- I'd like to think that this series was closer than the four game sweep would indicate, given the fact that total run differential for the series was only 6, but this was pure domination by Jackson over Tampa. Jackson's got it all; great starting pitching, timely hitting, near-flawless fielding, and tremendous work from their bullpen.
- In game
1, Sobolewski was cruising through 6, staking Tampa to 2-1 lead. He
loaded the bases in the 7th, and Wes Dickerson got the huge, timely hit
in this one, a grand slam no less, to lead the Colonels to a 5-4
victory. Game 2 was the heartbreaker for the Dons, as they built a 7-0
lead after 2, only to see the relentless offensive attack of Jackson
come back with 5 runs in the 6th, the last two coming on a clutch
two-out hit by Ralph "Billy the Kid" Kydd. After Jamie " The Fire"
Byrne tacked on a solo homer to give Tampa's closer Les "Fat" Albers a
three-run lead to close out, Dan Blair hit a solo homer, and Dickerson
again connected for a huge, game-tying two run shot to send the game
into extra innings. Ellie Crandall, who had cluch hit after clutch hit
during the playoffs, drove in the game-winner in the 10th to send Tampa
reeling into an 0-2 hole. Jackson got 7 and 2/3 innings of 1 run ball
from their pen, with rookie Grant Mercedes earning his 5th win of the
playoffs. In game 3, Mercedes again pitched 2 innings of scoreless
relief in support of starter Uegeth Nunez who went 6 strong for the 3-1
win. As great teams will do, Jackson took advantage of a Tampa error in
the 7th of a tie game to score the 2 deciding runs. Carlos "Exxon"
Valdes worked around a Jackson error in the ninth for the save. Game 4
saw Roy "Purple" Hayes win the clincher with 6 solid innings, while
protecting the 5-1 lead his teammates built for him, by way of a
three-run blast by light-hitting/slick-fielding SS Ceasar Cordero, and a
two-run shot by Kydd. Valdes gives up hits to the first two batters in
the 9th of of 2-run game, but gets tough-out Byrne to ground into a DP
to squash the potential rally, earn his 7th save of the playoffs, and
send Jackson home with the trophy. Dickerson gets series MVP honors for
his go-ahead slam in 1, and his game-tying shot in the 9th of 2.
Congratulations to Jackson for a season for the ages. Including the playoffs, they went 123-52, for a scary win % of .699! Not only did they put together a 25 game winning streak during the season, but won an amazing 9 in a row in the playoffs against the best competition in the World. Even if you took out the 25 game win streak (but heck, why would you?), they compiled a .653 winning percentage, which would have still made them the best team in the league. In the American League rankings, they were great in every facet of the game; 4th in total runs scored, 1st in runs against, 2nd in fewest errors and fielding %, first in plus plays, and 1st in fewest minus plays. They have the winner of the Cy Young, rookie of the year, and fireman of the year. Add in a silver-slugging catcher and a gold-glove 1B, and you get a world-class team. Great job building this powerhouse, ml4ku! It should be fun for the rest of us to try to knock you off.
Congratulations to all for a successful season 20 in A.Rod. There are a lot of teams that were in rebuilding stages that have seemed to make progress, and I think we can expect the competition to just keep getting tougher and tougher. I look forward to 21 and beyond!