Tuesday, October 26, 2010

World Series Preview

The 106th Fall Classic will start tomorrow in San Francisco, as the Giants host the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers will be making their first ever appearance in the World Series, and the Giants will be in their third Series since moving to San Francisco, and their first since losing in 7 games to the Angels in 2002.

Now, I'll be picking a winner of the Series, but, in all honesty, I'll probably be wrong.

I had the Rays and The Phillies playing each other in a re-match from 2008, and that obviously didn't happen.

This will be a tremendous World Series to watch, because, simply, I don't have a team to root for, like my Detroit Tigers, or the Dodgers, whom I used to root for, unsuccessfully, against the Yankees, in the 1970's, and I don't have the Yankees to root against.

The ratings will take a beating because there are no big name teams in the Series, and I say that's just fine.

These two clubs played great baseball, especially the Giants, who don't have a superstar offensive player, and rely on heads up baseball, clutch hitting, and great pitching to win games.

The Rangers have the better offensive team, with guys like ALCS MVP Josh Hamilton, and 11 year veteran of the Rangers, Michael Young.

Both squads have great bullpens, and closers, as the Rangers will send out rookie Neftali Feliz, and the Giants will counter with Brian Wilson.

So, who's going to win?

Hey, I have no idea, but, I predict the Giants will win, in 6 games.


Hey, I thought the Phillies would beat down the Giants offensively, and in pitching performance, and I was wrong. 

The Giants shut down the Philadelphia hitters, and simply out pitched the Phillies staff.

The Giants have made all the right moves, as have the Rangers, and I see Cliff Lee winning two starts,  but unless the Series goes to 7 games, and Lee gets the start, then I don't think the Rangers will win.

But hey, what the heck do I know?

Just enjoy the World Series, The Fall Classic, and savor every moment of our National Pastime.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baseball on the Web

I've found some very cool baseball fans,and their blogs, and I'd like to share a site every now and again.

Today we start with a fan who loves to imitate big league ball players batting stances.

Remember when you were a kid, and stepping up to the plate at the sandlot, or in a Little League game?

Did you go into the batters box and set up to hit by imitating your favorite ball player?

I did.

Bill Freehan was my hero, and I did everything the way that Big Bill did.

When I got in that box I stood exactly the way he did, and my routine before the pitch was the same, and my stance, and my swing were the same.

Freehan would get into the right handed side of box, and then he would...

take his back foot and grind it into the very back of the box...and then he would...

adjust his batting helmet, and then he would...

place his front foot down just about even with home plate, and then...

Freehan would take his bat and tap it onto the outside part of the right side of home home plate, making sure he had proper bat coverage, and then...

well, you get. it, I tried to hit like my hero.

If you remember how your favorite player would swing the bat, or how one of the greats of All-Time hit, then check him out o n the web at  The Batting Stance Guy 

He is great at re-creating old and new player batting stances.

Gar is just a great baseball fan, and I just enjoy watching him do his thing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My NL Championship Preview

We baseball fans are in for a treat, just in time for Halloween.

When the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies take the field tonight at Citizens Bank Park in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, the baseball history God's will be taking us back to the time of old school pitching duels.

And we the fans are going to love every moment.

Roy Halladay, who's last, and first ever post season start ended with Halladay pitching the second perfect game in baseball post season history, against the Cincinnati Reds,will be taking on "The Freak," Tim Lincecum of the Giants, who struck out 14 Atlanta Braves in his one post season start.

Runs will certainly be a premium tonight when these two men, owners of a combined 3 Cy young Awards, take the mound tonight, and it's not going to get any easier in the following two games.

The Phillies will send Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels out against the Giants, who will counter with Jonathon Sanchez and Matt Cain in games 2 and 3.

Now, let's try not to discount the offense on both teams, where there are some quality hitters.

The problem for the Giants is that most of them wear Phillies uniforms.

The Philly offense is loaded.

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, and Placido Polanco head a run producing offense that is looking for a third straight trip to the World Series.

