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’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Players To Watch As The Postseason Approaches’

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Players To Watch As The Postseason Approaches’

I cannot believe that there are just three weeks left of the 2011 regular season.  It has been fun to watch, most the of the time.

And as we head into the last few weeks, there are still some heated races for divisional crowns and wild-card spots.

Theses are the ‘Top Ten’ guys that I think are pivotal to their team’s success.  If these players can turn it up a few notches, they will help put their teams in better contention.

Away we go…

Honorable Mention – Josh Hamilton, Ryan Braun, Tim Lincecum, CJ Wilson, Dan Uggla, Derek Jeter, Adrian Gonzalez, Carlos Ruiz, Ervin Santana, and Dustin Pedroia.

10 – Zach Greinke – he has the skills,  and with possibly 2-3 more starts to go a few more wins should help his confidence.

9 – Josh Beckett – superb when ‘on’ and that seems to happen less and less.  He has the potential to be the ace and lead the Red Sox.   But will he?

8 – Justin Upton – the Diamondbacks most skilled offensive player, this is his chance to take center-stage and put his team on his back.

7 – Mark Teixeira – a feared hitter, can he get over his nagging injuries to help propel the Yankees?  His defense should not be overlooked either…

6 – AJ Burnett – Arguably the weakest and most unstable link in the Yankees chain, Burnett can be a helpful pitcher.  Will he?

5 – Adrian Beltre – Coming off the DL, Beltre has just a few short weeks to get ready for the post-season.  When he is in the lineup, Texas is a lot more dangerous…

4 – Jered Weaver – The ‘Ace’ of the Angels staff, Weaver will have to be near-perfect for the Angels to succeed.

3 – Tommy Hanson – While the Braves have one of the best bullpens in baseball, their starting rotation is a little shaky.  Hanson is coming off of an injury and if he wants to be helpful to the Braves’ success, he has to prove himself worthy of a role in the starting rotation.

2 – Cole Hamels – With the best record in baseball, and best starting pitching as well, it is very possible that the Phillies move to a 3-man rotation in the playoffs.  Hamels is probably the best man for that challenge, but he has yet to remind us of his prior post-season heroics.

1 – Alex Rodriguez – Hardly near 100%, anything that Rodriguez can offer the Yankees’ lineup will be a big help.  A dangerous threat each time he approaches the plate, A-Rod may be the player responsible for either the Yankees winning or sealing their fate.

And there you have it – I cannot wait to see how the last few weeks of the season unfold.  And while some teams are already locked into their spots for the post-season, there is enough drama and intrigue to make the next 3 weeks ‘Must See TV’.

Enjoy the games everyone!!!

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Guys I’d Like To See Throw A No-Hitter’

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Guys I’d Like To See Throw A No-Hitter’

As you probably know, I watch a lot of baseball.  I would say that 4-5 nights a week, I am tuned into a game, or two if possible.

My team of choice is the Florida Marlins, but I also watch a lot of Rays baseball as well as anything aired by ESPN, especially on Sunday night.

And now with three no-hitters already under our belts for the 2011 season, I thought it would be fun to tell you the ten guys I would really like to see toss a ‘No-No’.

First let me say that Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, and Matt Garza are not on the list.  I’ve already seen them make baseball history so I know what that looks like.

Here we go:

Honorable Mention – Tim Hudson, Shawn Marcum, and Felix Hernandez.

10 – Chris Carpenter

9 – James Shields

8 – Cole Hamels

7 – CC Sabathia

6 – Cliff Lee

5 – Josh Johnson

4 – David Price

3 – Clayton Kershaw

2 – Josh Beckett

1 – Tim Lincecum

And there you have it.  Did I miss anyone that you would have added to the list??

Let me hear it!!

Bring On The Phillies!!!

Bring On The Phillies!!!

OK, maybe this is not the best approach, but why not go into Philadelphia with a team that is full of confidence in their ability to win?

The Marlins are coming off of a series in which they won 2 out of 3 games from the Braves, and the team’s offense is clicking.  In fact, they’re winning games and scoring runs without the aid of Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton.  If those two guys can turn it on, maybe, just maybe ‘The Fish’ can continue their winning ways…

My fingers are crossed, but the opposition is real tough.  And while we’re not facing Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee during this road trip, the challenge of Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels is not a cake-walk either…

My fingers are crossed.  GO FISH!!!

