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Baseball Playoffs 2011
Topic Started: Sep 29 2011, 12:35 PM (777 Views)
Yogi
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I had to start this thread as last night, the final day of the regular season was absolutely incredible, one of the most amazing final days in baseball's long history.

The division titles were already determined but the fourth and final participant (the wild card team, given to the best finisher who did not win one of the three divisions) came down to the final night in both the American and National Leagues. Well, I will let this article more fully explain it all:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=ArMo...ollapses_092811

Bottom line is one month ago it looked virtually certain the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox would be the wild card teams in each league as they had large leads going into the final month of play. But each collapsed while the St Louis Cardinals (the team I support) and Tampa Bay Rays suddenly got hot, so going into the final night of the regular season each league's wild card race was even.

This is what happened,

AMERICAN LEAGUE
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Without it, there’d have been nothing like the ninth inning Wednesday night in Baltimore, where Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon(notes) blew a one-run lead, trudged from the mound, sat on the bench as the lowly Orioles dog-piled on the infield, and waited for news from St. Petersburg. The last ball had fallen just out of the reach of left fielder Carl Crawford(notes), just as his entire first season in Boston had.

The Red Sox had led, 3-2. They lost, 4-3.

The dispatch from Tropicana Field arrived three minutes later, when a 12th-inning home run by Evan Longoria(notes) capped not just a month-long haul-down of the Red Sox, but a five-inning demolition of the Yankees, who played mostly kids in what was for them an insignificant game, and then for the first time in nearly six decades lost a game they’d led by seven runs in the seventh inning or later.

The Rays had trailed, 7-0. They won, 8-7.


NATIONAL LEAGUE
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The Red Sox would empathize with the Braves, who’d played a 10½-game lead to nothing, then had their closer – the rookie Craig Kimbrel(notes) – blow a ninth-inning lead to the Philadelphia Phillies, the class of the National League.

By the end, the Braves looked less like chokers than they did arm- and leg-weary casualties of the season. But, still, a little like chokers.

The Braves had led, 3-2. They lost, 4-3.

In a clubhouse in Houston, the Cardinals partied. From forever behind the Braves a month ago, from a time when they’d begun the countdown to bid farewell to Albert Pujols(notes) and, perhaps, manager Tony La Russa – the faces of a world championship and a quite reasonable spell of baseball in St. Louis – the Cardinals were headed to the division series.

They’d won, 8-0.


As a Cardinal fan I can honestly say at the start of September I had little hope of the Cards making the playoffs, but thanks to their good play down the stretch and Atlanta's monumental collapse St Louis are in and atlanta are out!

An amazing finish to the regular season and now we head to the playoffs which will look like this:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
New York Yankees-Detroit Tigers
Texas Rangers-Tampa Bay Rays

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Philadelphia Phillies-St Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers-Arizona Diamondbacks

The Yankees and Phillies finished with the best records in their respective leagues and are the favorites to meet in the World Series but baseball has a tendency to spring surprises and after last night do not rule out more to come in this post season.
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Rufus T. Firefly
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Epic collapses by both Atlanta and Boston but especially by the Braves. I think the 1969 Cubs are smiling now, they have been let off the hook!
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raconteur
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Quote:
 
As a Cardinal fan I can honestly say at the start of September I had little hope of the Cards making the playoffs, but thanks to their good play down the stretch and Atlanta's monumental collapse St Louis are in and atlanta are out!


I too had little hope for the Cardinals at the start of the month but a big thank you to Atlanta for their choke!

The American League wild card race was incredible last night and I am sure Yankee fans were happy for once that their team blew a 7 run lead in the 8th inning! It was amazing though that not one but two clubs, Atlanta and Boston threw away such big leads in the wild card race.

If the playoffs have even half the drama of the last week of the wild card race then we will have quite a treat.
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hobbes
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Baseball lost me a long time ago. Soccer especially, but also hockey and football just take up too much time in my life. I try to give the Cubs some space, but in years like this it's pretty easy to ignore them.

I generally don't watch the playoffs any more, but I might try to watch the Brewers run this year. Nyjer Morgan (aka Tony Plush) might be my favourite MLB player right now (and the fact he played hockey in my hometown helps) and god love him their closer John Axford played for the Melville Millionaires in our regional summer league. There have been guys who have made the show from the league before, but frankly Axford never looked like one of those guys. Still he likes Cormac McCarthy and foreign films. I'm a fan.

So go Brewers.

I heard tonight on the CBC that a mathematician figured out the odds to blow the lead the Red Sox did and then do it by blowing a lead when you're an out away and with the Rays trailing 7-0 . . . 278,000,000 to 1. The mathematician said it was a rough estimate, but I had weds off and watching live I was pretty sure it was a night unlike any I'd ever see again. With those odds I'm pretty sure I was right.

cheers,
hobbes
Saskatchewan for the CPL: multis e gentibus vires
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Winslow
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Well, this Bosox fan has seen it before and then some, odds notwithstanding. The main difference this time is no one feels sorry for us. Nor should they.

