Baseball Toaster Mike's Baseball Rants
This is my site with my opinions, but I hope that, like Irish Spring, you like it, too.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Mike's Baseball Rants


10  09  07 
06  05  04  03 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
Links to MBBR
Phils Win! The Phils Win! The Phillies Win!
2008-10-15 22:36
by Mike Carminati

The Phils wrapped up their sixth National League championship of all time tonight with a resounding 5-1 win in game five of the NLCS. However, the difference between the two teams' performances is not completely captured in that score.

The Phils dominated in every aspect of the game: starting pitching, hitting, defense, relief pitching, even managing. They led from pole to pole getting it started on 3-2 hanger converted into a Jimmy Rollins leadoff homer. The only criticism of the Phils was that they left so many men on base (9).

Some great defensive plays were turned in by the Phils. Chase Utley started two doubleplays, one of which required him to turn around to make the throw to second, and made a diving, stretching catch on a broken-bat liner to start the bottom of the seventh. Shane Victorino snared a basket full of catches in center including a couple in the seventh as Cole Hamels was starting to fade. Pat Burrell even contributed with a grab running toward the wall just prior to the home run.

This is in stark contrast to their opponents whose shortstop had an extremely unfortunate nightmarish series of errors (three to be precise) in the fifth that led to two runs, the first coming on a ball that could have resulted in an inning-ending double play. Aside from the errors, there were many miscues throughout by the Phils' opponent.

Their catcher attempted a backhanded stab on a ball with Ryan Howard at third but luckily for him he so slightly deflected the ball that it bounced back to him before Howard could score. The catcher also tried to pick Shane Victorino in the seventh and made a horrific throw that, again luckily for him, was trapped under the returning runner.

The opponent's first baseman, who had been lauded throughout by the continually execrable Fox crew as a great defensive player, made some miscues that he was lucky not to be tabbed with an error. He misplayed the errant throw from short that led to the final error and threw wild to home but was, again, luckily backed up the pitcher. He also made a miscue on an earlier play to start what should have been a double play.

The lone run allowed came on a mistake pitch up high on 1-2 count to their opponent's best hitter. I have to say that I have been very impressed with Hamels who won the MVP on two uncharacteristic starts. He did not have his best stuff early, and I mean for two to three innings, in either game, but somehow pitched well enough (and made either got lucky on some mistake pitches or threw them at the right time) to get by until his better stuff showed up.

There were some very positive signs throughout. First, two major much-needed offensive contributors, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, both break out of major slumps in a big way. This is a team that never seems to have all of their offensive cylinders firing at the same time, but they are as close now to having everyone contributing at the same time as they have been throughout the postseason.

Next up, the rep from the other league, the one that whipped the Phils 11-4—ouch!—this year in interleague play. If it's the Red Sox, they are a team that is ready to collapse under its own weight at any time. The Rays are the ones that bother me. They have been a much more well-balanced team this postseason. And how can you dislike them: it's like kicking a puppy.

Whoever it is Hamels will be rested for game one but will probably get just one more start in the series unless they break their interdiction on his starting on three days' rest. And that exposes another Phils weakness, their starters behind Hamels. Jamie Moyer, who had been a rock down the stretch and pitched the division clincher, has been abysmal. Brett Myers has been mercurial, and his buzzing of the other team's best hitter turned game three into a circus, in which their opponents needed to win to show their mettle, helping the Phils avoid their first playoff series sweep in franchise history. Joe Blanton has been great in the postseason, but given his regular-season performance, cannot be relied to heavily upon.

One postscript: I have not mentioned the opponent the Phils defeated nor anyone on their roster since oddly it seems to enrage their fans. As to the issue of the game three wackiness, I just want to point out that Victorino, whom I defended, went on to play a stellar series, defensively and offensively, and even said a kind word to the opponents' beleaguered shortstop tonight. He showed his mettle while the catcher integral to the incident went on to strand a flotilla of runners, was erratic defensively, and hurt his team by arguing balls and strikes with home plate ump Mike Winters (who was admittedly awful throughout the night) after being called out on strikes to end the sixth. He was very close to being thrown out of the game (I question why he and the second baseman who did the same thing in the eighth were not ejected), not to mention doing his best to poison the ump against his team. He fully earned the appellation with which I anointed him after game three. Now, let's never speak of them again.

