The Underdog Factor
Unfortunately, this World Series is going to be tough for me. I’m rooting for the Phillies, but many people close to me are rooting for the Rays.
It’s gotta be that “underdog” factor. The same thing happened last year with the Rockies. My dad is going for the Rays, and he was trying to convince me to join him during the Red Sox series. “Come on, you have to root for the underdog,” he said. But I stayed fiercely loyal to my Red Sox. (This also happened last year during the World Series. But what can I say? I love the Red Sox!) My younger sister is not a baseball fan, but in order to spite me, she was “rooting” for the Rays. She really doesn’t care, but just to annoy me, she would fakingly cheer when she saw the Rays ahead. It was very annoying because I know she really doesn’t care. Then some of my closest friends who are very involved in sports have also taken the “underdog” side for the past two years. I hate having to root against these people who mean so much to me. But what can I do? Last year, there was no way I could have cheered for the Rockies after that devastating loss in game 163. That actually helped me become a Red Sox fan. If it was the Padres and the Blue Jays in the World Series and some of my friends took the “underdog” side, I would obviously have to root against them. I guess that’s the way it is. You take a side and you stick by it, even if it means you aren’t on the same side as your friends. It’s just part of the game. There’s always going to be an opposing fan. We just have to deal. I’ve argued with a lot of my friends about things like Trevor Hoffman, the Red Sox, and Kouz, but I always try to be gracious and respect their opinions. I’m not going to make my friends my enemies over a sports issue. My friends are much more important to me than baseball.
So, just like last year, I will stay loyal to “my” team. And hopefully, the Phillies will be able to finish this one quickly.
Rays: American League Champions
The Rays did it. Hats off to them. After Boston’s miraculous rally on Thursday, and their win on Saturday, the Rays’ pitching easily controlled game 7.
Matt Garza was spectacular. 7 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts. He held the Red Sox down. The only run was a solo homer fron Dustin Pedroia. This guy is amazing. He has a great arm at second, plus a wonderful bat. Anyway, after Garza, the Rays’ bullpen kicked in. It took 4 relievers in the 8th inning, but they got their goal done: preventing Boston to score when they had the bases loaded. It worked, as Boston left 8 runners on in the game. They certainly had their chances, but they were not able to get that clutch knock. On the pitching side, Jon Lester was not bad. He gave up only 3 runs, but it was enough to beat Boston.
The Red Sox really grew on me this postseason, and it was sad to see them lose like that. I’m used to that heartbreak because of the Padres. But just because I’m used to it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Losses in big games like that hurt. In the Padres case, they were constantly leaving the potential tying or winning runs on base. But they never got that clutch hit and so they lost. That’s a huge part of why we had 99 losses this year.
But how ’bout those Rays? They were nothing before this year and now they’re in the World Series. It’s pretty incredible. But I don’t think I’ll be able to root for them in the WS. I’ve been rooting against them for the last 7 games, and believe me, it’s not easy to flip around and immediately cheer for them. I think it would take a long time before a Red Sox fan could root for the Rays.
We’ll have to see how this goes. It will be very interesting. I’m not going to pick a team to win (I mean, Tampa Bay beat the Boston Red Sox and the Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for goodness sakes!!), but I will be rooting for Philly. So, GO PHILLIES!
On Saturday night, the Red Sox lost 9-8 in 11 innings. It was a slugfest, with the teams combining for 7 homers. This game was one of those back-and-forth games. In the 11th, Boston reliever Mike Timlin got himself into trouble. With the bases loaded and one out, B.J. Upton hit a shallow sac-fly to right. A throw came to the plate, but the runner from third scored, and the Rays won. The series is now tied 1-1. Today the Sox will try to bounce back at Fenway Park. GO BOSTON!!
The Dodgers won last night. It was a very strange game. But today the Phillies have a chance to go to the World Series. We’ll see. May the best team win.
Sox, Phils, and Friars
The Red Sox won 2-0 last night. It was a great game, highlighted by Dice-K Matsuzaka. He threw 7 innings, giving up four hits, 4 walks, and striking out 9. But here’s the key: he didn’t give up a hit until the 7th. He did pitch into the 8th inning, giving up two hits without making an out before getting pulled. But he was masterful. He got himself into jams with the walks, but he got out of them. Meanwhile, the offense got a run by sac-fly, and the second run by RBI double from Kevin Youkilis. Justin Masterson was very good, inducing a double play with two runners on. Jonathan Paplebon threw yet another scoreless postseason inning. So the Sox win! I was looking at the field in Tampa on the highlights, and it looks horrible. Not very green, no fancy designs. They probably can’t help it, but it just does not look nice. Oh, well. The series continues tonight with Josh Beckett vs. Scott Kazmir. Hopefully Beckett can get back on track. GO BOSTON!!
Phillies clobbered the Dodgers 8-5. The series will move on tomorrow at Dodger Stadium.