So the only thing to do now is root against all teams wearing navy-blue pinstripes. Please join me.
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Sammy Maudlin
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I am kinda rooting for St Louis and Detroit to make the World Series. I know the odds are small, although not as small as the ones hobbes provided us, but I always like to see the media darling teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Phillies knocked out. Of course this year we did not need to worry aout the Dodgers, Frank and Jaime McCourt did a good job of wrecking their season on their own!
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raconteur
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Sammy Maudlin,Sep 30 2011
02:18 PM
I am kinda rooting for St Louis and Detroit to make the World Series. I know the odds are small, although not as small as the ones hobbes provided us, but I always like to see the media darling teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Phillies knocked out. Of course this year we did not need to worry aout the Dodgers, Frank and Jaime McCourt did a good job of wrecking their season on their own!

What was that we were saying about the Yankees being destined to play the Phillies in the World Series?

Tigers defeat Yankees 3-2 to advance to AL Championship

Meanwhile tonight Philadelphia hosts St Louis in the decisive Game 5 of their series.

In the AL it will be Texas vs Detroit while the NL two series are each going to decisive game 5 tonight.
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Yogi
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Yes, the Cardinals shutout the Phillies 1-0. Great pitching duel between the Cards' Carpenter and the Phillies Halladay, but it was Carpenter winning the duel and the series for the Redbirds!

Milwaukee also defeated Arizona 3-2 to win their series by the same score. So the National League Final will be St Louis vs Milwaukee, a rematch of the 1982 World Series back when Milwaukee was an American League team. If I am not mistaken this will be the first time in modern baseball history that teams which once played in a World Series are meeting for a league championship.
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libero
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Today was a dramatic day of baseball too, almost as much as the final day of the regular season. St Louis' win was incredible over Philadelphia with Carpenter tossing a 3 hitter against the Phillies vaunted attack. Then Milwaukee and Arizona went 10 innings with Milwaukee winning with a game winning hit by Nyjer Morgan (off the greatly named Arizona reliever JJ Putz.)
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raconteur
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Fantastic stuff in both of Friday's decisive game 5. Pitching is what wins out in the playoffs and that is why St Louis and Milwaukee are advancing while Philadelphia and Arizona begin their offseason today.
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Yogi
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St Louis and Texas each won their respective league championship series 4-2. So Wednesday will be Game 1 in St Louis of the 2011 World Series, St Louis vs Texas. :D
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libero
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The Cardinals are on a roll now and teams doing that often have postseason success. But Texas have some excellent hitters and a pretty good pitching staff. Plus they have the experience of last season when they lost the World Series to the Giants.

Some trivia for everyone, former US President George W. Bush once was the owner of the Texas Rangers. He and his ownership group sold their interest to Tom Hicks, the Hicks of Hicks & Gillette fame (or infamy) at Liverpool FC.
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Martin
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Quote:
 
Some trivia for everyone, former US President George W. Bush once was the owner of the Texas Rangers. He and his ownership group sold their interest to Tom Hicks, the Hicks of Hicks & Gillette fame (or infamy) at Liverpool FC.


Dubya's ownership of the Texas Rangers was mostly known for his trading away star in the making Sammy Sosa for next to nothing.

Should be a good World Series, I have always been partial to the Cardinals (former Redbirds Bake McBride, Al Hrabosky, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith are four of my favorite players of all time) so they will have my support and they are as libero points out on a good roll now but Texas does look very good and are without many apparent weaknesses. But the Cardinals do have the bats and pitching to compete with them.
Club Sportivo Desamparados
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Yogi
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Texas traded Sosa away before he started hitting the steroids, he used to be a skinny guy then and was just an average player at the time.

In this era of inter league play, this series is a flashback to the old days when World Series opponents had not faced each other. St Louis and Texas have only played one 3 game series back in the 2004 season and both clubs are radically different now. That to me adds some extra interest to this matchup. I think each club matches up pretty similarly, good power hitting on both teams, pretty strong starting rotations and deep bullpens. The one advantage is Texas may have the better closer. On paper at least this looks like an evenly matched series.
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raconteur
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Game 1 to St Louis, 3-2. A tight battle won by a pinch it single by Allen Craig in the 6th inning. Tony LaRussa, St Louis' manager was in his element, making change sin the lineup and pitchers throughout the game and sending Craig to hit for starting pitcher Carpenter, who wa shaving a good game, ended up being the decisive moment of the game.

Looks like this will be a very close series. Game 2 tonight.
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