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NL East Update: The one where Ankiel makes a huge splash

Rick Ankiel was the unlikely hero in Game 2, earning him the respect of Braves fans as they head back to Atlanta.

As soon as Ankiel made contact with the ball, it was a no doubter. Not many people made that much of the Ankiel acquisition in the middle of the season, because he was essentially a washed up outfielder given up on by the St. Louis Cardinals and trying to keep his career afloat with the Kansas City Royals. With that home run, the entire momentum of the series shifted to the Atlanta dugout. What will the Braves do for an encore? How about send Tim Hudson to the mound against an inexperienced Jonathan Sanchez for the series lead.

Move over Don Larsen, Roy Halladay joins you as just the second pitcher in the history of game to throw a no-hitter in a post-season game.

Aside from a walk to Jay Bruce in the fifth inning, Halladay was simply perfect Wednesday night. Its amazing to watch Doc take the mound, I really don’t think people realize the historical significance of what took place during Game 1 in Philadelphia. Larsen had always been in a class of his own, being the only person to pitch a no-hitter in post-season play (a perfect game in the World Series) way back in 1956, it was a feat that little thought would happen again, but this is 2010, a season dubbed as “the year of the pitcher” where we saw five no hitters (sorry Armando Gallaraga). Halladay all but locked up just his second Cy Young award, which is hard to believe considering his first came in 2003. Halladay chose Philadelphia to give himself a shot to make the post-season for the first time and to win a championship. What a way to make your playoff debut. The good times continue to roll for the Phillies, is anyone still doubting this team?

Bobby Valentine going back to the Mets has been a popular rumor for months, but Brooklyn Mets Fan isn’t buying it.

Who wouldn’t love to see Bobby V back in a Mets uniform? He led the team to their last World Series appearance in 2000 and still is a well-liked figure with the fans a decade later. That being said, I hope he does not return to the team just for the sake of saving his reputation if things were to go wrong, just ask Cito Gaston, Art Shell, or Joe Gibbs. Its almost as if some Mets fans think that the arrival of Bobby V would fix the teams problems overnight, which is defiantly not the case. I want to see some new blood in the Mets dugout, someone like a Wally Backman or Chip Hale who will light a fire under their players and let it be known that no ones job is safe.

Not surprisingly, Hanely Ramirez has elected not to play winter ball due to rehab his ongoing elbow troubles.

This article gave me the impression that Hanley has been having more injury problems than Mike Hampton, but believe it or not, Ramirez set a career low in games this season at 142, and in his four full previous seasons he has not played in less then 151 games. Clearly, Hanley has been playing through pain and continues to put up impressive numbers, but is this doing him any favors for his future? I can’t imagine him in a Marlins uniform for his entire career so teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, who will probably be vying for his services, may be getting a little nervous at how Hanley has been banging up his body.

Federal Baseball looks at which players will be representing the Nationals in the Arizona Fall League.

There is a solid crop of players heading out to the desert this fall. The AFL is the “finishing school” for top prospects so whomever Washington sends out there is someone worth keeping an eye on. Everyone will be fixated on Bryce Harper, but Sammy Solis could also be finding himself on the big club sooner rather than later if he performs well. Aside from Harper, drafting Solis was my favorite move made by the Nats in last June’s draft. The left-handed pitcher still has some work to do, but he is defiantly one of the most polished prospects.

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