Since my last two posts about someone being eliminated blew up in my face, I thought I'd try a little reverse psychology. :-) Yesterday, we saw several teams mount dramatic comebacks as others held on just to stay in the game. Who will go home, who will move on to the next round? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? The world may never know....
Match 1 - We're here in the bottom of the third. MMosley watched his team fall behind 5-2 to Madding in the top of the inning. The Blue Jays get last bats, so all of the remaining batters go to them. The big question: Will MMosley get to play them all? Madding is hoping the answer is "no." The Blue Jays send Number 28 to the plate for first bats. The pressure is on. Let's see how he handles it. The pitcher comes over the top, sending the ball screaming to the plate. Twenty-Eight swings his bat around, makes contact, and sends this ball out of the park! A home run! The hometown crowd is going crazy here. Number 19 comes to the plate with his team now trailing by one less run. Madding wipes his palm across his face in frustration with his pitcher. Not bothered at all, the pitcher winds up and releases. The batter tries to duplicate his teammate's feat, but he misses the ball - strike one. The next pitch comes in just missing the outside corner for a ball. One-and-one, the count. Here's the pitch, and the batter fouls it off into the crowd. One ball, two strikes. The next pitch misses high. With two balls and two strikes, the batter needs to be careful here. Here comes the pitch.... And the batter goes down swinging. That's the first out. Madding seems pleased with this set of pitches, but he would really like to see his pitcher put this one away for good.
MMosely calls Number 16 to bat next. The pitcher chucks the ball, and the batter connects. He clears second base and reaches third on a slide, in what has become something of a staple in these first-round games: a late triple! The Blue Jays have one man on with one out. There are two batter spots left on this card. Can the Jays make productive use of them? Let's find out how Number 18 answers the call. The pitcher winds up, throws, and watches as the batter sends the ball straight up the third base line to the waiting baseman who sends the ball to first for the easy ground out. Two outs, down by two, and a runner on third. It has all come down to Number 32. The last batter, who happens to sport the last number, has it all riding on him. What is he going to do here? The crowd is on their feet. Here's the pitch. The batter swings and hits the ball high and deep! The right fielder turns, running for the wall. The ball is back, but is it high enough to clear the wall? The fielder climbs the wall, leaping outstretched as far as he can. He reaches.... And CATCHES THE BALL for the final out! HO-LY COW! What a play!
Madding's A's rush onto the field and congratulate each other on an incredible first round. The Blue Jays head into the locker room, the first team eliminated from the scratch-off tournament. MMosely will not go home empty-handed, however. MMosley receives a 2001 Leaf Limited Rookie Game-Used pants card of Mets' Alex Escobar (#064/650).
Congratulations to Madding who receives a 1999 Skybox Autographics Cardinals' Luis Saturria, PLUS he moves on to the next round!
Match 2 - Welcome to the bottom of the second inning in this match-up between WhiteSoxCards' Mariners and Joey's Rangers. Neither team has been able to generate any runs, but as we have seen, that can change with the simple scratch of a coin. As Joey pondered his choices, he used the following rationale: "Alright, lets go with my favorite number 7, my softball jersey number 15 chosen in honor of Thurman Munson and a random number 22." So, he leads off the bottom of the second with Lucky Number 07. Let's see if Joey still feels the same way about the number after this at-bat... The pitcher winds-up comes around and releases. The batter swings, popping the ball up into the air. WhiteSoxCards' defense easily makes the grab, keeping the score at nothing-nothing. Next up is Number 15 to see if a connection between baseball and softball leads to points on the board. The pitcher checks his sign and gives the nod. He sets. Here's the wind-up. The pitch is fouled off. The batter gets ready for the next pitch. It's a heater that blows right by him for a called strike. As the players prepare for the next pitch, the home crowd begins to chant, trying to rally the batter into making something happen. Here's the pitch. The batter swings and misses. That's a strikeout for the pitcher, and that makes two outs for the Rangers. Will their next player be able to keep the team alive here, or will WhiteSoxCards be the one to pick the next batters? Joey closes his eyes, spins around, and stops at Number 22. The batter looks ready to knock one out of the park, but let's see if he can pull it off. The pitcher takes a breath and throws the pitch. Number 22 swings the bat and makes solid contact! He sends the ball into the air and it drops into the gap for a base hit.
Joey has a runner on with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. We're still scoreless her, but things have got to turn around soon, I'm sure.
Joey is still up to bat, and has a plethora of players to pick from, people: 06, 09, 10, 11, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32
Match 3 - We've got a tied game in this match, too, folks. Only here, the score is 2-2. TasteLikeDirt is still up to bat in the top of third. He's got a man on third and no one out. ChrisB has got to stop the comeback and then get things going for his team if he expects to pull this off. TasteLikeDirt's Braves send in Number 02 to see if he can keep the outless streak running. The pitcher checks the runner (though we all know he's not allowed to steal...), and here's the pitch. The batter swings hard and connects with the ball. Unfortunately, this one doesn't even make past the pitcher's mound, and the pitcher catches the pop out. That's one down here in the third. Up next is Number 23. ChrisB looks pretty confident as he watches to see what his pitcher is going to do. The pitcher throws and everyone in the house watches as the ball soars deep into stands for a two-run homer! The Braves take the lead 4-2 with one out. The home crowd boos the Jays' pitcher as Number 32 comes up to the plate. The batter gives a little wave to the crowd, taunting them a bit. He gets into the box, and the pitcher brings his arm back, and launches the ball. The batter swings around, but misses the pitch. The next pitch gets the batter swinging as well, and this does not look for the Braves. They've got two outs, but they lead by two as well.
