Tagged: baseball

Giants, Vogelsong, 58 Year Old Broom

The San Francisco Giants are proving themselves a force to be recognized against the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers (88-74) were playing very strong ball to take the AL Central as Champions, routing the Chicago White Sox by only three games in the last days of the regular season for the title.  Moving on to the LDCS, the Tigers playing Oakland A’s, tied 2-2 in the series, won the last game to advance to the ALCS.  The Tigers swept the Yankees handily in four games, giving their team five days of rest ~ waiting to see if they would be traveling to St. Louis or San Francisco.  Now, in the World Series ~ many will argue the five days off was not to the Tiger’s benefit.

The Giants  (94-68) handled their division over the laboring LA Dodgers to take the NL West Division to reign as Champs. Moving on in their LDCS against the Boston Red Sox, performing much as the Giants had done ~ taking the tied series from the Red Sox, winning the last game. In the NLCS, they faced the St. Louis Cardinals, coming back from a 3-1 deficit Cardinal lead, to take the series and advance to the World Series.

Along with a very strong pitching staff ~ starting and relief ~ for the Giants, SP Ryan Vogelsong has been their story maker. Vogelson is not a 20+ year old rising star. He is 35 years of age and has had a roller-coaster career. However, he has not given up to achieve the level in which he now enjoys ~ coming full circle since 2000 when he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants to begin his career. He was traded to the Pirates, had to have Tommy John’s surgery early in his career.  2004 was his first full season in the majors, but was not effective in his three year stint on the mound and released by the Pirates.  He traveled to Japan, playing in the Nippon Professional League until 2010. Vogelsong signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies.”He was released on July 15, 2010.  Then signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 28, 2010, but was released at the end of the season.”

“In 2011, Vogelsong signed a minor league contract to return to the San Francisco Giants with an invitation to spring training. On April 17, 2011, the Giants purchased his contract to replace the injured Barry Zito. On April 28, 2011, after making two relief appearances, Vogelsong got his first start since the 2004 season against his former club, the Pirates. He held the host Pirates to two earned runs on four hits and struck out eight en route to a 5–2 Giants victory and his first MLB win since September 2005.”

Since his return to the Giants, he proved himself worthy of a spot in the regular line-up, and he certainly has proven his expertise this season in the playoffs.  He has worked hard throughout the years even with adversity along the way. But his biggest fan, the one who has encouraged him most, is his wife of six years, Nicole ~ never letting him give up. “Vogelsong was awarded the 2011 Willie Mac Award, given annually to the Giant who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership consistently shown by Willie McCovey throughout McCovey’s long career.” And, also, “Vogelsong was named Giants Breakout Player of the Year by MLB.com for the 2011 season.”

Last night’s game was another commanding game for Vogelsong, only allowing the Tiger’s 5 hits, with three strike outs ~but did walk four. He was retired in the sixth with two outs on the board and a walk for Dirks.  Giants RP Lincecum came in and controlling the situation, shut the Tigers down and left Dirks stranded. Between SP Ryan Vogelson, RP Tim Lincecum and CP Sergio Romo ~ the Tigers saw no runs. The Giants now lead the series, 3-0.

If there was a bright side to the Tigers losing ~ would be that SP Anibal Sanchez, even though allowing two runs, he and the bullpen held the Giants to zero runs after the second inning. However, the Tigers just could not put it together offensively ~ not even their Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera. He stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the fifth ~ two outs on the board … the Tigers mighty hitter had a pop-up fly to shortstop.

As much as the Tigers experienced a remarkable sweep over the Yankees ~ the Giants are looking for a sweep over the Tigers in today’s game. With almost flawless games, the Giants have only allowed the Tigers three runs in Game 1. They have shutout the Tigers in Games 2 and 3, 2-0 in each game.  With very strong offense, the Giants have performed with great defensive plays to keep their team just one game away from being the World Series Champions. The rath of the “Giant” that was felt by the St. Louis Cardinals … now has been unleashed upon the Tigers.

The last World Series sweep was by the Boston Red Sox over the Colorado Rockies in 2007. The last time the Giants had a four game sweep was 58 years ago over the Cleveland Indians, in 1954.  Even though, the Giants are not without being swept themselves.  In 1989, they were taken out by the Oakland A’s.  Today’s Giants have a very good chance of making history for themselves.

