National Pastime Archive: October 2008


  • KILL - Shallow sac fly ends epic slugfest

    Game 1 of the ALCS featured a thrilling pitcher's duel between Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tampa Bay's James Shields, and more of the same was expected in Game 2 with Josh Beckett taking the hill for the Red Sox and Scott Kazmir for the Rays. Instead, the A.L. East rivals treated fans to a five-plus hour slugfest that featured 24 hits, seven home runs and 17 runs. The Rays edged the Sox 9-8 when Fernando Perez raced home on B.J. Upton's shallow sac fly in the bottom of the 11th inning, tying the series at a game apiece as the teams head to Boston. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 11 2008

  • Dice-K pitches Sox to Game 1 win

    Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tampa Bay's James Shields went toe-to-toe in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series and Matsuzaka emerged victorious, blanking the Rays on four hits over seven innings while fanning nine to lift the Red Sox to a 2-0 win at Tropicana Field. In the N.L., the Phillies teed off on Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley for four runs in the second inning and four more in the third and held on for an 8-5 victory yesterday afternoon to take a 2-0 lead over the Dodgers as the series shifts to Los Angeles. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 11 2008

  • KILL - Dice-K pitches Sox to Game 1 win

    Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tampa Bay's James Shields went toe-to-toe in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series and Matsuzaka emerged victorious, blanking the Rays on four hits over seven innings while fanning nine to lift the Red Sox to a 2-0 win at Tropicana Field. The Phillies teed off on Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley for four runs in the second inning and four more in the third and held on for an 8-5 victory yesterday afternoon to take a 2-0 lead over the Dodgers as the National League Championship Series shifts to Los Angeles. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 10 2008

  • Hamels, homers lift Phils in Game 1

    Cole Hamels overcame a shaky start to toss seven innings of two-run ball and Chase Utley and Pat Burrell homered during a three-run sixth-inning rally as the Phillies beat the visiting Dodgers 3-2 to take a 1-0 lead in the National League Championship Series. Losing pitcher Derek Lowe breezed through the potent Phillies lineup for the first five innings before an error and a pair of gopher balls sent him to the showers in the sixth. Phillies closer Brad Lidge put a scare into the Citizens Bank Park crowd by allowing a pair of warning-track fly balls in the ninth before fanning rookie Blake DeWitt to nail down the win. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 10 2008

  • ALCS & NLCS predictions

    The four of us who write for this site - Jay LeBlanc, Nick Leco, Sean Raposa and Tom Stad - agonized over our Division Series predictions, crunching numbers and examining matchups while factoring in home-field advantage and playoff experience. Jay's girlfriend Amanda has a clue about baseball but that's about the extent of it, and just went with her gut feeling. Guess who correctly predicted the winners of all four series? Fortunately for the rest of us, the League Championship Series provide a mulligan. Here are the National Pastime staff's LCS predictions. Enjoy. Published October 9 2008

  • All-time October standouts

    Last week we took a look back at a few of the all-time greatest single-game postseason performances. This week, as we get prepared for the League Championship Series, we'll celebrate the accomplishments of some of the all-time greatest postseason players. These guys were made for October baseball and continually came through in the clutch when it mattered most. By Nick Leco. Published October 8 2008

  • KILL - ALCS & NLCS predictions

    The four of us who write for the site - Jay LeBlanc, Nick Leco, Sean Raposa and Tom Stad - agonized over our selections, crunching numbers, examining matchups and taking into account other factors like home-field advantage and playoff experience. Jay's girlfriend Amanda has a clue about baseball but that's about the extent of it, and just went with her gut feeling. Guess who correctly predicted all four series? Fortunately for the rest of us, the League Championship Series provide a mulligan. Here are the National Pastime staff's LCS predictions. Enjoy. Published October 7 2008

  • KILL - All-time October standouts

    Last week we took a look back at a few of the all-time greatest individual postseason performances. As the Division Series wind down and we get prepared for the League Championship Series, we'll celebrate the accomplishments of some of the all-time greatest postseason players. These guys were made for October baseball and continually came through in the clutch when it mattered most. By Nick Leco. Published October 7 2008

  • Red Sox, Rays to battle for A.L. crown

    Jed Lowrie singled in Jason Bay with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Red Sox to a dramatic 3-2 American League Division Series-clinching victory over the Angels last night at Fenway Park. Boston's win sets up an ALCS showdown between the defending World Series champs and their division rivals from Tampa Bay, who closed out their series against the White Sox with a 6-2 win earlier in the day behind two homers from B.J. Upton and some solid pitching by starter Andy Sonnanstine and relievers J.P. Howell and Grant Balfour. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 7 2008

  • Phillies punch ticket to NLCS

    Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a longball, Pat Burrell slugged two homers and Jayson Werth also went deep as the Phillies finished off the Brewers with a 6-2 win to advance to the NLCS against Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers. In the American League, Erick Aybar's RBI single in the top of the 12th proved to be the winning margin as the Angels extended their season with a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway. The White Sox also survived to play another day by beating the Rays 5-3 behind another clutch performance by lefty John Danks. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 6 2008

