Don’t Sleep on The Giants

I’m not saying the favorites going into the 2010 NLCS are the San Francisco Giants. After all you would be some sort of oddity to say something as STUPID as that. But let us not sleep on the San Francisco Giants one bit.

Game 1 should be a crap shoot. Going into this season you probably would have said the most likely two Cy Young winners in the National League would be Lincecum and Halladay- and both pitchers have been lights out as of late. Halladay and his no-hit dramatics in the NLCS v. the Reds, and Lincecum’s huge pressure starts down the stretch to put the Giants in the playoffs.

One can argue that Cain v. Oswalt in Game 2 is even more in the favor of the Giants since Cain has been blindingly good down the stretch and Oswalt had a “what was that??” performance in Game 2 of the NLDS verse the Reds.

As for Game 3, the way Jonathan Sanchez has been dominating and pitching with all the pressure of the world on his shoulders down the stretch of the regular season is something hard to dispute. Despite how great of a year Hammels had, Sanchez the last month, to me, has been if not the top- one of the top starting pitchers in baseball.

Game 4? Madison Bumgarner v. who? Joe Blanton?. I wouldn’t trust Joe Blanton v. a juggs machine. Even Bumgarner has delivered for the Giants of late.

OF COURSE, the Phillies have a more dominating lineup- but it’s also a lineup that loves to strike out, and with the Giants sporting 3 great strikeout pitchers… I’m gonna do it! I’m gonna do it!

I’m taking the Giants in SIX. Yes SIX.

I feel the hot lights they’ve played so well under the last two-months is a huge advantage. I also like Brian Wilson out of the pen, and feel like Lidge is STILL a ticking bomb in that pen.

So yes, Giants in six… Final Answer

All Eyes on The Bronx For Game 1

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So tonight is the big night. A long season makes way for the Fall Classic which kicks of tonight in a very damp and wet New York City. NYC has been the victim of rain for the past 36 some-odd hours, but the forecast (for what it’s worth) says the rain is suppose to fade away by first pitch.

It’s been since 2002 that Major League Baseball has had a close World Series. That Game 7 in Anaheim, was the last glimpse baseball has had of some World Series drama. 2003 was a decent series, but Game 6 always seemed out of reach with Josh Beckett on the mound, as the Marlins won. 2004 & 2005 were both sweeps. 2006 looked fun, on paper, but ended up lopsided, and last seasons World Series was marred by a 2-day rain delay, that saw the Phillies win the World Series with in 45 minutes after they reconvened play. But this season seems to have the flare and gusto that makes you excited to watch.

In one corner is the defending Champs, the Philadelphia Phillies. A franchise who historically has the most losses of any franchise in the history of sports. How amazing is that? Jason Stark of espn.com mentioned this, that if the Yankees were to go 0-162 for the next 16 season, they still would not have 10,000 losses. And in the other corner is the contenders, the team who has 40 American League Pennants, 26 World Championships, and is the best team money can buy.

Tonight’s match up sets the tone for the series, former teammates Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia going face to face in the biggest game either pitcher has faced in their lives. Lee and Sabathia, have won the last two AL CY Young awards, and both have been Cy Young good this season.

ALCS Indians Fans Baseball

Bad Night for Indians fans, a 97-loss season, a new manager, your old farm hands serving as aces to both teams in the World Series, oh and did I mention your former manager heads the Phillies?

Although it’s important for the Yankees to win Game 1 for obvious reasons, I think a loss tonight could be a back-breaker for the defending champs. Considering tomorrow night you will see Pedro Martinez face the Yankees in the Bronx for the first time since 2004, who knows how that’s going to work out. In Game 3 the Phillies will throw out Cole Hammels, who has been down right brutal the past month or two to the point where there was legitimate conversation of exiling Cole to the bullpen. A Cliff Lee loss, would hurt the Phillies psyche more than a CC loss would do for the Yanks.

Who's+your+daddy

Wouldn't be surprised to hear this chant thrown around quite a bit.

So as for my prediction, I like the Yankees in seven. Yes, I hope I’m incredibly wrong (Yankees in 4 would be nice), because these postseason games cause the sort of anxiety that makes me feel like I’m losing years on the back end of my life, but this series with all the little side stories you can shake a stick at, has all the potential to be as good as anyone in the last six years.

Here some quick notes I’ll be keeping my eyes on:

– Yankees Bullpen v. Phillies Bullpen….who’s going to be the first to hand over the big lead.

– Phil Coke v. Ryan Howard

– RAIN OUTS…I know the Yankees wouldn’t mind some rain after Game 2, so they can get their starting pitchers an extra day of rest.

– Never before do I remember there being such huge questions marks as to how these managers are going to string together their starting rotation. Jon Heymond of SI.com seems to think there’s some consideration of the Yankees going with only 3 starters. He also thinks there’s a chance the Phillies throw 5 starters at the Yankees. Should be interesting to watch.

– Jayson Werth. If he kills the Yankees this series with a couple home runs, they can be in serious trouble.

– Eric Hinskie, yeah, that over sized oaf on the Yankees bench. If he gets a spot start or a pitch hit at-bat, can he hit the big home run? I feel like the one time a week he would start of the Yanks this season he would hit a bomb.

Enjoy the series folks! It will be the last baseball you see for a very long 5 months.

Done Deal: Cliff Lee to Phillies

Hot off the metaphoric news presses, the Phillies have propelled their chances at defending their championship this season by landing last season’s AL CY Young winner Cliff Lee.

Lee, who on the season has been has been very good with a 3.14 ERA, has suffered from terrible run support all season long. His ERA is even more impressive considering Lee’s awful start, where in his first two games he gave up 11 Earned Run in 10 innings.

