Tuesday, May 27, 2008


It takes a special kind of suck to have a night like Bobby Seay did last night.

I was listening to the Angels/Tigers game on my XM while driving to Los Angeles and man it was riveting. No score in the 12th but both teams had chances to rally and both teams were squashed by terrific pitching.

Every cameraman’s friend Kenny Rogers goes 7 shut out innings. Jon Garland goes 7 1/3.

Angels Scot Shields, Frankie Rodriguez and someone named Jose Arrendondo combined for 4 2/3 shut out innings. (So much for that Tiger offense.)

Tiger’s Zach Miner wiggles out of trouble and throws 2 shutout innings.

And then a rookie named Freddy Dolsi kept the shutout alive through the 10th and 11th before loading the bases with 1 out in the 12th.

In comes Seay.

Now you have the bases loaded, 1 out in the 12th and you are the road team. In other words if a run comes in, the game is over.

Obviously you want a strikeout.
Or maybe a sharply hit ball to an infielder to cut the run off at the plate.
Or a pop fly to the infield or at worst a shallow fly to the outfield.

But every scenario involves throwing a strike.

Seay throws ball 1… then ball 2 to Garret Anderson.
Even the announcers were saying “He has to throw it down the heart of the plate.”
Ball 3.

Now when you are down 3-0 and a ball means the game is over… don’t you just lob it down the heart of the plate?

Maybe he’s taking (you think?) maybe he’ll be late on his swing and pop it up.
Throw a strike and trust your fielders.

He might as well as sent them in a la Satchel Paige.

Ball 4.

A wonderfully pitched game ended because a supposed major leaguer couldn’t throw a single pitch over the plate.

Pray for Jim Leyland’s lungs.

Joba's Palace

Anyone wondering what the effects of using the major league regular season as an extended spring training for Joba Chamberlain, look no further than yesterday.

Joba throws two meaningless innings over the weekend in a blow out and was not available Sunday or Monday as they stretch him out.

It worked out on Sunday as Edwar Ramirez pitched well… but with the Yankees needing a solid contributor from the bullpen yesterday to keep a 1-0 game close, the Yankees couldn’t turn to Joba even though he had a complete day off on Sunday.

They were left with Hawkins and Veras… and 1-0 became 6-0 en route to a 6-1 loss.

And tonight, with the game still in progress, the Yankees scored Ian "Batting Practice" Kennedy 8 runs... and of course they had to go to the pen early.

And Ross Ohlendorf couldn't make an 8-4 lead stick.

Anyone who said that 8th inning men are easy to find better take a good long look at the Yankee pen once Joba leaves.

Once again, it is music to my ears!

Imagine an all Florida World Series!

If I had told you that the best teams in baseball were in Florida, you would probably have thought it was still spring training.

But nope… 50 games into the season the Marlins are the best team in the NL and 51 games into their schedule, the exorcism of the Devil-less Rays has given them a ½ game lead over the Defending World Champion Boston Red Sox.

It’s early… but it isn’t THAT early!
The teams are roughly 30% through their schedule.
The Rays have to go 40-71 the rest of the way to have the best season in their teams history.

Not exactly an ambitious record.

What if the Rays actually have a winning season? Forget the temptation to see if the moon is dripping blood and Four Horsemen are on the horizon.

A 51-60 record the rest of the way… not even .500 ball… and a once inconceivable sight could be a reality.

As for the Marlins, the need to go 52-60 their remaining 112 games to post their 5th winning season in their history.

If the Marlins go 60-52 the rest of the way, they’ll win 90 games… which in this National League would probably mean a spot in the playoffs.

And who knows? This Marlins franchise has never lost a playoff series!
How would long suffering Cubs, Indians and Giants fans react if the Marlins won their THIRD World Series since 1997?

This should be the feel good story in sports!
Remember how everyone always bitches and moans about how the biggest payroll teams are the only ones who can compete?

Well guess what? It’s Memorial Day and the two best teams in baseball have the two lowest payrolls!

Also guess what?
The teams with the 3 highest payrolls have losing records! (Have fun Yankee, Tiger and Met fans!)

So everyone in baseball is going nuts for this story, right?
Fans in Miami and the Gulf Coast of Florida are in a frenzy, right?

Nobody seems to care.

And if you thought TBS had a hard time selling the Rockies/D’Backs NLCS last year, imagine them gulping at the prospect of a Tampa Bay/Florida World Series.

Yeah yeah yeah, it’s early.
But guess what?
Going into May 27 of last year… 3 of the 4 eventual playoff teams were in first place.

Then again NONE of the NL teams that made the 2007 post season were in first or the wild card spot at this point last year… so maybe it IS early.

I love having a fat pitcher win for us!

