The Rest of the World Series

Well, I never wrote specific commentaries for the rest of the games of the World Series for two reasons. Well, first, I had family in town to visit for my son’s Baptism, which was this past Saturday. With them in town, I didn’t have much time to write, and then on the last day they were here, I got sick. Pretty sick – I had spiked a fever as high as 102.8. Today is the first day I’ve not had a fever since, but I’m still pretty “hazy” in my head, so I won’t write much.
I’m disappointed that my Phillies didn’t repeat, and I’m doubly disappointed it was to the Yankees. Unfortunately, my early playoff prediction turned out right. Yankees over Phillies in 6. Sigh. Yeah, I could take solace that my hometown team was in the World Series two years in a row. But it would have been so nice to WIN twice in a row, something that still hasn’t been done in a little over 30 years in the NL.
Congrats to Chase Utley for tying Reggie Jackson for most home runs in single World Series (5).
The other thing is that former Rangers Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, & Jerry Hairson, Jr (!?!?) have World Series rings now. :(
Anyway, this is the last update for the “2009 Game Updates” series. I’m not in the mood to retroactively write updates for the games I missed – much less Game 6 where it was over.

WS G2: Yankees bounce back against Phillies, win 3-1

Normally, I don’t write about games the Yankees win, but this is the World Series, I kind of have to. :)
Game two of the World Series goes to the Yankees. To be honest, I figured the teams would leave the Bronx tied. Obviously, I would have preferred my Phillies take 2-0, but it pretty much turned out the way most people expected.
On paper, I thought the Phillies had a good chance if Pedro could hold up. He had a great game in LA, but somehow I didn’t think he’d be like that again. He wasn’t, but he was still pretty good. AJ Burnett I saw as the weak point in the rotation, I figured we could get to him. We didn’t. Their lines:
Pedro: 6IP, 6H, 3ER, 8K, 2BB
Burnett: 7IP, 4H, 1ER, 9K, 2BB
Pedro gave up solo home runs to Texieira & Matsui, which was all they needed. The Yankees tacked on another run later, but the last two innings were pitched by Mariano Rivera, who didn’t give up anything (although he had a somewhat shaky 8th).
Jayson Werth was picked off first base by the catcher, which was embarrassing, and seemed to issue a change in tone for the game at that point.
Both teams benefited by a bad call. The Yankees by a called DP where replays showed the Philly runner was safe. The Phillies by that lineout double play that was really a short hop that Howard “caught”.
Really odd to see Jeter bunt with two strikes. That makes me wonder. You can foul off 50 pitches, and it stays strike two. You tap at one, and you’re out. Who decided that?
Finishing off with Pedro, I felt he shouldn’t have been out there for the 7th. I think he should have been done after six, and some national media were saying after 5. But overall, his line was not bad at all. Really.
Looking forward to the games in Philly. My family is in town for my son’s baptism this weekend, so we’ll be watching the games here.

