Results tagged ‘ Evan Longoria ’

Game 4: One win away

The Phillies dominated the Rays in Game 4 on Sunday night, and they’ve the huge World Series lead and all the momentum on their side with their best starting pitcher, Cole Hamels, all lined up for what Phillie fans hope will be a home clincher on Monday.

Hard to name the biggest moment for the Phillies on Sunday, so here’s two:

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/26/mlbtv_tbaphi_1434245_800K.flv&autoStart=false

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/26/mlbtv_tbaphi_1434571_800K.flv&autoStart=false

And here’s a third:

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/26/mlbtv_tbaphi_1434368_800K.flv&autoStart=false

There was one more home run by Jayson Werth, but the way the Phillies pitched it didn’t matter at that point.

The bottom line is that the Rays have gotten absolutely nothing in this Series from Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria, and if those two don’t start hitting against Hamels, it’s over.

Then again, the Phillies have three wins, not four, so, as we all know, it’s not over yet. It isn’t over in October until the final out.

Can the Rays come back? Let me hear your thoughts.

O.G.

Game 3

If that game wasn’t worth the wait, I don’t know what is. Seriously, it was almost 2 in the morning in Philadelphia when Eric Bruntlett scored the winning run in the Phillies’ 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, and I was wide awake taking it all in. I’m sure you were, too.

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/25/mlbtv_tbaphi_1433868_800K.flv&autoStart=false

Here are some thoughts:

* What can you say about Jamie Moyer? Dude’s going to be 46 years old next month and flat-out did his job. Too bad he didn’t get that call on the diving play at first base. He deserved it, right?

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/25/mlbtv_tbaphi_1433648_800K.flv&autoStart=false

* This following clip is something that we’ve all been waiting for and something the Rays probably don’t want to see again this October.

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/25/mlbtv_tbaphi_1433626_800K.flv&autoStart=false

* Either credit the Phillies’ pitching or say the Rays’ hitters left their bats in the American League Championship Series, because Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena have been absolutely silent so far in this World Series. They better get that figured out soon.

Good matchup coming tonight in Game 4, with two crafty right-handers in Tampa Bay’s Andy Sonnanstine and Philly’s Joe Blanton. Neither guy can overpower hitters, so they rely on location, deception and old-fashioned moxie. I like watching guys like that.

Let me know what you think.

O.G.

Game 2

There’s been a lot of talk about the u30ws, a.k.a. the Under-30 World Series, because 24 players in this Fall Classic are under the age of 30 — and because a new breed of young fans who weren’t even alive when the Phillies last won the World Series (1980) are pumped up about the new team from Philadephia and the upstart Tampa Bay Rays.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the key players in Tampa Bay’s 4-2 win in Game 2 that knotted this World Series with the Phillies at a game apiece were all about u30ws, from Rays starter “Big Game” James Shields to 23-year-old reliever David Price to 20-something RBI men Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Jason Bartlett.

Shields put a stop to the momentum the Phillies gained in their road win in Game 1, killing rally after rally with big outs like this one:

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Upton didn’t have to hit a homer on this night – he set up the big two-run first inning right here:

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And Price bent a little but didn’t break, going more than two innings to close out the first World Series win in Tampa Bay history:

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The u30ws hits the road tomorrow, so we can get a little bit of rest before Game 3 — American League Championship Series MVP Matt Garza takes the hill against crafty vet Jamie Moyer — at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night.

Let’s get some serious conversation going before then.

O.G.

Rays the roof!

If the cover of Tropicana Field were ever to come off its hinges, it would have happened last night when the Tampa Bay Rays finally knocked off the defending champion Red Sox in the seventh game of the American League Championship Series. Have you ever heard that place that loud? Unreal. What a series. From the epic back-and-forth, five-hours-plus Game 2 to the sick comeback by the Sox in Game 5 to the nail-biter of a Game 7 pitchers’ duel with Matt Garza outpitching Jon Lester and rookie David Price closing it out, there was something for everyone.

And now the Rays go from worst to first to the World Series, with the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies heading to St. Pete for a Wednesday night Game 1 date.

Before we get those blog posts started, here’s a quick rundown of Game 7:

* I wonder how many Boston fans thought it was going to be a rout when they saw my AL MVP this year, Dustin Pedroia, do this to Garza in the first inning:

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/19/mlbtv_bostba_1431289_800K.flv&autoStart=false

* I wonder how many Rays fans, including Dick Vitale, breathed a huge sigh of relief when they saw Evan Longoria tie it up:

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* And what about Willy Aybar? Seriously … the dude has been raking all October, bringing to mind countless unsung heroes that spring to life at the right time of year.

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/19/mlbtv_bostba_1431049_800K.flv&autoStart=false

* Two words. David. Price.

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/19/mlbtv_bostba_1431272_800K.flv&autoStart=false

So … let’s get the World Series started already!

Give me your picks and let’s get some discussions going. Only two more days until showtime!

