Each morning during the playoffs, we'll attempt to answer some questions about the playoff games that absolutely nobody asked. This could be helpful and fun or this could be painful and uninformative. Either way, it's another listicle in the listicle-ful sportsblogosphere.
Three more baseball games on the second day of playoff baseball kept things going quite smoothly for some and made things far worse for others. It's a trend, people! Look, teams from the Central division are now 0-5 while teams from the East are 4-0. Is there something in the water supply between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois that's making those three teams more prone to sucking? Amirite folks?
Late last night, the Dodgers toppled the Cubs to go up 2-0 in their series. During the daytime, the Rays outlasted the White Sox to take a 1-0 lead. And in between, the Phillies slammed CC Sabathia and the Brewers, earning a hearty 2-0 series lead.
To the questions! And answers!
- Which player most contributed to his team's win? Lots of candidates today, but I'm going with Shane Victorino. Say what you want about Evan Longoria's pair of ding-dongs and 3 RBI against the ChiSox but Victorino's tetra tot was massively unexpected and so very important in ruining CC Sabathia's day. Don't forget, he also had two doubles, two stolen bases and a walk in the game. Runner-up: Longoria
- Which player(s) most contributed to the opponent's win? As bad as Sabathia was (and there's a guy who really doesn't perform well in the playoffs), the Chicago Cubs infielders get the evil eye from me and every other baseball-blogger who picked them to advance to the World Series based on their strong team defense. Four errors? Really, Chicago Cubs infielders? That's how you reward my confidence in your defensive efficiency? Mark Derosa's oopsie in the second inning set up Dodgers catcher Russ Martin's big bases-clearing 3 RBI dubble. That put the Cubs in an early hole. They never found a ladder long enough to get out. Runner-up: Sabathia
- Between the two NL Central teams, who is in less trouble? Despite leaving their comfort zone of Wrigley down 2-0, I still believe that the Cubs can win this series. Dick Harden and Ted Lilly need to use Dodger Stadium as their pitcher-friendly buddy and keep the Dodgers strong offense in check. Translation: don't pitch to Manny. Ever. As for the Cubs offense, maybe it's time for Sweet Lou to bench Fukudome, shift Derosa to the outfield and go with Mike Fontenot in the lineup.
- Will the White Sox win any games at all?: Not if Tampa's pitching staff is keeping things down. Tater tots by Dewayne Wise and Paul Konerko led to all four of the White Sox runs. This weekend, Matt Garza and Scott Kazmir need to do whatever it is that pitchers do to prevent home runs from being hit. Perhaps use some witchcraft? I don't know. But if they are gonna give up ding-dongs, make 'em solo dongs.
- Which television announcing team has impressed you the most so far? I haven't had a chance to listen to Don Orsillo and Hal Reynolds announce the Tampa/Chicago series, so I'm going to pick Chip Caray and Buck Martinez, who are handling the Boston/Anaheim series. Buck has that distinct voice that really says 'baseball' to me, while Chip isn't nearly as dumb as people claim him to be. Dick Stockton has also done well despite the nattering nabob Ron Darling sitting to his right. Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with the gentlemen that TBS has tabbed to call these games. Especially Sager.
No afternoon games today so there will be no afternoon liveglog.