WS G1: Lee & Utley take down Yankees, 6-1

OK, my Phillies are back in the World Series. Against the Yankees. Back when the playoffs started, I kind of thought it would be these two. Even went so far as to predict the Yankees would take it in six, because I didn’t think the Phillies would have enough after Cliff Lee to take the Bronx team down. There’s still a ton of time for that prediction to come through, but man, do I feel better after Game 1 of the World Series.
Cliff Lee v CC Sabathia. Despite all the hype coming in about how this series would be nothing but 9-7 games with multiple home runs in each game, that is NOT what we got. Sabathia pitched pretty darned good (7IP, 4H, 2ER, 6K), but Cliff Lee was way better. Lee threw a complete game, allowed no earned runs (there was one unearned run in the 9th), allowed only six hits (three to Jeter), and struck out ten, while walking nobody. He was seriously dominant, and the only blip was in the ninth, when he allowed two hits to start the inning. That was the ONLY time the Yankees had more than one runner on at a time in the entire game. Lee was just filthy. He struck out Jeter swinging to start the game, and it pretty much set the stage.
Outside of Jeter, who had three hits, the Yankees scattered only three others. Singles by Damon, Posada, & Matsui were it. One of Jeter’s hits was a double, everything else was a single. Other strikeout highlights were Mark Teixeira fanning twice, and Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, who has been tearing it up this offseason so far returned to the A-Rod of playoffs past. When he was nicknamed “The Chiller”, and couldn’t hit jack. That’s what happened tonight. Arod went 0-4 with three strikeouts! It was really the playoff A-Rod of old, was a great sight to see! Jorge Posada, who is in the game mostly because of offensive reasons (according to some national press) also struck out twice, so the 3-4-5 slots struck out seven times in 12 at bats! WOW.
The Phillies early on wasted a chance I thought to REALLY set a done. Sabathia walked two around a double by Ryan Howard. That loaded the bases, but Raul Ibanez grounded out, scoring nobody. This is pretty much the way it stayed until the third when Chase Utley eeked a ball over the right field fence for a home run, giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. This must have pissed off Sabathia, as he struck out several more batters after that, and retired I believe eight in a row after the home run until Utley came up again in the sixth, this time tattooing another ball over the fence, only that one was a no doubter, for a 2-0 Phillies lead.
The Phillies got into the soft underbelly of the Yankees – their middle relief. In the 8th and 9th, the Yankees used five different pitchers, and in those innings, they gave up four runs. Two in the 8th, and two in the 9th. The ones in the 8th came when Raul Ibanez got a second chance with the bases loaded, and delivered that time with a single to right. The runs in the ninth came on a single and a double, but the Yankee pitchers were having some issues late.
As if Lee’s pitching wasn’t enough, his defense was up there, too. Had a rather blase catch of a popup to the mound early, and then later on caught a liner up the middle behind his back. You can catch video of both of these plays here.
It was quite a good game, despite the 6-1 score. Both starters pitched well, but fortunately, the Phillies guy pitched better, and that led us to the win, no doubt.
While I hold no illusions that Pedro Martinez will pitch like Lee did tonight, I do wonder what we’ll get out of him. Pedro is an enigma in 2009, he’s not what he was, and guys like that who start to play the bounce around game with teams usually get toasted from time to time. I really hope that’s not Thursday.

G162: Last game of season ends with a 4-3 loss.

That’s it. The 11th season I’ve had this site up for has ended. It ended like so many others have ended. With a loss. I have to confess though. It was a game of lasts.

  • Last game for Hank Blalock as a Ranger (is there anyone who REALLY believes he’s coming back? Bueller?)
  • Last game for Omar Vizquel as a Ranger. I wouldn’t mind bringing him back next year again, but my gut says it won’t happen.
  • Last game on the payroll for Vicente Padilla – although he’s in the playoffs. Grrr.
  • Last game with Tom Hicks as the owner? Perhaps.
  • Last game for Andruw Jones as Ranger. For anyone? Maybe.
  • Last game for Ken Griffey Jr? Like ever? Maybe.

I have to say, I watched this game, I flipped between this and football. I didn’t want to miss this, yet I didn’t want to not see football, either. So it’d be watch a series of football, then switch over and watch an inning of Baseball. Thank good ol’ TiVo for that. About halfway through it occurred to me that this very well could be the final game ever for Ken Griffey Jr. I liked him a lot when he was with Seattle the first time around. I used to come out to games I wouldn’t have come out to otherwise to see him. So when I realized he was coming up for his last at bat, I paid attention, and I was quite glad to see him get a single up the middle. Don Wakamatsu pinch ran for him, so he got more applause. Then he got called out of the dugout for a curtain call (that’s what the pic is above). It wasn’t quite the love fest that Pudge got when he departed after the 2002 season, but it was really nice to see. I enjoyed that.
As for the game itself, Scott Feldman couldn’t get past 17 wins. He lost the game, and finished 2009 with a 17-8 record, which is freakin’ fantastic. Knowing that he had the chance in September to get to 20 is a mild letdown, but man, 17 wins was what you were expecting from Padilla & Millwood coming into 2009. Not Scott Feldman! So this bodes well for 2010. Six innings, four earned runs on six hits and a walk. Ended the season with a 4.08 era. Quite respectable, even if that number was driven over 4 with some early (bad) bullpen outings.
The Rangers only had four hits the game, but made ’em count. Two doubles (Murphy, Kinsler), and two singles (Borbon & Davis). The RBI’s were by Davis, Teagarden, & Gentry.
As for Hank Blalock, he seems to be squeezed out. There is no real position for him going forward, given the guys we have coming up. Davis is already causing a problem for Blalock with playing time, and if we get anyone else up next year like, I don’t know Justin Smoak, I can’t see where Blalock would fit, either position wise, or salary wise.
Andruw Jones? Nice experiment, but I can’t see where he’ll fit, either.
Omar Vizquel? I really liked him. But he can actually still play, and probably deserves a better job than part time backup. Although at 43 (in 2010), I don’t know if anyone will give him that.

