Tag: 2010 MLB Playoffs

San Francisco Giants: A Look Back to 2010 Before Moving Forward to 2011

When thinking back about the year that was for the San Francisco Giants in 2010, it’s all still a little surreal.

In many ways it was a dream season that will never be forgotten for most Giants fans.

Instead of writing an article focusing on the upcoming year and the Giants’ chances of repeating, let’s look back one more time at their incredible 2010 playoff run. 

Begin Slideshow

Bud Selig and MLB Playoff Expansion Is a Perfect Match

Realignment is a fascinating idea, but one that I believe will lose out to another adjustment: playoff expansion. 

Expansion will drive more revenue to the game and keep the fans enthralled for an extended period. 

Realignment is entertaining when you think about it. Then again, an extended playoff system seems more justifiable at this point. Extending the playoffs with a wild card team worked before, and it will work again. 

There are a few scenarios to this new situation.

  • Will the team with the best record earn a bye to the next round?
  • Will the two wild card teams battle each other in a best-of-three, best-of-five, or perhaps a one-game sudden death playoff?

All those aside, why even think about bringing in an extra team? Is baseball on a collision course with watering down the regular season the way the NBA and NHL have with over half of the teams eligible to make the playoffs (16 of 30)? 

In my opinion, not even close.

According to the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, playoff teams generate $17.7 million in additional revenue.

“The Angels reported $12.1 million in revenue from hosting five first and second-round playoff games in 2009 and nearly $4.4 million for hosting two first-round games in 2008, according to the reports published by Deadspin.com.

“The Rays made almost $17.7 million in revenue on the six postseason games they hosted in 2008. Having two home games in the World Series helped boost those results”

And for the small market or second-tier teams like the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles, $2.2 million per home game sounds pretty decent.

From the fans’ perspective, there is nothing more entertaining/dramatic than a good ole’ fashion pennant race to end the season. And being a Braves fan myself, every game was life or death during the last two weeks of the 2010 season.   

Commissioner Bud Selig recently talked expansion with NBC Sports and NY Daily News, meaning the wheels are most certainly in motion. Unfortunately, it looks like the expansion will not happen for at least two seasons. As you know, there are always a few obstacles.

“Selig would not rule out expanded playoffs as soon as next season, and the new format could include two new wild-card teams. Wild-card teams in each league could play an opening round, either one game or best-of-three”

“But any changes would be subject to collective bargaining, and Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive VP for labor relations, said Tuesday that putting any changes in so soon would be too difficult. So any playoff expansion is more likely for 2012, if at all.”

Two wild cards teams suggest that franchises that usually pack it in by the all-star break do not necessarily become sellers; they can keep their stars. On the other hand, they do not necessarily become buyers unless it is absolutely essential.

Teams like the Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays to name a few, are stuck in the same cycle of selling off their players or regrettably seeing themselves out of the playoff picture, not mathematically, but realistically by July every single season.

The addition of the second wild card does give these clubs some extra hope where it never existed before. Some teams, like I mentioned, can keep their home grown talent instead of trading them for some future prospects that continue to keep said team three to four years away from competing.

Building a roster and building a solid fan base that will continue to see their hometown team compete with home grown talent is what we are all hoping for. At the same time, clinching a playoff berth leads to additional advertisement revenue and an increase and retention of season ticket purchases and the reputation as a legitimate contender.

This new playoff system will succeed. It will allow the growth and popularity of the sport to blossom.

Not all change is bad in a sport that we all know for its familiarity.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Roy Halladay and Don Larsen: A World Series Game Is Not a Playoff Game

Enough is enough. There is no comparison between Roy Halladay and Don Larsen. The former is on his way to the Hall of Fame. The latter was a journeyman pitcher who caught lightning in a bottle.

Larsen faced the National League’s defending World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. Brooklyn had won 98 games and lost 55 for a .641 winning percentage.

