30 Sep

here we go

The Philadelphia Phillies seem to be the consensus pick to win the World Series, which may be an unwanted burden. And when it comes to Mississippi connections in the MLB postseason, the Phillies are certainly the team in the center ring. Meridian Community College product Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40 ERA) is Philly’s No. 2 starter, and Holmes CC alumnus Roy Oswalt (9-10, 3.69) factors in as the fourth starter. He might not work in the National League Division Series against St. Louis, but you never know. Former Jackson Mets manager Sam Perlozzo is the Phillies’ first-base coach, so we’ll see plenty of him. The wild card Cardinals have ex-General Lance Berkman, who had a monster season (.301, 31 homers, 94 RBIs). He’s a money player, so don’t surprised if he comes up big against the Phillies. Milwaukee had former Itawamba CC standout Tim Dillard (4.08 ERA in 24 games) on its roster at season’s end, but it’s unlikely he’ll be on the postseason roster unless there’s an injury. In the American League, former Generals ace Freddy Garcia (12-8, 3.62) is penciled in as the New York Yankees’ No. 3 starter and will go against Detroit on Monday. Garcia, an under-the-radar talent, is 145-95 in a big league career that goes back to 1999. Former Generals infielder Carlos Guillen, who was traded with Garcia from Houston to Seattle in the Randy Johnson deal in 1998, has a calf injury and won’t be active for the Tigers until the ALCS, if then. Guillen’s season (.232 in 28 games) was wrecked by injuries. Texas features a pair of Magnolia State connections: former Mississippi Braves lefty Matt Harrison (14-9, 3.39) and Mississippi State product Mitch Moreland (.259, 16, 51). Harrison lines up as the No. 4 starter. The Rangers’ lineup is so stacked that Moreland had trouble getting at-bats down the stretch. But the lefty-hitting first baseman/outfielder had an excellent postseason as a rookie in 2010, and Rangers manager Ron Washington surely won’t hesitate to run him out there. Texas’ foe in the ALDS is Tampa Bay, which features rookie left fielder Desmond Jennings from Itawamba CC. Jennings (..259, 10, 25) cooled near the end of the year, but he has game-changing speed and power to boot. He’s one to watch. Former Generals pitching coach Jim Hickey is the Rays’ pitching coach and has helped the staff set nearly every club record during his five years.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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