Results tagged ‘ Dodgers ’

L.A. Story

Thursday’s Division Series games once again blew my mind. You want October amazement? You got it yesterday, big-time. Let’s recap the games.

DODGERS 10, CUBS 3

I don’t remember the last time I heard Wrigley Field so quiet, and for long-suffering Cubs fans, this was a tough one to swallow. The Dodgers offense has come to play, and for the second straight night, they got great pitching, too. In Game 2, it was Chad Billingsley dealing. But enough about the Dodgers. What about the Cubbies? The best record in the National League and they lose two in a row at home? Unreal. But remember, folks. Strange things happen in October. The Yankees went down 2-0 at home in 2001 and came back and beat the A’s in their Division Series. It can happen.

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PHILLIES 5, BREWERS 2

This one was all about Shane Victorino’s grand slam, and maybe about a team finally finding its postseason groove after getting swept in the first round last year. The Phils left for Milwaukee on a serious high point and can you blame them? They did something that hardly anyone could do down the stretch — beat CC Sabathia — and now have huge numbers in their favor. Teams with a 2-0 lead in NL Division Series have won their last 16.

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RAYS 6, WHITE SOX 4

And how about those Rays? Experts claimed they didn’t have enough talent to make it to October, and they shot that down. Critics said they didn’t have the experience to make it all the way through October. Well, maybe they don’t, but they certainly didn’t look intimidated yesterday in improving their league-best home record. And who did a huge portion of the damage? The probable AL Rookie of the Year, Evan Longoria, who looked about as ready for the postseason as anyone ever has in his first crack at it.

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It’s starting to get crazy in these series, and I’m watching every inning. Now I want to hear from you. What was your favorite Thursday moment? Did any team make a major statement? Will the Cubs rally? How far can the Rays go?

I’m all ears.

O.G.

First things first

Three Division Series Game 1s yesterday and already more than a few surprises. And isn’t that typical of October?

Let’s go game by game.

PHILLIES 3, BREWERS 1

It isn’t surprising that Cole Hamels dealt the way he did, but the Brewers, particularly Yovani Gallardo, showed a lot of poise for a young team that has practically no postseason experience to speak of. If the Brew Crew can clean up a few mistakes, this might become a very competitive series very quickly — especially when CC gets his say. Here’s Chase Utley’s big hit in the third inning.

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DODGERS 7, CUBS 2

Now I didn’t expect this one. Who would have thought the best team in the National League would go down at home in Game 1 in the 100th anniversary year of their last World Series title? But James Loney had the big hit, the grand slam in the fifth inning, Manny and Russell Martin homered later, and that was all she wrote. The Cubs will have to regroup in a hurry tonight, but their big horse, the Big Z, is on the hill, so Cubs Nation has to be feeling good about that.

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RED SOX 4, ANGELS 1

The Angels had the best record in all of baseball this year and were at home with their ace, John Lackey, in Game 1, but the same old same old happened again — the Red Sox beat them in October. This time it was lefty Jon Lester giving the Angels hitters fits and the newest member of the defending world champs’ outfield doing most of the damage.

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Almost too much to blog about, but I want to hear your thoughts. What was the best moment of the first day of October baseball in 2008?

And what’s going to happen tonight as the Rays-White Sox series starts and two other series continue?

Let me know.

O.G.

OCTOBER!

We’re here, and the Postseason is ready to roll. I hope you all watched the White Sox come up big with that 1-0 win over the Twins like I did.

It was cool to see them celebrating. Fortunately for them, they’ve got an extra day to prepare for Thursday’s Game 1 in St. Pete!

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Three Division Series games today to kick it off, and I can’t wait to see what happens and what memories are made. Here are some quick blog thoughts on each one.

Brewers at Phillies

Tough call here, but the Phightin’ Phils came up huge down the stretch to take the division from the Mets, and I don’t know if you have noticed what Ryan Howard’s been doing for the last month, but you’ll probably find out in this series. Philadelphia is a great baseball town and they haven’t tasted World Series champagne since 1980. They’re hungry and I expect them to come out aggressive.