To all ~ enjoy your NFL Sunday and ~ just maybe a World Series for the history book.

Always ~ Elichap

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Giants Prove Larger Than The “Bird”

My congratulations go out to the San Francisco Giants to overcome a 3-1 series deficit to take the NLCS Championship 2012.  Now … a days rest for the team, and a day to celebrate for the fans, to prepare for the incoming Detroit Tigers for the World Series.  I believe this is a “first” in MLB-NLCS postseason play for a team to comeback three games for “winner take all”.  So on two levels ~ the Giants have much to celebrate.

The Cardinals downfall, as it were, was not taking Game 4 at home. These past two games, being in AT&T Park ~ their hearts were just not in it. One could just tell by their demeanor first facing Giants Vogelsong, then Matt Cain … forces that were too strong for them to play good ball against. The outcome was “just not in the Cards”.  However, the Cardinals came a long way to achieve the position in which they ended their season. Manager Matheny and team can be proud of their accomplishments for the 2012 season ~ by far, nothing to be ashamed about. It is what it is and now to see the NL San Francisco Giants take on the Detroit Tigers, who are coming off five days of rest as they travel today to the West coast.

As much as it was Giants Vogelsong’s great pitching efforts in Game 6 ~ Matt Cain did what he needed to do last night in Game 7 with an added touch shutting out the Cardinals, 9-0.  No, Cain did not go seven innings, only 5.2. Even though, he only allow the Cardinals five hits, gave them a walk, along with four strike-outs. The relief pitchers held right with Cain’s efforts holding the Cardinals with only two additional hits ~ but all held them to no runs.

The Giants swatted Cardinals SP Lohse around as much as they had SP Chris Carpenter the night before.  Lohse was retired after two+ innings, followed by Joe Kelly who was just as ineffective on the mound. The Giants at bat, once again striking in the first inning taking a 1-0 lead. Seemed like a carbon-copy game of the night before. Obviously, the Giants didn’t stop there with a total of five runs against Lohse, adding four more against the Cardinals relief. They had a team effort at the plate with RBI’s by the “Panda” Sandoval, Cain, Pence (2), Crawford, Pagan, and Huff.  They added a run on an error by CF John Jay and Belt had a solo home run in the eighth.

The Giants simply ~ outplayed the Cardinals in the last three games. I believe they were “hungrier” for a championship and it showed in their execution not only at the plate, but defensively.  They are contenders, as they have proven.

Now to face Detroit. Will be interesting to see if the Giants retain their strength and intensity. Tigers SP Justin Verlander, 17-8/2.64 is scheduled for Games 1 and 5 for the World Series.  He is the Tigers’ bullet on the mound. At present, the Giants have not posted who will begin this series.  We know it won’t be Vogelsong or Cain for Game 1, possibly Bumgarner, 16-4/3.37….or Zito 15-8/4.15.  But who will be the chosen Giants’ SP for Game 5.  And, will the Giants manager Bruce Bochy hold with the line-up he scheduled for the NLCS to face the Tigers.

To both the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants congratulations on making the 2012 World Series. For tomorrow ~ let the games begin.

To the fans of each ~ enjoy your respective teams … win, lose or draw ~ quite the feat to be two of the best.

On a personal note ~ my interest now can fully be on the Chicago Bears who beat the Detroit Lions last night, 13-7 … even with Lion’s Suh trying his best to take out Bears QB Cutler.  Reportedly, bruised Cutler’s ribs … but stayed in the game to guide the Bears to a win.  This was the first, in six meetings of the teams, to play at Soldier field for Monday Night Football.  The Bears now go to 5-1, reducing the Lions to 2-4.  Next on the Bears schedule, they will host Carolina on Sunday.

Life is good.  In baseball, I’m sure we will see movement of players as it seems more common for the sport …. planning to boost one’s team to get ready for next season.

To all ~ have a great day.  Always ~ Elichap

Giants Vogelson Proves to be Cardinals Achilles’ Heel

“An Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.”  This is exactly what Giants SP Vogelson and team has been for the Cardinals ~ not only in Game 2, but in Game 6 last night.  The Giants handled the defending champions well taking the win, 6-1 and tied the series, 3-3. This was the second match-up for Cardinals SP C Carpenter and Giants SP Vogelson.

