Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Award Season

Before the official start of free agency on Friday, the BBWAA has already given out a few of the major awards for the 2009 season. Let's recap the awards given so far, and I'll provide my own opinions too.

American League Rookie of the Year-
Andrew Bailey handily took home top honors after an outstanding season with the A's in which he earned 26 saves and posted a 1.84 ERA. I would have voted for Rick Porcello, who in my opinion has the biggest upside of the lot, and pitched like a stud as a 20-year old for a team that almost went to the playoffs. Bailey made the All-Star game for the not-so-playoff contending A's, and now looks to avoid the similar regression experienced by the last two A's ROY winners, Huston Street and Bobby Crosby.
My Pick: Rick Porcello, Detroit. Although, in the final analysis, I don't think I realized how good of a season Bailey had.

National League Rookie of the Year-
Chris Coghlan won the NL Rookie of the Year award, besting Philadelphia's J.A. Happ in a much closer vote. Coghlan wasn't called up to the Majors until May, but wasted no time in making an impact, hitting .321 with 31 doubles in 128 games. Ironically, a good portion of his production came against the Phillies, against whom he hit .432 with an on-base percentage over .500 in 2009.
My Pick. J.A. Happ, Philadelphia. He was the most consistent starter in 2009 for a team that won the pennant. Even though the vote does not take the playoffs into consideration, he was wire-to-wire the best pitcher for the defending champs.

American League Cy Young-
Zach Greinke lapped the field, taking 25 of 28 first place votes. I'm happy for this young man, who battled back from an anxiety disorder in early 2006 to shed the 'bust' label and establish himself as a legitimate front of the rotation horse. Despite playing for the moribund Royals, Greinke led the league in ERA, WHIP and HR/9 innings. In 229.1 innings, Greinke struck out 242, walked 51, gave up only 195 hits and allowed 11 home runs. The only thing that would have hurt him was having only 16 wins, but wins is a stat often beyond the pitcher's control, particularly on a bad team
My Pick: Greinke. He is the AL version of Tim Lincecum, without the hair or avatar.

AL/NL Manager of the Year-
Mike Scioscia and Jim Tracy. When I worked with Delaware's baseball team in 2007, our head coach Jim Sherman won the conference's Coach of the Year award. One thing he told me about that award that I think is very true is that Coach or Manager of the Year awards don't honor the individual so much as the team. This principle is very true in both the AL and NL recipients of the Manager of the Year award for 2009. Scioscia led his Angels team to a fifth division title in six year despite losing their record-setting closer from 2008 in Francisco Rodriguez, as well as perenial All-Star Mark Teixeira. Additionally, they had to battle through the unthinkable loss of 22-year old pitcher Nick Adenhardt in the season's first week. Despite all of the obstacles, Scoscia's crew kept it together and won the AL West handily over Texas. Tracy wasn't even employed by the Rockies when the 2009 season kicked off, but took over a team that was 18-28 in May when Clint Hurdle was let go. From that point forward, Tracy guided the Rockies to a record of 74-42 in securing Colorado's second playoff berth in three seasons.
My Picks: Scioscia and Tracy. Who else? Joe Girardi only had to roll the ball out on the field and let his team play. Ron Gardenhire brought the Twins back from a big hole, but without the adversity the Angels faced. In the NL, Charlie Manuel and Joe Torre had the best two teams, and Tony LaRussa probably loses some credit because of who good his pitching coach Dave Duncan is.

NL Cy Young-
Despite having an admitted man crush on Tim Lincecum, I fully understand the merits of voting for one of the two aces from St. Louis. Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter were as good a 1-2 punch as there is in all of baseball, and largely on the strength of their right arms did the Cardinals waltz to the NL Central crown. Carpenter led the NL in ERA, while Wainwright led in starts, wins and innings, and Lincecum led in strikeouts, complete games and shutouts. To me, the statistical categories Wainwright led in are compiler stats and not nearly as impressive as Carpenter's or Lincecum's. In a lot of ways, my decision here is like the Gold Glove awards--- I know who the top candidates are, and I don't care what the numbers say, I know what I saw watching each of these guys throughout the season. Wainwright and Carpenter were great, don't get me wrong. But I never got the sense with them that if either was on top of his game, you just had no shot. Lincecum had that. When Tiny Tim is rolling, just pack up and go home, because his combination of fastball, change and curve is nasty. Lincecum is also the reigning NL Cy Young champ, and if you want the crown, you've got to beat the champ, not play him to a draw. I don't think Wainwright or Carpenter did that, so I'll keep my vote with Lincecum. I also think he will win, if for no other reason, because Carpenter and Wainwright will split votes. We shall see.
My Pick: Lincecum.

AL Most Valuable Player-
In what I think is the toughest of the post-season awards to call, the AL MVP award for 2009 blends a very different group of candidates. I'll limit mine to three. I think the most deserving candidates for 2009 are Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Joe Mauer. Jeter had the highest batting average (.366) of any shortstop as old as he is since Honus Wagner the season after Noah landed the Ark. He also hit 18 homers and drove in 66 from the leadoff spot, from which he also scored over 100 runs. He played well defensively (probably not as well as the Gold Glove he got suggests), and was the ever present heart of the best team in baseball in 2009. He also played the full season, which neither Mauer nor A-Rod can say. Mauer had an unbelievable season for a catcher, leading the AL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, and then of course OPS. He put up 28 homers and 96 RBI for a Minnesota team that needed every single one of them to overtake Detroit in a one-game playoff, and he did this all without former MVP Justin Morneau in the lineup for most of the second half. Mauer was also solid behind the dish, working with a young Twins staff and earning his second Gold Glove. A-Rod is an interesting case. He didn't make the All-Star team, didn't win a Gold Glove, hit under .300. But, he hit 30 home runs and 100 RBI in only 124 games played after returning from hip surgery on May 8th. The other factor to consider is that with Rodriguez out, the Yankees were sputtering along at 14-15, looking up at Boston. Once A-Rod returned, the Yankees went 89-44 the rest of the way, cruising to a division crown.
My Pick: Mauer. If you took A-Rod or Jeter away from the Yankees in 2009, they're probably still a playoff team. If you took Mauer away from the Twins in 2009, they'd probably win about 70 games.

