Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Grady Liitle Resigns As Dodgers Manager

Grady Little got a raw deal, sorry there is just no way you can spin it other wise. Little who was given public assurance by Los Angeles management that he would be back on the Dodgers bench next season as manager will not be back. In what Little termed "a mutual resignation" Little and the Dodgers parted ways Tuesday paving the way for the possibility of Joe Torre coming in as manager.

Little did not have a great year as Dodgers manager this past season, the club went 82-80, and there was talk of dissension in the clubhouse. But if Los Angeles management wanted him out, they should have fired him, not make statements that he would be back. Last week rumors started to surface that new Yankees manager Joe Girardi was having discussions with the Dodgers for the managers job. Monday the Journal News out of New York reported that Torre would be getting the job. Where I grew up they call that back stabbing, Little deserved better.

I had the pleasure covering Grady Little for two seasons when he was the Cleveland Indians bench coach. I have never met a classier or more proud man in professional sports. When word came back to Grady that the Dodgers were engaged in subterfuge, he did the right thing. He would not put up with the chicanery and told Los Angeles that he did not need this aggravation. Little said that he resigned for "personal reasons." It was unfortunately made too public by an organization that went back on it's commitment.
© Copyright 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yankees Introduce New Skipper Joe Girardi

The New York Yankees introduced their new bench boss Joe Girardi to the fans and the media on Tuesday. Girardi who was a broadcaster this past season with the Yankees was one of three candidates who were interviewed to take over as manager from the departed Joe Torre. Girardi was a catcher and a bench coach for New York, he then became manager of the Florida Marlins. Girardi who was named National League Manager of the Year was fired after one year because of disagreements with Florida owner Jeffrey Loria. Girardi said during his press conference that there was only one Joe Torre and he will manage as he sees fit. He said the only way he can be successful is by being who he is.

© Copyright 2007

Reports Say That Torre Will Become New Dodgers Manager

The Journal News reported on Monday that according to their sources, The Los Angeles Dodgers will fire current L.A. manager Grady Little and replace him with former Yankees skipper Joe Torre. The Journal News which is based in New York and serves Westchester and adjoining counties, say that the move could be made as early as Tuesday. The report also said that Yankees bench coach Don Mattingly will become Torre's bench coach with the Dodgers. Mattingly was one of three candidates interviewed to replace Torre, but reports out of New York say that the job was offered to Joe Girardi. Kevin Long the New York hitting coach could be heading west as well.Dodgers management pledged at the end of the season that Little would be back as manager next year. Los Angeles finished with an 82-80 record, and there were reports of dissension in the clubhouse.
© Copyright 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Braves Trade Renteria To Tigers For Prospects

Can somebody please explain to me why Edgar Renteria keeps getting traded? After hitting .332 in the season that just came to an end for the Atlanta Braves the shortstop who is a 12 year veteran of the Major Leagues was traded on Monday to the Detroit Tigers. In return Atlanta gets Jair Jurrjens a right handed pitcher who after spending most of the year in the minors finished the year with the Tigers. They also get Gorkys Hernandez an outfielder who played at the Single A level last year. Renteria who is also a slick fielding shortstop has gone from ST. Louis in 2004, Boston in 2005, who then traded him to the Braves where he played for the last two seasons. Renteria says he is happy to be reunited with Tigers manager Jim Leyland who was his manager in 1997 when they both won World Series rings with Florida. I realize that Atlanta is hot on prospect Yunel Escobar who they see as a less expensive alternative to the veteran who may have a huge upside. Still to give up a proven commodity like Renteria does not make sense to this observer. Detroit will move former shortstop Carlos Guillen to first base which will be less stressful on his balky knees.
© Copyright 2007

Reports Out Of New York Say Girardi Is Yankees Choice

The Associated Press reported Monday that the New York Yankees have chosen Joe Girardi to become the next bench boss of the team replacing the departed Joe Torre. According to the report negotiations are taking place at this time between the organization and Girardi's agent finalize the pact. Girardi was one of three candidates interviewed for the job, bench coach Don Mattingly and first base coach Tony Pena also received interview sessions. Girardi who was a broadcaster on Yankees games this past season is a former Yankees player and coach. He managed the Florida Marlins in 2006 and was named National League Manager of the Year but was fired after the season for disagreements between Girardi and the Marlins team owner. No word on when an update will be forthcoming.

© Copyright 2007

Reports Say That A-Rod Will Opt Out

If you were watching Game Four of the 2007 World Series Sunday night, you may have been intrigued when Fox Sports Reporter Ken Rosenthal reported from the stands in the fourth inning. The information that Rosenthal broke concerned neither of the two teams playing the Colorado Rockies or the 2007 MLB World Series champions the Boston Red Sox. No instead the news was about the team that you either adore or despise the New York Yankees, and the player who will probably be named the 2007 American League MVP Alex Rodriguez. Rosenthal breathlessly told the planet's baseball fans during the final game of MLB's Crown Jewels that he had just finished talking with Scott Boras the agent for the New York third baseman. Rosenthal then said that Boras had revealed to him that Rodriguez had decided to opt out of the final years of his contract making him a free agent.

As of Monday afternoon the New York Yankees had received no official notification from Boras or A-Rod that he was opting out. New York General Manager Brian Cashman had previously said that if A-Rod opts out that the Yankees will not get into the bidding. New York had reportedly put together a proposal for a five year extension onto his previous contract. However if Rodriguez opts out rather than extends the current deal the Texas Rangers would no longer have any financial responsibility. Rodriguez originally signed a 10 year deal with Texas for $252 million, and Texas is still paying a large sum of his yearly contract since he was traded to the Bronx Bombers.

As a capitalist myself and someone who believes in the free market system, I wish A-rod good luck in getting what ever the market will bear. That's the American Dream, whether you want to admit it to yourself or not. However the timing was beyond bad taste. Three parties should feel shame and revulsion as they look in the mirror. Scott Boras, Ken Rosenthal, and Fox Sports. The one who probably is least to blame is Boras, he did what he should for his client get maximum exposure. But in Rosenthal's and Fox haste to get the exclusive they shifted the focus off the field at a time that was totally inappropriate. MLB players go through torture to get to where these two team the Rockies and the Red Sox were Sunday night. Anything short of apocalyptic news should have been held until after the game concluded.

© Copyright 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lets Do It Again! Bo-Sox Sweep Rockies 4-1 Win World Series!

After an 86 year drought the Boston Red Sox have won their second World Series in four years as they swept the Colorado Rockies Sunday night in Denver with a 4-1 victory. It is also the second World Series sweep by Boston in the last four years as they swept the ST. Louis Cardinals in 2004.

The Red Sox scored off Colorado starter Aaron Cook in the first as David Ortiz had a RBI single driving home leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury who started off the game with a double. Boston scored their second run off Cook as third baseman Mike Lowell led off the top of the fifth with a double, and scored as catcher Jason Varitek singled him home. The Sox drove Cook from the game in the top of the seventh, as Lowell led off the inning with a homer. Cook ended up going 6 plus innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits striking out 3 and walking no one.