  • Dodgers complete improbable sweep

    The Cubs entered the postseason with the Senior Circuit's best record, and left it with their century-long championship drought intact. Hiroki Kuroda tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings and James Loney provided all the support he'd need with a two-run first-inning double as the Dodgers completed the sweep and punched their ticket to their first NLCS since 1988 with a 3-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. Starter Dave Bush came up big for Milwaukee in the other N.L. series as the Brew Crew kept its season alive with a 4-1 win over the Phillies. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 5 2008

  • KILL - Dodgers complete improbable sweep

    The Cubs entered the postseason with the Senior Circuit's best record, and left it with their century-long championship drought intact. Hiroki Kuroda tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings and James Loney provided all the support he'd need with a two-run first-inning double as Dodgers completed the sweep and punched their ticket to their first NLCS since 1988 with a 3-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. Starter Dave Bush came up big for Milwaukee in the other N.L. series as the Brew Crew kept its season alive with a 4-1 win over the Phillies. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 4 2008

  • Drew the hero as Sox outlast Angels

    J.D. Drew's two-run bomb to dead-center in the top of the ninth inning off new all-time single-season saves leader Francisco Rodriguez broke a 5-5 tie and proved to be the winning margin as the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series. The Angels' backs are firmly planted against the wall as the series shifts to Fenway Park, where Josh Beckett is expected to take the hill Sunday night for Boston. In the other A.L. series, Akinori Iwamura's two-run homer in the fifth put the Rays up for good as they went on to defeat the White Sox 6-2 to take a 2-0 lead as the series moves to Chicago. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 4 2008

  • KILL - Drew the hero as Sox top Angels

    J.D. Drew's two-run bomb to dead-center in the top of the ninth inning off new all-time single-season saves leader Francisco Rodriguez broke a 5-5 tie and proved to be the winning margin as the Red Sox beat the Angels 7-5 to take a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series. The Angels' backs are firmly planted against the wall as the series shifts to Fenway, where Josh Beckett is expected to take the hill Sunday night for the Red Sox. In the other A.L. first-round series, Akinori Iwamura's two-run homer put the Rays up for good as they went on to defeat the White Sox 6-2 to take a 2-0 lead as the series moves to Chicago. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 3 2008

  • Cubs, Brewers facing elimination

    So much for the Cubs being unbeatable at home. The Dodgers embarrassed Lou Piniella's club at Wrigley for the second straight night, this time by a 10-3 score, to take a 2-0 lead as their NLDS series heads to the West Coast. Home field advantage worked out for the Phillies, however, as Shane Victorino's grand slam off CC Sabathia - who, it turns out, is human after all - propelled Philadelphia to a 5-2 win and gave them a 2-0 lead as the series shifts to Milwaukee. In the A.L., Evan Longoria went deep in his first two at bats in support of James Shields as the Rays took Game 1 against the White Sox 6-4. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 3 2008

  • Epic postseason performances

    The 2008 playoffs kicked off yesterday, and only time will tell how memorable this year's postseason will be. The storylines to this point - from the Rays' improbable run to the Brewers' late-season comeback to the one-game playoff between the Twins and White Sox - are spectacular. But the question is, Will something happen during the next several weeks that will make this year's playoffs stick out in the minds of baseball fans for years to come? Only time will tell. For now, as we anxiously wait to see how the 2008 postseason plays out, let's take a look back at some of the greatest performances in playoff history. By Nick Leco. Published October 2 2008

  • Dodgers surprise Cubs at Wrigley

    James Loney's fifth-inning grand slam off Cubs starter Ryan Dempster erased a 2-0 deficit and gave the Dodgers a lead they would never relinquish as L.A. went on to take Game 1 by a 7-2 score. The loss came as a shock to the Cubs - who went 55-26 at Wrigley Field in the regular season - but was probably less surprising to their long-suffering fans. Elsewhere, Cole Hamels pitched the Phillies to a Game 1 win over the Brewers and Jason Bay's two-run blast provided all the offense starter Jon Lester would need as Boston topped the Angels. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 2 2008

  • Division Series predictions

    Just about every sports fan secretly believes they're Nostradamus. It's why sportsbooks thrive, millions play in fantasy leagues and crinkled $20 bills reluctantly change hands at work every Monday during football season. The truth, however, is that we watch sports because of its unpredictability; with apologies to "The Hills," sports are the closest thing to actual reality TV. So, if we're all just making educated guesses, what's the point of airing them out? Because it's fun, that's why. Before we all change our minds, here are the National Pastime staff's first round picks. Published October 1 2008

  • Who's got the goods?

    With the White Sox staking their claim to the A.L. Central crown in Game 163 and earning a date with Tampa Bay, our matchups are finally set. This postseason promises to put the finishing touches on what has been a glorious year for baseball, so make sure to finagle some couch allowance from the wife or get that DVR set up - you won't want to miss the next 30 days of baseball. So, which of the eight surviving teams has the goods to get the job done? Glad you asked. By Sean Raposa. Published October 1 2008

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