G161: Rangers drop close game, 2-1 to Seattle

First off, I actually watched this game. Figured with just a couple left, I should watch at least one. The Rangers didn’t actually pitch too bad here. The offense couldn’t come through – which was the big story of 2009. We could pitch, but didn’t always hit.
Tommy Hunter went 4.1 innings, and gave up just two innings. Few too many hits though (nine), and one walk. His pitch count wasn’t too outrageous (83 in the 5th), but he was laboring. Thing is, the guys who followed him (Grilli, Feliz, O’Day, & Wilson) all gave up no runs. Only Darren O’Day gave up any hits, either (one). The pen was really good.
Unfortunately, Seattle’s pitching was better. Their starter went 6.2, giving up just the lone run (an RBI double to Elvis Andrus). Rangers did manage seven hits, but they were well scattered. Only one Ranger got two (Andruw Jones). Even the three doubles were mostly ineffective.
But again, it’s the story of the 2009 Rangers. They were mostly ineffective offensively. Been hearing some chatter about how Rudy Jaramillo’s contract is up, and some folks are wondering if perhaps it might be time for a change there. He has been the pitching coach for 14 years now, through a ton of managers (Johnny Oates, Jerry Narron, Buck Showalter, & now Ron Washington). A lot of good has come from him, and I’m not advocating a change, I think we should bring him back. But I wonder what it would be like otherwise. Bring back Rusty Greer as hitting coach?
Anyway, just one more game to go. Sunday is Game #162 where we play for our 88th win of the season. But my Phillies are in the playoffs again! :)

G160: Rangers win late in Seattle, 7-4

Didn’t see any of this game, as I had TiVo problems. I actually wanted to, as there’s only three left including this one. Saturday night I’m having some friends over for the Stars season opener, and then Sunday is football.
We clinched second place with this game, and if we win the other two games as well, we’ll end up with 89 wins. Rather respectable, but far short I think of what most people were expecting, once they realized the team could be good.

G159: Millwood pitches well in 11-3 win

I don’t ever want John Lackey as a Ranger. Because we seem to tee off on him a lot, he’s a guy who is very good for everyone, but not with us. The Angels, having clinched, only had him in for two innings, but we had four hits and two runs on that, both came on Chris Davis’ second inning home run.
Andruw Jones was the only Ranger without a hit. Everyone else had at least one (Gentry, Murphy), with most guys having multiples (Davis had 3).
Kevin Millwood, though, had a great outing in his final one for 2009. Complete game, seven hits, one walk, three runs (only two earned), and ten strikeouts. Too bad this wasn’t the one we got all season. Kevin started quite well, crapped out in the middle, and had a few decent outings towards the end. I’m sure much will be made of Nolan’s conditioning when looking at Kevin’s season.
Still, as jaded as I’ve become towards the team at the end of the season, I’ll be eager to see if this can carry over to next year, when Kevin’s playing for a contract – probably his final big one, I would imagine.

G158: Rangers shut out AGAIN, 5-0

Well, the late September version of the Texas Rangers showed up again. They led off the game with a Julio Borbon single. That was it. There was nothing else to our offense, except for a few walks. The Angels pitching staff (five of ’em) one hit the Rangers.
Figures.

G157: Rangers lost to Angels, 5-2

The Rangers lost to the Anaheim Angels (yeah, screw you Arte Moreno, that’s a stupid name you thought up, the one you inherited was way better) on Tuesday, 5-2. They were formally eliminated from all possible playoff scenarios with that loss.
That is all.

G156: It’s over. Rangers don’t even show up, lose 11-0

On a day where the Rangers could formally be eliminated from the AL West chase, as well as the Wild Card chase, they deliver a big stinking pile of.. you get the point.
That was bad. The only thing that has mathematically allowed the Rangers to have a feeble chance at still making the playoffs was that Boston was rained out. We’ll be formally eliminated on Tuesday night.
Count on it.