Athletics

MLB Postseason Breakdown: Yankees, Athletics, Orioles, Giants, Tigers, Nationals, Cardinals and More

Four 5-game series in the divisional round? Walk-off home runs being handed out like candy? Extra innings, divisional rivals, Jayson Werth’s beard, a slumping A-Rod, Josh Reddick’s hair, Coco Crisp, no sign of Billy Beane anywhere, Joba Chamberlain getting hit with a bat, Tim Lincecum pitching in relief, Raul Ibanez’s internal struggle with also being Vin from the Showtime series “Gigolos?” Good God, this baseball postseason really does have everything!

Dane Cook was right! There is only one October! It’s right after September and before November!

Even Bruce Springsteen has gotten in to the party! Did you know that we live in the Land of Hope and Dreams!? Neither did I, but I do now!

What else have we learned?

1. A-Rod is a mess of a baseball player

He was pinch hit for Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez in consecutive games, and now Chavez is starting Game 5 – a do-or-die elimination game – while A-Rod sits on the bench. That’s a trend, and poor A-Rod is looking like someone who either A. ages faster the most people or B. can’t play baseball at an greatest-of-all-time clip without drugs.

In other news, his lips have turned into a deeper shade of purple as the weather has gotten colder. They’re like one of those rings that changes color based on your mood.

2. Billy Beane thinks his team had a bad season

Second-lowest payroll in baseball? Check.

Winning the A.L. West? Check.

Losing in five games to big market team in the ALDS? Check.

Billy Beane never shown once by the camera because he was probably crushing the elliptical machine in the basement? Check.

This season was essentially the exact some movie as Moneyball, except they replaced Scott Hatteberg with Josh Reddick and Jonah Hill is skinny in real life and probably couldn’t bulk up in time for filiming.

3. Tim Lincecum was way too high to care that he was left out of the rotation

I mean, the guy had a 5.18 ERA in the regular season. The Giants couldn’t put him in the starting rotation and act like they were giving themselves the best chance to win simply because of the guy’s reputation. Yes, he won two Cy Young awards and was awesome both years.  But he wasn’t awesome this year, and whether that was the weed or the the fact that hes a very small person who inexplicably throws 96 mph is irrelevant.

Still, in a must-win Game 4 for the Giants, who came in and pitched 4.1 innings of relief, giving up just one run and earning the win. He struck out six, didn’t walk a batter and looked very Tim Lincecum-ish. That’s a good sign for the Giants, who were so down on Lincecum that they started BARRY ZITO in Game 4.

On a side note – does Zito buy his weed from Lincecum, or is it the other way around? Are they both so stoned all the time that they think weed is a performance enhancing drug? Which one is the better surfer? Can they both play guitar? Do the two of them and Cole Hamels sit around a campfire in the off-season and huff paint? Questions….

4. Justin Verlander is the best pitcher since Pedro Martinez

Mark it down. The guy won the Cy Young and MVP last year (first MVP since Clemens in 1986), is probably going to win the Cy Young again this year and he’s by the far the most dominant pitcher on the planet. It’s not even close.

He struck out 11 guys in complete-game domination of the A’s in Game 5 on Thursday, crushing any hope Oakland had right from the get-go. As soon as Detroit jumped ahead 2-0 early, the game was over. Verlander was in complete control, and nobody – especially in that A’s lineup – was going to hit him. In fact, when the A’s won Game 4, I couldn’t find anybody who thought they were going to win Game 5. You don’t beat Verlander in a game like that.

Here’s why the Pedro comparison holds up – he’s got four pitches that are better than everyone else’s. He doesn’t just have a dominating fastball or just have a dominating curveball. He’s got both of those, a nasty changeup and a slider that devastates right-handed hitters. When Pedro was making the rest of baseball look foolish from 1997-2002, he was doing it with that same array, basically. His changeup was the best in baseball, his fastball was high 90′s with absurd movement, his curveball was one of the best out there, and he could mix in a nasty cutter when he needed to.

Every time Pedro pitched, it was an event. Even if the Red Sox were out of the playoff race, it would be must-see TV. We never knew if Pedro was going to throw a perfect game with 25 K’s or just one-hit the Yankees in the Bronx with 17 K’s. But he was almost always special every time he took the mound.

Verlander is like that now, and that playoff performance was one for the ages. Hopping into Pedro territory is no laughing matter, I assure you. Verlander’s there.

5. Bruce Springsteen is the new Dane Cook

Just like Dane informed us five years ago that there was only one October, something that most us never knew (“There aren’t three Octobers? What the hell?), the Boss has told us about the “Land of Hope and Dreams.” Yeah…it’s a fine song. I don’t need to hear every three minutes for 12 consecutive hours.

Why TBS and TNT think this is a good strategy is beyond me. I’m sure they received a ton of backlash from the Cook spots, so pumping Bruce at us like we need to hear that song in order to stay alive is the next logical move? Get a grip. This is the Land of Hope and Dreams, and in this land we only have one October. Do you really want to spoil our ONE October by making us hate the Boss? Seems positively un-American.

6. Mike Rizzo should send Jayson Werth a gift basket

Jayson Werth makes far too much money, but his walk-off home run on Thursday night made Mike Rizzo the happiest man in the the District of Columbia. No, not just because he’s the GM of the Nationals and they won the game.

You see, if the Nationals lose this series, Rizzo is going to get KILLED all over the country for his Stephen Strasburg decision. Right or wrong, Scott Boras-induced or not, it’s controversial, and the Nats were on the verge of getting bounced by a Wild Card team in the NLDS while their best pitcher sat on the bench and never threw an inning prior to Werth’s walk-off shot.

The two games the Nationals have lost in this series have been when the Cardinals scored 12 and 8 runs. You think Strasburg could have helped that a little bit?

It’s all for naught if the Nationals lose to the Cardinals today, but Rizzo at least held off the scrutiny for one more day.

7. The Orioles lineup is AWFUL

I’m rooting for the O’s. I swear I am. But watching last night’s game, it seemed like every single inning Nate McLouth and Chris Davis were coming up, and the side was retired in order. It’s truly out of this world that they managed to win a game while McClouth and Davis each got 14 at-bats and had a combined two hits.

Incredible stuff. Either way, they’re one game away from beating the Yankees, so I’ll wear my orange proudly. This is the Land of Hope and Dreams, after all.

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