (someone has to, because nobody seems to do that, even in the Tampa Bay area, right?). It was an amazing night of baseball, but words escaped me on Thursday.
It’s just as well, because as is almost always the case, the people who get paid to do this kind of thing captured everything much better than I could have anyway. So I’m going to just drop a couple of quotes on you from Joe Posnanski and Jim Mandelaro and urge you to go read their stuff.
Mandelaro is the Rochester beat writer for the Red Wings and an unabashed Red Sox fan. As you read his “Heartbroken” post, I’m sure the frustration will sound familiar. He’s hurt, he’s angry, he kicks ass and names names. It’s not all that different than the feelings so many of us expressed about the Twins for the past several months. He finished with these sentiments, with which I believe most Twins fans can relate:
My Red Sox heart is broken. I’m not embarrassed to be a Sox fan, but I am embarrased for this edition of the Sox. I hope they are, too. It will be a long winter. In the meantime, I will now pull for my second favorite team in baseball: The APYs. Never heard of them? Stands for Anyone Playing the Yankees.
When you’re finished with Mandelaro’s post, go check out Joe Posnanski’s. He pretty much always captures these events perfectly and this time is no exception. The entire “Baseball Night in America” post is worth reading, but since Joe’s posts are even longer than mine, I’ll just give you a little taste here:
Funny, if I was trying to explain baseball to someone who had never heard of it, I wouldn’t tell them about Wednesday night. No, it seems to me that it isn’t Wednesday night that makes baseball great. It’s all the years you spend waiting for Wednesday night that makes baseball great.
Yes, I realize that it wasn’t my idea originally and I was just adding my voice in support of Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci. But as I mentioned in my post, Selig’s reaction to Verducci’s proposal was far from supportive. Clearly, he and the other owners later read MY eloquent and convincing argument and changed their minds.
The players and managers, understandably, prefer a best of three series for the wild card teams in any expanded system. Of course they don’t like the idea of playing 162 games only to face a single elimination game. That’s a ton of pressure for that game. But you know what, that’s the beauty of this idea… they don’t HAVE to face that situation. They could, instead, win their dang division!
And let’s be honest, the last thing that MLB needs is to lengthen the overall playoff timeline by the number of days it would take to fit in a “best of three” series, which would obviously require allowing for travel time, in addition to the three games themselves. You also do not want to have the six division champions sitting around for at least five days while the wild cards play games.
But the most compelling reason to adopt the single-game play-in approach is to reinsert meaning in to the race to win division championships. If two teams are coming down to the final week with a shot at winning their division, there should be absolutely no doubt that those teams are going to go all out to win that title. No manager should be in a situation where he can weigh potential match ups and determine whether he even wants his team to put in the effort to win their division (see: Yankees, New York, 2010).
A one-game play in would give a clear advantage to division champions over wild card teams and that’s the way it should be. It would also create real excitement for Major League Baseball with what amounts to at least two “game 163” contests every season (there could be more, of course, since it’s still possible to have teams tie for playoff spots). ESPN would have been downright giddy last year at the prospect of showing a Yankee-RedSox wild card game (assuming, of course, that the Yankees wouldn’t have actually put some effort in to winning the AL East instead of coasting the last week) and Padres fans would have at least been able to see their team have one playoff game and perhaps more, instead of seeing their surprising club slump their way out of the playoff hunt.
I have never attended a sporting event with more electricity and drama than the Twins/Tigers game 163 in 2009 and with this proposal, MLB can guarantee at least two games every post season with “game seven” drama. From the league’s and the fan’s perspective, it’s a no-brainer.
Folks, I am SO enthused about the prospect of MLB adopting this playoff approach next year that, if Bud Selig can pull off implementing it, I’m going to have to back off of some of my criticism of him as Commissioner. Now, granted, if the owners had just replaced Bud with me a year or two ago, we’d already have this system in place, but better late than never.
Then again, I do still have the whole blackout issue to hold against Selig.
There was a report in LaVelle E. Neal’s Strib blog that today’s game is being televised by FSN, but I haven’t seen that anywhere else, so I suspect it will just be radio today. Guess we’ll find out at game time. I’m going to go ahead and put up a GameChat anyway for anyone who’s interested.
Twins top prospect Aaron Hicks, who’s likely going to be starting the season at High Class A Ft. Myers this season, is getting a start in center field for the Twins. I saw Hicks play several games for Beloit last year and he’s definitely got a great deal of potential. Hope he does well. The Yankees have brought their top prospect, catcher Jesus Montero, to the game, as well.
Always good to pick up a win over the Yankees, regardless of who’s wearing the uniforms. ‘Stache wasn’t real sharp, but it’s good to see Cuddyer and Thome both going yard. Matt Capps had another very good inning (note to Gardy…. are you absolutely POSITIVE about that Closer decision?).
Monday at noon, the Twins wrap up their Spring Training season by hosting the Pirates and yes, FSN will continue with their bizarre “let’s just televise Monday noon games” media strategy.
There is a lot of discussion regarding the Lincecum/Lee rematch. Considering this is a make or break game for the Rangers, I would love to see Lee come out on the winning side this time. Of course, given the ratings of the last two games (bad broadcast times disregarded), I’m sure Fox would LOVE to have the series over but I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to baseball for the year.