There are very few weakness in the Phillies lineup, but they will be tested against the great pitching staff of the Giants.
For San Francisco, the offense is led by 1st Baseman Aubry Huff, who was terrific for the Giants after signing as a free agent in the off season.

Veteran players like Juan Uribe, Mike Fontenot, Edgar Renteria, Pablo Sandoval, and Pat Burrell, are very capable hitters who must make the Philly pitchers work hard while waiting for the right pitch to hit.

The Giants must find a way to scratch out runs and get the ball to their great closer, Brian Wilson, who saved 48 games in the regular season.

For the Phillies, it's set up man Ryan Madson and closer Brad Lidge, who had a great NLDS against the Reds.

Now, for my prediction, er, my guess on who's going to be playing in the World Series.

The Phillies are on a historic run, having won the past two N.L. pennants. They can become the 1st team since the 1942-43-44 St. Louis Cardinals to go to 3 straight World Series.

The Giants are trying to get back to the Series for the first time since 2002, and for only the second time in 48 years.

This is going to be a classic match up, a baseball purists delight.

The pitching is going to make all the headlines, and it should, but the offense of the Phillies is going to be the difference.

The Giants havea great pitching staff, but they will not be able to hold the Phillies down enough to win the National League Pennant.

And because of that, I like the Phillies in 6 games.

Enjoy the baseball, it's playoff time, the greatest time for our National Pastime.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My AL Championship Series prediction

I've never been good at picking series winners, mostly because I tend to pick against teams I don't like...yes, the Yankees, and partly because I like teams with experience...like the Rays, who are out golfing.

So, here I go again, as I try and predict(?) the American League Championship Series winners for 2010.

As I stated earlier, I don't like the Yankees, and because I don't, I'm taking the Rangers. 
Oh, and the Rangers happen to have Cliff Lee pitching for them. Lee won two games against the Rays in the A.L. Division series, including game 3, on the road at the Trop.

I guess I should really pick the Yanks to win, so that they will lose, but I really like what I saw from the Rangers.
They ran the bases well, pitched well, hit well...on the road, and won their first ever playoff series in the history of the franchise.

Texas will have their hands full with the defending World Series Champion Yanks, as C.C. Sabathia and Andy Petite will lead a veteran pitching staff that also includes the greatest post season closer ever in Mariano Rivera.

Oh, and the New Yorkers can also hit, and hit some more.

Derek Jeter has more hits than any other Yankee in team history, they have Alex Rodriguez and his 600+ home runs, they have Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher, and Curtis Granderson, and Robinson Cano, and well, a lot of hitters.

The Texas offense is pretty darn good to.
Led by possible MVP Justin Hamilton, the Rangers can hit with the best in baseball, and they will be challenged by the Yankees pitching. 

That said, the Yankees staff isn't as good as the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Rangers won that series.

Michael Young, in his 11th season as a Ranger, is one of the bats that compliment Hamilton well.

Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz, Jeff Francouer, Ian Kinsler, and Vladimir Guerrero are all solid hitters who can drive in runs.

The Rangers pitchers have got to come through to help Cliff Lee out.

Lee is going to get his starts, but his teammates, the other guys on the staff, need to win some games as well.

C.J. Wilson gets the start in Game 1, going against Sabathia, and Colby Lewis will go in Game 2 against Phil Hughes, who likes the confines of Yankee Stadium more than the road, where the series starts, in Arlington, Texas on Friday night.

In the Rangers pen, rookie closer Neftali Feliz and his  40 saves will be there, should he be needed.

So, all that said, what is my prediction?

I'll take the Rangers in 7 games, with Cliff Lee pitching a masterpiece for the Series clincher.

The Baseball Journeyman

Baseball fans, check out this new web site I've come across, The Baseball Journeyman.

The blog is written by a baseball fan who lives in South Korea and teaches English.

The Baseball Journeyman is also  member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

The first thing that caught my eye on the Journeyman blog was the "Way Back Wednesday" section, where I read a terrific article on Louisville Slugger Museum.

