Oct 22

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Yankees going for the kill in ALCS.

The last time the Yankees were this close to their mission statement they folded in one of baseball history’s greatest collapses. Up 3-0 over the Boston Red Sox in 2004, the Yankees couldn’t close the deal.

OK … few expected the Red Sox to be swept, so staying alive in Games 4 and 5 weren’t a shock because the Yankees would take care of business at the Stadium.

“If you have the opportunity to get something over with, you’d like to do it,” said Derek Jeter. “It’s not always going to happen.”

Curt Schilling won Game 6 in the Bloody Sock game, and the Yankees were cooked by the second inning in Game 7.

BURNETT: Pitches for the Series tonight.

BURNETT: Pitches for the Series tonight.


The Yankees, who could’ve lost the first two games of this series had it not been for Los Angeles’ faulty defense, can close it out tonight with AJ Burnett going against John Lackey. Should the Angels stay alive, Games 6 and 7 will be this weekend in New York.

Burnett has pitched well in the postseason, but is winless.

“This is why I signed – the opportunity to pitch in the postseason,” said Burnett. “The first year over here, I have an opportunity, so I’m taking full advantage of it.”

Oct 05

Something with your morning coffee ….

This Day in Baseball History

This Day in Baseball History

One of the greatest catches in World Series history took place on this date in 1947. It was the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium when Joe DiMaggio launched a long drive to deep left.
GIONFRIDDO: Robs DiMaggio.

GIONFRIDDO: Robs DiMaggio.


With two runners on it was certain the Dodgers’ three-run lead would be erased. However, Al Gionfriddo, acquired from Pittsburgh earlier in the season, closed the gap and reached over the wall to rob DiMaggio. The catch brought a rise out of the normally dour and unemotional DiMaggio, who kicked at the dirt out of frustration.

The Dodgers would hold on to win Game 6, but the Yankees won Game 7 to clinch the series.

TODAY’S SPORTS BIRTHDAY

1937 – Barry Switzer, football coach (Oklahoma).

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They Said It

They Said It

With their season over from a competitive standpoint, there were those – myself included – who believed Carlos Beltran should’ve shut it down for the remainder of the season.

Beltran said he needed to play to prove his health to himself, and yesterday indicated he doesn’t anticipate his knees would become a problem.

Said Beltran: “People asked me, ‘Why are you coming back?’ But, as a player you have to come back and I did. Now I can go in to the off-season feeling good about myself. I can get ready, be in the best condition I can be in, and get ready for spring training.’’

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ON TAP FOR TODAY

Today the lockers at Citi Field start to get cleared out. Players will be drifting in for the next few days. Some who don’t think they’ll be a part of the Mets next season, could come early and leave before the media is brought to the clubhouse.

Manager Jerry Manuel said there could be some announcements regarding his coaching staff. Third base coach Razor Shines, who waved on over 20 runners that were eventually thrown out at the plate, could be gone. Pitching coach Dan Warthen could be dismissed because of a staff that walked over 500 batters, and regressions by Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez.

ELSEWHERE IN SPORTS

The Tigers and Twins will have a one-game playoff tomorrow in the Metrodome. The stadium couldn’t be used tonight because the Packers-Vikings Monday night game is scheduled. ESPN is expecting huge ratings as the game pits Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre against his former team.

THE WEEK AHEAD

In addition to what news comes out of the Mets, I will also be reviewing the season and analyzing who will be available in the free agent market. I will also be handicapping and previewing the Division Series, and, of course, live blogging the playoffs as I did last year. … I also hope you’ll be with me tomorrow night for the Monday night game between Minnesota and Green Bay.

Apr 21

Not buying St. Louis link ….

OK, maybe in 2007 it was plausible, that the collapse at the end of the regular season can be traced to the loss in the NLCS to St. Louis. Sure, I can see where there could be a carry over.

But not now.

If the Mets don’t have a killer instinct now it’s because their players lack it, not because they lost with Aaron Heilman’s pitch in Game 7. We’re a dozen games into the season, way too soon to spot any definable personality for this team.

However, it isn’t too soon to spot some definite trends.

The bullpen is much better than it has been in the last two seasons, BUT because of the starters’ inability to go deeper into games there will be an eventual breakdown due to stress.

Johan Santana has been terrific, but the rest of the rotation has been a pocket full of change, which is to say a bunch of Coin Flips. I have no inkling as to what kind of start we’ll see tonight from Oliver Perez. None. Good last time, but bad before that …. bad several times. John Maine has started quickly and faded. Livan Hernandez has had a good and bad outing. Eventually, three-plus innings a night for the pen will carry a toll.

Another inconsistency has been their inability to hit with RISP. Jerry Manuel keeps saying they should score more runs, but putting the pressure on is more than baserunners.

Pressure is defined as scoring. That’s one of the reasons why I want Daniel Murphy down in the order where he’ll get more RBI opportunities. For that matter, I’d like to see Ryan Church back in the line-up, too. They are leaving RISP at an alarming rate that only serves to put pressure on both facets of the pitching and the offense collectively.

The Mets are in St. Louis tonight which reminded me of the NLCS. I don’t think that loss is in their heads. What should be in their heads is how erratic they’ve played this season.

The Mets are a .500 club not because of bad luck or injuries. They are a .500 club because what they deserve to be.

Jan 26

Heilman: Takes high road when asked about NY.

HEILMAN: Change of scenery.

HEILMAN: Change of scenery.

Aaron Heilman could have ripped the Mets, but took the high road when asked about his time in New York when questioned by The Seattle Times.

“Playing in New York is the only existence I’ve known and I think you get used to it,” Heilman said. “You learn to accept the fact that you are dealing with a very passionate, very knowledgeable fan base. … New York’s one of those markets where unless you win the World Series, it’s not a good year.”

Clearly, Heilman wanted to start, but the Mets valued him in the bullpen. It was always presumed he would have left when he became a free agent. However, the Mets beat him to the punch and included him in the J.J. Putz trade.

“I certainly didn’t look at it as I really wanted to get out of New York,” Heilman told the paper. “I was kind of looking forward to going back and showing that last season was an aberration and to get back to what I normally can do.”

When he’s on his game, and he wasn’t for much of last season, he’s capable of getting hitters out from either side of the plate.

Heilman had productive stretches both in 2007 and last season, but didn’t come close to his 2006 effectiveness. Especially, when it came to keeping the ball in the park.

More than a few times he denied he was scarred by giving up the Game 7 homer in the NLCS.

Oct 27

This Day in World Series History: The Mets take it all.

Knight sparks Mets over Sox.

Knight sparks Mets over Sox.

For the second straight game, the Mets rallied to beat Boston. This time, they overcame a three-run deficit to with, 8-5, to win Game 7 of the 1986 Series at Shea.

Third baseman Ray Knight hit a leadoff homer of Boston’s Calvin Schiraldi in the 7th inning to jumpstart a three-run rally‚ is named MVP. Schiraldi became the only pitcher to lost both Games 6 and 7, and Knight was named Series MVP.

What stands out for me about that night was that Game 7 was initially rained out and postponed until Monday, and went head-to-head against the Giants and Redskins.