Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Phillies’

MLB Pennant Races

Posted by mizzou1028 on August 12, 2010

With about a month and a half to go in the Major League Baseball season, it seems time to offer some quick predictions on how the rest of the season will go.  I think the races will be exciting and intriguing.

AL East: It’s unfortunate that one team among the trio of the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox will have to miss the playoffs, because all three teams are better than any AL Central offering this year. ¬†Nevertheless, one team will be out here, and I think it will end up being Boston, who currently sits five games behind Tampa Bay, who is currently leading the wild card chase. ¬†Call me crazy, but I think the Rays will overtake the Yankees for the division when it is all said and done. ¬†I still like their pitching, especially David Price, and their lineup, while streaky, is good enough to get runs scored when needed. ¬†The lineup will get even better when Carlos Pena comes off the DL. ¬†The Yankees will easily still make the playoffs as the wild card, for their lineup is especially potent as well. ¬†Their downfall could be bridging from their starters to Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning.

AL Central: We do have a good race here between the White Sox and Twins. ¬†Both teams have solid starting pitching, although I’d give Chicago a slight edge with Mark Buerhle and Gavin Floyd. ¬†I think Minnesota has a better lineup, but they’re finding that hitting home runs at spacious Target Field is a challenge. ¬†Look at Joe Mauer, who has just seven home runs this season after hitting more than 30 last year. ¬†In the end, I think this will come down to the final week. ¬†Two years ago this ended up going to a one game playoff with the White Sox winning the game 1-0. ¬†It could be that close this time as well, but I’ll take Minnesota on a hunch.

AL West: This is over.  Texas has a big enough lead that it would rank as one of the biggest collapses in MLB history if they lost it.  I think the Rangers will be very dangerous in the playoffs because of their potent lineup (about to get even better with the return of Ian Kinsler from the DL).  Their starting pitching has also been surprisingly effective.  If they can keep that up, they might just win the whole thing in October.

NL East: Atlanta has a fairly comfortable lead, although they just got bad news on Chipper Jones, who may have an ACL injury according to reports. ¬†Still, their pitching is outstanding, especially Tim Hudson, and their lineup of young players continues to come through. ¬†Will it be enough to hold of the Philiies? ¬†I still think Philadelphia would be leading the division if they had been able to stay healthy. ¬†With Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt in the same rotation, it really shouldn’t be fair. ¬†I think Philadelphia overtakes Atlanta for this division when it’s all said and done, and the Braves will have a hard battle in a crowded wild card race.

NL Central: In light of the brawl earlier this week, we should have an outstanding race down the stretch between the Reds and Cardinals. ¬†Cincinnati to me has been the surprise team this season, but their mix of youth and veterans has been playing well so far. ¬†The key for them will be if they can keep up their surprising pitching. ¬†I think the Cardinals have all the tools to make a run at the World Series, between a lineup that includes Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday and a rotation led by Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. ¬†I think St. Louis will win this race, and they may not even have to sweat it in the final week. ¬†I just don’t see the Reds being able to keep up their pace, particularly after the Cardinals snagged their mojo this week, sweeping them in Cincy after the brawl.

NL West: I think two playoffs teams will come out of this division: San Diego and San Francisco. ¬†It’s only a matter of which one will win the division and which will be the wild card. ¬†I think the Giants are a team that would be a force in the playoffs in a short series because of their rotation, led by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. ¬†The Padres though also have pitching that has been lights out all year, from guys that aren’t big names like Mat Latos and Jon Garland. ¬†The Padres also made big moves at the trade deadline getting Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Tejada to bolster their lineup. ¬†I think the Padres will win this division, and the Giants will get the wild card spot in the NL, holding off the Braves and Reds in a tight race.

I think the Rockies, while having an outstanding season from Ubaldo Jimenez and a coming out party type year from Carlos Gonzalez, just don’t quite have the horses to keep up with the rest of the pack this year. ¬†The rest of the rotation besides Jimenez is just way too inconsistent, and their inability to score runs on the road will ultimately prove to be their downfall. ¬†In the most recent road trip the Rockies endured a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings over three games, that’s just not going to get it done. ¬†In the offseason they need to add another run producer to help Gonzalez and hope that youngsters Esmil Rogers and Jhoulys Chacin will be ready to take spots in the rotation next season.

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Baseball Chaos?

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 29, 2008

As game five of the World Series gets set to resume tonight, I am definitely intrigued.¬† Never before have we seen a World Series game get suspended due to rain.¬† I think I am one of the few out there that doesn’t blame Bud Selig for starting the game as scheduled Monday night.¬† The rain hadn’t come yet when the first pitch was thrown, and the forecast didn’t indicate that there would be enough precipitation to cause the playing conditions to go astray so quickly.¬† When the rain did come, everyone tried to make the best of a bad situation for awhile, until it got to the point where play couldn’t continue.¬† I don’t think anyone¬†would say it’s ideal to have a two day gap between the top and bottom halves of the sixth inning, but it is far preferable to the alternatives: handing the Phillies the title after a shortened five inning win, starting the game over, or forcing the action through unplayable conditions.¬†

I am intrigued to see¬†the three and a half inning shootout of sorts tonight.¬† It will be a sprint to the finish so to speak, with each team going to the bullpen right away.¬† Philadelphia gets the “advantage” so to speak of getting three extra outs to play with, since the game will resume in the bottom of the sixth.¬† It will be interesting to see if the Rays keep the momentum they gained by tying the game in the top of the sixth two days ago.¬† It will be interesting to see if the Phillies get the same lift from their home crowd the way they have this entire series.¬† It is needless to say highly unusual to see a game “started” with a pinch hitter, as will be the case tonight for the Phillies, unless they wish to have Cole Hamels bat and give the Rays a free out.¬† It is also interesting to note that the Rays figure to have all the momentum if they can sneak away with a win, with the final two games of the series awaiting back in front of their fans at Tropicana Field.