The site has plenty of baseball info, including baseball played overseas in Asia, and Korea.

Check it out baseball fans, you'll enjoy it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Post Season Predictions, Atlanta vs. San Francisco

Bobby Cox has been the manager of the Atlanta Braves for so long now, it's going to be a little weird seeing someone else in the Bravos dugout next year.

The man who has been kicked out of more games than any manager in big league history leads Atlanta into San Francisco to play the Giants in what he, and the Braves, hope will be the beginning of a magical post season ride in Cox's final year as the Braves skipper.

The opposition will be tough from the start, as Giants ace Tim Lincecum starts game one today against Derek Lowe, who takes the ball for Atlanta.

For me, this is a series about pitching, and if that happens, this is the Giants series to win, but it should come down to a Game 5 in San Francisco, where I like the Giants to beat the Braves.

After Lincecum, the Giants will send out Matt Cain, and the Jonathan Sanchez.
The Braves will be pitching some pretty good guys as well, with Tommy Hanson facing Cain, and the Tim Hudson opening the game for the Braves back at Turner Field.

 The Giants are not a powerful offense, but they get the big hits when they need them.

San Francisco must get a big series from 3rd Baseman Pablo Sandoval, who hit just .286 this year, with 13 HRs, and 63 RBIs.

Those numbers for Sandoval were way off his terrific 2009 season where he hit .330, with 25 HRs, and 90 RBIs.

The Giants need Sandoval to protect 1st Baseman Aubry Huff, who hit a team high 26 home runs, and drove in 86 runs, and SS Juan Uribe, who hit 24 home runs, and had 85 RBIs.

Both of those  numbers for Uribe were second on the Giants to Huff.
Aaron Rowand, who played for the 2005 Chicago White Sox, made the Giants roster in favor of pitcher Barry Zito, who struggled most of the season.

The Giants also have veteran playoff experience in Edgar Renteria, a member of the 1997 Champion Florida Marlins, and Pat Burrell, who won a World Series in 2008 as a Philadelphia Phillies.

Atlanta has their own World Series experience, with 1st Baseman Derek Lee, a Champion with the Florida Marlins in 2003, and Game 1 pitcher Derek Lowe, who was a starter on the 2004 Boston Red Sox Series Champions.

The Braves will be without future Hall of Fame 3rd Baseman Chipper Jones, who is recovering from a season ending injury.

Atlanta will rely on slugging Lee( 19 HRs, 80 RBIs), Troy Glaus(16, 71),  Martin Prado( .307 AVG. 15 HRs, 61 RBIs), Brian McCann( 21, 77), Melky Cabrera, and Erick Hinske, to get on base again the San Francisco pitching staff.

If either team gets the lead to their closer in the 8th, they have the guys to get the job done in the Braves Billy Wagner, who has 37 saves this year, and Brian Wilson of the Giants, who shut the door an amazing 48 times in 2010.

This series will be a great showcase of the two front runners for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Jason Heyward of the Braves had 144 hits as a rookie, good for a average of .277, with 18 HRs and 72 RBIs in 142 games, scoring 83 runs.

Buster Posey of the Giants came up later in the year, playing in 108 games, hitting 18 HR, and driving in 67 runs.  

Posey had 124 hits, and behind the plate he had a .991 fielding percentage in 76 games as the Giants back stop.

The Giants and Braves are going to put on a show for baseball fans, and the series should go 5 games, where I like the Giants to come out victorious.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Doc Halladay no-hits the Reds, makes big league history

Somewhere Don Larsen is smiling.

The man who wrote baseball history by throwing a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees, has waited 54 years to welcome the next man to the club.

That man is Philadelphia Phillies right hander Roy Halladay.

Watch Roy Halladay no-hit the Reds 

Tonight in the City of Brotherly Love, Halladay showed no mercy on the Cincinnati Reds, throwing the second  no-hitter in baseball history, joining Larsen, who's perfecto defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in that '56 Series.

