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 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS

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PostSubject: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:56 am

Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tony Paul
Postseason of change

Like autumn leaves, the baseball landscape is changing colors.

There will be no important October baseball in New York for the first time since 1993, but both Los Angeles teams are in the same postseason for just the second time ever.

This fall's cast brings a host of other juicy story lines, too -- from a fat cat seeking seconds (the defending champion Red Sox) to the hungry (the Brewers and Rays never have won a World Series) to the freaking starving (the Cubs, we're sure you've heard, haven't triumphed since Teddy Roosevelt).

And occupying the last two seats at the table are a Phillies team making a habit out of clinching on the regular season's final weekend, and an additional club -- the White Sox, who edged the Twins, 1-0, in Tuesday night's one-game tiebreaker in Chicago -- which needed a 163rd game to determine its fate.

With a chill in the air and fresh tints on the trees, the new season begins tonight.

Cubs: Fan-tastic voyage

For the eighth consecutive season, the Cubs led Major League Baseball in strikeouts. Yet, for the seventh time in that span, they didn't boast the majors' top strikeout artist.

Year Total Leader, K's
2008 1,264 Ted Lilly, 184
2007 1,211 Rich Hill, 183
2006 1,250 Carlos Zambrano, 210
2005 1,256 Carlos Zambrano, 202
2004 1,346 Matt Clement, 190
2003 1,404 Kerry Wood, 266*
2002 1,333 Kerry Wood, 217
2001 1,344 Kerry Wood, 217

* Led major leagues

Dodgers: Say, ain't that Joe?

While the Yankees' run of consecutive postseason appearances was halted at 13, Joe Torre, the same manager the Steinbrenners essentially dumped via a slap-in-the-face contract offer last fall, has extended his personal streak to 13. The first-year Dodgers skipper already is the winningest manager in postseason history:

Manager Teams Wins Titles
1. Joe Torre ATL, NYY 76 4
2. Bobby Cox TOR, ATL 66 1
3. Tony La Russa CWS, OAK, STL 59 2
4. Casey Stengel NYY 37 7
5. Sparky Anderson CIN, DET 34 3

Note: Only teams manager took to postseason are listed

Phillies: Back, but better?

There's no denying the ability of the Phillies' offense -- Ryan Howard , right, Pat Burrell and Chase Utley this regular season combined for more homers (114) than two entire teams (Twins, 111, and Giants, 94). But will the Philly lumber display the force of a mere twig this postseason, as it did a year ago in the NLDS sweep by the Rockies?

Player Year H HR RBI SO BB AVG
Pat Burrell 2008 -- regular season 134 33 86 136 102 .250
2007 -- postseason 2 0 0 5 2 .182

Note: The 2007 NLDS was the first playoff appearance for all four players.

Brewers: Ready or not ...

In the last 100 years, 13 teams have made midseason managerial changes (not including temporary leave of absences) and still go on to make the postseason. Of the replacements, seven were first-time skippers. And nobody has entered the playoffs with fewer games at the helm than Dale Sveum .

G Year Team Manager Rec. Postseason
12 2008 Brewers  Dale Sveum 7-5 --
27 1981 Expos Jim Fanning 16-11 Lost NLDS, 3-2, to LAD
55 1932 Cubs Charlie Grimm 37-18 Lost World Series, 4-0, to NYY
73 1938 Cubs Gabby Hartnett 44-27-2 Lost World Series, 4-0, to NYY
77 1988 Red Sox Joe Morgan 46-31 Lost ALCS, 4-0, to OAK
86 1996 Dodgers Bill Russell 49-37 Lost NLDS, 3-0, to ATL
126 1989 Blue Jays Cito Gaston 77-49 Lost ALCS, 4-1, to OAK

Angels: Kings of the hill

What a good problem to have: The Angels enter the postseason with, by a comfortable margin, the most pitching depth among the qualifiers -- they're the first since the 1998 World Series champion Yankees to have six pitchers with at least 10 wins.

