Thursday, October 7, 2010
Game two of American League; game one of Giants-Braves recap
The second day of the baseball playoffs featured some more great pitching. I personally like game two more than any other game in the short division series. This is a chance for a team to get back in the series or to be buried early. Today featured both American League road teams taking an early 2-0 lead and in the National League featured another dominant performance by a Cy Young pitcher making his first career start.
Tim Lincecum strikes out 14 in 1-0 win over the Braves
Tim Lincecum the former Washington Husky was absolutely dominant today in his first career start. Lincecum began the game giving up a lead off double but after that he was lights out. The Giants scored only one run for him and that was all he needed.
That one run the Giants scored was a controversial run. On a full count Buster Posey was running on the pitch. Pat Burrell had struck out and Posey slid in safely for the stolen base at second base. The only problem is on his slide he was actually out. Cody Ross with 2 outs had an RBI base hit that scored Posey for the only run of the game. Posey led off the 6th inning with a double and then an error but was stranded on third base despite nobody out.
Tim Lincecum showed everyone why he has won the last two Cy Young awards. Lincecum gave up just two hits both were doubles and only one walk. He struck out 14 Braves including two in the 9th. The Giants blue print is what the Mariners were hoping for this year. Just sneak into the playoffs with an average offense and ride your aces. Lincecum or Halladay are in a class by themselves amongst the National League playoff pitchers.
Bruce Bochy should be applauded as well. Most managers with a 1-0 lead and especially those with an all-star closer don't pitch Lincecum in the 9th. Bochy learned from his mistake in 1998 when Kevin Brown went 8 innings of zero runs and had 16 strikeouts but Bochy went with Hoffman and Hoffman gave up a run so the Padres barely won 2-1. This time Bochy stuck with his ace in the 9th and Lincecum had a 1-2-3 inning. This should be a great series with tons of good pitching match ups. Game two will feature Tim Hudson for Atlanta vs San Francisco Giants Matt Cain.
C.J. Wilson pulls Texas within one win of first ever postseason series win
The Tampa Bay Rays who won the American League championship in 2008 find themselves down 0-2 and going on the road to Texas. Tampa Bay is feeling the pressure as Joe Maddon became the first manager in five years to be ejected from a postseason game.
Maddon also decided to go with Jamie Shields in what essentially is a must win game two. Shields is just one of four pitchers to ever start a postseason game with an ERA over 5. Sheilds was wild and erratic all game. Shields lasted just 4.1 innings and threw 38 strikes to 30 balls. Trailing 2-0 Shields was lifted and what happened next changed the game and possibly the series.
Chad Qualls had entered the game with 1st and 2nd and 1 out. Qualls on a 1-2 pitch appeared to have struck Michael Young out. Young checked his swing the umps said he didn't go around. On the very next pitch Young hit a three run home run which essentially put the game over at 5-0.
Now that turn of events shouldn't take away from what C.J. Wilson had accomplished. Wilson went 6.1 innings of 2 hits and no runs while striking out 7. Wilson along with Lee have gone 13.1 innings of one run and 17 strikeouts. The Texas Rangers believe it or not might have the best 1-2 punch in the American League. With a good offense Texas could be more of a threat than most people gave them credit for. Going into the playoffs the Rangers were the second longest shot to win the World Series. The Rangers are one win away from their first ever postseason series victory.
Andy Pettite wins his 19th career postseason game, Lance Berkman comes up big
The New York Yankees do it again. The Yankees for the eighth consecutive playoff win over the Twins trailed in seven of those games now in a row. The Yankees are in the Minnesota Twins heads. The Twins have now lost 11 playoff games in a row. The Twins find themselves in a deep 0-2 hole going into the defending world champions in New York.
After the Twins tied the game up at 2 on an Orlando Hudson home run the game got away from the Twins again in the 7th. Another blown call by the umpires making it a perfect three for three on game changing calls today occurred. Lance Berkman had appeared to have been struck out but the umpires ruled it a ball. On the very next pitch Berkman who has been somewhat of a dissapointment since coming to New York belts a double to deep center scoring Jorge Posada from first base. Berkman who in the 5th off of former Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano hit a home run burned him again.
Pavano the Yankee dissapointment was done after 6+ innings giving up 10 hits and 4 runs. Once the Yankees took the lead it was back to the Yankees postseason model. Have Andy Pettitte pitch a gem which he did going 7 innings of just 2 runs turn the game over to Mariano Rivera which Rivera closed the game down with his 41st career postseason save. Counting the postseason that was Rivera's 600th career save.
The Twins and the Rays find themselves in a tough position having lost both home games. Only the 2001 New York Yankees(Had won 4 of the previous 5 World Series) who rallied over the Oakland A's after losing games one and two at home. The Giants like the Phillies hope the ride their excellant top of the rotation pitching.
As for the umpires there needs to be something done. From the regular season to last nights blown call in the Yankees-Twins game to three game changing calls today there has to be some sort of instant replay. We are in 2010 now and instead of wasting time with managers arguing calls when they are right and being tossed we can be replaying those calls.
Overall just like in previous playoffs its all about pitching and the teams who are winning have the pitching and the teams who are losing started some rough game two starters. Tomorrow will be crucial game two's for the Braves and Reds. It will also be huge for the Phillies and Giants in maintaining homefield advantage.