Tuesday, October 03, 2006

World Series Trophy: Who Wants It? [J. Mark English]

  • Aaron Gleeman breaks down the all the numbers for the ALDS matchup between the Oakland A's and the Minnesota Twins: I expect runs to be at a premium throughout the series, with games changing more on balls that don't leave the infield than those that fly over the fence. If Santana keeps his year-plus Metrodome unbeaten streak alive and Ron Gardenhire smartly unloads the bullpen early and often, this is the Twins' series to lose. If Santana is human and Oakland's defense plays well, it could be a week of flailing away at Zito and company, and the Twins may add to the 15 times they were shutout in the regular season.
  • The Athletics Nation blog inserts their own insight into what should be a heated pitching playoff series: The lingering question I have is, should the Twins have pitched to Frank Thomas? Especially in the ninth like that with no one on base? If I'm the manager, I might take my chances with the rest of the A's order today who largely looked clueless (especially Chavez and Kendall). Well, everyone except Scoot who also doubled home a huge run. I think both the managers made mistakes today. Yes, you pitch to Thomas with Santana, but I think you give him the old unintentional intentional if you need to...The series now sets up very nicely, and the luxury the A's have is that even if Loaiza can't get something done tomorrow, the A's then have Haren and Harden looming large in Oakland...The A's have been here before. 1-0 should be a big advantage especially with the Santana game out of the way. We'll see if 2006 truly is a different team than in seasons past.
  • Mathew Cerrone with the latest in the NLDS pairing between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodogers: According to Ed Coleman, appearing on WFAN, the Mets have yet to rule out pitching Orlando Hernandez in Game One, as they are still not aware how severe his calf-injury is, so they will ‘wait and see’ how he feels tomorrow morning……from what i understand, if he can’t go, John Maine will be the starting pitcher…if el duque can go, maine will be in the bullpen ready for action in case anything goes wrong……this is odd, because all indications from shea pointed to this injury as being a tear not a pull, which is why so many people assumed he was unavailable……so, i have to wonder if the mets are holding off on making an official announcement as a way to keep the dodgers in the dark…
  • Over at Dodgers Thoughts offers up a detailed look at how the Dodgers might fair against the Mets: Despite ending the season with a seven-game winning streak and a 41-19 run, I don't imagine the Dodgers are highly regarded as an NL playoff contender. And maybe that's appropriate. But they should qualify at least as a sleeper, thanks to an offense that's consistent across almost all positions (only at third base do the Dodgers have below-average hitting) and a pitching staff, rebuilt throughout the season, that is stingy with home runs...Forecast - A competitive, unpredictable series with the Mets.
  • Yankees Chick gives us 10 reasons believe that this once again will be the year for the Yankees, as she sets us up for the ALDS between the New York Yankees, and the Detroit Tigers: The Yanks have made it to the post-season steadily for years now, but their last few bids for World Series rings have not gone as well was one might hope. Since their 2000 win over the Mets, the Yanks have made it back to the Series twice (in 2001, when Luis Gonzales got a bloop hit off Mariano to bury the Yanks, and then in 2003 when Josh Beckett and the Marlins shut down Soriano and the rest of the crew). In 2002 and 2005 they lost the Division series to the Angels, and we all remember what happened in 2004...This year, though, all signs are pointing to a Yankees championship. Sportsbook.com has the Yankees’ World Series odds placed at 6-5 and ESPN gurus Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark, Keith Law, Alan Schwarz and Bob Klapisch all favor the Yanks. The Yankees Chick herself has been studying the Yanks and all of their potential opponents all season and has, like the betting gods and ESPN flunkies, concluded that this really is the Yankees’ year.
  • Bilfer from the Detroit Tiger Weblog has more of a game by game prediction for the ALDS matchup between the Tigers and the Yanks: As I compiled this I have a hard time picking the Tigers in this series. They are out manned in the starting lineup. Their rock solid rotation seems to be crumbling. Their bench is contructed of a back-up catcher and 4 pinch-runner/defensive replacements. They are relying on many players who are inexperienced in this sort of thing against a storied franchise. And then there was that pesky 5 game losing streak at the end of the season....This Tiger team has defied expectations all season. First of all they weren’t supposed to be good in the first place. They were supposed to fold in June after that tough stretch. They were supposed to maintain a 10 game year. They were supposed to beat the Royals. Whatever they are supposed to do, they seem to do the opposite. Right now the consensus is they should go quietly to the Yankees, let’s hope they can prove everyone wrong again...
  • Gaslamp Ball, a blog dedicated to the San Diego Padres, reports from the Padres Rally in San Diego: Rally Monday started right after work so Jonny Dub and I met up real quick and rushed downtown through traffic. We get there at lik 5:15. There is a huge line to get in. Jon says "at least it looks like it's moving fast". We get half way up to it and it stops dead for like 10 minutes. We hear stuff happening and I'm thinking just open the gates and let us in. What is the hold up? Why do we even have to go through the turnstiles. This is a free event! I just stood there getting more and more pissed. Jon went up to see what was the hold up. Turns out they ran out of wrist bands. Why do we need wrist bands? Just open the gate. People were getting real irritable. There are two turn stiles and a few hundred people in line. Finally somebody returns with a big bag of wristbands....They brought the whole team out one by one, it was the highlight of the night. I never thought I would see Archi, Bard and lil' Hensley standing next to each other. Seeing the Pads in their Street Clothes was funny too. You get to see their personality alot more. Peavy spoke for about thirty seconds it started off like "I'll tell you what..." in that Alabama accent of his. Then he was like "...these boys are somethin' else...". That's pretty much all I got from the speech.
  • Fortunately CardNilly has more analysis of the NLDS match up between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres: So what does that mean for us Cards fans, then? Well, I think it means that we might well get an upset in this round — or at least not an embarrassment. What I hear some analysts leaving out of the “The Cards are Super-Streaky” take is that we also get hot at times this year. We swept a season series from a playoff team. We were in most of those games during the recent slide — if not actually winning them, then certainly keeping it close. If just a couple guys who are in a funk right now snap out of it and step up to the occasion, we’ve got a relatively threatening lineup. Heck. Albert can win a series by himself if he gets in one of his zones....If Tony is pushing his buttons correctly — playing on the underdog/lack of respect theme, emphasizing talent and professionalism, creating positive pressure — then we’ve got an excellent chance to steal this series. If there’s ever a time that playoff experience would count, I think it’s here. This is a fatally flawed team. But a five game series is the venue least likely to expose those flaws.