Pitching, pitching and more pitching

If you like offense, these Major League playoffs are not for you.  The first 48 hours have featured some downright, filthy, pitching performances.  And Roy Oswalt hasn’t even taken the mound yet.

This should come as a shock to no one as there were five (technically six) no-hitters this season, the most since 1991, which is ironically around the same time players started hitting home runs at a historical pace.  But crying conspiracy would only diminish the efforts of the aces we’ve seen so far.

One need look no further than the first inning of the very first playoff game: the Texas Rangers against the base-allergic Tampa Bay Rays.  On a 3-2 count, with bases loaded, Cliff Lee threw an unhittable pitch at the knees of Carlos Pena for strike three.  That lone pitch set the tone for the series.  Lee was masterful, striking out ten, walking none and allowing only one earned run.

Not to be outdone, in the second game of the afternoon, Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay, who already has one no-hitter this year, made Lee’s performance look pedestrian, by throwing only the second no-hitter in post-season history, the first in over fifty years.  Halladay threw 104 pitches, 79 of them for strikes, completely baffling a Cincinnati Reds team that led the league in hitting.

But wait, there’s more.

In Game Two of the Texas-Tampa Bay series, C.J. Wilson allowed only two base hits, further stifling the team that can’t fill its stadium.  The Rays’ 2-through-4 hitters have gone a combined 2-for-24, not exactly what manager Joe Maddon was hoping for from the most productive part of his lineup.

Want even more?

San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum struck out 14 Atlanta Braves on Thursday, throwing a two-hit shutout in his first ever post-season appearance.  Lincecum and his whirlwind delivery needed every bit of that as his Giants were only able to tally one run but it was enough to give them a Game One victory.

Then of course, there’s a Louisiana native who’s no stranger to post-season wins, considering he has more than any pitcher to ever play the game.  Andy Pettitte took the mound in Minnesota, allowing five hits in seven innings, giving the Yankees their second victory in the series and pretty much tightening the noose around Minnesota’s neck.

Six baseball games, five artful performances.  Lee, Halladay, Wilson, Lincecum and Pettitte combined to allow 14 hits and only three earned runs in 38 innings, striking out 43 and walking only five for a measly 1.40 ERA.  Simply put, they were dominant.

The old adage goes good pitching beats good hitting, particularly in October.  That’s exactly what we’re witnessing.  So tune in and consider yourself fortunate you don’t ever have to face these guys.

37 thoughts on “Pitching, pitching and more pitching

  1. On an unrelated note, people, I regret to inform you that ‘Tanard madness’ has taken over our contributing Wolverine alum, so ACo will not be able to write a post this week.

    He DID, however, send in his picks for all who care to read….

    Broncos +7 over Ravens
    Bills -1 over Jags
    Chiefs +7.5 over Colts
    Lions -3 over Rams
    Falcons -3 over Browns
    Bucs +6.5 over Bengals
    Carolina -1.5 over Bears
    Washington +2.5 over Packers
    Giants +3 over Texans
    Saints -7 over Cardinals
    Raiders +6.5 over Chargers
    Titans +7 over Cowboys
    Eagles +3.5 over 49ers
    Vikings +4 over Jets

    Last week: 8-6

    Season: 19-26-1

  2. Lee and Wilson were great. I hope that Garza can repeat a little magic of his own Saturday.
    I’m resisting the urge to go all Yogi on ya.
    Have a great weekend brother.
    Go Rays!

  3. Chris

    What I’d like to see is the Rays play with some pride instead making dumb ass excuses as to their poor and inept play ! Is that really too much to ask at this juncture ?

    :(

    tophatal :)

  4. Chris

    As to week 5 in the NFL are the Bills capable of winning a game at all this season ? Two if the Vikes beat the Jers will Belichick be considered a genius in moving Moss ?

    tophatal :)

  5. Chris

    I don’t mind Mario Vargas Llosa but he’s giving the word ‘incest’ a bad name ! I mean marrying within the family isn’t the closest thing to incest that a man can commit without being taken down a peg or two by the law ?

    Rick Sanchez is really endearing himself to the Jewish community at large isn’t he ?

    tophatal :)

  6. As I’ve told Al, Aer, all the Rays need to do is have Garza win tomorrow (perfectly doable), beat Lee in Texas (not impossible) and they have themselves a Game Five at home.

    Piece of cake, right?

  7. Al…

    I expect a grand performance from Garza tomorrow but you’re right, the Rays bats need to wake up.

