Three teams were quickly eliminated from the playoffs, with the Dodgers bouncing the Cardinals, the Yankees beating the Twins, and the Angels defeating the Red Sox. All three of those series went the minimum three games.

The most heartbreaking loss had to be the Cardinals loss in game two of their series. Holliday had hit a homer earlier in the game, and with two outs in the ninth inning, a ball was hit directly at him for a certain out. Unfortunately, Holliday lost track of the ball. It bounced off his, er, “cup” and the batter reached base. A rally ensued, and the Dodgers won the game. Holliday’s mis-play didn’t hand the game to the Dodgers – it merely gave them life. If the pitcher manages to strand that baserunner, we forget about the Holliday play. Unfortunately, the sequence of events that follow was walk, single (tying run scores), passed ball, walk (winning run scores).

Perhaps Holliday will want to avoid leaving St. Louis on a bad note and will sign with them as a free agent after the season. If Holliday doesn’t sign with the Rockies (unlikely) I’d love to see him with the Cardinals. The Cardinals fan I conversed with after the game don’t seem to be turning Holliday into a goat.

Alex Rodriguez appear to be making strides toward removing the label of post-season choke artist from his resume (an unfair label, in my opinion). In the three games against the Twins, A-Rod homered twice and drove in six runs. In game two, he accounted for all of the scoring in regulation with an RBI single in the sixth and a game-saving 2 run homer in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings, where the Yankees won on a Mark Teixeira homer. Give the game two game ball to A-Rod.

One series is still active – the NLDS series pitting the Phillies against my Rockies. In game one, Cliff Lee pitched a great game. Lee went the distance in the game and allowed just 1 run on 6 hits and walked none, while throwing 79 of his 113 pitches for strikes. I tip my hat to Lee.

In game two, Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook was sailing along through five innings, allowing just four hits and two walks. The Phillies got three hits to start the sixth inning (all three runs would score) and Cookie headed for the showers. The Rockies would hang on to win the game 5-4. The big hit in the game was a two run dinger by catcher Yorvit Torrealba off Phillies starter Cole Hamels. The following day, Hamels became a father for the first time. Congratulations, Cole.

The series was supposed to resume on Saturday. To my great disappointment, this did not happen. The game was snowed out, pushing game three of the series to Sunday and game four to Monday. An interesting side note is that that Pedro Martinez – noted for his dislike of cold weather – was the scheduled starter for Saturday. When the weather pushed the games back, Jay Happ was put into the starter’s role for game three (with Lee and Hamels the likely starters for games four and five.

Game three was a back and forth game early, with both starting pitchers gone by the end of the 4th inning. The Phillies pulled ahead on a 9th inning sacrifice fly RBI by Ryan Howard in the 9th inning and Brad Lidge stranded Carlos Gonzalez and Eric Young Jr to end the game and notch the save.

The runner who scored the winning run for the Phillies (Jimmy Rollins) moved to third base on an awkward dribbler of an infield hit by Chase Utley. It is unclear whether the ball hit Utley while he was in the batter box or not. If it DID hit Utley, it should have been ruled a foul ball, and the at bat would have resumed. However, the umpire apparently believed that it did not hit Utley, which is possible. Once of the announcers noted that a batter who is hit by a foul will often “freeze” in the batter’s box. For most batters, this is true – but Utley is a savvy player. If the ball did hit him (which, agin, I admit, it might not have) he may have realized that the smart move was for him to pretend that it hadn’t, and race toward first base and allow Rollins to move to third.

The Rockies and Phillies will face off again on Monday. Hopefully the Rockies can pick up a win against Cliff Lee and push the series back to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the lefthanded starters for the Phillies are forcing some of our good bats to the bench because of matchup reasons.

The start times for this series have been awful. Two early afternoon starts in games 1 and 2 and a very late start time for Sunday’s game. The game started at 8 PM Denver time, which is 9 PM in the land of Kosmo and 10 PM in Philadelphia. The game was quite long, ending more than four hours later. 1:15 is kind of late for me to stay up … but luckily I don’t have to work in the morning!

(Yep – I finished writing this up after the game – it’s 1:25 local time right now!)

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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