I feel like I have slighted Cubs fans. I, like many others, decided to pick the Cubs to win the World Series. I thought the Cubs would breeze through the NL playoffs and reach the World Series, possibly losing to the Red Sox or Angels. But did I think the Cubs would be swept out of the playoffs to conclude 100 years of infamy? No, not even close. The Cubs are dangerously close to being compared to my Braves in the early 2000s as teams that have fantastic regular season success, and little post season hardware to show for it. And if the Cubs are going to continue to lose in October, can Lou Pinella at least go on a few rants? Throw some bases? Drink Aquafina? Please? No, okay, on with the LCS recaps.
Boston over LA Angels (3-1)
Boston went into LA and just out-pitched the Angels when it mattered. Jon Lester was fantastic in Game 1, and J.D. Drew's homer off K-Rod in the 9th sent this series back to Boston with the Red Sox up 2-0. The Angels took Game 3 to stave off elimination but Jed Lowrie's walk-off RBI single to plate Jason Bay in Game 4 sent the defending champs back to the ALCS. Somewhere Dickie V is shouting "AWESOME BABY!!"
Tampa Bay over CHI White Sox (3-1)
One post season series, one post season victory for the Rays. A growing theme in the postseason, Tampa took the first two games at "The Trop" thanks to Evan Longoria two homers in Game 1 and Scott Kazmir's arm in Game 2. Jon Danks saved the White Sox from the dreaded sweep, but Andy Sonnanstine shut the door in Game 4 with a little power from B.J. Upton.
LA Dodgers over CHI Cubs (3-0)
I'm sensing a pattern here...The Dodgers won the first two games in this series as well. Okay, they won the only three played, but that's not the point. The Dodgers stormed into Wrigley and dominated the Cubs before closing the door in a much more competitive Game 3, but it was not enough for the tortured Cubs.
Philadelphia over Milwaukee (3-1)
In no surprise, the Phillies also won the first two games of this series as well, behind Cole Hamels' 8 innings in Game 1 and Brett Myers out dueling CC Sabathia in Game 2. Favorite stat of this series - In Brett Myers two at-bats, he saw 19 pitches from CC. CC threw about 100 pitches in the game and didn't make it deep into the game either.
See my previous October blog for my original analysis.
TV RATINGS BRACKET
Boston over Tampa Bay - Originally had the White Sox here, but regardless Boston has the largest TV audience and advance.
LA Dodgers over Philadelphia - Again, had the Cubs here, and either way, Philly is getting snubbed in the TV bracket.
WS - Boston over LA Dodgers - One half of the TV bracket is alive. Thankfully, it's the winning half.
Tampa Bay over Boston - Hey! One of these things actually worked. Tampa's not sure who it's QB is, but they know it's better than Matt Cassel.
Philadelphia over LA Dodgers - Umm...LA doesn't have a football team. Do we use the Rams? Raiders? USC? Whatever, GO EAGLES!!!
WS - Philly over Tampa Bay - Give me Brian Westbrook or give me death.
Tampa Bay over Boston - This is the matchup I wanted to see. Sorry Dad, I'm going against the Sawx. It's all about the Rays Bandwagon.
Philadelphia over LA Dodgers - Wanted the Cubs, but I'll settle for Philadelphia having a chance to end a city-wide champion-less streak of its own.
WS - Tampa Bay over Philly - Wanted to see a Cubs-Rays series, but I'll settle for the Rays going 1-1 (Octobers-Championships).
OFFICIAL 2008 MLB BRACKET
Tampa Bay over Boston (in 7) - Okay, so my entire bracket is toast. My entire World Series (Cubs/Angels) is gone. I should have just lit my fake entry fee on fire because I knew it was going to happen. Why? It's me, I'm only good at March Brackets. But let's see if I can change my luck. I did pick two series correctly (Phils/Rays in 4).
Philadelphia over LA Dodgers (in 6) - I'm sick of Manny. I'm sick of the Red Sox. I don't want to see either of them in the World Series. I want something different. Ratings be damned, let's see the little guys have a chance.
WS - Philadelphia over Tampa Bay (in 6) - I'll probably be picking this again next week. But who cares. I'm looking forward to two great LCS series and I think the ALCS is destined for greatness.
Someone needs to explain to me why there isn't a playoff baseball game until Thursday and why that game (LA-PHI) is going to be a 8:22 EST start? I know that both games are on the East Coast for Friday, but is a 4:30-8:30 doubleheader the way to go? I don't like it. Somewhere, someone decided that a national audience would want to watch a baseball at 8:30 EST. I can see this making sense for the LA-Philly series, because its a West vs. East matchup. But Boston-Tampa? There's no reason any of these games should be after 7:30 EST.
If someone on the West Coast want's to watch it, they'll find a way at 4:30 PST to tune into the game. There are three East Coast markets that should take precedence over the lone West Coast market. Yet, MLB thinks it's a good idea to move the games to a West Coast friendly time. It might be time to write Mr. Selig another letter...
Enjoy the baseball everyone, and remember - There's only one Fall Classic, there's only one OCTOBER!!!