Ryan Vogelson went seven innings and had a career record nine strike-outs. Only allowing 4 hits, and one walk for a 1.29. A glimmer of hope for the Cardinals in the sixth. Beltran connected for a double, followed by Craig with a single bringing in Beltran for the Cardinal’s to put a run on the board. Their hope was soon deflated, and that was the only run the Cardinals would see for the night.

The Giants took advantage of Cardinals SP Chris Carpenter. Carpenter had returned to the line-up late in the regular season to replace the injured Jake Westbrook. He was coming back  from Tommy John surgery, had only pitched three games, 0-2/3.71 ERA in 17 innings pitched. For this series, he is 0-2 and, once again, had problems right out of the gate.  Unfortunately, he did not settle in until the third. However, the damage of the Giants offense within the first two innings let their presence be known, with one run in the first and adding four more in the second. Carpenter allowed the Giants six hits, five runs, two walks and the high note for Carpenter ~ did come out with six strike-outs before being retired after the fourth. He was not able to lead his team to the promise land.

The Cardinals looked tired, sluggish, and almost a defeatist attitude as they approached the  plate. LF Matt Holliday had been held out of the game due to lower back stiffness and replaced with Matt Carpenter in the line-up.  1B Craig was moved into LF, and M Carpenter to cover 1B. With ineffective pitching and having players in positions unfamiliar, also, added to the Cardinals frustration. They did get five hits from M Carpenter, Beltran, Craig, Descalso and Kozma but were unable to ignite anything beyond their one run.

The Giants proved, in front of their home crowd, they were just as much a “comeback” team as the Cardinals have been. Even though, we are not finished yet with series tied, 3-3, Game 7 ~ “winner take all” ~ is tonight.

There is rain in the forecast for the Bay Area today, so that could pose a possible postponement of the game.  However, it looks like the rain will settle in through tomorrow, also.  So that will remain to be seen.  Should the game be postponed and re-scheduled for Tuesday ~ that brings both teams right up to opening day for the World Series.  Granted, the Giants are at home, so no travel involved should they win.  However, should the Cardinals be victorious, travel back to St. Louis to play Wednesday. Either or ~ the Giants or the Cardinals ~ will face the well rested Detroit Tigers who took the ALCS pennant, in four games against the Yankees, adding three extra days rest, just waiting to see who their opponent will be.

For Game 7, it will be Cardinals Kyle Lohse, 16-3/2.86 against Giants Matt Cain, 16-5/2.79.  In regular season, Cain had only pitched once against the Cardinals on May 17, which the Giants won 7-5.  Lohse had never faced the Giants until postseason.  This is a rematch for the pitchers as they faced one another in Game 3, Oct 17 in St. Louis, Cardinals winning, 3-1. Lohse took the win, 1-0/1.59 against Cain, 0-1/4.05.  Out of all the SP’s for the Cardinals, I would say Lohse is their bullet currently.

It has been reported that Wainwright may be part of the Cardinals relief pitching for tonight’s game. Tim Lincecum has been added to the bullpen for the Giants.  Should that scenario become reality for the Cardinals, in the event Lohse can sustain the Giants through six or seven innings, with Wainwright in the bullpen, along with CP Jason Motte ~ could prove quite the combination.  However, the Cardinals offense has got to come alive ~ as we know they are capable of at the plate. ~ Because !! The Giants are 5-1 when scoring first in postseason play.

Another consideration for the Cardinals manager Matheny, should Jon Jay remain in the lead-off position. Jay has been at bat 25 times, only 5 hits with 1 double, 3 RBI’s and only at .200 for the NLCS. Would Craig or Beltran, at this juncture, be better suited.  Jay is an excellent player for the Cardinals and had done well during regular season ~ just has not been able to “connect” at the plate to get things going for his team during this series. I have no idea if Matheny will give thought to this consideration for tonight’s game. Just seems Jay, at the moment, may be better suited a bit down the line.