It is interesting to note that before a very recent rule change,¬†the Phillies would have been awarded the win even after the Rays had tied the score in the sixth inning.¬† I think Bud Selig seems to get a bad rap a lot of the time, for he is really being roasted here for allowing the game to start at all, and for allowing the game to be played in such conditions.¬† Selig certainly has had his dubious moments, but this is not one of them.¬† I applaud the decision to both start the game as scheduled, and the decision to stop it when they did.¬† Sure, a two day delay isn’t ideal, but it’s much better than seeing the champion decided by weather.¬†

For the record, my prediction still stands: the Rays will come back and win tonight, and they will win this series in seven.  The Phillies will feel the pressure tonight, and would not be able to recover from a loss tonight, facing the task of winning back in the Dome.

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World Series Pick

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 22, 2008

I’ve said all along from day one that I would be first to be up front about erroneous predictions on my part.¬† It only seems fair if I’m going to call out others for being wrong.¬† In light of that, let’s look back at my baseball playoff picks.¬† Let’s just say that i only got one series right out of seven.¬† In an effort to save face, I offer a revised World Series prediction below.¬†

ALDS: Angels over Red Sox in five: The Angels were the best team in baseball during the regular season, and had everything clinched several weeks before the end of the season.  The Red Sox are not healthy. 

The Red Sox bats ended up booming in this series and proved to be the difference.¬† The Angels had chances, but couldn’t get the timely hit.¬† A¬†rare blown save by K-Rod in game two didn’t help¬†matters either.¬† ¬†

Rays over White Sox in four: Chicago has momentum, but they will have a letdown at Tropicana Field.  Tampa Bay’s surprise story continues, thanks in part to Carl Crawford’s return.

This is the only series I got right.¬† Tampa Bay’s young lineup was able to get the job done in this series (particularly Evan Longoria).¬†

NLDS: Brewers over Phillies in five: C.C. Sabathia is the difference for Milwaukee as the Brewers bats outslug Philly in a high scoring series.

Sabathia got shelled in game two and was essentially a non-factor.  Philadelphia clearly had the better offense in this series. 

Cubs over Dodgers in four: The Dodgers benefited from the Manny Ramirez trade, but the Cubs have the pitching and the emotion of Wrigley in the first two games.

Turns out the “emotion” of Wrigley was of a different variety.¬† Did the Cubs feel the pressure of the Curse?¬† We may never know, but the Cubs imploded at the wrong time, while LA was red hot.¬†

ALCS: Angels over Rays in seven: The Angels are deep, have a solid lineup, a terrific rotation, and a shut down bullpen.  Their experience is the difference against the young Rays.

The series between the Rays and Red Sox proved to be terrific.¬† As it turned out, Boston’s experience was not enough to overcome the young Rays.¬† Tampa showed a lot of gusto rebounding from their game five debacle.¬†

NLCS: Cubs over Brewers in six: The Cubs owned the Brewers during the regular season, and that continues in the playoffs.’

Philadelphia continued to amaze in the NLCS, beating the Dodgers even though Manny Ramirez hit over .500 in the series.¬† The Phillies proved that their offense can get the big hit even against a bullpen as good as LA’s.¬†

World Series: Cubs over Angels in seven: This would be one the best World Series matchups in a number of years.  The Cubs get it done because a 100 year drought seems long enough, and why not end it on a nice round number?

So maybe Phillies-Rays isn’t as sexy as a Cubs-Angels World Series would have been, but it will still be a very entertaining series.¬† Both teams can swing the bat, the Phillies featuring Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, and the Rays sporting the young guns of Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton.¬† Both teams stack up well with their rotation, the Phillies sporting Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, while the Rays can counter with Scott Kazmir and James Shields.¬† Philadelphia appears to have a slight edge in the bullpen with closer Brad Lidge, but the Rays may have found an answer for that role in David Price, who got the final four outs of the ALCS game seven against Boston.¬† Tampa Bay has home field advantage thanks to the American League winning the All-Star Game, and the Rays have been very tough to beat at Tropicana Field all year.¬† The Phillies have also been successful at home this year, and should have a raucous atmosphere for their home games, but the extra game at the Trop will ultimately be the sway factor for the Rays as they complete arguably the most surprising season in MLB history, completing their worst to first turnaround.¬†¬† Keep in mind also, the Phillies have been off for a full week while the Rays just wrapped up the ALCS on Sunday.¬† As the Rockies proved last year, the time off isn’t always a good thing.¬†

The Pick: Rays in seven.

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