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"I'm Out"

I say those two words with the same tone as Kramer used in this episode. I'm out of the Baseball Insider World Series Prediction contest. Alone among my colleagues, I picked the Rays in four. Everyone else still has a chance to nail it. I, alas, do not.

In making a prediction as outlandish as that, certainly there are elements of sensationalism and even antagonism involved, and in that regard I'd have to say I was successful, given the number of comments, many of them from angry Phillies fans calling me names.

I truly did believe the Rays could beat Cole Hamels in Game 1 and sweep the series, and it's not as if I were way off in the first part of that equation. If B.J. Upton's laser to the left side (which became the second double-play he hit into) goes six inches to Pedro Feliz's left, if the umpire calls a balk on Hamels on that pickoff play, if Scott Kazmir gets the strike call on the pitch before Utley's homer... Yada yada yada, as they say on Seinfeld. It was a close game that could have gone either way.

A few other observations from Game 1:


*Some good players looked really bad at the plate, chief among them Ryan Howard. Did you see him chase that slider that seemed to bounce three feet in front of the plate? Did you see the way the Rays walked Utley intentionally to get to him? The big guy is a mess right now. Doesn't mean he won't break out in a huge way. But I figure the Rays will continue to treat him like an out until he proves otherwise.

*The Rays' 2-3-4 hitters (Upton, Pena, Longoria) carried the team against the Red Sox in the ALCS. In Game 1, they combined to go 0 for 12 with five strikeouts.

*Brad Lidge... wow. The Rays took eight swings at him in the ninth inning and did not hit a single fair ball. You can study all the tape you want of Lidge's ridiculous slider, but there's no preparation for being in the box and trying to fend it off. I've never seen Evan Longoria, for one, look so bad. With Lidge, there's always that possibility of a monumental implosion, but the unfamiliarity factor lessens that possibility. He doesn't have to get cute. He can just let it fly.

*Grant Balfour pitched tremendously in relief for the Rays (1 2/3 scoreless innings), but he threw 27 pitches, which could limit his availability in Game 2. Obviously, the Rays stayed away from David Price in Game 1, going with their other two lefties in situations where they were trailing. With the off-day looming Friday, we could see an inning or two from Price, under the right circumstances.

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 23, 2008; 10:27 AM ET
 
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Comments

I truly did believe the Rays could beat Cole Hamels in Game 1 and sweep the series, and it's not as if I were way off in the first part of that equation. If B.J. Upton's laser to the left side (which became the second double-play he hit into) goes six inches to Pedro Feliz's left, if the umpire calls a balk on Hamels on that pickoff play, if Scott Kazmir gets the strike call on the pitch before Utley's homer... Yada yada yada

By Dave Sheinin | October 23, 2008; 10:27 AM ET

Yes: yada yada yada

Sure "it could've gone either way" which could be said for so many games in so many sports that the point is practically meaningless. The Phillies won. They lead the series 1-0.

Better luck next year. : )

Posted by: Johnnie Futbol | October 23, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Good observations Dave.

J-Roll and Howard both looked clueless last night. I ask the question, "what is Milt Thompson doing"? Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that Howard is lunging at the ball and trying to pull every pitch he sees. He will never get out of this funk until he sits back and drives the ball to left field. Hell, even Charlie Manual is an experience hitting coach. Is Howard that arrogant that he is not taking their advice? I would have hoped that during the week layoff, he would have fixed his swing. Clearly didn't happen. At what point, does he get lifted for a pinch hitter? He is a lost kitten at the plate right now.

Hitting Coste in the DH spot last night was a dumb move. The guy hasn't seen an AB in the post season and it showed. Experts put too much faith in the lefty vs lefty statistics. These guys are professional hitters. To get to the big leagues, the must have hit lefties and righties during their careers. The Phils have a major hole on their bench in a right-handed bat and it showed last night. Greg Dobbs should have been the DH last night.

Even though we won, I have concerns. They need to start hitting with men on base.

Lastly, what we saw last night is text book playoff baseball. Dominant pitching will always trump good hitting. If each teams' bullpens can pitch like that, we will see a low scoring series.

Phils are now 5-0 when they score first in the post season.

Posted by: PhilliePhan | October 23, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

O, the Phillies were lucky! Jimmy Rollins is striking out at high cheese - he looks like a pitcher (i.e. J.Berg) at the plate. Did anyone else here the miked discussion between Maddon and the ump concerning balks? My baby daughter said it was fascinating, technical, and cordial. She thought managers only screamed at umps. It says I'm anonymous, but this is flynnie.

Posted by: flynnie1 | October 23, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Dave,

you should just quit. Really.

Rays in 4????

And you mention all of these 'What ifs'

Well, what if Victorino rolled over the catcher and knocked the ball loose? What if he didnt tag up at all and Werth comes up and drives home 2 runs?

What if Rollins actually connected for a hit instead of leaving 5 men on base?

What if Hamels didnt hang a changeup that went into the right field seats?

What if the Phils weren't 0 for 100 with RISP?

The game could have easily been a blowout. Really, it could have been 8 or 9-2 at the end of the night if the Phils lineup was hitting the way it can.

So all the 'What if' questions dont matter, its over

Phils lead 1-0 and you proved your lack of baseball knowledge to the world.

Posted by: rdy4all2000 | October 23, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

c'mon, perfectionists, almost no woild-serious-eve prediction is ever unreasonable.

plus picking the rugs, er, rays in 4 is wholly defensible. momentum alone from the run-up playoffs, or the near-sweep and sweep of the last two years' seriouses, would provide support for such a notion.

so sheinin's not waaay off base for being wrong. he had a 12.5% chance of being right going in. now that's gone, he 'fessed up like a gentleman.

my joke is, the filthies thrive on disrespect, that's why they earned so much of it.

Posted by: natty-bumppo | October 23, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Consider the source, Dave.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 24, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Of the name-calling comments, that is.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 24, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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