2008-10-15 22:53:08
1.   bhsportsguy
Hey, I congratulate you and your team. Overall, the series turned on a few plays which is how the playoffs usually play out.

If you had told me before the series, that Lowe and Billingsley, who pitched as well as any twosome in the last 5 weeks of the season and the playoffs, were not going to win a game in the NLCS, then, the Dodgers were not going win this thing. Cole Hamels did his part for two games and the Phillies were able to take the pivotal Game 4 which made the Dodgers task just too tough.

Now, in the heat of the battle, I think fans get entrenched in their postions and become somewhat myopic. Which is a fan's perogative. Both sides do that and that's why sites like this exist.

Certainly, Shane Victorino did a great job, though I do think that the whole pitching inside could have been calmed had the umpiring crew stepped when Myers threw behind Manny in Game 2.

But the best team won, again congratulations.

2008-10-15 22:58:05
2.   FirstMohican
Where's the table showing the number of crybabies who were called out on strikes on a bad pitch on a team who lost to 3-1 in the NCLS since the year 1748 sorted by crybaby factor adjusted for league average crybaby?

As well as the Phils played, how many huge moments they had, you have to end it harping on the losing team who had legitimate gripes? Seriously? I guess it'll get you a few more comments.

2008-10-15 23:08:06
3.   thelarmis
congrats, mike! it's a shame there's an entire week off to cool down before the Serious. that's just too long. let's hope the Rays win tomorrow night and they'll have a long layover, as well. i think at Tampa-Philly WS will be quite engaging. i might be in the minority in that thinking, but i really feel it'll be an exciting matchup. i can only hope the Rays do their part and reach the next round.

as for Cole Hamels, i hope they pitch him every game, if it means more camera shots of his incredibly gorgeous bride! ; )

2008-10-15 23:09:52
4.   thelarmis
oh yeah, and btw, the called strike 3's to both Martin & Kent, were completely bogus. they were both low and off the plate and each batter had more than every single right to gripe and be pissed. those calls were bollocks.
2008-10-15 23:13:15
5.   chris in illinois
As a bystander who has no rooting interest in the series (Cubs-Braves fan), to the Phillies I say good luck and to the Dodgers, score more runs and make fewer errors next time, whiners.
2008-10-15 23:18:35
6.   thelarmis
5 i'm a die-hard Yankees fan, so my only rooting interest is that Boston loses tomorrow! :)

i went to Penn State, so i'm fine w/ the Phils winning...

it's funny, i live in atlanta and only have a basic tv package, so really the only teams i see are the Cubs & Braves and i watch tons of games of each team every season. i have come to have an appreciation of both clubs. i'm sure this is the same for lotsa folks throughout the country w/ tbs & wgn being superstaions. that said, this was the first year tbs stopped carrying most of the braves games. of course, i watch them on other local channels...

2008-10-15 23:31:27
7.   bhsportsguy
The next time all fans (and players) of a team that loses in the playoffs does not complain about anything will be the first time it happens.
2008-10-15 23:40:48
8.   Bob Timmermann
I have a hard time reconciling the author of this piece against the person I met back in 2006 in Seattle.
2008-10-16 00:10:47
9.   Eric Stephen
I was shocked Martin wasn't ejected (I didn't see the Kent argument, but I can't imagine it was worse than Martin's outburst).

Congratulations to the Phillies for winning the series. It doesn't mean the Phillies are better people than the Dodgers, or that they have more character; rather, they were the better team.

