2:05 AM Eastern
Well, I’m back. For a week, anyway, until Yom Kippur takes me away for another day.
First off, thanks so much to those of you who spent the month of September voting for Tom Cheek. I got an e-mail from Tom’s wife Shirley the other day, thanking me for providing the link and helping out, but the true credit goes to all of you out there for placing the votes. The final tally will be announced on Monday, and I’m hoping that we got Tom up over 100,000, which would be the highest total in the history of the balloting. With a vote total that high, Tom’s credentials would be impossible to ignore, I hope.
Anyway, some observations about the first couple of days of the post-season, though I’ll admit I didn’t see a lot of Wednesday’s action.
The Brewers have really surprised me with their lack of offense so far. They’re a team that’s built on the power bats of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy. At least they are now that their rotation is CC Sabathia and prayer. Mike Cameron has twice failed to chase down fly balls over his head, one of which was extremely costly (in Game 1). Granted, those were two tough, tough plays, but Cameron is supposed to be one of the game’s best centrefielders, and the game’s best centrefielders make those catches.
Sabathia spit the bit in Game 2, but how long could he have been expected to keep going out and dominating on three days’ rest? Credit Cole Hamels and Brett Myers for shutting down that Milwaukee offense, especially in the bandbox that is Citizens Bank Park, and a little Hawaiian Punch was all Myers needed today. That Hawaiian Punch, though, shouldn’t have happened. Shane Victorino got to the plate two batters after Sabathia WALKED THE PITCHER with two out. You just can’t do that.
By the way, thanks to Randy in Moncton for getting me to check out Sabathia’s career post-season numbers. They’re incredibly craptastic. After tonight, he’s made five starts in the playoffs and has pitched exactly 25 innings. The quick math says that’s five innings per start. In those 25 innings, he’s allowed 22 earned runs for an ERA of 7.92. He’s allowed 33 hits and 22 walks for a WHIP of 2.20. He’s struck out 24, which is good on a per-inning basis, but not so good on a K/BB ratio basis, and he’s allowed four homers. I know, I know, REALLY small sample size (25 innings relative to almost 1,700), but wow.
The Cubs have looked horrible so far, their ninth-inning too-little, too-late rally tonight notwithstanding. All that rally did was extend the post-post-game from about two minutes to closer to an hour (thanks for keeping the phone calls coming!). The Cubbies, with their “backs to the wall” having lost the first game of a best-of-5 at home, kicked the ball all over the field in a five-run Dodgers second, an inning in which no runs would have scored had the Cubs been able to turn a routine double-play ball.
I loved Rafael Furcal’s two-out bases-loaded bunt single in that big inning, but I still don’t think the Jays should sign him. Nor do I think the Jays should sign Ryan Dempster, though his price may have come down after is seven-walk performance (including TWICE walking the pitcher) in the opener.
Despite the warm, fuzzy feelings that the ninth-inning rally has provided the Cubs’ faithful, and the warmer and fuzzier ones that a great start by Rich Harden on Saturday would provide, they’re in a WORLD of hurt right now. Far more of one than the Brewers, who are at least heading home down two-zip. But then, the Brewers don’t really have any pitching left.
Evan Longoria certainly was up to the task in the Rays’ first-ever playoff game this afternoon. Gary Gaetti was the last player to homer in each of his first two post-season at-bats. Here’s hoping that Longoria doesn’t stray from the path of debauchery and lose all his baseball prowess, as Gaetti did. I can’t believe that a team can win in the playoffs with Dan Wheeler closing out games, but we shall see.
And how about that young Jason Bay fellow, huh?
In case you’re wondering, I believe that the Red Sox and Phillies are the two best teams in these playoffs, which doesn’t mean that they’ll meet in the World Series or that I think the Red Sox will win it (I think they’re the best team). It’s funny, I was having a conversation with someone here at the Fan during the Cubs game about the Red Sox, and the fine young gentleman to whom I was talking thought that Boston would win the whole thing. He started talking about things like experience, and how they were a different team now that Manny was gone. I asked him why the Red Sox couldn’t win simply because they have the most talent, the best players? We don’t really need to look for deeper meaning in things. Sometimes the best teams win because they’re the best.
I have no clue who is going to play in the World Series, let alone who is going to win it, because winning a seven-game series doesn’t prove a thing, let alone a five-gamer. Just remember the 1985 Blue Jays. In the first year of the best-of-seven League Championship Series, the Jays ran out to the three games to one lead that would have won them every other LCS played to that point in history. But it was a best-of-seven, and they couldn’t close out the Royals. So the Jays were better in the best-of-5, but the Royals were better in the best-of-7.
If you’re going to make me pick, I think it SHOULD be the Red Sox beating the Phillies, but I have my doubts that it’ll shake out that way.
There won’t be a Blue-Jay-A-Day Pre-Pre-Game show until at least the beginning of next week, due to timing issues, but I’ll keep you posted on that. Friday, the Argo game means that we’ll be joining Game 2 of the Red Sox-Angels series in progress around 10:30 Eastern or so, and we’ll do phones afterwards.
Here’s tonight’s post-post-game “The Playoff Talk” (for lack of a better name), for your listening pleasure:
Until then, reasonable, rational comments are always welcome!