Roy Halladay faced the National League Central Division champion Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the 2010 playoffs. Cincinnati won 91 games while losing 71 for a .562 winning percentage.

Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Reds in the opening game of the playoff series, missing a perfect game when he walked Jay Bruce with one out in the fifth inning. Halladay was not facing the best team in the league. He was facing a division winner.

Don Larsen was facing the best team in the National League in the World Series. There were no playoffs in 1956, so how could Roy Halladay have pitched the second no-hitter in playoff history?

The playoffs started in 1969. Roy Halladay pitched the first no-hitter in playoff history. Don Larsen pitched the only no-hitter and perfect game in World Series history. They are not the same.

Until the playoffs were initiated, the term “postseason” was not used. Each league had a pennant winner, and they met to determine the World Champion. The first goal was to win the pennant, and the second goal was to win the World Series.

Today, most teams consider making the playoffs a successful season. The Reds made the 2010 playoffs, and despite not winning a single game once they got to the playoffs, players and fans consider it to have been a successful season.

Would the 1975 Cincinnati Reds of Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Tony Perez have considered it to have been a successful season if they had lost the playoffs to the Pittsburgh Pirates?

In 1954, the New York Yankees won 103 games, which was the most they won under Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel. The most games they won during their streak of five consecutive pennants and World Championships was 99 in 1953.

The Yankees problem that season was that the Cleveland Indians won an American League-record 111 games. The Yankees and their fans considered 1954 an unsuccessful season.

Under today’s playoff system, mediocre teams often qualify for the playoffs. It is recognized that upsets occur, but it cannot be denied that in most cases, the better teams usually win.

Of course it is possible for a pitcher to pitch a no-hitter or even a perfect game in the first or second round of the playoffs and have faced the soon-to-be pennant winner, but it must be (and will not be) recognized that the playoffs and the World Series are not the same. Today, they are all considered playoff games. What a joke.

Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in the history of the World Series. Roy Halladay pitched the only no-hitter in the history of the playoffs. Both are great achievements, but they are not the same.

Reference: Retrosheet

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2011 MLB: A Cliff Lee Story and a Walk That’s Going To Cost

Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee had been as close to superhuman as the baseball world had ever seen heading into the 2010 World Series with a 7-0 record.

MLB players and fans all around the world were in awe of Lee, and the fact that he was fair game after the conclusion of the World Series just added to the dynamic fascination.

With every postseason start, Lee’s worth was climbing at rapid speeds. GM’s were drooling for the second post season in a row watching Lee’s domination batter after batter. From Yankees to Phillies to Rays, no one was safe.

Hence, this World Series was the last stage before the battle for Lee could start. On the path Lee had been on, nothing seemed too grand except the zeros on his contract that were becoming endless.

As Game 1 began, fans watched in utter disbelief, and what nobody thought could ever happen…did. The great Cliff Lee lost. It was so ugly he was pulled in the fourth inning, after giving up six earned runs and only striking out seven.

Lee did not just lose once, but again in Game 5 on the biggest stage in baseball.

Lee’s first loss in Game 1 of the World Series could have easily been forgotten, brushed off as a bad day that is beyond acceptable.

Many are claiming Lee’s Game 5 loss cost the Texas Rangers the World Series.


Due to an avoidable and selfish choice made by Lee to stick to his motto of “I don’t walk any batters,” that lead to the only hit, a three-run bomb, needed by the Giants to win the World Series.

Should the Yankees be more concerned about Lee’s stubborn attitude than his choking under pressure?

The Rangers needed Lee more than ever to be perfect, and he blew it on one bad pitch. It happens all the time during the season, but this was the World Series and all the Rangers dreams were what were at stake.

It is a fact that Rangers catcher Bengie Molina wanted Lee to walk the hitter and was confused when Lee did the contrary. Considering it was the eighth inning of the World Series and Texas were down 3-1 in games. The Rangers were playing with backs shoved against the wall—with no breathing room in site.

Why would you risk this game with no score on the board for either team?