Boston started Jon Lester who was just the ticket for the Red Sox. The South Paw went five and two third innings of scoreless ball backing the Rockies hitters off the plate by throwing inside. Lester only let 5 runners on base 3 hits and 2 walks and striking out 3 in the process. Manny Delcarmen who started the season with Lester in Pawtuckett, the Red Sox Triple A affiliate took over getting the final out. Delcarmen would allow a home run to Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe for Colorado's first run of the game. Mike Timlin took over from Delcarmen facing two batters and striking them both out. Boston led at the end of 7 innings 3-1.

If you think about it, it's really quite ironic. The Boston Celtics who are synonymous with green have in my lifetime had three prominent redheads. The Late Great Arnold "Red" Auerbach the team's coach, G.M. architect, President, and spiritual guru. Dave Cowens "Big Red" who led Boston as their center to two NBA Championships in 1974 and 1976. And Bill Walton who was a key figure in the Celtics banner number 16. But having followed the Red Sox since the early 1960's I can never remember the Red Sox having a redhead until this year with Bobby Kielty. Maybe they should have more since Kielty hit a home run in the top of the eighth to at the time make the game a 4-1 contest. However that long ball would prove to be far more significant.

Hideki Okajima came on for the second night in a row to start the eighth for Boston after giving a three run homer on Saturday night. Okajima got Matt Holliday out to start the inning with a groundout to second. He then gave up a single to Todd Helton, and for the second night in a row Okajima would allow it to become a one run game. Colorado Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins would make it a 4-3 game as he hit a 2 run blast off of the Japanese rookie. Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon came into the game and got he final two batters to end the eighth 4-3.

Boston went scoreless in the top of the ninth, setting up Papelbon with the chance for the one run save. Rockies catcher Yoriut Torrealba started the inning grounding out to second. Second baseman Jamey Carroll took Jacoby Ellsbury to the left field wall for out number two Papelbon clinched the win by getting pinchhitter Seth Smith to strike out swinging.

Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell was named the World Series MVP, but it easily could have gone to many other players. The Red Sox now get to go home and celebrate with the Boston fans!

© Copyright 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Kids Are Alright Rookies Win It For Red Sox Rock Rockies 10-5

The Boston Red Sox have quite an impressive array of prestigious veteran players. David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, and Curt Schilling are legendary name in MLB. But the reason Boston won game three of the 2007 World Series Saturday night and find themselves leading the Colorado Rockies 3-0 was due to the rookies. On the offensive end it was Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, and on the pitching end it was Daisuke Matsuzaka, with second year closer Jonathan Papelbon coming in to put it away as Boston beat Colorado 10-5. Boston now finds themselves one victory away from their second World Series title in four years after an infamous 86 year drought.

Game One was a blowout, Game Two was a pitcher's duel, Game Three was a rollercoaster. Boston broke open a scoreless tie as they beat up Colorado starter Josh Fogg scoring six runs in the top of the third. Dice-K for five and a third innings had the Rockies completely confused, but left the game in the sixth after allowing two runs. Javier Lopez came in and gave up back to back singles and he was lifted for Mike Timlin. Timlin got out of the inning unscathed, but was not as lucky in the following frame. Timlin gave up back to back singles to Kaz Matsui and Troy Tulokowski, and was replaced with Hideki Okajima to face Matt Holliday. Holliday with one swing of the bat made it a one run game as he hit a three run blast off Okajima to make it a 6-5 game in the bottom of the seventh and nobody out. Okajima would then give up a single to Todd Helton but then got the next 3 batters in order, as Boston escaped with a 6-5 lead.

Boston took over again in the top of the eighth as Jacoby Ellsbury who was only the third MLB rookie in World Series to have four hits in a game, had a RBI and fellow rookie Dustin Pedroia drove home two more runs to put Boston back on top 9-5. Mike Lowell added a run in the top of the ninth. Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon came in to get the last out in the eighth, and closed it out for a 10-5 win. Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Matsuzaka each had 2 RBI for Boston.
© Copyright 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Boston Squeaks By Colorado 2-1 Take 2-0 Lead in Series

Wednesday night was a laugher, Thursday night was a nail biter but the bottom line remained the same. The Boston Red Sox have held onto home field advantage and take a 2-0 lead in the World Series after defeating the Colorado Rockies 2-1. Although Boston starter Josh Beckett was electric Wednesday the real story of game one was offense, namely the Red Sox who scored 13 runs in the win. Thursday night was an old fashioned pitcher's duel between a 23 year old rookie throwing smoke, and an ancient warrior getting by on deception. And the most important play of the game was a runner caught leaning the wrong way.

Curt Schilling at 40 years old is no longer the dominant flame thrower from days of yore. But as we get older and our physical skills tend to be not as sharp we learn to compensate. And Schilling has done exactly that and though he had a shaky start, he proved to be too complex for the Rockies to get a handle on. Schilling allowed Colorado's only run in the first inning, as he hit Rockies centerfielder Willy Taveras on the left hand. Leftfielder Matt Holliday singled sending Taveras to third, and he scored on a Todd Helton groundout.

That was it for Colorado as Schilling settled in and ending up going five and a third innings allowing the one run on four hits two walks and struck out four. Hideki Okajima came in to take the ball in the sixth and was magical throwing two and a third innings allowing no base runners and striking out four.

Colorado starter Ubaldo Jiminez had the Red Sox on their heels through the first three innings. Boston tied the game in the third as third baseman Mike Lowell walked , went to third on a single by J.D. Drew and scored on a Jason Varitek sacrifice fly. Lowell who was the only Boston starter without a RBI on Wednesday night, had the only RBI hit of the game for Boston Thursday. The Sox took the lead in the fifth as Lowell drove in David Ortiz with a double.

Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon came into the eighth with two out and gave up a screaming infield single to Matt Holiday that knocked the pitcher off his feet. But Papelbon made the play of the game as Holliday was leaning too far off first and Papelbon picked him off. Ballgame.

Papelbon got the side out in order of the top of the ninth, and Boston did what they were supposed to do hold home field advantage. After an off day on Friday the Series shifts to Denver. Josh Fogg will try to lead Colorado to their first win while Daisuke Matsuzaka toes the rubber for the Red Sox.

© Copyright 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bo-Sox Take Game One Cool Off Rockies With 13-1 Win

Alright Red Sox Nation don't start getting cocky now. I can just anticipate the talk shows Thursday in Boston, as Richie from Roslindale calls Dale Arnold, and Harvey from Braintree calls Eddie Andleman. They'll be talking about sweeping the Series, and the Colorado Rockies hadn't faced competition like Boston before in the post season. I'm sure the same guys called the shows after Game One of the A.L.C.S. after the Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians 10-3. That of course was before an 11 inning marathon that Boston lost and fell to Cleveland 3 games to 1.That was before Boston had to scratch claw and kick their way past the Indians, and if Cleveland third base coach Joel Skinner doesn't hold Kenny Lofton...well enough said. Just a word to the wise one game does not make a series.