“While the Giants have won five straight games facing elimination this postseason, the Cardinals have won their last six dating to last year. This is the first time the NLCS has gone seven games since 2006, when St. Louis beat the New York Mets 3-1 at Shea Stadium. Carlos Beltran, now with the Cardinals, struck out looking when Adam Wainwright froze him on a curveball.”

Last night’s game, both offensively and defensively, the Cardinals certainly didn’t display too much enthusiasm. As for the Giants ~ “they were comfortable in their own skin” ~

So to Game 7 ~ “winner take all” ~ “one and done”.  Do the Cardinals have the gumption not to be denied yet another victory.  I don’t believe the Giants will be very accommodating with the efforts they have shown.

Even so, I still believe in #12-n-12 ~ who is waiting in the wings to return to help his team.

To all ~ enjoy your games. The Chicago Bears (4-1) host the Detroit Lions (2-3) in tonight’s MNF.  First time the Lions have played at Soldier Field on a Monday night in six meetings of the two teams.  Another exciting night in sports.

Have a great day! Always ~ Elichap

Cardinals Inch Closer To Their Second Consecutive WS Appearance.

The ‘slogan’ for the St. Louis Cardinals for the postseason is “#12 in 12”.  A friend of mine and myself have entertained ourselves with  numerology during October and if the science has anything to do with good fortune ~ last nights game for the Cardinals is an indicator. Since the chosen number for the Cardinals is “12”, in last night’s game they had 8 runs within 4 innings = ’12’ on ’12’ hits.  Just a thought, just a note this truly could be the magic number for the St. Louis team ~ winning Game 4 over the Giants, 8-3 ~ 3-1 for the series … without a rain delay.

It was Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright who helped to make a difference in last night’s game against the Giants.  He only allowed one run ~ a home run by Pence in the second ~ no walks and five strike-outs through the seventh, for 1-0/1.29.  And complimented by his team members, not only defensively but offensively, did their jobs with Holliday – 2 RBI’s, Craig – 1 RBI, Molina – 2 RBI’s, Jay – 2 RBI’s and Kozma with 1 RBI.  Cardinals bats were alive and well last night. RP Salas took over for the eighth. Still on the mound in the  ninth ~ allowed two hits ~ a double by Scutaro, and with only one out, on a 0-0 count … a two run homer by Giants Sandoval.  Salas went the two innings with only one strike-out, however no walks, also. Even though the Giants were able to add runs on the board in the ninth, Salas and the Cardinals were able to give Wainwright his win for the is series. And, handed Giants Tim Lincecum a loss.

For Giants Tim Lincecum, he had been pulled from the bullpen to the line-up. His first start in postseason and very rough road on the mound.  Which after six hits, four runs, three walks and three strike outs ~ he was retired after 4.2 innings, 0-1/5.40.  His hopes in returning the the line-up as a regular may be dim after his performance last night.  Even after being retired from duty, the Giants RP’s Kontos’ and Mota didn’t help in damage control with allowing two runs each by the Cardinals.

Have the Cardinals experienced such woes ~ yes. Example ~ pitcher Lance Lynn. He had a great start in regular season and began to falter; thus, stepped down to the bullpen to recapture his skills, brought in occasionally as relief.  He was brought back to the line-up when Jaime Garcia was placed on the DL. Slowly but surely he has begun to prove himself worthy ~ but on any given night, a pitcher can be off and only in for short innings … of which, even Cardinals SP Carpenter, Wainwright and Lohse have experienced from time to time.

I’m sure, with the talents that Lincecum possesses ~ he will not give up. However, in a key game, in a key series to take the pennant ~ his performance was of a crucial nature.

Game 5 is this evening we will see Cardinals SP Lance Lynn, 18-7/3.78 against the Giants Barry Zito, 15-8/4.15.  The last time on the mound for Lynn was against the Nationals, Oct. 8, with a win 12-4.

With the Detroit Tigers taking the win, 8-1, over the NY Yankees yesterday ~ the Tigers shut the Yankees down 4-0 to take the  ALCS Pennant to advancing them to the World Series.  “The Yankees failed to win a game in a postseason series for only the fifth time. They hadn’t been swept since a best-of-five ALCS against Kansas City in 1980. The last team to sweep four straight against them had been Cincinnati in the 1976 World Series.”