Did Lee need to prove he could strike out anyone in baseball? Lee had been flawless, but that became untrue five days prior. so why test the waters in Game 5?

Who knows.

Lee did make a grave mistake that will inevitably cost him, either less years or less money. No doubt, Lee exposed a risk that played a major factor in the Rangers World Series loss and the Giants win.

That is two postseasons in a row that Lee wins but the uniform he is wearing doesn’t. Now that has even taken a turn for the worst as both Lee and the team lost in the end this time, which makes you wonder if things are just going to get worse from here.

Questions about Cliff Lee’s worth have arisen—whether he’s too much of a risk or if he can ultimately be a teammate that can help win a title.

Truth remains that Cliff Lee is not just a show pony, the man is as talented as I have yet witnessed as a fan. Lee’s last two starts surely didn’t help his cause, but it did bring him down to earth and nothing wrong with a little humbling.

For now, fans will wait because only time will tell where Cliff Lee will bring his talents next season.

With the Lee bidding about to begin…fans should get ready for some good old baseball offseason drama.

One that I’m hoping ends with Lee’s left arm in pinstripes.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Cliff Lee, World Series 2010: How San Francisco Giants Took Lee in Game 1

Last night’s game was not the total shock many people think. I figured the San Francisco Giants would score a couple runs early against Lee, but was surprised the way they knocked him around.

The Giants pitchers also neutralized Mickey Mantle Jr, I mean, Josh Hamilton.

The Giants game plan with those two players were the key to winning Game 1. 


1) Cliff Lee vs. Giants Hitters

The key in getting to Cliff Lee is to be aggressive in the batters box. I have long discussed that on this site. Hitters cannot continue to take early strikes, get behind in the count and then have to react to any on of four different pitches he throws with two strikes.

Lee starts most hitters off with a fastball. He then mixes in cutters, curves and an occasional change up. He is also more likely to throw his curve ball with two strikes.  

And why not? It is harder to control that either the fastball or cutter and you do not have to throw it over the plate with two strikes, just get in low in the zone and you can be successful.

But the Giants are a very aggressive group of free swingers. They like to hack at lots of pitches early in the count, both in and out of the strike zone.

Against Lee, the Giants were aggressive, but mostly on pitches inside the strike zone, more specifically right over the middle of the plate.

They did not chase the high fastball. One of Lee’s important pitching traits is that he moves the ball around, changing the eye level of the hitters.

He works low and away, then up and in. He will throw the two-seamer or curve low, then throw a normal 91 MPH fastball up, many times out of the zone.  

But unlike the Yankees hitters, the Giants lineup did not chase the pitch up and out of the zone. The right-handed hitters also did not offer at the many pitches Lee threw just off the outside corner. That is why Lee probably threw very few changeups.

This forced Lee to work from behind in the count, and then have to come over the plate with his pedestrian fastball.

And that usually gets hit…and hit hard. While there were many hard hit balls, especially in that fifth inning, there were even more fat pitches which the Giants aggressively attacked yet fouled back.

Andres Torres, Juan Uribe and Cody Ross all missed fat fastballs over the middle. Lee threw too many pitches over the middle of the plate. The Giants hitters were also looking to hit the ball the other way, with right handed hitters hitting the ball to the right side.

That allows the ball to travel deeper and the hitter can see the ball longer. Going to right field hurts Lee’s pitching game plan. He thrives on teams like the Yankees who are looking to pull the ball, but the pesky Giants hurt him. Another reason why Lee likely threw very few changeups.

The Giants aggressive nature works well with pitchers who throw lots of strikes. That is why the Giants have beaten Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and now Cliff Lee in this postseason.

Watch for the Giants to continue to be aggressive on pitches in the zone, and their key to winning is to stay off the pitches out of the strike zone. Even Uribe took two pitches before hammering his three-run home run.

Credit the Giant shitting coach, Hensley Muelens, for putting together a good game plan for the hitters last night and will likely have another good one for tonight.