Dodgers at Cubs

Does anyone have higher expectations this season than Cubs Nation? It’s been exactly 100 years since the Cubbies won it all, and their fans have heard enough about curses and billy goats. They’ve also had to watch as the Red Sox won in 2004 for the first time since 1918 and the crosstown rival White Sox took it the next year for the first time since 1917. With the pitching, the defense and the hitting that led them to dominate the NL this year, the Wrigley faithful have to think this is the year.

Red Sox at Angels

The Angels got swept out of the first round by the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, and the Red Sox won the World Series both years. This season might be different, with the Angels winning 100 games for the first time in franchise history and owning the best record in the Majors. Great pitching matchup tonight with the Angels’ John Lackey going up against the Red Sox’s no-hitter man, Jon Lester.

Three games and all kinds of memories to be made. Now I want to hear your thoughts. What will happen tonight in each game? What are your predictions for these three series?

Let me know.

Today there’s a lot of baseball to watch and a lot of important moments to witness as we head into October, full speed ahead.

Grab some snacks, put on that seat belt and have fun. This is what we’ve been waiting for.

O.G.

Intensity

The tight pennant races are getting tighter, and I’m feeling the intensity every night as the Twins and White Sox battle it out for the last Postseason spots in the American League. I’m sure you are, too.

Meanwhile, as the Mets and Brewers try to keep the pace in the National League, the Mets are set on prolonging the life of that charming 44-year-old ballpark in Queens called Shea Stadium that’s going to make way for the new Citi Field next year.

What does it all mean? It means we’ve got less than a week to go until October, and the first five teams that have clinched as I write this are waiting along with the rest of us to see how it’s all going to shake out.

And those teams still have so many unanswered questions, too.

Can the Dodgers keep up the excitement and ride the hot bat of their newest star all the way through October?

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Can a healthy Evan Longoria help the Rays continue to prove the doubters wrong?

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Do the Red Sox have another magical run in them?

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Is it THE year on the North Side?

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Or will the team with the best record in baseball live up to its billing?

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Vote in the poll and let me know how you think it will all play out. The good news is we won’t have to wait very long to see what happens.

O.G.

Crazy time

Any baseball fan knows that when you get to October, you throw everything out the window because you know crazy things are bound to happen.

And this year? Turns out crazy stuff is happening all over the place ALREADY.

Who would have thought that it would be late August and the Tampa Bay Rays would still be in first place in the American League East … over the Red Sox AND Yankees? Not me, but here they are.

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If you told me in April that CC Sabathia would be leading Milwaukee’s rotation on a serious Postseason run, I would have flat-out spilled coffee all over my keyboard in a fit of laughter. But, again, here’s CC, dealing for the Brew Crew when it counts the most.

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I think I could have believed that the Angels would be in first place, but I NEVER could have predicted them trading for Mark Teixeira in the heat of a pennant race. That’s what I call serious October commitment.

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And Manny Being Manny, Hollywood style? Now that’s just too much.

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And that’s the point. As the calendar inches ever closer to October, you gotta get ready for crazy, because once the Postseason starts, it just gets crazier.

O.G.

Surprise, surprise

Check your watch or your BlackBerry or your computer or just rip down the old-school calendar from the fridge. We’re officially in late August, and you know what that means: Less than 40 games until the postseason. Now check the standings. Do a few things surprise you as much as they surprise me?

Tampa Bay is not only still there in the American League East, but they’re still there over the Red Sox AND the Yankees. They’re banged up but a good team’s a good team. Still plenty of September games in the division that will give them the ultimate test, but who would have thought they’d be this good this late in the season? It’s the story of 2008 in my book, and with sluggers like Carlos Pena starting to heat up, who knows how far they could go?