That being said the Boston Red Sox played as close to a complete game in all aspects, as may ever have been played in the Fall Classic as they completely took Colorado out of the game winning 13-1. Boston starter Josh Beckett was simply electric shutting down Colorado. The team that had been the hottest in the MLB Playoffs was held to just one run on six hits by the Red Sox Ace while he struck out nine. Troy Tulowitzki the Rockies shortstop seemed to be one of the few Colorado players who could figure Beckett. Tulowitzki hit two doubles one for a RBI in the second.

The Red Sox just beat on the Rockies pitching staff, Boston leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia had his fifth at-bat of the game in only the fifth inning. Pedroia led off the game against Colorado starter with a home run setting the tone for the evening as people were still settling into their seats. Francis was taken out of the game after just four innings allowing 6 runs on 10 hits, and Boston was just warming up. Rockies reliever Franklin Morales came in and self destructed on the mound. The Sox scored 7 runs on six hits in the fifth, off Morales who only lasted two thirds of an inning. Ryan Speier then took the mound and got nobody out as he walked the bases loaded. Matt Herges then got Kevin Youkilis to fly out to right to end the carnage. Every Red Sox starting player had a RBI with the exception of third baseman Mike Lowell.

Again as I wrote at the top of this article, one game does not make a series. Colorado looked like they were effected by the eight day layoff. The Rockies will probably resemble the team that dominated the National League post season than the team that looked over matched Wednesday night in Fenway Park.
© Copyright 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss LaRussa Back With Cardinals

Well Monday took two commodities off the table with a single move. There were said to be many MLB teams looking into a possible hiring of Free Agent manager Tony LaRussa who was said to be contemplating leaving the ST. Louis Cardinals who had been the club's manager. And Consequently there was quite a lot of interest in the Cardinals manager position if it was to be available. Well you kiss both those scenarios goodbye as Tony Larussa and the Cardinals held a press conference announcing a new two year deal. LaRussa will now be the manager of the Red Birds at least until the end of the 2009 season. LaRussa said he was very happy that things had worked the way they did. He also said he had absolutely no contact with any other club.
© Copyright 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Boston Head To World Series After Knocking Out Tribe 11-2 In Game Seven

If They call the Boston Red Sox march to the pennant back in 1967 "The Impossible Dream" the 2007 A.L.C.S. would have to be labeled the "Improbable Comeback." After taking game one of the series from the Cleveland Indians, Boston spent games 2,3, and 4, looking like characters from a George Romero movie "Dawn of the Living Dead Ballplayers." Cleveland won an extra inning game in game two and dominated in games 3 and 4. Boston had to win all the three remaining games left in the series to make it back to the World Series for the first time since breaking the curse in 2004.

Well although it was not the unprecedented comeback they made against the New York Yankees as they had to win four games to come back from the edge of the abyss it was pretty darn close. But after Josh Beckett who was named A.L.C.S. MVP won game five and the ancient warrior Curt Schilling won game six it was a one game series knotted up at three each.

Game Seven came down to Dice-K being just good enough to get a win two amazing performances at the plate from Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis and an ill advised coaching decision from Cleveland Indians third base coach Joel Skinner, that might have cost the Indians, the momentum, the game and the series. Boston dodging the bullet in the top of the seventh came back with a Pedroia two run homer in the bottom of the seventh, and scored six runs in the eighth to put Boston back in the World Series winning 11-2. Jake Westbrook takes the loss, as Cleveland once again says wait til next year.

© Copyright 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Boston Forces Game Seven Beats Cleveland 12-2

In 1999 the Cleveland Indians had a 2-0 lead in the A.L.D.S. over the Boston Red Sox in a best of five series. Cleveland fans were already making plans for the A.L.C.S. and a possible return to the World Series for the second time in three seasons. However Boston had different plans, winning the next three games knocking Cleveland out of the Post Season and advancing to the A.L.C.S. Indians manager Mike Hargrove was fired as a result, and the end of an era had begun at Jacobs Field. Cleveland missed the playoffs the next year for the first time since 1995. They were back in the playoffs in 2001 but after gaining a 2-1 lead in the A.L.D.S. they lost the next two games and went home for the year. It was the last time Cleveland would get to the playoffs in what Cleveland dubbed "The Era Of Champions."

Well after game four most Cleveland fans were again making plans for a trip to the World Series. After all they had a 3-1 series lead in the best of seven A.L.C.S. over Boston. Boston after a dynamic performance in a game one victory, looked lethargic in the next three games and as a result lost all three. Cleveland fans were positively giddy, knowing they had two 19 game winners facing Boston in the next two games C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. Many fans were already starting to talk about how Cleveland matched up against the surprise representative from the National League the Colorado Rockies.

Well things don't always go according to Hoyle, and as someone said a long time ago that's why they play the games. Boston beat CC Sabathia Thursday night in game five by a final score of 7-1 to send the series back to Fenway. Game six matched up young power over veteran craftiness as Cleveland's Fausto Carmona took on the aging gunslinger Curt Schilling. Neither pitcher would be a factor in their first matchupin game two a game Cleveland would win in 11 innings 13-6.

Cleveland's two game lead has now comepletly evaporated after Boston tied the series at 3-3 as they just piled on the Indians winning by a final score of 12-2. But the game really ended in the bottom of the first, as JD Drew hit a grand slam off Carmona, giving the Red Sox a 4-0 lead and Cleveland never recovered. The Indians scored a solo run in the top of the second as catcher Victor Martinez hit a home run off Schilling, to make it a 4-1 game. But the Sox blew it open in the third knocking Carmona from the game, and eventually winning by the score of 12-2. Carmona was knocked around for 7 runs on 6 hits and four walks in two plus innings. Cleveland reliever Rafael Perez who has looked like former Boston reliever Calvin Schiraldi circa 1986 in the last two games gave up 3 runs on 3 hits in just one third of an inning. Schilling who went 7 innings allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits for the win. Carmona got the loss. It now all comes down to a one game series Sunday at Fenway. Jake Westbrook on the mound for the Indians. Boston is hoping that their starter Daisuke Matsuzaka is more successful Sunday than he was in game three which he lost.

© Copyright 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Series Heads Back To Fenway Bo-Sox Beat Tribe 7-1

Well the Cleveland Indians will have to celebrate in Fenway Park, as Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett said not on my watch, as Boston defeated Cleveland Thursday night by a 7-1 margin. Although rumors circulated all day long in Cleveland that Beckett was injured and would be on a very short leash, those rumors vanished very quickly once the game started. Beckett was as dominating as he was against the Angels even though he gave up a run in the first ending his hopes for another post season shutout. But the Red Sox Ace now has Boston's only two victories as he was throwing pitches at 96 MPH in the eighth. Beckett struck out 11 allowing only the one run in the first and gave up just five hits and one walk. Jonathan Paplebon came on to work the ninth in a non save situation. He gave out a one out double to Cleveland first baseman Rayn Garko, but got Jhonny Peralta to groundout, and then Kenny Lofton walked to put runners at first and third with two out. Indians right fielder Franklin Guttierez flew ot center to end the game.