World Series, Game 6 – It’s A Wrap!!!

In truly historic fashion, the New York Yankees beat the Phillies 4 games to 2 to win the 2009 World Series.  This is the 27th championship title for the Yankees, and this championship run was a great way to close the 2009 season at their brand new ballpark.

Led by their outstanding starting pitching, the Yankees were dominant in several of the games and took advantage of the Phillies inability to knock their starters out early.  CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte were both incredible and AJ Burnett threw a gem in Game 2 for the champs.

Offensively, the Yankees did it all very well.  Collecting clutch hits, scoring runs in bunches, and taking advantage of having a hitter’s count when battling the Phillies pitchers are just a few of the reasons that the Yankees prevailed.  Derek Jeter was on base often.  Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui each took turns being catalysts for run production in the Yankee victories.

And then there is Mariano Rivera.  Whether he is needed to get 2 guys out or if he has to throw 40 pitches over 2 innings, Mo is almost always superb!!  His ability to dominate during the most stressful situations is what makes him stand out as one of the best closers in post-season history.

Congratulations to the New York Yankees.  This is a championship that many of us(not me) predicted would happen.  I also firmly believe that this is a championship that they had to win.  Under the gun, and with more pressure on them that any other team would face, the Yankees prevailed and now they can proudly boast that they are the ‘Best Team in Baseball”

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World Series, Game 5 – Powered By Utley!!

It took 5 games, but this was the one where good hitting beat good pitching.  Finally!!  The Phillies offense got off to an early start and their relief pitching held off a furious attack by the Yankees late in the game to earn an 8-6 victory.  Luckily for the Phils, Brad Lidge did not make it into the game – as I predicted…

Each team was led by their offensive superstar – for the Yankees it was Alex Rodriguez and for the Phillies it was Chase Utley.

A-Rod went 2-for-4 while driving in three runs and scoring another.  His 2 RBI in the 8th inning started another Yankee comeback that ultimately fell short.  Nobody’s talking about the A-Rod that didn’t get his first hit of the series until Game 3 anymore…

Utley was the Phillie’s offensive spark as he launched 2 home runs – a 3-run blast in the 1st inning and then a solo shot in the 7th.  He wound up going 2-for-3 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.     Utley now has 5 home runs in 5 games.  We’ll see if that streak continues on Wednesday…

Game 6 is right around the corner as we head back to Yankee Stadium.  Pedro versus Pettitte should be classic!!!

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World Series, Game 4 – A-Rod Delivers In The Clutch As The Yankees Take Control Of The Series!!

As if it were scripted by Hollywood, the biggest star in baseball who has been bashed for his inability to take over in important games, Alex Rodriguez, got the biggest hit of his life securing a victory in Game 4.

With heroic pitching taking a backseat for the second straight night, it was offense that took center stage for Game 4.  Each starting pitcher got hit hard early but managed to settle in as the game went on.  While neither was on their ‘A-Game’, both Sabathia and Blanton settled down after allowing early inning runs.  The bullpens did their part until Joba Chamberlain gave up the Yankees led by allowing the Phillies to tie up the game at 4-4.

And then it was his turn…  In the top of the ninth of a tied game, Alex Rodriguez was at the plate for the most meaningful at-bat of his career.  And he delivered an RBI double that allowed Johnny Damon to score the tie-breaking run.  Phillies closer Brad Lidge gave up 2 more runs to the Yankees and the team trailed by three runs heading into the bottom of the ninth as Mariano Rivera waited. 

And the rest is history – 3 up and 3 down as the Yankees take a 3-1 series lead and have full control as they look to win the 2009 World Series.

Game 5 will feature Cliff Lee and AJ Burnett.  Both looked awesome in their previous starts, and I’m pretty certain they’ll do fine again.  If the Phillies have a chance to win tonight, they better not give the ball to Brad Lidge!!!

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World Series, Game 3 – Pettitte & A-Rod Prove Their Werth!!

For the first time in this series, offense was king!!

