Shanoff's WUC: LDS, CC, Lee, Tebow, Crabtree

Today's Calls: CC Sabathia vs. Cliff Lee, Derek Jeter vs. Yankee Stadium, Matt Kemp vs. Chris Carpenter, Michael Crabtree vs. Braylon Edwards, Tim Tebow vs. LSU, Nebraska vs. Missouri, KG vs. Kobe and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The regular season is irrelevant. Sure, without acquiring Cliff Lee, the Phillies might not have won the NL East. Same with CC Sabathia and the Yankees. But their additions are meaningless without winning postseason performance. ↵

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↵And yesterday, we saw why those acquisitions were so important: ↵

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↵• Cliff Lee was spectacular: A complete-game 6-hitter that not only shut down the Rockies offense, but also saved the arms of the Phillies bullpen for today (not that Cole Hamels needs the help, if his playoff performances last year are any indication). ↵

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↵• CC Sabathia was strong, too: Nearly 7 IP, limiting the Twins to 1 ER while striking out 8 (with no walks). The Yankees' power (and revolving relief corps) was more than enough to build on CC's start and put the Yankees en route to an easy series win. ↵

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↵You don't go get the aces for the sake of 30 summer starts -- they are there for a purpose: Not just getting to October, but delivering in October.. Otherwise, what's the point?  ↵

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↵Jeter hits first-ever (new) Yankee Stadium playoff HR: Of course he did. (Don't miss SN columnist Will Leitch's profile of Jeter in this week's New York magazine.) ↵

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↵Dodgers slink past Cards: All you need to know is that the teams combined to leave 30 players on base, an LDS record. (The irony is that earlier in the night, A-Rod broke his oh-for-forever streak of RISP RBIs.) ↵

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↵Red Sox at Angels, Game 1 tonight at 9:37 ET. Settle in, Boston fans. You might not finish this one until after 1 a.m. Even if the experts pick the Angels over the Sox, I have Boston over the Angels in 4, because a NY-Boston ALCS can't be denied. ↵

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↵("Because it makes for the better ALCS story" is not really my reasoning: The Red Sox get on base in a more stable way than the free-swinging Angels, creating a better chance of smoothing out the luck factor in a short playoff series in Boston's favor.) ↵

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↵NFL Meme of the Week: Quarter-season trends. Want to go from playoffs exile to playoff favorite? Upgrade your defense. (Speaking of the playoffs, is it ever too early to speculate about who will make it and who won't? I agree with Florio: Never. ↵

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↵Jets get No. 1 WR: Braylon Edwards may or may not work out on the field, but in the aftershocks of the trade hit Twitter, he was the subject of a hilarious trending topic: #braylongottradedfor, where fans made up ludicrous things the Jets exchanged for the WR. ↵

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↵Crabtree Era begins in SF: The fact that MC Hammer played a key role in brokering a deal out of the stalemate remains the wackiest NFL contract detail of the decade -- maybe longer. ↵

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↵McNabb starting against Bucs: Tampa is so bad, it almost feels like an exhibition game. The Eagles should win handily enough that both Kolb and Vick should see snaps. (Certainly Vick will -- if he can relieve McNabb for 10-12 plays a game, that would be huge.) ↵

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↵Tebow Watch: At this point, Urban Meyer is just managing expectations that he won't know whether Tim Tebow will play at LSU not just this week and not just on game day -- but at kickoff ... and perhaps not until he sees how things are going in the middle of the game. (I agree: The best-case scenario here for Florida is that the Gators can do just enough to win ... without Tebow.) ↵

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↵CFB TNF: 21 Nebraska at 24 Missouri. This is Mizzou's first "prove-it" game -- that unbeaten record is pretty flimsy (see barely cracking the Top 25) until they actually play a good team. This Huskers team -- for its own cupcake early schedule -- was one minute away from knocking off Virginia Tech in Blacksburg (which would have had NU in the Top 10 by now). The winner will enjoy status as "Best Team Not Texas in the Big 12." (Sorry, OK State fans: Losing Dez Bryant? Big.) ↵

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↵CFB: MWC vs. WAC. Who's better? Doesn't matter -- neither gets BCS-level respect. That's why Brian Cook nailed this a week ago -- the Mountain West and WAC should merge. Or, at least, the best of the Mountain West should join the WAC -- or vice versa. (I liked my iteration: The two league champs should play a MWC-WAC title game that first Saturday of December, when all the other leagues are playing title games. Better yet, put it on the Thursday night BEFORE that.) ↵

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↵NBA Preseason: KG is back. 6 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes (and a Celtics preseason-opening loss). The defending champ Lakers opened, too -- an easy win over the Warriors. (Kobe: 22, but check out Ron Artest's stat line: 12 points, team-high 9 rebounds, team-high 7 assists.) ↵

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↵SN NBA Countdown: No. 21 Clippers. Shoals advises that the Clips are now worth your time to follow. It's like 1999 all over again. ↵

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↵Video Games: Would it be bad if I didn't actually want to play EA's NCAA Basketball 2010, but I just loaded the game for background sounds, so I could hear Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery? ↵

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↵It's the Economy: MLB attendance dropped 6.7 percent in 2009. All things considered, that doesn't feel like that much attrition, given how expensive it is to go to a baseball game. (And, frankly, between Extra Innings and MLB.com, it's just as easy for me to stay home and watch/follow from my couch. In fact, this was the first year ever I did not go to an MLB game.) ↵

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↵SN's Best Sports City, 2009: Pittsburgh.Why argue with success? The Steelers win the Super Bowl. Pitt hoops should have made the Final Four. The Penguins win the Stanley Cup. The Pirates stink, but have a terrific ballpark. (Everyone else gets to quibble with the placement of their favorite sports city -- how is Gainesville only No. 41?) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Shame on us." -- Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland. And, of course, he's right. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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