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Thread: 2016 MLB Playoffs

  
  1. #1
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    2016 MLB Playoffs

    I should have started this thread days ago. Instead of living under the frustration of the 2016 Astros Regular Season.
    We've got through the Wild Card playoff game and darned near all four league division series. The ALDS series were both decided be 3 game sweeps. Boston and Texas were the favorites but Cleveland and Toronto should why you actually play the games. 3 of the 4 ALDS series were extended by rain. Only Toronto with their domed stadium were able to end the series with Texas mercifully quick. After San Francisco delayed the inevitable with a win on Monday the Cubs were on the ropes in Game 4 down by 3 runs going into the top of the 9th in San Fran when the Giants bullpen did their best Astros imitation and the blew a 5-2 lead and turned it into a 6-5 deficit. The Cubs closer, on the other hand, did not suffer the same gag job the Giants bullpen did. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the bottom of the 9th to advance to the NLCS. Astros fans can relate to the Giants pain having way too much experience watching leads disappear in way too many 9th innings. The Giants bullpen had 72 save opportunities and converted just 43. Forty-freaking-three! That's just a measly 59.7% conversion rate. And the Giants still made the doggone playoffs!!!! After blowing 29 games!!!! Yep, San Fran we can relate but it's a hard pill to swallow the you did that and still made the post season. Houston can take comfort in knowing the is a bullpen worse than theirs.
    The other NLDS series between the Dodgers and Nationals has one more game to play tomorrow night after LA beat Washington in LA 6-5 to tie the series at 2. Game 5 could feature a rematch of the series opener between the Nats Max Scherzer and the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers have not announced their starter yet.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    The last NLDS series was finally settled on Thursday night when the Dodgers beat the Nationals to take the series 3 games to 2. This sets up the NLCS as a pretty sweet deal for the TV networks who have a dream scenario with the Dodgers and the Cubs. The Cubs are the sentimental favorites who have been waiting a very long time, 1908 was their last World Series win and 1945 was their last WS appearance. Either way, it's been a long freaking time for the long suffering Cubs fans. Game 1 of the NLCS is today and Game 2 is tomorrow. Both games will be played in Chicago since the Cubs have the best record in the NL, shoot the best record in baseball win a 103 wins in the regular season.

    The ALCS began last night featuring the Cleveland Indians hosting the Toronto Blue Jays. It was a heckuva pitcher's duel that Cleveland got the better of in the end snagging a 2 zip win over the Jays. The Indians' Corey Kluber got the win going 6.1 but it wasn't easy as he had to battle out of trouble in the 1st 3 innings. He got a double play to end a threat in the second and he just battled he was way out of a one-out men on 1st and 3rd situation in the 1st inning by getting a K and a ground ball out to end that threat. In the 3rd it was quite as serious. With two outs in the inning Kluber gave up a hit and a walk before striking out Russell Martin to end the inning. Both runs for the Indians came off the bat of Francisco Lindor who jacked a bomb off Toronto starter Marco Estrada with scoring Jason Kipnis walked ahead of Lindor. Cleveland's Andrew Miller went 1.2 innings and Cody Allen pitched the 9th to combine for a shutout of the Jays. For a real kick in the pants stat how about this, Toronto had never had a pitcher throw a complete game in the playoffs until yesterday when Marco Estrada went 8 full innings but in the end the Jays lost the game. Game 2 of the ALCS is today featuring a guy who is likely to win the AL Cy Young award this year, JA Happ. Yep, the same average joe who pitched for Houston a few years back put together a monster 20-4 record with an ERA of 3.18. So far in the postseason Happ is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the 5 innings he pitched against the Rangers back on October 7th. Cleveland counters with Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA regular season and 1-0, 3.60 ERA in postseason) who got the win 5 days ago in the series clinching win over Boston. Game 3 will take place on Monday night in Toronto.

  3. #3
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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    Clayton Kershaw did what he does and that's pitch his ass off each and every time he takes the mound. In Game 2 of the NLCS Kershaw dominated the Cubs as he pitched a 2-hit shutout over 7 innings with Kenley Jansen keeping the momentum and shutout going through the final 2 innings. The result was a 1-0 win for LA in Chicago giving the Dodgers the mini-break that now gives them home field advantage as the series heads back to Los Angeles on Tuesday for the next 3 games. What's a bit lost is the job that Chicago's Kyle Hendricks did for the Cubs. He went 5.1 innings allowing just 3 hits. Unfortunately for the Dodgers one of those hits was a solo home run by the Dodgers cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the 2nd inning. The rest of the Cubs pitching was equally up to the task tossing 3.2 innings without allowing any more runs. It's just that doggone ole Kershaw. He was on top of his game and the Cubs had no answer for him. It's hard to build momentum and score runs when you get only 2 hits and one measly walk. That's all the Dodgers had to work with was 3 base runners for the entire game. All you can do it tip your cap to the Dodgers and move on. The Cubs have the better team in this series IMO but they have all that frustrating baggage of futility in the post season they are trying to overcome. It will be quite interesting to see how these Cubbies respond tomorrow night back in LA-LA land. Is this team really different. Can they throw off the yoke of 108 years without a title? Or 71 years since they even made a World Series? Getting Kershaw-ed in your home stadium so early in the series is a definite setback but these guys need to move on. Game 2 is in the books. Time to worry about Game 3 when the Cubs will throw THEIR ace, Jake Arrieta out against the Dodgers' Rich Hill on Tuesday evening at 7 o'clock.

