Thursday, November 05, 2009

Post Season Innings to Redo

Well the World Series is over. Going into October the Yankees sure looked like the best team and they never faced an elimination game the entire post season.

But what about the other teams?

Each of the other seven playoff teams (and the one game playoff runner up) go into the off season wondering what might have been. And each team has one blatantly obvious inning they’d love to have back as each closer NOT named Mariano Rivera coughed one up.

But each team also had a less obvious inning that I am sure they’d like to do over.

An inning that might have turned around a game earlier…an inning that might have killed the other team’s momentum… an inning that might have actually changed the outcome of the post season.

This is Sully Baseball and listing is what we do best. So the staff has compiled a list of the obvious innings and the not so obvious innings the also rans must be grinding their teeth over… and wish that Superman could turn the world backwards and fix.


Obvious Inning To Redo.
GAME 4, Top 9.

The Phillies had shockingly tied the game in the 8th on Pedro Feliz’s 2 out 2 strike homer. And every Phillies fan and Yankee hater had the same thought in their head… make it through the 9th scoreless and the top of the Phillies lineup could score a run… the series would be tied and a rested Cliff Lee would pitch Game 5!

And Brad Lidge got two quick outs and had two strikes on Damon… and suddenly the roof caved in.

Damon fouled off 38,211 pitches, plunked one into left, stole second and took third because nobody was covering… and before you could say “TAKE LIDGE OUT!” the Yankees were up 7-4 and the end of the series was a mere formality.

Less Obvious Inning To Redo
GAME 2, Top 8.

Manuel left Pedro in too long and a 2-1 game became 3-1… but the Phillies got 2 on with only one out off of Mariano Rivera… with Utley and Howard coming up. Tim “Nostradamus” McCarver kept saying the Phillies runners should be in motion. Utley, representing the go ahead run, smacked into a double play (although replays showed he was safe at first) preventing a potential Howard vs. Rivera showdown.

Had the Phillies tied or taken the lead in that inning, the chances of going to Philadelphia up 2-0 would have been great… and the tone of the series would have been totally different.


Obvious Inning To Redo
GAME 2, Bottom 11.

The Angels were three outs from stealing a game in the Bronx and sending the series back to Anaheim tied. Closer Brian Fuentes needed to get past Alex Rodriguez and then would face easy outs in Freddy Guzman, Bret Gardner and slumping Robinson Cano.

With two strikes on A-Rod and a steady rain, he somehow willed a homer over the right field wall, tying the game.

Fuentes got the next three outs, but the game was tied and the Yankees won in 13.

Less Obvious Inning To Redo

GAME 2, Top 13th.

The Angels put two on with only one out and had sluggers Torii Hunter and Vlad Guerrero facing David Robertson. Chances are a base hit would have driven in 1… and with the rain and weak outfield arms, a hit into the outfield would probably be extra bases.

And neither Hunter nor Guerrero hit it out of the infield. The Yankees would score the next inning on an error.


Obvious Inning To Redo
GAME 4, Bottom 9

The Dodgers seemed poised to tie the series at 2 games apiece with closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound, 1out and nobody on. But a walk to Matt Stairs and a hit by pitch on Carlos Ruiz gave the Phillies life.

Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs lined out but Jimmy Rollins hit a 1-1 pitch into the gap, scoring 2, winning the game for the Phillies and effectively sinking the Dodgers.

Less Obvious Inning To Redo
GAME 1, Top 8

The Dodgers and Phillies game 1 was supposed to be a pitchers duel between Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels. Instead it became a slugfest with neither pitcher making it through the 6th.

George Sherrill was brought in to keep the game close as the Dodgers trailed 5-4 in the 8th. Instead he faced 5 batters and retired only 1, giving up a three run homer to Raul Ibanez in the process.

The Phillies had a 4 run cushion and were able to survive an 8th inning rally by the Dodgers.


Obvious Inning to Redo
GAME 4, Top 9

The Rockies had rallied off of Cliff Lee and reliever Ryan Madson to take the lead going into the 9th inning. Colorado had a chance to tie the series and have a deciding game against struggling Cole Hamels.

With 2 outs and 1 on, Huston Street walked Chase Utley. Then Howard hit a game tying double. Jayson Werth then drove home Howard for the go ahead run.

The Rockies tried to rally in the 9th but Tulowitzki struck out with the tying and winning runs aboard, eliminating Colorado.

Less Obvious Inning to Redo
GAME 3, Top 9

With the game tied, Rollins led off with a single. Victorino sacrificed him to second and then Utley hit a slow chopper.

The batted ball appeared to have hit him, making it a foul ball. But the umps didn’t call it that way and because these are just the playoff games, nothing important… ergo couldn’t be reviewed even though everyone on the planet saw the clip of him being hit by the batted ball.

