Travis praises the great Tiger Woods, makes a ridiculously early pre-season championship prediction, and pats himself on the back for another one.
· Actually having time to watch a game tonight, I went with the no-brainer choice of Boston and Philadelphia. Not much explanation’s needed for this one. It’s quite simply one of the most intriguing matches in baseball right now, and even featured an ace tonight in Cole Hamels.
· I did forget to enter one thing in my game notes, and that was the cameras continuously showing a guy wearing a pink gorilla suit, who I’m assuming is a regular, holding up a sign reading “COLE HAMELS IS A BEAST!” as Hamels exited the game. Sure, one fan per stadium like this is enough, but isn’t that one fan outstanding?
· Two other stories that I want to quickly mention today. First, I think we can name our favourites to win March Madness 2009 right now.
· Second, with Tiger Woods winning the US Open on the 91 st hole today, this is one of the first times that I’m virtually unable to describe what actually went on over those final two rounds for Tiger. He used all of his magic on Saturday to take the lead, and was downright ordinary the rest of the way, nailing the birdie putts when he had to. Needless to say, it was brilliant and one of those moments that you’re convinced is something special as you watch, but I’m pretty sure we were witnessing 45% Tiger over the past two days, and he still took that tournament. Sorry Roger Federer, but Tiger’s now topping the “Best Athlete in the World” rankings by a record margin at the moment.
44-28 Red Sox (Colon, 4-1, 3.41) @ 41-30 Phillies (Hamels, 6-4, 3.27)
· Boston is 1 st in the AL East (2.5 up on Tampa Bay), on a 2-game winning streak and are 7-3 in their last ten. Philadelphia is in 1 st in the NL East, three ahead of Florida, have lost their last two, and are 6-4 in their last ten.
· In addition to a weak slate today, I’m loving the opportunity to watch two first place teams (and not to brag, but my World Series prediction) playing each other…even if Bartolo Colon is pitching.
· Today’s broadcasters; Chris Wheeler, Tom McCarthy, and Gary “Sarge” Matthews on The CW Philly. Once again, I miss out on the rather enjoyable Boston commentators.
· Cole Hamels has a relatively smooth first inning, while Colon gives up homers to Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, and Philadelphia’s up 3-0. I have to say, it’s always fun to see Boston fall behind early.
· There’s comedy, there’s high comedy, and there’s Bartolo Colon swinging the bat, taking major hacks as his teammates crack up in the dugout.
· As much as I enjoyed Colon’s at-bat, I’m still unsure about the concept of interleague play. As much fun as it was to see the Chicago Cubs come into Toronto this past weekend, and as much fun as it will be to see Griffey and Chipper’s teams head in there next week, it takes a lot of the fun out of the World Series now that everybody’s played everybody. I still love the concept of having two teams who in no way could have faced each other in the season face each other for all the marbles. Plus, it gives us no way of knowing which league’s better before they face off.
· Gary Matthews has joined the booth in the top of the 3 rd. Who knows who was there before then.
· Sideline reporter Tom McCarthy gives a lengthy report as to why some of the outfield grass is discoloured. Instead of simply stating that the stage from a Jimmy Buffett concert held at the park caused it, McCarthy gives his own review of the concert (It was apparently great!) and compliments the versatility of Citizen’s Bank Park. It was much more than was needed, but if that’s what McCarthy needs to say to get TV time, so be it.
· In the bottom of the 3 rd, Howard goes yard again, and it’s 4-0 Phillies! I’m quite enjoying this. Most impressively, it’s Howard’s 16 th career multi-homer game. Hasn’t he only been in the Majors for four years? (Actually five, but I’ll disregard his 19 games and two homers in 2004)
· It’s officially time to have fun with the broadcast crew, as the play-by-play guy calls Boston’s center fielder “Jacob Ellsbury”. Props for watching the 2007 World Series.
· Bartolo Colon’s 0-for-6 in swings today, as he takes three more hilarious cuts, even losing his helmet on one of them. I’m praying he gets up a third time. The Red Sox can’t be enjoying it, though, as Sean Casey and Julio Lugo have again had one of their rallies spoiled.
· Juan Samuel, who will receive induction into the Phillies Wall of Fame in August joins the booth, and he’s a good guest to have in there. McCarthy and Matthews have knowledge of his career, and make reference to the days where Matthews was Samuel’s hitting coach in Toronto. Any late 90’s Blue Jays reference is always welcome at Travis Time.
· Boston gets to Hamels in the top of the 5 th with back-to-back Dustin Pedroia and JD Drew homers. For that good a pitcher, and one I’m thrilled to watch, his flaws have shown themselves today, as he hasn’t looked fantastic, having to get Colon out a couple of times to kill rallies.
· Due to back stiffness, Bartolo Colon is sadly done after four innings, with Javier Lopez coming in to pitch for Boston. Bartolo’s final line: 4 IP, 70 pitches, 6H, 4ER, 4:2 K/BB, 3HR, 4.09 ERA, positioned for the loss. Not a great start, but what a swing!
· Philly grabs the momentum back when Pat Burrell hits a fluky off-the-top-of-the-wall triple, but doesn’t score when Geoff Jenkins strikes out. Regardless, it’s obvious that this Philly team can compete, though Boston hasn’t had the chance to show us much without David Ortiz and late scratch Kevin Youkilis.
· It’d be an awesome week to be a Phillies fan. Boston during the week, the Angels on the weekend. It’s much better than that Milwaukee-Pittsburgh double Toronto’s getting this week.
· Rollins drives in two more with a two RBI single, and it’s 6-2 Phillies. Philly’s hitting might be the best in the Majors. Mike Timlin, who they’re getting to at this point, isn’t exactly a pushover, and they’re making it look easy.
· Those who aren’t big fans of trading outs for runs, witness the bottom of the 6 th. A Hamels sacrifice bunt sets up Rollins’ single, and after a Shane Victorino infield single, Chase Utley gets a fielder’s choice to score Rollins and make it 7-2. Right after that is a Howard triple (in which he again killed the ball) to score Utley and make it 8-2. I can’t think of the last time I saw the Red Sox get this badly slaughtered, but there’s no doubting this Philly offence.
· Hamels is over the 100 pitch mark and, after walking Drew, is pulled after seven plus a batter. The final line: 7 IP, 7H, 2ER, 5:2 K/BB, 2HR, 3.23 ERA, positioned for the win. It wasn’t always pretty, but he pitched well against a very good offense.
· Chad Durbin strikes out Alex Cora in the 9 th to end it, and it’s an 8-2 Phillies win.
· Final: Philadelphia 8, Boston 2. W: Hamels (7-4, 3.23) L: Colon (4-2, 4.09). Phi: Howard, 3-5, 2HR, 4RBI; Rollins, 3-5, HR, 3RBI. Bos: Pedroia, 3-4, HR, RBI.
· The Phillies verdict: The hitting is ridiculous, and Hamels is a pretty solid ace, so I’m looking forward to seeing other members of their rotation as the season goes on.
· The Red Sox verdict: Did not look good tonight, but they’ll piece it together. Hopefully they get Ortiz back, because the team’s nowhere near as strong without him. With Tampa Bay actually looking legit and the Yankees, as we figured they would, coming on, Boston isn’t as safe as they should be right now.
June teams left to watch (Cross means they’ve been watched, number in parentheses indicates total times watched, if more than one)
Chicago White Sox
All of Travis MacKenzie’s work can be found on his site, Travis Time. He also covers sports for the Brock Press. Any questions or comments directed towards Travis can be placed in comments on Travis Time, on any of his Armchair GM posts, or e-mailed to TravisTime@gmail.com