Should the Cardinals win the NL Pennant to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series ~ it would be the two teams with the worst matching  W/L records at the end of 2012 regular season, in the standings, at 88-74.  The Tigers wait to see if they will be traveling to St. Louis or San Francisco as the NL team has home field advantage.

A special note for Cardinal fans ~ it is reported the FB Lance Berkman just may be ready to return should the Cardinals advance to the World Series. #12-  in 12.

To all ~ have a great day.  Always ~ Elichap

Rain Didn’t Bother The St. Louis Cardinals

Game 3 of the NLCS got underway on time yesterday afternoon ~ with the known forecast of severe weather heading towards St. Louis.  Predicted not to hit the area until late afternoon.  Busch Stadium was full to the brim and the white “terrible towels” waving by enthusiastic Cardinal fans ~ with rain gear stowed just in case.

Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse was up against the Giants SP Matt Cain. Tough adversaries on the mound.  Both held for two scoreless innings – until the until the third with the Giants scoring first with a ground out by Sandoval and Pagan able to put a run on the board.

For the Cardinals, it was Matt Carpenter who was, in my mind, the MVP in the game. Beltran was held out of the game after the first inning due to a strained left knee which occurred running out a double play. In the third, manager Matheny replaced Beltran with M Carpenter in the line-up.  John Jay, lead-off batter had a single, but was able to advance to second on a pick-off error by Cain. Then, it was showtime for Matt Carpenter coming to the plate. This was Carpenter’s first appearance in the NLCS. With little time to think, once again he faced Cain on the mound. Carpenter had been strong against Cain in regular season hitting four for four singles. The count was 0-2 in Cain’s favor, but Carpenter would not be denied. On 2-2 count, Carpenter connected with a hanging slider for a two run homer. The Cardinals were now in the lead, 2-1.

Both pitchers had their problems on the mound, even though Cain went longer than Lohse. Cardinals Kyle Lohse was retired after 5 2/3 innings with two runners on, two outs on the board. With Giants Pagan next at the plate, manager Matheny brought in RP Rosenthal. Pagan hit a grounder for a fielder’s choice and Cain was out at second. Rosenthal left the two runners stranded, holding the Cardinals with the lead. Between Cardinals RP Mujica and Boggs, they were able to keep the Giants at one run through the sixth and seventh innings.

The storm front was approaching and rain beginning to fall in the seventh ~ with looming reports of the front moving closer with 60 mph winds and severe lightning in a nearby county. Cain had the bases loaded, with two outs. Cardinals Shane Robinson was up to bat.  He grounded out with a RBI to give the Cardinals another run, now a 2 run lead. Cardinals Kozma and Descalso advanced.  Cain was retired and  “game delay” was called, bringing the tarp out  just moments before the major portion of the severe storm hit.

In postseason play, game in progress, play is resumed no matter how long it takes for a weather front to move through. After a 3 hour and 28 minute delay, the tarp was removed ~ with large puddles still standing the corner of the right field track ~ the game resumed. Cardinals CP Motte came in for the eighth – 3 up, 3 down and only nine pitches.  He also squashed any hopes for the Giants in the ninth.  Approximately, 23 minutes after the delay ~ the Cardinals take the win, 3-1 and a 2-1 lead for the series. A win for Lohse, and once again, a save for Jason Motte.

As much as the Giants ended their losing streak at home with their win to tie the series, the Cardinals were able to end another stat for the Giants.  Their loss last night ended a six game winning streak on the road. And, it was Matt Cain’s second loss for postseason play.

It was a great afternoon into the night for the Cardinals and fans alike. A great day for Matt Carpenter ~ not only to help our his team, but his mom and dad were in the stands. Beginning their trip at 2:30 yesterday morning, they had driven 9 1/2 hours to watch the game, unknowing that their son would be placed in the line-up. And what a performance they were able to see by their son. Matt knocking the ball out of the park to take the lead over the Giants. For mom and dad, his team and fans alike ~ he made them all proud. For himself ~ “this is what you train for … a player does what he can to help out”. And, that he did.

As the front moved towards the Detroit area late afternoon/early evening ~ the ALCS Game 4 for the Tigers and the Yankees scheduled to begin at 7:00 CST ~ was postponed until this afternoon.