    Back on Saturday night the Game 2 of the ALCS was played in Cleveland between the Indians and Blue Jays with the Tribe holding a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. By the time the smoke cleared at the end of Game 2 the Indians extended their series lead to 2 games to zip as Cleveland held serve in their home stadium. It wasn't without a struggle but they outlasted Toronto by a score of 2-1. Josh Tomlin got the win after going 5.2 innings allowing just one run on 3 hits, a couple of walks with 6 K's. The bullpen pitched the final 3.1 in scoreless fashion with Cody Allen getting his second save in the series. Toronto's ace JA Happ took the loss because he allowed both Cleveland runs. One was a solo HR by Indians catcher Carlos Santana in the 2nd inning and that pesky Francisco Lindor knocked in a run in the 3rd on a 2-out single that scored Rajai Davis. The series moves to Toronto beginning with Game 3 tonight with Cleveland running out Trevor Bauer to face the Blue Jays Marcus Strohman beginning at 7 o'clock.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    Did you ever see a guy's finger bleed like Cleveland's starting pitcher Trevor Bauer's pinky on his throwing hand? OMG, blood was just pouring out of his finger after just 21 pitches into the game against Toronto last night. Here's an article mashable.com with a brief discussion of the how and why the finger was bleeding like it was. Warning, it's kinda gruesome so it's you're squeamish about blood be forewarned.

    http://mashable.com/2016/10/17/trevo.../#R7561b__zmqR

    As you found out Bauer's finger injury wasn't even baseball related that drone just ripped him open apparently. I'm not even sure stitches would have helped. You have to wonder when Bauer will actually be able to pitch going forward. As I said, Bauer had thrown 21 pitches in the bottom of the 1st inning and recorded one out when he was pulled from the game. I'm a bit shocked that Cleveland's manager or one of the umpires in the game didn't stop the game and have the Indians trainers check out Bauer's finger. I wasn't until Toronto's manager, Terry Francona, came out to complain about Bauers bloody finger that anyone did anything about it. Once the trainers checked him out though it was all over for Bauer for the game. The Indians turned to their bullpen to save the day. Six pitchers combined to lead the Indians to a 4-2 win over Toronto giving the Tribe a 3 games to none lead in the ALCS. None of the six pitchers who relieved Bauer pitched more than 1.2 innings but it was enough to keep the Jays confused enough to only score two runs in the game. Dan Otero gave up a solo HR to Michael Saunders to lead off the 2nd inning and Zack McAlister gave up a leadoff triple to start the 5th inning and Ryan Goins grounded back to McAlister allowing Saunders to score from 3rd on the putout at first base. That run tied the game at 2 because the Indians had gotten a run in the 1st and another in the 4th. Cleveland came right back in the top of the sixth with 2 runs to retake the lead. Jason Kipnis led off with a solo HR to make the score 3-2 and one out later Mike Napoli walked and the next man up, Jose Ramirez lined a shot into right field that got Napoli all the way home from first to make the score 4-2. The Indians and Blue Jays took turns shutting each other out the rest of the way to the end of the game. The win give Cleveland 4 chances to win one game and go to the World Series.

    I talked yesterday about the extended drought the Cubs have lived through but the Indians have been waiting a long time too. Not as long as the Cubbies but they have been waiting. Now, the Indians did go to the World Series last in 1997 when the then Florida Marlins, an expansion team that had only been in baseball since 1991, a mere 7 years of existence, represented the National League. The Marlins had one of the best teams money could buy that included Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou coupled with young stars like Edgar Renteria and Luis Castillo. They had a young Kevin Brown who later outdueled Randy Johnson when Johnson was with the Astros and Brown had moved on to San Diego and closer Rob Nen. The Indians were good but outmatched and they lost the series to the upstart Marlins 4 games to 2. The particularly galling thing about that is Marlins owner Wayne Huizinga had what Wikipedia calls one of the biggest fire sales in the history of baseball and Huizinga completely dismantled the team claiming he lost money despite the WS victory. There are a lot of people who think Huizinga is and was full of crap. That series was particularly heartbreaking because the series was tied at 3 games apiece and the Tribe had a lead going into the 9th. 3 outs away from a title and closer Jose Meza blew the save in a 2-1 game by allowing a run to score to tie the game. Edgar Renteria drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning to steal the series from Cleveland. The last title Cleveland won was in 1948, 68 years ago. Cleveland has also been to the WS two other times, in 1954 when they were swept 4 games to none by the New York Baseball Giants and in 1995 when they lost to Atlanta 4-2. Needless to say it's been a long drought and now they are 9 innings away from returning to the biggest series in pro baseball. Maybe LeBron and the Cavaliers have broken the Cleveland Curse and this is finally their year.
    Game 4 will be tonight with Cleveland sending their ace Corey Kluber to the hill to face off against Toronto's Aaron Sanchez making his first appearance in the series. That game will actually start at 3:00 PM CDT today.

