Friday, October 9, 2009

Playoff Day Two Wrap-Up

Thoughts from the second of many late, late nights of baseball in the 2009 playoffs... Red Sox-Angels ends right before 1 am.... I'm a night owl, but playoff games are exhausting... Anyway, DAY TWO...

- Cole Hamels looked mighty average against the Rockies on Thursday. Surely, his wife going into labor weighed on his mind, but still. He stinks in day games, and doesn't look any better having whined about the start times.

- Can the Phillies ever actually nail a runner that Cole Hamels picks off? That's at least four times this year that Hamels has had a runner picked off but didn't record the out. And when I say that, I'm saying, Ryan Howard can't throw. Or at least, it's not Hamels' fault.

- Charlie Manuel didn't have the greatest day of his managerial career, but it wasn't nearly as bad as some people would have you believe. What's wrong with going to Pedro Martinez in game three, then coming back with Blanton or Happ in game four? The original plan would have had Blanton or Happ in game three and Pedro in game four. The big deal here is.... what exactly?

- The biggest problem Manuel has is that he doesn't have anyone to go to. Last year, he had J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, even Clay Condrey, with Brad Lidge anchoring the back end. Right now, Manuel can reliably go to Madson and Eyre in the pen. That's it. Desperation is the mother of invention, even when it comes to using starting pitchers in a relief role in the playoffs.

- Aaron Cook should not look that good in the playoffs. Ever. Ever. Ever.

- Antonio Bastardo looked like a legitimate lefthander out of the bullpen. He blew two fastballs by Jason Giambi, sandwiched around a hard slider to get out of a bases loaded jam. Impressive for a guy that threw one inning since mid-June.

- Sign number one it's the playoffs- Cliff Lee was used as a pinch runner in the ninth inning of game two.

- Adam Wainwright came as advertised.

- So did Clayton Kershaw.

- Matt Holliday has got to be sick about the ninth inning of game two. He ran a long way to get to the ball hit by James Loney, but he's got to catch that. Losing that game could become the Cardinals version of the Bill Buckner incident.

- Even after the error, Ryan Franklin needs to get out someone out of Casey Blake, Ronnie Belliard, Russell Martin and Mark Loretta.

- I don't care what his regular season numbers were, Ryan Franklin stinks.

- Worst facial hair of the playoffs? Right now, the contenders are Brendan Ryan, Jason Giambi and Ryan Franklin. Giambi is the early leader in the clubhouse.

- BIG BIG BIG win for the Angels. After going 1-9 against the BoSox in their playoff matchups of 2004, 07 and 08, the Angels needed to get off to a good start, and did just that. John Lackey dominated the Sawx lineup and Torii Hunter's blast gave the Halos all the offense they needed.

- Hunter getting fired up in the dugout was more like a linebacker getting fired up after a big stick on special teams.

- Be careful bouncing the helmet like that in a confined space, Torii. I had visions of that thing bouncing up and clocking someone right under the eye.

- Jon Lester didn't have great command, as evidenced by his four walks. His defense made him work harder than he should have had to, however.

- Ramon Ramirez had a bit of a meltdown for the Sox when the game was still within reach. One inning, two runs, three hits, a walk, a hit batter and the last out of the inning coming on a runner cut down at the plate. Not exactly the way to keep it close.

- Daniel Bard. Wow. I sense man-crushville in his future.

- Rough night for the umpiring crew in Anaheim, especially home plate umpire Joe West (overrated) and first base umpire C.B. Bucknor (just not that good). Both drew plenty of ire from both managers, and West especially drew the ire of Lester.

- Boston issued five walks and committed three errors. Anaheim issued one walk and committed no errors. If you don't play clean in October, you don't win.

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