Tonight’s starter, C.J. Wilson, has one of the highest walk rates in the American League. The Giants will continue to be selectively aggressive.


2) Josh Hamilton vs. Giants pitchers

Right now Josh Hamilton has a long swing. He doesn’t have very quick hands and mostly swings with his arms. Does it have something to do with his rib injury from a month ago?

Since most teams pitch him away (like the Yankees always did in the ALCS), Hamilton continuously looks (and leans) out over the plate.

But the Giants pitches have worked Hamilton differently. They have thrown lots of off speed pitches away, but they also challenged Hamilton. 

And they challenged him inside where his long swing can not catch up even with a normal major league fastball.

In Hamilton’s first at bat, Tim Lincecum had to pitch to him with men on first and second.

But Lincecum got Hamilton to meekly ground out on pitches away.

Next time up, Lincecum jammed Hamilton on an 89 MPH fastball up and in.

Third time up, Hamilton was worked outside again and weakly grounded out back to Lincecum.

Fourth time up, Casilla blew an up and in fastball right by Hamilton then got him to fly out again on a fastball in.

The Giants pitchers got Hamilton out twice away and twice in, moving the ball around and not just trying to keep the ball away all the time.

Like the Yankees did, Joe Girardi worked scared against Hamilton. Most of the hard hit balls Hamilton had were on pitches out over the plate when the pitchers were constantly working away.

Look for Matt Cain tonight to continue to pound Hamilton inside with fastballs, but also showing him some stuff away for effect.

The Giants neutralized both of Texas’ main weapons, Lee and Hamilton, and won big in Game 1. If they continue to play smart baseball and do the same things they did in Game 1, they will have an good time in Game 2.

Except for his high walk rate, C.J. Wilson is a similar type pitcher as Lee and can be approached the same way. Wait him out to come over the plate.

And the job of Cain and the able bodied bullpen is to bust Hamilton inside.

He can’t handle that pitch, and the Giants will continue to exploit it.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2010 World Series: The Giants Offense, Cliff Lee, and Other Game 1 Highlights

Before the 2010 World Series began last night, the common consensus was the San Francisco Giants had to score more to have a chance of winning the World Series.

The Giants pitching staff is excellent, but could they win a slugfest against the offensive prowess of the Texas Rangers?

Game 1 was labeled as an all-time pitching showdown. The matchup between Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee and the San Francisco Giants two-time defending NL Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum was billed as a classic to be.

However Game 1 was an offensive battle, and the Giants proved they could win a game when they needed to score many more runs than their accustomed to.

With Cliff Lee not able to get the victory for the Rangers in the series opener, how good are the Rangers’ chances to win the title now, against a Giants rotation that continues to impress after Lincecum?

Now we’ll review several important points we learned about Game 1 of the 2010 World Series, as well as some interesting, unknown statistics that may surprise you.

Begin Slideshow

Why Josh Hamilton is the Best Player In the Major Leagues

Josh Hamilton is a power hitting, center fielder for the Texas Rangers who are now representing the American League in the World Series.

Hamilton has proven during these playoffs that he does truly possess all five-tools to be a superstar player. How many players in this day and age require the Barry Bonds treatment in games? The answer not many, but there was Hamilton being intentionally walked three times by the New York Yankees in the deciding game of the American League Championship Series.

Honestly though, who could blame the Yankees for walking Hamilton. This is a guy who delivered the first punch against the Yankees in Games 1 and 3. He even provided the exclamation point in Game 3 when he blasted a second home run which immediately sent 55,000 fans scurrying for the exits.

The amazing thing about Hamilton is he will only get better with more years. Although it’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if he did not develop an addiction to drugs as a No. 1 draft pick of the the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Heading into the draft, Hamilton had scouts salivating about his power and arm, especially because he was only 18-years-old. The Devil Rays selected him, hoping he would one day be a corner stone of their outfield equation.