Cleveland Indians Ace C.C. Sabathia battled through six frames and kept his team in the game. But the man who had been such a pleasant surprise, for the Cleveland bullpen Rafael Perez had a tough night allowing 3 runs only one earned by Boston in the eighth, and basically ending Cleveland's hopes of celebrating in front of the home crowd. Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis had the game's solo home run in the first.

Boston goes home for the remaining two games, but they still trail Cleveland 3-2 in the A.L.C.S. After an off day on Friday, the two teams will matchup Saturday for game six as Curt Schilling toes the rubber for Boston while Fausto Carmona will take the hill for Cleveland.

© Copyright 2007

End Of An Era As Torre Turns Down Yankees Offer

Perhaps it was time. After all Walter Alston to Tommy LaSorda, and Chuck Knoll To Bill Cowher are aberrations, far from the norm. The average duration for a professional sports team manager or coach is about 3 years, and usually that's about the right time to make a move. The message at best after years of repetition from the same voice at best grows tired and muddled, and at worst is not even heard at all. New York Yankees manger Joe Torre had been the skipper of the team for 12 years, and perhaps it was time to make a change, and that was New York owner George Steinbrenner's prerogative. He who owns the team makes the rules, but as all things that King George does, it should have been handled better.

Reports out of New York Thursday confirmed that Torre turned down the Yankees offer of a one year deal, at a pay cut from what he made in the 2007 campaign. Torre who has as much pride as anyone who ever walked the planet, of course turned it down. New York will be looking for a new field boss for the 2008 season, and Torre will have to decide what road he wants to travel next.

If you are a regular reader of mine, you know that I grew up in the Boston area, a devoted Red Sox fan. You also know I have a very strong connection with the Cleveland Indians having covered them as a beat reporter from the mid nineties through last year. That being said I am not a fan of the New York Yankees, far from it. However I have always held a great amount of respect for Torre and the way he has conducted himself during his tenure at the Yankees helm. Am I sorry to see him go as a fan? No way, I think New York will automatically be a weaker team without that voice of experience in the dugout. But again, King George if you wanted to make a change, issue a press release stating that you appreciate what Torre accomplished but it is time to move on. As Your son put it last week nothing lasts forever. But to do it in this backhanded manner, to try to spin it that Torre turned you down is just dirty pool, it has a slimy feel all over it.

Joe Torre was the ultimate good soldier for the Yankees for 12 years, he deserved a classier exit than the one he got. One would hope after all these years of being in the New York spotlight, Steinbrenner would have learned from past mistakes. Thursday showed that in spite of all the "mellowing" talk the last few years, he's still the same old George.

© Copyright 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Boston's Pitching Implodes In Fifth Tribe Wins 7-3 Lead ALCS 3-1

Trying to hit a pitch when a knuckle ball pitcher is on top of his game is like trying to catch a butterfly with a pair of pliers, almost impossible. But when a knuckle ball pitcher loses it, it's like going against a batting practice pitcher. Tim Wakefield was on top of his game for the first four innings against the Cleveland Indians in game four of the A.L.C.S. However, Wakefield did a Chernobyl like meltdown in the bottom of the fifth as Cleveland scored all seven of their runs, and held on for a 7-3 victory. Cleveland, with the win takes a 3-1 series win, and just need one more victory for a trip to the World Series to take on the red hot Colorado Rockies.

If you are a regular reader of mine, you know that I hold a very high opinion of Cleveland Indians third baseman Casey Blake. To me he is the heart and soul of the Indians and one of MLB's most underrated players. Blake has played a myriad of positions over the years for Cleveland since first joining the team in 2003. Last year Blake, a career infielder was moved to right field and looked as natural their as if he has played there all his life. Blake does not have the career numbers of Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore, or the Pronk Travis Hafner. He also does not get the respect that these players get in Cleveland, but make no mistake Casey is as integral to Cleveland's success as the others.

It was only fitting that Blake broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth with a home run off Wakefield over the left field wall. Casey would also get another RBI in the inning driving home Kenny Lofton in his second at bat in the frame with a single. The final nail in the Red Sox coffin was supplied by Indians shortstop Jhonny Peralta who hit a three run homer off Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen. Wakefield was charged with giving up five runs, Delcarmen two more and Cleveland led 7-0 at the end of five.

Indians starter Paul Byrd who sat on the bench while all the fireworks were going on was definitely rusty when he reentered in the sixth. Byrd gave up back to back jacks to Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz and was replaced by reliever Jensen Lewis. Lewis gave up the third consecutive Boston homer of the inning to Manny Ramirez, an A.L.C.S. record and Boston trailed 7-3. But Lewis got out of the rest of the night unscathed, as he ended up pitching two innings giving up two hits and the one run. Another underrated Cleveland player reliever Rafael Bettancourt finished the game throwing 2 innings with zeroes across the board.

The two teams have Wednesday off and will meet again Thursday at Jacobs Field in a rematch of the game one starters. Josh Beckett, who has the Red Sox sole win in the series faces up against C.C. Sabathia
© Copyright 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cinderella's Going To The Ball! Rockies Sweep D-Backs With 6-4 Win!

Since the dawn of creation human beings have held great affection for the "Underdogs." From the Biblical tales of David versus Goliath through Rocky Balboa against Apollo Creed people just naturally support the challenger. It probably stems from some deep seeded primal urge that goes way beyond my area of knowledge but we have all done it, at one time or another. Baseball has been filled with tales of teams overcoming adversity to grab the brass ring. "Dem Bums" the Brooklyn Dodgers finally overcoming years of futility to beat the Monolithic New York Yankees, and finally win their first World Series! The "Amazin' Mets" under Gil Hodges in 1969 who shocked the planet and beat the highly favored Baltimore Orioles, seven years after setting the MLB record for most losses in a season. The 2004 Boston Red Sox down 0-3 to the Yankees in the A.L.C.S. only to come back from the brink and win eight straight games to finally bury the chants of "1918."

Well Monday night a new name was added to MLB's roll call of unlikely heroes the 2007 Colorado Rockies! All they have done so far is to win 21 of their last 22 games and sweep two straight Post Season Series. For the first time in the franchise's history Colorado is going to play in the World Series as they swept National League West Division Champions the Arizona Diamondbacks in front of their home fans with a 6-4 win in game four of the N.L.C.S.

The Rockies knocked Arizona out of the playoffs when they scored all six runs off Arizona starter Micah Owings in the fourth knocking him from the game with only two outs in the inning. The explosion was capped off by a three run home run from Colorado left fielder Matt Holiday. Holiday went 2-3 in the game and hit .333 for the series. Rockies reliever Matt Herges got the win. Colorado will now have to wait to see who they will face in the World Series. Cleveland leads Boston in the A.L.C.S. two games to one.

© Copyright 2007

Dicey Night for Dice-K Tribe Beats Bo-Sox 4-2 Lead A.L.C.S.