2008 Angels W-L GS CG ERA
Jon Garland 14-8 32 1 4.90
John Lackey 12-5 24 3 3.75
Ervin Santana 16-7 32 2 3.49
 Joe Saunders 17-7 31 1 3.41
Jered Weaver 11-10 30 0 4.33
Jose Arredondo 10-2 0 0 1.62

1998 Yankees W-L GS CG ERA
David Cone 20-7 31 3 3.55
Orlando Hernandez 12-4 21 3 3.13
Hideki Irabu 13-9 28 2 4.06
Ramiro Mendoza 10-2 14 1 3.25
Andy Pettitte 16-11 32 5 4.24
David Wells 18-4 30 8 3.49

Red Sox: Harbor Hangover? Naw!

Of the last six World Series champions, only two have returned to the postseason the following season -- both times, it was the Red Sox. The last non-Boston team to do it were the Diamondbacks, who won it all in 2001 and won the NL West a year later.

Year Team Next year
2007 Red Sox 95-67, won AL East
2006 Cardinals 78-84, third in NL Central
2005 White Sox 90-72, third in AL Central
2004 Red Sox 95-67, won AL wild card
2003 Marlins 83-79, third in NL East
2002 Angels 77-85, third in AL West

Rays: Worst to first

The upstart Rays became just the seventh team in the four major professional sports to finish with the league's worst record one year and win its division the next. Bad news: Only one of the previous turnarounds, the 1991 Braves, won a round in the playoffs.

Year Team (league) Records
2008 Rays (MLB) 97-65/66-96
2004 Chargers (NFL) 12-4/4-12
1999 Ind. Colts (NFL) 13-3/3-13
1991 Braves (MLB) 94-68/65-97
1975 Bal. Colts (NFL) 10-4/2-12
1936-37 Canadiens (NHL) 24-18-6/11-26-11
1924-25 Hamilton Tigers* (NHL) 19-10-1/9-15-0

* The Hamilton Tigers forfeited the finals when their players went on strike.

White Sox: Last in, last out?

On Tuesday night in Chicago, the Twins and White Sox competed in the eighth one-game playoff in MLB history -- this one with the American League Central crown on the line. Two of the others went on to win the World Series:

Year Team At stake Postseason
2007 COL NL wild card Lost WS, 4-0, to BOS
1998 CHC NL wild card Lost NLDS, 3-0, to ATL
1995 SEA AL West Lost ALCS, 4-2, to CLE
1980 HOU NL West Lost NLCS, 3-2, to PHI
1978 NYY AL East Won WS, 4-2, over LAD
1948 CLE AL Won WS, 4-2, over BSN
1999 NYM NL wild card Lost NLCS, 4-2, to ATL

Note: NL format was best-of-three prior to 1969; BSN: Boston Braves

Tony's predictions

Angels vs. Red Sox: Los Angeles in four.

Rays vs. White Sox: Chicago in five.

Cubs vs. Dodgers: Chicago in four.

Phillies vs. Brewers: Milwaukee in five.

MORE ONLINE

For Tony Paul's complete series-by-series breakdown, visit his blog at detnews.com .

A little help here

The five prime-of-their-career players to be traded at this year's deadline all played a critical role in helping their new teams reach the postseason. Here's a look at their statistics pre- and post-trades:

Player Team G H 2B HR RBI AVG
Jason Bay PIT 106 111 23 22 64 .282
LAA 54 69 14 13 43 .358

Pitcher Team G W-L CG SO BB AVG
Rich Harden OAK 13 5-1 0 92 31 2.34
MIL 17 11-2 7 128 25 1.65

Diamond digits

26 Consecutive seasons without a postseason appearance for the Nationals franchise, the longest drought in the major leagues (the Expos went in 1981). The next four longest active streaks belong to the Royals (22), Pirates (15), Blue Jays (14) and Reds (13). The Brewers ended their 24-year playoff absence Sunday afternoon.

24 Postseason homers by Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez, who ranks first all-time (second is ex-Yankee Bernie Williams, 22). Ramirez also is top 10 in RBIs (64), extra-base hits (38), total bases (181), walks (59), hits (95), runs (55) and games (95).

10/1/32 Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But legend insists that on this date 76 years ago, Yankees slugger Babe Ruth called his shot, then hammered the very next pitch into the same Wrigley Field center-field bleachers he had just pointed toward. Ruth and Lou Gehrig each hit two home runs in the game, which the Yankees won, 7-5, to take a 3-0 lead in the World Series. They swept in Chicago a day later.

