Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Just a few random notes on the playoffs while I ponder how Monty Burns somehow came to life and became our vice president:
Yankees-Twins: Itís too bad that I had to watch almost the entire game in a picture-in-a-picture box while watching the entire VP debate. My wife actually thought I was watching the debate: I cheered quite loudly at the first invocation of Halliburton. I also thought Sheffield hit a homer to left to cut the lead to one, but when I checked the CBS Sportsline scoreboard, it was still 2-0. Musta been foul.
In the final analysis, does it really matter what happened in this game. The Yankees knew that they were facing possibly the best pitcher in the AL this year. They did get to him to the tune of nine hits in seven innings. It took stellar defense, including five doubleplays and two great outfield plays (possibly preventing three runs) to prevent the Yankees from winning. They know that the level goes down from here. They also know that they lost the first game last year. The Yankees did hurt themselves by only making Sanatana throw 93 pitches thereby making a fourth-game start a distinct possibility. They also ended the first, second, fifth, and eighth innings with doupleplays of some sort. You canít do that and expect to win.
In retrospect, the Twins played the early innings like it was going to close and the Yankees didnít (e.g., the Williams-Jeter strike-Ďim out-throw-Ďim out DP to end the first).
By the way, my friend Mikeís prediction for the game was that Tim McCarver would become insufferable by the third inning. He was really selling Timmy Mac short. I missed a lot because of the debate but was still floored by the idiocy. He set a new record by stretching the boundaries of credulity before the game even started:
Before Mussina threw the first pitch, McCarver had already uttered this chestnut twice: The Yankees are the first team in baseball history to win 100 games without a 15-game winner. OK, so what? It's kind of interesting but does it mean anything? Is it good or bad? I see arguments both ways. Besides, they had two 14-G winners, a 12-, a 10-, and two guys who were on the roster for less than half a season who had 8. They also had a six-, seven-, and nine-game winner out of the pen. Basically, all that tells us that the Yanks had an old, fragile staff, which we knew already.
After FOX got bored with the game with Justin Morneau up and decided instead to feature a fan with a stuffed toy moose for Mike Mussina, Timmy Mac let this one loose, "There are a lot of moose up near New Westminster, Ct. That's where Morneau's from."
On Santana: "The power changeup, it sounds like an oxymoron. It really is."
And he informed us that Gary Sheffield's girlfriend/wife brought her dog on their first date. What is this, the Olympics?
He proclaimed that the Red Sox and Cardinals won by "identical 8-3 scores". The Red Sox actually won 9-3. No one corrected him. It's not like there was a full slate of games. There were two games for crissake.
Oh and then there was the Joe Buck commercial for god knows what in which his agent wants him to sell outóno that's not the jokeóby getting a catch phrase. He comes up with Shama Lama Ding Dong whenever anyone hits a homer and is shown wearing the T-shirt tie-in. Hilarity ensues. I thought, "My dad's rolling over in his grave? He was rolling over in his grave before he died," would have been a better one.
Red Sox-Angels: Much like the Yankees, Anaheim can take a Mulligan for losing against Schilling. However, the Angels were much uglier (e.g. the Figgins error, Washburn lasting 3-1/3, the seven-run fourth). I know that Bartolo Colon has been hot of late, but he still had an ERA over 5.00. The Angels could very easily go down in three with Colon and Kelvim Escobar coming up, a somewhat depleted bullpen, and Pedro Martinez due up in the second game. If Pedro can return to his usual form, itís going to be a tough series for the Angels, as well it should be when you jettison your starting left fielder with two weeks to go.
Dodgers-Cards: Tony LaRussa must be a genius (or like Wile E. Coyote, a super-genius) because I have no idea why he does what he does. He batted Edgar Renteria fifth against the lefty (Odalis Perez) with Sanders going seventh. OK, he wants to move Edmonds down against a left-hander, but why move Renteria up? But the big rally in the third is a result of a two-run double by Renbteria sandwiched between to home runs by lefties (Larry Walker and Edmonds).
I donít know why you go with Woody Williams in game one, especially when he had a month to set up his rotation for the playoffs, but Williams pitched six solid innings.
Perez was horrible. He even gave up the two homers to the lefties. The Dodgers went through seemingly their entire bullpen including a guy named Yhency Brazoban, who I think was my cabby the other day.
The Cardinals did what they did all year, pummel opposing pitchers and get enough pitching to win. Thereís no reason to think that wonít continue.
The Dodgers now pin the playoff hopes on Jeff Weaver and Jose Lima. To quote Jack Benny, "Yikes!"
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