Two of the most exciting offensive teams in baseball managed to  collect 14 hits in Game 3 – 6 of which were home runs.  The Phillies struck first scoring 3 runs off of Andy Pettitte in the second inning.  However after that little spurt of offense, Pettitte was able to  remain calm and his Yankee teammates responded by scoring at least one run in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th innings.

Alex Rodriguez was finally able to collect his first hit of the series, which was a controversial home run.  Nick Swisher also managed to launch one into the outfield seats while Hideki Matsui homered for the second straight game.

While the 3-headed monster of Rollins, Utley, and Howard were kept in check by going just 1-for-12, it was All-star Jayson Werth that provided most of the offense for the Phillies as he blasted two home runs.  Unfortunately for Philly, both were solo shots. 

Swisher

Now the Yankees go into Game 4 with a 2-1 lead and look to take a commanding lead in the series.  Game 4 is always a crucial game and if the Yankees win, their confidence will be at a series high!!  Their ace, CC Sabathia, will take the mound to ensure their best chance at a win while the Phillies counter with Joe Blanton.  If the Big 3 from Philadelphia don’t break out from their collective slump,  the Yankees should have enough firepowerto win the game.

Game 4 is just around  the corner!!!

World Series, Game 2 – Yanks Dig The Long Ball!!

Another game down, and another round of great starting pitching!!  The Yankees emerged victorious as they evened up the series 1-1 and made this championship match-up a best of 5 games series.

Both AJ Burnett and Pedro Martinez were on their game.  Continuing the trend established in Game 1, both starting pitchers looked great but this time it was a few timely hits that helped the Yankees squeak by the Phillies…

AJ Burnett pitched the best game of his post-season career as he went 7 innings, allowing just 4 hits while striking out 9 batters.  Pedro Martinez was equally effective going 6 innings and allowing 6 hits and striking out 8.  The big difference was the long ball.  2 of the 6 hits Pedro allowed were solo home runs.  Mark Teixeira connected for the first shot and then Hideki Matsui hit the go-ahead homer to give the Yankees a lead that they would not relinquish.

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2 games down, and 2 classic pitching match-ups are in the books.  We’ll see what happens Saturday night when Andy Pettitte and Cole Hamels take the mound. 

Something tells me that round three may be just as good!!!

World Series, Game 1 – Controlled By Cliff And Chase!!

Without showing an ounce of stress due to the high profile situation, Cliff Lee put on a pitching clinic against the Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series.

Going the distance, Lee threw a complete game while allowing just 6 hits, 3 of which went to Derek Jeter.  It wa san amazing performance as he kept New York’s power hitters at bay while striking them each out numerour times.  For the night, Lee struck out 10 total batters with the Yankee power-trio of Teixeira, Rodriguez, and Posada striking out 7 times. 

Not to be outdone was Chase Utley who extended his post-season hit streak to 26 consecutive games.  Utley provided all of the fire-power that the Phillies would need as he connected for 2 solo home runs early in the game. 

The Phillies never looked back, and now they have a 1-0 lead in this best of 7 games series.

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Tonight we get to see what AJ Burnett and Pedro Martinez can do.  This will be  the highest profile game of Burnett’s career so far; it will be interesting to see how he defends the Yankees’ home filed advantage.  Meanwhile, Pedro has been in similar circumstances before and he usually shined brightly.

Plain and simple, the Yankees must pull out all stops and win tonight if they want  a chance to get back into this.  And if the Phillies win tonight, this could be their last road trip of the year!!

I’m ready for Game #2!!!

My World Series Prediction. What’s Yours??

I have wavered back and forth for days about who I think will win the World Series…

These teams appear to be so evenly matched in the more important aspects of the game that I think the winner will come down to a very simple equation – The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win!!!

But who will that be??  What team will make the fewest base running errors?  What team will have the fewest passed balls?  Who is going to capitalize and score runs based as a result of these kinds of errors?  Whoever does that should walk away as the 2009 World Series champions!!

I know who I want to see win the title.  But to me they have 1 glaring flaw on their roster and I feel that it happens to be the other team’s biggest strength.

Here goes…

The Philadelphia Phillies will win the World Series.  And they’ll do it in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium!!!

Phillies pin

There you have it.  Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy what should be a historic and memorable championship series!!!

Who are you taking??