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There are serious pennant power plays brewing in the National League West and American League Central. Toss a coin to separate the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in the NL and the Twins and White Sox in the AL.

There are lots of things to like about all four teams and lots of reasons to watch all of their games down the stretch, but since we’re talking surprises, man, how about those Twins? They trade Johan to the Mets, Silva leaves for the Mariners, Torii goes to the Angels, and there they are, still contending. And now they have Francisco Liriano back? That’s just filthy.

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Yup, everywhere I look, there are surprises, like in L.A., for example. Joe Torre’s Dodgers were looking like a solid team for most of the year, but all of a sudden Manny Magic starts spreading like wildfire throughout the Ravine and everyone’s thinking World Series. Just ask Andre Ethier if he can feel it like I do.

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Big moments and bigger plays, and it only gets more intense by the day. Get comfy on that sofa. We’ve still got a quarter of the season to go …

O.G.

Who’s the one?

There were almost too many big-time Trade Deadline deals to blog about, but the fact that every single one of these guys has breathed new life into his new team has made it a lot easier to keep track of.

Seriously, did anyone really expect such immediate returns on their investments?

Check out the new guy in the No. 99 uniform at Dodger Stadium. I’m telling you … Manny isn’t just being Manny … he’s being the Man.

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The Angels have got to be kidding me. The best record in the game and now a trade for at least a few months of Mark Teixeira? Sick.

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And I should have known the Yankees would load up again. This time they got a nice haul, including a Hall of Fame catcher in Pudge Rodriguez. What does that mean? It means watch out, Red Sox and Rays.

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Then again, Boston isn’t exactly hurting from the Manny deal, not when they brought in a great fit like slugger Jason Bay.

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Every one of these teams is in the hunt for October and every one of these teams might have gotten just a little bit better, which means baseball got A LOT better … and A LOT more confusing. I think maybe I have to take a few more hours at the computer to figure this all out again, but it’s tough when you’ve got the Postseason on your mind.

Until then,

O.G.

No black cats, no excuses

A little bit of bad luck can go a long way toward knocking teams right out of October — if they let it. And while it shouldn’t happen, history has the ability to make sure it does from time to time.

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Just ask the Dodgers, who haven’t brought a title back to Chavez Ravine since 1988 but hope new outfielder Manny Ramirez can reverse results like this:

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Just ask the Brewers, who couldn’t quite make it all the way when they won the pennant in 1982.

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Just ask the Mets, who haven’t won a World Series since 1986, in part because of bad-luck moments like this:

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And this:

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And this:

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Ask the Phillies, who haven’t won it all since the Tug McGraw days:

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And don’t forget to ask the Cubs, still talking about billy goats 100 years later.

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Bottom line is this: October is all about putting aside the excuses, ignoring the black cats and superstitions, and coming together at the right time. One of these teams might have the magic to finally pull it off this year.

And the beauty of it is that we’ll all be watching.

O.G.

What have we learned so far?

The countdown to the 2008 postseason began right after the All-Star Game, and we’ve definitely learned a few more things.

In case you didn’t believe it, the Angels are really for real. A home sweep of the Red Sox set that in stone, even though Boston still needs Big Papi to get rolling again. But right now, Vlad Guerrero and the boys have the best record in the Majors. This is Vlad’s shot that got things started:

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The Tampa Bay Rays got their groove back with a few wins and took back the division lead over the Sox, while the Yankees took care of the A’s in the Bronx. That means things are starting to get a little crazy in the American League East. Check out Evan Longoria’s grand slam against the Blue Jays:

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How about the Dodgers? A major comeback over the D-backs and all of a sudden we’ve got a tie in the National League West. Here’s the big ninth inning:

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There are almost too many storylines developing to blog about in one post. The Cardinals continue to surprise everybody, including me. Cliff Lee of the Indians already has 13 wins. The Mets are still on fire.

The suspense is building. Can you feel it?

O.G.