Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Here is my first ever NLCS game at Dodger Stadium was an eventful one. It was a hot autumn afternoon filled with over 50,000 fans who were waiting for something to cheer about. It wasn't until the bottom of the 8th inning that the fans finally stood up with towels in hand waiting for one miracle base-hit. What we got was one half inning that was filled with pitching changes, walks to the mound, and matchups. You all know what happened. So lets take a look shall we?
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Both the Dodgers and the Angels survive improbable odds in their Division Series matchups by sweeping their opponents. The Dodgers have lost 5 out of 7 against the Cardinals and have played poorly at Busch Stadium. The Angels have not won a postseason series against the Red Sox.
But with them slaying their demons, who is the team of destiny? A couple of seasons ago, both the Angels and the Dodgers were picked by Sports Illustrated as the two World Series finalists, but that wasn't close to happening.
The Angels had notable injuries and lost Teixeira to the Yankees. They also lost Nick Adenhart in a tragic automobile accident and dedicated this season to him. They have really done well due to the great play of their lesser known players such as Kendry Morales and Juan Rivera. They have also survived a lot of injuries to their pitching staff and even a struggling bullpen. In the first 2 games against the Red Sox in the ALDS, they have held them to 1 run total.
The Dodgers started their season with high expectations and backed it up by winning their first 13 home games, a MLB record. They have a knack for keeping it close and winning in dramatic fashion, with their 12 walk-off victories. Though they struggled after the all star break and before the playoffs, they quickly found their stride in the final series against the Rockies and neutralized the Cardinals. How fitting was it that the Dodgers were able to walkoff in Game 2 of the NLDS? They haven't won back-to-back NL West Division titles since 77 and 78, both years they went to the World Series and were defeated by the Yankess. They haven't finished the season this many games above .500 since 1988.
There are a lot of similarities with this Dodgers team with those of successful ones in the past. This one might even be more well-rounded than even the WS Champs of 1988.
Postseason baseball always has a lot of stories and superstitions. Now, who is the team of destiny this year?
Before the series against the Cardinals even started, TBS broadcaster Bob Brenly speculated that Manny was playing possum in order to lull opposing pitchers into thinking that he is unable to turn on a good fastball.
In the past, Manny has been known to setup pitchers early in the game by taking certain pitches that he is capable of hitting hoping that he will get the same pitch in a later at-bat when there is an RBI opportunity. He had an absolutely atrocious month of September, leading people to speculate that whatever he was on before has worn off.
However, the problem seem to be too big for even a possum. The problem appeared to be Manny pressing a little too hard. Most of his swings during his struggles were long, power swings. Also, his timing was off, making him late on even a low-90s fastball. In addition, pitchers were challenging him with a lot of inside fastballs and breaking balls because he couldn't turn on them like he did in the past.
Even if you don't believe the possum excuse, you have to admit that Manny is beginning to get his timing back at the plate. In his last couple of games, it is noticeable that he was capable of getting his bat on pitches. Though he went 1 for 8 in the first 2 games against the Cards, Manny was able to drive the ball, which was a problem during the Dodgers' most recent losing streak. Also, no Dodger could get it going again Wainwright in Game 2, including Manny. In Game 3, he was able to jump on a lot of first pitch fastballs that he promptly hit in the power alleys for 2 doubles. He also got another single, going 3 for 5 (.308). Still no homers for him, but at this moment, anything you can get from Manny is a bonus and much needed against either the Rockies or Phillies.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Who would have predicted this outcome to Game 1? Well, all of Los Angeles and anyone who wasn't an ESPN analyst. The Dodgers might be underdogs, but Ken Levine stated a good point on postgame Dodger Talk, that it was more important to tune out the analysts and Vegas odds because they are making those choices based on stats and probability.
Please understand that Steve Phillips has a severe case of foot-in-mouth, but that means that Dodgers are going to have to continue to play well and eventually give him and all analysts a "foot-in-ass" present.
Did anyone see the game on TBS? It was absolutely terrible, filled with horrendous cuts to weird cameras during flyballs and the consistent losing of sound, actually the last one was not to bad because it prevented the broadcasting from talking.
Hey Mr Verducci, you are eeriely similar to Rosenthal's dugout reporting.
All that being said, the Dodgers really need to win tomorrow and put the pressure on the Birds. We need some of that Clayton Kershaw magic and maybe some more Mannywood ending.
Posted by Ken at 2:02 AM
Yes, I know I was late on my post about the Dodgers clinching the NL West, but this is not a news site, it is my blog. Here are some of the highlighting photographs at my final regular season home game of the year.
Your eyes are not deceiving you, I finally found out that the K-counter fits 16 strikeouts. Yes, the Dodgers ended up fanning more than 16 batters, but they ran out of room.