Peaking too soon? Let's not even go there.
The Phils winning streak reached eleven straight with last night's 3-2 win over the Mets. Coupled with another Atlanta loss, the Phils magic number stands at two. They could clinch the division as early as this evening if their streak reaches twelve and the Braves continued to stumble.
Charlie Manuel is looking for the clincher to give his pitching staff some rest in the next ten days, but he also wants home field advantage throughout the playoffs and that only comes with the best overall record. What to do? Some rest, but not too much!
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Apparently, the Mets are pissed off about the hard takeout slide by Chase Utley last night. David Wright was quoted as saying the Mets would have to reevaluate how they slide into second base after Utley's slide.
A few things need to be said:
1. There is no cleaner player around the Utley.
2. His slide was hard but perfectly legitimate.
3. The Mets second baseman ought to reevaluate how to get out of the way on a double play. Try leaping next time...just like any other second baseman would do.
4. The Mets can reevaluate sliding into second base all they want, but first they should reevaluate how the hit in order to even reach second base.
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The Yankees and Rays are locked into a tight race in the AL East and this fan is rooting hard for Tampa Bay to knock off the overpaid New Yorkers. While on the subject of the Yankees, they unveiled a huge monument in their centerfield sculpture garden to George Steinbrenner, who died recently, and, naturally, the eulogies poured forth again about what a wonderful man and owner he was.
The truth is somewhat closer to this: Steinbrenner was a blustery bully who liked nothing more than to attack players, managers, coaches and anyone else who incurred his displeasure as publicly as possible. His first inclination was normally to humiliate someone who crossed him even when that could mean failing to lay down a successful sacrifice bunt!
Was he a success? By any measures the answer would be yes. He took a struggling great franchise and returned it to glory. Of course he did this in large measure by outspending the rest of MLB in the free agent market and because his club, baseball's most illustrious and richest, could afford to buy championships.
Given the Yankees' resources, the Kansas City Royals would have probably been as successful and with a great deal more peace and tranquility.
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The greatest player no one, including this fan, gets to watch did it again. Ichiro Suzuki garnered 200 or more hits for the tenth straight season, matching Pete Rose's record but doing so in consecutive seasons. Ichiro plays on the West Coast, so we here in the East rarely get to see him under the best of circumstances. He also plays on a pretty lousy team and nearly always has, so he isn't likely to appear on some nationally televised game. It's too bad because one gets the feeling watching him would be akin to watching Utley or Polanco day in and day out. A consummate pro playing his trade without too much fanfare.
Hats off to you, Ichiro.