The good news? Boston Red Sox reliever Eric Gagne is no longer the most hated man in New England! The bad news? Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka has probably taken his place! Huge expectations were placed on the Japanese free agent pitcher's shoulders when he was signed to what was looked at as an exorbitant amount for a player who had never pitched in the MLB. But Boston was willing to pony up the money to his former team in Japan as well as to sign the pitcher to a very tidy sum. Dice-K as he is known by his teammates, started off strong the first time around the American League but seemed to hit a wall for about six weeks from early August, to mid September when he seemingly lost his advantage. There has much speculation why the early American League Rookie of the Year candidate fell from grace so rapidly. Some set it was the amount of pitches he had thrown , and was just out of gas. Other observers said that American League hitters had adjusted to Matsuzaka, and he had not responded in kind. What ever the reason he seemed to come out of the abyss in the campaign's final weeks.

Well any goodwill Dice-K may have built up in Boston during the last month, evaporated Monday night. Matsuzaka was knocked out of game three of the A.L.C.S. with just one out in the fifth after allowing four runs on six hits in two walks by the Cleveland Indians. That was all Cleveland would need when their starter Jake Westbrook was far more effective than he had been against the Yankees in the A.L.D.S. allowing just two runs on seven hits in six and two third innings. Cleveland won the game 4-2, they now lead Boston in the best of seven series 2-1.

The last time these two teams met in the MLB Playoffs was back in 1999. Cleveland center fielder Kenny Lofton trying to slide head first in to first base damaged his shoulder, and led to off-season surgery that kept him out of the beginning of the 200 campaign. It may have only been fitting then that Lofton who came back to Cleveland for his third stint in a mid-season trade with Texas would be the hero for the Tribe in game three. Lofton, hit a 2 run home run of Matsuzaka in the second, giving Cleveland a 2-0 lead and the Sox never recovered. Cleveland would score two more off the Boston starter in the fifth driving him from the game and giving the Indians a 4-2 win. Cleveland now has a 2-0 margin after taking away home field advantage from Boston in game two. Boston scored their only runs of the game in the seventh as Jason Varitek hit a 2 run homer off Westbrook. The two teams matchup again Tuesday at Jacobs Field for game four , Paul Byrd scheduled to make the start for Cleveland Tim Wakefield scheduled to be the Red Sox starter.

© Copyright 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rockies Ready To Shock The World, One Game From Series Beat D-Backs 4-1

While the New York tabloids are obsessing over whether Joe Torre will be back in the Bronx, and if the Mets took the greatest dive since Greg Louganis in his prime it's been happening. While the newspapers all through out New England are trying to trace genealogy lines to see if there is any family relation between Greg Gagne and Bill Buckner it's been flying under the radar. While the purveyors of gloom are trying to psychoanalyze why CC Sabathia has in their opinion suddenly lost it (He's had two sub par starts after a Cy Young worthy season CC is fine!) they are on the doorstep. The Colorado Rockies the "Stealth Bomber" of the Major Leagues is one win away from sweeping prohibitive series favorite Arizona Diamondbacks and head to their first World Series! Colorado defeated Arizona Sunday night 4-1 and have a 3-0 edge in the N.L.C.S.

West Coast teams have complained for 30 years about the "East Coast Bias" but with media capitals like L.A. and San Francisco a West Coast team gets plenty of attention. But the Rocky Mountain Time Zone is like purgatory; I think they run Network Prime Time shows from like 4:00- 7:00, and it may be A.M. There have been very few "breakout" teams from that area other than the John Elway era Denver Broncos, and that was more due to Elway than any other factor. But with very little attention or fanfare the Rockies may be MLB's best Cinderella story since the Braves versus the Twins in 1991.

The Rockies don't have a lot of marquee names starter Josh Fogg and catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who were Sunday's heroes are not players casual fans know a lot about if anything. But their results speak for themselves. Fogg pitching in his first post season game went six strong innings, allowing just 1 run on 7 hits a walk and struck out three. Torrealba broke open a 1-1 tie in the fourth with a three run jack. Colorado playing in front of their home fans for the first time in this series could feel the electricity in the air despite playing in temperatures in the thirties with a cold rain falling. The Rockies go for the sweep Monday night as they send Franklin Morales to the hill to face off against Micah Owings.

© Copyright 2007

Nixon's The One! Tribe Top Bo-Sox In Eleven 13-6

Trot Nixon made a lot of key hits in Fenway Park over the years, but Saturday night's heroics had a bit of a different fell to it. The long time Boston Red Sox outfielder signed as a free agent during the off-season with the Cleveland Indians, so when he hit a pinch hit single in the top of the eleventh inning, Boston fans were not pleased. The hit not only put Cleveland ahead in a game that had been deadlocked at 6-6 since the sixth inning, but it ended up opening the flood gates of the Indians offense. Cleveland would end up scoring 7 runs that inning, including a three run homer by Franlin Guttierez, as they defeated Boston 13-6, and send the A.L.C.S. back to Cleveland's Jacobs Field tied at a game apiece.

Cleveland was the long time home of the late "Polka King" Frankie Yankovic. Well the first ten innings of game two of the A.L.C.S. resembled the Polka classic "I Don't Want Her, You Can Have Her She's Too Fat For Me." A game that most observers thought would be a classic low scoring pitchers duel between a savvy veteran and a fireballing phenom, was anything but. Cleveland's young hurler Fausto Carmona was less than effective going only four innings and allowing 4 runs on 5 hits striking out and walking 5 as well. Boston's veteran warrior Curt Schilling did not fare any better going four and two thirds allowing 5 runs on 9 hits, reliever Manny Delcarmen gave up the sixth run to Cleveland in the sixth. Rafael Perez who had been lightning in a bottle all year long for Cleveland in their bullpen was ineffective as well allowing 2 runs in just a third of an inning. Boston had homers from Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell, while Cleveland countered with long balls from Jhonny Peralta and Grady Sizemore.

But both bullpens were lights out after Cleveland tied the game in the top of the sixth. The Indians unsung hero was truly reliever Rafael Bettancourt, who shut the Sox down for two and a third, but got no credit in the box score. Boston's night fell apart with the man who has been suspect ever since they traded for him reliever Eric Gagne. Closer Jonathan Paplebon threw 2 scoreless frames before Gagne came on to open the eleventh. Gagne who right now may be as despised in Boston as Bill Buckner was back in the day was charged with two runs and got the loss. Cleveland would then score 3 more off Javier Lopez and 2 more off Jon Lester to put the game away. The two teams will match up Monday in Cleveland as Daisuke Matsuzaka faces off against Jake Westbrook.

© Copyright 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rockies Just Keep On Winning Beat D-Backs 3-2 In11 Innings

The way the Colorado Rockies are playing right now they may never lose another game. I'm not talking about this season, I'm talking about for eternity! That team from a feel good baseball novel were at it again Friday night beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 in 11 innings, and taking a 2-0 lead in the N.L.C.S. Colorado won the game in the 11th as centerfielder Willy Taveras, who was on the bubble as to whether or not he would make the post-season roster, drove home the run with a bases loaded walk. The Rockies have certainly not been flashy, they have just one extra base hit in the N.L.C.S. first two games, but they have done just enough of the little things to keep on winning. Both teams are off on Saturday as they travel to Colorado for game three.

