Archive for the 'ALCS' Category

Yankees in the World Series … Again

Yankees in the World Series … again. So I won’t be watching the World Series … again. Yes, I’m a sports fan and a baseball fan. But when the Yankees are in the Series, it’s not baseball. It’s Hollywood. It’s a story when the franchise with the most overwhelming advantages of any team in history doesn’t make the Series.

Sports pundits gloating when they pick the Yanks and are proven right? It’s like betting that a corrupt politician will be elected … You’re bound to be right.

When the Yankees are back, as they inevitably always are, baseball is boring … again.

What’s Wrong with Baseball

As we prepare to continue this series here is a review of numbers 7-10 of the list. Click on the titles to read the articles. Number 6 to appear soon.

10: Wimpy Pitchers

9: The Designated Hitter

8: Cheating

7: The Concept of the Closer

Teams of Destiny to Square Off in Series

11-2, 30-5, 3-0. The numbers that brought the Red Sox back from the brink of defeat … again … and put them back in the World Series. Game seven win: 11-2. Total score against Indians, last three games: 30-5. Games won after Cleveland led 3-1: 3-0.

The Red Sox are a team of destiny.

And now they play the Rockies, a team whose entire payroll is about what Boston paid for Dice-K. With the Red Sox on a roll and Colorado on an extended hiatus, the Rockies have their work cut out for them.

But both teams are teams of destiny, with remarkable comeback stories. The Series awaits.

Byrd Revelation Casts Pall Over Indians-Red Sox Game 7

I have said that game sevens are heaven—seventh heaven if you will—for baseball fans. It is unfortunate when anything takes away from those magical games. But a blog called Sports and Ethics can’t ignore the current revelation about Cleveland starter Paul Byrd.

“Byrd, whose win in Game 4 of the ALCS moved the Indians within one victory of the World Series, bought nearly $25,000 worth of human growth hormone and syringes from 2002 to 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.” (Read the full report here.)

Baseball doesn’t need this. One normally associates steroids with power hitters, like the accusations against Barry Bonds. But a non-superstar-type player seems to have the most to gain from such use. Byrd has denied the accusations in the past. The timing of this revelation seems political, like something that would happen near election time. Game 7 is the closest to election time in baseball there is. It is a shame to see this now. It is even a worse shame if it is true.

No matter what happens, we will be hearing a lot more on this. If the Indians pull one out tonight, it will become front and center until the end of the World Series.

Rockies Are Still Waiting; Red Sox Win Big

The Colorado Rockies knew they had a long wait before their next game after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS. But as of tonight, they also have the maximum wait to discover whom they will play in the Fall Classic.

Shortest possible series in the NLCS, longest in the ALCS. The Boston Red Sox, at home in the friendly confines of Fenway Park, had no difficulty in evening their series with the Cleveland Indians and sending the series to the most exciting of all baseball playoff scenarios … a seventh game, where one is done and the other triumphs.

Behind seven strong innings from the Mr. October of pitchers, Curt Schilling, and an early grand slam by J.D. Drew, the Red Sox coasted to a 12-2 victory. Schilling has already added to his legend; now, will the Sox do it as well by polishing off the Tribe in game seven?

No one knows. That’s why game sevens are heaven for fans. And still, the Rockies wait.

What’s Wrong With Baseball #10: Wimpy Pitchers

With a night off from playoff frenzy, in the midst of a postseason that gives hope to the little guy, I offer the beginning of a series on What’s Wrong With Baseball, from authorities greater than myself. Offering one at a time, in no particular order, we begin with number 10. Agree, disagree or offer your own selections.

#10. “Too many pitchers” pitching too few innings.

Cy Young said, many years ago: “Too many pitchers, that’s all, there are just too many pitchers. Ten or twelve on a team. Don’t see how any of them get enough work. Four starting pitchers and one relief man ought to be enough. Pitch ’em every three days and you’d find they’d get control and good, strong arms.”

This from the man for whom the top pitching award in each league is named. He ought to know. When Cy Young said this, there were pitchers routinely twirling on two days’ rest. Many years after this, guys like Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn were pitching 16-inning complete games. But, alas, they needed three days’ rest. How many young fans have heard the Braves’ success slogan of old?: “Spahn and Sain and two days of rain.”

Even this is soft by the standard of The Standard (Young). What would he think today? Relievers limited to one inning, starters to 100 pitches, and getting 4 to 5 days of rest.

Cy Young played for the Red Sox. He would have scorned Terry Francona’s decision to rest Beckett the extra day, thus limiting the use of his ace to two games in a seven-game series. … Robbing the Sox and the fans of their best shot. (Young played for two Cleveland teams as well … and a second Boston club.) To Young, pitching made you stronger. Throw more, not less.

From Cy Young, our number 10 thing that is wrong with baseball: “Too many pitchers” pitching too few innings.

Red Sox Will Get the Love; Head Back to Fenway

Beckett dominates again.

Boston knocked out C.C. Sabathia and, behind Josh Beckett’s predictably amazing stuff (at least after the first inning), got ready to head back to the friendly confines of Fenway Park after defeating the Cleveland Indians, 7-1.

And though the game is an elimination game for them, the series is now as close as a five-game series can be, with the visiting team (Cleveland) up 3-2 going into the sixth game. (A number of the players on the Tribe have made it clear they did not want to go back to Boston … and the celebration-ready fans at the Jake were devastated at the loss of the planned festivities.)

Super-closer Jonathan Papelbon was not needed tonight, but still relieved Beckett in the ninth, no doubt to get a bit of work to tune up for the weekend. Somehow it seemed justice for Kenny Lofton, who put on an unsportsmanlike display earlier in the game, to make the final out (he was still grousing about called strikes during this at bat) … but that didn’t happen as he walked on a 3-2 count before the final out.

The Red Sox will have the love and support of their home crowd for the remaining game(s). And Curt Schilling, a Boston folk hero, will carry their hopes to the mound on Saturday. He will have the opportunity to continue to build his legend … and the Boston mystique.