Fall Classic Preview: This One’s For All The Marbles

Tonight marks game one of the 2013 Fall Classic and the two teams many predicted would still be standing… are. It’s being billed as the scrappiest, grittiest, beardiest, old school baseballey-est World Series in history.

The St. Louis Cardinals take their straight up class and respect for the unwritten rules of the game up to Boston tonight to take on the gritty cast of Duck Dynasty, who also happen to play for the mucho-scrappy Boston Red Sox. Adam Wainwright will take on Jon Lester in what’s sure to be anything but a barn burner. The October air has completely chilled and save a few games in the LCS’s the bats have also gone mostly cold. That combined with two absolute aces on the mound and one could easily see game one tallying no more than 3 or 4 total runs if we’re lucky. Wainwright will hope to have Red Sox swinging at nasty, filthy, breaking pitches just outside the zone all night, while Lester will hope to continue his dominant postseason where he has held opponents to 2 runs or less in every single one of his October starts.

Regardless of how Game 1 shapes up, this should prove to be a World Series for the ages. These two teams are pretty evenly matched and us as fans would love if the birds and the beards treated us all to a full 7 game series. May the best team named after something red win.

Division Series Wrap Up

For what started out with absolute blowouts all around, every one of the Division Series provided us with a solid finish with two of the four series going 5 games.

Quick recap:

The Cards forced a Game 5 with their backs against the wall bringing the series back to St. Louis and sent Adam Wainwright out against Pittsburgh’s ultra talented rookie Gerrit Cole. Cole put up an outstanding effort, putting his team in a good position to win but they were no match for Adam Wainwright’s complete game domination show. I will not be cheering for another World Series appearance for the team representing “The Best Fans in Baseball.” Get ‘em next year Pirates… please.

The Tigers also forced a Game 5 in Oakland after dominating Game 4 in Detroit. In an almost identical story line, the Tigers sent out veteran stud Justin Verlander and Oakland sent out their upper lip peach fuzz sporting rookie Sonny Gray. Gray pitched well enough to keep his team in it, but Verlander went 8 dominant innings even taking a no-hitter into the 7th. This is now the second straight year Justin Verlander dominated the A’s in a Game 5 ALDS.

The Braves / Dodgers series went a semi-entertaining four games. The Dodgers completely dismantled the Braves in Games 1 and 3. Game 2 was low scoring and close all night. But we saw the Braves put the game out of reach in the bottom of the 7th with a Jason Heyward 2 run single never to look back. In Game 4 Atlanta looked very much like they were going to force a fifth game. Clayton Kershaw was pitching on 3 days rest. He pitched brilliantly, with the Braves scoring two of their runs off of an A-Gon error. In the bottom of the 8th Juan Uribe smacked a 2 run homer to put the Dodgers up 4-3 and punch their ticket to the NLCS.

The Rays / Red Sox series was basically a national showcase for Boston’s potent top to bottom lineup. The Rays tried their darndest! They even won Game 3 on an unlikely walk off home run! But Boston was just playing. They won game 4 pretty handily. Jake Peavy pitched well for Boston and they got just the offense they needed in a 3-1 victory.

Now that all of the “underdogs” have been eliminated, and only the conventional big boys remain, we can only hope for two series that go the full 7 games and leave us simply yearning for more baseball.