© Copyright 2007

Red Sox Beat up Indians 10-3

It was only one game, of a best of seven series but the Boston Red Sox made a definitive statement; We Mean Business! Boston completely dominated the Cleveland Indians in all aspects of the game as they won game one of the A.L.C.S. 10-3 Friday night. Cleveland actually scored first as the Pronk Indians DH Travis Hafner hit a solo homer off Boston starter Josh Beckett in the top of the first. But Cleveland starter C.C. Sabathia gave the run back in the bottom of the frame giving up 3 straight singles to Kevin Youkalis, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez who got the RBI.

The game basically was over after the bottom of the third as Boston scored four runs. Sabathia gave up a bases loaded walk to Many Ramirez for the first run and Mike Lowell drove in two more with a double. The Indians Ace was knocked out of the game with just one out in the fifth as the Red Sox scored 3 more runs giving them an 8-1 lead after five.

Beckett was electric allowing only 2 runs on 4 hits striking out 7 in his 6 innings of work. Cleveland scored their second run in the sixth as Casey Blake doubled and was driven in by a RBI double by Kenny Lofton. Boston scored two more runs as Manny again walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame to make it a 10-2 game. Ramirez and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer are the only two players in MLB history to walk twice with the bases loaded in the post season. Blake scored again in the top of the eighth as he hit his second double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Asdrubal Cabrera. The Indians had runners at second and third in the bottom of the ninth, courtesy of a Jhonny Peralta single, and a hustle double by the veteran Lofton off Boston's Eric Gagne. But Franklin Guttierez struck out bringing Casey to the plate and walked on four straight pitches loading the bases. Grady Sizemore came to the plate with the bags juiced, Sizemore had a 3-0 count but struck out swinging to end the game. Cleveland will try to even the series Saturday as Fausto Carmona goes up against Curt Schilling.

© Copyright 2007

Cinderella Rockies Not Close To Midnight Beat D-Backs 5-1

The Colorado Rockies are not supposed to be in the N.L.C.S. but someone must have forgot to inform them of that fact. Not only are the "Cinderella" Rockies in the final series before getting to "The Show" they are ahead in the series after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks Thursday 5-1. Colorado got a masterful performance out of starter Jeff Francis going 6 2/3 innings allowing just 1 run on 7 hits 1 walk and striking out 4. Diamondbacks Ace Brandon Webb had a much rougher allowing 4 runs in his 6 frames to get the loss. Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe got the game's key hit a bases loaded single in the third driving home two. Colorado added one more run that inning plus single runs in the second and the seventh. This was the Rockies 18th win in 19 games an incredible pace, and a remarkable statistic.
© Copyright 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cleveland Advances To ALCS Defeat Yankees In Game Four 6-4

If I have learned anything during more than half a century on this planet it's this; Always go with your first instinct! Whenever I have deviated from my original "gut decision" I usually end up in an unpleasant situation. To change your mind at the last minute, and not to trust your internal barometers your brain and your heart usually is a desperation measure, and ends badly.

The New York Yankees deviated from their original plan on Monday night as they faced the Cleveland Indians in game four of the A.L.D.S. They originally had Mike Mussina scheduled as the starter for the game. However soon after they won game three Sunday night, to stay alive in the series down 2-1, reports started to emanate from New York that a change of plans was in the works. The Yankees feeling they were in a do or die situation, decided to put game one starter Chien-Ming Wang on the mound after only three days rest. They would pay dearly for changing their minds.

Wang who was less than effective in game one was downright awful in game four. He pitched only one inning, allowing four runs on five hits including a leadoff home run to Cleveland centerfielder Grady Sizemore. Mussina took over in the second but now with a 4-0 deficit. Cleveland starter crafty veteran Paul Byrd did what he had to do. He battled for five plus innings allowing only two runs on eight hits. New York kept chipping away scoring single runs in the second, the sixth, the seventh, and the ninth . The Yankees had homers from Robinson Cano, in the sixth, Alex Rodriguez, in what could be his last game as a Yankee, Bobby Abreu in the eighth, and Cano again in the ninth off closer Joe Borowski. But the Tribe had added two more runs in the fourth and Borowski held on for the save.

For Cleveland it is another step in the process begun by manager Eric Wedge and General Manager Mark Shapiro in 2003. Cleveland who had been a dominant team from 1995-2001 had been broken up by Shapiro during the season of 2002, after inheriting a team with aging stars and no farm system from former boss John Hart. Shapiro, pledged to the fans that the team would be competitive by 2005, and they were before they went on a losing streak the last week of the season to knock them out of what looked like an assured playoff spot. However the team had still won 93 games and hopes were bright for 2006.

But Cleveland took a step back last year, falling out of contention early and never being a legitimate factor. However Wedge and Shapiro kept their faith in their "Blueprint For Success" and although they tweaked the team, they did not throw in the towel and start from scratch. Cleveland will now face A.L. East winners the Boston Red Sox in the A.L.C.S. starting Friday at Fenway Park. Josh Beckett goes up against C.C. Sabathia

One of my favorite comedy bits is an old George Carlin routine where he talks about rummaging through the refrigerator and coming up with something unidentifiable. You're not sure if it's meat, or it's cake, it's meatcake!! The New York Yankees a team in transition, are they a veteran team of Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, and Roger Clemens? Or are they a team with their eye on the future, with Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes, Robinson Cano, and Joba Chamberlain? With the present mix it really is meatcake!

King George Yankees owner George Steinbrenner told the Bergen County Record that manager Joe Torre could be very well be out if New York falls to Cleveland. Although he allowed some buffer to change his mind, one wonders whether it could be time for a change. Joe Torre is certainly not the problem, but the real question is is he the solution? Does Torre have the fire in the belly to put up with Steinbrenner for another year or the New York media? Torre who has always been the epitome of stoicism actually shed a tear when the Yankees clinched the Wild Card. While I certainly do not look at this as a sign of weakness, I do wonder if it was sadness rather than joy causing the reaction thinking that in his mind he was ready to walk away.

If Torre is out after this year there are two in house candidates who appear to be the front runners. Yankees broadcaster and former New York coach and Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi, and "Donny Baseball" Yankees coach and legendary player Don Mattingly. Girardi has the experience, but is not known for his diplomatic skills, having been fired after one year with the Marlins after getting into an argument with the team owner. Mattingly has no managerial experience at any level but does have a magic name in the Bronx. Perhaps he will have a longer honeymoon period, as New York makes the transition to the next era.