Two straight wins from our new fat pitcher!

Look, I’m not asking for a Cy Young performance from Colon… but before his body collapsed beneath his Dom DeLuise-esque frame, he was a consistent 15-20 game winner in the bigs.

And yeah, Rivera deserved the Cy Young in 2005… but if you are getting ANY votes for the Cy Young then you are pulling your weight. Which for Colon is saying something!

Robbed of a post season MVP Part 2 - NLCS

Earlier this month I honored those players who were robbed of an ALCS MVP because of their teams failings.

The Sully Baseball Series of players who were denied their playoff MVPs continues with the NLCS.

Again, we will be focusing on series that went the distance with a couple of exceptions.
Plus Mike Scott of the 1986 Astros and Jeffrey “Hac Man” Leonard of the 1987 Giants were honored for losing causes.

Let’s get to the honorees!


Phillies defeat Astros 3-2

Puhl batter .526 in the 5 game series, scoring 4 runs and driving in 3, including a 1out single that tied game 4 in the bottom of the 9th.

How close did the Astros get to winning?

The Astros were 6 outs from the pennant with a 2 run lead in game 4 when the Phillies scored 3 in the 8th.

Later in game 4, Puhl tied the game in the 9th and represented the pennant winning run with 1 out but was doubled off of first on a fly ball to right.

In the bottom of the 10th in game 4, the Astros could have won the pennant if they scored three times off of Tug McGraw. They went down in order.

In game 5, the Astros had a 5-2 lead in the 8th with Nolan Ryan on the mound. The Phillies rallied and 5 outs from elimination Del Unser singled and Manny Trillo tripled home 2 runs.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Astros tied the game and had the go ahead run at 8th when Denny Walling grounded out.

In the bottom of the 9th, when a single run would have won the pennant, the Astros went 1-2-3.

In the bottom of the 10th, when 2 runs would have won the pennant, the Astros went 1-2-3.

Who was the Goat?

The Astros Bullpen, specifically Joe Sambito and Ken Forsch, for blowing late leads in games 4 and 5.

Actual MVP: Manny Trillo


Dodgers defeat Expos, 3-2


1-0 record in 2 starts. 0.53 ERA including a complete game shut out in game 2 and 8 innings of 1 run ball in the do or die game 5.

How close did the Expos come to winning?

The Dodgers and Expos were tied going into the 9th inning of the do or die game 5.

With the Dodgers leading 2-1 in the 9th, the Expos put the tying and pennant winning runs aboard before right fielder Jerry White grounded out.

Who was the Goat?

Steve Rogers let up Rick Monday’s pennant winning home run in the 9th, but Rogers also pitched a complete game victory in game 3.

Andre Dawson, Rodney Scott and Chris Speier all had terrible series offensively and along with Warren Cromartie were hitless in game 5.

Actual MVP: Burt Hooton


Padres defeat Cubs, 3-2

Complete game shut out in game 1 with a home run. Pitched with a lead into the 7th of game 5.

How close did the Cubs come to winning?

Took 2-0 lead in the series heading to San Diego.

Tied going into the 9th inning of game 4, up 2-1 in the series.

Up 2-1 in the 7th inning of game 5, 9 outs from the pennant.

Who was the goat?

Lee Smith served up a walk off series tying home run to Steve Garvey to end game 4.

Leon Durham’s key error in the 7th inning of game 5 opened the flood gates of a 4 run Padres rally. The Cubs never recover.

Actual MVP: Steve Garvey


Cardinals defeat Dodgers, 4-2

Batted .333 with 3 homers and 7 RBI. Hit key homers in the heart breaking games 5 and 6.

How close did the Dodgers come to winning?

Actually never got to a potential clinching game for the Dodgers, but the 9th inning losses in games 5 and 6 qualify it for this blog entry.

Who was the goat?

Tom Niedenfuer coughed up a walk off home run to Ozzie Smith of all people and then the series crushing 3 run shot to Jack Clark in game 6.

Actual MVP: Ozzie Smith


Dodgers defeat Mets, 4-3

2.95 ERA in 2 starts. Struck out 20 in 18 1/3 innings. Kept the Mets close against Hershiser in game 1 and threw into the 9th of game 4. Threw 3 innings out of the bullpen in game 7.

How close did the Mets come to winning?

After winning both of Hershiser’s starts, the Mets were 3 outs from taking a 3-1 series lead when Mike Scioscia hit a 2 run game tying shot off of Dwight Gooden.

The Mets couldn’t score in the 9th, 10th or 11th. Trailing by 1 in the 12th, the Mets loaded the bases before Hershiser came in from the bullpen for an unlikely save.

Who was the goat?

Ron Darling, who got bombed out of the second inning of game 7, spoiling what could have been a wonderful winner take all show down.

