October 04, 2004
A few random thoughts about the baseball playoffs
What can you say about the Astros? They won 36 of their last 46 games, which is just outrageous. They also owe some thanks to the Cubs. Check the standings in today's paper. Over the last 10 games, the Stros, who finished 3 games ahead of the Cubs, went 9-1. Dusty Baker's crew went 3-7, meaning they went from 3 up to 3 down in ten games. Ouch.
(The question needs to be asked, now that the Phillies have finally fired Larry Bowa: When will the Cubs realize that Dusty Baker needs to be fired? The Baseball Prospectus guys found evidence to suggest that he got more than expected out of his teams in San Francisco, but he's done the opposite at Wrigley. Cub fans really ought to be incensed at how this season ended.)
Tom notes how the Stros have done under their last three managers. I didn't think much of Phil Garner coming in, but give credit where it's due. Until further notice, he's more than earned the job.
Can they finally win a playoff series? A coworker of mine just asked me if I was going to root for the Braves, since cheering for the Stros in the postseason never works. A little reverse psychology never hurts, I guess.
Of course, all I really care about is the Yankees. Anyone who placed a bet at the beginning of the season on Jon Lieber being their Game 2 starter, please forward me all of your lottery number selections for the next decade. What more can I say?
Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 04, 2004 to Baseball
The Cubs are in meltdown mode. Sammy Sosa is blasting Dusty Baker for some comments about Sammy's game preparation and preformance. Corky's none too pleased with his skipper.
And after the Michael Barrett temper tantrums with him trying to start a fight with Roy Oswalt in August, the Cubs went from lovable losers to just plain Losers this year.
Watching them spit the bit down the stretch was a joy to watch.
Who knows? The 'stros have been doing well enough down the stretch that Atlanta ought to be worried and Houston has had St. Louis' number of late. There is an outside chance that Houston could win the pennant, though I suspect it will be St. Louis or Atlanta. LA has been rocky of late, I doubt that they'll be there in the end.
I'm an AL man myself- I grew up watching the Rangers and am a Red Sox fan so I've been keeping up with that. Boston has their work cut out for them in Anaheim but New York better keep their eyes on Minnesota. With Johan Santana pitching like a bat out of hell they aren't a sure thing. I suspect NY will beat MN, BOS will beat ANA and the best rivalry in all of sports- New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox- will be the ALCS once again. Boston had New York's number this season, but with NY having home field advantage Boston the series would be a barnburner. I still think Boston will win the AL pennant.
Could this be the year? Could a scrappy love 'em or hate 'em contender from Massachusettes beat the well-financed slick machine that only those with deficient character could love? In the two contests I care the most about this fall, I hope the answer is yes in both.
"You gotta believe!"
Boston-NY may get more ink (damned East Coast bias), but I maintain that Dodgers-Giants is by far the most bitter rivalry, in terms of games won/lost by each team. It's far closer than the Red Sox-Yankees series is.
If LA can get decent pitching to the sixth or seventh inning in each game, they might surprise.
I would have to agree about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, at least from the fan's standpoint. We went to a Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway and sat among fans of both teams. The atmosphere was jovial; the fans hassled each other, but it wasn't done in a mean-spirited way. I can guarantee that wouldn't be so likely at a Dodgers-Giants game, especially in SF. Fans at Dodger Stadium can't be bothered to show up on time or stay for the whole game, much less pay attention to what's going on in the game.
By the way, Chuck, don't feel bad about your thoughts on Garner at first. Here's my comment about your entry:
Jack McKeon's success last year with the Fish was an anomaly as far as retread managers go, and my fear is that it will embolden GMs and coaches to go get that "experience" (even if the experience was bad).
An anomaly that goes 36-10 in its last 46 games? Hmm.
Grins. Sue, you ever driven in LA? That freeway traffic, even at 10:00pm...