    So which long time loser will you root for if both Chicago and Cleveland make it to the World Series? Tough call.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    The Indians and the Cubs both had their best pitchers on the mound last night and it didn't matter because both teams lost.

    ALCS - Toronto 5 Cleveland 1 Cleveland still leads the series 3 games to 1. The Indians had it set up to win the series in a sweep. Up 3 games to zip and their best pitcher, Corey Kluber on the mound but that's why you play the game isn't it, instead of on the stat sheet. Lots of games have been lost that, on paper, should have been won. Now, it wasn't like Kluber was terrible. He went 5 innings and only gave up 2 runs. It was the back end of the list of pitchers Cleveland used last night that gave up 3 insurance runs to the Blue Jays but that's not really what lost the game either, although it didn't help the Indians cause much. It was strictly because the Tribe could not figure out Jays starter Aaron Sanchez. This guy is a baby-faced 24 year old killer who had a 15-2 record in 23 starts during the regular season. Cleveland had no answer to any of the questions Sanchez posed last night and Blue Jays took full advantage keeping hope alive they could come back and win this series. It was a clutch performance by Sanchez who went 6 innings allowing just the one run on 2 hits, 2 walks and 5 K's. The bullpen was even better with Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna each pitching one scoreless inning allowing no hits, no walks and 4 K's to record 3 1-2-3 innings. The Indians never had a chance at all.
    Game 5 is today at 3 o'clock in Toronto with Ryan Merritt of Cleveland going against Toronto's Marco Estrada with Cleveland getting opportunity #2 to close out the series and Toronto facing the must win situation to stay alive in the series.

    NLCS - Los Angeles 6 Chicago 0 Oh man, this isn't good. The Cubs, the team with the, by far, best record in baseball are sort of looking like the Astros. Starting pitching not getting it done. Offense showing no spark. Bullpen allowing runs late. Damn, this isn't the team that won 103 games this past season. The only team in baseball with 100 wins this year and they look like the Astros right now. Man, that it not good at all. That is two straight games the Cubbies have been shut out as in no runs scored. None, zip, nada. This from a team who was the 3rd leading run producing team in all of baseball in the regular season. Hard thing to explain. I can understand being stymied by Clayton Kershaw they way the Cubs were in Game 2 in Chicago but going into last night's game I was not expecting Rich Hill to dominate the way he did. The Dodgers bullpen was flawless allowing just 2 hits and no walks over the final 3 innings in relief of Hill. Are the Cubs feeling the pressure? Are those muscles feeling a little tight? I'm in LA right now and the weather is not an issue. I've tried to get tickets to one of the games but I just can't mortgage my house for a ticket. You talk about a tough ticket right now. For all the hype about the Cubs, these Dodgers fans are not likely to part with their tickets without exacting a high price. After all, it's been over 20 years since the Dodgers beat Oakland to win their last Series back in 1988. For a city with a short attention span like LA that is, like, a long time, ya know? So the hotsy-totsies sip chardonnay and yell "f**k yeah" when the Dodgers do something good while the Cubs fans at my hotel are pretty quiet. After a Game 2 loss they still had a little smack talk in them but after last night they were all pretty quiet and nobody was around by the end of the game with a dog in that Chicago hunt. Cubs fans have to be thinking, "What the hell." right now as they see their team's chances slowly swirling down the drain. Heckuva time to go into a slump, isn't it? It won't be long before the weather turns cold in Chi-town and there isn't much about the Bears to keep them warm and you gotta feel like there is a bit of a cold chill running through the Cubs clubhouse right about now. The Cubs really, really need a win and they get their chance in Game 4 tonight in LA-LA land. They had better find their concentration, pronto, or this series could slip right through their fingers. Maybe it's all the hot "California Girls" the Beach Boys sing about everywhere you look that is distracting the Cubs. I don't know, but I do know one thing, if Chicago can't find some offense they could be facing a long, lonely trip back to Chicago with nothing to show for 162 games and 6 months of work with no real answer for "what the hell just happened?".
    Game 5 is tonight at Dodger Stadium with RHP John Lackey going for the Cubs and 20 year old Julio Urias on the hill for LA. The game starts at seven o'clock. Urial has got to have some major butterflies going into this game. He will be the youngest pitcher in MLB history to pitch a league championship game and he's just a rookie who made his first big league start on May 27th. He made just 18 appearances, 15 starts, during the season and he ended up with a 5-2 record and a 3.39 ERA. It's a pretty tall order to fill but the Dodgers feel he is up to the challenge or they wouldn't trot him out in such an important game. Six days ago Estrada came into the game with Washington in a relief role and pitched 2 scoreless innings to pick up the win. That was he only postseason appearance so far--ever--in his life as a big leaguer. Unless this kid has ice water in his veins I would say about 6:55 this evening young Julio will be about ready to crap a goose.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    ALCS - This series is over. Cleveland sent a boy to do a man's job and danged if he didn't come home better for the experience. The Indians, for whatever reason, sent 14 year old Ryan Merritt -- okay, okay, he's really 24 but c'mon look at him -- somebody's lying about his age.