Actual MVP: Orel Hershiser


Braves defeat Pirates 4-3

1-1 record with a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings. Won game 1 and pitched a complete game letting up one run in the potential game 6 clincher.

How close did the Pirates come to winning?

In the 9th inning of game 6, trailing 1-0 but leading the series 3-2, Andy Van Slyke missed a potential pennant winning homer that hooked foul. He then struck out looking to end the game.

Who was the goat?
Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla combined for a single run batted in… and drove in zero runs in the Pirates 4 losses. The Pirates were shut out in games 2, 6 and 7 at home with their two star sluggers not contributing.

Actual MVP: Steve Avery


Braves defeat Pirates 4-3

Pitched 2 complete game victories. 1 in game 3, the other a potential elimination game 6.

How close did the Pirates come to winning?

The Pirates took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the 9th of game 7 in Atlanta. Terry Pendleton’s double sparked a rally that knocked out starter Doug Drabek. With 2 outs and trailing by 1, little used catcher Francisco Cabrera singled home David Justice and a limpling Sid Bream slid under Mike LaValliere’s tag to win the pennant for Atlanta.

Who was the goat?
Normally reliable Jose Lind booted a key grounder in the 9th inning rally setting up Cabrera’s heroics.

Actual MVP: John Smoltz


Phillies defeat Braves 4-2


Batted .435 with a homer and 4 RBI. Drove in 2 runs in a key game 2 win for the Braves.

How close did the Braves come to winning?

Never got to an clinching game, but they out hit and out pitched the Phillies… but lost 3 one run games including 2 in extra innings.

With a chance to take a 3-1 series lead in game 4, the Braves had a base runner in every inning except the first, yet could only score one run in a 2-1 loss. The Braves put the first two on with nobody out in the 9th but Jeff Blauser could not get a sacrifice bunt down and Ronnie Gant hit into a game ending double play.

Who was the goat?
Relievers Greg McMichael and Mark Wohlers each lost an extra inning game that erased dramatic Braves 9th inning rallies.

Actual MVP: Curt Schilling


Braves defeat Cardinals 4-3

Closed out all 3 Cardinal wins with a 0.00 ERA,1 win and 1 save.

How close did the Cardinals come to winning?

Up 3-2 in the series but trailing 2-0 in the 8th inning of game 6, the Cardinals bring the go ahead run to the plate in the form of former Brave Ron Gant. A wild pitch scored a run putting the tying run in scoring position. Gant, who hit 2 homers in the Cardinals game 3 win, flew out to left to end the threat.

Who was the goat?

Todd Stottlemyre got the start in a potential pennant clinching game 5 at home. He let up 7 runs and was lifted with nobody out in the 2nd inning.

Donovan Osborne was actually worse in game 7, letting up 6 runs in only 2/3 of an inning including a bases clearing triple off the bat of pitcher Tom Glavine.

After going down 3-1 in the series, the Braves won the last 3 games out scoring St. Louis 32-1.

Actual MVP: Javier Lopez

Braves defeat Mets, 4-2

Batted .296 while hitting key home runs in games 4 and 5.

How close did the Mets come to winning?

Never got to a clinching game, but fought back to nearly become the first team to tie a series when down 3-0.

The Mets were 4 outs from elimination in game 4.
The Mets and Braves played 15 innings in game 5. The Braves were 2 outs from winning the pennant when the Mets rallied to win.
The Braves took a 5 run lead in the first of game 6 and lead 7-3 in the 7th inning when the Mets rallied.

The Mets were 5 outs from tying the series when Brian Hunter tied the game in the 8th.
The Mets were then 2 outs from tying the series when Armando Benitez allowed an RBI pinch hit single to Ozzie Guillen to tie the game.

Who was the goat?

Kenny Rogers allowed a lead off double to Gerald Williams in the 11th and then with 1 out and the bases loaded, walked Andruw Jones to clinch the pennant for the Braves.

Actual MVP: Eddie Perez


Marlins defeat Cubs, 4-3

.310 average with 2 homers, including 1 in the game 7 show down.

How close did the Cubs come to winning?

So close you could smell the Billy Goat?
Up 3 games to 2 and leading 3-0 with 1 out and nobody on in the 8th and ace Mark Prior on the mound, the first Cubs pennant since 1945 seemed inevitable.

Juan Pierre doubled and then Luis Castillo fouled one towards left field. Now we all know Steve Bartman did what every other fan on the planet would do… he reached for the ball and Moises Alou couldn’t catch it.

And that ended Bartman’s involvement in the game.
Prior then walked Castillo and threw a wild pitch.
What happened after that was a surrealistic blur. When it was over, the Marlins lead 8-3 and tied the series.

