The Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins have got to be the most unfortunate teams in the MLB right now. (Outside of the teams who just missed the postseason.) They drew two of the most impossible-possible tasks to speak of this year.
Defeat the New York Yankees, and defeat the Philadelphia Phillies.
A task that will soon plague the Tampa Bay Rays/Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants/Atlanta Braves.
Both teams looked sharp, taking opposite routes to success against their respective opponents.
Jim Mohler of Sports Haze reports that the key to Minnesota’s early exit, came due to their inability to hold off the Yanks offensively. In each of the three games, the Yankees found an inning to dig their heels in and pull away. Mohler writes:
In game one, the Twins jumped out to an early 3 run lead at Target Field. That was erased in the blink of an eye, however, as starter Francisco Liriano melted down in the 6th, giving up 4 runs and surrendering the lead. The Twins tied it up on a bases-loaded walk, but Mark Teixeira answered right back with a go-ahead 2-run blast to bury the Twins.
In game 2, the Twins once again took an early lead only to give it right back. With the game tied at 2 and 2 outs, perhaps the most important point in the series was the missed third strike call to Lance Berkman. After the blown call, Berkman doubled to center and helped open up a 5-2 lead that stood for the rest of the game.
Game 3 was moreso of a horror story for the Twins, who were never really in the game at all. Jorge Posada and Marcus Thames opened up a 4-0 lead on Brian Duensing, and the Yankees pitching did the rest. Young Luke Hughes pitched brilliantly, as did his predecessors Sabathia and Pettitte. Game 3′s final was 6-1.
This could very well sum up the final outcome of this 2010 season. The two teams who look virtually unbeatable, seem to be on a highspeed collision course.
Matt Stamp, Cincinnati Reds echoflam.com columnist reports the troubles in Cincy with direct precision. Stamp reports:
What’s disappointing about the series with the Phillies was that the two areas where the Reds excelled the entire year were the two areas in which the Reds looked like a little league team: offensively and defensively.
The Reds committed seven errors in the three games including four in Game 2, a game that they should have won had it not been for the defensive meltdown. What’s worse is the fact that the best defensive players the Reds have (Phillips, Rolen and Bruce) were all plagued by errors that cost them Game 2.
On the offensive side of the ball, it’s hard to look worse than the Reds did throughout the series; scoring just four runs and collecting only 11 hits and walking a mere four times.
In addition, the “veteran presence” of Cabrera, Hernandez and Rolen had arguably the worst playoff series’ of their collective lives. The three went 3-for-25 with 10 strikeouts and only one extra base hit. Granted the three games were against three of the best pitchers in all of baseball but I would have expected better from the three guys with the most playoff experience.
Those two synopsis’ of the two series, say it all.
This year’s World Series looks like it’s going to be the battle many had hoped to see in the World Series of last year: a fight down to game seven. Unfortunately, the Phillies pitching staff was inferior to the Yankees.
This year, however, there has been an amazing turn of events.
With the Phillies aquiring Roy Halladay in the offseason, and Roy Oswalt before the trade deadline in season, this pitching staff as of now looks as obstacle-filled as climbing Mt. Everest.
Hamels put on, what some can call, his best postseason performance yet.
Hamels went the full 9 innings for the first time in his postseason career, throwing eight strike outs, and no walks, leaning against his vicious change up throwing somewhere in the upwards of 25 strikes with the pitch. He only gave up four hits while pitching a shutout to a team that just looked outmatched by the Phillies from game one to game three.
There is no doubt in my mind, though, that if the Twins, or Reds will have played against other teams, there is a high chance they would have been the favorites to see the Yankees/Phillies in the League Championship Series — which should tell us something about the future.
The Giants vs. Braves, come on tonight at 7:30 pm EST as the Giants attempt to put away the Bravos and Rays vs. Rangers play Tuesday on TBS starting at 8 pm EST.
The Giants, and Rangers, would all like as much time as they could to look at the mountain they have to prepare for this weekend, being that the Rays and Braves already know their opponents. So wins in the next few nights by these teams would be greatly welcomed.