Category Archives: ALCS

To the victors go the spoils, Yankees return to World Series

[Box Score]
[] [The LoHud Yankees blog] [NY Times] [NY Daily News]
Five years in between their last appearance, the New York Yankees are going back to the World Series. It took them six games and they were able to do it in front of the home crowd by a score of 5-2 with one of their old horses on the hill in Andy Pettitte.
You just kind of get the feeling that this could be George Steinbrenner’s last World Series. You never know. They’re certainly acting like it in New York.
You have to be somewhat happy for the Yankees. Or at least loathe this apearance a little less then you did back when they were in it almost every year. It’s been a long road back. And how hard is it to believe that this is Alex Rodriguez’s first World Series?
Full preview to come. Enjoy the champagne the next few days Yankees fans. This is not going to be an easy World Series run.

Yankees will advance tonight — book it and lock it

Tonight is important for the Yankees World Series title hopes. If they want their rotation to match up in the most ideal of ways against the Phillies they need to wrap things up tonight. There are headlines in the New York papers speculating that if Girardi and the Yanks blow this series, he should be out. Are you kidding me? They’re not going to blow the series. Worry about it when it happens. New York is the master of jumping the gun. Where does all this paranoia come from with these spoiled fuckers? Is that what happens when you get used to winning?

Worry not Yankees fans. Tonight’s Andy Pettite/Tony Saunders tilt heavily favors the Yankees. We said New York in 6 all along, and New York in 6 it will be. The Yankees will be popping bottles around midnight tonight. And not that we’re rooting against the upstart Angels. It’s been a hell of a run and a hell of a story. The way they stream-rolled the Boston Red Sox was inspiring. They’ve played tough baseball against the Yankees and the ball has fallen New York’s way. You can’t take anything away from Anaheim. The Yankees are just better, and deeper. This team has known for months that it has to get to the World Series. Anaheim is overmatched. For them to even steal two games in this series is a testament to their heart and their manager.

But tomorrow, they’ll be talkin about an I-95 World Series that begins Wednesday night.

This was the greatest thing ever

So if you were watching the game last night in the bottom of the 6th inning, you had to have seen the Angels fan that took a dive into the waterfalls beyond the outfield walls. When we saw it, immediately we busted out in laughter. Our friend who we watched the game with couldn’t get enough. Here’s this guy, drunken and in jeans and Jimmy Connors tennis shoes, living the American Dream in front of an entire nation. And his team was winning.

It lasted maybe only 10 to 15 seconds. But it was great comic relief and liberating just to watch. You have to love how he ended his triumphant run raising his arms to the sky (pictured above) like he’d done some great feat.

Thank God for beer sold at baseball games. It never fails to bring out these characters.

Angels force series back to the Bronx

Last night’s game was a good one. Angels jump all over A.J. Burnett in the first inning and you figure they’re going to cruise leading 4-0 into the 7th inning. The Yankees show their meddle by battling back for 6-runs after John lackey got pulled in that seventh. Did you see Lackey say “c’mon Scioscia, this is mine!” pleading with his manager to stay in the game? Lackey was correct as Darren Oliver came in and proceeded to get his tits lit.
But the Angels battled back, and Vladimir Guerrero singled off Phil Hughes to tie the game at 6. Then Kendry Morales ripped a single into right and the Angels had a lead they’d never squander.
Horrible move by Mike Scioscia in the top of the 9th. Two guys out, A-Rod walking to the plate and your closer on the bump. You’re up a run. You intentionally walk Alex Rodriguez and bring the go-ahead run to the plate? Now why would you do that? I don’t care who is up there, that’s asking for trouble, and it almost cost the Angels the lead. It was a terrible move that luckily didn’t cost the Angels their season.

Pretty sure that one was for you, Georgie

So we mentioned that our best friend was getting married this past Saturday night. Just wanted to say that we thought it was fitting that the Yankees won game 2 of the ALCS, with A-Rod tying the game up in the 11th inning on a homer that was eerily similar to the Jeffrey Maier homerun so many years ago.

I’ll always remember that I watched this legendary game unfold out in Connecticut in Yankee country on the night that the biggest Yankee fan I know got married. It was pretty neat. Shit, I was even clapping when the Angels made that errant throw in the 13th.

It was just a thought; but what a feeling it must be to have your team playing in the LCS series and to marry the girl you’ve always wanted to marry on the same night! To think we live such a life in such a place. It was just one of those legendary fall nights that felt like back in the 90’s and early 2000’s growing up that the Yankees had a memorable win at home in the Bronx.

