Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Angels World Series Bound

The Anaheim Angels made short work of the Los Angeles Dodgers in their semi-final playoff series by winning in five games.  A recap of the games:

Angels 9, Dodgers 5
Jason Barlett's 2-run PH single sparks a 6-run 7th inning. Armando Galarraga, battered in the opening round vs. the Pirates,  allows 4 hits in 7 innings.

Dodgers 3, Angels 1
Rich Harden struck out 7 in 6 innings and Miguel Cabrera delivered the tie-breaking single in the 6th. Anaheim squandered several late opportunities -- it had runners at second and third with no outs in both the 6th and 7th innings and did not score and runners at first and second with no outs in the 8th with the same result.

Angels 3, Dodgers 2
Pinch-hitter Jose Guillen delivers a tie-breaking RBI single in the 9th and Joe Nathan nails down the save with 2 strikeouts in the 9th.

Angels 2, Dodgers 1
Nathan again foils L.A. as he fans 3 in 1-2/3 to record another save. Skip Schumaker had homered in the 6th to give Anaheim a 2-0 lead, but Orlando Cabrera ripped an RBI double in the 8th before Nathan was summoned from the bullpen.

Angels 4, Dodgers 1
Galarraga lost his no-hitter in the 7th, but he and the bullpen combined on a 2-hitter. The shutout was broken on Chase Utley's HR in the 9th. Bengie Molina had a pair of RBIs for the winners.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mariners Top Redbirds in Seven Games

The Seattle Mariners advanced to the second round of the Millennium Playoffs via an exciting 7-game series win over the St. Louis Cardinals.  A recap of the games:

Game #1 - SEA 1, STL 0 (11)
Seattle's workhorse starter Roy Oswalt (17-10) squared off against the Cards' Cliff Lee (19-8) in the opener.  Oswalt pitched 10 scoreless innings while Lee tossed 9 of his own.  The game went to the 11th inning still scoreless.  Three singles off Cardinals reliever Broxton gave the Mariners the lead.  Then, Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless bottom of the 11th to preserve the victory.

Game #2 - STL 11, SEA 7
The second game matchup consisted of Seattle's Jon Lester (20-4) vs. St. Louis righty starter Ubaldo Jimenez (12-10).  Seattle jumped out to an early 6-0 lead as Pujols, Braun and Molina all hit roundtrippers.  But, the Cards hung a 6-spot on Lester in the 5th to take a 7-6 lead.  Big hit was a three-run blast by Melvin Mora.  From then on, the Redbirds' bullpen held the potent Seattle offense at bay enroute to the win.

Game #3 STL 4, SEA 3
Series switches to Seattle for the next three games.  It's Cards' Gil Meche (14-12) going up against Seattle's Felix Hernandez (14-7) in this one.  Jason Kubel hit a 2-run homer off King Felix to help give St. Louis the lead.  Gil Meche pitched 6+ gritty innings and the often beleaguered St. Louis bullpen (Broxton, Tallet, BJ Ryan)  pitched 2 2/3 of scoreless relief to make the lead stand up.  Several Mariner runners were thrown out at the plate in this game.  Cards grab a 2-1 series lead.

Game #4 STL 2, SEA 1 (13)
It's back to our Oswalt vs. Lee matchup in this one.  And these two pitchers pitched heroically again - Oswalt 10 innings, 1 run and 10 strikeouts; Lee 10 innings, 1 run and 8 K's.  Both runs were off solo homers - Adam LaRoche for the Cards and Elijah Dukes for Seattle.  Then, in the top of the 13th, Adam LaRoche hit his second homer of the game to give the Cards the lead.  BJ Ryan followed up with a scoreless inning of relief to get the save.  Cards lead 3 games to 1.

Game #5 SEA 6, STL 5
Lester against Jimenez again for Game 5.  The Mariners, on the brink of elimination, stayed alive as Carlos Quentin hit a grand slam home run off Marte (who had just been brought in) to grab a 6-3 lead.  Cards scored two in the 7th to knock out Lester to make it a one-run game again.  But, veteran Mike Mussina in a relief role, pitched 1 1/3 innings of clutch relief and then Francisco Rodriguez (who had 47 saves in the regular season for Seattle) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to give Seattle the hard fought win.

Game #6 SEA 5, STL 3 (12)
Back to St. Louis for Game 6.  Kazmir (9-11) gets the start for Seattle against Meche.  With the Cards leading 2-1 in the 8th, the Mariners finally got to Meche and scored two runs to grab a 3-2 lead.  Pujols had four hits in this game.  Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth as Seattle was nursing a one-run lead.  But, the Cards scratched out a run to tie the game and even had another runner on third base with two out, but K-Rod hung in there and got Guzman for the final out.  On to extra innings for the third time in the series!  Then, Dukes, Pujols and Molina got key hits in the 12th off loser BJ Ryan to send the series to a seventh game.

