Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday 10/04 A.M. Quickie:
MLB! Piniella, Beckett, Holliday, A-Rod, More!

Today's Names to Know: Lou Piniella, Carlos Marmol, Mark Reynolds, Matt Holliday, Josh Beckett, CC Sabathia, A-Rod, Steve Spurrier, Andre Woodson, Walt Jocketty, Gus Frerotte, Mike Vick, Brandon Roy and More!

Wow, that was a pretty fun start to the baseball playoffs: Lou Piniella's tactical error might have cost the Cubs a shot at winning Game 1... Josh Beckett picks up where he left off in 2003 (with a shut-out)... On 36 hours' rest, the Rockies go East, beat the Phillies to take a 1-0 lead, shut down Philly's Big Three and roll on.

D'backs rally over Cubs to take Game 1: Here's the controversy: Did Lou Piniella pull Carlos Zambrano too early – perhaps even a single inning too early? Zambrano hadn't hit his 100-pitch limit, but Lou was worried about Z being available to start Game 4.

So in the 7th, Lou put in super-reliever Carlos Marmol, who promptly gave up 2 runs -- the winning margin. There's no proof Zambrano wouldn't have gotten hit just as hard (and Marmol has been a complete stud this season), but this is an easy one for fans to second-guess.

Reigning NL Cy Young winner Brandon Webb held the Cubs to 4 hits and a single run over 7 innings. On the offensive end, Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds each hit HR for Arizona; that's not a bad (very) young left side of the infield they've got there.

Red Sox blank Angels behind Beckett's complete game 4-hitter: Beckett re-asserts himself as one of the great postseason pitchers of our generation. (Oh, right: THIS is why he was worth all that money and talent to trade for!)

Meanwhile, no surprise: Big Papi with a HR. (Another Stud: Kevin Youkilis, who went 2-4 with a HR and 2 runs scored.)

Rockies win Game 1 in Philly. Wow, given that the Rockies were last seen boarding a red-eye late Monday night after clinching the Wild Card in a playoff, to win a day game on the road 36 hours later is pretty impressive. I was prepared for them to all but concede the game; instead, they continue their wild run, a 15th win in their last 16 games.

Stud: Matt Holliday hit a home run. We never really got into this on Tuesday, but with Jimmy Rollins the presumptive NL MVP after 162 games, edging out Holliday, you have to wonder if Holliday literally and figuratively slid past Rollins headfirst in Game 163.

I think they were close enough that Holliday's heroics in the final regular season game should nudge him past Rollins in the wildest MVP finish in years. (When was the last time an MVP race was decided in a come-from-behind vault in a 163rd regular-season game?)

Dud: The Phillies' Big Three (Howard, Utley, Rollins) went 0-for-11 with 8 Ks. That's some ugly foreshadowing.

Today's Games: Morales vs. Kendrick in Philly at 3 p.m., Wang vs. Sabathia in Cleveland at 6:30, Lilly vs. Davis in Arizona at 10. The only home team down 0-1, Philly is in a near-must-win position.

But most of the focus will be on the Yankees, who go up against Sabathia, one of the best pitchers in the AL. The spotlight is on A-Rod, who might be playing his final games with the Yankees. After his sick regular season, can he replicate that in the playoffs? Uncertain.

CFB: Kentucky at South Carolina. Now THIS is intriguing. Is Kentucky a legit contender or just a first-half phenomenon, due to dismantle once they hit the gauntlet of the SEC schedule? Or will this nationally televised game be Andre Woodson's official coronation as Heisman front-runner (where he should be already).

If Kentucky wins, they are officially an SEC East contender. If they lose, they were a nice first-half story. If South Carolina wins, they stake their claim as Florida's top rival in the SEC East (and probably get a Top 10 ranking for it). Nice little ranked-vs-ranked match-up to warm up for the weekend. Pick: Spurrier South Carolina.

(By the way, what's the chance that the TV announcers bring up the new book about the 1962 Wildcats squad that was involved in a sex scandal with Rock Hudson AND gambling?)

Bobby Petrino leaving Falcons...for Auburn?! This is just a rumor, and probably one just floated by a wishful-thinking booster. First of all, Petrino is mere weeks into his Falcons career; he hasn't even had the chance yet to build a team around, say, Brian Brohm. Second, how can this come out the week after Tommy Tuberville goes into the Swamp and beats Florida? I know Tuberville frustrates Auburn fans and has had an up-and-down 2007 season, but -- of any week -- this ain't the week to gripe.

