October 05, 2010
Played my last scramble of the year yesterday, we finished -10. We would've been lower however Rochester weather decided to give us rain, wind, and cold for about 6 holes yesterday. Fortunately two of my partners played well through that and we were -1 through those 6 holes. We ended up finishing second in a pretty tough field. This tournament has always had 2 divisions however this year they meshed everything together to avoid sandbaggers so we were compete ting against a few groups with scratch golfers.
Our group consisted of about a 10, 13, 16, and 20 so it was fun competing with those guys. We actually went on a pretty awesome birdie run where one of my partners canned a 35 footer and then I followed it up with a 25 footer. Going into 18 we figured we needed a birdie to have a shot. It's a 154 yard par 3 into the wind that always plays longer. So playing about 175 I hit a 6 iron, off the club I thought it was perfect it was a low ball flight and I thought it was going to hit short of the green and run up. Well, thanks to our rainy October the ball hit and just plugged into the ground. Unfortunately that was our best shot and we unded up paring the hole. Was a blast though.
Before the tourney I couldn't sleep so instead of watching a TIVOd Ryder Cup I watched it live. It was incredibly entertaining. Rickie Fowler's comback was awesome and I thought Mahan was going to perform much better down the stretch. Afterwords I was thinking about what has more pressure, being tied going into the 18th at Augusta or being in the last group in singles to decide the Ryder Cup. After thinking about it it seems like the ladder and that's what most pros seem to think as well. Reading the WSJ today at breakfast US Captain Corey Pavin called it the most pressure packed experience in golf. Fellow teammate Stewart Cink said something like only 50% of golfers would say that would want to be in the last match and only 10% would actually mean it.
Golf is such a slow sport similar to baseball so you have so much time to think as you're walking up to your ball, before your shot, etc. I can't imagine how much the pressure mounted after he won the 15th. It was pretty obvious it was there as he came up short at 16 and 17. I'm not sure hes hit a chip like he did on 17 since he was 8. However I can't help but think that this experience will help him in the future and suddenly playing in the last group of a major will be a lot easier for Mahan.
I have an interview with the company I mentioned earlier next week. I've never actually had a job interview before so I really don't know what to expect. I'm excited and I'm sure I'll be fine. Knock on wood.
As for my playoff preview, I'm not really gonna give any great statistical analysis. I've studied it a bunch but I'll give a quick synopsis with my opinion and then give a prediction.
I really have no idea how this one is going to turn out. I can see Yankees in 3, Twins in 5, or anything in between. People don't realize how good Francisco Liriano is and he'll do fine in his matchups against the Yankees. A wild card here is Girardi in my opinion. He tends to make a few too many pitching changes and his best 3; Robertson, Chamberlain, and Rivera are pretty good. Most are anticipating these games to be close so he can't only burn Robertson or Chamberlain for 1 or 2 outs.
One factor that favors the Yankees is Sabathia and Petitte are left handed and the Twins line-up is very lefty dominated. Mauer has no power against lefties, Kubel sucks against them, and Thome is much worse. Cuddyer has to step up against these guys. The Twins bullpen isÂ underrated but I'm not sure on Jon Rauch's status. He'll probably be on the roster but no clue how effective he'll be. I'm going to say Twins in 5 as just a gut feeling but you couldn't pay me to bet this series.
Watching the Rays a bunch this year, they win a ton of close games. Soriano and Benoit aren't as good as their numbers indicate but they only have to keep it up for another month. Texas is putting a ton of their hope into Cliff Lee. He was great last year in the postseason for Philly but hasn't been nearly as good in Texas. If he wins both of his starts they have a chance but I don't see that happening.
The Rays line-up isn't that good but they run you to death on the bases. Also, who knows how healthy Hamilton is after his rib injury. I see Price beating Lee one time this series and wouldn't be surprised with a sweep but I'm going to say Tampa in 4.
The Reds aren't that good. They play in the ridiculously weak NL central and probably wouldn't have made the playoffs if they were in any other division in baseball. However they can hit a little. Votto, Bruce, Rolen, Stubbs, etc all have homerun power. However their pitching is really weak. Chapman is intriguing and I'm a big Travis Wood fan but Arroyo is going to struggle especially against the Philadelphia lefty laden line-up. Plus Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt isn't a bad 1-2-3.
The Phillies are a really good team. Their line-up is very good, they hit both lefties and righties well, and their bullpen has suddenly been stabilized. I hate predicting sweeps but I'm going with Phillies in 3.
I would have a healthy Braves team as the favorite to win the NL. However Jones is out for the year, Prado is banged up and hasn't been good at all September, and this is a team that might be starting Rick Ankiel and Melky Cabrera in the same OF. The Giants despite losing 2 of 3 in San Diego to end the year are playing good baseball. The only thing that bothers me is their line-up isn't that deep although getting Torres back helps.
Both these teams bullpens are very good. I have to give the starting pitching edge to the Giants. Lincecum has seem to figure it out since his slump, Cain can be very good, and if Sanchez is anywhere near the plate he's tough to hit. The Braves starting pitching is also tough and that will keep them in ball games. This should be a very hard fought series but I think the Braves are just outgunned here. Giants in 4.
Life is a long lesson in humility.
James M. Barrie