We're here in the top of the third inning with two outs. WhiteSoxCards leads ChrisB 4-2 with no one on base. There are fewer and fewer batters to choose from.
Will WhiteSoxCards be able to pick his next three batters to extend the lead, or will they end the inning and turn it over to ChrisB? WhiteSoxCards can choose three of the these guys: 05, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 19, 24, 26, 29
Match 4 - We're watching quite a game develop here in Match 4. Chris(M) has taken an incredible 5-1 lead over Motherscratcher. There's one out as we wait to see who Chris(M) brings into the game. He looks over the player list, and chooses Number 03 to bat next. Will the White Sox keep slamming the Royals, or can the Royals put a cork in this? The pitcher gathers himself, but appears completely deflated. Here's his pitch. The batter swings and sends this ball sky-high! Too bad it doesn't have any distance whatsoever. The Royals easily catch the pop fly for an out. That's two outs with no one base. Number 09 steps in for the next pitch. The pitcher sends a curve ball down the lane and the batter stares at it, letting it go by for a strike. The next pitch is a low fastball that the batter can't catch up with, and he swings for strike two. The batter fouls the next pitch off into the stands. The pitcher is ahead of the batter 0-2. Here's a changeup that the batter gets a piece of and sends out into the stands. He's keeping alive with these foul balls, but how long can he keep doing that? The next pitch is high for a ball. The catcher calls a timeout and heads to the mound for a little conversation. The batter adjusts his glove and gets ready to bat again. The Royals make a defensive shift as the pitcher prepares his next throw. He takes the sign. Here's the throw... The batter swings just over the ball and strikes out to end the inning!
We are heading for the bottom of the third and the Royals have a LONG way to go, trailing the White Sox 5-2. Can Motherscratcher put Chris(M) out of the tournament, or will Chris(M) seal the fate of his adversary?
Motherscratcher has last bats and is losing, so he will get to possibly play all the remaining batters. Choose all the players, putting them in the order you'd like them to bat: 14, 19, 23, 28, 31
Match 5 - Erin says she is crossing her fingers in hopes that her girls don't embarrass her, though even she admits it may too late for that. Voltaire sure hopes so. His Brewers lead 4-0 as we head into the third inning. Will he spell the end of the line for the girls? Or will the Oriole girls be the darlings of the game? Erin calls in "Sweet Sixteen" to bat first. As Number 16 comes to bat, the pitcher stares her down. Undaunted, she swings the bat a couple times, and waits for the pitch. It comes in as a low slider that the batter tries to hit, but she only catches the space between the bat and the ball. Strike one. The next pitch comes in and it's another strike. Erin looks on, almost sensing what is coming next. And sure enough, Voltaire's pitcher sends the batter down swinging. That's one away. Erin calls up Number 05 next. In blackjack, she'd have twenty-one and win the hand. Let's see if Number Five can bring some luck to the Orioles batting. The pitcher comes around and throws a fastball inside. The batter swings and catches enough of the ball to send it over the first baseman's head for a single! And, as if Erin WAS playing blackjack, she points to Number 21 to get in the game. The question is whether Twenty-One will be a hit or a bust. Will she move that runner and keep things alive for the O's, or will she bring the Brewers one out closer to victory? The pitcher, looking for the latter, winds up and throws. The batter swings. She connects! The ball goes flying deep toward the centerfield, but has no chance of being caught by anyone other than a lucky fan sitting in the bleachers! Lucky 21 knocks a two-run home run!
The Orioles pull within two runs and have only one out. Voltaire is not happy about this development, but still has confidence that his defense will get them out of this game with a victory.
Erin's girls have done anything but embarrass her here in the top of third. Who she chooses now could mean the difference between an incredible comeback or an agonizing defeat: 06, 09, 11, 18, 19, 22, 27, 28, 29, 32
Match 6 - Dayf brings his crew into the third inning, leading the game by one run. Can Kevin end the game here and move on to the next round, or will Dayf mull some magic out of that old black hat? He sends in Number 11 to get things started. The Marlins pitcher misses outside for ball one. The batter lays off the next one, and it misses low. The pitcher takes a moment to regroup. He fires in the next pitch and it's fouled off. The count is 2-and-1. Here's the pitch... Swing and a miss! The batter steps out of the box for a second and gets ready for the next pitch. Here's the wind-up and the pitch... It sails high for another ball. Full count with no outs and nobody on base. The pitcher takes the sign. The batter sets in for the pitch. The pitcher throws and the ball misses inside, sending the batter to first on an inning-opening walk. The Rockies have a man on as Dayf calls Number 28 to the plate. Will Twenty-eight be able to move that runner or will he go back to the dugout? Here's the first pitch. Strike one. The pitcher gets the ball. Here's the pitch - a high foul ball into the first base crowd. The pitcher is ready with an 0-2 count. He winds, throws, and catches the batter looking. Strike three! That's one out with one on as the Rockies trail 4-3. Dayf has secured at least one more batter in the inning. Let's see if he'll get to send more than one additional player after this set. He's hoping that Number 09 can get things rolling here. Unfortunately for the Rockies, the Marlins pitcher gets Number Nine to pop the ball right to the shortstop for an easy out.
Top of the third, two outs, and a runner on first. Can Dayf make something happen here folks? Will he force the Marlins to bat in the bottom of the inning, or will Kevin's crew put the nail in the coffin? We'll find out soon!
Dayf has plenty of players to choose from, but which ones will pull him out of this? He'll pick three from these: 12, 14, 15, 17, 25, 26, 29, 30