What a week it has been in HOT baseball October. Looking forward to Wednesday night, first game of the World Series is almost here! I can say that my prediction was right, I called the Phillies and the Yankees for the 2009 World Series before LCS began. Can’t say that I can predict the outcome of the World Series, both the Yankees and the Phillies are STRONG teams and it will be highly competitive and entertaining to watch! Hoping to make it to game 6 & if I do, will have some great behind the scene stuff to share! But first, let’s get through games 1-5….
I must admit that I was surprised to see the Angels beat the Yankees on Thursday night. I was sure that game was going to be the last in the series and that the Yankees were going to win and go on to play the Phillies. Not so much. The Angels are floating on clouds right now; they just can’t wait for the next game. The Angels 7-6 victory brought their 3-1 deficit to a 3-2, and in the history of the LCS since 1985, 9 of the 28 teams that have trailed at 3-2, won the series. “Anything is possible, man” Angels Torii Hunter remarked. And that is exactly what’s making the Yankees a little nervous.
Good news for Phillies’ Ryan Howard! After helping beat the Dodgers Wednesday night, Howard was named MVP of the National League Championship Series. He was also named MVP for the NL championship in 2006, and he was named the NL Rookie of the Year in 2005! The Phillies won the series against the Dodgers 4-1 and now it’s on to the World Series to face the Yankees. Howard has the most RBIs as a first baseman than any other player. In his record, he has had at least 1 RBI in 8 straight postseason games, which ties him with one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Lou Gehrig. And this postseason he’s hitting .333, including 2 homers, one double, and one triple.
In the series against the Dodgers, Howard had a 2-run double in the first game and drove home the only run for the Phillies in game 2. In game 3, Howard made a few hits that helped the Phillies obtain a good lead. In addition to that, he had a two-run triple in game 3 and a two-run homer in game 4. How does Howard do it? He visualizes what he’s going to do on the plate. You can see the concentration and focus that Howard has before he goes up to and while he’s on the plate. A technique that is sometimes easier said than done, but a technique that clearly proves to be successful.
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, Albert Pujols, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow. Doctors removed bone chips and trimmed bone spurs. Sounds painful! Pujols has been playing with a partially torn ligament since 2003. He’s expected to make a full recovery in time for next season. This is Pujols third surgery in his baseball career. Last season he went through a procedure to relieve a nerve irritation that lead to numbness, tingling in his ring finger and pinkie, weakness in his grip, and pain along the inside of his forearm. Baseball isn’t all fame and glory all the time. It also involves injuries, surgeries, and rehabilitation some of the time. But, hey, it’s all a part of the game. Players like Pujols are in it for the love of the game and they’re in it to win it, despite what misfortunes it may occur.
As we all know Yankees beat the Angels 5-2 and are moving on to the World Series to face Philadelphia. It was pretty cool to watch Andy Pettitte pitching into the 7th inning reaching a 16th career postseason victory that put him on top of MLB’s all-time list. Rivera finished up for his record 37th postseason save. “This is a great time,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters under a spray of champagne in the team’s clubhouse (they had about 100 bottles on the table!). “But we’re not done yet.” I thought that the Yankees won fair and square, the Angels played a sloppy game. I thought the sloppiest moment was when Scott Kazmir lobbed a throw to first well over Kendrick’s head on Melky Cabrera’s sacrifice bunt, and Cano came around to score. And what was up with all those walks? It was an odd game to watch because there were 0 home runs & the new Yankee stadium was #1 in home runs in the post season. Since winning their only championship in 2002, the Angels are yet to return to the World Series despite five AL West titles in the past six years.
The Yankees go for their record 27th title & when manager Joe Girardi was hired two years ago, he took jersey No. 27 with that in mind. (Maybe this will be their year!) New York got it done with leadership from Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera and Posada, Yankees old timers. Rodriguez has hit in 11 straight postseason games, that’s pretty awesome after the tough year that he’s had. Sabathia was named MVP of the league championship series, notching two wins with dominant performances.“I’m having fun. I am enjoying this process getting to this point so far,” said Sabathia, who will start the World Series opener Wednesday against the Phillies.
We are looking forward to an enticing pitching matchup between former Cleveland teammates - and the past two AL Cy Young Award winners CC Sabathia & Cliff Lee. Girardi gave Sabathia plenty of rest down the stretch after the Yankees built a big lead in the AL East, and it has paid off in the playoffs. Looking forward to watching Ryan Howard the NL championship series MVP, he has been absolutely fierce in the post season. We do however think that the Yankees have a stronger bullpen, which has been a weakness for the Phillies in the 2009 regular season. It will be a close match and we’re hoping that we’ll have a game 6 & 7 to make it that more exciting!