Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 2, 2007
BASEBALL: Rockie Horror

It may be midnight, but Cinderella's slipper still fits. Now that is how you play a deciding game. One for the ages.

PS - I will pretend I did not just see Kaz Matsui trigger a pennant-winning rally.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:18 AM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

If we really wanna pretend things, here's mine: I'll pretend Heath Bell didn't K 5 guys in 2+ innings, capping off an outstanding year of bullpen work.

I'll also pretend he won't replace Hoffman as the Padre closer with a salary that's a fraction of Wagner's.

(But I won't pretend I'm not bitter & filled with hate at the moment.)

Posted by: Mike at October 2, 2007 6:59 AM

Well the Rockies-Phils series should be a low-scoring affair.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 2, 2007 7:48 AM

Umpires really did their best to screw that game up. How do you miss the HR Atkins hit? Explain the physics involved with the ball caroming 75+ feet off a padded wall.

And does Matt Holliday have to go back to Coors Field today and touch home to officially end the game?

Posted by: Ryan at October 2, 2007 10:24 AM

The Padres end of season was not as nightmarish as that of the Mets, but they have to be pretty seriously bummed out today, as well. They looked like the favorite to win that division for most of the season.

Posted by: Jerry at October 2, 2007 10:56 AM

Mike, I figured it was unnecessary to mention Bell at this point. Note that last night pushed him past 100 Ks on the season. At least we saw the old familiar Jorge Julio, though.

Posted by: The Crank at October 2, 2007 10:56 AM

I think Holliday probably did touch home plate. Difficult to see, but it looked to me as though Hollday's hand hit the catcher's leg and swept right through it likely hitting the plate. The odd part obviously was the umpire's delayed reaction.

In any event, one of the things about seeing Hoffman's meltdown was that Hoffman has been one of the better closers in the NL this year - not great, but not worse than Billy Wagner. I'm all for getting rid of Billy Wagner after this choke job, but who would he be replaced with? There just aren't a lot of closers that are better.

Posted by: A.S. at October 2, 2007 10:59 AM

but not worse than Billy Wagner

I wouldn't say that. They each had five blown saves (I think - I can't remember if Hoffman had four or five), and Hoffman blew TWO games that would have put the Pads in the playoffs.

Otherwise, their numbers are roughly the same. Hoffman had a 165 ERA+, a 1.053 WHIP, and 44 Ks in 57 Innings Pitched. Wags had a 162 ERA+, 1.127 WHIP, and 80 Ks in 68.3 IP.

As much as Mets fans bitch about Wagner, his performance in the first half went a large way to giving them the lead.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 2, 2007 11:39 AM

Wagner and Hoffman have been almost identical throughout their careers in terms of general excellence and big-game frustrations. This year seems to be more of the same.

Posted by: Jerry at October 2, 2007 11:52 AM

You didn't. Matsui's hit triggered a rally to win the wild-card.

Posted by: Josh Ellison at October 2, 2007 3:29 PM

I watched it every way that TBS showed it last night, and then I watched on ESPN's website this morning. Much as I want to say he touched the plate with a hand swipe, I just can't find it happening on video that is available to me. The ump was pathetic in that he waited as long as he did to make the call.

Cal Ripken made a good point when he noticed that the outfield umpires were practically in the infield, which could be one reason why Atkins' homer became a "double". If they'd stood where they can see these things, perhaps they'd gotten that one right too.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at October 2, 2007 3:35 PM

Picks? Gotta have picks.

Round 1

Yankees in 4. Hate to say it but they match up well against Cleveland, I don't trust CC or Carmona that much and I can't believe that A-Rod will stink it up the way he has the past 13 post-season games he has been in.

Angels in 4 (or Sox in 5). I hate to say this too but the Sox are just not a terrific 96 win team. They tend to play well against LA and they simply own John Lackey's sizeable butt (which no doubt means he'll pitch a 1-hit shutout in Game 1) but there is too much about this team (Manny's health, Big Papi's health-even though he has been the best hitter in baseball for the past month-, JD Drew & Eric Gagne, no offense out of SS or CF, etc.) that makes me think that they sputter. If they do get back to Fenway for a Game 5 I think they would win it but I think I'll stick to LA in 4.

Cubs in 3. Arizona will be lucky to get a win. Maybe Brandon Webb gets them that but I think this is all Cubs.

Phillies in 5. Super-hot, incredible offense with a shaky rotation and a decent bullpen suggests they get by here. Of course I could say the same exact thing about the Rockies. Do you go with the team that went 14-3 down the stretch to steal the NL East or with the team that went 14-1 down the stretch and won the 163rd game of the year to get into the playoffs? Willing to bet there is at least one wild game of lots of runs, blown leads and lots of dingers. Should be as exciting a series as there is in the first round.

Championship Series

Yankees in 6. Since Escobar has suffered a downturn as of late all the Angels really have is Lackey and Weaver (who is good but not great) and a pretty good bullpen. They don’t hit enough to beat the Yankees who will score enough to make it too tough for LA over the course of a series.

Cubs in 7. Could be a great NLCS. I think the Cubs get by with better pitching and an offense that is at least somewhat close to the Phillies.

World Series

Yankees in 5. Ick. The Cubs strike out too much and just don’t have enough pitching to keep that Yanks at bay. Would you trust their rotation against the Yankees? I don’t.

Posted by: jim at October 2, 2007 4:27 PM

hate to say this too but the Sox are just not a terrific 96 win team.

Well, if pythag record means anything, they're even better than a 97-win team. The Sox own one of the worst differentials between actual record and pythag record for a playoff team since the beginning of the decade, meaning they under/i>performed their expected won-loss record by four games. Only three of the past 36 division champs had a worse actual than pythag record (the Cubs also won two less games than their pythag suggested they should have).

Is that significant? I wrote up a post last month that explored whether a big differential between actual and pythagorean records mean anything come the post-season. The records don't prove anything conclusively one way or the other, but it does suggest that teams that underperform their pythag record do better than teams that substantially overperform. So the Cubs, Sox, Yanks and Rockies could be expected to good things, while the Diamonbacks might be in trouble.

Ultimately, I think it's folly to make post-season predictions in baseball because anything truly can happen (though in 2004 I was six for seven), but I'd lean towards the Sox winning it all.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 3, 2007 9:52 AM

How's Kaz Matsui tasting now? What with the GS HR and run scoring 3B in the same inning. Considering that last year he had 1 HR, 0 3B and 7 RBIs in 130 ABs it kind of sucks that he has almost equaled that in 2 ABs less than 30 minutes apart.

Posted by: jim at October 4, 2007 5:42 PM

If they gave an MVP award for the Division Series, Matsui would have won it.

The Phils beat out the Mets, then became them. Congrats to the Rockies, they have that "magical team" look about them.

Posted by: Ashburn Alley at October 7, 2007 2:23 AM
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