ALCS Game 6: Rangers 6, Yankees 1 (Rangers win series 4-games-2)
Forget about wondering if the Yankees could actually beat Cliff Lee in Game 7 because they won’t get the chance after they couldn’t handle Colby Lewis. Lewis fired a gem to lead the Rangers to a 6-1 victory to earn a World Series ticket for the first time in franchise history.

The Rangers not only eliminated the Yankees, but eliminated the past troubles and playoff losses to New York with a 6-1 clinching game in front of their home fans. Lewis baffled Yankees hitters all night, allowing just three hits, one run in 8.0 innings of work with eight strikeouts. Not only was it Lewis’ second win of the series, but it may have been his best performance of his life.

Texas broke a 1-1 game wide open with a four-spot in the bottom of the fifth inning. Vladimir Guerrero ripped a two-RBI double to break the tie and Nelson Cruz followed it up with a two-run homer to provide Texas with a “we’ve made it moment” with the hysterical crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Yankees starter Phil Hughes was hit around for the second time in the series, allowing four runs, four hits, four walks in an ineffective 4.2 innings.

Ian Kinsler added an RBI-sac fly later in the game to make it 6-1, but the rest was about Lewis performance against a lineup that produced 859 runs in the regular season. Closer Neftali Feliz came in for the ninth and struck out two in the inning, including a strikeout looking of Alex Rodriguez to end the game. It was fitting that the former Ranger would make the final out, but how in the world does A-Rod take that 0-2 pitch from Feliz? Terrible.

Texas will await the winner of the NLCS as it prepares for the first World Series appearance in team history.

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I’m still trying to figure out logical reasons for why A-Rod did not bat in the ninth inning of the All-Star game Tuesday. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was confused by some of the questionable decisions (or non-decisions) by Joe Girardi in the All-Star game. Tim Brown from Yahoo! is just one of many who was wondering WTF?

His argument to why he didn’t pinch-hit A-Rod in the ninth inning down 3-1 is stunning:

“If the situation arose, you get extra innings, he would probably be my DH.”

He would “probably” be the DH. Good thing Girardi was worried about extra innings while he’s trailing two runs. You have to get there first and play to win before extra innings is thought about. That’s akin to when playoff teams will “save” their number one starter for Game 6 if there is one, when they need to win Game 5 first to force a Game 6. Pretty idiotic thinking for a major league manager. And all this happens on the day former owner George Steinbrenner passes away. He has to be rolling in his grave already.

Oh and then he were worried about Adrian Beltre’s sore hamstring if he got on base in the ninth. Girardi may have let A-Rod pinch run for Beltre if he reached. Um, if you’re worried about a player’s injury in the All-Star game, why did you let Beltre bat in the first place?? Dumb, dumb, dumb. Maybe Joe didn’t want home field advantage if his Yankees are fortunate enough to make it back to the World Series? OK, I’m done with my rant on Girardi and the All-Star game.

A day after Dallas Braden’s perfect game and the baseball world is still buzzing. I wanted to address something I briefly mentioned in my post yesterday about how many perfect games MLB has seen. For some reason Major League Baseball wants to call yesterday’s perfect game the 19th in its history, but I don’t agree with that. It should be considered the 17th perfect game all-time because the extra two that they are counting occurred in 1880. This was prior to the modern era which began in 1903 when the National League and American League agreed to play by the same rules. The two pre-modern era perfect games were with pitchers throwing underhand and on a mound only 45 from home plate. Plus, that National League wasn’t even established in 1880, instead it was the American Association. Therefore, the first perfect game is Cy Young’s dominance over the Philadelphia Athletics in 1904. I just wanted to clear that up before we move on—as you can tell, it fires me up a bit. Let’s head into the weekly recap:

A-Rod speaks on Braden’s performance
Obviously Braden’s perfect game was the highlight of the week, possibly year but it’s going to get overshadowed by his little feud with A-Rod. Well, that NY-Boston media wasted no time getting his response before the Yankees Sunday night game. Pretty good line for A-Rod too bringing it back to the team they are chasing in the division:

“I’ve learned in my career that it’s always better to be recognized for some of the great things you do on the field,” Rodriguez said. “Good for him. He threw a perfect game, and even better he beat the Rays.”