1,012-1,012 Amazingly, the all-time record between the Cubs and Dodgers in a series dating all the way back to 1890. Good thing the NLDS isn't best-of-six.

Playoff schedule

(all games on TBS)

American League

Rays vs. White Sox

• 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Tampa Bay

• 6 p.m. Friday at Tampa Bay

• Sunday at Chi.; time TBA

• Monday at Chi; time TBA*

• Oct. 8 at Tampa Bay; time TBA*

Angels vs. Red Sox

• 10 tonight at Los Angeles

• 9:30 p.m. Friday at Los Angeles

• Sunday at Boston; time TBA

• Monday at Boston; time TBA*

• Oct. 8 at Los Angeles; time TBA*

National League

Phillies vs. Brewers

• 3 p.m. today at Philadelphia

• 6 p.m. Thursday at Philadelphia

• 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Milwaukee

• Sunday at Milwaukee; time TBA*

• Oct. 7 at Philadelphia; time TBA*

Cubs vs. Dodgers

• 6:30 tonight at Chicago

• 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Chicago

• 10 p.m. Saturday at Los Angeles

• Sunday at Los Angeles; time TBA*

• Oct. 7 at Chicago; time TBA*

* if necessary
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:17 am

Red Sox WINS series, 3-1
GAME-----------MATCHUP------DAY-----DATE---TIME---TV STATION
Gm 1-----------BOS 4 @ LAA 1 --
Wed----Oct. 1----10:00 PM--TBS
Gm 2BOS 7 @ LAA 5FriOct. 39:30 PMTBS
Gm 3LAA 5 @ BOS 4SunOct. 57:17 PMTBS
Gm 4*LAA 2 @ BOS 3MonOct. 68:37 PMTBS






Dodgers WIN series, 3-0
GAME--------MATCHUP--------DAY---DATE---TIME------TV STATION
Gm 1LAD 7 @ CHC 2Wed---Oct. 1---6:30 PM----TBS
Gm 2LAD 10 @ CHC 3ThuOct. 29:30 PMTBS
Gm 3CHC 1 @ LAD 3SatOct. 410:00 PMTBS












Phillies WIN series, 3-1

GAME-----MATCHUP-------DAY---DATE---TIME-----TV STATION
Gm 1-------
MIL 1 @ PHI 3----Wed---Oct. 1---3:00 PM---TBS
Gm 2MIL 2 @ PHI 5ThuOct. 26:00 PMTBS
Gm 3PHI 1 @ MIL 4SatOct. 46:30 PMTBS
Gm 4*PHI 6 @ MIL 2SunOct. 51:07 PMTBS







Rays WIN series, 3-1

GAME----MATCHUP-----DAY---DATE---TIME-----TV STATION
Gm 1-----CWS 4 @ TB 6---Thu-----Oct. 2---2:30 PM---TBS
Gm 2CWS 2 @ TB 6FriOct. 36:07 PMTBS
Gm 3TB 3 @ CWS 5SunOct. 54:07 PMTBS
Gm 4*TB 6 @ CWS 2MonOct. 65:07 PMTBS







TAMPA BAY RAYS AL CHAMPS, WIN 4-3
Game-- Matchup---- Day--- Date----- Time ET--- TV
Gm 1----BOS 2 @ TB 0 -Fri-----Oct. 10-----8:37 PM----TBS
Gm 2BOS 8 @ TB 9
SatOct. 118:07 PMTBS
Gm 3TB 9 @ BOS 1
MonOct. 134:37 PMTBS
Gm 4TB 13 @ BOS 4
TueOct. 148:07 PMTBS
Gm 5*TB 7 @ BOS 8
ThuOct. 168:07 PMTBS
Gm 6*BOS 4 @ TB 2SatOct. 184:37 PMTBS
Gm 7*BOS 1 @ TB 3
SunOct. 198:07 PMTBS
Phillies NL CHAMPS, WIN 4-1
Game --- Matchup-------- Day--- Date----- Time ET--- TV
Gm 1------LAD 2 @ PHI 3----Thu-----Oct. 9------8:22 PM----FOX
Gm 2LAD 5 @ PHI 8
FriOct. 104:35 PMFOX
Gm 3PHI 2 @ LAD 7
SunOct. 128:22 PMFOX
Gm 4PHI 7 @ LAD 5
MonOct. 138:22 PMFOX
Gm 5*PHI 5 @ LAD 1
WedOct. 158:22 PMFOX














“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


Last edited by GoGetEmTigers on Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:02 am; edited 33 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:49 pm

GO WHITE SOX!!!


bow Z. Miner
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:35 pm

Go Devil Rays!
If not them, go Brewers!
If not them, go Dodgers :puke2:
If not them, go Angels :puke2:
If not them, go White Sox
If not them, go Phillies
If not them, go Red Sox
If not them, go Cubs


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 2:47 pm

catbox_9 wrote:
Go Devil Rays!
If not them, go Brewers!
If not them, go Dodgers :puke2:
If not them, go Angels :puke2:
If not them, go White Sox
If not them, go Phillies
If not them, go Red Sox
If not them, go Cubs

Are you kidding me???

GOOO PHILLS GO!!
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:15 pm

I was going to put them 7th, but I decided the Red Sox were worse.


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:32 pm

GO RAYS, ANGELS, DODGERS AND BREWERS



Don't want to see any cold weather baseball in the ALCS, NLCS and WS

Let them umpires wear their black short sleeve shirts [ Comerica Park Style!]

Screw Boston, White Sox, Cubs and Philly [ Sorry Cdurb!]

Since it won't be 75 degrees or higher[ like it would be if the Tigers ever made the playoffs again ]

These teams gotta get swept

I am even gonna root for K-Rod! IF I HAVE TO! HOPEFULLY ANGELS BLOW EM OUT ALL THREE GAMES

I hate K-Rod! But I hate seeing them Red Sox Fans bundled up more!

Never can be like that again at Comerica[ the hottest BP in the Western Hemisphere]



Bud Selig Sucks!
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:47 pm

catbox_9 wrote:
I was going to put them 7th, but I decided the Red Sox were worse.

Hmm, well I know you may not like them, but I do! Big Smile
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:13 pm

gs78 wrote:
GO RAYS, ANGELS, DODGERS AND BREWERS


We're rooting for the same teams high 5

Rays-Angels, who you cheering for? (Go Rays for me!)

Dodgers-Brewers, who you cheering for? (Go Dodgers for me...I just changed my mind on that like 10 minutes ago).

Go Rays to win it all!

--------------------

FIXED:
Go Devil Rays!
If not them, go Dodgers :puke2:
If not them, go Brewers!
If not them, go Angels :puke2:
If not them, go White Sox
If not them, go Phillies
If not them, go Red Sox
If not them, go Cubs


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:03 pm

Phillies win!
Lead series (obviously) 1-0!

As of 6:03 CT, the Dodgers and Cubs are still without any runs 0-0 in the top of the 2nd.
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:55 pm

10/01/2008 5:46 PM ET

Box >

Hamels' gem lifts Phils to Game 1 win
Ace lefty tosses eight shutout innings; Utley drives in pair
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels is all you need to know about Wednesday.

When calling friends, sending e-mails or shipping text messages to anyone unfamiliar with the outcome of Philadelphia's convincing 3-1 win over Milwaukee to open the National League Division Series on Wednesday -- and the 2008 postseason -- simply type those 10 letters in Hamels' name.

It will tell the story adequately of a game that wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated and a Phillies team that won its first postseason game since Oct. 21, 1993, when it took Game 5 of the World Series over the Blue Jays.

Hamels dazzled, the Phillies scored an opportunistic three runs on sloppy second-inning defense by the Brewers, and they cruised to their fifth straight win over Milwaukee. Hamels allowed just two hits over eight innings, walking one and striking out nine.

Brad Lidge closed it out in the ninth, but not before allowing two hits and a run. With runners on second and third, Lidge struck out Corey Hart to end the game. The Phils' closer, who threw 35 pitches, walked one and struck out three.

Winning the pivotal first game is huge for Philadelphia, since it had its ace on the mound and the prospect of Milwaukee ace CC Sabathia pitching on Thursday.

Determined not to get swept after last season's NLDS exit against the Rockies, and with a mantra of playing more focused and relaxed, the Phillies played flawlessly.

Chase Utley made two sterling defensive plays, and Hamels didn't give the Brewers much of a chance through eight innings, retiring 14 straight to start the game. Before the crowd of 45,929 could think perfect game, Hart broke it up with a single to right with two outs in the fifth.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:58 pm



“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:01 pm

I saved that picture!
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:30 pm

Go Cubbies and Rays!
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:57 pm

Boo, GOO PHILS AND RAYS! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:22 pm

10/01/2008 9:49 PM ET

Box >

Long balls lead Dodgers in Game 1
Loney delivers slam; Ramirez, Martin add solo homers
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com

CHICAGO -- James Loney's grand slam and solo homers by Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin gave Derek Lowe and the Dodgers a 7-2 victory over the Cubs in Wednesday's Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field.

Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, who had seven walks in 4 2/3 innings, walked the bases loaded before Loney launched his two-out homer into the wind to center field. Ramirez's home run to center off Sean Marshall in the seventh inning extended his MLB postseason record to 25.

Lowe, who is likely to return on three days' rest if there is a Game 4, was removed after making 94 pitches in six innings. Cory Wade, Jonathan Broxton and Greg Maddux finished up the victory, only the second in the postseason for the Dodgers since 1988.

The grand slam by Loney was the Dodgers' first in postseason play since Dusty Baker on Oct. 5, 1977. Ron Cey hit one the day before that. The four RBIs by Loney equal a Dodgers NLDS single-game record, tying Eric Karros (Oct. 4, 1995). It also ties him with Karros and Steve Garvey (1981) for most RBIs by a Dodgers player in an NLDS series and in a career for the NLDS.

Lowe gave up as many runs (two) in the second inning as he allowed in the previous 41 innings of the regular season. With one out, Jim Edmonds lined a single that nicked leaping shortstop Rafael Furcal's glove and Mark DeRosa followed by lifting a fly to the right-field corner that a steady breeze pushed into the first row of bleachers. Casey Blake followed Blake DeWitt's seventh-inning double with an RBI single, and Russell Martin homered in the ninth for the final Dodgers' run.

Teams that won Game 1 of the NLDS have gone 23-3 in the Wild Card era. The number for the American League Division Series is 12-14, bringing the cumulative number to 36-16 in favor of the team that won Game 1.

Grand Beginnings
James
Loney rallied the Dodgers with a two-out grand slam in the top of the
fifth inning in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at
Wrigley Field on Wednesday night.

Loney's slam was L.A.'s first in postseason play since Dusty Baker on Oct. 5, 1977.

Loney's four RBIs equal a Dodgers' NLDS single-game record, tying Eric Karros on Oct. 4, 1995.

Loney ties Karros and Steve Garvey (1981) for most RBIs by a Dodger in an NLDS and career in an NLDS.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:04 am

GO DODGERS!
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:12 am

gs78 wrote:
GO DODGERS!

high 5 :puke2:


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:42 am

catbox_9 wrote:
gs78 wrote:
GO DODGERS!

high 5 :puke2:



scratch
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:47 am

Angels Lose

rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:48 am

Rays better beat Chicago at least!

3 game sweep be nice
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gs78
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:49 am

I want a warm weather WS

If the Tigers can't be in the WS

Neither should the Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox or Phillies
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:29 am

gs78 wrote:
Angels Lose

rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant

Yay2 think of it, K-Rod has a dream season, and then he doesnt even get a ring.
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:13 pm

PHILS LEAD 2-0!!

Smile won't leave my face!!

EDIT:
Why 8:13? I hate odd numbers, especially 13.
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:22 am

10/02/2008 8:18 PM ET

Box >

First foray into playoffs a win for Rays
Jitters kept well under wraps in Game 1 triumph over White Sox
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- The nerves of a young team never showed and Tropicana Field continued to be the Major League's Temple of Doom for opposing teams as the Rays took a 6-4 win over the White Sox on Thursday afternoon in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

"We were all a little nerved up, real excited, fans were real loud so we were just trying to control our emotions a little bit, but we calmed down a little bit," said Carl Crawford, who made his first start since Sept. 9 at Seattle, when he suffered a subluxation of his right middle finger tendon. "And we were able to do the job. So I'm just glad we got this first job out of the way."

