Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Red Sox to the ALCS

A few quick thoughts about the last few games of the ALDS:

--Peralta can quick-pitch Napoli for strike-three as often as he wants, as long as he uncorks a game-tying wild pitch first, like he did last night.

--The results were good, but I can't say I approve of how Maddon managed his bullpen yesterday.  Why he didn't do the same the night before--which was also a must-win game for them--is a mystery, if he thought the situation that dire.

--And you're instilling a sense of fear in your team if you're mixing and matching your pitchers so often that you're basically screaming out that your team can't afford to make even one wrong pitch.  I think that made the team more stiff at the plate as well.  Some players do not perform well under such intense alarm.  See: Fernando Rodney.  Perhaps Longoria as well; he had more indecisive half-swings in that one game that he probably had in the past few weeks combined.

--Farrell managed his team much better than Maddon, who's also a good manager, but sometimes steals the spotlight from the players during games and post-game interviews.  Pinch-hitting Bogaerts for Drew was a helluva move, and not one he made all year.  He normally sticks with Drew even at times when he must know he shouldn't.  But Bogaerts drew two walks in two PAs, and scored the tying run.  Taking out Peavy at just the right moment, after just 74 pitches, took steel nerve.  Bringing in Breslow earlier than usual, and leaving him in longer than usual, was just the right move.  Letting Tazawa face just that one batter, rather than having him finish the eighth, which he would normally do, was also just right.  Perfect decisions at exactly the right moments.

--Breslow speaks just like the Ivy-League educated guy that he is.  And I mean that as a compliment.  For a ballplayer, he's extremely well-spoken, and I mean that in the kindest of all possible ways.

--I don't know why Maddon didn't leave Moore in longer.  When he came in, the announcers (and me) thought he was in for at least four innings.

--The game lasted just under four hours, until 1:30 a.m., for those keeping track.  TBS might want to consider that next time it wants to start a playoff game at 8:30 pm.  If Girardi had managed the way Maddon did, and had the game been Sox / Yanks instead, it would have lasted past 2:30 a.m.

--Bottom line: The Rays were tired, and couldn't hit.

--I wouldn't want Rodney for my closer.  There seems to be something a little off-kilter rattling around in there.  And even when he does well--one person can't have a completely askew cap, off-center to the point that it draws unnecessary attention to itself, and a bow-and-arrow genuflect to God.  If he wanted to scream "Hey, look at me!" then he should have literally screamed "Hey, look at me!" as he was walking two and hitting a batter in the ninth inning of a must-win game.

--The Trop is a travesty that simply needs to go.  Has anyone considered the possibility that the team draws like crap not because the fanbase sucks, but because it doesn't want to come to that park?  It even looks terrible on television.  And what if the catwalk fiasco had been the final play of a Game 7 of the World Series?  If there was a great team playing in a great park and the fans still didn't come, then it would be time to move the team.  First, how about playing in an actual ballpark first?

--Tigers or A's?  Are you kidding?  Go A's!!!  (I wish a World Series for Billy Beane.  But not this year.)

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