    Otherwise it’ll be a long off-season and an entirely new, discounted lineup next season.

  8. Al…

    I don’t know what the Bills over/under on wins was this season but it looks like the under should ring true. (Although I think I did pick them to win this weekend)

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Moss experiment works out. Either way, I’m assuming he was never on the receiving end of any explicit Brett Favre texts.

    Or was that what brought him back to Minnesota?

  9. Re: Sanchez, Al….

    Last time I checked, Ted Turner’s not Jewish.

    Although I do hear he’s been known to frequent a local, Atlanta bagel shop.

    More power to him.

  10. It has been the round of the pitcher so far. I guess it usually is, but a little more so when guys are throwing shutouts and striking out 10+. It’s been amazing how these guys have stepped it up. It’s shown me that post season experience isn’t exactly necessary if you have the best stuff you win…

  11. Garza gave a gutty performance yesterday, Chap, to keep Rays hopes alive.

    And Urban Meyer says “right now we should be better than we are.” No shit, coach.

  12. Chris

    Turner is an athiest as that’s what actually caused the break-up of his marriage to Jane Fonda.

    Series now tied but let’s see which Price turns up tomorrow night at the Trop ?

    I’d like to thank Brett Favre for simply proving what I knew all along. I suppose Jen Sterger and those two masseuses on the Jets’ payroll are still rolling on the floor laughing ?

    Brett can throw a ‘long bomb’ but he simply hasn’t got a “long _hlong” ?

    tophatal :)

  13. Fantastic comeback for the Rays, Al. One more big game to go. If I didn’t have to work that night, I’d be there for sure.

    And how ironic is it that Brett Favre ‘streaking’ might just be the end of Brett Favre’s streak?

  14. A victory is not a given, Al, especially with Lee on the mound. But momentum is clearly on their side and that building should be louder than it’s ever been.

    And you’re right. Sanchez might be the best USC QB in the league.

  15. Chris

    It’s been a terrific roller coaster ride but much of it could’ve been avoided had the Rays’ bats come alive in those first two games.

    I’d like to think Marvin Lewis for being such a di_k-wad ! Carson Palmer either has a touch of hemorrhoids or that Bengals’ team really is as bad as seen ! Personally I think it’s a combination of both !

    Image Is Everything And Then It Can Mean Absolutely Nothing …

    ===============

    The NCAA Is An Archaic System That Has Outlived Its Usefulness

    tophatal :)

  16. Well, it was to be expected that Lee would have his way with the Rays in Game One but being two-hit by Wilson in Game Two is inexcusable… although we all knew the Rays bats were prone to falling asleep in stretches.

    The Bengals badness, Al, is way overshadowed by both the Cowboys and the 49ers, who are absolutely horrific.

  17. Chris

    The hype over the Niners and Cowboys was overwrought with emotion more than common sense. Let me ask you this though Maddon may well place Shoppach back on the team for game 5 to catch Price . Given that Shoppach hasn’t contributed anything at all this postseason why the switch ? Jaso is a better catcher and offensive player. So you tell me what is it that Maddon is now striving for given what took place in game one with Shoppach ?

    Two things you need to remind yourself about the Bengals, Niners and Cowboys their coaches aren’t particularly good and they simply made their names in lesser positions .

    tophatal :)

  18. Chris

    Favre’s actions are illegal but yet everyone seems to want to gloss over what he did. Now I mentioned to chappy that you can spin it anyway you want but given the recent problems that the Jets have had concerning the behavior of their players namely the incident concerning Ines Sainz and the sexual overtness of their language towards here and the fact that Favre’s own actions while taking place back in 08 why was it that the Jets simply didn’t address this when it first cropped up ? Never mind the fact that two other female employees of the club have come forward and stated that the player had been sexually explicit with them .

    Kind of makes you wonder what the NFL has to hide and at the same time how they tend to condone the misogynistic behavior of their players at times . I mean like I said in my own piece the NFLPA and Goodell will remain silent . Never mind the racial overtones that this story will now take as they seek to revere Favre and simply make light of this all even though he’s broken the law.

    tophatal :)

  19. Has Maddon released the lineup yet, Al? I’d have to think both Joyce and Jaso would be in it. I can tell you this side of the town is pumped up.

    And if the Cowboys miss the playoffs altogether, Al, that could be the end of Wade Phillips. Cowherd said today he doesn’t make it through the season.

  20. Al…

    This soap opera just keeps getting more and more entertaining.

