02 October 2002

Playoff Ramblings

I actually got to see a meaningful Yankee game last night! Well, most of it anyway. There's little to say about it that hasn't already been said, but hey, this is my website. So there.

Roger Clemens, despite his copious Cy Young Awards, has not had similar success in the postseason, sometimes for lack of run support, sometimes for lack of run prevention. Last night exemplified the latter. He still throws damn hard, as Darin Erstad could testify, since he whiffed on some 95mph gas with the chance to tie the game in the 4th or 5th. But his control is not what it used to be, at least this year, and so he left a few pitches up, one of them to Garret Anderson, which essentially ended Clemens' night. Like David Pinto, I can't understand why Rocket was trying to blow high heat past Anderson, who walks about once every 24,687 At-Bats, it seems. Garret has hit only 8 for 39 (.205) against Clemens in their careers, with 13 K's, no walks, 1 RBI and one extra base hit, so maybe Clemens was just trying to overpower him, but with someone like that, who can hit it when he puts it in play, you're better off throwing sliders and/or splitters in the dirt, I think.

I usually get annoyed when someone touts players like Craig Counsell, or David Eckstein as great players because they "do the little things", like "moving runners over", "taking the extra base" or my favorite, "being a great clubhouse guy". The problem with this, in my opinion, is that they have to do the "little things" because they're not much good at the big things like "hitting". That having been said, I saw something I've never seen before, except in a movie: David Eckstein hitting against Clemens in the 5th, with Adam Kennedy on first and one out. Kennedy was doing his best to pester Clemens into paying attention to him instead of Eckstein, and it seemed to work, as Clemens threw over to first about 324 times in that inning. Anyway, with Kennedy going, Clemens and Posada tried a pitchout, and Kennedy would have been nailed but Eckstein reached out and slapped the pitchout foul! You may not realize it simply from my statement, but this was truly an accomplishment, as Eckstein is barely three feet tall. OK, three and a half. Maybe this happens more than I think, but I can't remember ever having seen it before. It kept both of them alive, and allowed him to single, continuing the inning in which Clemens' poor pitch selection would eventually allow the Angels to tie the game at 3-3. It was a clear case of doing a little thing to help the team win. Except that they lost, because the Yankees hit four home runs. (One of those "big things" I mentioned earlier.)

Other than the Yanks, it was the Night of the Underdogs, as St. Louis beat the Big Unit and the Arizonas, and the Twinkies beat Oakland, despite a mediocre performance by both Brad Radke and their defense. If Schilling continues his past month's trend, The Cards have a real chance to win that Series, which I would like, because I don't want the yanks to have to face the Dynamic Duo again in the World Series. Also, the Twins will likely have a harder time against Mulder and Zito, as they have struggled against lefties all year and rarely walk, so they're not likely to score many runs, since Mulder and Zito are pretty stingy with hits, too. We're not talking Detroit-Tigers-kinda-"rarely-walks" (I hear that Randall Simon has a motorized chair at home so he won't hafta walk there either.) but the Twins easily have the lowest OBP of any AL playoff team, and are only a hair better than Atlanta among all MLB playoff teams.

The Boy of Summer's Picks:
Yankees out-homer Anaheim, 13 to 4, win series, 3 to 1.
Oakland out walks Minnesota, 22 to 8, wins series 3 to 1.
St. Louis takes advantage of Dynamic Duo's temporary mortality, wins series, 3 to 2.
SanFran keeps Atlanta's pathetically hitting infielders at-bay, wins series 3 to 2.

Yankees keep Balance of the Universe, beat Oakland 4 to 2. Some Athletic forgets to slide/makes error at crucial moment.

'Frisco beats St Louis, whose Magic/Fate/Destiny runs out, 4 to 3. Kent is NLCS MVP despite hitting .238 w/RISP, because SuperMan is on base 23 times when he comes up.

In first ever Yanks - SF Giants World Series, Yankees' bats come up big against 'Frisco's overrated pitching, 4 to 1. Baker continues to start JT Snow at first, despite his not having done anything to justify said decision in three years. Livan Hernandez throws 273 pitches in a complete-game, 18-hitter for the Giants' only win. After the game, Dusty is quoted saying, "We would have run him up to 300, but his right arm fell off in the seventh, and we weren't sure how much more his left arm could take."

Prove me wrong.

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