    Anyway, this kid was thrown into the biggest game of his life and he did a really good job under the circumstances. What circumstances? Hold on to your chair. Last night was just his second major league start--ever. His career--career--stats are 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 5 appearances which includes 2 starts. His first big league start was Sept 30 against Kansas City where he went 5 innings giving up just one run on 3 hits, no walks and 4 K's. He threw just 62 pitches when he was relieved. Pretty impressive stuff. Of course, Merritt is a Texas boy who graduated from Celina High and he was drafted in 2011 by the Indians in the 16th round of the draft out of teeny, tiny McClennan Community College in Waco. Counting last night's 4-1/3 innings Merritt has a grand total of 15-1/3 innings pitched in the major leagues. In those 4-1/3 innings Merritt allowed zero runs on 2 hits, no walks and 3 K's. In the top of the 5th Merritt got Troy Tulowitzky to fly out to left and the next batter, C Russell Martin got a cheap Texas leaguer to drop in the neighborhood of 2nd base for a hit. It was then that Indians manager Terry Francona decided to give Merritt the hook. Merritt had only thrown 49 pitches to that point so I'm not sure why he decided not let him try to finish the inning. I wish he had because Cleveland was leading 3-0 and he appeared to still have good stuff. It would have made this story even better if could have finished the 5th and qualified for the win. The important thing for Cleveland was they did get the series clinching win and now they get to sit back and watch the Cubs and Dodgers slug it out to decide the National League rep in the 2016 World Series.
    In 2005 the Chicago White Sox broke the curse of the Black Sox going back to the 1919 World Series scandal that rocked the baseball world at the time beating the Astros in a 4 game sweep. That's one curse I wish was still keeping the Sox down for obvious reasons. Just one year prior in 2004 the Boston Red Sox exercised the Curse of the Bambino by beating the St Louis Cardinals in a four game sweep. Kinda scary huh? The Sox last title came in 1918. The curse began when the geniuses in the Boston front office traded what was to become the most famous baseball player ever in the off season between the 1919 and 1920 seasons to the NY Yankees. For 86 years Boston played a distant second fiddle to the world famous Yankees who piled up baseball titles like cord wood. The Yankees won 4 titles with Ruth in 15 years and amassed a wholloping 27 WS titles up to Boston's victory in 2004. Since 2004 Boston has won 3 titles to just one for the Yankees in 2009. Now, Cleveland, who hasn't won a title since 1948 is in the big dance for the 4th time since '48 and the first since 1997.