Even though the major cold front moved through the area last night, there is still a 50% chance of rain in the St. Louis area for tonight with temps a bit cooler than the 71 degrees of yesterday.  With that possibility, will managers Matheny and Bochy reconsider their starting pitchers for tonight. Slated is Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright (14-13/3.94) and Giants SP Tim Lincecum (10-15/5.18). Or, will they stay the course and not worry about the weather forecast.

Also, this evening we have the NFL Thursday Night game kicking off Week 7. The Seattle Seahawks, coming off a win this past weekend, playing in San Francisco  against the 49er’s, who lost their home game Sunday.  Both teams are at 4-2.

To all ~ enjoy the games.  Always ~ Elichap

The Giants Put The Cardinals in a Cage

As baseball goes and especially for the Cardinals ~ as hot as they were Sunday night, stone cold in last night’s game.  And the Giants ~ take the win, 7-1, to tie the series.

In the top of the first ~ it was Cardinals Matt Holliday that really got the Giants and fans all fired up. Just the spark they needed to forge forward.  In an attempt to break-up a double play off a hit by Craig, Holliday slid into second.  However, his slide was over the bag and right into Giants 2B Scutaro, who was downed sustaining injury to his upper left leg. Holliday was watching over his shoulder at first base when he began his slide not hitting the dirt before the bag, causing a collision that many wanted called as illegal….but wasn’t.  This started the fire for San Francisco.  And, Scutaro would prove to be an important factor later in the game for the Giants.

For Cardinals SP Carpenter, the bottom of the first told the story for the rest of the night for his stint on the mound. Giants Angel Pagan, lead-off hitter, no outs on a 1-2 count, hits one out of the park over right field.  That got the crowd into it early.  Carpenter was having a tough time finding his comfort zone that would cause havoc for the Giants batters.  Just was not there last night for short innings.  But before damage was done for Carpenter, the Giants take their first postseason lead at home which helped to break a three game losing streak on home turf.

Carpenter was retired after the fourth. He allowed six hits for five runs, gave up two walks and only one strike out for a 4.50/ERA. Carpenter’s performance fell short of what he wanted to accomplish ~ just as much as Wainwright’s the night before. Both Cardinal pitchers are contenders, team players ~ satisfaction in only going short innings is just is not acceptable to them. Even though, they both will re-group, work harder to be a help to their team in the near future.

The Cardinals pitching has been on a “wing and prayer” all season with injuries of one pitcher, or another.  A bullpen that has been lacking at times. But, they have come this far….their season is not finished yet.

It was Giants SP Vogelsong who had a great night, comfortable and unrelenting on the mound.  He went for seven very strong innings only allowing four hits. Chris Carpenter, for a moment, worked the bat against his adversary. He hit a double off Vogelsong for a single RBI in the second for the Cardinals to see their only run and tie in the game. Vogelsong gave up two walks and had four strike outs for an 1.29/ERA.  He held the Cardinals in check to be the first of the Giants’ starters to make it through six innings this postseason. “This was his first career postseason win.”

In both Sunday’s game and last night, the fourth seems to the magic inning when runs add up on the board. As the Cardinals had done on Sunday, it was no different for the Giants in last nights match-up. And, Cardinals Chris Carpenter felt the pangs of seeing the game slip away from him.

Giants Crawford was safe at first on an error by Carpenter with an RBI. Scutaro, who was injured in the first, came to the plate for a single for a two run RBI. Pagan scored on an error by Holliday. Now the Giants held the lead, 5 -1, which the Cardinals were not able to overcome.  In the eighth ~ former Cardinal Theriot hit a single off Cardinal RP Miller for a two run RBI which pretty much “sealed the deal” for the Giants.

Giants Marco Scutaro left the dugout in the fifth, x-rays proved negative to any major injury…but he will likely have a very healthy “contusion” to contend with.  However, happy that’s all he sustained.  Baseball can be hard hitting ~ that’s part of the sport.  We don’t see as much of that today as we have in years/seasons of old. Even though … Scutaro proved to be an intricate part of the Giants victory before leaving the game.