Harvey-John Surgery

As a Mets-first baseball blog, I am compelled to share my thoughts on Matt Harvey electing to have TJ surgery on his elbow. Harvey came to this decision on his own. He came to it before even heading to Port St. Lucie to begin a throwing program aimed at seeing where his arm stability stood.
Do I think the front office had a huge part in this seemingly independent decision by Harvey? Absolutely. The team projects plans wants to truly compete for a championship in 2015 and beyond. Matt’s recovery time would slot him back in the rotation right in time for 2015 Spring Training.
It’s a tough call to make. There is a slim chance Harvey’s elbow holds up for years before fully tearing (exhibit A: Adam Wainwright) and he could pitch and pitch until he finally blows it out completely.
But Captain David Wright brought up a completely pragmatic and reasonable point. The thought of his elbow rupturing will be in the back of Harvey’s mind until it finally happens. As a competitor, that could severely hurt his confidence and strip him of the “edge” he held this season over the National League.
Did Harvey make the right call? We can only hope. A common theme among Mets fans throughout the past five decades, but it’s all we have right now. While he likely won’t be 2013 CY candidate Matt Harvey in 2015 when he returns, his competitiveness, talent, and overall demeanor project a return to greatness shortly after returning.
And what do we want more than anything as Mets fans? A championship obviously. One fueled by Matt Harvey’s electric arm would truly be icing on the cake.
See you in 2015 Matt.

I’ll have a Cobb-Salazar with extra blue cheese, please

Danny Salazar fires strikes at 98 mph. Alex Cobb pounds the zone with absolute precision. This is the pitcher’s duel last night’s NL Wild Card in Pittsburgh was supposed to be. Unfortunately for pitching enthusiasts, the Pirates never got the memo.

Tonight in Cleveland, it’s also about not sticking to the script.

In the top of the 3rd , Delmon Young inexplicably hits the first pitch he sees from Salazar out of the park. Not Wil Myers. Not Evan Longoria. Delmon Young. LOLoctober.

In the bottom of the 4th Alex Cobb escapes a bases loaded one out jam by getting Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. I almost pooped myself on that turn with Cobb covering 1st JUST in time to prevent any Indians runs to score. YAY OCTOBER!

On the Clevland side, Danny Salazar just could not sustain the dominance he held over the Rays bats over the first two innings. By the end of the 4th, the Rays lead 3-0. In the top of the 5th, he is pulled after giving up a leadoff walk to Jose Molina. Shame we couldn’t see Salazar and Cobb battle it out for 7 innings.

Cobb must have felt guilty about all the dominance he was dishing out because in the bottom of the 5th, he gives up a leadoff double to Yan Gomes. After a Lonnie Chisenhall single, he finds himself with runners on the corners and no outs before striking out Michael Bourn for out number one. Swisher grounds out to first for out number two and advances the runner when, after the force, Loney comes home with the ball trying catch Gomes in a rundown. Unfortunately for the Rays, nobody was covering third so there was no play. So it’s runners at 2nd and 3rd with two outs now. Jason Kipnis comes to the plate with the chance to break it open for the Indians. He….. grounds back to the pitcher for the third out. If the Indians find themselves in this position again, Terry Francona has already indicated he’s going to call on Jason Giambi. So of course I’m praying for the Giambi longball now. Believeland?

In the bottom of the 7th, Cobb gives up hits to Gomes and Chisenhall again but gets Cabrera and Bourn out before being taken out for Joel Peralta with Nick Swisher at the plate. Swisher strikes out swinging. The Indians really missed on a lot of chances tonight. On the other hand, Alex Cobb pitched around trouble absolutely brilliantly tonight.

The Rays don’t plate any more in the top of the 8th.  Ho-hum. Still leading.

In the bottom half of the 8th, Carlos Santana singles off of Joel Peralta. The Indians have a chance to break open again. For the second out, David DeJesus catches a fly ball in foul ground near the 3rd base line and nearly gets showered with beer (or possibly dip spit according to my twitter feed). Brohio class right there, you guys. The Rays don’t flinch at beer, dip spit, or any kind of showers for that matter and Jake McGee comes in for Peralta and strikes out Ryan Raburn for out number 3. Not looking good for Believeland with only three outs to go.

Tampa Bay scores another run in the top of the 9th. Ho-hum.

Fernando Rodney comes in to close it out in the bottom of the 9th. Cabrera strikes out. Gomes lines out softly to short. Chisenhall strikes out to seal the deal.

Break out the Silly String. The Rays are going to Boston.