Jeff Mathis and Angels get their must-have (Game 3 ALCS)

[Box Score]
Many are talking about Mo Rivera’s spitter and Joe Girardi’s decision to yank Dave Robertson for Alfredo Aceves. But if you watched game 3 of the ALCS last night, you can throw all percentages and decisions out the window. You just knew heading into the bottom of the 11th inning that the Angels were going to win the ballgame for their fallen teammate. We had the feeling, we tweeted it. That Vladimir Guerrero home run that tied the game at three could easily go down as his greatest of his future Hall of Fame career; it was without a doubt one of the biggest in Angels franchise history. Seems like we’re seeing our fair share of legendary home runs by these two teams.

This is a very good team who wasn’t ready to simply cash in their chips and head home. You knew they’d steal at least a few games in this series; at least we did. When Jeff Mathis launched that rocket double off the left center field wall to score the winning run, we weren’t the least bit surprised.

The Yankees are indeed mighty, but they’re not nearly mighty enough to sweep this Angels team. Sets up an awfully big game tonight doesn’t it?

Diamond Hoggers' 2009 ALCS Series Preview

Anaheim Angels vs. New York Yankees
Of all the story lines you’re going to see pushed; there will be three that are prevalent throughout. The Yankees are a new breed but with those same old ghosts that have seemingly ‘crossed the street’. Great phrase is it not? Alex Rodriguez is getting all kinds of good pub for hitting that huge home run in game two that will go down as one of the first legendary games in the new stadium based on the comeback that took place and the fact that A-Rod hit the homer to tie things up and Teixeira left the building to win it in the bottom of the 11th. It felt like one of those old Yankee October wins didn’t it? The third main storyline is going to be about the Angels, a team of destiny and of character rallying over their fallen teammate Nick Adenhart to get to the World Series over the mighty evil empire.
These are two teams who are pretty differently constructed. The Yankees are built on power while the Angels are branded with some speed.
There are obvious reasons that we picked the Yankees to win the whole damn thing back before the season started. That lineup is thick. Other then A-Rod and a little Jeter and Tex, they failed to even show up in Minnesota. Robinson Cano went 1 for 12 in the series. They’re littered with professional, experienced hitters. Their ballpark only plays halfway into their production.
The pitching matchup edge goes to the Yankees, but this is what should make the series special. You could make a case for the game 1 (Sabathia/Lackey), 2 (Burnett/Jered Weaver), or 3 (Pettite/Kazmir) starters for either team to be the ace of any staff pretty much elsewhere. The potential is there to see a shutdown performance from either side in the first three games. I think this is where Weaver continues to come into his own as a 26 year old. He was phenomenal against Boston, blowing away hitters and setting a tone for how the Angels pitched that entire series.
Joe Girardi is charging for his first World Series appearance. It’s hard to believe that the Yankees haven’t even been to the ALCS in 5 years. Mike Scioscia is a great manager, and on the way to his 2002 World Series he ran right through the heavily favored Yankees.
The Angels will be the sentimental pick by plenty of reputable talking heads; you watch. But the smart money is to go with the Bronx Bombers in winning a long series. The winner of this series should be the champions of baseball in what will shape up to be a great World Series matchup. But in the end the Yankees are just too mighty right now. When Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez are performing in the postseason, you know something funny is going on. The Yankees will win a hard fought series to advance to the Fall Classic.
Prediction: New York Yankees in 6 games

The Tampa Bay Rays Kept Coming Back and Back and Back

Watching this you couldn’t ask for much more. We caught parts of the ballgame, missing the beginning and the ending. This was the game of the series that all great ALCS seem to have. One of those homecoming night, 5 hour 27 minute marathons that ends with the home team winning and you happy that you told your would-be homecoming date that you were sick to your stomach (which is what we did in 9th grade so we could watch Omar Vizquel touch home in that 2-1 marathon ALCS over Baltimore back in 1997).
This one will always be remembered as the young guns of the Rays outslugging the mighty Red Sox for their first ALCS win in league history. If you’re a Rays fan right now, does it honestly get any better than this? You wake up this sunday morning and you are the story in all of sports. Not just the story, but everyone’s feel good story. No different than they’ve been all year, but it seems that people are picking up that story and reading it from coast to coast right now.
The Rays get home runs from their headline players Evan Longoria and BJ Upton, as well as old man Cliff Floyd. You think when Floyd signed with Tampa he ever thought he’d hit another postseason home run? The Red Sox got 2 from Dustin Pedroia, one from Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis each.
After all the home runs and extra base hits in this slugfest, it was Upton’s sacrifice fly in the 11th inning off Mike Timlin that brought home the victory for the Rays. A capacity crowd of 34,904 was on hand to rock that unlikely site down in Tampa as the Rays had done it. They’d really stood toe to toe all saturday night with the Boston Red Sox, and came out with a win. Suddenly it didn’t seem so far fetched anymore did it? The Rays actually are the better team of these two. The Rays should win the series, and it wouldn’t be slamming the Red Sox in any way to think that might happen. This is an outstanding and once in a lifetime team in Tampa Bay right now.
Dan Shaughnessy [Boston Globe]
Watching the Red Sox strand 13 runners and waste four homers, Boston fans were left asking one vital question: What’s up with Josh Beckett? He was Bob Gibson in October 2007. Now he is John Wasdin in October 2008.
Sean Mcadam [Boston Herald]
The Red Sox already knew they would have to defend their World Series crown without Mike Lowell. Come to find out, they’re going to have to do it without Josh Beckett, too. Or at least the Josh Beckett to which they’ve become accustomed. Because this Josh Beckett is not that Josh Beckett. Not even close.
David Chalk [Bugs & Cranks]

