The Rockies knot things up while Los Dos Angeles take leads in their respective series.
Jim Tracy is going to win the NL Manager of the Year Award, because when you take over a team in May and that team plays .600 baseball under you and makes the playoffs, that's just the way it goes. When I wrote about the Rockies in July, I noted that their success seemed in part to be due to personnel decisions Tracy had made, largely in improving the defense.
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A rematch from the '07 postseason makes for a great showdown of two teams with very different virtues.
Well, here we are again, with the Phillies and Rockies set to battle one another in the National League Division Series for the second time in three seasons. Just as it was in 2007, the Phillies enter the fray with a division title while the Rockies used an incredibly strong second half to win the NL Wild Card. Unlike that entertaining 2007 season, however, in which the Phillies ousted the Mets from the top spot of the NL East on the final day of the season, only to have their spotlight stolen soon thereafter by a Rockies team that won a controversial play-in game, this year's Phillies controlled their division practically all season. In addition, the Rockies' second-half surge proved so strong that they actually gave the division-leading Dodgers a run for their money in the final week. A good chunk of the 2007 cast of characters remains intact for each team, but enough has changed to merit a new writeup instead of a recycled version of the prior Phillies/Rockies preview.
The disjointed selection process has produced odd assemblages on each league's roster, and overlooked some true stars.
The All-Star rosters were announced Sunday, accompanied by the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth. I'm as big a complainer about the picks as anyone, even though I know it's a controversy that lasts about half of a news cycle. No one will care, by Wednesday, that Jason Bay or Johan Santana or John Lackey got jobbed.
Finishing up a romp through past deals involving Cy Young winners to compare and contrast them with the Santana deal.
This week we conclude our Johan Santana-inspired look at Cy Young winners traded less than two seasons after winning their award, all part of placing the Santana trade in some kind of context. After last week's installment, I received a note from a reader (I seem to have misplaced it, so apologies, sir, for not recognizing you by name), saying that these trade capsules really ought to indicate if the Cy Young-er being dealt was felt to have the same kind of value that Santana does. It's a good point, and we'll endeavor to make note of that this time around. Once again, we're indulging in a speculative exercise here, one which has the benefit of hindsight in the case of the older trades, and the conceit of foresight in that of the Santana trade, a deal that has already been rated a loser for the Twins by many critics.
An AL powerhouse against a Rocky Mountain-high Cinderella--who has momentum, and who's got the advantage?
Tonight, the Colorado Rockies will become the fifth franchise in the past 11 years to make its virgin appearance in the World Series, following in the footsteps of the 1997 Marlins, the 2001 Diamondbacks, the 2002 Angels, and the 2005 Astros. The Rockies combine elements from each of those clubs. Like the 1997 Marlins, they are an odd mix of veteran talent and youth, and squeezed into the playoffs as a Wild Card team in a league that featured a great deal of parity. Like the 2001 Diamondbacks, they are an expansion club from the Mountain West that is set to square off at long odds against one of the AL East's superpowers. Like the 2002 Angels, they are a 'small ball' team that has excelled by vacuuming up with their defense when their opponents tried to put the ball into play. And like the 2005 Astros, which at one point were more than 200:1 underdogs to reach the postseason, they saved their best baseball for late in the year.