Monday, February 27, 2012

World Series Recap by cebola

In the first World Series to go the distance since Fargo's championship in season 16, Tampa's victory over Jackson was as close as it's ever going to get. Total run differential was 5. There were four 2-run games and two 1-run games. Game 7 was a 1-run game until the bottom of the 8th. In a series dominated by pitching, Jackson team ERA for the series was 3.75, Tampa's 2.51. Jackson's pitching staff held Tampa hitters to a .248 average, Tampa's held Jackson's to .181.

Other highlights in the series that pitted the same two teams as last season included;

Jackson did not make a single error in the seven games.

Jackson got two huge one-run wins when they were down 3 games to 1 to force the seventh game. Rookie Jason Mathews won the big game 6, and also won game 3 when his team was in a 0-2 hole. Mathews went 4-1 in 6 playoff starts.

There was a save recorded is each of the 7 games; 2 by Sal Jacobson, 1 by Welington Seanz, and 4 by Alfonso Villefuerte. Villefuerte ended up with 10 saves in 10 appearances in the postseason. He did not allow a run, hit or walk in any of the 9 and 2/3 innings he pitched.

Both Reese Hemphill for Jackson and Rich Sobolewski for Tampa started 3 games in the series, matching up twice. Hemphill won the big game 5. He recorded the losses in games 1 and 7, despite pitching quite well. Sobolewski won games 1, 4 and 7.

Congratulations to Jackson for coming within 3 runs of making history as back-to-back champions. Their line-up is nicely balanced with tons of speed and power, and should feature Ralph Kydd for many seasons to come. This guy could win multiple MVP's in my opinion! With Hemphill at the top of the rotation for the next few seasons, you know they will always be a solid threat to win it all. Great job.

I'm looking forward to another great, competitive season in 22, as it looks like even more teams are turning the corner in becoming legit contenders. Nice job, everyone!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tampa Bay wins S21 WS

Congrats to Tampa Bay and cebola who picks up his first career WS title in any world!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NLCS Recap by cebola

In game 1, Tacoma takes a 3-1 lead through their half of the 5th on a couple of scratch runs off starter Rich "Say It Ain't " Sobelewski on 2 RBI's from Art Kraus. Tampa got to Tacoma starter Mariano Padilla in the 5th on a 3-run blast by Derrick Grissom. Tacoma tied it up in the 7th with the help of an Emil Cortez error, but Tampa grabs back the lead in their half on a Blake Leary 2-run HR and hold on for the 6-4 win.

The story in game 2 was Tampa starter Cody Sanders, who goes 8 shutout innings, striking out 9 in the 5-0 win. Tampa banged around loser Gregg Sweeney for 10 hits and 5 runs through 6, as they take a 2-0 series lead. 5 different Dons collected RBI, including a solo homer by Eduardo Melendez.

Game 3 was a geat pichers' duel between Harry Lee and Wladimir Ontiveros. Each surrendered single runs in the 5th on RBI singles from Josias Vega for Tampa and from Roland Soriano for Tacoma. Scoring chances were few and far betwen as both pitchers were cruisin'. The game was decided in the 11th on a walk-off homerun by sure-fire Hall of Famer Tony Weiss, who hit only 1 HR in 72 at bats all year. Tacoma's lock-down bullpen pitched 4 scoreless innings of 1-hit releif to take the 2-1 win.

Game 4 was all Tacoma as they score 3 in the 4th to take a 3-1 lead by getting a solo shot from Soriano and a huge 2-run triple from Ronald Martin. Vet Shawn Harris gives up 3 hits and only 1 run in 7 for the 7-1 win, with another scoreless 2 innings from the 'pen. Kraus gets a 2-run jack in the 5th.

Tacoma got another great playoff start from Mariano "Big Game" Padilla as he outduels Sobolewski through 8. Andy Jacobs gives Tacoma the 2-1 lead with a big 2-run double in the 6th. The 9th is when it fell apart for Padilla and Tacoma and there were a couple moves by Tacoma's bench coach that inspired calls to Sports Radio. Rafael Osuna decides to stick with Padilla for the 9th even with a well-rested Howard Taylor ready for the 1-run save opportunity. With 2 outs and none on, Padilla surrenders a single to C Tom Hardkte. Pinchrunner Shane Kent steals a huge base to get himself into scoring position as the tying run. After intentially walking Hi Shouse, Taylor does come in to face PH Nigel Lidge, but Lidge delivers the game tying single. Next batter, PH Chris Cust deflates the Tacoma crowd with a go-ahead 2-run double. In the 9th, coach pinch-hits for clean-up hitter and the only guy with RBI in the game, Andy Jacobs. PH Weiss cannot duplocate his game 3 heroics, and Tacoma takes the heartbreaking 4-2 loss. Sobolewski sticks around for the win and Villefuerte earns the save.

Game 2 loser Gregg Sweeney pitches 6 gutsy shut-out innings to give Tacoma the 5-0 game 6 win. Norm Cohen, Lawrence Thomas and Francis Phillips pitched 3 innings of scoreless relief for the victory that forces game 7. It was only 1-0 through 7, as Sanders once again pitches well. Tacoma breaks through for the cushion with a 3-run bomb by Jacobs in the 8th.

Game 7 was a rematch of game 3's brilliant pitchers' duel between Lee and Ontiveros. It wouldn't repeat itself as Tampa explodes for 16 total runs on 5 homeruns, including 2 by Cust. Ontiveros can't escape the 2nd. Lee gets the game 7 16-0 win, and Tampa goes on to face Jackson again for the title. Soboleski earns MVP honors with his 2 wins.

