Wednesday, October 28, 2009

W.S. Game 1

Thanks to MLB schedule makers, we've had to wait since Sunday for this day to come. It's just more days for the stress to mount on the fans and I suppose the players as well. With Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia on the mound this game should be a pitchers duel, but when it looks that way, it usually ends up in a shootout. Cliff Lee did win the first ever game at the new Yankee Stadium defeating C.C. Sabathia, but that was in April and it hardly matters now. And the Phillies did beat C.C. last postseason when he was with the Brewers en route to a World Series championship. And the Phillies did win two out of three in Yankee Stadium this summer and had it not been for a Brad Lidge blown save, they may have swept the Yankees. But all of those positives are in the past. In the postseason nothing else matters. Just ask Carlos Ruiz, the playoffs are a completely different animal.

Now I'm especially nervous about game one. In the Phillies 2008 postseason run and so far in 2009, they have won each game one of each series. So I think that this game is especially important to get home field advantage in the Phillies favor and to show the Yankees that they're not playing the Twins or Angels, but a real baseball team and a World Champion. Runs are going to be hard to come by tonight and whichever starting pitcher tires first will lose the game. I really don't want to make a prediction for tonight because it will be completely biased towards who I want to win, but I'll do it anyway.

Prediction: 4-3 Philadelphia

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yankees/Angels Game 6

I really don't care who wins this game to tell you the truth. I honestly believe the Phillies can beat either team. I think that they'd have an easier time with the Angels, but I also think it would be a better accomplishment to beat the most distinguished franchise in all of sports, the Yankees. At this point I'm just hoping to see the last bit of good baseball before the stress of watching the Phillies sets in. And it wouldn't be bad to see either team to use a lot of their pitching before they faced the Phillies either. Not going to make a prediction for this game, because I really don't care what the outcome is. I just want to see a great baseball game before I can't watch baseball without shaking uncontrollably.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Returns Only

Well this is it. The Phillies are within a game of returning to the World Series for the second year in a row. Considering the way the Phillies won on Monday, I don't see any way that the Dodgers can rebound. It was a completely deflating loss and I will be extremely impressed if they are able to come back after such a crushing loss. Well this is Cole Hamels' 3rd postseason game this year. He has done pretty poorly up to this point, but had it not been for Chase Utley's error in game one of the NLCS, he may not have had that bad of an outing. The Padilla Flotilla won't be able to handle being on the opposite side of the raucous Philadelphia crowd. If the Phillies score early, this game could be over quickly.

Prediction: 6-3 Philadelphia

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Literally Without Speech

I'm not going to say I saw this coming, because I didn't. But I will say that I had faith in this Phillies team even with two outs and down a run in the 9th. I said at the beginning of the 2009 playoffs that that special something that the 2008 team seemed to have, the 2009 team didn't. Well I officially retract that statement. It's not that this team refuses to lose, because I don't think that's the right way to put it. I think it's that this team knows it is going to win. Even when the chips are down and it looks like an impossibility, they still have full confidence in themselves and simply know that they'll end up on top.

Last night was not nearly as much of a roller coaster ride as game four of the NLDS, but it was certainly a fun game to watch. In the NLDS, I didn't have the confidence in this team that I have now. Brad Lidge looks to be back in form with his 9th inning appearance last night and Ryan Howard just can't be stopped from knocking in runs. I don't know how the Dodgers have any confidence that they'll win another game in this series or if Johnathan Broxton can ever find a way to finish off the Phillies in the post season.

Now I'm not going to say this series is over yet, because it's not. We still have to win one more game, but the scales are definitely tilted in our favor. With Cole on the mound and the Phillies getting their second look at the ever unpredictable Padilla, it looks like the Phils may punch their ticket to the World Series at home this year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finally Back w/ a Prediction

Well I missed a couple of pregame predictions and a couple of post game analyses but I'm back. As far as game two goes, I do not at all blame Chase Utley. The game should have never gotten to that point. Charlie Manuel should have never taken out Pedro Martinez. He had pitched 7 innings of two hit baseball with a low pitch count. I could understand if Manuel took him out because they were really threatening offensively, but to put Ben Fransisco in when we had 1 out and the bases empty doesn't make much sense, especially the way our bullpen has been. It's tough to win any game though when your offense only puts up one run on a solo shot by post season RBI machine, Ryan Howard. But the domination in game three certainly made up for it.

Cliff Lee had another masterful performance and the offense exploded early for 6 runs in the first two innings. This game was a perfect example of how the Phillies are an extremely mature baseball team. They were able to put the disappointing game two loss behind them and go back on the field as if it were game one again. There's really not much one can say about this game other than the Phillies thoroughly manhandled the Dodgers.