In game 7, with the Marlins leading 3-0, the Cubs tied the game on Kerry Wood’s homer and then took the lead on Moises Alou’s 3rd inning home run. The Cubs took the game 7 lead into the 5th when the Marlins took the lead for good sparked by an RBI double by Pudge Rodriguez.

Who was the goat?

NOT BARTMAN! Did you hear me? Is that clear?
With 1 out and the Cubs still leading in the 8th inning of game 6, shortstop Alex Gonzalez booted what would have been an inning ending double play. The Marlins would score 6 more runs and break the Cubs’ back.

Actual MVP: Pudge Rodriguez.

Cardinals defeat Astros 4-3

Hit .417 with a .958 slugging percentage. Beltran homered 4 times and made several sparkling defensive plays.

How close did the Astros come to winning?

In game 6, up 3 games to 2 in the series but trailing 4-3 in the game, Jeff Bagwell tied the game with a 2 out RBI single. Carlos Beltran stole third and the go ahead potential pennant winning run was 90 feet away but Lance Berkman struck out.

In extra innings, the Astros went 1-2-3 in the 10th, 11th and 12th before the Cardinals won on Jim Edmonds’ homer.

In game 7, the Astros game Roger Clemens an early 2-1 lead but the Cardinals rallied to win the game.

Who was the goat?

Roger Clemens let up a game tying RBI double to Albert Pujols in the 6th and Scott Rolen followed it up with a 2 run homer. The Cardinals never looked back and won the pennant.

Actual MVP: Albert Pujols

Cardinals defeat Mets, 4-3


Batted .304 with 3 homers and 9 RBI

How close did the Mets come to winning?
With game 7 tied 1-1, Carlos Beltran led off the 8th with a walk but was stranded when Delgado and Wright struck out and Green grounded out.

Trailing 3-1 in the 9th, the Mets put together a heart stopping rally, loading the bases with 2 outs for Cardinals killer Carlos Beltran. A single would tie the game and an extra base hit would probably score pinch runner Anderson Hernandez for the pennant. Rookie Adam Wainwright, pitching in the place of injured closer Jason Isringhausen, freezes Beltran with a curveball for a called third strike to end the series.

Who was the goat?

Carlos Beltran… swing the bat!

So there you have the NL players who never got the glory they deserved.

Next up… unsung heroes who could have been World Series MVPS!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Joba Situation

As a Red Sox fan I can find nothing but pleasure in the Yankees putting Joba in the rotation.

Seriously, the Yankees front office found the perfect scenario if weakening both the rotation AND the bullpen in one swift stroke.

The Yankees needed Joba in the bullpen last year because their set up men were as reliable as Inspector Clouseau. But they developed Joba as a reliever in the minor leagues knowing what his role would be.

And he was awesome and only a swarm of bugs could stop him. And along the way the Yankees found the perfect heir to Mariano.

So naturally Hank “Fredo” Steinbrenner demanded he be put into the rotation. His rationale being his talent was wasted in the bullpen and that someone who throws that hard should be a starter. (That logic would put perennial bust Kyle Farnsworth in the rotation as well.)

So now think about the Yankees had and what they will now have:

They HAD unsteady starting pitching but a rock solid 8th and 9th innings knowing that any lead handed to Chamberlain and Rivera was usually safe.

NOW they have yet another coddled pitcher in the rotation who probably will be capped at 6 innings a start and the 8th inning will be just a big a question as the 7th.

And moronically (or in a full on panic mode) the Yankees will have Joba stretch out his innings at the big league level.

Let that digest for a second.

They are going to make Joba stretch out his innings gradually while the Yankees try to dig themselves out of a last place hole.

Now what if they need someone to get them out of an 8th inning jam and it isn't one of the days Joba is scheduled to pitch?

What if Joba needs to struggle through a 3rd inning and it costs the Yankees against the Red Sox?

Isn't that sort of innings workout the kind of thing you do in the minor leagues? Or spring training?

And what if he doesn't cut it as a starter?

Most starters have growing pains. Ask Phil Hughes (and his fake injury) and Ian Kennedy who have combined for as many wins this season as Gladys Knight .

And how good is it for a young pitcher to say "You are a starter... I'm sorry you are a reliever... no wait you are a starter again"

It's the sort of move that makes me think that there might be panic in the Bronx.
Like Torre or not, he never panicked. And he sometimes had reason to panic.

Either way, any time the Yankees can weaken their rotation and their bullpen with one move is a good day for Yankee haters

I'm no GM

Hey Red Sox fans…
You should be very happy that your friend Sully is NOT the GM of the Boston Red Sox.

That thought crossed my head when I saw Jacoby Ellsbury make a diving catch to preserve Jon Lester’s no hitter.