Congratulations to Tacoma for an outstanding season and terrific playoff run. They put togther a tremendous bullpen, allowing them to win the ones in which their starters kept them close. The 'pen and a well-balanced line-up with speed is a perfect formula for that home park. Great job, I know we'll see you back in the hunt next season!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ALCS Recap by cebola

In Game 1 Augusta got to Jackson ace Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill with 5 in the first on an RBI double by Javy Alvarez and a grand slam by Peter "Crazy Ole Building & Loan" Bailey. I'll go a step further and say Peter Bailey WAS the Building & Loan, and a man of high ideals (so called.) Jackson gets a couple back in the 2nd, and the game remains 5-2 through 6. Flip McCartney runs into trouble in the 7th an surrenders a 3-run HR to Tyson "Shower Curtain Ring" Griffiths to give Jackson a short-lived 6-5 lead. Hemphill gives the lead right back in the bottom half on a 2-run double by Marvin Crabtree. Bailey blasts another HR (2-run) in the 8th to add insurance and Augusta holds on for the 9-6 win.

Game 2 was 4-4 through 6. Scoring highlights included a Bryce Dupler 2-run double and a solo shot by Ralph Kydd for Jackson, and a three-run HR by Victor Laswon for Augusta. Calvin "Sweet as" Sugawara gives up 3 in the Jackson half of the 7th on a Wes Dickerson 2-run HR. Roy "Purple" Hayes gets the series-tying 7-4 victory with bullpen help from Welinton Saenz and Sal Jacobson.

Rookie Nate Bell had another impressive post-season performance to give Augusta a 2-1 series lead. He goes 8 shutout innings in the 3-0 win. Closer Albert Jackson saw Tony Pena come to the plate in the 9th as the tying run, but induced a DP to earn the save. Javy Alvarez provided all the offense Bell would need with a first-inning two-run jack.

In game 4, Augusta got on the board first with an RBI double in the 2nd by Victor Lawson, but Flip McCartney had another rough outing, surrendering 8 runs before he was pulled in the 6th. Dan Blair did most of the damage with a 2-run HR and 2 run single. Jackson's Hector Batista serves up 13 baserunners over 8 and 2/3, throwing 134 pitches, giving his bullpen some rest while earning the 10-4 win.

With the series tied 2-2, Augusta goes with spot-starter Elroy Mathis to go up against a well-rested Hemphill. Reese bounces back with 8 solid innings. Mathis pitches well, but Jackson gets a pair of RBI doubles, one from Blair and another from Griffiths to take a 2-0 lead that would hold up through 8. Hemphill gives up 1 in the 8th on an RBI single by Alvarez, but retires rookie Cleatus Alexander with the tying run on third. Jacobson gets a 1-2-3 ninth for the save and gives the Colonels the crucial 3-2 series lead.

Jackson comes out blasting in game 6, with Steve Scott hitting a 3-run shot in the first off of Sugawara. Jackson would continue their relentless attack, scoring in 5 innings. Rookie Jason Mathews pitches well through 6, as his Jackson teammates stake him to a 7-3 lead. Peter Bailey does absolutely everying he can to keep Augusta's hopes alive by hitting a 2-run shot in the 6th, and a 3-run shot in the 7th to bring the Bears to within 2. Welington Saenz gives up a single and double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd to start 8th, with Augusta's 1-2-3 hitters coming to the plate, putting them in great position to get back into the series. But they strand the runners and Jacobson gets the side in order in the 9th to wrap up the win and send Jackson back to the World Series to defend their title against Tampa, the team they beat last season. Dan Blair gets MVP honors.

Great job Augusta, for getting into the playoffs for the 4th consecutive season, and in 6 out of the last 8 seasons. Congratulations for pulling off a couple upsets to get to the League Championship. They are a perenial contender and have a solid foundation. We can expect them to make another series run next year.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

NL Division Series recap by cebola

Game 1 of the first series featured a duel between last season's Cy Young award winner and a solid candidate for this year's prize. Milwaukee got to Tampa's Rich "Say it Ain't" Sobelewski for 3 in the third with the help of an Eduardo Melendez error. The big blow was a 2-run HR by SS Phillip Morgan. Sobelewski settled down and then helped himself a couple innings later with an RBI single off of Milwaukee's ace "Don" Juan Bennett to make it a 3-2 game. Both aces continued to keep things in check until Tampa's Derrick Grissom tied it in the 7th with a solo homerun. The Dons then take the lead with three in the 8th off reliever Victor Webb on another big hit by Grissom, this time a 2-out, 2-run double. Closer Alfonso Villafuerte gets the side in order in the 9th to secure the 6-3 win.

In game 2, Milwaukee jumped out to the quick 2-0 lead lead on Edge Edwards's RBI single and a Morgan sac fly off Tampa starter Harry Lee. The Tampa line-up could not do much with Milwaukee southpaw, Stu McCurry, as he goes 8 scoreless innings, giving up only 4 hits and no walks, and the Bommers build a 4-0 lead. Tampa does get a 2-run HR from veteran Blake Leary in the ninth off Webb, and Fireman of the Year Chief LeCroy is called upon to sew up the win, tying the series at a game apiece. LeCroy gets a lift from a fantastic play by defensive replacement Benji Ramos at short to keep a potential rally from brewing.