Now to game four. The Phillies are looking to take a commanding three games to one series lead and all but punch their ticket to the series. Joe Blanton takes the mound for the Phillies and looks to prove that he still deserves to pitch in the post season and still has that magic that he had in 2008. The Dodgers throw former Phil Randy Wolf on the mound. He was one of my, along with most Phillie fans' favorites. The Phillies should know everything there is to know about Wolf considering he was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1997. With Blanton having something to prove, the Phillies knowing Randy Wolf and the cold weather, which really seemed to benefit the Phillies last night, I say the Phillies win game four and look to clinch in Philadelphia.

Prediction: 6-4 Philadelphia

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NLCS Game 1 Prediction

If a pitcher can't be motivated by pitching game one of the NLCS, there's something wrong with him. And especially after having your first child, this is the greatest time of your life! I believe that Mr. Cole Hamels will be mentally prepared for his second postseason outing of 2009. The Phillies have a fairly good track record against the Dodgers starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw. There's no reason the Phillies shouldn't win this game, yet it is the playoffs and anything can happen.

Prediction: Philadelphia 6-3
In a nailbiter...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beating Huston in Denver through the Spectrum

If game 4 of the NLDS between the Phillies and Rockies wasn't the most exciting game of the year, I don't know what was. I went through the entire spectrum of emotions in only 3 innings. The Phillies had a 2-1 lead: I'm nervous, but happy. They get the bases loaded with one out for the 2nd time in the game and fail to score: I'm upset, but we still have the lead. Ryan Madson gives up a single to the steroid freak himself, Jason Giambi: Pretty darn angry, but the game is still tied. Madson gives up a 2 run double to Torrealba: Pissed beyond all belief and now having difficulty breathing. Manuel puts in the inept Greg Dobbs and he, of course, strikes out: I have basically given up hope and am thinking of how Cole will do in game 5. J-Roll singles: big deal, they always get your hopes up only to smash them minutes later. Chase Utley draws a 2 out walk after a Victorino fielder's choice: starting to get nervous again, but Ryan is coming up, he'll strike out. Howard hits a 2 out, 2 run double to right field: speechless, literally without speech. Jayson Werth singles to score Ryan: after that great at bat, I kind of thought he was going to get a hit, but getting stressed again. We still have to close the game. Phillies bring in Scott Eyre: wait, did he not get injured last game? Oh god. With 2 outs, in comes Brad Lidge: uncontrollable shaking overcomes my body. Strike three: who's pitching game 2?

A human being should never have to go through that amount of stress in such a short period of time or even a lifetime for that matter. I'm glad to see the Phils return to the NLCS for the second year in a row, I'm just not looking forward to the mental stress that it's going to once again put me through. I went 3/4 in calling the NLDS games, not too shabby. I'm not ready to make any Championship Series or World Series predictions yet though. I think I'm just going to use Tuesday and Wednesday to recover from the insane amount of anxiety and mental agony from Monday night.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Not so "Happ"y Beginning

Well who would have thought that with sub 30 degree temperatures game 3 of the NLDS would have been a show of offensive displays. J.A. Happ looked worse than Cole Hamels did. In the first inning Happ wasn't hit tremendously hard, but when they were hit, they just seemed to find the open places. But these open places wouldn't have been found if Happ was able to pitch ahead in the count and not go to 3 ball counts to more than half the batters he faced. But the offense was there to back him and the rest of the bullpen up, showing why they were the most prolific offense in the National League.

It is kind of disappointing that Cliff Lee has to pitch today, because if he wins, he won't be able to pitch until game 2 of the NLCS, at the earliest (assuming the Phillies beat the Rockies). But I think that Lee will have a good game this afternoon. Maybe not as good as game 1, but enough to get the win. Phils win the series today.

Prediction: 6-3 Philadelphia

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rocky Mountain Happ

With J.A. Happ on the mound tonight, I have a lot more confidence in getting the win than I did on Saturday with Pedro Martinez pitching. I really don't want to pick the Rockies in this game, because the Phillies need the win so bad. I say that if the Rockies win tonight, they win the series, but if the Phils win tonight, it's still up for grabs. I think Jayson Werth is going to have a big game and possibly go deep. J.A. pitches around 7 solid innings in what I think is going to be a low scoring affair. I don't want to pick the Rockies...and I won't.

