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October, 2009

October 29, 2009 - Jordanesque - It is difficult to find words too great to describe Cliff Lee’s performance in Game One of the World Series on Wednesday night against the New York Yankees.  The words Amazing, Masterful, and Dominant all come to mind.

Indeed, on Wednesday night Lee turned in a performance that harkened back to one of the greatest performances in sports championship history.  In Game One of the 1992 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan famously set the tone for that series when he hit six three pointers in the first half against the Portland Trailblazers.  After hitting the sixth of those three-pointers, in one of the most iconic moments of his career, Jordan looked over at Magic Johnson on the sidelines and famously shrugged as if to say “Even I don’t know what’s going on – I’m just amazing.”

Cliff Lee had his Michael Jordan moment with one out in the eighth inning of Wednesday night’s game.  With the Phillies leading 4-0, Robinson Cano’s hit a comebacker up the middle that looked to be a sure hit.  Lee, however, stuck his glove out and, as though he does it all the time, fielded the ball behind his back before effortlessly tossing it to Ryan Howard for the second out of the inning.  Smiling, Lee looked over to Jimmy Rollins and, just like Jordan, shrugged.

Thus, perhaps the best word to describe Lee’s performance would be: Jordanesque.

  -- ABC

October 27, 2009 - World Series Previews – This is the matchup that most people were expecting and most people were hoping for: The Philadelphia Phillies versus the New York Yankees. The Phillies are the first team since the Yankees to defend a World Series title. The Yankees go for World Championship #27 and World Championship #1 in their new stadium. Who will prevail? Keith and Asher take sides:

Asher: Yankees in Four | Keith: Phillies in Seven

October 15, 2009 - NLCS Preview – The first time two teams faced each other in the NLCS in consecutive years occurred in 1977-1978, when the Dodgers twice defeated the Phillies for the right to lose to the Yankees in the World Series. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies once again face off in the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row, with the Phillies hoping to do the unthinkable and the Dodgers hoping to avenge last year’s loss.  Which team will prevail?

So much for baseball being 90% pitching. The two best offenses in baseball will square off in the ALCS despite their middling pitching staffs. The four dominant American League starters each sat at home for the postseason, so the AL crown will go to the team with the best offense. Is that team the Angels or the Yankees?

The Minnesota twins defeated the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings to become the AL Central champions Tuesday night. They also became the fifth home team to win a tiebreaker playoff out of six tiebreaker playoffs in the Wild Card era, justifying the rule change that altered home field determination from a coin flip to head-to-head record.

But the Twins aren't thinking as much about the coin flip that robbed them of a playoff berth in 2008 as much as they are considering how in the heck they are going to beat the heavily-favored New York Yankees in a best-of-five series. The Yankees won 16 more games and scored 98 more runs than the Twins have, despite having played in one fewer game. The Twins have momentum, but will that be enough to orchestrate an upset?

The Red Sox have faced the Angels in the American League Divisional series three times in the past five seasons, and their upcoming 2009 showdown will make it four times in six years. So far, Boston is 3-0 in those series and 9-1 in those games. Because of this, Angels fans are terrified and the Red Sox are heavily favored. Will history indeed repeat itself?

October 2, 2009 - The Cops on the South Side Thwart Burglaries - Chase Utley is a perfect 23-for-23 in stolen base attempts this year. His basestealing efficiency typifies the Phillies, who are an MLB-best 113-for-138 (81.9%) in stolen base percentage. Utley's runner-up in this category is Chris Getz at 25-of-27 (92.6%). Getz' performance, however, comes on a team among the worst in basestealing efficiency at 107-for-154 (69.5%). Take away Getz, and the rest of the White Sox have gone 82-for-127 (64.6%).

The Sox are terrible at baserunning in general. They rarely take extra bases, don't break up double plays very well, get picked off all the time, and make bunches of outs on the base paths even beyond the pickoffs and caught stealings despite their general lack of aggressiveness. Ozzie Guillen supposedly preaches baserunning fundamentals to his players (although has a 61% stolen base efficiency percentage in his own playing career). If he is indeed preaching sound advice, Getz is the only one who gets it. --KG 

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