O.G.

One big win away

The Rays have put on an unbelievable display of offense over the last three games of the American League Championship Series, but the Red Sox aren’t finished yet. Just ask anyone on the 2004 Yankees or the 2007 Indians. On to Tuesday night’s remarkable Game 4:

RAYS 13, RED SOX 4

It’s hard to pick highlight clips of the Rays’ explosion of runs, but Carlos Pena’s first-inning homer set the tone. The quiet first baseman might not be getting the headlines this October like teammates B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria, but he’s been a constant in the heart of the order when he’s been healthy, and he showed why he’s so valuable last night.

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Still, you can’t underestimate the importance of pitching, even in a blowout win. Andy Sonnanstine has been another unsung hero for this team, and he shut down Boston hitters all night, making him 2-0 this postseason.

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And then there’s the Rays’ defense, which has been fantastic all year and was as slick as ever in Game 4.

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But one thing kept gnawing at me at the end of the game, while I was watching a silent Fenway Park empty out onto Yawkey Way.

These are still the Boston Red Sox and this is still the ALCS. The Sox have been here before and the Rays haven’t. The Sox came back from a 3-1 deficit to Cleveland last year and the memorable 3-0 deficit to the Yankees in 2004. The Rays have to keep the pressure on and put them away, because they won’t go down easily.

Do you think the Rays will wrap it up in Boston on Thursday night or send it back to St. Pete?

Let me hear your thoughts.

O.G.

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.

http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file=http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2008/10/02/mlbtv_chatba_1413769_800K.flv&autoStart=false

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.

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.

Rookies Rule

Sitting here at my computer all the time, I’m thinking when I’m not blogging. And lately I’ve been thinking about rookies and how these first-year phenoms can make things happen for teams in September and then all the way through October.

You don’t even have to be on the 25-man roster in the first three months of the season to make your presence felt when it counts.

Frankie Rodriguez did it almost every night for the Angels in 2002 at the age of 20 after making his Major League debut in late September! Six years later, K-Rod’s team is a lock for October and he’s closing in on the all-time single-season saves record.

http://mfile.akamai.com/10869/wmv/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2008/open/mlbam/2008/09/07/mlbtv_anacha_1257137_400K.wmv

How about Jacoby Ellsbury last year? Did anyone see that coming – besides Theo Epstein and the Red Sox brass?

http://mfile.akamai.com/10869/wmv/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2008/open/mlbam/2008/09/08/mlbtv_boscol_1260714_400K.wmv

I can’t wait to find out which rookies will rile things up in this year’s Postseason, and I’ve got two in mind that I think might just etch their own names into the October history books.

One of them hits a ton and plays the hot corner like a veteran even though he zoomed through the Minors.

http://mfile.akamai.com/10869/wmv/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2008/open/mlbam/2008/08/01/mlbtv_dettba_977419_400K.wmv

One of them crouches behind the plate, calls the games for a top pitching staff, and does just fine with the bat, thank you very much.

http://mfile.akamai.com/10869/wmv/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2008/open/mlbam/2008/07/25/mlbtv_flochn_916374_400K.wmv

Both of these young stars have been in their leagues’ Rookie of the Year conversations all season, and they’re the favorites for that hardware.

But something tells me it’s not the only hardware they want.

Now you tell me: Which rookies will make the biggest impact this month and through October.

Let me know.

O.G.

Dog days

Here’s a trio of random O.G. blog-servations from the heat of early August… only seven weeks from October, but who’s counting?

http://www.mlb.com/chc/fan_forum/y2008/october_gonzo_vote.jsp?poll_q=3

*Have you been watching the Cubs? Signs throughout Wrigley say “It Will Happen,” and I can’t really argue when I watch these guys play. Sweet Lou has them feeling it, Ryan Dempster’s out of his mind, and Kerry Wood’s coming back, too. They’ve pulled away from the Brewers a little bit and might be ready to finally give the North Side some World Series championship love for the first time in exactly 100 years.

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*No matter how you feel about the Yankees (and I think I know how a lot of you outside New York feel), it’s a bummer that Joba’s hurt. The Yanks already don’t have Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes right now, so now we’ll see what this kid Ian Kennedy is made of. We might also get a Carl Pavano sighting soon. Who knows? Maybe the fresh arms will get the Bombers back on top. Stranger things have happened in October.

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*I’ve got one more for you and it’s got three words: Tampa Bay Rays. OK, two more words: Still there. These guys keep winning games in crazy fashion, they’re absolutely ridiculous at home, and their manager, Joe Maddon, has them believing there’s nothing they can’t do. I’m here to tell you that when you have a little confidence, you can rule the postseason — even if you’ve never been there before. Joe saw it close up when he was the bench coach of the ’02 Angels. And now he’s got Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena. That doesn’t hurt, either.

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More coming soon as we march toward October memories… are you getting fired up?

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.

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