In my preview of the series earlier today I noted that the Reds would be looking at the best pitching staff in the N.L., but I wasn't thinking about a no-hitter being thrown in a playoff series.

Now the Reds face a tremendous up hill battle, down one game to none, and facing another Roy, Roy Oswalt, in Game 2, still looking for their first hit of the series.

Halladay allowed only one runner to reach base in his near perfect game, walking the Reds Jay Bruce on six pitches in the fifth.

"I felt like we got in a groove early," Halladay said. "[Catcher] Carlos [Ruiz] has been great all year, but he helps me get in rhythm, throwing a lot of pitches for strikes, getting ahead, and then later in the game mixing pitches well, mixing speeds well. So he's done a great job for me, just trying to be aggressive."( Courtesy of mlb.com).

If throwing a post season no-hitter wasn't reward enough, Halladay also become just the 5th pitcher to throw 2 no-hitters in the same season, joining the California Angels Nolan Ryan in 1973, Virgil :Fire" Trucks of the Detroit Tigers in 1952, Allie Reynolds of the 1951 New York Yankees,and, ironically, Johnny Vander Meer of the 1938 Cincinnati Reds.

Tonight's accomplishment by Halladay is another example of why baseball is the grandest game of them all.

For 11 years Roy Halladay was as good a pitcher as anyone in big league baseball.

The Toronto Blue Jays never made it into post season play, a hazard caused by being left in the A.L. East behind the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, and now, the Tampa Bay Rays.

11 years to pitch in the playoffs.

11 years to show the rest of baseball what he could do.

11 years, and the first time Roy Halladay takes the mound in a plaoff game, and he makes big league history.

Only in the grandest game of them all, the game of baseball.

My Post Season Predictions, Yankees vs. the Twins

Let me first start this post by saying that this is the least interesting series of the playoffs for me. I really want both teams to lose.

I am most certain that like most Americans, the Yankees are the team every one wants to get beat. Yes, except Yankees fans,  I know.

However, I'm also a Detroit Tiger fan, and that makes it simply impossible to root for the Twinkies, er, the Twins.

Now, all that baseball fan stuff aside, I have to pick a winner, and so I will, and as much as it pains me, I think the, uh, I think, oh, what the heck, I think the Twins will beat the Yanks in a rematch from last years American League Division Series.

The one reason that makes me favor the Twins is that I simply think they're a better team.

Yes, the Twins are better.

Now, they don't have Derek Jeter, or Alex Rodriguez, or Mark Texiera, or Nick Swisher, or Curtis Granderson...yes, the ex-Tiger...or, well, C.C. Sabathia, or Andy Pettite, or the Sandman, Mariano Rivera.

But, what the Twins do have is a system. A system that goes out each and every year and wins baseball games.

The Twins play baseball like most old school National League teams used to do. 

They hit in key situations, they run the bases well,  they play great defense, have fast outfielders, sure handed infielders, and they have pitchers who might not be well known, but make pitches when they have to.

Now, the Twins, they win baseball games with guys like ex-batting title winner and MVP Joe Mauer, there great catcher, and with guys like first baseman Justin Morneau, who, by the way, is not playing for the entire playoffs.

The win games with a great pitcher like Francisco Liriano, and with their speedy outfielder Denard Spahn.

They also win games with guys named Cuddyer, Punto, Blackburn,Hardy, Hudson, Duensing, Slowey, and Capps.

The Yankees pitching staff heads into the playoffs a mess. 
I know, possible Cy Young winner Sabathia is pitching, and then there's the great playoff performer Andy Petite, and the great Rivera.

I just see to many problems after the first two starts for the Yanks. The rest of the staff is a big mess, especially A.J. Burnett, who was hit hard, and then harder, all season long. 

Rivera can't pitch when the Yanks are behind, and with the exception of Sabathia, I don't see that happening.

Pettite is up their in age, and was hurt this year, and New York missed him.

The Twins also didn't have to get on a plane in the wee hours of the morning and fly to play after winning a one game playoff, like they did last year.