2008-10-16 03:39:10
10.   williamnyy23
I still can't believe that so much was made of the Meyers/Manny incident from game 2. It seemed fairly obvious that the pitch was not intentional. If LA wanted to throw a token brush back immediately in the next inning, I guess I could understand, but to have it carry into the next game was silly. Perhaps the Dodgers should have been more focused on playing well, then getting revenge for a very minor incident. Who knows...maybe LA's ridiculous preoccupation wound up firing up the Phils and their flyin Hawaiian? After years of being a pacifist, game 3 of the NLCS probably wasn't the best time for Joe Torre to channel his inner Billy Martin.
2008-10-16 03:53:14
11.   williamnyy23
Yikes...I just read the archive to see what you meant by Dodger fans getting upset over mentioning their players' names. It seems as if DT came out full guns blazing after Game 3!! I didn't agree with all of that post, but it wasn't too far off base. Some of the frothy replies seemed a bit overboard to me.
2008-10-16 06:48:25
12.   3rd gen yankee fan
Congrats Mike. I think we'll see some great baseball in the Series, screw the TV ratings.
2008-10-16 07:20:58
13.   standuptriple
I totally agree that a catcher must keep an even keel when it comes to disagreeing with the plate ump (and all umps, I suppose). There are ways to get your point across without giving them a reason to have a vendetta. In case you haven't noticed, Blue has a huge ego and they do not let grudges go quietly into the night. RM pretty much lost an inch on each corner for whomever he catches next year.
2008-10-16 09:02:53
14.   chris in illinois
6 I live in central Illinois----HATE THE CARDINALS---I've been watching the Cubs since 1983 on WGN and have been a Braves fan longer than that (Mom's from ATL). The Cubs these days are very much like the Braves; fun regular season, playoff disappointment.

I kind of fibbed about the rooting interest as well---Werth lives in my town and knows my brother very well-----Go Phils!!!

2008-10-16 09:18:07
15.   underdog
I posted in another rant that I liked Shane Victorino, actually, and I know I'm not alone. But Mike likes to only pick out the negative comments I guess.

I also went out of my way to congratulate Phillies fans on that Beerleaguer blog last night. I'll be rooting for the Rays, frankly, because I like their team, but I think the Phillies have a very good team and deserved to win this series.

Dodger fans were very frustrated with how game 4 turned out, it was one of the more frustrating in years and some of that was bad luck, some of that was the Phillies' mettle, some of that was bad bullpen management and some of that was just a few bad pitches. That came on the heels of that contentious game 3 which spurred Mike's first post which involved a lot of unnecessary name-calling, I thought.

So, William, while I think you're right to a point, that some of us Dodger fans got oversensitive and cranky probably beyond reason here, that doesn't really excuse the tenor of these posts at all. Again, I think my expectations were too high because I've liked the posts here in the past and I expect good things from all Toaster writers.

But there's been a real acrimonious fanboyish-ness here and a meanspiritedness that I can't respect all that much. I stand by that.

If it was the Red Sox being written about in the same manner about the Yankees in a NLCS you would probably notice it more, eh?

But again, I think people probably overreacted a bit just as Martin overreacted yesterday on that called strike 3. (Btw, Kent had a better case on his, a much better case; even the Fox announcers who usually said nothing even if their pitch tracker showed a bad call, said "That looked pretty low." That of course was not exactly the deciding moment in that game, but I could understand Kent's ire.)

Anyway, the Phillies deserved this series plain and simple is what it comes to and I wish them luck in the WS.

Hopefully some day Mike will be able to write about the Dodgers in a less patronizing manner than I saw one presidential candidate treat another in last night's debate. But I guess it would help if they actually won the series.

2008-10-16 09:36:32
16.   williamnyy23
15 I went back and read everyone of Mike's posts covering the series and think you are way off base. Aside from calling Martin a baby (which isn't an argument without merit...and as a Yankee fan, yes, I think the same case could be made against O'Neill, whom I love anyway), nothing strikes me as being fan boyish. Instead, it seems as if a number of the more adundant Dodger fans simply took exception to an opinion not from the LA perspective. I've read through some of the DT threads and believe me some of the comments definitely struck me as "real acrimonious fanboyish-ness and meanspiritedness".

As for what a Red Sox blogger has to say on a Red Sox blog? Well, that's their domain. I don't feel the need shout them down. It's not like Mike popped over to DT to comment thinks like "Phils Rule"!

Finally, I think your last statement was kind of patronizing, which is ironic. Then again, in sports, where passion is often irrational, I can see why you might feel the way you do.

