Saturday, October 01, 2005

One down ... two to go

Ya gotta believe!

Don't you?

I am ever the cynic, but I do believe now that the Phillies will be playing a meaningful game on Sunday. I can't go any further than that.

You bloggers, on the other hand, are not cynics. You are full of hope. Those of you that have updated, anyway. Have the rest of you given up?

Check it out.

Of course, I have to start with Beer Leaguer, who is there everyday with a fresh report.


Phils 4, Nats 3: A developing situation

Led by first baseman Ryan Howard and pitcher Cory Lidle, the Phillies held on to beat Washington 4-3 Friday night. Meanwhile in Houston, closer Brad Lidge blew a save for Andy Pettitte in the ninth inning as the Astros fell to the Cubs 4-3.

Scoreboard: With the win, the Phillies pulled to one game back of Houston in the National League Wild Card race.

What an incredible turn of events! On Thursday morning, the Phils looked as good as dead with Houston grasping to a commanding lead in the Wild Card race. Since then, the defending Wild Card winners dropped two straight games, this one at home to the lame-duck Cubbies with Pettitte on the hill.

Meanwhile, the never-say-die Phils eeked out another ninth-inning nail-biter, with closer Billy Wagner barely crossing the finish line with the tying run on third base.

The Phils have battled through extreme pressure this month. I don't know how they're doing it. My stomach can barely survive another second of this drama.

You want pressure? How about Cory Lidle? He was outstanding, going 6 2-3 and allowing only one earned run.

You want confidence? How about rookie Ryan Howard getting the Phils on the board in the second inning with a deep jack to right? That's his 21st of the season, and it always seems like his shots either get them started or drive the nail in the coffin of the opposition.

You want endurance? How about the September Jimmy Rollins and Kenny Lofton have had? J-Roll extended his hitting streak to 34 games, while Lofton went 2-5 with an RBI. Not to be outdone by his buddy, K-Lo has an OPS of 1.023 in September, while J-Roll has an OPS of 1.103. They're undoubtedly the best leadoff men in the game right now.

If I’ve learned anything about baseball this year, it's that the season is a long marathon to October. Anything can happen, and just when I thought I had everything figured out, the tables are turned once again.

Myers vs. Patterson ...

Williams vs. Clemens ...

Let's go Phillies...

Let's go Cubs...

Beat that son-of-a-bitch.


From Mike's Baseball Rants, we get this great piece of blogging on everything baseball:

God Must Be a Baseball Fan

by Mike Carminati

Amazing, simply amazing!

There were four games tonight with important playoff implications. Three were won by one run. The fourth, by two.

I'm lucky enough to have watching significant heaps of each game with the help of picture-in-a-picture, an itching clicker finger, access to MLB.TV, and an ability to multitask with a full bladder.

And it wasn't just the result of each game that mattered the most. It was the cumulative effect that built to a crescendo as each game reached its climax.

It's late, but I thought it might be interesting to look at the events as they enfolded. I kept a log of sorts while emailing some friends.

The Phils were leading 4-2. The Red Sox led the Yankees, 5-3. Indians just tied it in the bottom of the 9th and the Cubs just took a 2-1 lead in the 8th…

The 'Stros are bobbling the ball all over the place. Wickman just got a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th. Boy, does he look more and more like Rube Foster every day. And I'm talking about Foster as a league executive, not as a player…

How depressing--Marlon Byrd just scored against the Phils. Still up 4-3. But runner on third two in ninth.

Runners are the corners for the Cubs, still 3-2

Indians-Sox still tied in the 11th.

The Yankees just lost, 5-3, and are tied with the Red Sox for the division lead...

Tied 3-3 in Houston. Phillies win!..

Cubs just had their second runner in two innings thrown out at the plate. Still 3-3, runners at the corners, 1 out.

Todd Walker singles in the go-ahead run!..

Sox just walked the bases full, 1 out, bottom of 11th. Broussard up…

Astros leave a man on third. Cubbies win, 4-3, same score as Phils.

[Note: I am going to the Phils-Nats game in DC on Sunday and am frothy with the possibilities.]

The Indians left the bases loaded with Aaron Boone grounding out to end the inning. Broussard was called out on an outside pitch. The home plate ump seems to have had an amorphous strike zone all night. Still 1-1 middle of the 12th.

And Cliff Politte is coming in for the Sox. This'll be good…

It's a shame that this Indians-Chisox doesn't affect the division title. It's been amazing.

The Indians just got robbed to end the 12th. Sizemore slid into second on a ball grounded to Crede who lollygagged the ball into second. The replays showed that Sizemore slid in ahead of the throw, but the ump called him out. Wedge went ballistic.

Then in the 13th Willie Harris triples. Scott Podsednik, the [alleged] catalyst for their offense, bunted on his own, and hit it too hard right to first. Harris was out in a rundown. Podsendik went to second on the play. They walked Konerko to face Gload who was 0-for-5 with 3 Ks on the night, and he doubles in two runs. 3-1 Sox…

Bellirard just homered with two outs in the ninth both Ks. 3-2. Jenks looked like he would get them 1-2-3.

[Sox win, 3-2.]

Here's a quick rundown of the playoff scenarios:

Phils win two, Astros lose two: result is the Phils are the wild card.

Phils win two, Astros split: playoff for NL wild card.

Phils split, Astros lose both: playoff for NL wild card.

Astros win two, Phils do whatever: the Astros are the wild card.

Sox/Yanks win two, Indians win two: Sox/Yanks winner wins division, Indians are the wild card.

Sox/Yanks win two, Indians split: Sox/Yanks winner wins division, playoff for the wild card.

Sox/Yanks win two, Indians lose two: Sox/Yanks winner wins division, loser is wild card.

Sox/Yanks split, Indians win two: One-game playoff for the AL East Title followed one-game playoff for wild card between Yanks/Sox loser and Indians.

Sox/Yanks split, Indians split or lose two: The Yanks win the division based on better head-to-head record (10-8), Red Sox are wild card.

Let's not even talk about the seedings until after tomorrow's games.