Friday, October 06, 2006

MLB: Day 3 Review/Day 4 Preview

Quite a day in the MLB playoffs as one team stayed alive with a huge win (Detroit) and 2 teams from Cali are now gasping for air after going down 2-0 in their series (Padres & Dodgers.)

Let's review:

Verlander, Tigers get even with Stankees
They tried to out-psyche the young Tiger hurler. The previous night, when the game Game 2 was postponed due to rain, starter Justin Verlander and the Tigers still took the field for the alleged 10 PM start time. Not a Yankee in sight. Minutes later the game was officially postponed, leaving Verlander, Smokey Jim Leyland and the rest of the Tigers squad a bit miffed & perplexed.
Well in the bright sunshine of an early October afternoon in the Bronx, Verlander & Leyland exacted their revenge as Detroit earned a hard-fought 4-3 victory to even the best of five series at 1 game apiece
The rookie righty dazzled the Bronx Bombers for 5 1/3 innings, his only mistake a hanger to Judas Demon in the 5th that he belted into the 3rd deck in right, a shot eerily similar to his Game 7 GS in the '04 ALCS. But the pesky Tigers clawed back, as emerging stud Curtis Granderson tripled of Mousse-ina in the 7th to score Most Improved Marcus Thames and then the Detroit pen took care of the rest. Jimmie Walker came in to relieve Verlander in mid-count on another hunch move by Leyland, this time one that paid off in a double play. In the 8th the Tigers unleashed their ultimate bullpen weapon- rookie righty blowtorch Joel Zumaya, whose heater registered 103 on the gun as he blew away Giambi & KRod (3 K's, 3 LOB) in an awesome display of pitching prowess. Todd Jones hung on for the save, and the series heads to Motown for Game 3 tonight (no travel day due to the rain out.)
Tonight's pivotal Game 3 (8 PM, ESPN) will see two old vets battling it out for AARP supremacy: Detroit will send Kenny The Cameraman Rogers (17-8, 3,84, 42 yrs old) against the Feeble Unit (17-11, 5.00, 43 yrs old), who has not pitched since Sept 23rd and has been diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back. The two ornery old coots will go toe to toe to see who can take the momentum and seize control of this series; should be interesting.
MY PICK: Although I picked the Stanks to sweep, "Uncle MO" now resides in Mo-town; I like Detriot tonight, 6-5. Hopefully Zumaya will pitch again- that kid is ELECTRIC.

Padres cannot buy a run vs. Cards, lose 2-0 & down 2-0
Has anyone seen the Padres offense? No that's right- no one has seen it for the past 2 games against St. Louis, where they have managed only 1 run in two losses and now find themselves in a monumental hole, down 2 games to none heading back to St. Louis.
Boomer Wells gave the Pads a quality start (5 IP, 7H, 2ER), but it was Phat Albert who did them in again (I told him to pitch around him!) Pujols knocked in the first run in the on a single in the 4th, Edmonds followed with another RBI and that was all reclamation project Jeff Weaver needed. The ragged righty exiled (for his little brother Jered) from Anaheim came up big in a big game, throwing 5 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball in the biggest game of his struggling career;he got out of a huge jam in the 6th when he K'd Dave Roberts on 3 nasty breakers with runners on 1st & 2nd.
So now the series heads to St. Louie with the Redbirds poised to go for the kill. But the Padres are a resilient bunch who won the division on the last day of the season and actually had a better record on the road (45-36) than at home (43-38.) Chris Young will face Jeff Suppan tomorrow at 1:00 P- do or die time for San Diego.

Mets go up 2-0 as Dodger look dazed & confused
What happened to all the talk that the Mets were on the ropes after not playing a meanigful game since June and the Dodger have been in playoff mode for a month?
The wheels have fallen off the Dodger bandwagon, that's what, as the obviously superior Mets spanked Sling Blade Little's boys again, 4-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-5 NLDS. Playoff vet Tommy Glavine gave the Mets all they could ask for with 6 innings of shutout ball, and the Mets scored on an assortment of cheesy plays (ground out, fielder's choice, sac fly, single) and only allowed a moon shot HR by Wilson Betamit that prevented the shutout. To make matters worse for LA, they apparently lost Nomah again when he had to be removed from the game after legging out a single in the 6th; he is day-to-day with that quad problem that has hampered him for weeks.

So the teams head to LA for tomorrow's Game 3 with the Dodgers needing to win or they go home. Well they'll be at home, but I mean home for the winter...oh fortget it, they better win.

Twins @ Oakland (2-0) Game 3, Today 4PM, ESPN
Tampa's Brad Radke makes what could be the final start of his career when the Twins try to get a game as this ALDS moves to Oak-town. Radke has had shoulder trouble all year and can barely raise his arm above his head, but the crafty vet will try to give his team a boost by taking the mound and fighting till the end so his team can have some hope. The feel-good kids of the second half of the season are struggling mightily, ever since ace Johan Cy-tana could not come up with the win they so desperately needed in game 1.
Radke will be opposed by phenom Danny Haren who had an off year (14-13) but still has terrific stuff. We'll see if the gritty vet can gut out a must-need win over a young kid. Oakland got word that starting 2b Mark Ellis is lost for the series after breaking a finger in his final AB in Game 2; that could prove to be a big loss, as Ellis is a spark plug on offense and a solid defender.
As long as Torii Hunter doesn't dive for any more balls, the Twins have a chance.
MY PICK: Twins 4-2.

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