Game #7 SEA 15, STL 1
In what looked like another epic battle between two aces (Oswalt 0.45 ERA in the first two starts, Lee 0.47 ERA) turned into a laugher very quickly.  The Cardinal defense committed three costly errors behind Lee that led to 5 unearned runs and just like that - Seattle had a commanding 8-1 lead after four innings.  Meanwhile, series MVP Roy Oswalt pitched another gem by only allowing 1 run over 6 innings.  The powerful Seattle offense, largely held in check throughout the series, woke up this game by hitting 9 doubles, 1 triple and two homers.

Congrats to the Seattle Mariners who now face Kansas City in the Semi-Finals......

#1 Seed Royals Knock Out D-Backs in Seven Games

Kansas City began their quest for a second championship title by eliminating the Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games.  A recap of the series:

KC 7, AZ 4 - Danny Haren fanned 10 and Hanley Ramirez hit a homer and drove in 3 runs.  Loser James Shields gave up 7 runs in just innings.

KC 6, AZ 5 - Grady Sizemore and Chipper Jones both hit homers as the Royals rallied from a 5-3 deficit off the Snakes' bullpen

AZ 6, KC 2 - Series moved to Phoenix for game 3 and veteran Randy Johnson did not disappoint the hometown fans as he tossed 7 innings of 1-run ball.  Carlos Pena  hit a homer and drove in 4 runs.

KC 7, AZ 4 - The Royals take a commanding 3-1 series lead as Danny Haren wins his second of the series.  Joe Mauer, batting .400 in the series so far, had 4 hits.

AZ 11, KC 3 - James Shields made up for his poor outing in game #1 with a win in game #5.  He tossed a complete game while striking out 10; losing pitcher Chad Billinglsey was roughed up early to take the loss.

AZ 7, KC 6 (10) - Arizona shocked the Royals fans by winning in 10 innings as Yunel Escobar drove in the winning run.

KC 8, AZ 3 - Danny Haren, the series MVP, won his third game of the series as the Royals advanced to the second round of the playoffs.  Hanley Ramirez hit his third homer of the series and drove in 3 more runs,

Halos All Over Buccos

The Anaheim Angels advanced to the second round with a convincing 4-1 series win over the Pirates.  Nick Markakis batted .389 with a pair of homers for the Angels.

PITT 9, ANA 3 - Johan Santana tossed a complete game and Fred Lewis had 3 base hits as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Anaheim 9-3.  Buccos scored 8 runs in the 2nd inning - all off losing pitcher Armando Galarraga.

ANA 3, PITT 2 (10) - Pinch hitter Maicer Izturis knocked in the winning run in the bottom of 10th to give Anaheim a 3-2 win.

ANA 4, PITT 2 - J. J. Hardy drove in two runs with a double and homer.  Kyle Davies outdueled Shawn Marcum.

ANA 10, PITT 1 - The Angels knocked out game 1 winner Santana in the second inning as they pounded Pittsburgh 10-1 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.  Hardy hit another for the Halos and Chris Volstad pitched strong into the 8th inning.

ANA 8, PITT 6 (14) - Mark Teixeira hit a 2-run single in the top of the 14th to give the Angels the series victory.

Anaheim will now face their cross-town rival Los Angeles Dodgers in a semi-final playoff series.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dodgers Eliminate A's in Six Games

The Dodgers win a close series in 6 games over Oakland.  Harden gets two wins including the game winner.
9/20 LAN  3  9  0  OAA  1  5  0         B.Sheets (1-0)        J.Duchschere (0-1)
9/21 LAN  2  9  0  OAA  1  7  1         R.Harden (1-0)        B.Webb (0-1)
9/23 OAA 11 16  0  LAN  0  2  3        T.Hudson (1-0)       M.Garza (0-1)
9/24 OAA 12 20  1  LAN  8 14  2 12   J.Colome (1-0)        D.Waechter (0-1)
9/25 OAA  2 12  1  LAN  3  5  0        J.Moyer (1-0)          B.Webb (0-2)
9/27 LAN  2  8  0  OAA  1  4  0        R.Harden (2-0)        J.Duchschere (0-2)
Game 1: Sheets, Romo, and Street hold the A's in check.  Utley and Ibanez homered.
Game 2: Rich Harden pitched 7 shutout innings.  The A's almost tied it in the 9th but Huston Street managed to close it out.
Game 3: A's offense wakes up and scores 11 in a laugher.  Aramis Ramirez had a HR and 4 RBI's.
Game 4:  Oakland wins a classic 12 inning game.  Dodgers scored 5 in the 8th to come back from a 7-2 deficit, another run in the 10th to to tie it again, but then the A's scored 4 in the 12th to put it away.  Ramirez had the big hit again.  14 pitchers were used.
Game 5:  Jamie Moyer puts the A's offense back to sleep with 97 mph fastba- I mean change-ups.  Huston Street almost blew the save but got Orlando Hudson for the last out.
Game 6:  LA closes it out in another low scoring game.  Rich Harden again shuts down the A's and Street earns his 4th save. 
Ludwick .364   1.122 OPS
Harden   2-0    0.64 ERA
Street    4 Saves

Matt Kemp     .200   .459 OPS  Kemp overachieved all year, bad time to regress!
Jimmy Rollins   .136   .406 OPS