That put runners at the corners with 1 out and Ryan Howard got Rollins to score on a sacrifice fly. Lidge would somehow hang on for the win.


Obvious Inning to Redo
GAME 2, Bottom 9

The Cardinals, picked by many including yours truly to go to the World Series, had two outs and nobody on and seemed ready to send the series back to St. Louis tied at 1.

Closer Ryan Franklin faced James Loney who hit a short fly to Matt Holliday… and… GAG! Holliday let the ball hit off his body to become a 2 base error.

A few walks and a pair of singles, the Dodgers won the game and the demoralized Cardinals were blown out in Game 3.

Less Obvious Inning to Redo

GAME 1, Top 1

The Cardinals, despite opening on the road, were considered to be the team to beat. And they started the series against Dodgers starter Randy Wolf by loading the bases with nobody out. The Cardinals got a run out of it, but it looked like it was going to be disastrous opening frame and put the Dodgers on their heels.

The Dodgers would score 2 in the bottom of the frame and win the game 5-3.


Obvious Inning to Redo
GAME 2, Bottom 9

The Twins basically threw their junior varsity pitching staff in Game 1, conceding to Sabathia. But in Game 2, Blackburn and company held the mighty Yankees to 1 run over 8 innings and had a chance to take the series back to the Metrodome tied 1-1. Gardenhire couldn’t ask for more than a 2 run lead in the 9th with Joe Nathan on the mound.

Well maybe he COULD ask for more… he could have asked for a few outs.

He let up a lead off single to Mark Teixeira and then wouldn’t throw a strike to A-Rod. With the count 3-1, he threw a meatball… and A-Rod crushed a game tying homer… erased his playoff choker image in one swing… and deflated the Twins.

Less Obvious Inning to Redo
GAME 2, Top 11

Even with the A-Rod homer, the Twins were still alive. A brilliant double play saved the Twins in the bottom of the 10th. And now with Rivera gone, they needed to rally against Damaso Marte.

Joe Mauer hit a double down the left field line. Anyone who watched the game saw he hit a ball that landed fair. That would include the umpire staring at the play.

So naturally it was called foul and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

These are playoff games… nothing important.

Mauer then singled and the Twins loaded the bases with nobody out. A winning rally would still do the trick of splitting the series.

Robertson got out of the inning without a run and Teixeira hit a walk off homer in the 11th. The Yankees would pull off the sweep two days later.


Obvious Inning to Redo
GAME 3, Top 9

The Red Sox, trying to stay alive, had a fat 5-1 lead… that became a less fat 5-2 lead… that became a nerve wrecking 5-4 lead… which then became a more manageable 6-4 lead in the 9th with 2 outs, nobody on an Papelbon pitching to 9th place hitter Erick Aybar.

Nothing to worry about…

Then Papelbon, who had never let up an earned run in the postseason, couldn’t retire another batter. Figgins walked on a 3-2 count. Abreu singled in a run with two strikes. Then Vlad Guerrero singled home the tying and series winning runs, silencing Fenway and making the Red Sox faithful do the unthinkable: Boo Papelbon.

Less Obvious Inning to Redo
GAME 2, Bottom 7

The Red Sox dropped game 1 but had a chance to come back to Boston with a split. The game was tied in the 7th 1-1 with Beckett and Weaver dueling. Maicer Izturis hit a 2 out RBI single off of Josh Beckett. The Angels would score two more to take a 4-1 lead, which would be the final score… and the Angels were in control.


Obvious Inning to Redo

TIE BREAKER, Bottom 10

The Tigers were 3 outs away from making the playoffs and having a Justin Verlander start the opener.

But Michael Cuddyer tripled past Don Kelly in left field. Reliever Fernando Rodney got one out but couldn’t prevent the Twins from tying the game.

Only a brilliant and redeeming throw to home by Kelly kept the Twins from clinching in the 10th.

Less Obvious Inning to Redo

The infamous Brandon Inge inning.

The Tiger loaded the bases off of Bobby Keppel with one out and the Tigers looked like they were in great shape.

Then Keppel hit Inge with a pitch forcing in the go ahead run.

Except of course that it wasn’t called a hit by pitch… even though every replay showed it hit him.

Not that this game was important.

But that being said, the Tigers should be able to score a run off of Bobby Keppel. But they didn’t. And when the Twins scored in the bottom of the 12th, Keppel got his first ever big league victory.

So there you have a bunch of teams grinding their teeth.

Would any of them have been able to beat the Yankees?

Probably not.

But if these innings had turned out differently, who knows? Maybe all of October would have too.

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