Andy Reid stepping down as Eagles coach? Kudos to Philadelphia Mag's A.J. Daulerio with the scoop on the short-term and long-term fate of Andy Reid, who could be stepping down as coach imminently. Given Reid's off-field family issues, who could blame him? (From an on-field standpoint, it feels like Reid has done about as much as he can with the franchise.)

Cards let GM Walt Jocketty go: The big question is whether Jocketty and Tony LaRussa are a package deal wherever they end up next.

A-Rod and wife expecting another baby: In the spring. Someone do the math and figure out whether conception happened to coincide with A-Rod's little p.r. problem in Canada with that manly looking stripper.

NFL: Marc Bulger benched for Gus Frerotte. Wow, that 6Y/$65M contract extension he signed in August SURE looks good right now. (For him.)

Chad Johnson Turmoil, Cont'd: A day late, 85 took responsibility for the INT that he was a part of, rather than, say, blaming his QB on national TV.

Vick Watch: The Falcons want him to refund them $22 million in bonus money. Yikes, talk about adding financial insult to probable prison time.

Meanwhile, Vince Young continues to inject himself into controversies. First it was McNabb (where he didn't inject himself as much as distance himself, which he got criticized for). Now it's saying Vick "is a good person." Maybe, maybe not: You just don't want to be in his corner right now.

The Cowboys are the NFL's most popular team (displacing the Steelers), but I never really understood how that worked. Like: The Cowboys have the most total number of fans? They have the most fans who aren't a fan of another NFL team already? Willingness to buy and wear merchandise? I don't get it (though I'm sure there's some solid research methodology behind it). But seriously, this is one of the stupidest superlative rankings that come out all year.

College Hoops: Howland gets new deal. As the most successful UCLA hoops coach since Wooden, Ben Howland deserved his 7-year extension. He has turned UCLA into the best program in the West, in a few seasons quickly eclipsing Arizona. And after two great seasons, he may have his best team YET this coming season. (But, now, anything less than a national title is failure.)

NBA Training Camp: More bad injury news for the Blazers. Brandon Roy has a heel problem. As a precaution (or perhaps foreshadowing), the team might keep him out of the exhibition game season entirely.

And, in a heart-warming end to the post, the Warriors named their newest team captain: Stephen Jackson. Perhaps they'll all get tattoos like Jackson's: Hands clasped in prayer... holding a gun. Leadership!

-- D.S.

46 comments:

Sparty said...

Josh Beckett, Wow, just wow. Ladies and Gents, we may be watching the greatest post season pitcher ever. seriously, just sick.

Mr. Ed said...

Sparty, I am inclined to agree with you. Herscheiser, Shilling, our fantastic trio from ATL (Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine), and scads of others have had their moment in the sun... but once the 162-game sched is out of the way, I'll take Beckett.

VY saying that Michael Vick is a good person is kind of like saying Hitler had good posture... quite possibly true, but totally irrelevant to the discussion. When a "good" person commits unspeakable acts of depravity, they become a bad person, regardless of whether their breath has a hint of minty freshness. Vince, shut up and throw the football.

Natsfan74 said...

I agree that Lou made a huge error that potentially cost the Cubs a game. I just disagree with most people on what that error is.

Cubs have a runner on 2nd, no outs, and the pitcher batting. I understand he's a good hitter. I know Lou doesn't like giving outs away. But, Lou should have BUNTED the damn ball. As it worked out, Zambrano lines out to shortstop (on a well-hit ball, but not with good results), then Soriano hits a fly ball to center that would have scored a runner from 3rd. The ball wasn't very deep, but Theriot is one of the fastest Cubs.

Even for a manager who hates small ball -- this was a time it made more sense.

Kentucky is a good team, with quality wins over Louisville (who also lost to Syracuse) and Arkansas (who also lost to Alabama). Tonight, we'll see if Kentucky is a serious contender, or if their two marquee wins are really hollow victories over highly overrated teams. I actually suspect it is a combination. UK is good. Their previous opponents not so much!

Sparty said...

can we really consider a win over louisville a quality win?

chitown italian said...

Wait til next year!

Nice Lou, really friggin nice. I understand you want to save Z for game 4 but you won't get to game 4 the way you pulled him.

A big thanks to Soriano, Jones, and Lee. Your PITCHER leads off with a 2B and you leave him there. Good job....