    NLCS - Of course we all know about the long suffering Cubs. Their last title came in 1908 when Chicago went to 3 straight WS. They lost in '06 to cross town rivals the White Sox and they won back to back titles in '07 and '08. They went back to the fall classic 7 more times between 1908 and 1945 without a win. Since 1945 the Cubs haven't even sniffed a shot at a title. The Cubs curse is referred to as the Curse of the Billy Goat that stems from a Cubs fan at Game 4 of the 1945 World Series who had his pet goat named Murphy with him in the stands. The fan, Billy Sianis owner of the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago was asked to leave the stadium because the smell of goat was making it unpleasant for other fans around him. According legend Sianis was so outraged it is claimed he said, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," which has been interpreted to mean that there would never be another World Series game won at Wrigley Field. And there hasn't been up to and including the 2003 NLCS against the Florida Marlins when Chicago was 5 outs away from a trip to the World Series when a foul ball was hit to left by a Marlins player at the game at Wrigley Field when Cubs fan Steve Bartman reached over the wall in foul territory catching the ball denying Cubs left fielder Moises Alou a chance to catch the ball for a cheap out. The Marlins rallied after that scoring 8 runs to take that game and they won the next game to win the series and send the Cubs fans home frustrated yet again. That explains the years since 1945 but it doesn't explain the futility prior to that going back to 1908. Oh well, the Curse of the Billy Goat is good copy anyway.
    The Cubs went into Game 4 last night down 2 games to 1 and they needed a win bad to stop the bleeding. They got just what they needed beating LA 10-2. Prior to last night's game two of the Cubs best hitters, Addison Russell and Ryan Rizzo were a combined 3-52 in the post season and the Cubs hadn't scored in the last 21 innings including being shut out in Games 2 and 3 by the Dodgers. That all came to an end in the 4th inning when Willson Contraras singled home Ben Zobrist on no out 2-on single. One out later Russell came to the plate and he finally connected on a 428 foot shot to right center to make the score 4-0 and the rout was on. Russell went 3-5 in the game breaking his slump. The other guy, Ryan Rizzo is a little more interesting story. After going 0-2 in his first two at-bats Rizzo tried to change his mojo by borrowing teammate Matt Szczur's bat for his next AB in the 5th. Did it ever change his luck. Rizzo launched a 420+ foot bomb to right to run the score up to 5 zip. Rizzo ended up going 3 for 3 with the borrowed bat with a homer, 3 RBI's and 2 runs scored. He was part of a 5 run explosion in the Cubs half of the 6th that began with a one out single by Russell followed two batters later by a bases loaded single by Rizzo and ending with a Wilson Contraras groundout to end the inning. In all Chicago sent 8 men to the plate and 5 of them scored giving the Cubs a commanding 10-2 lead. LA had scored a couple of runs in the bottom of the 5th to make the score 5-2 at the time but you never really got the sense the Dodgers were in the game. John Lackey pitched 4 shutout innings but he allowed the first 2 batters to reach base to start the 5th when Cubs manager Joe Madden gave Lackey the hook. Lackey had only thrown 72 pitches at that point so I'm sure he was pissed he was yanked. Especially after Mike Montgomery came in and allowed a one out single to Justin Turner scoring both runners he put on base. In the end though, the offensive explosion the Cubs had been looking for finally came and the Cubbies evened the series at 2 games apiece.
    Game 5 is tonight beginning at 7 o'clock. The Cubs send lefty Jon Lester, who has only allowed one run through 14 innings in the playoffs, while the Dodgers counter with righty Kenta Maeda who hasn't pitched into the fifth inning in any of his last 4 starts with a 9.88 ERA in those 4 starts. During the regular season he was just a tic above mediocre with a 7-5 record and a 3.22 ERA. You'd have to say, "advantage Cubs", but in baseball you never know. Who knew Cubs ace Jake Arieta would suck as bad as he did in a Game 3 loss on Tuesday night allowing 4 runs in just 5 innings of work. It's the playoffs man, weird things happen. History tells us that teams that win Game 5 more often than not go on to win a best of 7 series. I'm sure Cleveland hopes this series goes all 7 games while they kick back and rest, heal up and get their pitching rotation the way they want it. I wonder if that Ryan Merritt will get a start in the WS?

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    The offensive explosion the Cubs found on Wednesday was no one hit wonder (no pun intended) because the Cubs broke out the bats again last night to lead the Cubs to an 8-4 win over the Dodgers to take a 3 games to two lead in this ACLS series. The Cubs have taken back home field advantage that they gave away by losing 2 of the first 3 games of this series. Now the series returns to Chicago and one of the remaining games Jake Arieta will get the start and you can bet he wants a chance to make up for that Game 3 beating he took in LA. Last night it was Addison Russell coming through again with a 2 run HR in the 6th inning to break a 1-1 tie and give the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish. The final nail in the Dodgers Game 5 coffin was a huge 5 run 8th highlighted by a two out two run double by Javier Lopez to complete the scoring in the inning. LA got a run in the bottom of the 8th and 2 more in the 9th but it just wasn't enough. A classic case of too little too late. The Chicago Tribune headline says ".....the $155 million to acquire Jon Lester was the best money ever spent." after the Cubs signed him in offseason prior to the 2015 season. He earned a big chunk of that big contract with a strong 7 innings last night. Lester only allowed one run on 5 hits, a walk with 6 K's. Pedro Strop pitched the 8th for Chicago allowing a run and he gave way to Aroldis Chapman who kind of struggled through the 9th allowing 2 runs. It was a good thing he had a nice 6 run cushion going into the inning.