Veteran York Harris gets the call for Milwaukee to start the pivotal game 3, and he puts his team in a 5-0 hole through Tampa'a half of the third. The damage came via a solo HR by CF Hi Shouse and 2 bombs by Leary, one of them a three-runner. Miwaukee scratches out a run with a two-out rally off Tampa starter Rob Cormier in the 3rd, and cut the defecit to 2 in the 6th with a 2-run blast by Cookie Silva. Harris, along with releivers Tsubasa Suzuki and Victor Webb throw 4 scoreless innings after the third to allow Milwaukee to come back. And come back they do, with 3 huge runs in the 7th to take a 6-5 lead. Pablo Diaz had the game-tying single and Siva the go-ahead sac fly. Reliever Tom Person continues Milwaukee's strong bullpen performance by getting Tampa's 4-6 hitters in order in the 8tt, and hands it over to LeCroy in the 9th. PH Roy Miller hits the big game tying homerun with 1 out, and then former Boomer Nigel Lidge draws a PH walk. Pinchrunner Shane Kent raced all the way around from first to score the go-ahead run on Josias "Viva Las" Vega's bloop double.Tampa loads the based but fails to score any insurance runs. The one would be all they need, however, as Villefuerte gets the side in order in the 9th to wrap up the 7-6 win and 2-1 series lead.

With their season on the line, Milwaukee brings back Bennet on three-day's rest. He falls into a 3-0 defecit through 3 on a couple of Jamie "The Fire" Byrne RBI singles and an Eduardo Melendez RBI double. Tampa starter Cody sanders gives up a solo shot to Juan Alarcon in the 5th, but he was otherwise brilliant, going 7 innings (4 hits, 1 walk) in securing the series clinching 3-1 win. Villafuerte strikes out the side in the ninth for his third save of the series and takes MVP honors. Tampa moves on to try to defend their NL crown against Tacoma.

Congratulations to Milwaukee for a great season, and their first playoff berth since season 14. They appear to be restocked to loaded for another serious run at the title during the next several seasons. Nice job!

Game 1 of the other NL series was the Mariano Padilla show! Fresh off hisemotional CG game 5 victory over Burlington in the last series, he asks his manager for the ball on two day's rest. He gets the scoring started for Tacoma with a run run single in the 4th off of Cy Young favorite Alex Torres. St. Louis answers with two of their own in the 4th on RBI's from Rip Anderson and Nicholas Woods. But Tacoma give Padilla the lead for good on a Ronald Martin sac fly the next inning, and Padilla has a final line of 7 innings, 7 hits 1 walk and 3 runs in the 4-3 win. St Louis had a great chance to break through against him in the 7th, loading the bases with no outs, but Chuck Merrick, coming off the bench as a PH, strikes out, and they manage to only plate 1. Tacoma's rock-solid bullpen delivers a hitless 8th and 9th.

Momentum seemed to carry over into game 2, as Tacoma strikes for 1 in the first off St. Louis's David Polanco on an Andy Jacobs RBI single. But in bottom 1, St. Louis explodes for 4 off Gregg Sweeney, the big blows a Louie Santiago 3-run blast and a Merrick solo shot. That would be enough as Polaco doesn't allow another run through the next 5, and St. Louis hold on for the 6-3 win. Ploanco goes 6, giving up 4 hits, 1 walk 1 run and 6 K's. Stump Matheson gets a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.

Carvernous Cheney Stadium provided us with a pitcher's duel in game 3. A Ronald Martin RBI groundout, set up by a Jacob's walk and Moreno double in the 4th would prove to be the only run Tacoma starter Wladimir Ontiveros would need. WO goes 6 innings, 3 hits, no walks and 6 K's, and the three-headed bullpen beast of Norm Cohen, Lawrence Thomas and Harold Taylor nail it down with 3 hitless innings, striking out 5 with no walks. Ruben Calderon was the hard-luck loser giving up just the 1 run, but did struggle with his command, surrendering 5 walks, including the one that came around to score.

Game 4 seemed like it would be over before it really got started as Tacoma explodes for 6 in the second, and chase St. Louis starter Pedro Borges before the inning is over. Back-to-back triples by Moreno and Martin get the scoring started, and after a couple of RBI singles by SP Shawn Harris and SS Ellie Leach, Roland Soriano connected for a three-run homerun. Don Yates proved to be the almost-hero, as he pitches 4 and a third in releif of Borges, yielding only 1 run and keeping St. Louis in it. The Redbirds chip away by getting 2 in the 4th with a Santiago solo shot and Gil Ashby RBI single. In the 7th, with the clock ticking on their season, they get 3 more to cut the defecit to 2, the big hit a 2-out, 2-run double by Merrick. In the 8th, it looks like the momentum is going to carry, as St. Louis gets the first two men in, but the rally is crippled by a DP by PH Joel Raben. Ted Anderson picks him up with the RBI single to salvage 1, but St. Louis enters their ninth down by one, but with Santiago, Anderson and Merrick due. Closer Howard Taylor is again unfazed, as he gets the side in order to advance Tacoma to the Championship Series against Tampa. Taylor protects three one-run leads in saving all three games in the series to earn MVP honors in a tight race over Calderon.

Another outstanding season from St. Louis, as their 102 wins were their 2nd most ever, only to their sick 112 of their last championship season. You know they will be back next season, poised to make a serious bid for their 3rd title. Congrats!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

AL Division Series Recap by cebola

In the first series, number 1 seed Los Angeles never had a lead the entire way as number 5 seed Augusta registers their second straight series sweep. By taking care of business quickly in round 1, Augusta is able to start ace Flip McCartney for the opener. He does not dissapoint as he surrunders only 1 run on 6 hits and a walk in the complete game 6-1 victory. .227 hitting Doug Corino gets the go-ahead 2 run double in the 4th to give da Bears a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish.