@Nats - I was furious he didn't have Z bunt. I know he can hit but that is a classic bunt situation. But then again, have you seen the Cubs P's bunt??? I think Lou needs to get Brett Butler on payroll to teach these guys how to bunt.

Sparty said...

i see where this is going. pissed of cubbies day...

Matt T said...

UK is very intriguing, but even if they get past S. Carolina, they still have UF, UT and UGA in the east.

THe remote is going to get a work out tonight between that game, baseball and The Office.

rafael said...

lots of rumors that LaRussa could have the Cincinnati job "if he wants it". But Jocketty does not have the same offer.

Mark said...

I don't know why the Rockies' win is so surprising to you. If anything it was an advantage to only have 1 day off rather than 2. Better to keep rolling instead of taking too much time off and losing your rhythm and timing. Just look at Detroit vs. St. Louis last year.

Anyway, here's hoping Sabathia shuts down the Yanks tonight and the offense provides enough of a cushion so I don't have a heart attack when Borowski comes in! GO TRIBE!

Sparty said...

again on Beckett. I was at game 3 of the 2003 World Series in Florida, the last World Series game the Yankees won. Beckett was almost unhittable in that game as well. If it wasn't for the rain delay, Marlins most likely would have taken game 3 and we never would have been able to see Beckett shut the Yanks down in Game 6. After the rain McKeon had to pull Beckett because the stoppage definitely had an effect on him as it does most hard throwers. Yanks beat up the bullpen the rest of the game. He is definitely worth giving up Hanley Ramirez.

Luke Bell said...

Funny how Cub fans change their tune. Dusty was an idiot for leaving Wood in too long, while Lou is an idiot for taking Zambrano out too soon.

You scored one run. I don't think leaving Z in for another inning would have changed that, unless maybe he would have had another at bat. Nice hitting display by the Cubs.

CorrND said...

At first, I thought

Pick: Spurrier

said

Prick: Spurrier

which would have been awesome.

Natsfan74 said...

Luke -- you're exactly right. That's why I think the non-bunt is the bad call. The Cubs left way too many runners on base and didn't do anything to move them around the bases. If Soriano is a true leadoff hitter -- he should have bunted Zambrano over in the 3rd. Bunt for a hit even (3B was playing way back for Soraino's power), but move runners along.

I don't think Louisville or Arkansas are big wins. But, time will tell. I think Clemson will be the SEC East Champion (they best FSU, who beat Alabama, who wil... ok, nevermind, Alabama sucks!)

I can't believe the Cardinals would part with Jockety or LaRussa. What idiots! In the last 3 years, they have a WS title in 2006 and the best record in baseball in 2005. I guess the DUI in Florida was the beginning of the end -- which gained momentum after the pitcher's death and continued to build until a losing season and HGH took their toll. But, prior to the HGH rumors, the Cardinals had clawed their way back into 1st place from the depths of the Division?

Big D said...

@ luke bell: Beat me to it. The way the Cubs' offense looked yesterday, the piotching change likely didn't matter.


For the record: Beckett's last 2 postseason starts:

18IP, 17K's, 9 hits, 2 BB's, 0 runs.

Those are more like video game numbers.

marcomarco said...

Baker got toasted for leaving Wood/Prior in too long.

Pinella gets toasted for yanking Zambrano too early.

Damned if you do...

marcomarco said...

and I didn't read luke's post before I repeated it.

Time for some coffee

CycleDan said...

Cubs fans may be thanking Lou when Zambrano wins game 4. I however think it was the wrong move simply because you worry about game 1 before you worry about game 4 (or 2 or 3). Hell, if you win game 1,2 and 3, then you don't need to worry about 4. Actually, if you win 2 out of 3, then you pitch Zambrano in game 5 completely rested.

I also was surprised the Cubs didn't bunt with Zambrano on 2nd and nobody out.

Mark said...

Douchebag alert!

marcomarco said...

Hey blue, you suck.

CycleDan said...

It will be interesting to see how the Yanks match up against CC Sabathia tonight who they haven't faced in several years. Lefties on the road have given the Yanks troubles this year. Giambi is on the bench, Hideki is DHing.

Also interesting to me is the selection of the postseason roster. Varas and Ohlendorf made it, Villone and Edwar Remirez didn't. Interesting how many rookies the Yanks are carrying now compared to previous years. Veras with a 5.79 ERA and only a few appearances is questionable to me but obviously what do I know compared to Torre and Cashman.