    Game 6 is in Chicago on Saturday night with Clayton Kershaw starting for the Dodgers and the Cubs counter with Kyle Hendricks.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    The outcome of the game never really seemed in doubt. The Cubs scored 2 runs in the bottom of the first after the Cub shut down the Dodgers in the top of the inning. The first two pitches of the game resulted in a base hit and a double play. You can't get much more efficient than that. Every time the Dodgers looked like they may have something going the Cubs nipped it in the bud. They did it for the entire game as the Cubs clinched the NLCS and a trip to the World Series to face the Cleveland Indians by a score of 5-0. Clayton Kershaw was great in pitching a shutout of the Cubs in Game 2 of the series outdueling the Cubs Kyle Hendricks in 1 to nothing pitcher's duel. Last night was a rematch of the same two pitchers but it was Hendricks that was better this time. Right from the start it didn't go well with a couple of singles and bonehead error by left fielder Andrew Toles that allowed the first run of the Cubs to score. The Cubs just kept pushing across runs with the first five innings seeing Chicago build their lead like this, 2 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, none in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th and 1 in the 5th. Kershaw was done after 5 and it was about 5 innings too long last night. It wouldn't have mattered if Kershaw had been better because the Cubs were playing to erase 71 years of futility. It was almost a game of destiny for Chicago who hasn't been in the World Series since 1945. In Game 4 the Cubs found their offense and they road that offense to 3 straight wins after the Dodgers had jumped out to a 2-1 series lead. It was all over but the fat lady singing after the 1st inning. You just had the feeling Chicago was finally, finally going to get it done. Now, by virtue of that ridiculous way to determine the home field advantage by who wins the All Star game, Chicago, who had the best record in baseball by a wide margin, has to travel to Cleveland to begin the World Series beginning on Tuesday night. It will be a series that is going to end a very long championship drought by both teams. Chicago has gone 71 years since their last appearance but it's been 108 years since they last WON a World Series. Their last win was in 1908. Cleveland last appeared in the fall classic just 19 years ago but they last won in 1948 so their championship drought has been 68 years. Either way you look at it, the fans of both teams were not likely alive the last time their respective clubs won. The fact is Chicago is more likely that they no fans at all who were alive when they won last. The Indians have had the luxury of a couple extra days of rest and they will have their starting rotation set up the way they want it while Chicago likely won't have the MLB ERA leader, Hendricks, available until Game 3 at the earliest. Right now, neither team has announced their starters for Game 1 but you'd have to guess that Jake Arrieta will go for Chicago and Cory Kluber will pitch for Cleveland. This should be the Sentimental World Series with the only trouble you might have is which team your heart decides to root for.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    I have been so busy the past week 3 games of the World Series have been played already! It was the sentimental dream matchup because both teams have suffered long, long droughts with Chicago beating out the Indians for longest wait between championships by a long shot. The Cubs last championship was in 1908, 108 years ago while Cleveland's last championship was in 1948 just 68 years ago. If you're talking about World Series appearances the Cubs have the Indians beat there too. The last time the Cubbies were in the WS was in 1945 while the Indians last made the WS was 1997. The Cubs win all around if you are sentimental about such things. The Cubs and Indians have also been the subject of fantasy big game wins. The Cubs were featured in the movie "Rookie of the Year" with Thomas Ian Nicholas who later was in the American Pie movie series. The Indians were featured in the movies Major League and Major League II with Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen and Dennis Haysbert. It all depends on you. I'm a Major League fan but I liked the ROTY movie too.

    Back to reality. Cory Kluber dominated Game one as Cleveland shut out the Cubs in Cleveland to take Game 1 by a score of 6-0. The Cubs rebounded in Game 2 with Jake Arieta on the mound and they tied the series up with a 5-1 win. Game 3 was last night and man was that a long game. It sure seemed like longer than the 3:33 it took for the Indians to beat the Cubs 1-0 in the first World Series game at Wrigley Field in that 71 years since they last were in the big series. It was a nail biter because of the low score. A single swing of the bat could have changed the game but, in all honesty, the Cubs never really had a shot. Until the bottom of the seventh when Jorge Soler tripled into the right field corner. The truth is, if Soler had been hustling right out of the box he may have been able to score on an inside the park HR. Indians reliever Brian Shaw was able to retire Javier Baez for the final out of the inning to end the threat. The Cubs made a little noise in the 9th but the bullpen, the acknowledged strength of the Indians team, shut down the Cubs and sealed the win. That means the Indians have a 2-1 won series lead and they have recaptured the home field advantage. Game 4 is tonight in Chicago with the Cubs sending Jon Lackey to the hill in a rematch of the Game 1 matchup against Cory Kluber. Game time is 7 o'clock and might be a welcome break from all the college football being played today.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    I am watching the WS Game 4 and it occurs to me this series could be over tomorrow night. Really, the Cleveland Indians can't seem to do anything wrong even when the do something wrong. So far they are leading 4-1 in the top of the 6th. It's really sad to see Chicago roll over and play dead for the Indians. As much as the Cubs have been yearning to get to the big dance they are blowing their opportunities. They still haven't won a game at Wrigley field in 71 years and the Cubs faithful which includes Bill Murray and Eddie Vedder have precious little to cheer about. I sincerely hope the Cubs win at home, these fans deserve at least that much. It's hard to imagine that the team that led all of baseball with 103 wins can't find that magic in the World Series. To his credit, Cory Kluber has done a great job going 5 innings so far allowing just one run on 4 hits with a walk and 5 K's. He only has thrown only 72 pitches so I expect him back for the bottom of the sixth. The top of the 6th just concluded with Cleveland getting that run that pushed their lead to 4-1 with a man left. I'm not counting out the Cubs yet. If they get something going that crowd a Wrigley could elevate them to some great things. A 3 run lead is not insurmountable but it won't be easy with Kluber pitching well and Andrew Miller waiting in the wings.