Had I been in charge, Ellsbury and Lester would be playing for the Minnesota Twins in the Johan Santana trade.

And I also thought back remembering that I would have signed Nomar Garciaparra to a long term deal…

Same with Pedro Martinez…

Same with Johnny Damon…

Same with Orlando Cabrera…

Now granted, I STILL think the Cabrera signing would have been solid.
Having him at short instead of Renteria in 2005, Alex Gonzalez in 2006 and Julio Lugo last year and this year would have been as good and less expensive… but I digress.

We’d be saddled with long term contracts with broken down untradable talent while sacrificing the future.

In other words, the Red Sox would look a lot like the Yankees wondering what the hell they are going to do with the Artists formerly known as Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and Mike Mussina.

Thank God I only blog.

Why doesn't anyone love the White Sox?

My mom went on a business trip to Chicago in 1990 and when she was there she wanted to get me and my brother a sports related gift.

She noted that there were tons of Cubs shirts and hats (they were fresh off of the 1989 Division Title).

There were lots of Bear souvenirs. Michael Jordan Bulls jerseys were everywhere. There were even lots of Blackhawk sweaters and caps available.

Then my mom asked “Is there anything for the White Sox?”
The store clerk directed her to the back of the store. There was one rack of White Sox T-Shirts.

That was it.

The White Sox didn’t get love then and nearly two decades later they STILL can’t get love.

A month ago Ozzie Guillen went on a profanity laced tirade about how Cubs obsessed the Chicago media is… and he was right.

The White Sox are in the middle of an 8 game winning streak and are in first place. They are one of the best and most surprising stories in baseball this year.

Nobody is covering it. The White Sox are still pushed to the back of Sports Center.

Red Sox and Cubs fans were always mentioned as the longest suffering, with not even a charitable toss to the White Sox fans.

When the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, it was treated as an event only slightly less significant than Columbus landing in the West Indies.

Graves were visited, tears were shed and your friend Sully got to make some HBO appearances.

When the White Sox won the 2005 World Series after an 88 year wait… nothing. They didn’t even get the cover of Sports Illustrated!

During the World Series there were reporters asking Cub fans how they felt. How about asking a few White Sox fans?

Why is this the case?
Why is a team that plays in one of the biggest markets in America, has a rich history and certainly has won more games than their counterpart in the North Side, and has delivered a World Championship to Chicago treated as a baseball after thought?

I guess the North Side of Chicago is a little safer and Wrigley Field is a little more cuddly than Old Comiskey or the sterile soul less New Comiskey (or whatever they are calling it now.)

I went to the New Comiskey the first year it was open. It couldn’t have had less charm if it were designed by Vulcans.

Of course it was the last baseball stadium built before the recent rash of fan friendly retro parks. The White Sox turned down a chance to have their new park designed by the firm that created Camden Yards. I wonder if the White Sox were the first out of the gate with a retro park if they would have a more loyal following.

I saw fair weather fans in the Bay Area shift from the A’s to the Giants once the Giants opened Pac Bell Park. And the shift stayed in San Francisco even when the A’s were putting a much better product on the field. Of course a lot of that has to do with Barry Bonds.

But it has to be more than that.

Is it their stars? Are Cubs stars more fun?
The Cubs had Ernie Banks, possibly the most lovable Hall of Famer of all time.
And look at how loved the Cub stars are when you mention Ryne Sandberg or Andre Dawson to a Cubs fan. My buddy Rob Paravonian, a big Cubs fan, rooted for the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series because Mark Grace was on the team.

“I like to see a Cub win the World Series.” He said, knowing that was the only way a Cub could possibly get a World Series ring was on another team.

The White Sox had Frank Thomas, the Big Hurt, who always seemed a little pissed off.
Carlton Fisk, who was a White Sox longer than a Red Sox, never seemed to fit in.
Harold Baines seemed more respected than loved.
Lamar Hoyt wanted out of town before smuggling drugs into the country through his jock.

It can’t be because of 1919 is it?

Yeah the White Sox threw the 1919 World Series… but that was 89 years ago folks. And let’s face it, throwing that World Series not only removed the stigma of gambling from baseball until Pete Rose, but also gave us Eight Men Out and Field of Dreams… two of the best baseball movies ever made.

Is it the uniforms?

The White Sox have changed their look around while the Cubs have remained more or less the same over the years.

But honestly, while the White Sox have changed their look (until going back to the classic uniforms they wear now) they gave baseball fans some of the most spectacular bad uniforms in history!


The block SOX across the front.

The White Front of the cap.

The numbers on the leg.

The cursive C.


That variety should be celebrated!

And also while the Cubs were promoting Ivy and getting drunk in the bleachers, Bill Veeck gave baseball exploding scoreboards and Disco Demolition night.