CycleDan said...

Isn't there a way to permanently ban some posters because they use colors as their usernames.

Dan, can you block this guy? He thinks he is funny and I have to admit there is something funny about cutting and pasting the weekly TMQ column each week to a comment section but much more annoying than funny.

Sparty said...

ramirez has been horrible lately, and Henn is the same type of pitcher as villone, and has been pretty decent this season. no wear and tear on these guys either.

Sam said...

Blue,
Are you serious? Come on man. You are an idiot

Mr. Ed said...

DanShan, please, please, PLEASE ban 'blue' from posting Easterbrook's column every week. In case anyone wonders, he is violating federal copyright law.

"All information, content and materials contained on WDIG Sites are our copyrighted property or the copyrighted property of our licensors or licensees. All trademarks, service marks, trade names, and trade dress are proprietary to us and/or our licensors or licensees. No information, content or material from any WDIG Site or any Internet site owned, operated, licensed, or controlled by us may be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted or distributed in any way, except that you may download one copy of the information, content or materials on any single computer for your personal, noncommercial home use only, provided that (a) you keep intact all copyright and other proprietary notices, (b) you make no modifications to the information, content or materials, (c) you do not use the information, content or materials in a manner that suggests an association with any of our products, services or brands, and (d) you do not download information, content or materials so as to avoid future downloads from any WDIG Site. The use of any information, content or materials on a WDIG Site on any other Web site or computer environment is prohibited. "

marcomarco said...

I might start visiting Blue's blog and posting manifesto's.

marcomarco said...

I just copied TMQ to 3 of Blue's 4 blogs.

Wasn't going to try the "Pac 10 Poon" blog until later.

Google "Ben Tucker"

Lawdog1214 said...

Don't worry marco. It is just a bunch of pictures of cheerleaders. I'll be sure to leave the TMQ article

pv845 said...

Not so much funny ha-ha as funny queer. Name that movie!

Luke Bell said...

Sling Blade. John Ritter's all time best role. :)

pv845 said...

Yep. Sorry about that but that was the first thing that popped into my head after CycleDan's post.

Ritter was scrumtralescent in that movie.

CMFost said...

I am trying to figure out what is worse the stupidity of blue or Easterbrooks writing.

jhawkjjm said...

Don't forget the other part of the Beckett deal, and that was a "toss in" of Mike Lowell, who was probably the most consistent Sox player this year.

And you can't pull Zambrano there. You can't plan for game 4 where game for is still "if necessary". If the Cubs get swept there is no game 4. Oops.

CMFost said...

Here is our first and probably only NHL Stud of the Day to the Avalnache Stasny for the first Hat trick of the season

CMFost said...

and if you want to get revenge on blue and his friends you need to go to this blog.



http://sonsofkc.blogspot.com/

Tito Sanchez said...

is mr. ed a horse?

i remember his picture show. it was very funny. how did they find a talking horse? my family never found out.

we should get coffee mr. ed and discuss.

Tito Sanchez said...

why is it that the title of the post goes into sparty's comment? the blog leader should shorten his titles so this does not occurr.

sparty we should get coffee together and discuss long titles and Mr. Beckett.

Tito Sanchez said...

jfreak, that is some excellent writing. i would like to get some coffee with you and discuss your thoughts on Joe Borowski. I fail to see how a Polish man has anything to do with the ALCS.

blue said...

wow, you guys sure showed me...that hurt

Tito Sanchez said...

also jfreak, you should look into trying to get published. that writing was very good. my cousin on the island knows a publisher, but he probably can not publish in the United States of America.

CorrND said...

Time for a lock-down!

Anthony said...

Hey, do these people realize that everyone can read espn articles by simply going to espn.com? I'm pretty sure no one here wants to see any more squished versions of old articles.

Mr. Ed said...

@tito

No, I am not a talking horse.

Sparty said...

can one put a character limit?

Anthony said...

Or Hamlet, either, for that matter.

CorrND said...

I have to admit, if you're gonna be a jackass with this, the bible is a pretty good way to go.

patrick said...

Blows that the comments have been hijacked.

What was the deal with the stupid Cubs fan behind home plate when Valverde was pitching? Big Papa was in the zone and didn't even notice but that guy was just stupid.

Bigger stupidity is the stadium operations who should have kicked him out immediately instead of letting him be there for the rest of the game. Who cares if the dude paid big bucks... get him out of there.