Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Quick n' Dirty Division Series Recap
Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
What I Said: Red Sox in 4 ("Should we ignore the Angels' 8-1 record vs. the Red Sox this season? You bet'cha.")
I didn't realize this when I wrote the above last week, but about a third of those regular season Angels wins came at the apex of the Manny Ramirez drama when it could be argued that the Red Sox were playing a man down. The Angels are still living off of their 2002 reputation as a hustling bunch of gritty pixies and trying to play that game with an aging roster. That the Halos' vaunted "smallball" approach was one of the overriding factors in their elimination makes it all the more delicious for me.
Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
What I Said: White Sox in 5 ("Tampa has a couple of starters who don't miss many bats and a couple of relievers prone to the long ball.")
It's not every day that an entire team's offense is summarily dismissed, but I managed to completely miss the point with Tampa. I totally lost sight of a lineup that trots out above-average (or better) hitters throughout two-thirds of their line-up, with a borderline average hitter at second and an ostensibly healthy Carl Crawford for the first time in a few months.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
What I Said: Phillies in 4 ("Now, dig that Phillies line-up and commence with the bed wetting, Brewers.")
The Phils didn't exactly whack the cover off of the ball in this series, but thankfully for them, their pitchers didn't need it. And, part of me is glad that Fatbathia got lit up in Game #2. All of these starts he was making on three days rest were bringing out too many of the crusty old school farts who lament pitch counts and long for the old days when pitchers started 80 games a season.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs
What I Said: Dodgers in 4 ("'Good pitching beats good hitting' is one of the most tired (and inaccurate) clichés in baseball, but what the hell….")
How did everyone on earth ignore a Dodgers pitching staff that includes Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe in his walk year and that ridiculous lights-out bullpen? And, watching everyone act shocked n' awed that Alfonso Soriano was missing pitches at his shoestrings and around his eyes was just…I mean, have you never seen him play before?
Finally, Joe Sheehan over at Baseball Prospectus makes the point that Joe Morgan doesn't want you to read:
In fact, the Division Series round validated the idea that you win post-season games not by scratching out a single run using small-ball tactics, but by using short-sequence offenses—power—to score, and by putting up crooked numbers. The team hitting more home runs in a game went 12-1 in the Division Series. In all seven NLDS games, and nine of 15 overall, the winning team scored more runs in a single inning than the loser did all game long.
So, once more with feeling…eat it, Angels.