Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

Tag: New York Yankees

MLB play-offs braindump #8 – How not to be an online baseball pundit

Last night I made the following comment on the Dodgers/Phillies series:

“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.”

I wake up this morning to find the Phillies have tonked the Dodgers, 11-0. Cliff Lee put in a superb pitching performance, striking out 10 and allowing just three hits.

Some pundit am I!

Both championship series continue tonight, with a rare early start for the Angels/Yankees game. I might actually catch the first few innings as it starts at a reasonable time for British fans. Otherwise, I’ll be catching the condensed game on mlb.tv, over my muesli tomorrow morning.

If you’re interested in catching some of the baseball, but don’t have TV access, or an online subscription, Matt at BaseballGB has the lowdown on the variety of ways you can catch some of the action for free. Well worth a read if you feel like dipping your toes in the baseballing waters…

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.

MLB play-offs braindump #5 – Five things I’ve learned about post-season baseball this week

And then there were four. Later this week we’ll have the Angels vs Yankees and Phillies vs Dodgers in best-of-seven series for a place in the big one, the World Series. The Red Sox, Rockies, Twins and Cardinals have all gone home, season over.

But what have I learned from the first round of play-offs?

1. The best teams went through

I think it is safe to say that the strongest teams went through. There might have been bad calls from umpires and huge mistakes that you just can’t legislate for, but all in all, there were no unlucky losers. There have been close games, but three sides were swept three games to none, and the other side, the Rockies, only won the one game. You’ve got to be ruthless at this stage, and the best teams were. Could the Red Sox, Rockies, Twins and Cardinals have done better than one win between them? I think we all the answer to that one.

2. It’s not all about heroics

There have undoubtedly been some good performances, but the game-changing acts have generally been self-destructive ones. Running errors, dropped catches, poor pitching. Which brings me on to…

3. You need a good closer

How many games have swung in the final inning? The teams that have won have had steady, reliable pitching in the ninth inning. When the closer has had a meltdown, his team has lost. Unless you somehow manage to rack up a massive lead beforehand, you’ve got to be strong in the later innings.

4. I don’t like the TBS coverage

I’m a creature of habit. I don’t like change. I’m no baseball media expert, but TBS coverage just isn’t the same somehow.

5. There’s not enough hours in the day

Believe me, in this, ahem, “current economic climate”, I’m very, very happy that I’ve got a job. But because of my pesky job I just haven’t got the time to watch all this wonderful baseball, especially with the time-difference (I live in London). I’m not complaining, though, about this embarrassment of riches. I’m just wondering what I’ll do after the season ends. Aha! Watch other sport, that’s what! Problem solved!

MLB play-offs braindump #3

Two games last night…

Yankees/Twins – Yankees are going to win it all, aren’t they?

There is an air of inevitability around the Yankees this year. They seem bulletproof. No matter what, they just look like they are going to win. Last night they were 3-1 down in the bottom of the ninth, yet still got out of it, with A-Rod’s two-run homer. In extra innings the Twins had the bases loaded and no outs. Still, the Yankees stayed alive. Then, finally, Mark Teixeira scores a home run and the Yankees win. Again.

The Twins must be plain exhausted after playing approximately one million innings of the past week. I can’t see them getting back in this series, particularly against this Yankees side. Last night was their big opportunity.

Angels/Red Sox – Boston need to pull their Sox up (ahem)

Oh dear. I’ll never make a headline writer. The Angels looked strong again, and the series moves to Boston with the Angels now 2-0 up. The game was pretty close until the seventh, when the Angels scored three to make it 4-1. And that, my friends, was how it finished. No last-ditch excitement in this game. The Angels have done a pretty professional job of dispatching the Red Sox so far. I wonder if home advantage in the next game might help Boston improve, but it may be too little, too late.

Is it too early to think about a Yankees/Angels match-up for the American League title? A pretty mouth-watering prospect.

Twins beat the Tigers to reach the play-offs in an epic

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162 regular season games couldn’t separate them. Neither could the regulation nine innings of their one-off game for the final play-off spot. They kept playing and playing, until finally in the bottom of the twelfth inning the Twins scored, with Alexi Casilla hitting a single, to send home Carlos Gomez from second base.

It was a horrible, horrible way for the Detroit Tigers’ season to end, particularly as they had led their division for so long. Before the Minnesota Twins made their late-season push, this was their 17th win in 21 games, the Tigers looked a safe bet for the play-offs.

But what an incredible prelude to the post-season for the neutral, like myself.

The Twins now face a massive challenge. Tonight they start a series against the New York Yankees, just 20-odd hours after last night’s win. The Yankees are arguably the strongest side in the play-offs, and very much the bookie’s favourite. To make matters worse for Minnesota, the Yankees beat the Twins on each of the seven occasions the teams met during the regular season.

I enjoyed last night’s game via mlb.tv, but was greeted TBS HotCorner, rather than the standard mlb.tv I’m used to. So, instead of the feed from one of the main broadcasters, I had the option of watching from one of eight cameras stationed around the stadium. There was also the option to watch two or four camera feeds at once.

It was a strangely disorienting experience, and made me realise how used I am to being led by a television director. It was interesting in the unlikely moments, such as focusing on the catcher between pitches, or on the hitter watching as he popped a ball up.

However, I’m not sure I want this feature for the whole of the post-season. It could be infuriating as it wasn’t always clear where the ball had gone, or what was happening elsewhere on the pitch. I wouldn’t mind using it for the odd inning, but it could be a little much game after game.

But baseball is baseball, I’ll take what I can get!