The two teams travel to St Louis’ Busch Stadium where the Cardinals will host the Giants. Tied in the series ~ which we have seen the Cardinals in this position before.  But the Giants were given an edge with their recent victory.  So the “teeter-totter” days for the Cardinals have to be discarded if they want to seriously stay in this race.

The Tigers and the Yankees will resume their series today, now in Detroit.  Without Derek Jeters, will the Yankees be able to overcome the Tiger’s who hold a 2-0 edge for the ALCS.  For today’s game it will be Yankees SP Phil Hughes against the very strong Tigers SP Justin Verlander.  I would say Hughes is going to have to give the performance of his season/postseason for the Yankees to have a chance in this race.

To all ~ have a great day.  Those Bronco fans out there … continue to enjoy their comeback win over the Chargers! Now that was Sweet!!  Yes … not so much a Bronco’s fan, as I am a Peyton Manning fan!!  “)

Always ~ Elichap

Two In ~ Two Left To Be Decided

What a day for exciting playoff games. Yesterday, two teams advanced to the NLCS. The San Francisco Giants held on to their lead, but not without a moment in the ninth when the Cincinnati Reds looked to be making a come back with two men on and Ludwig at the plate. He hit a single to left for an RBI…cutting the Giants lead to two. Two runners on ~ but Giants CP Romo did his job and held the Reds with just one run. Giants win, 6-4. The Giants are the first team ever to have a comeback from being 0-2 and winning three straight in “away” games to take a series.

The Detroit Tigers continued their very strong play with a shutout over the Oakland A’s, 6-0. The Tigers winning pitcher and gets the shutout ~ Justin Verlander.  Justin went nine innings, only allowed four hits, had one walk and with eleven strike outs for a .56 in yesterday’s game to take the series for the Tigers.

Two games are left for today to decide who will advance to play the Giants and the Tigers. The Baltimore Orioles, once again proved their nemesis status for the Yankees, taking the win, 2-1.

The remaining pair ~ the St. Louis Cardinals against the Washington Nationals. It was a duel of the pitchers.  Both Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse and Nationals SP Ross Detwiler worked hard and kept each of their opposing teams in check. Lohse pitched through the seventh inning, allowed 2 hits, one run which was a solo home run by LaRoche in the second, walked one, with five strike outs. Detwiler was in for six. He allowed three hits, 1 run – a RBI by Cardinals Carlos Beltran in the third. Detwiler had 3 walks and two strike outs. With great defense from both teams, they helped their pitchers to hold the tie, 1-1.

The relief pitchers for the Nationals were unrelenting. The Cardinals had gone cold with seven straight strike outs into the ninth. The Nationals RP Drew Storen held the Cardinals with only one run on the board to close the top of the ninth. The Cardinals were hopeful of extra innings, bringing RP Lance Lynn to the mound.  Nationals Jayson Werth was lead-off hitter. Lynn throwing pitch after pitch to a full count, pitching total adding up to thirteen, Werth would not be denied. He connects with a perfect pitch over the plate sailing the high flier into the Nationals bullpen. The Nationals win the game with a walk-off homer by Werth, 2-1.  And with a crowd of 44,392 who had been standing and encouraging their team since the beginning of the seventh inning ~ went wild. Werth rounded the bases, index finger extended in recognition of their support for their “#1” team.

Nationals Detwiler gets the win, Storen the save. Cardinals Lance Lynn, the loss. Offensively, both teams were lacking yesterday, but all it takes is one hit to make a difference … and Werth found the one.

So it goes down to the wire showdown for our remaining four teams. For the Baltimore Orioles it will be SP Hammel, 8-6/3.43 against the NY Yankees SP C Sabathia, 15-6/3.38.

For the St. Louis Cardinals and the Nationals it will be a repeat of their first game for starting pitchers. Cardinals Adam Wainwright, 14-13/3.94 will face Gio Gonzalez, 21-8/2.89. The Nationals won that game ~ will the Cardinals have the force to comeback and change the outcome. Today is yet another “one and done” situation for the Cardinals.

Even though we have had some exciting games in the playoffs, I would like to add a special note. Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s father passed away last weekend.  My condolences and sympathies go out to Joe and the Girardi family.

To all ~ may you enjoy the games later this afternoon and evening. Who will we see on on the schedule for the NLCS seven game stretch.  Good luck to all!

Always, Elichap