Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Quick Postseason Update

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Quick Postseason Update

Wow, this could be quick. All four playoff series leading to the championship series of each league are on track for sweeps. Interestingly, two series are being led by the home teams and two by the visiting teams (although all series switch fields for their third games), so home field advantage means either everything or nothing, depending on the series.

The Cubs, who, if not necessarily dominating the National League, at least remained commandingly in charge throughout most of the year are folding before the middling Dodgers, and they could lose it all in Dodger Stadium tonight. Although they've shown us in recent years under Lou Piniella that they can do what it takes during the regular season, they've yet to show us that they've begun to master postseason play. It's almost a cliche that the post season is different than regular play, but the dynamics have a whole different life here than they do there. When you've got 162 games, you can afford to ride out the ebbs and flows that come with the game. Now that we're at the end of the year, we've shifted into win-or-go-home mode, so every game becomes important. Cubs fans don't have a lot of patience for a shaky team at this point, particularly when they feel a century of history hanging over them and when someone somewhere already seems to have decided that this was their year. They're not out of it yet, but they'd better find more success at Dodger Stadium tonight than they have at Wrigley this week.

Of course, the West Coast might prove very positive for the Cubs, as it has for the Red Sox. Now there's a team that seems to have mostly figured out the postseason. Although they went 1-8 against the Angels in regular-season play, they're now 2-0 at Angel Stadium, which pushes their multiyear postseason winning streak against LA/Anaheim to 11 games. The series shifts over to Fenway tomorrow night, so we'll have to wait until then to see what happens next.

The bad news just continues for Chicago, as the White Sox just dropped two against Tampa Bay in Tampa. I have to admit that I never had high hopes for the Central Division leaders, whether they'd ended up being Chicago or the Minnesota Twins, but I expected they'd at least make a series out of it. They'll live or die at US Cellular Field tomorrow night. Oddly, I haven't heard much about a Red Line World Series lately. While I never expected them to move on to the championship series, it would be nice if they at least won one against the Rays. Speaking of the Rays, they continue to surprise. I've written before, I believe, that I expected them to fade all through they season, and that never happened, leaving them with a final record just a tick below .600. The post season is different, I kept telling myself, but so far, it hasn't seemed terribly different for these guys. They've still got a way to go before they win it all, but they look much stronger on that count than I'd have ever expected.

I must admit that I've barely been following the other National League series, only keeping track of winners and losers. As far as that part goes, though, the Phillies are two up against the Brewers, as they change venues to Milwaukee tonight. Will the home field make any difference for the Brewers? If it doesn't, then it's all over and the Phillies advance. Before the last few days, I was expecting the Cubs to defeat them for the league championship, but they should be able to beat the Dodgers if the Cubs can't come back. Are the Phillies World Series bound? I'm not doing the betting thing, but if I were, that's where my money would be.


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