Augusta's Victor Lawson got game 2's scoring started with a solo blast in the 2nd of of LA's Morris James. ROY-candidate Cleatus Alexander gets the big blast though, a 3-run shot off James the very next inning. That would be all they need as Calvin "Sweet as" Sugawara cedes 14 baserunners over 6 2/3 but escapes with the 4-2 win. LA leaves 12 men on base for the game and just couldn't seem to get the big hit they needed. Light-hitting gold-glover Rodney Muelens strands 7 all by himself.

Augusta jumps out to an early 3-0 lead in game 3, courtesy of another homerun by Alexander and RBI double by Corino. Eternal pitching prospect Nate Bell finally gets to give the commish what he's been waiting for in going 8 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs in the series clinching 3-2 victory. Bell finally made it to the bigs this season after battling some major injuries during his development. LA's best chance came in the 7th when they got an Augusta error to go with 3 hits, but scored only once, due to a rally-killing DP by Tom Daniels. Closer Albert Jackson gets some help in the 9th with a great over-the-shoulder catch by 1B Alexander with the tying run on. Alexender gets series MVP honors in going 4 for 9, with 2 HR and 5 RBI (at least 1 in every game.)

LA's three big hitters, Molina, Bonilla and Tony "The Crooner" Bennett, went a combined 7-36 in the series.

Congratulations to LA for an incredible 112 win season! They just ran into a great offensive team and hot pitchers. I know everyone in A-Rod was concerned about getting this stellar franchise in responsible hands, and slash certainly did not disappoint. It's clear this team will be making another serious run for the title next season. Great job!

This marks the 3rd consecutive season that Charlotte and Jackson would have to duke it out with one another to make their run for the title, with the teams splitting the last two meetings. Charlotte got the ace it was looking for to start game 1 in Pat Combs in a midseason trade. He went 11-1 with a 1.96 ERA since his acquistion. He retired the first six men he faced, but he gives up 4 in the third, the big blow a Bryce Dupler 3-run blast. Jackson takes advantage of a Dennis Larson error to score 3 more in the 5th, and cruise to the 9-1 victory behind two-time Cy Young winner Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill. Reese goes 8, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks and 0 earned. Red-hot Ralph "Billy the Kidd" Kydd gets 2 hits, scores 2, steals 3, and knocks in 1.

Charlotte got down to business early in game 2 with 4 in the first off Roy "Purple" Hayes on 5 hits in the inning, including a 2-out, 2-run double by Enos Hoffman. Jackson answers right back with 3 in the next half-inning off vet Alex "The Professor" Gabriel on a Tony Pena 3-run blast. While Hayes settles down, Jackson gets to Gabriel again in the 5th on back-to-backers by Kydd and Dan Blair to take the 5-4 lead. Dennis Larson gets the big game-tying single in the 6th, but Charlotte cannot turn it into a big inning, as Yank Bryant flies out to deep right with the bags full to end the additional scoring threat. Wellington Saenz gives Jackson two huge scoreless innings of relief to get them through 8 all tied. Tony Pena blasts his second homer of the game, this one a two run blast, in the top of the ninth. Power hitter Tom Lewis comes to the plate as the tying run for Charlotte in the ninth, but pops out off Sal Jacobson to end the game.

Game 3 was even better as Jackson and Jason Matthews carried a 2-0 lead through 6 on RBI singles from Wes Dickerson and (who else?) Ralph Kydd. In the 7th, Charlotte's hopes for extending their season are kept alive on a lead-changing 3-run homer from journeyman Bob Becker. In the 8th, when Jackson gets runners on first-and-third with no outs, Charlotte elects to avoid the the big inning and play for the twin-killing instead of playing the infield in to cut down the tying run. They get the DP but give up the lead. Both clubs turn in a scorelless ninth, and they head to extras. Enos Hoffman gets a lead-off single for Charlotte in the 10th, but Richie Rupe grounds into a DP to squash the scoring chance. In the bottom of the 10th, first man to the plate Steve Scott ends the series in dramatic fashion with a HR off closer Charles "1000 Ways to" Dye. Wellingtom Saenz gets the win in this one too, as he goes a combined 5 2/3 scoreless in the last two games. Kydd takes MVP honors for the second staight series by going 5 for 13 with 3 runs, 4 steals and 3 RBI (one in each game.)

Congratulations to Charlotte for another great season. Jackson's team is built for the short-series with Hemphill available to throw almost anytime. This marks the the 5th consecutive time Charlotte's reached the post-season, and I'm sure next season wll be 6. They always find a way to better their club and keep it moving forward. Very nice job!

Looking forward to a great series between Augusta and Jackson. Congratulations and good luck.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

AL Round 1 Recap by cebola

All three games of the Jackson sweep were decided by 1 or 2 runs, with one of the games needing extra innings.

In game 1's 5-3 victory, Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill goes 8 strong for the W, the only real blemish a 2 run homerun by Victor Rosado to cut the lead to 2 in the 7th. Jackson put up a crooked 3 in the 5th to get the scoring started, the big hit a 2-out, 2 run single by Wes Dickerson. Tyson "Shower Curtain Ring" Griffiths blasts a 2-run shot in the 6th.

