Tagged: Playoffs

9/22 – I Can’t Wait for Verlander (And Other Playoff Thoughts)

It’s been five years since the Tigers last made it to the playoffs, and five years ago Justin Verlander was a rookie. For a rookie he pitched surprisingly well in the postseason. Verlander has always had the ability to perform in the clutch as if it weren’t any different than a normal game. Now that’s he’s had five years to develop as a better pitcher, I gotta be honest, I can’t wait to see him rock the playoffs again.

Verlander has always been one of my favorite players. I usually dislike players in the same division as the Sox but something about how Verlander carries himself has made me root for him. That and he’s a darn-good pitcher. Guys like Joe Mauer and Grady Sizemore I hate with a burning passion but I’ve always respected Verlander. Any guy who’s throwing 100 MPH into the eighth inning deserves some respect.

How will Verlander perform in the postseason? I don’t think it’ll be any different than the regular season. Count on eight innings of solid pitching, three runs or less, a handful of strikeouts, and single-digit hits. The guy is money. (No, literally, he IS money. It’s awesome.)

That’s enough on Verlander, time for the And Other Playoff Thoughts part. I’m putting the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Underdog category this season. The whole team has played REALLY well and my friend texted me the other day and said he thinks Upton deserves a shot at MVP. I kinda reviewed my MVP candidates a couple posts back and somehow completely forgot about Upton. While he hasn’t performed to the caliber of a Braun or a Fielder he’s definitely carried the D-Backs to a postseason appearance. Add Chris Young, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Roberts, Miguel Montero, and you’ve got yourself an offense. I doubt they’ll be able to get past the Phillies but people said the same thing about the Giants last year and look how that went.

That’s not a prediction, I’m just sayin’… y’know… it could happen…

The pitching is the only thing that bothers me about Arizona. They have all the other pieces but the pitching has been iffy. Unlike the Giants, who HAD pitching to go along with everything else, I think that’s what could ultimately be Arizona’s downfall. Ian Kennedy (20-4, 2.88) has been spectacular this year but past him and Daniel Hudson (16-11, 3.43) there’s a noticeable dropoff. Heck, even between Kennedy and Hudson there’s a dropoff. I don’t measure pitching by wins and losses, and people shouldn’t, because a pitcher can’t really control that. If you look at the ERA’s of the starting staff they’re giving up less than four runs per game.

Then you get into the bullpen. Some of the ERA’s in there are painful to look at but there are two bright spots. Closer J.J. Putz and reliever Joe Paterson. Putz has somehow managed to save forty-three games for the Diamondbacks this year after the Sox could barely get him to survive one inning. Paterson, even though he’s winless, has a 2.97 ERA in thirty-three and a third innings. Not bad. If the rest of the starting staff can kick it up a notch, and the bullpen can come through, I think the Diamondbacks will look like this year’s version of the Giants.

Again… I’m just sayin’…

End of Season

I, once again, have neglected to blog. I have my own all-baseball website now and have been writing on that, but I still need to come back here as often as I can to talk about my White Sox.

Let me say, first-off, that I still have a rotten taste in my mouth. We were close enough to the Tigers all season to have a good shot at the playoffs when it came down to crunch time. We were able to fend off the Twins for a while, too, but that (obviously) didn’t work out. I often find myself thinking how cool it would’ve been to have made the playoffs back-to-back years when absolutely nobody thought we’d amount to anything in either of the two seasons.

This year was pretty cool — I must say. As rough as late-August and all of September was, we as Sox fans have a lot to look back on. Mark Buehrle’s perfect game was ridiculous. My dad and I are magicians and I remember that we were in De Kalb, Illinois about to go in to do a show. We had the Sox – Rays game on and Kazmir and Buehrle had just plowed through the first inning in probably two minutes. I turned to my dad and said, “Well, we’re looking at a two hour ballgame if they keep this up.” When we came back to the car I heard the voice of Chris Rongey (the pre- and post-game guy) telling the listeners that the Mark Buehrle had thrown the eighteenth perfect game in MLB history.

Awesome.

And then how about the emergence of a prominant third baseman? I had doubts about young Gordon Beckham at the beginning of the season; though he played third base like a short stop; thought he was too quick to swing the bat. He ended up hitting a solid .270 with fourteen homers and sixty-three batted in. Those numbers are good enough for the top-three in Rookie of the Year candidates, if not the winner.

On July 31st we all got the fantastic news that we had traded for Cy Young pitcher Jake Peavy. I remember a day earlier in the season when the Sox, after losing 20-1 to Minnesota, didn’t offer enough to San Diego to be able to get Peavy. I could live with the final score of that game, but when I heard we missed out on Peavy, that ticked me off. We ended up getting him anyway, and he went 3-0 in a Sox uniform. That’s enough to keep us eagerly anticipating what he’ll do come 2010.

I wont even begin to mention how bad of a feeling it was to hear the news that Thome had been traded to Los Angeles. Contreras going to Colorado was fine, but when we lost Thome, a whole lot of the team went with him.

The World Series is set to start in about a week or so.

Spring Training starts in four months.

I’ll keep counting down the days on the calendar in my room (like the baseball nerd I am) as next year will be pretty special.