Give the White Sox some credit for TRYING!

So the White Sox may never get the love the Cubs get…
Even though they have delivered more World Series titles this decade than the Cubs have in the last 99 years.

And the bad wagon fans may not embrace a team managed by the most entertaining manager baseball has produced since Billy Martin.

But I wonder… do White Sox fans care?
Do they have a chip on their shoulder that their team doesn’t get Cub love or Red Sox attention?

Or do they own that slight as a badge of honor?

Do they ask “Why don’t we get mentioned as a great franchise? Our team didn’t move like the Dodgers did or the Giants!”

Or do White Sox fans say “Who cares about love from outsiders? It’s trendy to like the Cubs… but it takes a real fan to love the White Sox!”

And how delirious were you in 2005?
Is that your cell phone ring?
Did you visit your grandfather and grandmother’s graves?

I want to hear from you White Sox fans…

Hey everyone at South Side Sox... do you care you aren't getting the national press?

Do the folks at the hilarious Sox and the City tear up when they think of Bobby Jenks getting the final ground out in Houston?

How about you, Carl Skanberg? When you write your hilarious Pale Hose 8 comics, do you wish your team had the national love that the Cubs have?

Let me ask you, Jim at the Sox Machine... do you just not care?

I want to hear from you White Sox fans... including at Sox Talk

And while we are at it, are there more White Sox t shirts available ?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

So many reasons to love the Red Sox's pitching

Well that was a pretty good home stand!
Nothing relieves the sting of a 4 games losing streak quite like a 7 game winning streak.

But holy crap these last 4 games gave me goose bumps if for no other reason than to see the sheer variety of the Defending World Champion Boston Red Sox starting staff and how awesome it could be.


I mean what else is there to say?
He’s 23 years old and has beaten cancer, pitched the clinching game of the World Series and threw a no hitter!

When I was 23, I was fat, living in a messy apartment with my then girlfriend and another guy watching Price is Right in my underwear while eating McDonald’s every morning.

What I am saying is he’s off to a better start than me.

His no hitter was such a great story that even Chris DeLuca, a Yankee fan who loathes the Red Sox and their fans with the passion of a thousand suns, had to admit it was a good story.

I watched the last inning of his no hitter at a gym in Santa Monica. When he got the last out I high fived a woman who was also a Red Sox fan. We both agreed it was awesome and then I reminded her… “This guy is our #4 starter!”

Like any good Red Sox fan, when something positive happens to my team I also tried to think of how it affected the Yankees. I grinned when I thought “Our two stud young pitchers, Buchholz and Lester, have 2 more no hitters than the Yankees two stud young pitcjers, Hughes and Kennedy, have 2008 wins.”

Nothing gets a team going like a no hitter. Last year when it looked like the Yankees might be poised to overtake the Sox, Buchholz’s no hitter gave the Sox a big jolt.

As if this team needed a jolt, I’ll take Lester.


In 2006, the Red Sox starting staff was so ravaged with injuries that it felt like they were letting the 15th caller on WEEI pitch every 5th day.

This year there has been an embarrassment of riches with young pitchers!
Unlike his first start, when I screamed at Francona to let the kid pitch seven, Masterson was stretched out. And while it is hard to get that excited about shutting down the Royals line up (he contained Ross Gload!) it’s hard not to get pumped about the idea of ANOTHER young stud in the rotation.

Like any greedy Red Sox fan, I started putting together the rotation of the future.

Neither Beckett nor Dice K are 30 yet… and Lester, Buchholz and Masterson round out the starting five!

“My God!” I thought quite greedily. “We could become like the Braves of the 1990s… only we’ve ALREADY won more World Series titles than those Braves teams and have a more stable bullpen!”

I might be getting ahead of myself, but keep in mind we’re asking Lester, Buchholz and Masterson to be the 3, 4 and 5 starters!


Now it is getting silly!

Lester beat cancer and it looks like Colon is trying to defeat gluttony.
Tell me he doesn’t look like Andre the Giant!

Christsake, El Guapo would look at this guy and say “Dude, order the small!”

If there is an uglier guy who looks worse in a uniform in the bigs than Colon, then I haven’t seen him. And if he pitches like that, who cares?

Seriously, his last full season he was a Cy Young winner and is buddies with Manny (keeping awkward looking pitchers who are friends with Manny is a phenomenon known as the Julian Tavarez Syndrome.)

And who doesn’t love a fat guy who plays well?
Why do you think David Wells is so loved in New York?
Or Fernando Valenzuela?
Or Tony Gwynn? Or Steve Bye Bye Balboni? Or John Kruk?

How’s about Babe Ruth?

