Tag Archives: Albert Pujols

20 points for 20 innings: Mets vs. Cardinals

It may be a little early to dive headlong into the MLB season, but those who waited have missed a classic day.

It starts in St. Louis, with a 2-1 Mets’ win over the Cardinals in 20 innings. That’s right, I said 20. And as a fan of the Cardinals, I was duty-bound to watch every second (except for the three 10-minute naps I took in innings eight, 11, and 13).

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Here are some notes for what you missed (and we’ve got 20 innings to recap, so we’ll be here a while):

– The game was scoreless for the first 18 innings, the longest scoreless game in 21 years.

– The Mets broke through in the 19th inning with a sacrifice fly from Jeff Francoeur, which was answered by an RBI single by Yadier Molina. Jose Reyes hit a sac fly in the 20th to earn the win for the Mets. Continue reading

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10 things to watch for the upcoming MLB season

As I watch what actually has turned out to be an interesting season opener between the Yanks and the Sox (in the Michael Wilbon voice), I guess there’s no better time than the present to give you my 2010 MLB season preview. Here are 10 storylines to watch as America’s pastime opens 2010 in earnest tomorrow.

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Repeat?

It’s been another busy winter for the Yankees, though this time with a tighter grip on the purse strings. The 27-time World Champs signed former farmhand Nick Johnson as their DH and added journeyman Randy Winn to provide a capable outfielder off the bench. But the other additions came through trades. Curtis Granderson, fresh off a career-high 30 home runs with the Tigers (written as he takes Josh Beckett deep with two outs in the second inning), was brought in for pitchers Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy, and top prospect Austin Jackson. The rotation was strengthened by the acquisition of Javier Vasquez (another former Yankee returning to the Bronx) for misfit Melky Cabrera. Vazquez and the reintroduction of Phil Hughes to the rotation stabilizes the back-end of one of the best starting fives in the AL, while Chan Ho Park and Joba Chamberlain’s return to the bullpen gives them depth there. Despite playing in baseball’s toughest division, the Yanks are still a front-runner to take home another World Series Title.

Phil me up again? Continue reading

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Hot Reads: January 5th, 2010

A little bit of holiday hangover has the first edition of Hot Reads of the new year behind schedule, but it’ll be well worth the wait.

The sporting landscape is dominated by two major events this week, the first and most prominent being the BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Texas on Thursday night. And while the coverage is far to ubiquitous for us to even begin to encapsulate, some of the most engrossing attention has focused, and deservedly so, on the Crimson Tide’s Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. His charisma has won over even the staunchest of Toby Gerhart supporters in the LA Times Bill Plaschke, and the relationship with his incarcerated father and former NFL-er Mark, Sr. gives Lenn Robbins of the New York Post a view of what’s going on inside the helmet.

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While Heisman finalists Ingram and Colt McCoy of Texas are dominating the hoopla, Ivan Maisel points out that Alabama’s quarterback Greg McElroy is not to be forgotten in the equation.

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Playoff Preview: Dodgers vs. Cardinals

Two of Major League Baseball’s oldest and most storied franchises meet up again in the NLDS. The Cardinals and Dodgers last met in the playoffs in 2004, when St. Louis tookCardinalsDodgers the NLDS in four games and eventually advanced to the World Series. Prior to that, you have to go back to 1988 for the last matchup between the teams, a classic that involved Ozzie Smith’s walk-off home run in Game 5 and Jack Clark’s game-winning dinger in Game 6 that sent the Cards to the World Series. The Cardinals also held the advantage in the season series, winning five of seven games.

The Cardinals win if: Their one-two punch of Chris Carpenter (17-4, 2.24 ERA) and Adam Wainwright (19-8, 2.63 ERA) continue pitching like the Cy Young candidates that they are. Carpenter will take the rubber in Game 1 with Wainwright pitching Game 2. Given the schedule, Carpenter could potentially pitch Game 4 on three days rest. If not, both would be available for Game 5. Their one-two punch in the middle of their line-up of Albert Pujols (.327, 47 HR, 135 RBI) and Matt Holliday (.313, 24 HR, 109 RBI) should be able to produce enough runs to win the series against the Dodgers inferior pitching as long as Carpenter and Wainwright continue to do what they have been doing all year.

The Dodgers win if: They can hit the Cardinals starting pitching. They have the young stars ready to be recognized nationally by performing in the post-season with Matt Kemp (.272, 31 HR, 106 RBI), Andre Ethier (.297, 26 HR, 101 RBI), and James Loney (.281, 13 HR, 90 RBI). And they of course have future Hall of Famer Many Ramirez (.290, 19 HR, 63 RBI). But Manny, along with much of the Dodger line-up, has been struggling as of late. But if things begin to start clicking and they all play to their potential, they can win this series.

The X-factor: Dodger starting pitching. Starters Randy Wolf (11-7, 3.23 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (8-8, 2.79 ERA) will be up against Carpenter and Wainwright, respectively. They need to be able to keep the Dodgers in the game for them to have any shot at winning this series.

The verdict: Cardinals in 4. Since July 22, when Manny came back from his 50-game suspension, the Dodgers are just 34-33. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are 40-25. They have better starting pitching and a line-up that is not struggling in the second half of the season. All signs point to a Cardinals win.

-Brad Allen ’13

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“Shaq Vs.” a decisive victory for the Big Aristotle

After an hour spent watching ABC’s newest foray into the world of sports entertainment, one thing is clear: Shaquille O’Neal is one of the funniest, most personable people ever to walk the earth. And his new show, “Shaq Vs.”, is the perfect blend of his athleticism and personality. Continue reading

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