They saw his powerful left arm of which he topped out at 95-mph when on the mound. They saw the speed of which he was able to gracefully cover as much ground as any center fielder they have seen. Then there was the sound of the ball coming off the bat.

Scouts compared him favorably to another young phenom who was selected out of high school. His name. Alex Rodriguez. Sure it was very high praise to bestow on someone so young, but it was also well-deserved.

Unfortunately for Hamilton and the Devil Rays things quickly turned sour. Hamilton the boy-hood phenom developed a drug addiction. The drug addiction took over his life, requiring a two-year ban from Major League Baseball and a trip to a rehabilitation clinic.

Two years out of baseball. If a player is out of the lineup for only a few days they can lose the timing they had for the next few weeks. Now imagine a player not swinging a bat against professional players for two whole years. The task of going up against the game’s elite seems impossible surrounding those circumstances, but not for Hamilton.

He was claimed in the Rule V draft by the Cincinnati Reds and found himself in the big leagues for the first time in his life. No one knew what to realistically expect from Hamilton and he probably didn’t know either. It’s what makes his next few seasons one of amazement.

Those skills he possessed which got him drafted all those years ago had eroded. In fact they will almost entirely the same from when he was the 18-year-old high school phenom. In his only season with the Reds, Hamilton blasted 19 home runs in only 90 games played showing the power bat he possessed. The Reds then sold high and sent him to the Rangers where he has finally made a home for himself and has developed into one of the games best players.

In two healthy seasons with Texas, Hamilton has blasted 32 home runs in each season and drove in at least a 100 runs in the process. And when the postseason came around he answered the call when the Rangers needed him the most.

Hamilton has no apparent weakness. And with the ordeal he has been through he has no fear. He is the most dangerous hitter in all of baseball. He also quite possibly could be the best player in the game today.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB World Series 2010: 10 Players Who Will Make The Most Impact

Dubbed the Year of the Pitcher, the 2010 MLB season has been full of milestones reached by the men on the mound. 

Whether it has been Roy Halladay’s bouts with perfection or Cliff Lee’s masterful postseason performances, Major League Baseball is all about the pitcher (at least for this year). 

Look no further than the 2010 World Series to confirm the old adage “pitching wins championships.” With both teams’ ERA under 3.00 heading into the Fall Classic, the Giants and Rangers will need to rely on their power pitching to establish dominance in the series. 

While the Giants offer more depth in their rotation, especially with 21-year old Madison Bumgarner pitching admirably out of the four spot, the Rangers have relied on the heroics of Cliff Lee and the far less-heralded Colby Lewis to keep opposing offenses at bay (they have a 2.76 ERA this postseason, good for first in the AL). 

San Francisco’s troubles lie at the plate, where they have struggled to score runs consistently all season long. As a team, the Giants have hit only .231 in 10 playoff games, and despite a torrid postseason from Cody Ross (4 HRs, 8 RBIs in that span), they still cannot be relied upon for constant run production. 

On the other hand, the Rangers are ranked first in every relevant offensive statistic this postseason and their ability to capitalize with runners in scoring position has set them apart from the rest of the competition in the playoffs thus far. 

Standouts such as C.J Wilson, Ian Kinsler and Aubrey Huff had to be left off the list because of the plethora of impact players. 

Begin Slideshow

2010 MLB World Series: Now, We’ll See How Many Real Baseball Fans Are Out There

Many, many times in the past, I’ve heard about how pro sports are fixed. Super Bowls, NBA Finals, Stanley Cups, Auto Racing. You name it, somebody, somewhere…more often than not on the barstool next to me, has said..pro sports are all fixed. It’s about the money and the TV Ratings. TV wants the big market teams like the Celtics, Lakers, Yankees and Red Wings.

Prior to 2004 (IE The End of the Curse of the Babe), I used to actually give a small amount of merit to that theory. Not any more though, and the 2010 World Series is first hand proof of that.