© Copyright 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Staying Alive! Yankees Beat Indians 8-4

It looked like the end of an era was quickly approaching for the New York Yankees Sunday. Yankees owner "King George" AKA George Steinbrenner had an interview with a New Jersey newspaper The Record in which he said that if New York did not survive the A.L.D.S. longtime manager Joe Torre would probably end up among the casualties. New York started veteran Roger Clemens in game three with the Cleveland Indians leading the best of five series 2-0. The man who fans from the Bronx back in May thought would be their "savior" was anything but, his injuries getting the best of him having to leave the game in the third with the Indians leading 3-0. Clemens had allowed a homer to Trot Nixon and Jhonny Peralta, and Ryan Garko each had a RBI.

But where the veteran failed, the rookies came through as Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain shut down Cleveland. The two combined for 5 2/3 innings allowing 5 hits and one run. Mariano Rivera came in for the ninth to close the door.

New York centerfielder Johnny Damon finally showed why his team's nickname is "The Bronx Bombers." Damon had three hits four RBI and a key home run off Tribe starter Jake Westbrook in the fifth to put the Yankees ahead to stay 5-3, and getting Yankee Stadium to rock in the process.

Cleveland now has a 2-1 lead in the series, which resumes Monday with Paul Byrd who had a 15-8 regular season record on the mound for Cleveland. Although veteran Mike Mussina was scheduled to start game four for New York, reports now say that Chien-Ming Wang may get the start with just 3 days rest since losing game one.

© Copyright 2007

How "Sweep" It Is Bo-Sox Beat Halos 9-1 Advance To ALCS

Back when the world (and this reporter) were a lot younger New York Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson became christened "Mr. October" because of his Post Season heroics. Whether Jax had a good regular season or not, he became electric during Post Season play a major factor in the Yankees success. Jackson without a doubt thrived under pressure, he was what is termed in baseball a "money player."

If the 2007 Boston Red Sox go on and win their second World Series in four years, it won't be due to one "Mr. October" the Sox have the "October Triplets!" They would be in no particular order, DH David Ortiz, left fielder Manny Ramirez, and starter Curt Schilling. And there was certainly no coincidence that all three players figured prominently as Boston just slapped around the Los Angeles Angels 9-1. The win gave the Red Sox a series sweep in the best of five series sending them back to the A.L.C.S. for the first time since winning the World Series in 2004.

Schilling did not have a strong regular season for Boston. However the pitcher on the mound Sunday for the Sox was the warrior who survived experimental treatment in his ankle to lead the Sox to their first Championship since 1918 in 2004. Schilling was flat out dominant not allowing a run in seven innings scattering just six hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver really only made two mistakes, on consecutive at bats in the fourth as he allowed back to back jacks to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez giving Boston all they really needed. Big Papi now has the most Post Season home runs in Red Sox history with ten. Ramirez is now tied with Bernie Williams for the MLB record with 22 Post Season long balls.

Boston then smacked around the Angels bullpen, for seven runs, four off Justin Speier. The Sox will take on the winner of the series between Cleveland and New York, which Cleveland leads two games to one.

© Copyright 2007

Rockies Win Their First Playoff Series Sweep Phillies With 2-1 Win

These were two teams nobody expected to see in the 2007 MLB Post Season, even as late as early September. But the Philadelphia Phillies went on an amazing jag to catch and pass the New York Mets on the last day of the regular season to win the National League East. For the Colorado Rockies, the situation was even more complex ending up tied with the San Diego Padres after the final game for the Wild Card spot. They then had to play a one game elimination game in which they defeated the Padres and went on to face the Phillies. No two teams react the same to a chase down the stretch, and the contrast was clear in the series between the Rockies, and the Phillies. The Rockies seemed to be exhilarated by the race where the Phillies seemed spent and exhausted.

If that was not the determining factor in this series, it at least played a part, as Colorado swept Philadelphia 3-0 in the N.L.D.S. winning their game Saturday 2-1 to win their first Post Season Series in team history. The crafty veteran Jamie Moyer got the start for Philadelphia, and he was the club's final hope. Colorado sent rookie starter Ubaldo Jiminez to the hill a matchup that on paper certainly looked it favored the Phillies. And although Moyer did his usual stellar job on the mound going six frames, giving up just one run on five hits, it was not enough. Jiminez looked like a ten year veteran on the mound going 6 1/3 innings also giving up just one run on only three hits.

Now it was up to the bullpens, and unfortunately for Phillies fans the veteran J.C. Romero allowed three hits and the winning run to send Philadelphia home after a 2-1 loss. Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel praised the Rockies saying they were on one of the most amazing streaks he has ever witnessed. Colorado will face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the N.L.C.S.

© Copyright 2007

D-Backs Sweep Cubs Win Game Three 5-1 Advance To NLCS

For Chicago Cubs fans it's once again the mantra they have chanted for close to a century now"Wait Til Next Year!" For the Arizona Diamondbacks it is on to the N.L.C.S. and possibly their second World Series Championship since entering MLB in 1998, as they swept the Cubs winning game three of the N.L.D.S. 5-1.

Arizona center fielder Chris Young started the game off with a flourish hitting Chicago starter Rich Hill's first pitch of the game for a home run. Hill would last only 3 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits and the Cubs never recovered. D-Backs starter Livan Hernandez while not being the dominating hurler he was for the Florida Marlins when he was named the MVP of the 1997 World Series, kept working his way off the hook all game. Hernandez went six innings allowing just one run on five hits. Stephen Drew and Eric Byrnes also went deep for Arizona, who will face the surprising Colorado Rockies in the N.L.C.S.

© Copyright 2007

Manny Goes Deep In Ninth Bo-Sox Beat Angels 6-3

The Boston Red Sox have taken a 2-0 lead over Angels, after Boston outfielder Manny Ramirez hit a 3 run homer off Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth to beat Los Angeles 6-3 Friday night. Jonathan Paplebon got the save for Boston, K-Rod took the loss for the Angels. The win puts the Red Sox just one win away from reaching the A.L.C.S. as they look to close out the series Sunday in Anaheim.

© Copyright 2007

Tribe Comes Through In Game Two Beat Yankees 2-1

The Cleveland Indians took a 2-0 lead over the New York Yankees, needing just one more victory to reach the A.L.C.S. as they defeated New York Friday night 2-1 in 11 innings. The Yankees took the first lead of the game at 1-0, as Melky Cabrera hit a third inning run home. But Yankees rookie phenom reliever Joba Chamberlain was bothered by an infestation of gnats, which caused him to blow his first MLB save. The game tied at one went into extra innings and Cleveland DH Travis "Pronk"Hafner came to the plate with the bags juiced and two out. He drove home Grady Sizemore with a RBI single, to give the Indians the victory. The two teams now travel to the Bronx as Roger Clemens tries to keep New York alive, Cleveland sends Jake Westbrook to the hill looking to close the series Sunday.
© Copyright 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lofton Loving Life Tribe Spanks Yanks 12-3

If you think about the life span of an athlete's career, it's really rather bizarre. Where else in the USA work force would you be considered a "grizzled veteran" nearing retirement in your late to mid thirties but in Professional Sports? A lawyer, an engineer, a computer programmer, would all just be starting to hit their stride, athletes are planning for that pension.