Your 2008 ALCS Preview

After all the games, and all the slugging it out (literally); we’ve arrived at two teams left in the American League. These are very different ballclubs. The Boston Red Sox are a bit like the mid-90’s Yankees. You can beat on them, pound on them, but that the end of the day they’re always there. This is their 4th ALCS appearance in 6 years. They’re like a bad infection that not even expensive medical knowledge can get rid of.

Do you realize that only one team in Major League Baseball had longer odds than the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series: the Washington Nationals. To put things in perspective, if that doesn’t do it for you; the Rays had the same odds of winning the World Series as the Baltimore Orioles. If you were one of the crazy bastards out in Vegas in march and you bet the Rays to win the World Series, you’ve never been closer to cashing in a ticket worth 1:100 odds.

Really that is what this is all about. It’s David vs. Goliath. It’s good vs. evil. It’s the mightiest of fan bases in the sport vs. some innocent and somber fans in the midst of a retirement community. It’s guys who have been there over and over on the grandest stage; and delivered against a bunch of kids who have raw talent and play hard. Maybe this is what those 1994 Expos would have done if there had been no strike.

The Rays are definitely up against it. They’re going to need a ton of things to go right to win this series. In a best of 7 series, you’re truly going to have the better team come out on top. You can stand to have a bad game or even two, but over the course of 7 games; the cream will rise to the top.

These two teams also hate eachother, which should make for some interesting must-see TV. It was back on june 5th when Coco Crisp decided to charge the mound, resulting in a donnybrook at Fenway Park. That’s exactly what you wanna see at this level of the playoffs. Two teams that don’t like eachother slugging it out for a chance at immortality. People will want to come out and say that this Devil Rays team will be remembered forever; if they’re going to be remembered outside of Tampa Bay, they need to win this series. They reach immortal status if they can get to the series we believe.

That said, lets get on with it.

Player that will have the biggest series impact: Scott Kazmir

There you go. This guy has been the franchise since there was one basically. He’ll get the ball at least two times and maybe 3 in this series. You remember how Josh Beckett threw the last few seasons in these ALCS games? Don’t be surprised if Kazmir mimics him. Only now Beckett is about 80%.

If the Rays are going to win this series, Scott Kazmir has to come up with big, gutty performances. We’re suggesting he’ll do that. It’s going to happen.

Prediction: Tampa Bay in 7 games.

ALCS Game 6: Crushed Cleveland Dreams

It was over really before it got started, as it was in game 5. Excitement was quickly replaced with urgency. Finally the reality of the situation had just set in. The Cleveland Indians have one game to save their entire season of work, and it’s a game 7 against the Red Sox at Fenway with their 100 million dollar guy on the mound.

When we were watching the ballgame, we had just finished saying that JD Drew was a career disappointment. That with just one big homerun that would result in a grand slam, he could redeem an entire season of killing rallies and not coming through in the clutch.

Then it happened.

Just like that, the Cleveland Indians are one game away from letting this series and season slip away from them. Go help them this evening.

[Box Score]

So I hear there is a game today

As you all know, tonight is game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Editor George and I have met up for a Diamond Hoggers meeting of the Chairmen of the Board. It’s going to be an important night of Cigars, Dewars, Dip, and end up at the Winking Lizard bar. The game of the century for the Indians is on tap, and the fate rests in the hands of Fausto Carmona.

If the Indians make the series tonight against Curt Schilling in Boston, I’ll go completely nuts and celebrate late into the morning hours….I really will.