    And I don’t necessarily agree that Favre’s actions are illegal. What if Sterger solicited those photographs? What if they were having a fling?

    By sending them in that sense, all Favre did was break a few wedding vows.

    Now if he sent them unsolicited and she’s claiming sexual harassment, then fine, but why is it coming out two years later? Is it Sterger’s claim for fifteen minutes of fame?

  21. well perhaps ole Jenn (“Hey this is not a set up hon”) needs a new job now…and not the one Brett wanted.
    Can’t the Florida State Cowgirl get any respect?

    This story is hilarious, have you heard the messages? Wow Brett…a little desperate there aren’t ya? “I just want to chill”…lol

    Some of us just need no game without the fame.

    amazing how Deanna farve & ole jenifer could pass for sisters…the apple doesnt fall far from the tree or should I say the snake?

  22. My condolences, Chump. Wasn’t meant to be for your Rays.

    It sure isn’t going to be easy getting back to the playoffs with the payroll being cut by 1/3 next season…

  23. Chris

    I’d first of all like to thank the Rays’ bats for essentially not turning up last night with the exception of Bartlett. Secondly I’d like to thank Kelly Shoppach for making me want to throw up and last but not least for all of the morons within the local area broadcast market who’ll now try and gloss this all over as being a gallant effort by the team. Nothing could be further from the truth as they had their as_ses handed to them on a silver platter by Lee and the Rangers.

    Goodell is now said to be undecided as to what action ought to be taken pending the outcome of the Jets’ investigation.

    What’s there to investigate ? He sends pictures of his member along with explicit messages to Sterger. Two ……. a pair of female masseuses say that they were also sexually propositioned by the player while he was undergoing treatment while injured with the team back in ’08. Cause for concern ? Well simply look at the pattern of behavior ?

    And if that’s not enough consider the Jets’ own situation recently concerning Ines Sainz and that particular incident ? No action by the league but the team initiates sensitivity training in order to teach the players how to behave when a female is in their presence . WTF ?

    tophatal :)

  24. The Fritchenator makes an appearance.

    What happened to your Canes the other night, man?

    And no, I haven’t heard the voice mails. I’m either trying to avoid them at all costs or am still too disturbed by the ones Mel Gibson left his wife.

    If you find a link, post it here… and I’ll be seeing you at Damion’s wedding.

  25. Drew…

    That’s what everyone’s fearing. Although they had a successful season, it still has to be a tremendous disappointment. I think that locker room expected more.

    In the end, they played like utter crap at home and Lee was simply masterful.

    Should be an interesting winter, perhaps one of Tampa Bay’s discontent.

  26. The Rays’ inconsistency was a concern all season long, Al. I just didn’t think it would bite them in the ass in that very first series.

    And you think sensitivity training would do them any good, Al?

  27. Ask & ye shall receive…Farve’s phone messages played in this video…

    http://deadspin.com/5658206/brett-favres-cellphone-seduction-of-jenn-sterger?skyline=true&s=i

    The Canes unfortunately like the Gators have the talent, quite misguided I would say. I don’t think Shannon will last another season. Cmon Randy…First homegame, full stadium, big instate rival & in front of hundreds of recruits! Completely unacceptable!
    The quarterback like the coach have no emotion. I want some fire…light it under their A_S_S!!!!

  28. That’s comedy, Fritch. I hadn’t heard those.

    So were these two intimate or what? Or was he just trying fruitlessly to bed her.

    He sounds like an old guy at last call at Lillian’s just trying to land anything he can.

    “Sure would like to have you come over tonight.”

  29. Yep just like Lillians…Desperado lol

    “It’s not a set up” lol

    Speaking of teams … Ouch…Homecoming

    Meyer clearly has Right QB in the wrong system…or maybe Burton needs to start neck week.
    I feel sorry for Brantly. He is a good QB but the offense just isn’t his style (drop back) where as Burton may do better (spread)

    Something needs to change…A QB? A coach or two? A whole offensive approach?

    Florida has the talent, it’s just used improperly.

    Georgia could be scary & better watch out with Fl. State on horizon

  30. Fritch…

    Oh how the mighty have fallen.

    Fortunately I knew not to invest that much emotionally in this season. I’m glad I haven’t taken a weekend off to drive up there for a game. Ugh!

    I’m not sure what the answer is but coach has to figure it out quickly or we’ll end up in the Independence Bowl.

    Tallahassee has to be just licking their chops and kicking us while we’re down.

    Will you be attending Damion’s wedding this weekend? I’m heading up.

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