Oct 28

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: World Series, Game #1, CC vs. Lee.

Match-up of aces.

Match-up of aces.

Following tradition, the Yankees and Phillies will play their aces in Game 1 of the World Series tonight at Yankee Stadium with Cliff Lee going against CC Sabathia in a match-up of former Cleveland teammates and the last two AL Cy Young Award winners.

Game 1 sets the tone for the World Series, which is why both managers are going with their best tonight. You always throw your ace first because holding him back for Game 2 is a tacit admission their ace is better. You also throw your ace first because that gives you a chance to use him three times, with the last time on three days rest.

LEE: Phillies' Game 1 starter.

LEE: Phillies' Game 1 starter.


For example, should Charlie Manuel have held Lee back in anticipation of Sabathia winning Game 1, and then have him get lit up in Game 2, then the Phillies would have been in a huge hole even with the Series heading back to Philadelphia.

“This matchup couldn’t have been better,” said Manuel. “This is a big, premier game. I’m looking forward to it.”

This could be a special World Series featuring the two aces – a combined 5-0 this postseason by Lee and Sabathia – and two potent offenses.

“We’re going to see a lot of runs,” said Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.

In Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez, the Phillies have four players with at least 30 homers. Meanwhile, the Yankees had seven players with at least 20.

There are so many players from either team who could find themselves on fate’s doorstep as possible heroes. Derek Jeter, for example, owns this time of year. With the game on the line, I’d want him at the plate as much as anybody when all I need is a single or sacrifice fly.

Would anybody be surprised if this went seven?

Oct 24

Game #6: Will they or won’t they?

Heavy showers forecast for tonight could wipe out Game #6 at Yankee Stadium. If so, it would be played tomorrow night with a possible Game #7 on Monday.

If Game 6 is washed away, Angels manager Mike Scioscia would consider bringing back John Lackey on three days’ rest to pitch a potential Game 7 against CC Sabathia, who already has stymied the Angels twice in the series.

Will rain wash away Game 6?

Will rain wash away Game 6?


“We’ve talked about a lot of different scenarios,” Scioscia said. “We’re going to let this thing unfold a little bit and see how the weekend goes. If there is an opportunity to look at bringing a guy like John back, it’s something we certainly would consider. We’ve talked about a bunch of things.”

Lackey shut down the Yankees for much of Game 5, but was pulled with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh. The Yankees scored six runs that inning, but the Angels rallied to force the return trip to New York.

“It doesn’t get any better than this, especially going into that ballpark,” said Angels infielder Chone Figgins. “It’s going to be another crazy game, I can tell you that. You go back and just enjoy it. The pressure is on both teams.”

While the Angels face elimination, they are also playing with house money. They weren’t favored and are lucky to be here. The Yankees, meanwhile, have pressure to wrap things up immediately so they can enter the World Series against well-rested Philadelphia their pitching intact.

If there’s a Game 7, the Yankees won’t be able to use Sabathia until Game 3 of the World Series at the earliest. The Phillies have already said Cliff Lee would start Game 1. If the ALCS lasts seven games and the Yankees prevail, they’d have AJ Burnett going in Game 1.

Andy Pettitte will start tonight, or tomorrow depending on the weather, for the Yankees. Pettitte has 15 career playoff wins, including four series clinchers.

“However many starts I’ve had in the postseason or how many innings, it’s not going to help me when I go out there,” Pettitte said. “It’s a matter of getting out there and my cutter cutting, my location being good, and this is a game of just inches.”

Oct 17

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Trying to get it in.

It’s not raining now, but the forecast is not good. It’s a crucial game for the Angels, who gift-wrapped Game 1 last night. Three errors and there should have been four. I could have driven to the Stadium, ran onto the field and caught that pop-up. It was in the air that long.

AJ Burnett, 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA in his first season with the Yankees, gets the ball tonight.

“By all means I know how important my start is,” Burnett said. “I have the least amount of postseason experience, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Play ball … or cancel it and let’s go to the movies.

Oct 23

Baseball after Midnight: Phillies take Game 1

What's keeping you up tonight?

What's keeping you up tonight?

Greetings to all my friends on the West Coast. During the season I’ll call this post “Mets after Midnight.” I had this post before and will do my best to keep it going as to get a dialogue going with you guys two and three time zones away.

I have a good feeling about this World Series. Not so much in the winner, but in that it will be a compelling Series. How did the Phillies leave as many guys on base as they did and still win? Oh yeah, the Rays left a bunch, too.

As far as the Mets go, Mets.Com wrote today that HoJo will be back as hitting coach. That’s not the impression a lot of us had after the season when the Mets were whining about their situational hitting.

Willie Randolph will interview with Milwaukee. Doug Melvin, Milwaukee GM, was once in the Yankee farm system. He knows Willie well. Wouldn’t be surprising if he got the job.

If you don’t want to talk about the game or the Mets’ coaching, don’t worry. This is the message board for you night owls and those on the Coast. And, I’ll answer your questions and address your comments in the morning.

Oct 22

Talkin’ World Series Baseball: Game 1.

World Series Chat

World Series Chat

Every World Series has its storyline, but when was the last time we had a really compelling Classic? Probably Angels-Giants in 2002. Yankees and D-Backs in 2001, for sure.

This one has that capability as it pits two gritty teams, clubs with resiliency to match their talent. Tampa Bay has that karma thing going for it, but let’s not overlook the Phillies, no matter how much you hate them.

They also can make a destiny argument.

Both teams can mash, but the Phillies have Ryan Howard, capable of controlling a Series. The Rays have a young, talented staff, but Philadelphia probably has the best pitcher in Cole Hamels and the dominant closer in Brad Lidge.

I believe the Rays shook the jitters when they blew Game 5 at Boston and hung on to win. They won’t be rattled. I think they’ll prevail in seven.

And if they don’t? Well, I’m happy if it goes seven.