A few industrious types learned that Wednesday’s opener of the NLDS would be at the Bank at 3:30 p.m. and that all of the games of the series would start during the daytime hours.
That was wrong.
Instead, the first two games of the series (set for Wednesday and Thursday) will begin at 3 p.m. After a travel day on Friday, the series will shift to either Petco Park in San Diego or Coors Field in Denver for a 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time start. If Game 4 is necessary, it will occur at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday night from either Coors or Petco.
The deciding Game 5 (if needed), will be in Philadelphia next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
All of the games will be broadcast on television on TBS with Don Orsillo, and Joe Simpson calling the action from the booth, while the Inquirer’sDavid Aldridge offers insight as the field reporter.
Not exactly Howard and Dandy Don in the booth, but whatever... it's just the NLDS.
What’s going to happen?
About a month-and-a-half ago I thought the Padres had a really good chance to come out of the National League and go to the World Series. The Padres’ pitching, as I noted, was simply too good.
But even the Padres can’t win games 1-0. The team’s offense, simply, is a problem. Against a streaking club like the Rockies (winners of 12 of their last 13) the Padres, Phillies, Cubs or Diamondbacks could be given fits. Since the wild card was instituted, the streaking team has gone all the way a few times. I’m sure Phillies fans remember those 2003 Florida Marlins.
This time of year the philosophy is easy to understand. As Aaron Rowand said the other day (and I keep using incessantly), if you win you get to keep playing.
Nonetheless, I won’t be surprised if the Phillies get swept in the first round or go all the way to the World Series.
Phillies vs. Yankees in the World Series? Diamondbacks vs. Red Sox? Does anyone think the Cubs have a chance?
I noticed that the fans at Coors are chanting, “M-V-P!” whenever Matt Holliday comes to the plate. Little do the fans know, but the BBWAA ballots were due in last night… it seems as if Holliday will finish in the top two in the balloting.
Hamels in Game 1
I’m not sure if it’s official, but after Sunday’s clincher I asked Cole Hamels what it would mean to him to get the ball in Game 1 of the NLDS. In his excitement, he just kind of said some stuff about being “excited” and that he’s “ready to go.” Plus, the ink on my notebook ran and smeared because of the champagne and beer that soaked it during the post-game events yesterday.
However, there is one sentence that is clear and very decipherable beneath the Hamels notation in my book:
“I can’t wait to get started.”
Which one? Coors or Petco?
The only Major League Baseball game my 3-year old son ever attended was at Coors Field during the 2005 season. I mixed a little pleasure with some trade-deadline action that trip and can vividly recall Charlie Manuel sitting in the visitors’ dugout before the game and telling stories about how he had to kill snakes along with some other country life vs. nature tales.
I was riveted by Charlie’s stories because despite coming from Lancaster, Pa., I am about as urban/suburban as it gets. Rugged for me is starting the lawn mower without putting on a pair of thick, leather "work" gloves.
As such, we get out to Colorado as much as possible. If I won the Powerball today, I would be on a plane headed for Denver and Estes Park tomorrow.
But I’ve never been to San Diego. In fact, people tell me it’s heaven on earth. Every day the weather is a perfect 70 degrees and everyone is happy and pleasant all day long. Though the German’s called it San Diego and scholars are unsure what the word means, it is doubtful that the name will be changed to Xanadu.
It would be neat to see if all the stories are true.
Step right up and beat the Mets
Piling on is just mean. That’s why I’m not going to add anymore cheap shots to the barrage the Mets and their fans are taking right now. That just ain’t cool. Besides, from the sounds of things, the Mets are taking a beating from all of the vultures in the NYC press.
Nonetheless, Mets’ GM Omar Minaya issued an apology to the fans, today. That’s nice, but it doesn’t get the team an extra game in the standings.
An interesting thing regarding the Mets is what is going to become of Tom Glavine now that he is a free agent. Remember when Glavine considered signing with the Phillies or the Mets a few years back? As I recall, Glavine chose the Mets because he didn’t think he would fit in with all the young players in Philadelphia… seems to me that 44-year old family man Jamie Moyer figured out how to fit in just fine.
Nevertheless, if yesterday was Glavine’s last game for the Mets, it was a rotten way to go out.
Regardless of what day it is, the Phillies have four tough games this weekend against the San Diego Padres, who despite their 52-41 record (one game behind the Dodgers in second place in the NL West) could be the National League’s representative in the World Series.
Yes, the Padres are 52-41 even though they have just one regular player with a batting average over .260 and have a Major League-worst batting average (.242) and on-base percentage (.313) and are next-to-last in slugging. With Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Cameron, Marcus Giles and Khalil Greene as the Padres’ version of a Murders’ Row, it’s easy to see why they have the second-most strikeouts in the league – far more than the free-swinging Phillies.