Jackson rides a 6-1 lead into the 5th of game 2, sparked by a Tony Pena 3-run blast. But Cincinnati storms back to tie it up and send it to extras. The big inning was the 7th, where Marino Gomez hits a solo shot, and Cutter Darr hits a huge 2-out, 2 run double to tie the score. Jackson gets 1 in the 10th, but leave 'em loaded. Cincy answers with 1 in the bottom half to keep hope alive, but in the 11th, Jackson gets it's 4th RBI of the game from Pena, this time an RBI double. They take anvantage of a Bruce McCartin error to tack on another, and it holds up for vet reliever Bruce Fick, who gets the win in relief.

In game 3, Jason Mathews pitches shutout ball through 8, as Steve Scott, Bryce Dupler and Ralph "Billy the Kidd" Kydd all homer to build a 4-0 lead. Cincinatti puts up 3 in the ninth in their do-or-die fight, as Cutter Darr has another big 2-run hit, but Estrada wiffs to the end the game (and series) with the tying run on against veterean Wellington Saenz.

Congratulations to Cincinnati for a terrific season. Darr and Estrada did their best, but the team hit only .224 for the series. The Sextons are on the rise as they captured the division with a solid 97 win season. They have a great nucleus and I'm counting on them to be a force in this World for seasons to come. Great job building that team!

Reigning champs advance to face long-time division foe Charlotte. Last season's series was a classic, and I hope for the same type of nail-biting series. Ralph Kydd takes home series MVP honors with a sick .643 BA with 4 runs scored and 4 steals.

In the other AL series, Augusta outscores Jacksonville 19-7 in the three game sweep. The Porters were held to 1 run in two of the contests.

Victor Lawson hits 2 HR and drives in 4 in the game one 10-5 win. Flip McCartney pitches 7 for the W.

In game 2, Jacksonville was in good position to tie the series, as they carried a 1-0 lead through 7 on stellar pitching by Kip Lincoln. But he runs into trouble in the 8th, with the big blast coming from a Marvin Crabtree 3 run homer. Calvin "Sweet as" Sugawara protects his lead by finishing off the complete game victory, striking out 7.

In game 3, Augusta gets single runs in the 1st, 2nd and 4th to stake themselves to an early lead, one of the runs coming on a Peter "Crazy Ole Building & Loan" Bailey homerun. Starter Marion Pena was dominant in the 5-1 series clinching win, striking out 11 in 7 innings.

Jacksonville continues to rise through the ranks each seaon, and I think we can expect the trend to continue next season. Mark Kojima continues to impress with a strong post-season (.429, 2 SB), and we all know what Ariel Rosa can do (.417 with a HR in the series.) Congrats to the Porters for another solid season.

For his .308/2 HR/6 RBI series (including the big blow in game 2), Marvin Crabtree gets series MVP honors for Augusta as they move on to play the team with the World's best record in the Dodgers. LA played lots of close games during the season, so I'm expecting this one to be great!

Good luck to the advancing teams!

NL Round 1 Recap by cebola

In game of Milwakee's series against Chicago, the Boomers got a Cy Young caliber performance from award-hopeful "Don" Juan Bennett, as he gives up 3 hits in 7 scoreless in the 3-1 win. Fireman of the Year "Hit Me" Chief Lecroy survives a shaky ninth for the save, as slugger Lew Allen's sac fly was just a few feet short from being a game-tying homerun. 48 HR-guy Juan Alarcon got the scoring started with a solo shot in the 3rd and the Boomer never looked back.

The scoring was fast and furious in game 2, as the lead changed three times in the first three half-innings. Lew Allen had a two-run double in bottom one, but Milwaukee answered with 3 in the second on a Miguel Cruz 2-run double of his own, and a run-scoring single by Pablo Diaz. Both Stu McCurry and Sam Montgomery settled down as it stayed a 4-2 game through 6. Milwaukee broke through against Monty in the 7th with solo shots by Alarcon and Phillip Morgan. McCurry got two more scoreless innings under his belt for a total line of 7 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs and 12 K's in earning the win

With their season on the line in game 3, Chicago got single runs in each of the first three innings to take the early lead. Allen again was the instigator with an RBI single and a solo HR. But Milwaukee turned on its power game and got homers from Alarcon (again), Cruz and the big lead-changing 2-run blast by Alex Colome off loser Danys Hernandez. Vet York Harris settled down after the rough start to earn the series clinching win, and LeCroy registered his 3rd save of the series. Milwaukee continues their quest for the title with a series against Tampa.

Miguel Cruz egdes out Alarcon for series MVP honors by virtue of his .375 BA, 4 runs and 3 big RBI.

Chicago should be proud about another great season. They once again won the division, this time with all three rivals turning on the heat. Langer keeps hinting that he may be in rebuilding mode sooner rather than later, but I'm betting he once again finds a way to stay in the mix next season like he always does. Great job.

The only series in round one that went longer than the minimum was a great series and also had the most drama. In Tacoma's 7-5 game one victory, Burlington's starter Gustavo Mateo got lit up for 7 runs in 4 and two-thirds. Larry Kile game in to shut the door with 4 and a third of scoreless relief, but it was too late. Tacoma built a 7-0 lead through 5, and survived a scary ninth which saw Burlington put up 4, but the final rally was again too late. Tacoma starter Mariano Padilla goes 8 strong for the win, and stud closer Howard Taylor puts out the fire by getting the final out for the save. Ellie Leach sparks the offense by hitting a homer and driving in 3.

Game 2 was 3-3 through 6 with Tacoma getting a pair of RBI singles from Eugene Moreno (why can't my Tampa team get guys like this?). Burlington got an Abraham Matthews HR and a Graham Oliver RBI double. Tacoma's Greg Sweeney walked the tight-rope all night, allowing 14 baserunners through 6, but it was good enough to earn the 4-3 W, as Burlington strands 9, hits into 4 DP's and gets a runner thrown out at home. Leach provided the lead changing solo HR in the 7th.

