Oct 21

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Dodgers try to stay alive in NLCS.

Two nights ago the Dodgers were one out away from tying their NLCS at two games each with Philadelphia until Jimmy Rollins did what money players do.

Down by a run in the ninth with two outs, Rollins lined a two-run double off All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton into the right-center gap to push the Dodgers onto the brink of winter.

Hamels vs. Padilla

Hamels vs. Padilla


“This is big,” Rollins said. “The pressure’s all on them. … We understand we still have a job to do. We look forward to trying to close it out.”

With a win tonight, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said the pressure reverts back to Philadelphia because the series would return to Los Angeles. Torre knows it is possible. While managing the Yankees in 2001, New York lost its first two games against Oakland in the ALDS, but ran the table to advance. Then, in 2004, his Yankees blew a 3-0 series lead and lost to Boston in the ALCS.

Game 6 Friday in LA is contingent on the Dodgers beating Cole Hamels, who has given up eight runs in 10 1/3 innings this postseason.

“Any time you hand him the ball, I think he’s capable of going out there and shutting the other team out,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Hamels, who is 5-0 with a 2.19 ERA in seven career starts against Los Angeles.

Vicente Padilla starts for Los Angeles, and his biggest obstacle is Ryan Howard, who has driven in at least one run in eight straight postseason games, and is 5-for-13 (.385) with two home runs, eight RBI in this series.

Oct 19

Is it better to have loved and lost?

Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?

That’s a tough question, especially at the time when the misery has peaked. The Mets aren’t in the playoffs, they are scattered throughout the country. Some might be watching, others might not care enough to turn on their sets.

This date has not been kind to the Mets in the playoffs, prompting the question.

Today in 2006, Yadier Molina’s two-run HR in the 9th inning off Aaron Heilman is the game-winner as the St. Louis Cardinals win in seven games. The game ends when Carlos Beltran is frozen on a nasty curveball by Adam Wainwright.

The game is remembered for Endy Chavez’s home-run robbing catch of Scott Rolen’s drive, but the Mets can’t sustain the momentum and blow an opportunity in the bottom of the inning to break the game open open.

The season that unfolded with so much promise and potential was over, but little did we know at the time that so was the Mets’ window of opportunity. They blew two September leads the following two seasons and derailed completely this season.

Now, the organization is faced with the question of whether they need tweaking or an overhaul.

Also, on this date in 1999, the Braves defeated the Mets‚ 10-9 in 11 innings‚ to take the NLCS in six games.

The Mets came back from three games down to force a sixth game, and rallied twice from deficits of 5-0 and 7-3 to force extra innings on Mike Piazza’s homer.

However, Kenny Rogers walked in the winning run in the 11th inning to end that dream.

Oct 09

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

It was a lightning moment, a sudden burst and it was over.

On this day in 1999, with Mike Piazza out with a thumb injury, the Mets got a home run from backup catcher Todd Pratt in the 10th inning for a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pratt’s line drive just eluded Arizona center fielder Steve Finley, at the time one the best defensive outfielders in the game.

The Mets went on to the NLCS against the Atlanta, where they fell behind 3-0 on the series but rallied to force a sixth game, which they lost on a bases-loaded walk from Kenny Rogers.

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They Said It

They Said It

One of the interesting story lines in the Yankees-Twins ALDS, is the decision to start backup catcher Jose Molina in Game 2 tonight in New York over Jorge Posada to catch AJ Burnett.

Burnett said he did not lobby manager Joe Girardi to make the switch.

Said Burnett: “It was the manager’s decision, I had no part in it. I’ve thrown good to both. My good games, I’m right. My bad games, it’s not the catcher, it’s me … When I’m good, it doesn’t matter which one is behind the plate.”

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BY THE NUMBERS

3.28: Burnett’s ERA when pitching to Jose Molina in comparison to 4.96 when pitching to Jorge Posada.

Oct 07

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Mets History

This Day in Mets History

It was a sweet memory and it wasn’t too long ago. On this day in 2006, the Mets defeated the, 9-5, to sweep their NLDS.

The Mets would lose to the Cardinals in the NLCS, and their window of opportunity has closed in the following three years, being slammed shut this season.

I covered the 2006 team, it was my first year on the Mets beat after long time with the Yankees. I was impressed with how the Mets played that season. They were sharp, aggressive, fundamentally sound. They had some pitching injuries, but the bullpen was deep and strong.

Times sure have changed.

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They Said It

They Said It

The Yankees won their season series over Minnesota, 7-0, but these are the playoffs.

The Twins might be exhausted, but they are hot and playing sharp, crisp baseball right now. They are the underdog, but they are a fundamentally sound team with good pitching. They always seem to find a way to stay in a game.

Said outfielder Denard Span: “We just feel like we have nothing to lose.”

The Twins are dangerous and they know it. The Yankees better know it, too.

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