Then A-Rod went out and pulled even with Frank Robinson for seventh all-time with his 586th home run. Not bad. Yeah that July 5-7 series in Oakland should be fairly interesting if Braden is due to pitch that series.

Will Zack Greinke ever get a win in 2010?
Speaking of strong pitching performances Zack Greinke, last year’s AL Cy Young winner, is 0-4 despite a 2.51 ERA. I believe he’s the third former Cy Young winner to lose his first four decisions the following year. Greinke has four quality starts in seven outings this year, including seven shutout innings against Seattle late last month, but zero wins. Even more ironic in this bizarre game of baseball is Greinke’s teammate Luke Hochevar is 3-1 despite his over 5.00 ERA. Obviously Greinke’s too good to let the Royals offense stop him from getting some wins this year, but while wins aren’t the main stat sought after for the award, he could have a hard time getting out of this hole to claim back-to-back Cy Young awards.

Holy smokes, Jamie Moyer is old
Jamie Moyer’s incredible two-hit shutout of the Braves Friday night sets a record for being the oldest player to throw a shutout at the fragile age of 47. He passed Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro who did it in 1985 at age 46. I’m pretty sure there’s nobody else that’s going to catch Moyer on this record anytime soon. Tim Wakefield is only 43 years old, and his awful start has many believing he could be done soon. Another side note from this story was the Braves and how cold their hitting can be. This was the same team that not only was shutout by grandpa, but in just a month they were also no-hit by Ubaldo Jimenez, almost no-hit by the Nationals Scott Olsen and then disrespected Olsen. Atlanta has some major problems.

Will Ferrell pitched in a Triple-A game…really.
I don’t have much to say about this other than I think it was one of those ideas that sounded better than what it actually ended up being.

Ozzie Guillen’s job in danger?
Thanks to the White Sox’s lackluster 13-19 start to the season, there have been some rumblings about Ozzie Guillen possibly being fired. While I don’t believe that is a possibility due to his extremely weird relationship with GM Kenny Williams, I think they should go away from the norm and fire horrendous announcer Hawk Harrelson to turn things around. Because I long for the day to say, “Haaaawk, HE GONE! Your employment with the White Sox is OV-A!”

I bet A-Rod knows the name Dallas Braden now. What a thrill ride season the A’s starting pitcher is already having. Braden turned in an outstanding performance this afternoon in Oakland, setting down the Rays in order for a perfect game.

Braden’s perfecto today is just the 17th in Major League history (yes, 17th…you might hear that it’s the 19th ever, but I don’t count the two that happened in 1880 considering they happened when pitchers were throwing underhand and only 45 feet from home plate).

Braden’s name will forever be linked in the history books with Cy Young, Addie Joss, Charlie Robertson, Don Larsen, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, Catfish Hunter, Len Barker, Mike Witt, Tom Browning, Dennis Martinez, Kenny Rogers, David Wells, David Cone, Randy Johnson and Mark Buehrle.

This was the first perfect game since Buehrle’s feat last July against the Rays as well. What’s up with the Rays and perfect games happening against them? There has never been two perfectos in the same season, and the last time two occurred in consecutive seasons was two Yankees—Wells and Cone in ’98 and ’99.

Braden improved to 4-2 in the 4-0 shutout of the Rays. He struck out six batters, obviously walked none on 109 pitches (77 being strikes).

Of course Braden was the pitcher making headlines this past month for flipping out when A-Rod stepped over his mound after an inning-ended double play. This will most likely overshadow the brilliance of his perfect game because he made it no secret that he didn’t think too much of A-Rod. Well, not only does A-Rod know the name, but even the general baseball fan will know Dallas Braden’s name now. And I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t walk across his mound if I were you!