    Holy crap! As I was writing this last sentence Anthony Rizzo hit a long fly ball to the left field wall that Indians LF Brandon Guyer could not get to giving Rizzo a leadoff double for the Cubs. Ben Zobrist flew out for out #1, Wilson Contreras struck out and Addison Russell grounded out to short. Yet another opportunity wasted by Chicago. Kluber has now thrown 81 pitches through 6. Kluber went 6 in Game 1 throwing 89 pitches. This sets up for Andrew Miller to come in for the 7th and 8th with Cody Allen finishing the game in the 9th. It really looks like Cleveland is going up 3-1 tonight. We'll see.

  11. #11
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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    The Indians did indeed go up three games to one. That set up a do or die situation for the Cubs last night in the final game of the 2016 season at Wrigley Field. Those Cubs fans were still waiting for that World Series game win when Jon Lester took the mound for the last time in 2016. Lester allowed just 2 runs on 4 hits in 6 innings of work. Carl Edwards came on in the 7th for Lester but he only lasted 1/3 of an inning. Edwards gave up a lead off single to Mike Napoli and then allowed Napoli to get to 2nd base on a wild pitch to the next hitter, Carlos Santana, before retiring Santana on a fly ball to left. That was it for Edwards on the night as the Cubs brought in Aroldis Chapman who went the final 2-2/3 innings to close out the first World Series win for the Cubs in 71 years. With celebs like Bill Murray, Eddie Vedder and John Cusack on hand as well as Cubs greats like Andre Dawson in the crowd it was something the Cubs fans had been waiting for for far too long. Regardless of who wins the World Series at least The Curse of the Billy Goat is over. It was so cool to see the thousands of Cubs fans sing in one voice, "Go Cubs, Go" for at least 5 minutes. It was one of those special moments in sport that is transcendent and touches everyone. Well done Chicago. The series moves back to Cleveland for Game 6 on Tuesday night with Chicago's Jake Arrieta goes against Cleveland's Josh Tomlin. Last night's game was awesome and I'm glad Chicago got a win at home. Now I don't care who wins, although I am still leaning toward Cleveland, as long as the series continues to be as good as it has been so far.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    The Rocks needed 47 minutes and .59 seconds before James Hardin sank the 2nd two free throws to take a one point lead with that .01 seconds that remained in the game. Houston improves to 2-1 while Dallas falls to 0-3. The home and home sweep of the Mavs make the opening night loss to the Lakers so puzzling. It's still way to early to make a judgement on what the Rockets are. Give me at least until January.

