Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

Game 2: Posada Sits!?!

The sense if the Yankees treating this like another mid-season game against a Detroit or maybe even a Cleveland is underscored by news that Joe Girardi is starting A.J. Burnetts personal catcher Jose Molina and not even keeping Jorge Posada in as the designated hitter.
In Burnetts last start with his essential, vital spirit guide, he gave up four runs in the first inning and then managed to avoid falling further down the stairs – an unfortunate bit of temporary success insomuch as it allowed him to be around to blow the lead produced by the Yanks late six-run rally against John Lackeys successors.
It is a luxury that may not be at all luxurious and is a little overpriced for a team that needs all the lefthanded hitting it needs tonight against Pedro Martinez.
The silver lining of course is that Posada can pinch hit for Molina. Possibly in the first or second inning after Burnett gets shelled again.

Game 2: Pre-Game

Funny that A.J. Burnett said he cant remember much about his kaboom start against the Phillies in the Bronx in May, but Pedro Martinez seems to recall every detail of every nanosecond he spent at the old Yankee Stadium, and in fact each moment inside the city of New York, and probably which of Don Zimmers fingers first touched him during their still remarkable brawl.
I wonder if the Phillies were not reminded by the travails of Brad Lidge of the intensity and focus required to win a Worlds Championship, while the Yankees might have begun to believe all of the exaggerated things written about them in the New York papers. They still dont seem even slightly worried, and given that Burnett has proved himself the most easily rattled pitcher since Nuke LaLoosh, they should be.

CC Yawns

The view from the not-so-cheap-seats:

If attitude foretells outcome, Game One might have been over when CC Sabathia yawned while completing his warm-ups before facing the Phillies in the bottom of the first. Not that Sabathia pitched poorly nor was expecting the Phils to roll over, but for symbolic contrast you can’t beat Sabathia’s yawn compared to Carlos Ruiz calling time, up 6-1, two out, bottom of the 9th, 0-2 on Jorge Posada – and running out to talk to Cliff Lee when Lee was an out away from one of the modern Workd Series pitching masterpieces. Turned out he was reminding him there was a runner on. 
Also disturbing, and far more visible on the tv replay than in the ballpark, was Hideki Matsui’s vapor lock on the bizarre Jimmy Rollins trap-catch of Robinson Cano’s dying liner in the 5th. Matsui’s obligation, in the absence of conclusive guidance from the umpires, is to get his butt back to first base as soon as Cano has passed it. As it proved, Matsui was entitled to return to the base and Cano was out. But even if it was the other way around, Matsui, forced at second, then standing at first does not in any way endanger a Cano who is safe at first. The umpires also did a mediocre job making clear that Rollins had caught the ball and not trapped it, but it’s Matsui’s responsibility to not let himself get tagged out for a deflating double play.
I don’t think any Yankee other than Derek Jeter hit one of Lee’s pitches squarely, and there by itself is another decisive contrast: those two homers by Chase Utley were, as you’ve doubtless heard, the first surrenderred by Sabathia to a lefthanded hitter at Yankee Stadium this year. One good team played above expectations, the other, well below them.

Big Mac, Big Mistake

So the last time we saw Mark McGwire he was giving the worst possible answer to questions from Congress about steroids. And then he vanished without a trace, and the location of his supporters and defenders shrank to one area code in Missouri, and every day somebody hoped he’d figure it out: his reputation was shot anyway, he wasn’t going to the Hall of Fame, he had been given by fate a license to tell kids not to get involved with performance-enhancers and thus redeem much of his own unacceptable but easily forgiven perfidy.

Instead, crickets.
In March, that ludicrous “I’m not hear to talk about the past” announcement will have been five years ago. And now we are informed that McGwire, who never had a reputation as much of a student of the game (although he was secretly tutoring several Cardinals including Skip Schumaker and Matt Holliday, and they swear by him), and who never addressed his past, will suddenly emerge from nowhere to coach the Cards’ hitters next season. 
Just a guess here, but he might get a question about PED’s from the media, and he might get an occasional taunt from the fans. Look, this isn’t going to be 1998 in terms of reportorial attention, and it’s not like hitting coaches run out to the plate as pitching coaches do to the mound so the booing will probably be at a minimum. But who thought this was a good idea, or one that won’t be mocked, debated, and questioned in every city except St. Louis? If Tony LaRussa feels the 2010 Cardinals will need a distraction from questions about their pitching, hitting, fielding, and team chemistry – he just provided it.
THE CURSE IS OVER
I congratulate the National League Champion Phillies who made it to the World Series without my help (snark) for the first time ever. There go any free tickets I might have gotten in the next few years. I’ll live.
I suspect the Yankees will win the Series in six, possibly five. I would expect the Phillies to pound A.J. Burnett mercilessly in Game Two but otherwise be largely thwarted by the Sabathia/Pettitte combo. A monster Series out of Dennis Werth, himself the stepson of a long-ago Yankee, would be the key to an upset.