I’m starting to miss the Padres. Just a teesy weensy bit, but it’s starting. But they’ve been making moves to make room on the roster, so I’m anticipating new players. Like yesterday, Michael Barrett went to free agency. I almost forgot we had him. If he’s healthy, he might be a good player, but he had two horrible years with us. We also claimed a second baseman, Travis Denker, from the Giants. This is very understandable, since Matt Antonelli needs a lot more time in the Minors. Denker is a rookie, too, so we’ll see what the Padres have planned for him. Well, for now I’ve got the playoffs to distract me. But the long offseason months are coming up. Get ready.
RED SOX WIN!!!
For some reason, the Red Sox have suddenly become my second-favorite team. I mean, they always have been, but I’ve really gotten into them this past week. Maybe it’s because they are so talented. Maybe because I think they’re the best team in the playoffs. But whatever the reason, they’re drawing me in. Last night walk-off win thrilled me so much! It was almost like the Padres had won with the way I reacted. Well, I would have been leaping around the house like mad if it were the Padres, but I was still pretty excited about the win. Walk-offs are so much fun, especially when it’s a rookie who gets the big hit. But it was a wild 9th inning. In the top half, the Angels got a runner to third with 1 out. The batter totally missed a bunt with a squeeze on, and Jason Varitek was able to run the runner down and tag him out. The batter then struck out. In the bottom half, Jason Bay hit a ground-rule double with one out, but it probably would have been an inside-the-park homer if in hadn’t bounced into the stands. After Mark Kotsay lined out sharply, rookie Jed Lowrie came to the plate. On a first-pitch curveball, he grounded it just though the hole between first and second. Bay raced around third, and crossed the plate just as the throw came in. It wasn’t close. The Red Sox won. It was a great, great game. Jon Lester had a wonderful outing.
So it will be Boston vs. Tampa Bay in the ALCS, starting on Friday. I am really looking forward to this series. Both of these teams are very talented. The NLCS will be played by the Dodgers and the Phillies. It will be very interesting. I’m picking the Red Sox and the Dodgers for the World Series. Let’s see how it goes.
The playoffs have started. Talk about domination. As of right now, 3 teams have won 2 games and 3 teams have won none. But in baseball, things can turn around in a moment. Here’s what’s happened so far.
BOSTON RED SOX vs. LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHIEM: The Red Sox are my second favorite team in the Majors, so I am really excited about this series. So far, Boston has done really well. In game 1, pitcher Jon Lester dominated for 7 innings, allowing only 1 unearned run. Jason Bay hit a huge 2-run bomb. They got two critical insurance runs in the top of the 9th. Jonathan Paplebon closed it out. In game 2, Jason Bay hit another homer, this time a 3-runner. But the Angels fought back, and going into the top of the 9th, it was a 5-5 tie. But J.D. Drew hit a 2-run homer to break the tie. Paplebon got the save. Another key player in this series so far is Justin Masterson. He’s thrown two good innings, surviving some jams. Tomorrow Josh Beckett is pitching, so I really like the Sox’s chances.
TAMPA BAY RAYS vs. CHICAGO WHITE SOX: This Rays team has just amazed me. They’ve been so good all year, and they’ve been able to continue that in the playoffs. Evan Longoria, the amazing rookie, had 3 hits in game 1, 2 homers and an RBI single. Though the Rays got down 3-1, they were able to come back and win 6-4. There were some incidents like a guy not keeping track of the count, but it was overall a pretty good game. In game 2, the White Sox got two quick runs in the first. But Rays starting pitcher Scott Kazmir settled down and had a good outing. The Ray’s offense was highlighted by Akinori Iwamura’s 2-run homer. They won 6-2. They play game 3 tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what else Tampa Bay can do!
LOS ANGELES DODGERS vs. CHICAGO CUBS: In game 1, the Dodgers offense was homers. James Loney hit a grand slam, and Russel Martin and Manny Ramirez added solo homers. They win 7-2. In game 2, the Cubs made 5 errors and the Dodgers capitalized. Russel Martin had a 3-run double. Dodgers win 10-3. They could win the series tonight. I feel bad for the Cubs fans. It appears that the drought will continue, but we’ll see.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS: In game one, Cole Hamels of the Phillies threw an 8-inning gem. His offense game him three runs in the first. Brewers’ Mike Cameron dropped a fly ball that allowed 2 runs to score. Some more sloppy defense by the Brewers gave the Phillies one more run. The Brewers’ only chance, really, was against the Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge. But he closed the game to give the Phils a 3-1 win. In game 2, Shane Victorino got a grand slam. Brad Lidge closed the 5-2 win. So now the Phillies, too, have a chance to win their series. Jamie Moyer is pitching for them tonight.
So, the playoffs have certainly been interesting so far. Hopefully a few if not all the leading teams can move on in the next few days.