October 22, 2007

Like I always said, you gotta hand it to that J.D. Drew – he really knows how to get it done, and he’s one of the many reasons why the Red Sox are going to the World Series. A few thoughts after watching this series:

* Next to ESPN’s Joe Morgan, FOX analyst Tim McCarver is my candidate for the 2007 “Dumb As A Stone” award. All he wanted to focus on was the Kenny Lofton/Cleveland 3rd base coach controversy when the real story of this game was why Indians manager Eric Wedge chose to remove starter Jake Westwood after only 6 innings and 94 pitches. After a shaky start, Westwood seemed to have found his breaking ball and was mowing the Sox down pretty well, but Wedge chose to bring in reliever Rafael Bettencourt, who subsequently proceeded to allow the Sox to blow the game wide open. Totally stupid.

This is something I will not understand when it comes to big-league managers – they always seem to want to play ‘the percentages’ instead of riding the strong horse until he shows he can’t handle it anymore. If this were a July game, sure, I’d understand it, but in a 7th game when you have all winter to recuperate why on earth would you take out a hot pitcher? It’s October and the only goal is to get to the World Series. If you’re so concerned about Westwood, shut him down for the World Series – after all, he can rest until spring training!

* The unsung hero of the ALCS is young ‘un center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. With him in the lineup the Red Sox offense just seems to have a little more spring in its step – just as they did when he was brought up in September. Look, I like Coco Crisp as much as anyone else, but you cannot deny that Ellsbury is a catalyst that gets the lower third of the Sox lineup going. And by doing so, he impacts the entire lineup.

* I’ll admit it, I’ve been harsh on Red Sox manager Terry Francona as much as anyone, but in the 7th game he managed his pitching staff quite well. Of course, having starter Daisuke Matsuzaka go a strong five innings helped a great deal, but his decision to bring in Hideki Okajima for two innings followed by closer Jonathan Papelbon for the final two was absolutely the way to go. Good job Tito.

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:50 | Comments (4)
  1. Speaking as a sleep deprived sports fan, it’s a great time for all Boston fans: The Red Sox are in the World Series, the Patriot’s are the best in the NFL, the Celtic’s should have a good year, the Bruin’s actually look competitive and BC is ranked number 2 in the country!!! This doesn’t happen very often in a sports town! We should all savor the moment! If only the Fox network would put the game on earlier so we could get to bed before 1 am!!

    Comment by Pete — October 22, 2007 @ 6:07 am

  2. I feel for you Pete. Here in AZ the games are getting over at 9:30 PM which is a treat. It just goes to show how much Major League Baseball is slitting its own throat putting on these games so late. A great way to attract younger viewers to the game, no?

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 22, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

  3. MLB is idiotic about their marketing strategy. For instance, you cannot find any of these playoff games on the radio in the New Orleans market. I used to fall asleep listening to Cardinal and Astro games on the radio as a kid. Their entire strategy should be aimed at the younger fans. They’ve lost way too many of them.

    As for pulling Westbrook, I agree somewhat. Jake had settled down and the Sox weren’t hitting him any more. He had Betancourt in the pen, though, and he had been rock solid for the whole series. It surely didn’t work out but I don’t think it was that bad a decision.

    Comment by Rob — October 23, 2007 @ 8:00 am

  4. You make a good point, Rob. Baseball is better suited for the radio – the pace is slower, the action is more focused and it’s easier to use your imagination to listen to. As opposed to football, which I think is far better suited for television than radio. Why MLB is targeting their audience to young people is beyond me, but then agin most of what Bud Selig and the owners do is beyond me.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 23, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

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