Below is a video that contains one of the most honest interviews I’ve seen a baseball player give in a long time. In case you missed this minor incident, Oakland A’s pitcher Dallas Braden didn’t think too highly of A-Rod apparently walking across “his” mound after a inning-ending double play last month is an A’s win over the Yankees. Well, Braden is still rambling on about A-Rod breaking an “unwritten” rule as you can see from the video. A-Rod, are you sure you didn’t sleep with Braden’s girlfriend or something because this guy seriously doesn’t like you at all.

Normally I would wonder who in the hell does a pitcher with 17 career wins think he is calling one of the best hitters in the game out, but I actually find it pretty hilarious. A-Rod isn’t exactly a stranger to unethical play—remember the time he slapped the ball out of the pitchers hands as he was getting ready to tag him. Plus, Braden is on one of my fantasy teams, so I’m okay with him finding motivation from anywhere just as long as he continues pitching well. Click here for the link to the video courtesy of Big League Stew. It’s definitely worth a watch.

It doesn’t look like 2010 will be a great season for milestones throughout Major League Baseball. We’ve been treated to some good moments the past couple seasons as some sluggers knocked their 500th home runs while Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th bomb. This season might be lacking of such milestones besides a couple ones by A-Rod and Trevor Hoffman. Let’s take a look at possible achievements that could be reached this year…

600 home run club: Griffey launched his 600th home run in 2008 becoming just the sixth member of this prestigious group. This season Alex Rodriguez looks to become the seventh member of this group. A-Rod sits just 17 homers shy of 600 and barring injury, he should easily eclipsed that number and more in 2010.

Newly-signed Minnesota Twin Jim Thome is also in striking distance of the 600 plateau, but he would need an incredible rebound season late in his career of 46 homers. I guess if he stays healthy and Target Field ends up being a launching pad similar to what Yankee Stadium did with the winds, Thome might have end up having a shot. But most likely, he’ll need to stick around for another season to hit the mark. Manny Ramirez is also in the ballpark, but needs 54 this season in the pitchers haven known as Dodger Stadium.

And since we’re on big home run totals, Albert Pujols needs 34 jacks for 400 career homers as he continues to pave his way as the most dominant hitter in the game today.

600 saves and counting: Trevor Hoffman is ready to add to his legacy this season. He already holds the lead for most saves all-time, but the 42-year-old closer is only nine saves away from being the only closer to save 600 games. Whoa. Hoffman is also still pitching effectively and closing games for the Brewers, so he should have no problem hitting 600 saves and more.

The 300-win club: Randy Johnson winning his 300th game might be the last pitcher we see do that for a long time. The closest active pitcher to 300 is the fossil Jamie Moyer with 258. Moyer is 46 years old, so I doubt he will have enough to get to 300, but then again the guy continues to ignore retirement and keep pitching. After Moyer, it gets interesting…Andy Pettitte has 229, he won’t get there. Pedro Martinez has 219 wins, but he doesn’t pitch full seasons anymore. Tim Wakefield has 189 wins…hey, maybe that knuckleball arm can hold up for another 15 years. It looks like the next best chance to get there is down around 150 wins, which includes Roy Halladay (148), Javier Vazquez (142), Roy Oswalt (137) and C.C. Sabathia (136). Sabathia’s age makes him the likely candidate to be the next 300-game winner, but nothing is a given. Either way, 2010 won’t feature a 300-game winner and don’t look for another one until some time down the road.

Hit Parade: No chance for any 3,000 hitters during the 2010 season unless some team lost its mind and signs Barry Bonds. Though we have a couple chances at 2,500 hits. Johnny Damon needs 75 hits for the big 2,500, and Chipper Jones needs a little more with 94 hits. Damon and Chipper should hit these totals, but no one is close to 3,000 hits this season (Griffey the closest with 2,763 hits).