NEW YORK, NY – What a great week its been. While the government has shut its doors and is doing marginally less than they usually do, we’ve been enjoying the start of the best time of the year for sports. We’ve had a 163rd regular season game, play-in games, the start of the Division Series, and of course, the start of the new NHL Campaign.
The week started with the Rays and Rangers playing game 163 of the regular season on Monday. They played a 1-game playoff to decide who would take the second Wild Card and a berth in the 1-game playoff against the Cleveland Indians. The Rays made short work of the Rangers; it’s a shame that the Rangers didn’t win in one of their World Series appearances in ’10 and ’11 – I feel like the ship has sailed for them and it may be awhile before they have the goods to get back.
On Tuesday, the Reds and Bucs met in the post-season for the first time in their history. They’ve been playing each other since the 1870s or so and their first post-season meeting saw the Reds repeat their recent playoff fizzles. Every year they seem to have a cup of coffee with October baseball, never really looking like they plan on staying for dinner, or even appetizers. The Bucs won an easy one and the Reds continued their facade of pretending to care about being in the playoffs. Dusty Baker got fired today, as a result, which Cam James has been calling for forever.
On Wednesday, the Rays played their second elimination game in three days as they met Nick Swisher and the Indians in Cleveland. The Indians couldn’t get anything going against Alex Cobb and were eventually shut out at home. Now the Rays travel to Boston to take on the Sawx. I think the Rays have a very good shot at beating the Red Sox. They’re definitely at a disadvantage having had to use their top two starters in their play-in games. Price will get to pitch twice in the series. He’ll start game 2 on Saturday and then he’ll be able to start game 5 on regular rest, should the series go that far. We’ll only see Cobb once this series when he pitches game 3 on Monday. Should be a good series between two teams that know each other very well. Wishful thinking here, Rays in 5.
Yesterday, former Marlin and Blue Jay AJ Burnett (was there another team in there?) pitched batting practice to the Cardinals. But someone forgot to tell AJ that the game counted. Cam’s Cards will make quick work of the Bucs. Cards in 3.
In the late game yesterday, Magic’s Mercenaries put a whooping on the Braves to take a 1-0 lead in that series. The Braves will win a game, but I don’t think they’re getting past this Dodgers team. Dodgers in 4.
Tomorrow, we’ve got baseball from midday till midnight as all four series see action. I’m rooting for Clancy’s A’s to make it out of the first round. But the Tigers are a much better team on paper. I think Detroit takes this one in 4.
And last night out in the desert, the Rangers started their campaign against the Future Quebec City Coyotes of Phoenix. The Rangers looked good at points, but the penalty kill let them down a bit. The Blueshirts have a very tough schedule to start the season, visiting the Kings, Sharks, Ducks, Blues, and Caps in their next five games as they wait for Phase 3 of the MSG renovations to be complete. They looked a lot better last night than they did in their last few preseason games. But they’ll need to start scoring goals if they’re going to weather this early nine-game road trip. Thankfully we have a full season to get it together and make a deep push into the playoffs.
Its a great time of the year for sports. Enjoy the glut of post-season baseball and regular season hockey over the next few weeks… and Junoir Blaber, tomorrow.