Pictures to come from tonight. GO INDIANS!

ALCS Game 5: Boston 7, Cleveland 1

One couldn’t figure that this series would really only go 5 games could they? Well I did. I thought last night that destiny was going to overpower anything that the Red Sox could throw at the Indians and their fired up crowd at Jacobs Field. In the end, Josh Beckett was too much. Beckett fanned a postseason career high 11 Indians last night and allowed only 1 run over 8 innings, and none after the first frame to improve to 5-0 all time in the postseason season with an ERA just over 1.00.

I can’t write it up and make it poetic. I can’t paint a picture on this that makes it majestic. The Indians lost an opportunity to have one of the greatest victories in the history of the franchise. Their ace was on the hill and they had a chance to beat the game’s finest postseason/big game pitcher and they failed. If they are meant in destiny by the baseball Gods to win the pennant, they’ll have to do it as they’ve done their previous 5, celebrating on the oppositions field on the road.

The good news is they can make it the finest saturday night of the entire season tomorrow night. It will be a joyous and celebratory event at my house. Fausto Carmona can become a legend at age 23. The Indians are going to write a new chapter in their history book, but the mystery is what will it say?

[Box Score]

ALCS Game 5: The Once and Future Mighty Indians

The Cleveland Indians tonight have a chance to rewrite all that is good in baseball. This is what teams play games, seasons, careers for. This is the reason they lace it up, the one’s that love the game anyways. This is what ties a million dollar world-class athlete to his boyhood dreams after all the lights have gone out each night in the big city that he plays. The dream of playing in the World Series. Some are playing for their jobs and as Jake Taylor says in Major League, “some of you won’t be back next year.”

This is some players’ only chance to make it to the World Series. It could be all of this team’s only chance. Fates and careers will be decided tonight. There is no grander stage. There is no better drama in movie theatres. This is when the dreams are while you are awake. The Cleveland Indians up I-71 are playing for a chance to go to the World Series tonight. By tomorrow morning we might very well be talking about the American League Champion Cleveland Indians. We might be hearing about the party that went late into the night and into the wee morning hours as the rest of us go to work.

This is our team, our Indians. This is the blue collar team who wins ugly and represents it’s city well. These guys are tight knit, and they play hard every night. They’ve gotten this far. One last step remains to make this season a memorable one and to win their 3rd pennant in 12 years.

Legends have been carved on this stage. You think back through the years to the images of other teams celebrating on this stage and wondering what it will be like to wake up one morning and have your team playing for it all. This is the Indians chance to carve that history and be that team. There is no turning back now.

Hold on baseball fans. 27 outs from now, the Cleveland Indians just might be in the World Series.

To Clinch, Indians need Sizemore to star


They were talking on ESPN radio this morning about how the Red Sox are a team full of stars and how outside of maybe Victor Martinez, the Cleveland Indians lack that superstar guy like the Red Sox have several of. I couldn’t disagree more. The Red Sox may have established superstars who get attention from the national media cock-gobblers, but the Indians are not without their stars. A win over the Red Sox will only take a step to further establish these guys like the teams of the 90’s were. To these guys like Colin Cowherd who make such statements about my Indians, I ask: is Fausto Carmona, C.C. Sabathia, and Travis Hafner chop liver? Most of all, he’s really forgetting about one guy.Grady Sizemore is a legitimate superstar. He’s been an All-Star two seasons in a row now, and he’s gotten some huge hits here in the postseason. Other than game 2 in the ALCS, Sizemore has been hitless in this series, including the last two games in Cleveland. To get past Josh Beckett and the Red Sox in game 5, and advance to their first World Series in 10 years, the Indians need a big game from their face player.

If Sizemore can hit another homerun to lead off the game as he did in game 4 in the Bronx in the ALDS, or get a big hit early in the game off Beckett, he can rattle the Red Sox and get some huge momentum going for the Indians. This is pretty much common sense, but I’m circling Sizemore as my player to watch in this game. He’s more than due and is seeming to set a trend that when the spotlight shines bright, he steps up. He has a flair for the dramatics and a big game maturity beyond his 25 years of age.

I’ve waited since Sizemore burst on the scene to see what he’d do in the postseason. Now that he’s got his shot to showcase these skills on baseball’s grandest of stages, I am becoming increasingly greedy. I want to see Grady get World Series experience. It is the final step for him becoming one of the league’s premiere players. If he can ‘have a day’ tomorrow night, the Indians are going to the World Series and John Mellencamp will be blaring on the Jacobs Field loud speakers after 27 outs.