When the Rays were up 7-0 in the top of the seventh and had two runners on, they had a 99.3 percent chance of winning the game, according to the game’s win probability. Back in 2004, David Appelman noted this week, the Yanks had an 83.8 percent chance of winning game four and an 87.9 percent chance of winning game five. While I’m still working on the odds that the Sox would win four in a row in 2004, Tampa came very close to out-choking our Yankees. I’m glad they didn’t. · (40) ·
Let’s take a trip back in time. October 16, five years ago.
I was as drunk then as I am now. Okay, I was probably more drunk then. I remember texting a buddy, those five years ago, when we were down 4-0 in the 4th: “For every run we score, I’m going to funnel a beer.” Over an hour later, while I was partaking in other activities, my friend texted me back: “Start funneling.”
For the next year, I thought nothing could top Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. In fact, to this day I don’t think anything can top it. I was a kid eager to get out of college. I sat in a circle at a frat house, equal numbers Yanks fans, real Yanks fans, and Yanks haters, a/k/a Mets fans. Most of us had 30s of Keystone light in front of us. There was no implicit sharing. You showed up with your own booze, and rooted for your own team.
We bemoaned Clemens. We heralded Mussina. We didn’t know what to think of Aaron Boone. In fact, I had started my ascent to the bathroom when the inning started. Only fate held me back. As I hit the second step, I heard an uproar from the room. I sprinted back, and saw the ball fall in the left field seats. Maybe it was the first live replay. Maybe it was the original shot. I don’t know. All I know is that I didn’t have to pee anymore. Instead, I took my joy to the streets of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
YANKEES WIN!!! I screamed, hopping down the street in the purest joy I’d felt since the Yankees clinched the 2000 World Series over the Mets. YANKEES WIIIIIIIIIINNNN!!!!!!
Tonight’s joy wasn’t quite that. There were no late-inning heroics. There was no rivalry to uphold. Hell, my favorite team sat at home during it, unused to the feeling of being absent from October baseball.
Yet, it felt eerily similar. I still hopped down the street once I saw Jed Lowrie ground out on the first pitch. I still screamed at the top of my lungs, though this time it was “RED SOX LOSE!” rather than “YANKEES WIN!” Still, it has been the most visceral baseball feeling I’ve had in 2008.
I only hope my fellow Yankees fans feel the same way. Tonight was glorious, in a bastardized, absurd way. One thing is for certain, though.
The Boston Red Sox will not be the 2008 World Series Champions.
That is all.
It doesn’t get any better than this. The ALCS started as a best-of-seven series a whopping nine days ago, and after the two teams split games 1 & 2, it became a best-of-five series. Once they split games 3-6, it turned into what it is now: a best-of-one.
Jon Lester takes the bump for the BoSox, and much has been made of his innings total after his stuff looked flat in Game 3. Right now he’s working on a career high 230 IP including the postseason, while his previous career high was 163 IP, set just last year. It’s no secret why Lester looked fatigued in his last start, a jump of 67 IP will do that to anyone.
Rays’ starter Matt Garza is also working on a career high in innings pitched, but his total of 196.2 IP (including playoffs) is just barely more than his previous career high of 185, which he set back in 2006. Garza’s fastball was still popping Dioner Navarro’s mitt late in Game 3, and there’s little reason to suspect that fatigue will be an issue for the former Fresno State Bulldog. Anything can happen in one game though, so expect the unexpected.
Someone’s going home tonight, and regardless of who it is, let me be the first to congratulate them on a great season. We should be in for a good one, enjoy it.
1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. JD Drew, RF
6. Jason Bay, LF
7. Mark Kotsay, 1B
8. All-Star Catcher Jason Varitek, C
9. Alex Cora wins games, SS – damn Tito, I thought you weren’t supposed to mess with the lineup in the middle of a winning streak
- Jon Lester, P (16-6, 3.21)
1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. BJ Upton, CF
3. Carlos Pena, 1B
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carl Crawford, LF
6. Willy Aybar, DH
7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Rocco Baldelli, RF
9. Jason Bartlett, SS
- Matt Garza, P (11-9, 3.70)
From the self-proclaimed World Wide Leader:
“I want to apologize to the New York Yankees and the fans for an error in judgment and for putting myself in a difficult situation,” Chamberlain said in a statement released by his agent, Randy Hendricks. “I intend to properly resolve this situation, and do not intend to be in such a situation again. My goal is to focus on pitching for the Yankees in the 2009 season.”