The real fireworks started on the off-day however, as Burlington owner tmantom pays tribute to George Steinbrenner by publicly threatening to blow up the team this off-season if they lose the series. The Huffington Post (print edition) even reported that the bench coach J.P. Fernandez could be fired mid-series! This strategy seemed to work as the Booya used this bulletin board fodder as inspiration to take games 3 and 4 to tie the series.

With their backs against the wall, starting pitcher and team leader Cam Lewis layed it all out for his teammates and owner by striking out 10 in 7 scoreless innings to earn the 1-0 win. Tacoma starter Wladimir Ontiveiros was up for the task as well, as he threw 7 innings of 4 hit ball, but the run scored on a first-inning error by Art Krauss held up for the Booya. Krauss had a chance to redeem himself with ducks on pond in the 6th, but fanned to end the scoring chance. They had an equally good chance in the 7th, but a GIDP by Moreno killed a potential rally and they ended up leaving the bases loaded.

Game 4 was tied 2-2 through 4 until Burlington got a big 2-run single from Dioner Moreno in the three run fifth. Winning pitcher Donte Zoltan and relievers Andruw George and Kenta Itou made that lead hold up in the 7-4 victory. Sandy "Center" Fielder scored 3 and knocked in 2.

Game 5 saw Tacoma knock around game 1 loser Mateo again, scoring 5 runs on 11 hits against him. Kile couldn't stop the bleeding this time, as he surrenders HR's to Darren Furguson and Krauss in the 8th to help create an unsurmountable 8-2 defecit. Eugene Moreno again had a couple of RBI hits and Krauss scored 4 and knocked in 3 in the series clinching win. Mariano Padilla takes home MVP honors for winning two games in the series, including a CG in the clincher. Tacoma goes on to face St. Louis in the next round.

Despite Burlington's disappointment in losing the series and threats to break up the team, I believe the Booya will be back mostly intact for another ultra-competive season in 22. They have demonstrated a tremendous passion and commitment to winning. Congratulations on a great season!

S21 ARod Blog Awards


 Jaime "The Fire" Byrne just edges out Pat "The Baker" Dougherty for the NL MVP.  The difference maker---WINNING--Byrne led his team to 102 wins---tied for the most in the NL.  Byrne has his finest season as a pro, scoring 117 runs, smacking 43 HR's with 130 RBI to go along with a .337 BA, a .410 OBP and a 1.028 OPS and an NL leading 9.568 Runs created/27.  "The Fire" Byrne also did the job in RF with 9 plus play and 0 negative plays.

NL Cy Young

Alex Torres -  Mr. Torres was certainly pushed by young gun "Don" Juan Bennett, but there is no doubt in this bloggers mind that Torres deserves his 2nd NL Cy Young award in the last 3 seasons.  His numbers were sick!! 26 quality starts (tied for NL lead) 18-3 win/loss record, a 1.13 WHIP, a 2.59 ERA, 216 K's and did I mention he anchored the staff of the other 102 win NL team!!!


Clarence Coleman just edges out Dennis Hammel for the ROY.   Coleman has a bright future ahead of him and I'm sure ndrules is looking forward to CC getting into the Cy Young picture down the road.  Coleman finished with a 10-7 win/loss record, 202 innings pitches, 191 K's (4th in the NL), 1.27 WHIP, a 3.03 ERA, 21 quality starts.


This is a tough one.  Clearly its a 3 man race between Carlos Valdes, Pedro Bonilla and RJ Ordonez.  After much deliberation and consultation with myself, I couldn't chose Ordonez because of 3 things---1) team didn't make playoffs; 2) missed 21 games; 3) playing in such a favorable home park, I'd need his #'s to be significantly better than the others.  As for Valdes and Bonilla its soooo difficult to separate them---#1 and #2 teams in AL and neither had to carry their team as they are surrounded by stars.  In the end when you have two guys so damn close, I'm a sucker for guys making history and therefore Pedro "Hack" Bonilla should capture his 6th MVP award.

AL Cy Young

Reese "Smokin" Hemphill should collect his 3rd straight MVP!!  Hemphill may not have had as many wins as the other candidates but his stats as a whole are head and shoulder above the rest (my apologies to Alex Crespo)----let's take a look, shall we......16-10 win/loss record with 8 complete games and 2 shutouts,  a workhorse like 262.1 innings, a ML best 240 K's, along with a 1.05 WHIP, a 3.16 ERA!! My oh My!!


Jason Mathew  --  First off let me just say that Cleatus "The Great" Alexander put up some startling numbers in only 122 games and Lira/Borders were both great for oneofpeace and his Frontiersman.  Now that that is out of the way, for me this came down to two young pitchers who put in some big time work for their teams---Royce Holt and Mathews.  In the end, it was so difficult for the voter to separate these guys.....Holt had more wins, but but Mathew pitched more innings, had more K's and less walks, had a better WHIP and ERA and had more quality starts.  Great pickup for ml4ku!! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Playoff Picture - Cruchtime

Looks like th six playoff squads in the AL are determined. Jacksonville's magic number to is 2 with 9 to play, and should clinch within the next few cycles.

Cincinatti is 1 up on Augusta, but both teams have clinched a postseason berth. Augusta currently has the upper hand in the first two tie-breaker scenarios, but not by much. They are 4-3 against Cincy and 15-9 within the division. The Sexton's division record is 14-10. They play head-to-head in the second-to-last series of the season. Neither are in good position for a first round bye.

