Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

MLB play-offs braindump #7 – Weekend edition

I managed to watch all of Friday’s Dodgers/Phillies game, and certainly picked a good one. A really absorbing contest, a very much the proverbial pitchers duel. Pedro Martinez, for the Phillies, and Vicente Padilla, for the Dodgers, were outstanding. A real masterclass. Martinez gave nothing away, while Padilla had just the one bad pitch. Unfortunately for him Ryan Howard got on it for a solo home run. I caught Padilla pitching for Texas earlier this season, and while not brilliant, I thought he looked reasonable enough. However, I would never have guessed at the time that he’d be pitching so well, in the play-offs, and for the Dodgers too.

The Dodgers managed to fight back, and eventually won 2-1. So, we’re 1-1 in that series and if this game is anything to go by, we’re in for some very close-run games.

The Dodgers won essentially on Phillies mistakes, following misfields, and a walk with the bases full. Meanwhile, in an absolute epic last night the Yankees beat the Angels in the thirteenth inning, again after a fielding error.

There have been hour upon hour of top-draw play in the play-offs, but still the recurring theme is teams losing games after errors. I guess when things are that close, and teams so well matched, it is more likely that one terrible mistake will change a game, rather than one moment of genius. It really feels like in each game it is a case of who is going to blink first. And the Yankees, in particular, don’t look like blinking.

Beachball 1 Liverpool 0

A beachball. A bloody beachball. In October.

Liverpool’s loss to a freak goal – in off a beachball – is pretty hard to take. Obviously, teams have spells of good and bad luck over the course of a season, but how do you legislate for something like that? To add insult to injury, the goal should not have stood. Rafa Benítez suggesting, “these things happen”, is admirable. It also seems a little unlikely, unless there are far more beachball-assisted goals in Spain.

However, Liverpool did have another 85 minutes, plus a whopping seven minutes injury time, to score a goal and right the wrong. Yet, they failed to score. As easy as it would be to blame inflatable balls and poor officiating for derailing the season, Liverpool need to look a little closer to home. And I’m sure they will.

With Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City dropping points this weekend, it’s becoming more and more likely that Manchester United are going to win the Premiership. Again. And essentially by default. They are not playing particularly well, look shaky in defence, yet their rivals are unable to capitalise.

This is shaping up to be a livelier season, though. It has to be good for the league that every side is capable of dropping points. Let’s hope it stays that competitive until May.