Semi-bitter note before piles of playoff happiness and excitement: You will notice that not one of the games starts at 9:30 AM, Pacific Coast Time. I like to think it’s the 400,000 calls we made to the MLB offices last year to complain.
Rockies vs. Phillies
National League baseball or not, I’m hard-pressed to remember a more thrilling game than Monday night’s improbable, wildly fantastic, playoff-berth-clinching game that saw the Rockies best Trevor Hoffman in the bottom of the 13th inning to send the champagne-soaked team from Colorado to Philadelphia for today’s game. The smart money is on the red-hot Wild Card team to mow through the series and continue on, but the Phillies are no slouch in the streaking department. Overcoming a near-impossible deficit to catch, pass, and knock out the Mets for the right to represent the East, the Phillies have their own thrills to motivate them in this series.
If I may make a suggestion to the Rockies? Please leave Jorge Julio back in Denver.
That being said, both of these teams and their fans are incredibly deserving of this chance, and should soak up every hard-earned moment of this playoff series. It’s a shame only one team can go through, but after Monday night, it’s pretty easy for me to root for the Rockies. Go Colorado!
Hamels vs. Francis kick off the playoffs at noon on TBS.
Angels vs. Red Sox
This is a tough series for me, considering it features the team I like the least pitted against the team I like the second-least. I think Boston fans, by and large, contain all the annoyance of entitled Yankees fans, without the number of championships to back it up. I have nothing to say to Yankees fans when they talk about the long and storied history of their winning franchise; they’ve certainly earned it, but when Boston fans try the same tactic, it falls flat. I have no love for the Red Sox, and have no desire to see them make another appearance in the World Series.
However, I have a deep-seated hatred for all things Angels (Vlad, I’m so sorry; can you just play for another team?!) and there are specific players (and manager) on the pretend Los Angeles team that I dislike enough to hope that they are bounced out in short order of this first round. I also believe that Boston is the only team that can stop the Angels from advancing, so I was delighted to see the match-up so soon. The Angels seem to have the Yankees' number; which is probably a combination of the Angels’ great pitching shutting down the Yankees’ great offense, and the Angels being able to hit the Yankees pitching. And, despite what the records will indicate, I also think Cleveland plays somewhat of an underdog role in these playoffs.
Neither of these teams has spent much time out of first place this season, and despite a couple of mild scares for the division lead, neither team has ever been in danger of missing the playoffs. But only one of them will advance to the next round, so the regular season counts for nothing starting right now.
Hated teams or not, this should be an interesting series; great pitching will challenge each team’s super-star(s) in a battle of red for the right to move on. (I should write copy.)
Beckett/Lackey square off at 3:30 on TBS.
Cubs vs. Diamondbacks
Look for a great pitching duel in this one, as the late, late game gets underway, but you’d be kidding yourself if you think any baseball fans, especially in Chicago, are going to be sleeping. This game features a popular ex-A (hi Byrnsie!), and the Cursed Team. Can they just win already? Hasn’t the footage of the old people crying and wishing they could have seen their Cubbies win just once in their lifetime gotten to anyone? My goodness; put them out of their misery. Yes, I will be rooting for the Cubs...at least until they face the Rockies in the NLCS.
Webb/Zambrano square off at 7:00 on TBS.
More threads will be open, if needed. Happy Blogging!