Seeing a tubby guy kick butt is the inspiration for regular dudes with bellies who watch TV and say “Man! That could be me!”

I may have to get a Colon jersey… size XXXL.


My friend Dan Cronin, the brilliant Emmy winning writer for Conan O’Brien, has bemoaned the Dice-K signing almost from the start and is convinced it was a giant waste of dough.

I haven’t heard a lot from him since Dice-K is now 8-0 with a 2.15 ERA.
Yeah he walks too many people, but he gets the outs when he needs them.

Also any game that features two grand slams and neither one was hit by Papi or Manny makes me feel happy for the line up.

But winning these last 4 games with those four pitchers and coming to Oakland tonight with Wakes ready to go shows how deep our staff is while Schilling and Buchholz mend.

And the other amazing about those 4 games and tonights is that none of them were pitched by the ace, Beckett.

Good times…
I will read this post if the Sox have a losing streak if for no other reason than to cheer me up.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Robbed of a post season MVP Part 1 - ALCS

There is no greater title in baseball than being a hero in the post season.
It can define your career and your legacy.

Some players never had the back of a baseball card that would catch your eye but they came up big in October and became the team's biggest hero.

Johnny Podres for the 1955 Dodgers, Gene Tenace for the 1972 A's, Bucky F---ing Dent for the 1978 Yankees etc.

But for every team that came back for an unlikely win and for every MVP crowned as an October immortal, there is another team that lost... and some poor guy gave the performance of their life but missed the chance to be their city's God.

We here at Sully Baseball want to give them their due.
Here are the players that would have won a post season MVP award if their team didn't wet the bed.

So before I start listing, let's set down the parameters:

First of all I am only including series when they actually handed out MVPs.

World Series MVPs were first awarded in 1955...
The NLCS didn't hand out MVPs until 1977
And for some reason the ALCS didn't see fit to award an MVP until 1980

Royals defeat Blue Jays 4-3

Batted .333 including sparking a come from behind rally in game 2.

How close were the Blue Jays from winning?

Up 3 games to 1 but losing 2-0 in game 5, the Blue Jays loaded the bases
against Danny Jackson but failed to score. Jackson throws a complete game

Trailing by 2 runs in game 6, the Jays put two runners on in the 7th and
9th but can not score.

Who was the goat?

Dave Steib lost his control in the 6th inning of game 7. A pair of walks
and a hit batter set up a bases clearing triple by Jim Sundberg that put
the game away.

Actual MVP: George Brett

Red Sox defeat Angels, 4-3

Threw complete game win in game 1 and pitched 8 2/3 solid innings in game 5.

How close were the Angels from winning?

Angels lead the series 3-1 and had a 5-2 lead going into the 9th inning.
After Baylor homered to make it a 5-4 lead, manager Gene Mauch panicked
and removed dominating Mike Witt for Gary Lucas who hit the only batter he
faced. Then 1 strike from the pennant, Donnie Moore let up Dave
Henderson’s 2 run homer.

The Angels tied the game in the 9th and had the pennant winning run on
third with 1 out. Seldom used Red Sox reliever Steve Crawford got the next
batters out without letting up a run, then shut down in the 10th, working
around a walk.

Down 1, needing 2 to win the pennant, the Angels went down in order in the

The Angels took a 2-0 first inning lead in game 6, but were outscored 18-3
the rest of the series.

Who was the goat?

Donnie Moore is the obvious goat for letting up the Henderson homer and
then losing it in the 11th inning sac fly, again to Henderson.

Gene Mauch deserves a lot grief for removing Mike Witt in the fateful 9th

Actual MVP: Marty Barrett


Blue Jays defeat A’s, 4-2

Pitched into the 8th inning of game 1 and threw a complete game victory in
a potential elimination game 5.

How close were the A’s from winning?

Never close to winning, but seemed ready to tie the series at 2 with the
unbeatable Stewart ready for game 5. The A’s bombed Jack Morris and took a
5-1 3rd inning lead in game 4. The Blue Jays rallied off of Bob Welch but
Dennis Eckersley struck out Ed Sprague to end the 8th.

In the 9th, Robbie Alomar homered off of Eckersley to tie the game.
In the bottom of the 9th, the A’s got the winning run to third but
couldn’t score pinch runner Eric Fox.

The Blue Jays took the lead in the 11th and Tom Henke got Mark McGwire to
fly out with the tying run on first.

Who was the goat?
Dennis Eckersley did his finger pointing fist pumping an inning too early.
The A’s seemed ready to stampede to the World Series, but the Alomar home
run was a stunning blow that KOed the A’s championship run.


Indians defeat Orioles 4-2


No record but struck out 25 batters in 15 innings including a 15 strikeout
in 7 inning performance in game 4.