New York vs. Philadelphia would’ve pulled in huge ratings. Two of the biggest ratings-getters in all sports. Yet, as fate would have it, that’s not what the baseball gods had in mind. Instead, the matchup is Texas and San Francisco.

Now, we’ll see if the REAL baseball fans stay with this series from start to finish, or if we get another fan base that turns the station and their attention to college football, the NHL or about-to-being NBA season.

I’d like to think the vast majority of the fans out there are going to see this 2010 season through till the end. Sure, many of them might be band wagon fans (IE Red Sox, Yankee or Phillies fans who have jumped on either the Rangers or Giants bench after there teams were eliminated). While the diehard might not appreciate those fans, at least they’re going to watch every game, which is okay with the head honchos at Fox and Bud Selig to boot.

Tonight’s opener should merit great ratings. Cliff ”I Own the Post Season” Lee against Tim Lincecum. Could you get a bigger contrast in style than that out of the two starters? The lone thing they have in common is that they’re both darn good.

In any event, I’ll be watching each and every game from start to finish, and enjoying the heck out of it, even if my team isn’t playing.

Hopefully, I won’t be alone. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Joe Girardi Did Very Little to Help Overmatched New York Yankees in ALCS

In the end, the Rangers were simply better than the Yankees in every facet of the game.

During the six games of the American League Championship Series, Texas outscored New York, 38-19, outhit the Bombers, .304 to .201, and outpitched them, 3.06 to 6.58 in the ERA category.

The Yanks were also outmanaged.

New York was the highest-scoring team in baseball this year and had the third-most home runs, but Joe Girardi’s resistance to using small ball sent the Bombers into offensive droughts when the homers stopped coming.

The Yankees ranked just eighth in the American League in steals and sac flies and 11th in sacrifice hits.

The downfall of station-to-station baseball was never more evident than in the ALCS, when the Rangers stole nine bases and laid down three sacrifice bunts, while the Yanks stole only two bags and had just one sac bunt.

But Girardi’s biggest blunder came when he pulled Phil Hughes during the fifth inning of Game 6. The right-hander had just surrendered a two-run double to Vladimir Guerrero, but he was still pitching well.

At the time he was taken out, Hughes had allowed three runs on four hits and two unintentional walks with three strikeouts over 4.2 frames.

He had thrown only 83 pitches and retired 12 of the previous 18 batters he had faced, with two of those six men reaching via intentional walks.

This was a complete panic move by Girardi, who bought into the myth that you have to immediately pull your starter at the first sign of trouble in an elimination game.

So with the season on the line and 16 outs for the bullpen to get, did the manager go to Mariano Rivera (who he had been saving all series allegedly for this very spot) or Kerry Wood or even CC Sabathia? No, he went to David Robertson, who yielded five runs in one-third of an inning in Game 3.

Girardi brought the right-hander in to face Nelson Cruz, who smacked a two-run single off Robertson in Game 3, and the outfielder quickly put Game 6 on ice with a 425-foot two-run blast.

What’s even more confounding is that the skipper brought in Wood to pitch the sixth. If Wood is allowed to pitch as early as the sixth and he’s been better than Robertson over the prior two months, why not bring in Wood in the fifth?

Because that’s not allowed.

Managers must follow a strict regimen that dictates that you have to bring in your middle reliever first, then your setup man, and then your closer, even if your season is on the line in the fifth inning, not the ninth.

This is why, despite Girardi’s bonehead decision, I’m not calling for his head. Because, after all, who would replace him?

Joe Torre made the same mistakes, so I was excited when Girardi, a small ball manager with the Marlins, came over to replace him. But the new Joe fell into the same patterns as the old one.

There are only a few managers in baseball these days that have the guts to think outside the box, and since Joe Maddon, Mike Scioscia and Ozzie Guillen are all currently employed, the Yankees can’t really do anything but bring Girardi back. After all, he did help lead the team to a World Series title last year.

You just have to hope he learns from his mistakes.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison. Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and authorhouse.com. Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress