Stealing Signals: Round One Is Done

Kind of playing catch-up, since I didn’t recap the weekend’s games….

Rays keep moving on, beating the White Sox in 4 – At least the South Side saved some amount of face by taking one game at home, but watching B.J. Upton jack homers in his first two at bats was a sign that Tampa had so much more in that team to move on. It wound up being an easy 6-2 win, and another tack to an improbable story. I am officially on the Rays’ bandwagon for the rest of the playoffs, despite being an NL guy — because I loathe both teams involved in the NLCS.

Red Sox put the Angels away, 3 games to 1 – While the first two games in Anaheim were ultimately anti-climactic, games 3 and 4 gave us moments actually worthy of baseball’s post-season: the Halos pulling one out in extras, even going to Jered Weaver to do it, and Jed Lowrie’s bottom of the 9th heroics for the Sox to end the series now rather than go back to Southern California.  So, we have both league leaders in wins (more on the Cubs later in this entry) eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.  Baseball’s playoffs are not as capricious as pro football or college basketball (“one game and you’re out” is always much more subject to the whim of whatever team comes in hotter), but the Angels’ faltering again could be a symptom of its lousy division — although considering how they beat teams great and lousy across the AL, that may be too simplistic.

Phillies take out the Brew Crew on Sunday – I turned Game 4 off on Sunday after Pat Burrell hit his three-run job off Jeff Suppan, and I suppose we all knew the ending was going to come for Milwaukee in this series at some point, because, sadly, CC Sabathia does not have a bionic left arm.  The Phillies are set up well to try and compete for a World Series championship: plenty of mashers and htiters in that line-up, enough good starting pitching, a decent bullpen, etc.

The Dodgers make a mockery of the Cubs – I’ve written before that these Dodgers reek of 2006 Cardinals, except this team probalby hits a bit better than they did (Albert Pujols notwithstanding; I remember that series being more about good pitching and timely hits rather than offensive assaults.)   The Dodgers feel like one of those unlikely post-season teams that are supposed to go deep; they’re playing with a line-up that hadn’t playing together until the Division Series: it was a combination of injuries (Rafael Furcal), trades (Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake), old age (Blake DeWitt, who shifted from third to second base to replace the aging and bitchy Jeff Kent), and Joe Torre finally giving up on Ned Colletti’s mistakes (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and James Loney all not having to cede time to Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, and Nomar Garciaparra.) That line-up and the Bums’ starting pitching laid waste to the Cubs’, whom, outside of Derrek Lee, appeared to give an effort that would make Little Leaguers ashamed. I have two Cub fans for co-workers, and there is something about that kind of abject failure that inspires streams of swearing usually reserved for those suffering from Tourette’s.

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