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10/8 Postseason Review: At Least We Know One Team Won't Get Swept

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Ten division series ago, this guy was bouncing fastballs off the backstop. Maybe stranger things have happened, but I can't think of any right now.
Ten division series ago, this guy was bouncing fastballs off the backstop. Maybe stranger things have happened, but I can't think of any right now.

We were five outs away from four 2-0 division series. Even with just three, this is still a boring and uncompetitive state of affairs. Is it me, or does this happen all the time now? Seems like in every recent year, all the division series start with one team jumping out 2-0 and end with the third or fourth game. Actually, I just looked it up. Only one division series in the previous six seasons has gone to a fifth game. You might remember it: the Angels and Yankees in 2005.

If you put two evenly matched baseball teams together, you'd expect one of them to win two games in a row 50% of the time. Now for some strange reason, a team has recovered from an 0-2 deficit just once in, I don't know, something like 100 different five-game series. No clue about the cause, but that's what's happened historically. So the best-of-five series has a 50% chance to produce a virtually uncompetitive outcome. Clearly it must burn. Best-of-seven for everyone!

Phillies 7, Reds 4 (Phillies lead series 2-0)

Suppose you saw a highway marker reading: Bronson Arroyo, Next Exit. I would probably think the road led to the mouth of a rocky gulch full of tripwires, land mines, and Punji sticks, with Charles Bronson's heavily fortified apocalypse shelter at the far end. Seriously, this guy cracks me up. Did you know about this? That's right, a mediocre major-league starter sings all your favorite grunge classics! Order now, sorry no checks or COD. His Eddie Vedder impersonation is hilariously bad.

Okay, for real this time. This was an ugly, grueling, mistake of a professional sporting contest. By the time Reds pitchers had either hit or walked something like five Phillies in the same inning, I felt like I had crossed over into a universe with inconsistent physical laws. Then I laughed at the game-breaking Bruce-Phillips double-error until it hurt. The Phillies remind me of those Yankee teams in the late-nineties, you know, the ones that emitted a forcefield turning their opponents into buffoonish Sally Leaguers. Making the playoffs year after year means you're good, but winning pennant after pennant in such a manner means you're frickin' lucky.

Anyways, I couldn't care less about the Reds. I associate them with Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Dusty Baker, Ken Griffey Jr. in his diva phase, Rob Dibble, and other such seedy, unsightly, and idiotic landmarks in baseball culture. They didn't ingratiate themselves with the part of America that lives outside the Ohio River Valley (i.e. just about all of it) when Johnny Cueto curb-stomped Jason LaRue's face into retirement, and this coming after Brandon Phillips started a riot with some rather untoward remarks. So yeah, my heart isn't exactly breaking for these thugs, even if they are getting reamed by another East Coast Monster.

Braves 5, Giants 4 (Series tied 1-1)

Finally, a series with a pulse! I still don't know who all these people in orange shirts are, nor what they're doing at AT&T Park watching a baseball game, but that house was rocking tonight. What an oddball game to watch too. Pat Burrell! Alex Gonzalez! Kyle Farnsworth! Rick Ankiel! A Dirty Dozen of playoff heroes. Even Matt Cain had an RBI hit. The Braves were the second team to come back from an early 4-0 deficit tonight, and seeing this had to be a disorienting experience for anyone who follows the Angels. So this is what real baseball looks like. Other teams do have come-from-behind wins. The Angels, unfortunately, were 7-52 when trailing after five innings this season.

Bobby Cox's managerial strategy never changes: get ejected about 10 minutes after the first pitch, then spend the rest of the game sending positive brainwaves in his team's direction from the clubhouse. It'll be like he never left once he retires. If people tracked statistics for managers, Cox probably leads the universe in GRIZZLE (Jim Leyland might be a close second, but his best stat has always been GROUCH). However, I was genuinely disheartening to see Billy Wagner literally break right in front of my eyes. I guess it was bound to happen, given the way his last few seasons have gone. Looks like he and Scot Shields will both be living off fixed incomes from now on. Never a fun thing to see. Wagner was a really great player, folks.

By the way, is TBS even serious about making money off their postseason coverage, or is it just a means to saturate the airwaves with Conan advertisments?