Yet at the same time it’s easy to see why the Padres are a good pick to get through the National League.
Pitching, pitching and more pitching.
The Padres’ team ERA is 3.13 (2.63 from the bullpen), which leads the Majors by a lot. Better yet, the question isn’t who will win the Cy Young Award in the National League, it’s which Padre does one pick?
Is it Jake Peavy and his 2.30 ERA and 9.36 strikeouts per nine innings? Or is it Chris Young with his 1.97 ERA and 8.78 strikeouts per nine innings? Mix in 40somethings Greg Maddux and David Wells, both of whom are pitching pretty well, and it’s no wonder that the .242 batting average is getting it done.
But the most interesting pitcher on the Padres staff is fifth starter Justin Germano, who as most close followers of the Phillies remember was claimed off waivers by the Padres when the Phillies tried to sneak him back to Triple-A during spring training.
With a 6-3 record, 3.55 ERA and 16 walks in 12 starts have fit in nicely with San Diego. Not to mention the fact that the rookie right-hander went 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his first five starts.
For some reason he couldn’t make the Phillies this spring. Perhaps the Pat Gillick and the gang are having second thoughts now? What do you suppose the Phillies will be thinking on Sunday when J.D. Durbin goes to the mound against Peavy?
Better yet, do you think that Germano will be fired up for Friday night’s start? I’m going to go out on a limb and say… yeah probably.
*** As we determined the Phillies are spending the weekend in San Diego which is the hometown of tonight’s starting pitcher Cole Hamels. San Diego is also the adapted hometown of Ron Burgundy, Tony Gwynn, Tony Hawk and Floyd Landis, it has one of the lowest crime rates of all major U.S. cities, and it’s 70 degrees every stinking day of the year. Snow, ice and cold weather are concepts in San Diego, not reality, which means outdoor sports and activities rule.
So why haven’t we all packed up and moved to San Diego?
Good question. Then again, the average price of a home in San Diego is over $600,000… just think how much it would be if everyone moved there.
*** I have a theory that Philadelphia sports fans and French sports fans are uncannily similar. Mostly this is based on the idea that like the French, Philadelphia fans appreciate losers far more than the gifted or talented. To hear Philly folks tell it, the Phillies won the World Series in 1993 and they appreciate the fact that the team lost so dramatically.
The same goes for the French in that they haven’t seen a winner in the Tour de France since 1985, however, riders like Christophe Moreau, Richard Virenque, Laurent Jalabert, Luc Leblanc and Raymond Poulidor were always gallant in their many defeats.
Yes, French sports are like Philadelphia sports. That’s the theory. Since 1936 the French have had won winner of the French Open (Yannick Noah in 1983), but claim Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs and major title tennis player Mary Pierce.
Take away the French National soccer team’s World Cup title in 1998 – and defeat last year – and France faces a championship drought of Philadelphia proportions.
Hey, it’s a half-baked theory with not a lot of research put into it, but I’m sticking to it. After all, Philadelphia has more public art than any other city outside of Paris (or at least it used to… like I said, not much research has gone into this theory).
Apparently it was an achy knee that led to Z-Man’s rough showing.
“After the Galibier day I really struggled to try to get better,” Zabriskie said. “I was hoping these few flat days I could nurse it back to health, but the Tour is not the kind of race where you can fix yourself. Today was a really hard day and my knee couldn't handle it. I came off when Astana finally did their rotation in the wind.”
As if that news wasn’t enough, Yellow Jersey holder Michael Rasmussen was kicked off the Danish national cycling team on Thursday because of an alleged disagreement over drug testing.
The director of the Danish Cycling Union (DCU) Jesper Worre told DR1 television station that Rasmussen had received a number of warnings over failing to inform doping authorities over his training whereabouts.
"We consider this case with great seriousness and the executive of the DCU decided that Michael will no longer be part of the national team and he was informed of this on June 26," said Worre.
Rasmussen spends most of his time in Mexico where his wife his from and as the leader of the Tour de France is drug tested after every stage. But, you know, the DCU doesn’t want to have to refer to Google Earth to track down its soon to be ex-patriot.
In Stage 11… sprinters.
Stage 11 Final 1.) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa 2.) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, same time 3.) Murilo Fischer, Liquigas, Brazil, s.t. 4.) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t. 5.) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t. 6.) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, s.t. 7.) Claudio Corioni, Lampre, Italy, s.t. 8.) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, Belgium, s.t. 9.) William Bonney, Credit Agricole, France, s.t. 10.) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, s.t.
Overall 1.) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 53:11:38 2.) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 2:35 3.) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:39 4.) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ 2:41 5.) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ 3:08 6.) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, @ 3:39 7.) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ 3:50 8.) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 3:53
One more day of sprinters before the time trial and Pyrenees.