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    Re: 2016 MLB Playoffs

    Man, being a sports fan can be a real booger-bear sometimes, can’t it? I lost sleep on Sunday night when the Cowboys-Eagles game goes into overtime and it took 8 minutes or so of the overtime period before Dak Prescott found Jason Witten wide open in the end zone for the winning TD. I was just about caught up on sleep when the Game 7 of the 2016 World Series went into extra innings. This, after a long game that included a short rain delay prior to the start of that fateful 10th inning, was just another instance of lost sleep that I can ill afford to lose. It was an epic series that came down to the real feeling that it was such a shame either one of these teams had to lose.
    The series was Cleveland’s to lose after they jumped out to a 3-1 series lead after winning the first two games in Chicago after splitting the first two in Cleveland. The Indians had 3 opportunities to win one game and they looked like a shoe-in to become champs. But, after a narrow 3-2 win in Game 5 the Cubs had live and people were carrying signs and spraying walls with the phrase “We Believe” all around Chicago after that Game 5 win. You had to feel like the Cubs had the advantage in Game 6 with Jake Arieta on the mound and that was exactly the case as he went 5.2 innings giving up just 3 hits and 2 runs. That sounds good and it’s even better when you consider the Cubs offense had come to life and they gave Arieta 7 runs of support so he never really pitched in any stress. The 9-3 Cubs win set up last night’s epic Game 7. Because of the very nature of Game 7, win or lose the series is over finality of it begs drama. It appeared that the drama was never going to happen as the Cubs had a 1 zip lead four pitches into the game when Dexter Fowler (does anyone remember Fowler was an Astro? He was with Houston in the 2014 season.) he a homer off Corey Kluber. The Indians tied the game in the 3rd followed by a 2 run 4th to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Both teams scored 2 runs each in the 5th making the score 5-3 and the Cubs added one more in the 6th to go up 6-3. Kluber went 4 innings and gave up 4 runs and it was the first runs at home he had given up in all of the post season. Cleveland’s ace reliever Andrew Miller went 2.1 innings and he gave up 2 runs. It was just the 2nd time in all off 2016 that he gave up more than one run in a game. On the other side it was Aroldis Chapman, who was paid the big bucks to be the Cubs closer at the trade deadline, who gave up a 2 run homer to Rajai Davis that was part of a 3 run rally that tied the game at 6 in the 8th inning. It may go down in baseball lore as the rain delay meeting that saved the World Series for the Cubs. After blowing a 3 run lead and after being up 5-1 and 6-3 at points in the game the Indians seemed to have stolen the momentum away from the Cubbies. The rain came at the conclusion of the 9th inning and Cubs RF Jason Heyward called a team meeting in the tiny weight room in the Cubs club house. No coaches, no front office types, just 25 guys crammed into a small room listening to guy who doesn’t say much during the course of the season. Jason Heyward is not a vocal leader but last night he had something to say to his shell shocked team mates. In a nutshell, he basically told the team not be down over losing the lead in the game. He told them they were the best team in baseball and they should go out and win the game. It was just what the team needed to hear and that is what they did. The Cubs scored 2 runs in the top of the 10th to take a 8-6 lead but the Indians would not roll over and play dead. They came back in their half of the inning and scored a run on a 2 out single by Rajai Davis. But that was all the Indians had left. Michael Martinez grounded out softly to 3rd baseman Kris Bryant who threw to 1B Anthony Rizzo and the 2016 World Series was over. Cubs win.
    There were those who thought they would never say those words in their lifetime because there were many who would never get to say them because it had been 108 years in the coming. Shoot, it was 71 years since they last made the series. Demons be gone! The long suffering Cubs finally, finally won a championship. For Cubs fans that are not just in Chicago but all across the country got to celebrate something many secretly figured would never come. The Cubs built a national following because they, and the Atlanta Braves, were seen every day of every season for years because WTBS out of Atlanta and WGN out of Chicago were the only stations in the country who dedicated their schedules to their local teams. WTBS and WGN were so-called Super Stations that were broadcast nationwide on cable. Both stations thrived on showing rerun TV series and movies and baseball. They brought the Braves and Cubs to the masses. There was the Saturday game of the week on NBC and that was the only baseball on TV other than the delightful highlights on ESPN’s Sportscenter with Chris Berman giving nicknames like Jeff “Paper” Bagwell, Todd “Highway to” Helton, Albert “Winnie The” Pujols and my favorite Scott “Supercalifagilisticexpiali” Brosius (you have to have seen Mary Poppins to appreciate that one). One of Berman’s best that applies here is Sammy “Say it ain’t” Sosa which references a line made famous in the Black Sox scandal that cursed the Chicago White Sox for almost a hundred years until they exercised their demon at the expense of our own Houston Astros in 2005. The saying “Say it ain’t so, Joe” was a plea from a White Sox fan to Shoeless Joe Jackson to deny the Sox threw the World Series for money. You all know that history. It seems the new millennium is for breaking curses, It happened for the Red Sox who broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. It happened for the White Sox in 2005 and now in 2016 the Curse of the Billy Goat is broken. The only team who has been denied a championship which is now as long as many people have lived is the 68 year old drought by the Cleveland Indians. They don’t have a curse per se other than living in Cleveland but they now replace the Cubs as a sentimental favorite the next time they get to a World Series. The Indians had to wait 19 years since their last crack at a title in 1997. That year the upstart Marlins beat the Tribe and almost immediately afterward the Marlins owner Wayne Huizinga dismantled the team. The Indians deserved to win then and the Marlins didn’t and I’m still mad about that. The Indians deserved to win this series but I’m not mad because the Cubs deserved it more. Their city had waited the longest of any franchise in any sport and they were the best team in baseball in 2016. Cleveland has a lot to be proud of and they have some fine players on their team including 2B Francisco Lindor who would be my favorite player were it not for Jose Altuve. Shoot, we could see a rematch of this series in 2017 considering both clubs have a nucleus of great young players and maybe next time the Indians will have their day in the sun. Congrats to the Cubs and props to the Indians. It was a great World Series and an even better Game 7.

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