John Lackey to the Red Sox. Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. Cliff Lee to Seattle. They are all coming down.
Lackey to the Red Sox in an $82.5-million, five-year deal pending a physical. The Red Sox have been tied to a lot of things, but this one seems to have come out of the blue. That’s a lot of money and it probably precludes them signing Matt Holliday.
The Mets were never in it for Lackey, but this deal could help them land Jason Bay. The Red Sox say they aren’t giving Bay a fifth year. Unless they are bluffing, there doesn’t seem to a chance they’ll go back to Bay. But, the Mets would have to up their offer to a fifth year.
The Mets were also never in it for Halladay, either, because they didn’t have the minor league talent to get it down. Continue reading →
While the Mets are deciding which middle-tier pitcher they should pursue, the Braves and Phillies have already improved from last season.
WAGNER: Now a happy Brave.
The Braves needed to address their bullpen, and have done that with the signings of Billy Wagner (I knew he wasn’t going to retire) and Takashi Saito. They’ve also offered arbitration to Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. The Braves need an outfield bat and are interested in Marlon Byrd.
The Philles have Cliff Lee coming back and are in on the Roy Halladay Sweepstakes. Yes, they have enough chips to get that done. The Phillies just upgraded to Placido Polanco at third base.
The Phillies’ bullpen was a huge reason they didn’t repeat. Fernando Rodney is a closer option. They are also considering John Smoltz and J.J. Putz in set-up roles.
This much we know, a Cleveland Indian won’t be the AL Cy Young Award winner for a third straight season.
CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee won it the last two years, but this season the overwhelming favorite appears to be Kansas City’s Zack Greinke (16-8, 2.16, 242 K).
The other contenders are Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (19-5, 2.49, 217 K), Toronto’s Roy Halladay (17-10, 2.79, 208 K), the Yankees’ Sabathia (19-8, 3.37, 197 K) and Detroit’s Justin Verlander (19-9, 3.45, 269 K).
There’s a chance I could get my wish and this thing will go seven games. Those that know me understand that the only rooting interest I have is for a playoff round go seven games.
UTLEY: Two more bombs last night.
Last night was about the resiliency of the Phillies which was something the Mets have seen the last three seasons. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, a play here or there the other way and the Phillies could have won already as they held leads in the games they lost.
The Yankees got to Cliff Lee for five runs, but it took them until the eighth to do it. We could see him again in Game 7 as a reliever, as that is his throw day. Lee has thrown well north of 200 innings this season and maybe they are catching up to him. The Phillies won because he pitched deep into the game to keep the Yankees out of their bullpen.
Last night, we also saw Chase Utley, who I’ve said several times throughout the season that he’s one of the top position players in the game. If I were starting a team, Albert Pujols would be my first choice and Utley probably my second. Maybe A-Rod.
I’m looking forward to Game 6, which is often the most intense of the playoff games because of the sense of urgency. The key tomorrow night will be Andy Pettitte, who has pitched well this postseason, but not well over his career on three days rest.
Joe Girardi gambled by going with a three-man rotation. It could still work out for the Yankees, but Burnett was hammered and Pettitte has a losing record on three days.
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.