Are you not entertained?… ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!??
In the movie “Gladiator,” an aggravated Russell Crowe yelled this line at the blood-thirsty mob that lined the stadium seats of the Roman Coliseum after dispatching yet another victim onto the blood soaked floor.
While no one died yesterday, the Red Sox’ and Braves’ season and pride took a fatal blow as both teams completed a meltdown of epic proportions last night losing their final games of the season to the Orioles and Phillies respectively to miss out on the playoffs after holding at least 8.5 game leads in September.
And to answer Russell’s question, yes I was highly entertained.
It was an unforgettable night of baseball as at one time, four different games were being played that had huge playoff implications. Three of them came down to the final out.
The Cardinals easily dispatched the 102 loss Astros but the Braves and Red Sox both blew one-run leads in the ninth; the Rays came back from a seven-run deficit by scoring six runs in the eighth inning and tying the game in the ninth with two outs and two strikes on a homer from a guy that had not gotten a hit since April.
Oh and that was all within 30 minutes of each other.
The Red Sox completed their collapse just in time to walk down to the clubhouse and watch the Rays’ Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run in dramatic fashion as the ball just barely flew over the left field wall mere feet away from the foul pole.
While it absolutely was an incredible night for baseball, one that will not soon be forgotten by all those watching, there is still plenty of drama left.
The matchups for the playoffs are set. The Cardinals, beneficiaries of the Braves collapse, will travel to the Phillies for a five game set, while the D-backs will travel to the Brewers in the NL.
In the AL, the Rays will take on the Rangers and the Tigers will play the Yankees.
The prohibitive favorite for the NL title is the Phillies; but the AL is much more wide open. All four teams are seen to have a decent shot at representing the AL in the World Series.
Here is how I see it playing out:
Phillies over Cardinals in 4
D-backs over Brewers in 5
Tigers over Yankees in 4
Rays over Rangers in 5
Phillies over D-backs in 5
Tigers over Rays in 7
Phillies over Tigers in 6
As you can see, I agree with the conventional wisdom in that the four-headed pitching monster that is the Phillies rotation (Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt) will be able to pitch the Phillies past any challengers.