Tim and John S already proved their baseball knowledge by issuing World Series predictions that were proven wrong within moments of the series starting. Now, with Game 3 moments away, they reconvene to discuss the series in progress.
TIM: Two games into the World Series, John, and as everyone expected, the Giants are just bludgeoning the Rangers’ pitching. I don’t think I’m telling any tales out of school when I say that everyone knew Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson could handle the Yankees, but neither one really stood any chance against this San Francisco lineup, right?
JOHN: Surely nobody expected Cliff Lee and his 1.26 postseason ERA to shut down a lineup that included Juan Uribe and Freddy Sanchez, but did anyone expect a dazzling 5.2 IP, 4 ER shutdown performance from Tim Lincecum? In all honesty, I think a lot of people were prepared for that matchup to disappoint after the relative anticlimax that was Lincecum-Halladay, but it was obviously shocking to see Lee pulled in the 5th for Darren O’Day. I think what Game 1 showed, though, was why the idea of a “great postseason pitcher” is kind of a flawed notion. Most of the time, Lee has excellent control and is masterful, but when he starts missing spots, even slightly as he did in Game 1 (only 1 BB and 1 HBP), he becomes a mediocre pitcher. The reason his playoff numbers were so great was that he simply hadn’t had a game like in the playoffs yet.
TIM: Well, I think you can say it shows why the idea of calling Cliff Lee a “great postseason pitcher” is flawed, but not the concept in and of itself — with the caveat, of course, that most great postseason pitchers are great pitchers, period. Even the best postseason pitchers — such as Bob Gibson and Curt Schilling — have had bad outings somewhat like Lee’s the other night. One bad outing may hurt his reputation, but it doesn’t tarnish it.
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Atlanta Braves (91-71) at
San Francisco Giants (92-70)
The Braves and Giants each snuck their way into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season after almost blowing it by dropping the first two games of weekend series. The last time so much was on the line on the season’s last day for both of them was, of course, 1993, when Atlanta and San Francisco entered the day tied for the NL West lead with 103 wins. Braves won, Giants lost, and a 103-59 team went home before the postseason. The Wild Card was introduced the next year. Wouldn’t it be kind of ironic, then, if the Wild Card Braves beat the NL West-winning Giants? (Let’s overlook the Wild Card Giants beating the division-winning Braves in a five-game NLDS in 2002 to retain the gravity of that question.)
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So John S was all like, “When are you gonna criticize your MLB predictions? You’re just gonna hang me out to dry?” And I came back with, “You call that a criticism? I call that a hearty pat on the back you did.” To which John replied, “Yeah, well, you got a lot more wrong than I did.”*
*Dramatization. May not have happened.
Alas, my re-evaluation of my pre-season predictions in the National League won’t be headlined by What I Got Right so much as What I Got Wrong, and Often Very Wrong. That being said, I totally got three of the eventual playoff teams from the NL, and I’m sticking to that.
What I Got Completely Wrong
I had the Padres winning 64 games all season; they will surpass that total if they go 11-60 the rest of the season. I specifically mocked the fact that Jon Garland was San Diego’s Opening Day starter. Garland is 9-6 with a 3.45 ERA, and the Padres have the best ERA in the Major Leagues. Mat Latos was a legitimate Cy Young candidate before he failed to sneeze the other day. Their bullpen, boasting former Mets Mike Adams and Heath Bell, is phenomenal.
But, the Padres aren’t making the playoffs. Bank on it.
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