The article goes on to say that Joba’s blood-alcohol level was unknown, and paperwork will be prepared Monday to determine what charges will be filed, if any. As reader Ben B. pointed out last night, there’s a mandatory minimum of 7 days in jail if found guilty, however he could receive less punishment if he’s put on probation.
Joba’s rise to borderline superstardom for the Yankees was meteoric, but a fall from grace can be even swifter. Hopefully Joba realizes this and learns from the mistake. This kind of behavior is inexcusable for anyone, especially someone with countless children looking up to him. Hopefully Harlan lays the smack down, and this is a one-time incident.
There’s a reason why Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler and J.P. Howell aren’t starting pitchers, and there are reasons why the three of them aren’t top-notch closers. Sometimes, it pays to remember that.
For the last few days, sportswriters and baseball analysts have been tossing out the same old excuses. The Rays, they say, were thrilled to win two out of three in Boston. They were happy to return to the cozy confines of the Trop with a three games to two lead over the defending World Series Champion Red Sox. I wonder if they’re still so pleased.
On Friday, I discussed my belief that Joe Maddon should have turned to James Shields to close out Boston on Thursday. Had the move backfired, Shields would have gotten some work on a throw day. Had it succeeded, we wouldn’t be whiling the hours away until game seven. It is in this decision that good managers show their mettle and bad managers emerge.
I know people will long argue that Balfour had stellar numbers against lefties, that Dan Wheeler didn’t throw enough strikes. I know people will say that the series isn’t over yet, and it’s not. But it shouldn’t be here.
In the playoffs, managers have to take chances, and they have to recognize that sometimes what works during the regular season isn’t the best option. They have to realize that, when facing the opportunity to put away a resilient opponent, the best choice isn’t your bullpen but your number one starter for two innings.
Maybe Tampa will score four runs early against Jon Lester tonight and coast to a victory. Maybe Boston explodes against Matt Garza and a shell-shocked Rays team that had a World Series berth in its grasp. But the truth is that Tampa just shouldn’t be here. They had the Sox down and out and made a few strategic mistakes that could haunt them for a long time.
The Yanks have learned that a bad economy is no time to auction off baseball memorabilia. As the AP reported, yesterday’s stadium memorabilia auction was not very successful.
The last ball hit out of Yankee Stadium didn’t leave the auction block Saturday in a memorabilia auction celebrating Bronx Bombers history…It was expected to fetch up to $400,000, but was pulled after offers fell short of the suggested opening bid of $100,000…
A collection of 15 World Series and American League championship rings that once belonged to former Yankees owner Del Webb was also pulled by the Guernsey’s auction house after the high bid of $325,000 fell short of expectations…
About 100 people came to the Garden and bid several hundreds of dollars for baseball card vending machines, pictures of Yankee Stadium under construction and posters signed by Mantle and Joe DiMaggio.
This is hardly a surprising result. People aren’t too keen on spending their disposable incomes on baseball merchandise right now. I’m sure they’ll try again in a few months.
AzFL Peoria (14-11 in over Scottsdale)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 5, 1 R, 3 K – 5 for his last 27
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP – 9 of 14 hits have gone for extra bases … hitting .500-.548-.964 in his 7 games
Kevin Russo: 5 for 5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB – batting avg jumps from .143 to .308
Busty McZOMGheonlythrows91: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 4-3 GB/FB – 36 of 60 pitches were strikes … after retiring 6 of the first 7 batters he faced, the wheels fell off in the 3rd: single-single-HBP-sac fly-homer-single-single-walk-pop out-walk-single w/ 3 run error by LFer … threw 42 pitches in the inning, 24 for strikes (57.1%)
Humberto Sanchez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0-3 GB/FB – 9 of 14 pitches were strikes (64.3%)
HWB Waikiki‘s game has just started. Austin Romine is behind the plate and batting sixth. These games end mad late because of the time difference, and I don’t feel like waiting around for it. Check out Gameday in the meantime.
AzFL Peoria (7-3 loss to Scottsdale)
Juan Miranda: 0 for 4, 3 K, 1 HBP – teh bust
Jeff Marquez: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3-0 GB/FB – 19 of 32 pitches were strikes (59.4%) … teh bust