Prediction: 4-2 Phillies

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Well Cole Hamels showed Phillies fans today that he wasn't in the right mindset to be pitching game 2 of the NLDS. Apparently his wife went into labor following his departure from the game. We can only assume this was due to him giving up a 2 strike to the pitcher and a homerun to a guy, Torrealba, who hasn't homered since May 6th. If his wife going into labor was dominating his mind instead of focusing on the next pitch, then he shouldn't have been on the mound. We had J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton, and Pedro Martinez waiting in the wings to take his place. If he wasn't fully, 100% prepared for this game, he shouldn't have been in there.

And could someone tell me who was on the mound for the first 5 innings for the Rockies? Because it most certainly wasn't Aaron Cook, a sinker-baller with a cheesy mohawk who can't break 90. It's also tough to score runs when your leadoff hitter goes MIA. But this all stems from Cole Hamels. He pitched poorly, but it was even worse than it looked. The first batter of the game, Cole got ahead in the count and continued to nibble until he got it to a 3-2 count in which he gave up a single to right. Go after the batters and stop worrying about making a mistake. Make being aggressive your only mistake, not getting ahead 0-2, then going to 1-2, 2-2, 3-2...

Off day on Friday and we can only assume Pedro will be on the mound on Saturday, but we'll see. Game 2 is the most important game in every series, and they lost it. You know that loss of anxiety that I talked about before? Yea, well it's back with a side of no confidence to go along with it.

Game 2

Well I gotta say I feel pretty confident. I don't feel that special quality for this team that I felt last year, but I'm much less nervous watching the games this year. Yesterday I didn't fear that Cliff Lee would implode and give up three runs in the first inning or think that the offense wouldn't be able to hit with RISP. I had a strange confidence that I rarely have with this Phillies ball club or any Philadelphia team for that matter. I say Cole shows that he's still Cole today and the Phils get their first round tripper of the 2009 playoffs.

Prediction: 7-2 Philadelphia

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sweet VictorLee

Prediction: 7-4 Philadelphia

Result: 5-1 Philadelphia

Eh, Close enough. The Phillies looked pretty darn good in their first win of the first game of the 2009 playoffs. It wasn't the 9 innings of six hit, one run baseball of Cliff Lee that impressed me the most today (I'm not saying it didn't impress me though). It was the fact that the Phillies scored five runs today without the benefit of a homerun. All year the Phillies have had trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, but not on this day. The fact that the Phils found out how to hit in the clutch and simply manufacture runs with a stolen base or an extra base hit is what was really impressive. Now to the second most impressive part of Game 1, Cliff Lee.

Lee struggled early in the game and gave most everyone in the record attendance of Citizens Bank Park, as well as myself, a little scare. But after the first few innings, Cliff Lee went on to retire 16 in a row en route to a one run complete game. Not only did he pitch a gem, he chipped in at the plate as well, getting a base hit as well as a sacrifice bunt. He also set a Phillies record as the first Phillies pitcher ever to steal a base in the postseason.

I was extremely satisfied with the game today and look forward to seeing what Cole Hamels has to show us on Thursday. He should want to show everyone that he still is the Cole who won the NLCS and World Series MVPs and that he has the stuff to take the Phillies far into the postseason. Hopefully Lee's performance gives Hamels a little motivation and something to try to top. Good luck tomorrow Phils!

Game 2 Prediction: TBD

Let It Begin

It begins in less than ten minutes. The anticipation is killing me. We've all been waiting for this since about Halloween of last year. Let's go Phils! Post game reaction to follow...

Prediction: 7-4 Philadelphia.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mission: Repetition

Wednesday afternoon at 2:37 cannot come fast enough. The Phillies embark on their third straight playoff adventure and hope to have the same results as they did last year, a World Series Championship and another parade down Broad Street. I'm not sure if I'm the only one who feels this, but last year just felt like something special was going to happen. And I'm not gonna lie, I'm not feeling it this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping and rooting for the Phils to win it again this year, but I just don't have the confidence going into the playoffs this year that I did last year. Now maybe it's just the fact that they won it all last year and every year you expect your team to do better, but that's kind of impossible with the 2009 Phillies. That special quality that the 2008 Phillies seemed to possess just doesn't seem to be here this year. 2009 Brad Lidge is far from 2008 Brad Lidge. Cole Hamels isn't Cole Hamels this year either. In 2007, it was the Phillies first playoff appearance in over a decade and just getting into the postseason that year was an accomplishment. In 2008, we had gotten into the playoffs the previous season, but in 2008, players and fans alike wouldn't be happy with anything less than a World Series appearance/victory. But in 2009, the uniqueness just isn't there and the thing that made the 2008 team special just doesn't seem to be there.

Now let the playoffs begin and hopefully bring another special year to this town and another championship to Philadelphia. But just don't be surprised if that doesn't happen.

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