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Lee and Hamels at the top of the rotation give the Phillies arguably the best 1-2 punch in baseball

The Indians in return will be receiving Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, Single-A righty Jason Knapp, and catcher Lou Marson. According to people in “THE KNOW”, Marson is someone who could be viewed as an air apparent to Victor Martinez, meaning that this is just the tip of the iceberg for the Indians when it comes to trading this season. As it’s been rumored that several teams, including the Rays and Red Sox, are interested in the 31-year old hard hitting Catcher/First basemen.

The Phillies, after this trade, find themselves with arguably a better pitching rotation then the one that led them to their first championship since 1980, last season. With Lee and Hamels at the top of the rotation, the Phillies find themselves with a one-two punch that rivals any in baseball. Consider the fact that Lee will now get a boost from, not just being in a pennant race, but facing the NL for the first time, and not having to deal with DH’s.

Any high Mets fans recently have been feeling from their modest 4-game winning streak, the Phillies have just socked out of them.

For the Phillies, Cliff Lee is their big consolation prize for not being able to land the best pitcher in baseball, Roy Halladay. Considering what the Phillies were to give up to land Halladay, this trade might have worked better for the ball-club, long term. And if Lee can help propel this Phillies team to a World Series, it could be the right answer short term also.

Regardless, take note National League- suddenly the Phillies find themselves favorites in the National League Pennant chance.

Yankees on Cloud Nine, Bring on the World Champs

The Yankees made it nine straight on Thursday night, with a 7-4 win over the Orioles.

They’re hitting, they’re pitching, and suddenly their bullpen has so much depth that people are fighting for jobs.

That’s how good it is in Yankees’ land right. That’s a reminder to you “quick to press the panic button” Yankees’ fans, that a baseball season is made up of six months. Not three weeks.

And now, in the midst of a nine-game winning streak the Yankees will welcome the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, for a Memorial Day- three-game series.

The Phillies will be coming into New York, winners of six of their last seven, despite the fact that their team ERA is 5.33, which is second worst in the National League behind those DREADFUL Washington “Natinals“.

The Phillies do mash at the plate though, and will love the idea of hitting in New Yankee Stadium. A ball-park that makes even the lightest hitting utility infielder want to grab a bat and take a couple swings.

But, if you’re the Yankees, here is a nice notion for you…The next three days you will be sending A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia to the mound.

You’ve won 9 straight, and you’ll be sending to the mound arguably your 3 best starters.

The Yankees will be facing the likes of Brett Myers on Friday night, J.A. Happ on Saturday and Cole Hammels on Sunday. Happ will be making his first start of the season on Sunday after the Phillies finally realized that Chan Ho Park has been done for about 4 seasons now.

As a baseball fan, the Cole Hammels vs. CC Sabathia matchup on Sunday is the sort of great battle that actually makes interleague worth it (For example: the Diamondbacks will be heading to Oakland this weekend to play the Athletics…plenty of seats still available). Last time Sabathia met the Phillies was the NLDS last season.

As a baseball fan, even if you hate interleague play- sometimes you got to swallow that pride and be greatful for a sweet matchup.

A matchup like the one going down in the Bronx, this first weekend of summer.

Philadelphia?

Congrats, you’ve made it to 2009. And while most of the people reading this right now are sitting at office desks and cubicles around the country, trying to find something that can make the day pass quicker, upset because you’re holiday season is over – I got something really awesome to tell you, that should cheer you up-In only a few short days, The Philadelphia Eagles will travel to East Rutherford, NJ to face the New York Giants, and I can’t wait.

As an impartial football fan these days, I have to say right now….this is awesome. The excitement of this game, has me wanting to breathe into a brown paper bag to prevent hyperventilation. It’s hard to imagine any of these teams not playing the best game they are capable of playing next Sunday. I can’t wait to see these two teams, who hate each other so darn much, crack each other up and down the field on Sunday. And I know its early, but as of right now- some forecast have the weather being near freezing with rain/snow. Should be an amazing game, and I’m hoping the anticipation is NOT the best part of Sunday’s game.

Speaking of the Eagles, is there any one player who is more valuable to a team then Brian Westbrook? As I wrote before about Ed Reed, this guy is a difference maker. He’s one of the guys who can make a loss, a win. The difference between him and Ed Reed is that they draw up plays for Westbrook and he always seems to execute them. The Giants HAVE to figure out a way to keep him in line.

And how about the fans calling for Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid’s head just a month or so ago. All these two have done is win and win and win. It must be nice to have a team who is consistently chalking up W’s. Eagles fans, I can understand your frustration that this era of Eagles haven’t won a Super Bowl (Since I’m a Yankee fan), but winning a Super Bowl is an incredibly difficult thing to do. You have to understand that this era of Reid/McNabb has been a very special run and the franchise has put a impressive product on the field year after year (ie- 2006, McNabb goes down and Jeff Garcia suddenly becomes John Elway, leading them on a nice playoff run).

And hey, you got to be in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl. Having that opportunity each year is pretty sweet, in a league where the parody between the teams has 1-15 teams going to the playoffs a season later.

Maybe this is Philadelphia’s year in sports? First the World Series and now the Super…gulp. What a scary notion that is.

Phillies fans celebrating the team's 10,000 lost as a franchise. (By Tim Shaffer, Reuters)

Phillies fans celebrating the team's 10,000 lost as a franchise. (By Tim Shaffer, Reuters)

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Your everyday Eagles fan. Probably going to follow this picture up by dumping a coke-a-cola on some kid with a Redskins jersey on.

A Sixers fan reminding Kobe of his... "little incident in a hotel room"

A Sixers fan reminding Kobe of his... "little incident in a hotel room"

Philadelphia, PA. Titletown, U.S.A.- A frightening thought for 2009.