The Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers are both a single win away from advancing in October baseball. The Rays sunk the White Sox last night, in game 2 of the ALDS, securing a two game advantage in the series. The Dodgers also have a perfect record, taking the first two games of the NLDS from the Cubs at the infamous Wrigley. The Dodgers have been “rocking out” at the plate outscoring the Cubs 17-5 after only two games.
Why have the Dodgers been so hot in post season play? You might just want to thank the Dodgers entire organization for acquiring Manny Ramirez. Experience combined with his “larger than life bat” can pose a threat to any team’s defense. Ramirez has gone deep twice against the Cubs, leading the offensive attack for LA, while in the pitching department, Chad Billingsley and the entire Dodgers pitching staff has been nothing short of stellar. As we all know, pitching and defense will win games, and with offensive factors like Manny Ramirez streamlining the next fastball out of the park - you can become the team to beat!
Now to the Rays. If you are familiar with word analogies, Akinori Iwamura has been like salt is to popcorn for Tampa Bay - absolutely essential! Friday came with a great start for the White Sox and optimism floated throughout the entire dugout until Akinori smashed a go-ahead two run shot that eventually led his team to a 6-2 victory over Chicago. Talk about a tough break! The momentum that the Sox possessed coming into the playoffs has now dwindled to merely a trickling stream.
Why not so great in ‘08? According to ESPN, hopes were set so high for the Cubs, that the city of Chicago had to limit alcohol sales around Wrigley field during the event of a clinching game. Fans meant business! Celebrations of the Cubs clinching and advancing have been prepared by millions, and now after 100 years those fans may need to live their lives one more year without a championship. Three straight wins and an offensive explosion from the Cubs will now be needed in order to even think about lifting the curse.
The White Sox also had great expectations from the city of Chicago, but the Sox have not been able to execute at the plate. Friday night came and left 12 runners stranded on base and not a single hit was recorded for extra bases. The team will now head home to Cellular Field for game 3 and 4 hoping for a miracle. Unfortunately, for the Chicago clubs, only four teams ever have come back from a 2 game deficit to win a division series.