Archive for the 2015 MLB Playoffs Category

It’s Saturday- Go Cubs!

Posted in 2015 MLB Playoffs with tags on October 17, 2015 by Rich Wilkins
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I wrote about these Cubs lifers earlier this week. They deserve to see a World Series.

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The LCS Preview in Blue

Posted in 2015 MLB Playoffs with tags on October 16, 2015 by Rich Wilkins
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Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

Ok, so there are four teams left in the MLB playoffs, and all four of them wear blue. All four of them are teams who aren’t that accustomed to winning recently either. Somebody has to win though in the end, so let’s take a look at the two series.

ALCS- Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals

Ok, so it’s Kansas City Barbecue against…. Canada? The Royals are back in the ALCS after a thrilling comeback to beat Houston, while the Blue Jays had to win three straight to beat Texas. The Royals won last year’s AL crown, and fell just one game short of the ring. The Blue Jays last won in 1993 (barf).

As I said, the Royals are from Kansas City, which I only really associate with barbecue. It’s in Missouri, or maybe Kansas, or there’s a KC in both, but who really cares in the end, right (I know it’s in Missouri, but c’mon)? Toronto is in Canada, I need a passport to reach it, it’s home to Drake, and Joe Carter hit his infamous home run there. It’s definitely “hockey town,” while Kansas City doesn’t have hockey or basketball, so I guess that’s an edge to Toronto if we want to do something besides eat or play baseball in either. I’m a big fan of that Blue Jays offense and Ben Revere, but i’m also a big fan of this Royals group and Ryan Madson.

I don’t think this Royals team will be denied. This is a really hard series to call, but I think the Royals win in seven.

NLCS- Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets

Ok, if you’re cheering for the Mets here, you are the bad guy. 1908 is so long ago that parts of my family weren’t even in America yet, and just about everyone who was there is dead. The last time the Cubs won, Teddy Roosevelt was President. The last time the Mets did, Ronald Reagan was. I’ll take Roosevelt.

Chicago or New York Style Pizza? Lake Michigan or the Long Island Sound? Let’s not kid ourselves, New York is the coolest city in the world, but Chicago is really awesome. The Mets are the “JV Team” in New York sports. Chicago loves their Cubs something fierce, whether they ever win or not. Wrigley Field is beautiful, but i’m a pretty big fan of Citi Field too, actually. If we just look at Queens vs. Chicago, count me with Chi-town, it’s easier to get around.

So the actual series involves two young groups. The Cubs will get to line their big two aces up to start this series in New York, while the Mets will probably have to start out with Harvey. Either way, Harvey and De Grom will both pitch twice, and Arrieta and Lester will too. This means the pitching will be really good. I have the Cubs winning in seven though, and advancing to their first World Series since I’ve been alive, and longer.

We All Need a Lunchtime Laugh

Posted in 2015 MLB Playoffs, 2015 New York Mets with tags on October 13, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

There are 8 million people in New York City… of course a few do this. It’s a good laugh. Who knows if these are even real.

I’m Disappointed that Chase Utley Didn’t Get In

Posted in 2015 MLB Playoffs, Chase Utley with tags , on October 13, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

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I’m disappointed in Don Mattingly. Not for defending Chase Utley- I’m fine with that. I’m disappointed that Mattingly didn’t play him at all last night. He certainly could have started him against Harvey, whom he hits well. He used several other pinch-hitters last night. He could have just put him in as a defensive replacement late. The game was a blowout, so there was nothing stopping them.

I don’t think Mattingly did Utley any kind of favor. Does anyone think he didn’t want the fans he long tortured to boo the hell out of him? Does anyone think he didn’t want to face Harvey, and even get hit, giving them a free base runner? Does anyone think he didn’t just want to get back on the field and put Saturday night into the past? I don’t think Chase cares about a fastball in the ribs or the hatred of Mets fans, two things he already had from both. I do think moving on would have been nice.

I also think that it would have been good for all others involved. The Dodgers looked flattened by the atmosphere last night, and the Mets are trying to advance at this point. “The slide” is dominating the discussion of a series that is still, at it’s core, about who wins. Mattingly could have got the “big moment” out of the way in a blowout last night. He didn’t. It came off weak to me.

Then again, the Dodgers have in general. They seem ripe for elimination by the Mets today.

Joe Torre- Disciplinarian? Or Joke?

Posted in 2015 MLB Playoffs, Joe Torrie with tags , on October 12, 2015 by Rich Wilkins

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It’s a shame that he’s in this position- Joe Torre has had a good life in baseball. Unfortunately, he’s about to do some damage to that sterling reputation. Torre decided to suspend Chase Utley for games three and four of the Dodgers series with the Mets for his slide that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg in game two. In doing so, Torre has contradicted himself, over-stepped his bounds, and possibly impacted this series negatively.

The big problem with Joe Torre’s decision to weigh in on this matter is that he came out and defended his umpires in the first place. Sure, Torre can say that the call on the field was a judgment call and had to be made in the moment, whereas he had the benefit of watching the play over night. He can say that if he’d like, but it doesn’t change the reality of what Torre is doing- he’s suspending Chase Utley for a play that the umpires on the field didn’t find troublesome. He’s stepping into something he should simply stay out of. He’s denying the Dodgers a player on their roster in a crucial game, one who has absolutely had his way with the Mets game three starter. Joe Torre belongs nowhere near this play or suspension.

