Monthly Archives: October 2009

Yankees World Series

Tomorrow night will be the first game of the World Series. For the first time since 2003 the Yankees will be participating in the series. At the beginning of the decade it was almost a given the Yanks would be there as they won in 2000 and made appearances in 2001 and 2003, but enough of the past. This season the Yankees have won 100+ games with possibly the best offense in baseball. They sport a 3-man rotation of C.C. Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte, with all three of them pitching great this postseason. They go up against the reigning champs, the Phillies. The Phillies are a team that, like the Yankees, win with great offense and have gotten good pitching from their starters. Cliff Lee their ace, acquired in a trade from Cleveland, Pedro Martinez, the veteran postseason pitcher, Cole Hamels, the playoff MVP last season, and Joe Blanton.

This series looks to be a great one, and after a few lackluster years of World Series we could use a good six, seven game series. These two really look like the best two teams in baseball and I expect some pitching duels, some back and forth offensive days, and ultimately just entertaining October baseball.

Moving past the excitement level of this series comes some predictions. I believe the Yankees will take this series in six. These teams are closely matched but I like the Yankees rotation just a bit more. Starting with the first game you have C.C. Sabathia against Cliff Lee. This game can go either way but I see the Yankees taking this one. Sabathia has been incredible this season and the Yankees have hit Lee in the past. Even if the Phillies take the first game I still give the advantage to the Yankees. The second game will feature AJ Burnett against Pedro Martinez and I find it unlikely the Yankees lose this game especially at home. The next game is the real key to the series. The next two games will feature C.C. Sabathia against Joe Blanton and Cliff Lee against AJ Burnett making it a strong possibility they split those games. If you are keeping track that leads two games for the Yankees and two for the Phillies. So if the Yankees win game 3 they will have a 3-2 advantage going back to NY while if Philadelphia wins game three they will have the 3-2 advantage with Pedro and Hamels pitching the next two games. I give the edge to the Yankees in game three with the way Hamels has pitched this season but if Hamels can put together a good game this can be a very close game.

Offensively the Yankees gotta hope for better performances out of a few players. Without A-Rod’s great postseason they might not have made it that far. If he slumps I wonder how well the offense will perform, this becoming especially important because the Phillies have so many players hitting now. At the end of the day though the offense can really only hurt the Yankees chances as I believe the key lies in the pitching.

My prediction is the Yankees take the series in six games with Andy Pettitte getting the series clinching win in new Yankees Stadium.

Giants Hit Losing Streak

Two weeks two different problems. The Giants are coming off back to back games against teams with winning records and have dropped both. A week ago it was presumably due to their defense while this game can be accredited to the offense. Eli Manning had three turnovers and the offense was only able to score 17 points losing at home to the Cardinals 24-17 to drop to 5-2 on the season.

Offensively there were quite a bit of problems. They seem to have reverted back to the form they showed at the end of last season. They are running the ball well again but with teams daring them to pass they have been unable to keep drives alive. The Cardinals left man to man coverage all night and the receivers failed to make any plays. Worse was the fact that Smith was unable to really put a stamp on the game, as he was seemingly quite till the fourth quarter. Moving off the receivers, Manning had a pretty bad game as well. The Cardinals scheme seemed to have confused him as his calls at the line rarely seemed to work and his protection scheme broke down often. He never seemed to get into a rhythm and had some poor throws, the worst of which was his final pick of the night.

Defensively they played a lot better than they had the previous week. They still had problems as the Cardinals were able to run the ball pretty well and Warner was able to find holes in the zone. The blitzes seemed to set up nice as for the most part they were able to get some pressure on Warner, and were able to stop screens. Their problems came in some lapses in coverage that led to some open receivers in the middle. They played poorly early in the second half giving the Cardinals two touchdowns early. By the time they were able to stop the Cardinals they had the lead, something they would never relinquish. The good signs for this unit was they were able to get pressure, Webster rebounded nicely, and most importantly they shut the Cards down near the end of the game when the team needed a stop.