Trivia and Jocketty

I never posted the (apparent) answer to the trivia question from last week about Hall of Famers who retired after World Series wins or losses, and I’ll get to what I have on that shortly.

Firstly, in the wake of the very disturbing Jay Bruce broken wrist last night, there was a quote from a few weeks previously from Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty about what the club would do if it felt it had to bench or perhaps demote Bruce, who had been steadily heading down to the Uecker Line. He had said Drew Stubbs – the former first-rounder who has hit like a dream at Louisville, gets on base nicely, steals bases, but has shown none of the power the Reds expected when they drafted him – would get the first opportunity. As I mentioned earlier, Reds management also likes Chris Haisley, who just got to AAA a month ago, and has considerably more power with very little experience above AA. A spot on the 40-man would have to be created for either player.
However, Reds’ manager Dusty Baker, sounding exactly like the kind of skippers in Atlanta who limited him to spot work for his first four years, seems totally unimpressed with the prospects of either Stubbs or Haisley, dismissing their performances as just numbers. While an outfield of Nix and Gomes in left, Willy Taveras in center, and Chris Dickerson (who left today’s game in New York with back spasms) may seem appealing to Dusty, it would probably assure the Reds of sinking into the basement in the NL Central. Dismissing Haisley, or the more likely candidate Stubbs, just isn’t rational – unless Baker is expecting the Reds to summon up a big-bat outfielder or shortstop before the trading deadline. Other than first baseman Yonder Alonso, there just aren’t big-ticket trade chips in the Reds’ system, and unless you’re talking Matt Holliday, I don’t think you’re talking about trading Alonso.
Face it, Dusty, you may have to put a kid out there. Even though that never works. Joey Votto, Bruce, even Dickerson – they were just lightning strikes. Not possible for that to ever happen again in the history of baseball.
Now that trivia question. If you include being on the active roster during the World Series, our lists of Hall-of-Famers who wrapped it up there, is as follows:
Winners:
1930 Eddie Collins, Philadelphia A’s (though he was a player-coach who appeared in only three games during the season, both the Philly and St. Louis scorecards – our best research tool for early Series info – list him as an active player for the ’30 Series).
1951 Joe DiMaggio, Yankees
1953 Johnny Mize, Yankees
1968 Eddie Mathews, Tigers
(Note here: Johnny Ward, Hall of Fame player-manager of the 1894 New York Giants, led his team to victory in the closest thing to the World Series, The Temple Cup, then retired as an active player).
Losers:
1922 Home Run Baker, Yankees
1936 Travis Jackson, Giants
1936 Bill Terry, Giants
1956 Jackie Robinson, Dodgers
1966 Sandy Koufax, Dodgers
1968 Roger Maris, Cardinals
1973 Willie Mays, Mets
Some notes here: Tom Seaver was on the disabled list of the ’86 Red Sox, but since he attempted a comeback mid-season with the ’87 Mets, he falls off the list for two reasons. Dave Winfield ended his career with the ’95 Indians but was not on the post-season roster, and Larry Doby finished up with the ’59 White Sox but was let go in July.
And as mentioned below, Don Sutton is in a category of his own. In the rotation of the ’88 Dodgers past the All-Star break, he was released, never pitched again – but went with the team the next year for a celebration at the White House.
Again, the lists are presumed to be incomplete and additional submissions are welcomed
Two years later, the Dodgers released Don Sutton two months before the Series

Trivia

Two great questions batted around Yankee Stadium Sunday which you can chew on for a few days.

One of them is fully vetted – the other, not quite.
1. When Rickey Henderson is inducted, he’ll become the fourteenth Hall of Famer who once wore a Mets’ uniform. Name the other thirteen, and note the construction of the question. They are indeed, not all players.
2. How many Hall of Famers retired immediately after playing on a World Series winning team? How many of them did so immediately after playing on a losing team? Looks like four or five winners and about ten losers, but I’m still double-checking.
As they say: have at.
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