Basically, Joe Torre will do anything to make the New York Media happy at this point though. Utley is hated up there, Tejada’s leg is broken, and the Post and Daily News won’t stop whining unless Utley is either injured or suspended now. Yeah sure, the slide was called legal in the opinion of the umpires, but New York fans and New York media must be appeased by Joe. He will literally change the rules and punishment in the middle of the playoffs to appease a fan base of whiners. Have they ever suspended anyone for a hard slide in recent times? Of course not. Joe Torre can’t allow this one to go without his response though, I mean, Chase Utley said mean things about New York before…

Time to step down, Mr. Torre. You have no credibility.

My Two Cents on the “Utley Slide”

Posted in 2015 MLB Playoffs, Chase Utley with tags , on October 11, 2015 by Rich Wilkins
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Utley’s final play as a Phillies player.

Chase Utley is a former Phillies player, and one who I generally liked. That’s about the extent of my bias, as he now plays in the playoffs, for a team I don’t like, against a team I don’t like. Last night in game two, Utley made a bit of news. The stir he caused involved a highly controversial slide into second base that broke up a double play, caused a confusing sequence of events regarding the umpires calling the play, and ended the season for Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

Most Phillies fans on Twitter and the internet defended Utley’s play. Mets fans reacted with everything from general dislike for Utley to calling for Matt Harvey to put a fastball into his skull in game three. I take the position that there are two different questions here-

  1. Was the slide legal?
  2. Was the slide dirty?

My answer is yes, and yes. In the opinion of the umpires on the field, and myself, Utley didn’t stray out of the baseline to the level needed to call him out for the slide. The contact itself, however gruesome, was legal. He could have touched the bag, and he is allowed to make contact. Many Mets fans are saying it’s illegal. I think they’re wrong.

So if it was legal, how was it dirty? Utley did not even attempt to start sliding until he was about even with the bag. While he was close enough to the bag to be legal, he slid in a manner that showed no attempt to really reach the base safely. He slid to make hard contact, and with reckless abandon. I’m not trying to guess his intent here, because I have no way to do so. I see David Wright and Jose Reyes attempting to do so, and just smell sour grapes from them both. His intent does not matter though. The play itself was dirty. Players usually don’t slide even with the bag, right into a shortstop with his back turned. Whether he intended to hurt Tejada or not isn’t relevant. The play put Tejada at an abnormal risk, and left him with a broken leg. I think the Mets and their fans have every right to not like it.

And that’s kind of that. People complaining that the slide was “illegal” because Utley’s butt didn’t touch the ground first, or that he missed the bag, are grasping at straws they knew they wouldn’t get calls from. People defending Utley should just stop. The play was ugly. Ruben Tejada won’t play anymore. The series will go on. Watch the play for yourself.

AL Divisional Round Preview

Posted in 2015 MLB Playoffs with tags on October 8, 2015 by Rich Wilkins
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Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

Well, I didn’t want Houston to win, but it also isn’t the “end of the world,” right? The AL playoffs will go on, in fact they’ll even be pretty interesting. Here’s my preview of the two series.

ALDS- Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros

Well, last year’s Astros face this year’s version. The surprising, young upstarts from Houston got hot and won the Wild Card, then steam rolled the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Next up they face the Royals, who basically did this last year. On paper, this is a mismatch. The Royals had the best record in the AL, won their division like three months ago, and won the AL crown last year. The only thing that stopped Kansas City from having a World Series parade last year was a certain left-hander that pitches for San Francisco.

So, as I said the other day, I don’t have much to say about Houston. I’ve never been there. They have a team where everyone is almost ten years younger than me, which is depressing. So does Kansas City though, and I’ve also never been there. Kansas City is known for it’s barbecue, which I like, but Texas does food pretty good too. I have been to Omaha, where the Royals AAA team is at, and I did see them win the AAA championship a few years ago. I guess that’s cool.

So who do I like here? I don’t have strong feelings about either team. Both have some players I like though. I think the Royals have been sitting back too long. I think Houston takes them down in this series, despite not having home-field and not having Keuchel until game three.

ALDS- Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers

Now, these two teams I like. How can I not like the line-ups in this series? How can I not like Cole Hamels for God’s sake? I know David Price wasn’t ever on the Philadelphia team, but I like him too. In fact, a Hamels-Price game five would be great, it would remind me of 2008.

So the Rangers are from Dallas, and I hate the Cowboys. On the other hand, there’s 1993, so you know how I feel about the Blue Jays. I like most of the players on both teams though, so I’ll overlook that. I need a passport to go to Toronto, and there are people in Texas who wish I needed one to go there.

Up until last weekend I felt like the Rangers were the hot team. Then they kind of stumbled through the weekend to the division title and messed up their rotation. If the Rangers win a game in Toronto early, they have a shot, but the Blue Jays have more of a roster. My guess here is that the Blue Jays win this series in five games. I’m pulling for Hamels though.

Sincerely GC

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