It personally hits home when you have covered an athlete on both sides of that spectrum! I remember like it was yesterday fresh faced Kenny Lofton in 1995, my first year covering the Cleveland Indians who idolized veteran Eddie Murray who was brought into the team for veteran leadership. Now it has gone full circle and Lofton is Eddie Murray, a veteran the Indians brought in mid-season for his veteran experience and leadership.

Lofton fulfilled that role on Thursday night as Cleveland is back in the Playoffs for the first time since Kenny's final year with Cleveland in 2001. Facing Chien Ming-Wang and the New York Yankees in the A.L.D.S. Lofton went 3-4 with 4 RBI as the Indians beat up on the Boys From The Bronx 12-3. Cleveland Ace C.C. Sabathia battled as he went five allowing three runs on four hits. Indians first baseman Ryan Garko also went 3-4 and the Tribe got home runs from Garko, Astrubal Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and The Pronk DH Travis Hafner. Cleveland takes a 1-0 lead in the best of five series.

© Copyright 2007

Kaz Comes Through Rockies One Game From Advancing Beat Phillies 10-5

The Colorado Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies both sent rookie starters to the mound to start Game Two of the N.L.D.S. with Colorado ahead in the series 1-0. Both Rockies starter Franklin Morales and Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick were both overcome by the moment and were terribly ineffective. Morales lasted just 3 innings giving up 3 runs Kendrick 3 2/3 innings allowing five runs. The factor that separated the two teams were their respective bullpens. Arizona's limited the damage to just 2 more runs, Philadelphia's gave up 5 including a grand slam from Kaz Matsui off of the man who was supposed to start Game 4 Kyle Lohse. Outcome: Colorado 10 Philadelphia 5 and the Wild Card Rockies are just one game away from their first N.L.C.S. appearance.

Second baseman Matsui was just a single away from hitting for the cycle. Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday hit back to back jacks on consecutive pitches in the first. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will send the pitcher to the mound that kept his 2001 Cleveland Indians from advancing in the Post Season veteran Jamie Moyer, to try get his club jump started. Colorado will counter with another rookie Ubaldo Jiminez.

© Copyright 2007

D-Backs Draw First Blood Beat Cubbies 3-1

The Arizona Diamondbacks are basically MLB's version of the late Rodney Dangerfield, they "Don't Get No Respect." MLB observers thought they would fade against the San Diego Padres in the National League West, especially after losing veteran starter Randy Johnson to back surgery. These same observers thought they would not be able to compete in the N.L.D.S. against the Chicago Cubs who won the National League Central. Well, just like Rodney thrived as a comedian, the D-Backs are starting to show their critics they deserve the respect that has been denied them as they stymied the Cubs Wednesday night 3-1 in Game One of the N.L.D.S.

Arizona starter Brandon Webb and Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano were throwing bb's out on the mound as both teams only got 1 run and 4 hits off each starter. Chicago, blinked first however as Cubs skipper Lou Pinella pulled his Ace after six frames because he was pitching on just three days rest. The move backfired as reliever Carlos Marmol gave up two runs in one inning and the Diamondbacks closed the door on Chicago. Stephen Drew and Mike Reynolds each went deep for Arizona as they take a 1-0 lead in the best of five series.

© Copyright 2007

Jocketty Out As RedBirds General Manager

Long before she became infamous for her "Super Bowl Wardrobe Malfunction" R&B singer Janet Jackson had a hit called "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" That song could be the mantra for all professional sports teams. They seem to have very long memories when you mess up, but forget very quickly about your successes. ST. Louis Cardinals General Manager Walt Jocketty found that out the hard way Wednesday less than a year after leading the RedBirds to a World Series Championship, he has been dismissed by the team, after missing the playoffs. Jocketty along with field boss Tony LaRussa led the Cardinals to their first World Series Championship since 1982.

ST. Louis Team Owner Bill DeWitt Jr. released a statement that the decision was based on in his words "I think we had a little different philosophy and vision with respect to some baseball issues..." Mr. De Witt, I can understand your being disgruntled, Jocketty coming into the organization in 1994 took over a team that had not been to the playoffs since 1987. During his 13 year tenure, he only made the playoffs six times made it to the World Series twice in three years, and in between lost in the NLCS. Oh, and won the World Series last season, but I could understand you wanting to go in a different direction!

Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa's contract expires at the end of the year, he and Jocketty were a tandem. LaRussa is one of only two managers in MLB history to win World Series in both leagues. LaRussa has not commented on the change, but one doubts he would be doing cartwheels. Jocketty, with his resume will not be out of work for long, possibly he and LaRussa could end up together again. I started this article quoting a song title, I will end it with a quote from an unknown author:"Money And Ignorance Make For A Dangerous Combination."

© Copyright 2007

Beckett Over Powers Halos; Youk And Papi Over Power Lackey Bo-Sox Win 4-0

2007 has been quite a year for Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett. He was the only 20 game winner in MLB this season, in fact the only 20 game winner since the end of the 2005 season! He looks to be the front runner for the Cy Young award, and his team the Boston Red Sox won the American League East for the first time in 12 years and are hosting the L.A. Angels in the A.L.D.S. What Do you do for an encore? How about joining some MLB legends in the Post Season record books.

Beckett is now tied for second place in career Post Season shutouts with three, putting his name next to Whitey Ford and Mordechai "Three Fingers" Brown. They all trail the "Big Train" Walter Johnson with four. This after absolutely hypnotizing the Angels Wednesday night in Game One of the A.L.D.S. 4-0. Beckett allowed only 4 hits over his complete game victory, striking out 8 in the process.

Los Angeles starter John Lackey had what would usually be considered a "quality start" allowing 4 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings. Unfortunately for Lackey, it was just good enough to lose, as he got behind early allowing a first inning home run to Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis, and then giving up a 2 run shot to David "Big Papi" Ortiz with Youkilis on base in the third. Boston takes a 1-0 lead in the best of five series, the two teams matchup again Friday at Fenway.

© Copyright 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

Rockies Head To Post Season Padres Head Home Colorado Wins 9-8

Game 163 almost seemed to take as long as the whole month of September as it took 13 innings before a National League Wild Card winner was decided. And that 13th inning was like a roller coaster, with all the thrills and excitement the the National Pastime provides at it's best. And when the smoke cleared it was the team that had the last at bat the Colorado Rockies that came out victorious scoring three runs in the bottom of the frame to counter the two scored by the San Diego Padres in the top. Final score Colorado 9 San Diego 8 culminating an amazing string of wins pulled off by Colorado during the season's final weeks. Ramon Ortiz got the win for the Rockies the tenth pitcher used by the team in the game. Colorado will travel to Philadelphia to take on the National League East Champs the Phillies.
© Copyright 2007

About us

  • I'm Matt Loede
  • From Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Matt has been involved in sports media for over ten years, with experience covering the NFL, NBA, and MLB for the past 13+ years.
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  • From Crescent City, CA
  • Stephen Rhodes has been a diehard Cincinnati Reds and MLB fan since the early 70's; his insight into today's game should make for interesting reading at The Game Of Baseball.
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