Nov 02

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Game #5; will the bubbly flow?

Game 5: Burnett vs. Lee.

Game 5: Burnett vs. Lee.

The Philadelphia Inquirer printed an ad congratulating the Phillies on winning the World Series. It was a three-quarter page ad that said “Back To Back World Champions.”

Down 3-1, it will take a monumental Yankees’ collapse for that to happen. The Phillies would have to win tonight with Cliff Lee and then win two in New York. The 2004 Red Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit to win, including Games 6 and 7 at Yankee Stadium.

It’s possible, but who is running to their bookie? I didn’t think so.

The Yankees’ approach is simply to score early to deflate the Phillies even further and take the crowd out of the game. The Phillies have had leads in this Series but have been unable to put the Yankees away.

These are tough games to watch because most everybody has written off the Phillies and believe the suspense is gone.

Nov 02

Francoeur undergoes surgery ….

Jeff Francoeur had surgery on a torn ligament in his left thumb today. The Mets, as they do with all surgeries, said he is expected to be ready for spring training.

Francoeur played with the injury since July 23 when he made a diving catch against the Phillies. It was same game in which in lined into a game-ending triple play.

Nov 02

About Last Night …. Yankees imposing their will.

They have the money and they have the star galaxy, but the Yankees are showing grit and resiliency. They are winning this World Series, with a 27th title within their grasp, despite Mark Teixeira not hitting; despite CC Sabathia not winning a game (all right, that’s semantics because he’s pitched very well); and despite Alex Rodriguez’s miserable start.

Many thought, myself included, this would go seven. Two potent offenses and aces on both teams, how could it not? The Yankees can wrap it up in five games tonight.

Bearing down on title 27

Bearing down on title 27


Rodriguez got the game winning hit last night, but wasn’t the game really won on Johnny Damon’s hustle when he stole two bases on one play? With the Phillies in a shift against Teixeira, who only has one hit in the Series, they neglected to cover third. That was closer Brad Lidge’s responsibility.

Rattled, Lidge hit Teixeira and Rodriguez delivered.

“There’s no question I’ve never had a bigger hit,” Rodriguez said.

It really is amazing how the momentum of the Series shifted so suddenly. It didn’t take much, either. After losing the first game, the Yankees were behind in Game 2 when Hideki Matsui tied it with a homer. You knew then the Series was going to be tied.

Down in Game 3, Andy Pettitte’s hit off a Cole Hamels curveball, tied that game and set up a big inning. The Series was now slipping away. Then, there was Damon’s play last night, after which you know what would happen next, and now the Yankees are 27 outs away from their 27th title.

That the Yankees came back last night after the Phillies tied the game in the eighth tells you what you need to know about them.

Like them or hate them, and there’s no middle ground, you must respect them. And, fear them.

Nov 01

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Game #4; Sabathia trying to put Phils in hole.

Game 4: Sabathia vs. Blanton.

Game 4: Sabathia vs. Blanton.

The New York Yankees made CC Sabathia the richest pitcher in history for moments like tonight.
Working on three days rest for the second time in the playoffs, Sabathia, who signed a seven-year, $161-million free-agent deal last winter, has an opportunity to pitch the Yankees to a 3-1 edge in the World Series.
Sabathia was 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA this summer and the heavy favorite to win his second Cy Young Award. He is 3-1 with a 1.52 ERA in the playoffs, and was the ALCS MVP.

Sabathia is a horse. He is 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in eight starts throwing on short rest. The Phillies decided not to start Cliff Lee on three days rest, instead opting for Joe Blanton. Lee has never worked on short rest.

SABATHIA: Trying to put the hammer down.

SABATHIA: Trying to put the hammer down.


“It feels good for them to have confidence in you, especially in these situations,’’ Sabathia said about working on short rest. “It gives you confidence when your team has confidence and the guys want you out there and everybody is asking: ‘Are you pitching today?’ and ‘Are you pitching tomorrow?’ ’’

Should the Phillies extend this to a seventh game, Sabathia would get that start in New York.

Nov 01

Is there a real option in left?

The two most intriguing left-field names are Jason Bay and Matt Holliday, and I’m not high of the Mets getting either. Less desirous names are Vernon Wells and Milton Bradley. Both would be a mistake.

Amid reports Boston is offering Bay $60 million over four years, one would think he’ll stay with the Red Sox. Holliday would want more, and with Albert Pujols saying he wants to remain with the Cardinals, that is contingent on being surrounded with support. That Holliday is gone from St. Louis could be a premature assumption.

F-MART: Is it time for him?

F-MART: Is it time for him?


Wells is a bad idea considering his numbers are in decline and he has five years remaining on his contract for $98.5 million. If the Mets are willing to spend that much, I’d go for Holliday, but that’s too rich for my blood.

Bradley’s contract calls for two years and $21.5 million, which would be reasonable if he weren’t such a head case and clubhouse cancer. There’s a

Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford and Pat Burrell, and the Angels’ Gary Matthews Jr. remain options. I’m on board for exploring Crawford, but I’m also beginning to wonder if giving the position to Fernando Martinez would be reasonable.

BRADLEY: Just say no.

BRADLEY: Just say no.


Reportedly, he’s not ready, but why not push the envelope with him? Say give him until the All-Star break and see where he is? Could that really hurt him?

Yes, the Mets have been accused of rushing players, and Mike Pelfrey and Lastings Milledge are two examples. But, if the Mets don’t seriously upgrade their rotation they aren’t going anywhere anyway.

So, maybe it is time for them to see what they have in Martinez?