A raucous sellout crowd of 35,041 at Tropicana Field watched as the Rays won their first postseason game in franchise history, staking them to a 1-0 lead in the series. Of the 52 Division Series since its inception in 1995, the team that won the first game went on to win the series 35 times. With a win Friday, the Rays could take a 2-0 lead, and 27 of the 32 teams to take a 2-0 lead have gone on to win the series.

Tropicana Field had a feeling like never before, and this is after a season in which the Rays posted the best home record in the Major Leagues at 57-24.

"I definitely had a lot of nerves today," said James Shields, who started for the Rays and picked up the win. "How could you not? This is the postseason. I've never been here before. I had the whole family watching me. After the first inning, I felt pretty good.

"[The crowd] was amazing. This is what it's all about. After the first inning, after I got the first out, I couldn't even hear myself think out there. And after I got the last out, walking in, I didn't even know what to think. The crowd was amazing today."

Rays rookie Evan Longoria set off a roar when he deposited Javier Vazquez's first pitch of the second inning into the left-field stands to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.

"I was nervous," Longoria said. "I think if you're not nervous in this situation, you're really not soaking in the moment. ... I knew [Vazquez] was going to try and get ahead early in the first at-bat, so I was planning on swinging first pitch, no matter what."

Dewayne Wise silenced the crowd in the third with a two-out, three-run homer off a 2-2 pitch from Shields to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead. What could have been a crippling blow to a team with what could have been a delicate psyche did not spell disaster for the Rays, who answered in the bottom half of the inning with three runs, highlighted by Longoria's second home run of the game, to give the Rays a 4-3 lead.

Count Shields among those most impressed by the way his teammates responded.

"When I gave up the lead, our guys came back right away," Shields said. "All I wanted to do was hold them after that. We responded really well. I think we're a relaxed team and this is what we're going to do."

Shields gave the Rays 6 1/3 innings before leaving the game in the hands of Grant Balfour, who took over with the bases loaded and the Rays leading, 6-3. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out Jose Uribe for the second out then struck out Orlando Cabrera to end the inning after exchanging words with Cabrera during the at-bat.

The Rays' bullpen went from having the worst ERA in the Major Leagues in 2007 at 6.16 to having the fourth-best at 3.55 in 2008 -- so the way the game finished out should have come as no surprise. J.P. Howell pitched a scoreless eighth before Dan Wheeler got the final three outs in the ninth, surviving a solo homer by Paul Konerko en route to picking up the save.

The bullpen has been "good all year," Rays catcher Dioner Navarro said. "And we didn't expect nothing more and nothing less, just another game. And we did what we've got to do to win the game and that's the bottom line."

Not only did Thursday's win follow a familiar pattern for the Rays, it reaffirmed the team's belief in how it went about changing the culture of a franchise that had never won more than 70 games in a season.

"We've been playing like this the whole year -- why change now?" Navarro said. "Why do something different now? It's the same game. Twenty-seven outs, three bases, one home plate. There's nothing strange here. It feels good winning the first one, especially in a five-game series. And we're feeling pretty good about ourselves. We know they can come back at any time and we have to keep doing what we've been doing to win games."

Veteran Cliff Floyd, who is one of the few players on the team with playoff experience, sounded like a proud papa after the game.

"It was nerve-wracking, because it was the first [playoff game] in Rays history," Floyd said. "I felt for some of the guys early. ... I'm glad it's over with now, we can move on and just play baseball. That's what it is after the exotic wears off and the first pitch and the first at-bat wears off. It's just baseball."

And that can mean fun.

"Yeah, I enjoyed every minute of it, absolutely," Shields said.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:06 am

Go Rays
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:41 am

Go Phillies PARTY!
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catbox_9
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:44 pm

mrsrabelo wrote:
Go Phillies PARTY!

Head Slap


Coming Soon: A better signature!
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:28 pm

catbox_9 wrote:
mrsrabelo wrote:
Go Phillies PARTY!

Head Slap

Ouch. Hey!
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gs78
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 PLAYOFF - WS NEWS   Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:05 pm

Go Dodgers
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