This team is a really talented bunch but the just don’t have the feel of last season. They have been inconsistent and you no longer have the feeling that if this team keeps it close they will win. They had an easy early season and got some lucky breaks in beating the Cowboys. It is not a good thing when both units fail in two different weeks. Eli has not looked great these past two weeks not really getting any great rhythm on offense. You never want a losing streak but they are still first in the division. They play the Eagles next week and they can not afford to lose that game. While their record is nothing to worry about, if they continue to play like this they will not have too much to celebrate at the end of the season. There is not one thing for them to pinpoint and it really seems like they need to focus and play smarter football. Hopefully they can work some of these things out by next week.

Giants Halftime

Following a week where the Giants defense let up 34 points in the first half, the Giants are in a tight defensive game. The only Giants scores have come after a turnover close to the red zone and a crazy deflection caught by Hakeem Nicks. The Cardinals have not been able to get into a rhythm and have only scored one touchdown so far. They go into halftime with the Giants leading 14-10.

For the second straight week Jacobs has looked good running the ball. He has over forty yards on just five carries. I thought something that went widely unnoticed, most likely due to the score, was the success the Giants had on the ground. I know the stats don’t support this but they were getting nice holes and Jacobs looked to pound the ball again. The passing game has not been as good. Eli and the receivers just seem off a bit. Manningham has looked good again by Smith has been silent. More importantly they haven’t been able to move the ball methodically down the field as we are accustomed to seeing.

Defensively the Giants have played much better than they did last week. They are blitzing a lot more and getting pressure. The problem is they have missed a lot of assignments and that has hurt them. It could have hurt them a lot more but luckily the Cardinals were not aware enough to take advantage. The biggest difference I see is the team seems more confident and are challenging the offensive players. Last week they seemed too passive and looked terrible playing the ball in the air. Whether it is scheming by Sheridan, good play by Brown, or bad plays by the Cardinals but C.C. Brown has not been exposed tonight. Now this is not to say they are playing great as they do seem to be missing assignments but luckily the Cardinals have yet to make them pay.

Going into the second half the Giants need to see if they can get Jacobs going. The offense needs a rhythm and some identity and with Eli struggling that might have to come through the running game. If they can get some rhythm and calm Manning down they should start putting up more points. On defense they have to continue to bring pressure. I am worried about the coverage but if they back off the blitz and give Warner time they will get burned. It has been way closer than this game should be and letting Arizona stay in the game is dangerous. They need to take the control of this game because the Cardinals are not going to miss opportunities all night. Either way they are leading now and let us hope that is the result when the game ends.

Jets Blow Out Raiders

Well the game is officially over after being decided in the first half. The Raiders looked to look more like the team that the Giants played than the one that upset the Eagles. The Jets dominated in every facet of this game and it never looked close. The Raiders were able to make some plays but not consistently enough to punch it into the end zone. The Jets rebounded nicely specifically Mark Sanchez who played more like Sanchize than Broadway Schmo., blowing out the Raiders 38-0.

Offensively the Jets were able to establish one hell of a running game having two players with over a hundred yards rushing even after Leon Washington went down with an injury. Sanchez didn’t mesmerize anyone but he did what he did the first couple weeks. Mainly take advantage of good field position and avoided the turnover.

Defensively the unit played great, evidence by the shut-out. I know this is an inferior opponent but the defense looked very confident and at no point did the Raiders seem like they had much of a chance. The biggest problem I saw was the fact that the Raiders were able to run the ball so effectively, a problem you thought you would see with Jenkins done for the season. Next week they are going up against a good running team in Miami and they can have a similar performance to the one from Monday night a couple weeks ago.

It was nice to stop the losing streak and stay just a game behind the Patriots. Next week is a very important match-up as a loss would mean a series sweep by the Dolphins something that will hurt if the Jets get it down to a tie-breaker. For now the Jets are 4-3 getting back on the winning track.

Jets Halftime

There is not much to say here as the Jets have really taken this game over. The defense has not been absolutely shut down but they have gotten tons of turnovers and the Raiders have not been able to really get a good drive going. Offensively the Jets are very efficient at this point taking advantage of the good field position and avoiding the turnover. Going into halftime they lead 24-0.

This is exactly how the Jets should be playing football. Yes the offense could have done more but they really don’t need to. The keys to the Jets playing well is dominating on defense and taking advantage of opportunities on offense. They have done that to perfection in this game and it is nice to see them playing well after dropping the past three games. With Miami playing well the Jets are going to need to continue to win to stay in the playoff race. The next half is coming up.