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A Quick Thought On Day 8 Of The Playoffs

Once again, it's Friday, and it's really really late, and I've been busy and I'll be busy again tomorrow, so I don't feel like writing very much. You'll live. There's only so much you can say about a game like that from an outsider's perspective, anyway. I mean, that loss was obviously devastating for the Rangers and for all of their fans, and we can understand that, but we can't tap into it. I can't pretend like the disappointment I felt tonight is in any way comparable to theirs. This was just one of those nightmare games that you watch and come away thankful that it didn't happen to your team instead.

Alternatively I guess maybe you were watching this game and rooting for the Yankees, and you found it much less heartbreaking and much more invigorating, but, whatever. That's a stupid thing.

This was an unbelievable rally that happened with unbelievable speed, and it's just another classic we can add to the list of classics played since last Wednesday. But rather than address how much of a classic it was, I just want to note one thing: this game was also unpredictable.

I don't mean the 5-0 lead and the 6-5 comeback. I mean this:

  • Josh Hamilton: three-run homer, walk
  • Curtis Granderson: 1-3, walk
  • Brett Gardner: 1-3, walk
  • Robinson Cano: 3-4, home run

Tonight's game featured CC Sabathia and C.J. Wilson. Two of the better lefties in the league, who pitch really well against left-handed hitters. After Wilson, the Rangers trotted out a bunch of lefty relief. So where did most of the offense come from? The left-handed hitters that, coming in, looked like they'd be shut down. Cano had a huge influence. Hamilton had a huge influence. Granderson and Gardner played their roles, as well. And who knew? Who could've predicted this? Who could've predicted that Josh Hamilton would turn on an 0-2 slider and yank it over the wall?

This isn't anything groundbreaking. It's a reminder that, when you're talking about one single game, literally anything can happen. Baseball, on an individual game level, is nearly impossible to predict. And so it follows that baseball, in best-of-five or best-of-seven series, is similarly impossible to predict. Series are more predictable than individual games, but individual games are about as unpredictable as things get, so that isn't saying much.

Game previews and series previews - they're all well and good. It's important to point out things you think could make a difference. But any key to any game or any series should be followed by a paragraph dedicated to answering the question: will this or will this not matter? And over single games, or single weeks, even the most perceptive, thoughtful point might amount to a hill of beans.

Left-handed hitters were working from a severe platoon disadvantage tonight. You wouldn't know it from the box score.