I think whatever of my colleagues characterized this article on Twitter as “World Series that don’t include the Yankees invariably suck” was actually being unfair (although it would be an accurate summary of this one.) Rather, Kepner was saying that recent world Series have sucked because they’ve sucked, and about that he’s certainly been correct. Most people seem to think that this one, featuring the best team in baseball against the defending World Champion, will be different.
Maybe. Certainly, in the abstract, the Phillies are a much more serious threat than the Angels. On paper, they can fight the Yankee rotation to a draw. Unlike the Twins, they have more than one premium hitter; unlike the Angels, their middle-of-the-order hitters have real power and don’t see taking pitches as a slur on their masculinity or something. So why I do I see this Series as more likely to be another dud than a classic? I don’t like the matchup for Philadelphia at all. For at least 4 and as many as 5 of the games (plus many game situations in all the games), the Phillies will have Willie Bloomquist playing first base and hitting cleanup, along with many other lefties with less extreme career splits. It’s true that the Phillies handled lefties OK this year, but I suspect that’s a function of facing a lot of marginal southpaws, which isn’t an issue here (and, despite their success, they’ve had huge platoon shifts against higher-quality postseason pitchers so far.) So while against a normal staff the Phillies wouldn’t have a dramatically worse offense than the Yankees, in this Series they might, and they also mean that Giradi’s Larussian wankery might be a net positive — unlike Tracy, Howard will be facing a lefty or the lefty-killing Rivera in most late-inning ABs. And then there’s the bullpens, which doomed the Twins and Angels. I know we’re expected to believe that the Phillies closer with the 59+ ERA this year has turned it around, and he certainly has the ability to be a very good closer. Between him and by far the greatest closer in history I know who I’m betting on.
So while I believe there will be a lot of close games, my bet is that the Yankees win most of them quickly. Aside from Lidge, the key players if the Phillies are to thwart this appalling outcome: Pedro, Werth, and Rollins (who needs to snap out of it.) YANKEES IN 5.
Apparently the ramps in the new Yankee Stadium were made out of paint, breadsticks, and shellac. I wish I could say that their issues with their construction company Valdazzo Brothers Olive Oil symbolizes their World Series odds, but…the Angels delivered a near-death knell to the forces of less evil by not forcing the Yankees to pitch Sabathia. Getting to start Lee against Burnett, the Phils would have been a very live dog; having to face Sabathia 3 games out of 7, much less so.
Loomis has identified a troubling trend.
Joe Sheehan, after discussing the de facto end of the series when dumbshit Brian Fuentes decided to throw Slappy an 0-2 meatball with a lead in the 11th:
It’s 2-0, but does anyone think this series is over?
Look, a team that’s clearly inferior is down 2-0. And it’s not just that the Yankees are better in general: in the postseason the importance of power pitching, power hitting, and bullpens are magnified, and the Yankees have a modest edge in #1 and large edges in the other two. The only position at which the Angels are clearly better is centerfield, and even Hunter is a symbol of the problem (in that he’s a very good hitter for a CF but pretty unimpressive for a #3 hitter.) Yes, anything can etc., but the Yankees are going to win this series, and I think it would be an upset if it even gets back to the Bronx.
On a related note, via a commenter it’s safe to say that this hasn’t held up well. (Even at the time the premise was pretty silly; being merely the 3rd best team in the league after more than a decade of postseason appearances isn’t exactly compelling evidence that Brian Cashman is an idiot.)
..although, if the Halos are going to go down, it’s nice to see them knock around the greatest
pitcher athlete in Yankee known human history a bit to take a lead…
..and marvelous work from Hunter in the 10th swinging at ball 3 and ball 4. The quality of atbats between the hitters in the heart of the order on the two teams in pressure situations tells you what you need to know…
Slappy Rodriguez will never get a hit in a big game. As so many New York sportswriters informed us, the Yankees would be much better off with a nice Scott Brosius knockoff…
Can we please stop hearing this nonsense now? And because of that dumbshit Punto I’m going to have to be hearing about St. Jeter’s latest great play all playoffs now too…
…wow, Joe Nathan unable to get a key out against the Yankees, what a surprise! I blame the umpires. Anyway, for those who missed the series, I present the Twins approaching the Yankees in this handy representation:
To state the obvious, he’s no Mariano Rivera. I’m glad I had plans so I didn’t have to see it live…
And despite Slappy’s performance (not his first good postseason one against the helpless-as-babes-against-the-Yankees Twins), sportswriters will still try to divide players into “clutch” and “not-clutch.”
At least she did grow up in the Bronx, a mitigating factor…
The Yankees may not use the greatest
pitcher athlete in Yankee known human history in their post-season rotation? If they remember his countless great starts — why, who can forget that masterful outing when he gave up only 4 runs in 5 2/3 innings, he certainly celebrated like he just pitched a shutout in Game 7 of the World Series, and surely that counts for something — I’m sure they’ll reconsider.
It’s obviously just one formula, but the Yankees and Dodgers being 1 – 2 in the “Secret Sauce” rankings is nonetheless depressing.
In the midst of generally disastrous picks — I had at least remembered being more reluctant about picking Cleveland than I was — was an actual insight:
I initially thought that letting Teixera go to the Yankees, while perhaps the right long-term decision, handed the division to a team that otherwise just wouldn’t have had the offense.
Of course, having seen that I for some reason picked the Red Sox anyway. I’m not sure why, but was that ever stupid. (And no whining about the Yankee payroll. Boston certainly make enough money to sign him; they chose some cheap gambles on ancient pitchers coming off shoulder surgery and once-promising outfielders who effectively haven’t played in three years instead. They lost.)
…Well, and at least I didn’t jump on the bandwagon of this year’s inexplicable trendy pick to contend Kansas City…
Looks like it’s the end of the road for the final active member of the core of the best starting rotation of my lifetime, and the best post-season pitcher of the three. Even though he spent most of his career sticking it to the teams I was cheering for, he was a class act, and it was sad to see him go out that way. And it’s not like he was hanging on well past his prime; remarkably, this will be the first year Smoltz hasn’t had an ERA+ over 100 since 1988. It was a reasonable gamble by the Red Sox but it just didn’t work.
Given the Yankees’ improved rotation Howard may not want to make out annual reverse-hedge bet for charity. But if I may be permitted to state the obvious, the Yankees are going to win the division this year. With Ortiz probably done, Varitek burnt to a crisp (or Casey “If You Liked Dave Stapleton” Kotchman), Bay and Drew unlikely to be anywhere near 100%, and utterly non-competitive shortstops, I just don’t see them having the offense to win in the East, especially since their excellent top 4 isn’t as good as New York’s either (and neither is their rotation.) The real question is whether they’ll stay ahead of Tampa, who have probably been the best team in the division this year.
…and what a classic game. Normally, they would only have played about 5 innings by midnight…