World Series, Baby!

I have to admit that of all the Philly teams with the potential to win a championship, I would have placed the Phillies third behind the Flyers and Eagles. That was prior to the season, before we saw how good the Phillies’ pitching staff was to become, particularly the bullpen. As the season began, most people thought the Phillies would give up a lot of runs and score a lot of runs, but virtually the opposite happened. The pitching staff kept the Phillies in almost every game, while the supposedly potent offense would go through long stretches of struggling to score runs and a frustrating inability to manufacture runs without the benefit of a home run. That has continued in the postseason to some degree, but the offense has also found a way to produce runs when it counts, particularly with two outs, as they showed again in Game 5 against the Dodgers.

Another sometimes unappreciated aspect of the Phillies postseason success is their fantastic defense, especially the infield. Feliz, for instance, may be mostly a waste at the plate, but at third base you know he’s going to gobble up almost everything that comes his way. Also, the ability to easily turn a double play to escape a jam cannot be underestimated—it can often mean the difference between winning and losing—and Utley and Rollins are among the best at it. Meanwhile, Victorino covers so much ground that he could practically play the entire outfield by himself, ala Bugs Bunny against the Gas House Gorillas. People can talk about offense and home runs all they want, but defense and pitching wins championships. The Dodgers found out the hard way in Game 5 what can happen when you don’t play good defense.

Speaking of pitching, Hamels is showing the world why he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Even when he didn’t have his best stuff early on in Game 5, he fought through and eventually dominated. When he’s on the mound you never have to worry about being out of a game. The outcome of the series with Tampa, however, will hinge on the performance of the 2-4 pitchers. Myers has actually been more of a hero at the plate than on the mound, but he has also pitched effectively enough to help the Phillies win his two starts. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to add to his postseason legend at the plate since both of his scheduled starts are DH games, but it also may allow him to pitch more deeply into games. Since coming back up from the minors, he has been mostly dominant (except for a couple of late season starts), so the hope is that we’ll continue to see that Myers and not the one who began the season. Moyer is perhaps the biggest question mark, as he has been shelled in his two postseason starts. He is the consummate professional, though, so I have faith that he can recapture the ageless magic he displayed during the regular season. Blanton, for his part, has been solid since coming to the Phillies. He eats innings and keeps the score manageable, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue.

It’s hard to make a prediction because I admittedly know little about Tampa as I don’t follow the American league much. What I do believe is that the Phillies’ pitching and defense will keep them in almost every game, and if the offense can keep coming up with clutch hits, they have a great chance. Everyone seems to be picking Tampa, but they also all picked the Dodgers, and we know how that worked out. I’ll say Phillies in 6.

Go Phils!

Writer, traveler, photographer, hiker, film/TV addict, amateur chef, casual gamer, and occasional tennis & saxophone player . . . in real life I do web design.

Posted in Baseball, Sports

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Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

Another prairie dog shot, this one in the iconic standing pose. Not as sharp as I would have liked, but not too bad for handheld at a 250 mm focal length.

#animals #devilstower #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica #Photography #prairiedogs #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #wildlife #Wyoming Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

There is a giant field beneath Devils Tower that is entirely covered with prairie dogs. I was so mesmerized by the little critters with their cute screeching noises that I almost forgot I was there to visit the tower.

#animals #devilstower #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica #Photography #prairiedogs #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #wildlife #Wyoming Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

This shot only features the top of Devils Tower, but I liked the variety of colors in the landscape.

#DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #travel #buttes #landscapes #photography #UnitedStates #NorthAmerica #RoadTrips #hiking #colors Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

A closeup shot of climbers scaling Devils Tower.

Pretty soon, climbing will no longer be necessary because, according to a sign I saw at the site, they are apparently installing an elevator to the top. Although it would be neat to see the top of the tower, I think it’s unfortunate that they are going to ruin its appearance with an elevator apparatus. I’m glad that I was able to see Devils Tower in all its natural glory before this happens.

#buttes #devilstower #hiking #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica
#Photography  #roadtrips #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming #climbing Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

A view of Devils Tower from my hike around the base. This is the opposite side of the tower from the shot I posted yesterday. The black dots in the sky are birds.

#DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #travel #buttes #landscapes #photography #UnitedStates #NorthAmerica #RoadTrips #hiking Devils Tower, Wyoming - August, 2017

A lifelong dream sparked by 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' was finally realized when I visited Devils Tower last August--40 years (and many plates of sculpted mashed potatoes) after I first saw the tower on film. I had no idea as I hiked around Devils Tower that just two days later there would be a 40th anniversary screening of the film at the tower itself. Just missed it!

#DevilsTower #Wyoming #NationalMonuments #CloseEncounters #travel
#buttes #landscapes #photography #UnitedStates #NorthAmerica
#RoadTrips Deadwood, South Dakota - August, 2017

I chose to stay in Deadwood during my three nights in South Dakota because I was a huge fan of the HBO show and have always been fascinated with the Wild West. I thought it would be cool to walk in the footsteps of Deadwood’s famous residents.

The drive in to town was interesting, as I steadily climbed the Black Hills while passing “Bighorn Sheep Crossing” signs. I only had time to explore the main strip because I spent most of my visit taking day trips out of town, so it’s not really fair to render a judgment without having taken the time to fully check out everything Deadwood had to offer. Still, I found it to be kind of a disappointment, mostly just your average casino town, which isn’t really my cup of tea.

Nevertheless, I saw several points of interest during my walks around town, such as the spots where Wild Bill was shot and where his assassin was caught, the Bullock Hotel that was built by Seth Bullock after the events of the show, and a few establishments named after notable people and places such as Charlie Utter and the Gem Theater. The recreated “gunfights” in the middle of town were also neat.

#deadwood #NorthAmerica #Photography #roadtrips #SouthDakota #Travel #UnitedStates #wildwest #historictowns #blackhills #oldwest Mount Rushmore, South Dakota - September, 2017

This is a zoomed-in view of Mount Rushmore from a lookout point a couple of miles away on Iron Mountain Road, a scenic mountain drive that I highly recommend taking before heading to the monument. If you go south to north, you will drive through a tunnel that perfectly frames Mount Rushmore; makes for a memorable photo. This shot may not look like a panorama due to its more squarish shape, but it was stitched together from two different photos.

#IronMountainRoad #MountRushmore #nationalmonuments #NorthAmerica
#panoramas #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #SouthDakota #Travel
#UnitedStates #mountains Portland, Oregon - August, 2017

The view from my apartment during my stay in Portland last summer.

#NorthAmerica #Oregon #panoramas #Photography #Portland #Travel #UnitedStates Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

Yellowstone Lake, the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in North America.

#yellowstonelake #nationalparks #NorthAmerica #panoramas #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming
#YellowstoneNationalPark #yellowstone #lakes #water Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

The Grand Prismatic Spring, one of Yellowstone's most stunning features, is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world. It's difficult for a ground-level photo to do it justice, but if you climb the hill visible in the background of this shot, you can get a nice bird's-eye view of its beauty.

#GrandPrismaticSpring #nationalparks #NorthAmerica #panoramas #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming
#YellowstoneNationalPark #yellowstone #hotsprings #MidwayGeyserBasin Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

Vertical panorama of the Dragon's Mouth Spring in the Mud Volcano area of Yellowstone. Pictures don't do justice to this remarkable thermal feature, but you can see how it got its name as smoke appears to shoot out of a gaping mouth.

#dragonsmouthspring #nationalparks #NorthAmerica #panoramas
#Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming
#YellowstoneNationalPark #yellowstone #hotsprings Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

This is a portion of Hayden Valley featuring rolling hills. Hayden Valley is one of the two prime locations for spotting wildlife in the park (the other being Lamar Valley), and one of the most popular destinations in the entire park.

#nationalparks #NorthAmerica #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming #YellowstoneNationalPark #haydenvalley #panoramas #hills Yellowstone National Park - August, 2017

This is Lamar Valley, one of the two prime locations for spotting wildlife in the park. The other is Hayden Valley. I saw wildlife in both locations, though Hayden Valley had much more.

#nationalparks #NorthAmerica #Photography #roadtrips #Scenic #Travel #UnitedStates #Wyoming #YellowstoneNationalPark #lamarvalley #panoramas
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