Monday, October 8, 2007

Postmortem: Part 1

Tonight's "upset" is one of the reasons journalists, talk-radio hosts and analysts need to stop pontificating series finale pitching matchups before game four's even been played. Baseball is far too unpredictable to overlook anyone, even Paul Byrd, whose last start against the Yankees lasted two innings and yielded seven runs.

Instead, the early exit came on the part of Chien-Ming Wang and the Yankees. Though Wang is a very good starting pitcher and seems a good guy, he was the absolute goat of this ALDS. Running a close second was New York's complete lack of clutch hitting. Hopefully, fans will remain somewhat reasonable, leaving the Wang + Melky for Santana trade rumors in the trash where they belong.

Regardless of your stance, Pro-Torre or Anti-Torre, the only way to describe the skipper's post-game press conference is: heartbreaking. Joe Torre's won 4 championships and appeared in the playoffs all 13 years he managed the Bombers. In any other business, and maybe any other town, Torre would live to fight another day. (Think Bobby Cox, who has three less rings in his dresser drawer)

Hell, most teams would give Torre the privilege of stepping down when he desires. Like every baseball fan, I've frequently been puzzled by some of Torre's managerial decisions, but if you don't respect his enormous accomplishments and understand how spoiled he's enabled Yankee fans to become, then you just don't get it.

What baring this has on pending free agents like Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez should not be overlooked either. One thing is for sure. He's proven himself to be much more than "Clueless Joe" and, should he move on, will be sorely missed.

A few notes from tonight's elimination game:
  • Eric Wedge does not look like a baseball manager. The shots of him sitting in the dugout more resemble a bored husband unhappy that he is sitting in a multiplex suffering through a chick flick.
  • Derek Jeter continued to hit double-play balls in enormous spots, but the focus of the TBS telecast remained on A-Rod's lack of playoff RBIs, or lack of two-out hits, or lack of fill-in-the-blank. (And this was written before Rodriguez went deep in the seventh)
  • It's been obvious for years now, but painfully so this go-round. The Yankees continue to lack the reliable shutdown starter that every top team needs. Aside from Andy Pettitte's fearless performance during Game 2, Roger Clemens lasted just over two innings and Chien-Ming Wang's two starts meant 5.2 innings with 12 earned runs. Putrid. Maybe Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes grow into that type of role, but there's no telling if or when that will happen.
  • The TBS crew, particularly Chip Caray and Bob Brenly, like to completely make up things and spew them as fact. Just for Monday night's telecast, Caray welcomed back viewers by explaining that Mike Mussina was making his first career postseason relief appearance. Really? I guess he wasn't following baseball during the 2003 ALCS, when Moose pitched three shutout innings in Game 7. Little things, like referencing a frozen rope to rightfield as "a single up the middle" just wreaks of cluelessness.
  • Brenly stated in the seventh inning that Rafael Perez should pitch Robinson Cano "away, away, away" because New York's second baseman doesn't have enough pop to left-centerfield. Guess Bob missed this August's regular season game in which Robinson hit not one, but two bombs over the wall in left-center. Over the course of the series there were countless other mistakes made, but none of us have the time or desire to sift through them all.
  • Farnsworth worked a scoreless seventh?!? Wait, the Yankees were down four runs at that point. Now it makes sense.
  • Shelley Duncan hugging the dugout fence, tears welling up may be a heartbreaking image for Yankee followers, but it's also a refreshing reminder that some professional athletes still care as much as their fans.
  • 15-2 Cleveland outscored New York in two-out RBIs.
2008 begins now. Ideally, it starts with a Boston beatdown and Troy Tulowitzki World Series MVP award before being punctuated by a Johan Santana deal involving Kyle Farnsworth, Mike Mussina and Jason Giambi. Unrealistic?


Anonymous said...

Wang stinks Joba choked and Hughes is overrated

Ted said...

I'm guessing Anonymous is a bitter Mets fan?
RIP Torre.

Rayzer said...

Joe Torre is too classy for the Yankees and the Steinbrenners. He deserves to wear a Cardinals uniform next year.

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