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And That Happened: Division Series Edition

Oct 7, 2010, 5:41 AM EDT

Some years, Day One of the playoffs just slips by uneventfully. This was not one of those years.

Phillies 4, Reds 0: Joey Votto, after the game, explaining what it was like to face Roy Halladay:  “It’s like trying to hit nothing.” Someone is going to repeat that phrase at Halladay’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It will be written in his obituary.

Some no-hitters don’t seem so impressive as you’re watching them. Edwin Jackson’s, for example. Even Dallas Braden’s perfect game was less than overwhelming in many respects.  Hallday’s Game 1 was not one of those games. It was as if the ball was on a track, destined to end up in a part of the strikezone at a specific velocity that made it impossible to hit no matter what the Reds attempted. He went 0-1 on 25 of the 28 batters he faced. He looked like he could have thrown 12 or 13 no-hit innings. I don’t recall ever seeing a pitcher as locked-in as Halladay was.

Rangers 5, Rays 1: Man, if the Phillies hadn’t been so dumb as to trade Cliff Lee they’d be up 2-0 on the Reds already. OK, that was a joke. But trades certainly had an impact here. The Rangers’ heroes of the game — Lee, Francoeur and Bengie Molina — were all mid-season pickups. Picked up, you’ll recall, when the team was in ownership litigation turmoil. Indeed, they may not have been able to even do these deals without signoff from Major League Baseball, which had the Rangers on a line of credit at the time. I wonder how the Rays’ owners feel about that today?

Yankees 6, Twins 4: And this is why, despite my objective assessment of the team’s strengths, I had to pick the Yankees in this series. You just can’t kill them. Down 3-0,you just knew they’d string together a few base hits to rally. Tied at 4, you just knew that they’d score again. Or maybe you didn’t know — and maybe you couldn’t have predicted Teixiera going long on Crain — but there certainly shouldn’t have been any surprise when it happened. Well, hell, maybe you could have predicted the homer given that, just before it happened, TBS showed a replay of him going long to the right field corner on Jessee Crain from back in May. Oh well.

It’s weird to say this about a Game 1, but it was a game the Yankees really needed to win given all of the uncertainty in the rotation behind CC Sabathia. And speaking of Sabathia — if the plan really is to bring him back on short rest, why on Earth did Girardi not bring out the hook for him in the sixth? He was clearly gassed, and ended up throwing 111 pitches.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    Ho Hum. Rangers win. Lee throws a gem. Phillies win. Halladay a no-hitter. Yankers win. Twinkies choke another lead away to the Yankers in the playoffs. Can’t we just let the Phillies and Yankers square off next week before the weather gets too bad? Everyone knows how competitive Oswalt is…remember how he dominated when he had Clemens and Pettitte on the same staff. Would anyone be surprised if he went out and threw a perfect game Friday night? Not me. Good pitching beats good hitting. And before you Braves fans start spouting “It didn’t help the Braves during their run” two things…first, the Phillies offense is far superior to those Braves teams…and second, Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt are right now pitching better as a tandem than the Braves big three ever were. 13-1 in September?

  2. SouthofHeaven - Oct 7, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    I try to give Girardi the benefit of the doubt on the ‘not an idiot’ front, but man, when CC was just dying out there, with his pitches in the triple digits…I’ll be generous & say that it was to let CC get that last strikeout for psychological reasons. Yeah. That’s it.

  3. hooks024 - Oct 7, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    What questions behind sabathia in the lineup? Pettite will be pettite. Hughes will make his bones this year. Only need three starters.

  4. Buffalo - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    CC just got Hungry that’s all! Because of the late start it effected his quality time @ the Buffett, and left him a little gassed at the end. Nothing a few more trips to the Buffett can’t fix between now and Game 4 (if needed).

  5. Jonny5 - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    I’m expecting to see the best playoff rotation in baseball history unfold before our very eyes. I’m also expecting a 10 ft bust of Roy Halladay to be mounted on the roof of the HOF. Someone put it very well last night. Roy pitches as well as God will allow. I mean, are you kidding me? A 94 mph fastball that breaks at the plate in any direction he wishes? Filthy.

  6. Ross - Oct 7, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Editing quibble: You have the Ray and Rangers reversed.
    Are we absolutely sure Roy’s last name isn’t really Hobbs?

  7. Bull Durham - Oct 7, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Did anyone notice how A-Rod’s lack of attention led to Orlando Hudson scoring on the passed ball in the 3rd? When Teixeira had to dive to the bag to get Mauer on the groundout, Hudson was on second and noticed A-Rod deep in the shortstop hole and just standing there watching the play. Third base was unoccupied so he broke for it. A-Rod finally notices and starts sprinting for the bag, barely getting there as Hudson slides in. Teixeira popped right up after tagging the bag and could have had a play but there was no fielder at the bag to throw to. Next batter, Hudson scores on a passed ball.
    A-Rod gets lots of criticism he doesn’t deserve. This time, he deserved it but didn’t get it.

  8. arnmsctt - Oct 7, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    The best part about this Reds team during the regular season was watching them go out and win games when it seemed as though all hope was lost. They were swept by the Cardinals in Cincinnati and all of the experts said that the Reds might as well pack it up because St. Louis was the better team and they knew how to win. But it didn’t happen that way. They came out and played their best baseball of the season over the next two weeks and won the division. They lost one game last night by an amazing pitching performance but it was just that: one game. Despite what most people seem to think, the rest of the series still has to be played. I don’t know how the series will end but I do know that the Reds have played this season in a way that gives me reason to believe that they can come back to win any game and beat any team, despite expert opinion. I’ll continue to believe that until they are completely eliminated. And if that happens, then I’ll be happy that they gave me a great reason to cheer them on this year and I got to watch a few extra games of good Reds baseball. Still believing!

  9. Trevor B - Oct 7, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    I agree, this is baseball and anything can happen. Nothing would make me happier than to see an underdog Reds team go to the WS and play my underdog Twins.

  10. arnmsctt - Oct 7, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    I’m definitely pulling for the Twins in the AL. I hate Journey but don’t stop believin’!

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    A meteorite will strike the Earth before the 2010 World Series will be between the Reds and the Twinkies. First, the Reds are done. They may get a win, but that is all…and they will be lucky to get that. Their reward for getting no-hit in game 1 is a guy who has a career record of 4-0 in the postseason and is 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA since joining the Phillies. Second, the Twinkies will be lucky to get one win from the Yankers. As much as it pains me to say it, the Twinkies are toast. They had their chance last night and they blew it. Congrats to the Reds and Twinkies on very nice seasons…but their magical mystery tour ends in their respective DS’s.

  12. Utley's hair - Oct 7, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    You can’t have two underdogs in one series, silly!! ARoid already claimed that title for the Wankers.

  13. SgtRoc99 - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    Yeah, this is baseball, anything can happen, so you got that going for you. Good Luck! NL Central was a buffet table this season and the Card’s just colapsed. Reds were the NL team with the best offense this year against the pirates, cubs and astro’s. How was that offense last night against an experienced playoff team? Like I said, anything can happen, I am just happy we got Oswalt going tonight.

  14. The Baseball Idiot - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Really, the best in history? That’s kind of bold.
    Better than Matthewson and McGinnity and thier 4 shutouts in ’05?
    Better than Palmer, McNally, and Bunker in ’66?
    Better than Saberhagen, Jackson and Liebrandt in ’85?
    Better than Schilling and Johnson in ’01?
    Better than all of them? After one game? It’s nice to have faith in something. Fred Phelps has faith in a lot of things also. But reality is nicer.

  15. Jonny5 - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    Dude, “I expect to see’ doesn’t say “they are”. So while it makes you feel better to trash talk my comment, it’s unfounded. At least you admit ahead of time you’re an idiot (baseballlidiot). And Yes I expect these three to top the list you have right there. (not really, but it would be really cool wouldn’t it) Let’s say it’s more of a “hope.” Is that better?

  16. arnmsctt - Oct 7, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Thanks for that slice of reality, of which I was already aware. I was simply reminding people that this Reds team has been counted out before and they did what was necessary to fight back and be successful. Being a fan of a small market team doesn’t afford me the luxury of rooting for a championship contender every year so when they make the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years, I prefer to avoid dumping on them after only one game. I don’t know when this will happen again so I refuse to have a negative attitude or take this postseason for granted. Instead, I will enjoy the moment and bask in the positivity and hope that this team has instilled in me after watching them defy the odds all year.
    I think if I were a Philly fan, then I would focus more on enjoying that once-in-a-lifetime moment my team just produced and less on trying to convince the opposing team’s fans how much they suck. Let’s go Reds!

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