New York goes to Minneapolis to start the series, and when you give the Twins time to prepare, they are very hard to beat.

Everyone watching will see the Twins players that every Tigers, White Sox, Royals, and Indians fan has over the past half a dozen years or so.

Players that just find a way to win baseball games.

It's the Twins in 4.

My Post Season Predictions, Philadelphia vs. Cincinnati

The best team in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies, start their quest for their second World Championship in two years when they send out Roy Halladay today to face the Cincinnati Reds in Game one of the National League Division Series.

Now, I'm rooting for the Reds, mostly because I like the Reds power hitting first baseman, Joey Votto, but also because the Reds just happen to be the favorite ball club on my old Navy buddy Steve.

Steve's a much bigger Alabama fan, but he loves the Reds also, so I've been rooting them on in the N.L. Central all year long.

Now, if you are a fan of the Red Legs, here's a great Reds web site...Church of Baseball 

Now, back to the Phillies.

When the Phillies got Roy Halladay, the 2 time defending champions of the N.L. became automatic favorites to win their 3rd in a row. I see no reason not to believe that they will

Halladay, Roy Oswalt(acquired from the Astros), and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hammels are the best staff in the N.L., and when those guys get the ball to close Brad Lidge, it's all but over for the team in the batters box.

On offense, the names are all well known.

The Phillies Ryan Howard, their power hitting first baseman, Chase Utley, the sure handed, pure hitting second sacker, slick fielding shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and veteran outfielders Jason Werth and Shane Victorino.

The Phillies are trying to become the first N.L. team to win three straight pennants since the 1942-43-44 St. Louis Cardinals.

I like the Phillies in 4 games...nothing personal Steve.

My Post Season Predictions, Tampa Bay vs. Texas

It's been a while since I wrote anything about the current baseball season, it's not my single purpose of my writing.

However the 2010 post season is now upon us, so it's appropriate to give my mighty...eh, predictions for the up coming playoffs....MLB Postseason Baseball TV Schedule

So, without much fan fare, here we go.

The Tampa Bay Rays will host the Texas Rangers in the Divisional Series.

The Rays finished with the best record in the American League, and for me, they are the team to beat in the A.L. Playoffs.

Tampa has fantastic pitching, led by Cy Young candidate David Price, who finished the 2010 season with a 19-6 record, and a ERA of 2.72.
After Price will come Matt Garza and James Shields, and look for Jeff Niemann, normally a starter, to help the Rays bullpen get to closer Rafael Soriano.

Tampa will hit with the best of them also, and I like the lineup of 3B Evan Longoria, LF Carl Crawford, 1b Carlos Pena, CF B.J. Upton, and FR Ben Zobrist, just to name a few. The Rays can hit, steal bases, move runners over, and hit the long ball when needed.

The Rangers are a great story, making the playoffs for the first time since 1999, when they were slugging their way through the A.L. with Juan Gonzalez and Ivan Rodriguez.

This year the Rangers have an even more powerful lineup, with MVP candidate Josh Hamilton in CF, and the free swinging Vlad Guererro as the DH. 

Third Baseman Michael Young and Short Stop Ian Kinsler are sure to give the Rays fits as well.

The Rangers will send lefty Cliff Lee out in Game one vs, the Rays, who have beaten Lee three times this year.

The Rangers are a solid ball club, and this should be a fantastic series. 

My pick is the Rays in 4 games.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My first post for The Detroit Tigers Scorecard

I thought I'd give you the link to my first post on the Detroit Tigers Scorecard. I hope you continue to read my articles on baseball, the greatest sport ever invented.

Detroit Tigers Scorecard 

Friday, October 1, 2010

My new writing job

As of today, Friday, October 1st, I have the great fortune to now be a contributing writer for the Detroit Tigers Scorecard.

I will still be writing post for this blog, the one I started, talking about the great game of baseball.

For those who can't get enough baseball, check out the DTS for some great baseball talk.

My thanks to Austin Drake, founder of the DTS, for the opportunity.