2008-10-16 12:29:44
17.   Jon Weisman
16 - Mike called Martin a crybaby - willfully, it seems, ignoring the facts that Martin got his head thrown at before Victorino did but didn't complain at the pitcher about it - and he called Dodger fans "bush." Mike's certainly entitled to his opinion, but what I don't understand is how he gets to be holier-than-thou and act so indignant when Dodger fans respond to him in kind.

In the words of the playground, "He started it."

2008-10-16 12:31:05
18.   underdog
16 I agree that passion is irrational, believe me. It's hard to make a case -- if we start to analyze everything very little in our passion for our teams makes a lot of sense. (My attempts to explain my depression this week to my girlfriend weren't understood, though she tried to be sympathetic.)

As for comments on DT or anywhere else on the toaster -- absolutely. Is it crazy that I hold posts on the Toaster to a higher standard than comments? I was trying to be fair, I said people were overreacting here and on DT to Mike's posts. I also hold him and the other Toaster writers to a higher standard than I do commenters. If you disagree, that's fine, but I feel pretty strongly about that.

At any rate, I re-read his posts too after the dust has cleared and as I said I thought people overreacted but I still think there was both a mean spirit in places and an immaturity to them. That's all. He's entitled to say whatever he wants. I'm entitled to react to it. A lot of very intelligent Dodger fans -- and non-Dodger fans -- who are avid readers of, and and commenters on, the Toaster had some issues with the tenor of them. That's all. I wish he and the Phillies the best of luck in the series - they have my utmost respect as a team and he has my respect as a passionate fan. Cheers.

2008-10-16 12:36:46
19.   bhsportsguy
18 I thought I was fair.
2008-10-16 13:17:12
20.   underdog
19 You were. I should have said some of us (including me, a little bit)... You're a commenter who could have his own blog, if willing. ;-)
2008-10-16 13:19:02
21.   bhsportsguy
20 Then I would have to identify myself, plus I would have to write something everyday.
2008-10-16 14:27:21
22.   nick
hi williamnyc! a Yankee fan from BB...I'll just add to the mix by saying that Mike's first post was ludicrous fanboy nonsense, the worst remarks OTHER THAN THOSE IN A COMMENT THREAD I've ever read on this site. Bold for emphasis: posters get held to higher standards, no?
2008-10-16 17:07:41
23.   thelarmis
14 have you spent much time in Atlanta? i've been here 12+ years and absolutely adore it!

i like Werth, too. i'm a big fan of the power/speed combo. the 300-300 club is my favorite exclusive baseball club and i keep up with all the 20-20 & 30-30 guys. Werth reached 20-20 this season, so i like following him.


2008-10-16 20:01:43
24.   El Lay Dave
For some reason I feel compelled to reiterate that it isn't only Dodger fans that are criticizing you Mike, in this topic or in the comments on your game three post. I believe the baseball term for your recent posts is "bush".

Normally I root for the NL in the World Series (standing exception for the Giants, not that I've had to worry about that much) against the league with the pantywaist pitchers that don't bat and the batter-savants that don't field, but this year I think I'll be pulling for this year's feel-good story, the Tampa Bay Rays. They took the AL East from the Yanks and Sox and trashed the Sox some more in the ALCS; that is sweet.

2008-10-16 20:07:14
25.   chris in illinois
23 Haven't been there much in the last few years...saw the Cubs in the 2003 playoffs when Wood threw a great game. I saw several games in the 70's and early 80's while visiting my grandparents.

Can't say I've been recently, although I desperately miss Chick-fil-a.

2008-10-16 20:51:59
26.   Mike Carminati
Thanks to all of you who passed on congratulations for the Phils. I look forward to what I hope will be a memorable World Series although the Phils' (and, in general, the NL's) lack of success with the AL worries me greatly.

Re. the other issue, as I have already stated, I stand be my posts and have no further comment.

Baseball's just a game after all, a form of entertainment. I have enjoyed and intend to continue to enjoy it this season. I recommend that everyone else enjoy what remains of the 2008 season. God bless.

2008-10-16 22:31:34
27.   thelarmis
25 i totally understand - Chick-Fil-A rocks! in fact, i might have it tomorrow evening... : )
2008-10-16 23:09:49
28.   clopez
2008-10-20 23:39:18
29.   capdodger
Mike was a douche and so are you.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.