The top seed and bye was clinched by LA. Charlotte's magic number to clinch the second seed and bye is 3 with 9 to play.

Not so settled in the NL, as half of the six playoff spots have been claimed, but the other three are wide open. Tampa, St. Louis and Burlington are all in as division winners. For the two byes, Tampa's magic number is 3 and St' Louis's 4 with 9 to play.

In the NL North, Chicago has taken a 2 game lead over both Milwaukee and Tacoma with 9 to play. They hold first tiebreaker over Milwaukee by virtue of their 7-3 record head to head. The Blagos are only 2-5 against Tacoma, however, and their final series of the season should be huge. In second tiebreaker, Chicago's record within the division is 15-9, Tacoma's 16-8 with 6 games left.

Milwaukee's head to head record against Tacoma is 4-3 with one more series between the teams. This is important for the wild card scenario as well. Where Milwaukee has a distinct disadvantage is in the second tiebreaker, which is record within the division. Milwaukee is only 11-13, while Tacoma's 16-8 would be almost impossible to overcome.

Tacoma can help themselves greatly with some solid play down the stretch, as they get to face both Milwaukee and Chicago for a series each before it's all over.

For the wild card, Iowa is 2 games back with 9 left. They finished 5-5 against both Tacoma and Milwaukee, but only 2-8 against Chicago. Iowa needs Chicago to win the division to better their own chances. Iowa's divisional record is 15-9, and looks to have the distinct advantage in a tie with Milwaukee.

New Britain has a great chance to play spoiler in some of these important divisional games. In may in fact come down to second tiebreaker. They play 3 at Chicago and 3 at Milwaukee.

And lets not write off Vancouver just yet.  The Shock are 4 games back with 9 left but miracles do happen.  The only thing going in the Shock's favor is they have the most favorable schedule down the stretch with 3 against Scranton, Helena and Las Vegas each.  As for the tie-breakers, da Couv was 5-5 against Tacoma and Mil-e-wau-kee "which is El Gonquin for the good land",  6-4 against Chicago and 7-3 against Iowa.  Bigparb13 and his Shock need Chicago to win the North in impressive fashion and then to close his eyes and pray.  Did I mention Vancouver is only 10-14 in division---the worst of all contending team (Damn you St. Louis!!!)

Good luck! This should be fun!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

NL Playoff Picture

The NL West has St. Louis in front by a comfortable margin. Their magic number to clinch is 9. They've gotten a typical award-caliber seasons from slugger Louie Santiago and SP Alex "Toquino" Torres. Chuck Merrick has become an unlikely candidate for gold-glove at catcher in the latter stages of his career, as he continues to maintain his prowess at the plate.

In the South, Tampa's hot streak has widened their division lead. Their magic number to clinch is 5. Jamie"The Fire" Byrne has emerged as a serious contender for MVP, and when Harry "Met Sal" Lee recently won his 15th game, he was thrust into the mix for Cy Young. Midseason pick-up SP Cody Sanders has provided a lift with a 5-0 record and 1.88 era since joining the club.

Burlington maintains a healthy lead in the East, as their magic number to clinch is 11. Donte Zoltan is 17-5 with a 2.61 and a 1.08 WHIP to lead a star-studded rotation. Sandy "Center" Fielder's production has dipped slightly this season, but is still the premier all-around CF in the league.

In the North, 2 games separate the top 3 teams, and the last place club, New Britain, is only 6 out. These teams will all play each other for one more series before season's end. so this will be fun to watch! It's probably pointless to list the current standinds, as they'll probably change before this gets published, but steady Milwaukee has the lead over unrelenting Chicago (1 back) and red-hot Tacoma (2 back.) New Britain has played solidly all year, save for a horrible 6-week midseason stretch which saw them lose 7 in a row, followed by losing 19 of 21. At a quick glance, it appears Chicago has the easiest remaining schedule, as there is no opponent over .500 except their division foe-match-ups. Milwaukee adds a series against Tampa, while Tacoma has series against St. Louis and Iowa.
Milwaukee has put themselves in good position by getting Cy Young worthy seasons to-date from both "Don" Juan Bennett (17-6, 2.78/1.04) and "Hit Me" Chief Lecroy (48 saves.) Geraldo Valdes and Miguel Cruz continue to get on base for Edge Edwards and Juan Alarcon.
In Chicago, MVP candidate Raymond "Magic" Brock went down for the season with an injury, but the team has rallied and are still playing great ball. Word on the street has it that Brock may be in a position to return for the first round of the playoffs, should they make it. Benito "Bam Bam" Rijo has been slugging from the SS position, and the resurgence of embattled closer Carlos "Exxon" Valdes (who had converted 16 straight before blowing one yesterday) has kept the Blagos in good position.
Tacoma has a Cy Young contender in vet closer Howard Taylor, who has buckled down 33 of 35 save opportunities. A couple of young sluggers have contributed nicely, including ROY candidate Andy Jacobs (25 HR/19 SB) and 2nd year slugger Art Krauss (36 bombs.)