How close were the Orioles from winning?

Never played a clinching game, but all 4 losses were 1 run losses with two
in extra innings.

In game 6, with Mike Mussina throwing a 1 hit, 10 K 8 inning masterpiece
to try and force a game 7, the Orioles strand runners in 10 of the 11
innings. The Indians clinch the pennant in the top of the 11th on Tony
Fernandez’s home run.

Who was the goat?
Pick an Orioles hitter… but Robbie Alomar was frozen on a series clinching
called third strike.

Actual MVP: Marquis Grissom


Yankees defeat Red Sox 4-3

Threw key wins for the Red Sox in games 1 and 4.

How close were the Red Sox from winning?

The Red Sox led game 7 in Yankee Stadium 5-2 going into the 8th inning.
Pedro Martinez, who usually tired after 7 innings, got the first batter
out but Trot Nixon misjudged Jeter’s drive to the wall.

The Yankees rallied with a series of two strike hits, climaxing in
Posada’s game tying double to center.

The Red Sox got runners in scoring position in the 9th and 10th but
couldn’t score off of Mariano Rivera. Wakefield then served up Aaron
Boone’s clinching home run, but the series should never have gotten that

Who was the goat?
Grady Little who refused to use the relievers Williamson, Embree and
Timlin (who baffled the Yankees all series) when the Red Sox were 5 outs
from a startling pennant.

Actual MVP: Mariano Rivera


Red Sox defeat Yankees 4-3

Batted .412 with 2 homers and 10 RBI… but that doesn’t even tell the whole
story. Had the series ended after 4 games, Matsui would have batted .550.

How closer were the Yankees from winning?

They were winning in the 9th with Rivera on the mound and a 3 games to 0
series lead. That’s pretty close!

They had base runners in the 10th, 11th and 12th of game 4… and couldn’t

The Yankees had a 2 run lead in the 8th of game 5…
And then left runners in scoring position in the 9th, 12th and 13th innings.

Finally the Yankees had the pennant winning run at the plate when Keith
Foulke struck out Tony Clark to tie the series at 3-3

Who was the goat?
There were plenty of horns to go around. Kevin Brown lasted less than 2
innings of the game 7 show down, Mariano Rivera blew the save in game 4
and the bats went dead.

But Alex Rodriguez who didn’t drive in a run after the third inning of
game 4 and slapped the ball from Bronson Arroyo’s glove during a critical
rally was the goat everyone remembers.

Actual MVP: David Ortiz


Red Sox defeat Indians 4-3

Homered twice and got several big hits as the Indians ran up a 3-1 lead.

How close were the Indians to winning?

Down by 1 in the 7th inning in game 7, Kenny Lofton reached second on Julio Lugo's error and Franklin Guitierrez seemed to have tied the game with a 1 out single. Third base coach Joel Skinner inexplicably held Lofton at third base even though Manny Ramirez hadn't even touched the ball when Lofton rounded third. Casey Blake hit into an inning ending double play.

Down by 3 in the 8th inning, the Indians put the first two on with nobody out. With the tying run at the plate in the form of the heart of the lineup, Papelbon struck out Hafner, got Martinez to ground out and was driven to the wall by Garko to end the inning. The Red Sox scored six times in the 8th to put the game away.

Who was the goat?

The Indians coaching staff. Joel Skinner holding up Kenny Lofton at third killed the Indians momentum. Meanwhile manager Eric Wedge let Rafael Betancourt let up TWO late inning run scoring extra base hits to Dustin Pedroia. How was he still in the game after the first one?

Actual MVP: Josh Beckett

So there you have the AL.
Never up… poor bastards from the NLCS

And the best new baseball name of 2008 goes to...

Marlins rookie pitcher Burke Badenhop.

With a name like that, it's a good thing he's not a shortstop.

Not as good as Grant Balfour or Eric Plunk (both pitchers had control as bad as their names) but still pretty cool.

One Month In...

Well, at least my Red Sox are alone in first place at the end of the month.

But it is safe to say it has been a strange start to the season.
Two teams I picked to be dead last are either in first or tied for first.
(Nice start White Sox and Cardinals)

They are playing above .500 in Tampa Bay and Baltimore...
They are playing sub .500 in Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle, Colorado, San Diego and in the Bronx.

I thought the A's and Marlins had more talent than people gave them credit for... but I didn't see the Marlins on top of their division at months end and the A's only a game out.

Of course there is a lot of baseball to play...
At this point last year the Yankees and the Rockies were in their respective basements and both played into October.

It usually takes 2 months to see which teams are contenders and which just had a good first month.

Pay attention White Sox, Cardinals, Marlins, A's, Orioles and Rays fans.
This next month may determine if you have a good team or just had a good streak.