1) The Dodgers, a mediocre team disguised as a good one, lay down and died against a team they should have beaten.
2) Philly's relentless offense and surprising pitching battered the Dodgers, reducing a very good team to mediocrity.
The truth is somewhere in the middle, I guess. Or else it's unknowable. For example: did the Dodger bats go to sleep at the wrong time, or did Philly's bullpen suddenly improve? Is Pedro a viable playoff starter, or did he take advantage of a slumping offense?
In any case, LA should have won game 1 (Torre left Kershaw in for too long) and game 4 (Broxton blew the save). Meanwhile, Philly should have won game 2. It's a confusing series all around, and I'd probably be wise not to analyze the outcome. The bottom line is that the defending champs are back in the Fall Classic, waiting for us, and they'll be the toughest squad we've faced yet.
SOMETHING CRUCIAL: Beating the Angels in 5 or 6 games. If it drags out to 7, CC will have to take the mound on Sunday night to keep our hopes alive. Even if we win that potential elimination game, it means he can't pitch until Game 3 of the World Series. Cliff Lee, meanwhile, will be ready to start Game 1 for Philly. I'm not saying AJ can't go toe to toe with anyone in Yankee Stadium, but CC has proved he's on a slightly higher echelon this October, and a championship becomes a lot harder if he's riding the pine in the Bronx.
Speaking of the big man, yesterday I ruminated on possible nicknames for him (beyond CC, which is an abbreviation), with the only rule being that they must pay homage to his bear-like appearance. 'Grizzly' was the best I could muster at post time, but even then I knew it didn't quite work. Well, after some discussion with my top advisers (Emily and Carrie), I'm happy to report that a moniker has been chosen. Behold:
Why Ursa Major?
1) It's a constellation. And what's in a constellation? Stars. CC is a star.
2) It has the word 'Major' in it, a nod to CC's size.
3) In Latin, it means 'Great Bear,' fulfilling the only qualification of our little project.
4) The constellation contains the Big Dipper, which is also an apt description of CC's size and pitching style.
5) It creates a vacancy for another Yankee, of similar but smaller pedigree, to be called 'Ursa Minor.'
Perfection, no matter what the doubters say. Start spreading it to the masses.
So, tonight. AJ vs. Lackey. We'll find out if the vital force is completely drained from the Angel machine after Tuesday's merciless shellacking, or if it just riled their feistier cogs. One thing is beyond debate- a quick start ensures that the crowd of fake SoCal fans will be defiantly out of the game, thundersticks stowed querulously between seats, fingers working like mad on self-pitying text messages. And the disembodied head of Pat Sajak will stare ominously from behind the plate...perhaps in DODGER'S GEAR??????????? GASP!
It also looks like he maybe has an Orioles hat in his lap. And now that I look at the URL, which is an Orioles fan site, that suspicion is confirmed. Pat Sajak is a mercenary bastard, whose loyalties fluctuate with the wind (read: the camera). Who better to symbolize the entire Angel fanbase? Or, indeed, the city of Los Angeles?
That's about all for today. The champagne is on ice in my refrigerator (not metaphor, not exaggeration), and here's hoping the cork pops tonight. If nothing else, a good party should get Swish out of his slump.