Like the North Division race, the wild card race is going to be a dogfight. The entire North division is in that mix, but since they're all playing each other, it'll be tough to get two additional North teams into the playoffs. Chicago leads the wild card pack with Tacoma in the second spot. Iowa is 3 games back of Tacoma for that second spot, while Vancouver and New Britain are 4 back. Scranton is still in the mix, 6 behind, but must outperform 4 other teams to make it. If Vancouver can get through a very tough stretch of schedule, where they play Scranton twice, and a series each against St. Louis and Burligton, they'll end the season with series against Vegas and Helena. Iowa has a tough remaining schedule too, with Tacoma, New Britain, Burlington and Tampa still on tap. New Britain must face Iowa in addition to all 3 division opponents. Scranton has the 2 series against Vancouver and a season ending series with Burlington still on their schedule.
It's strange not to see Iowa with Cy Young contender at this point in the season, but if not for a hard-luck 10-12 record, Gio "The Hybrid" Hernandez would be partof the pack. Hank Roberts has been a sparkplug, getting on base at a .354 clip and stealing 39 bases. John Ueno has seen his production slip slightly, but the good news is that his protection in the line-up and superstar in his own right, "Lil E" Emmanuel Aquino is back for the stretch run!
Vancouver has a sparkplug of their own in Alvin "The Run" Logan, who has scored 100 and stolen 60 bases, all due to fact that he gets on base at a .362 clip. He gives Vincente Bennett (20 HR/92 RBI) and Joaquin James (.907 OPS) plenty of chances to drive him in. Danny Tazawa has led the staff with a 12-4 record, and 23 year-old reliever, Ronn Aumont has siezed the closer's job by going 8 for 8.
New Britain has gotten plenty of production from "Skip to my" Lew Evans, Kid Flair and Pablo Marques, who all have at least 30 homers, led by Evans's 42. They have two ROY candidates in SP's Clarence Clemens and Placido Balentien who each have 9 wins. Ken Priest has 35 saves, and Miguel Santana may well win the gold-glove in CF.
Scanton's Pat "The Baker" Dougherty has been insane while posting a 1.049 OPS! He's hitting .333 with 46 HR and 115 RBI. They also have three others with at least 29 HR in Carlos Blanco, RA Tucker and Alfredo Alcantara (.916 OPS.) Super longman Dan Lane is 12-1 with a 2.09 era in relief.

The two teams that would qualify for the first round byes are Tampa and St. Louis. These two teams have another series left with other, which could help determine who gets the time off. Burlington is right behind, just 4 games out of the second seed. Milwuakee is 7 back.

Good luck to the multitude of teams still fighting!

Friday, February 3, 2012

AL Playoff Picture

As we head into the final month of the season, here's where we stand;

In the North, Augusta holds a 2 game edge over Cincinatti. Both teams have been playing well, and neither one has given into the pressure of the other. Augusta seems to have the tougher schedule down the stretch as they have 3 left against Charlotte and 4 left against LA. Cincinatti has to face Jackson for one more 4 game set, but the biggie looks like the second to last series of the season. Cincinatti will host Augusta for a 3 game set, that may well in fact, determine the outcome of the division and the higher seed. The not-so-bad consolation prize will most likely be one of the two wild card spots, as both teams appear to be headed to the post season. Augusta is getting terrific production from MVP candidate Javy "The Kid" Alvarez and OF Marvin "King" Crabtree. Cincy has a CY Young candidate in Craig Jones and is getting an MVP type performance from CF Burt McCartin.

In the East, Jacksonville has seemed to get back on track after experiencing a midseason swoon. Their hot streak has built them a 5 game lead over both Syracuse and Trenton. Jacksonville appears to have the easiest remaining schedule, as ther only remaining opponent with an above-.500 record is Sante Fe. Trenton has the toughest, as they must play both Jackson and Charlotte before it's all over. Syracuse has to play a series against Charlotte. Jacksonville continues to get great run-scoring production from lead-off man Mark Kojima. Syracuse has unveiled a young up-and-comer with 24 year-old rookie pitcher Royce "The Clam" Holt, who is 16-8 for a sub-.500 team. For Trenton, MVP candidate Nick "Big Show" Jacquez continues to tear it up, as he strives to lead his team into the play-offs.

Charlotte has held onto their lead in the South, which is currently 6 games over Jackson. They don't seemed to be fazed by the loss of slugger Santos "Angel" Torres to injury, as they've just reeled off a 13-4 run without him. What it does hinder is their quest to blast 300 HR as a team for the season. Their current pace will now leave them just shy. We'll keep an eye. If Jackson can make up some ground over the next few series, they'll put themselves in a position to perhaps steal the division when the two teams play each over in the second-to-last series of the season at Jackson. If Jackson can't overcome their division defecit, they will still likely reach the post-season as a wild card. Jackson is getting an MVP caliber season from Ralph "Billy the Kid" Kydd and a Cy Young quality season from Reese "Smokin" Hemphill. The division leaders have Carlos "Exxon" Valdes battling for the MVP award and closer Charles "1001 way to" Dye vying for CY Young.

The LA Dodgers have officially clinched the West in part to huge seasons from likely MVP Pedro "Hack" Bonilla, and Cy Young hopefulls Morris James and closer Travis Jones, who has amazingly blown only 1 save opportunity all year. Rick Poppel recently tossed a no-no and is a 15 game winner. They also have two gold-glove candidates at defensive positions with Tony Bennett and Rodney Meulens.

LA is currently the front runner for top seed and a bye with 94 wins. Charlotte would receive the second seed and a bye if the season ended today with their 88 victories. Augusta is not far behind, and could pull out second seed with some great play down the stretch. Their 84 wins puts them 4 back of Charlotte. If Cincy can overtake Augusta first, they would then need to catch Charlotte for a chance for the second seed. Their 82 wins puts them 6 behind.

Sante Fe is the only real hopefull for making a run at a wild card spot, but have to make up 10 games on either Cincinatti or Jackson.