NL Most Valuable Player-
Albert Pujols. He had this award wrapped up by August 1st. Ryan Howard should finish second. That's all there really is to say about that.
My Pick: Pujols

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This and That After the GM Meetings

With the GM meetings in Chicago now behind us, here are some predictions for the Hot Stove...

- The Yankees will sign John Lackey and either Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Is it even fun to be a Yankee fan and just buy everybody?

- Detroit will unload at least one top-shelf player. They probably don't want to, but if your city is featured on the cover of Time because of how economically depressed it is, that can't be good news for the payroll of the baseball team.

- Roy Halladay gets traded, but not to where you think. I'll say he doesn't go to New York, Boston or Philadelphia, and I'll suggest that he does go to Texas, St. Louis or the Angels. But the Jays can't hold him any longer.

- The Phillies will sign Adrian Beltre and a relief pitcher who has closed before, such as Mike Gonzalez or Fernando Rodney

- The Orioles, Nationals, Royals and Pirates will do nothing of substance

- Milton Bradley will go back to the Rangers for pretty much nothing

- Pedro Martinez will pull another Roger Clemens and decides he'll be ready to pitch in July. Maybe even in Philadelphia again.

- At least two more high profile names will get snared by the infamous "list" of players who failed steroid survey testing in 2003.

- Keep an eye on and for all of your Hot Stove needs

In other news...

- What is it about the Angels? It seems every year they lose a high-profile free agent, plug the gap and win a bunch of games. But why do they lose guys? They're a big money team, but they didn't seem real interested in keeping Francisco Rodriguez last offseason, and might well lose John Lackey and Chone Figgins this year. Weird. Their continued success is a tribute to their farm system, GM Tony Reaggins and manager Mike Scioscia, however.

- Jim Riggleman is now officially the manager of the Nationals. Yawn.

- Brad Lidge may have been ailing more than he let on. Lidge was a stand-up guy through the entire nightmare that was his 2009 season, and refused to make any excuses for his ineffectiveness. However, it now appears that he toed the line between "hurt" and "injured" all year, and may have been too "injured" to contribute like he could have. At the same time, given the Phillies lack of alternatives, it's hard to get on the guy for going out and giving it all he had to try to help the team.

- The American League and National League Gold Glove awards were announced earlier this week, with few surprises on either list. As usual, there was handwringing from many SABR-metric 'experts,' most of whom trot out statistics the vast majority of even avid baseball fans have not heard of and wouldn't understand. I agree with the general consensus that the Gold Glove vote is not taken seriously enough by those that vote for it, but let's settle down on the indignation that someone like Orlando Hudson won.

- The link above about handwringing takes you to a piece by Rob Neyer, who I like. While I like him, I disagree with him a lot, and in arguments like this, he seems to put no stock in actual events, relying solely upon numbers. I don't care what Chase Utley's defensive metrics say. I don't. Not even a little bit. I saw him play every game this year, and I know he was not a Gold Glove second baseman. Period. I also know that David Wright's metrics in 2007 may have been better than Jimmy Rollins', but again, I don't care. I watched every game in September of 07 for both the Phillies and the Mets. And guess what? Rollins was an MVP, Wright wasn't (I'm being polite in describing that El Foldo by the Mets). But don't tell Rob Neyer. He insisted that Wright was the MVP. Again, I like Neyer, but we've got to have a sane discussion about the merits of statistics versus what your eyes tell you. My eyes tell me Chase Utley isn't a Gold Glover, and they tell me you're not an MVP if your team blows a seven game division lead with 17 to play. Period.

- Because of his new role as the Cardinals hitting coach, sooner or later Mark McGwire is going to have to face the media and questions regarding allegations of his steroid use. McGwire, of course, diappeared from public view after his Congressional testimony in 2005 where he refused to talk about the past. Having a sense of McGwire as a decent man, my guess is that if he is assured by lawyers he will not find himself in legal trouble, Big Mac will come clean about what or may not have happened in the past he has been so reluctant to talk about.

- Finally, McGwire's former friendly home run rival Sammy Sosa is white now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baseball Bloggers Alliance

Over the past few months, a new baseball website has emerged  in an effort to combine the efforts of baseball enthusiasts in one easily accessable place. And that place, I am pleased to report, is the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, whereby you can find up to date information from multiple sources on any team in the Major Leagues, as well as several blogs that deal with baseball in general. Included as part of the Alliance, of course, is your humble narrator.

Perhaps it is the 21st century version of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) without the snobbery and stringent membership requirements.

One of the most entertaining aspects of the site is reading the clever names of some of the blogs out there, including Crashburn Alley, which deals with the Phillies, Camden Crazies about the Orioles, or True Grich about the Angels. Either way, check out some of the other blogs pulled together on this one site, especially if you're looking for commentary and updates on any team in particular. I know I will.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Onto the Offseason

Now that the World Series has finally ended, the baseball calendar moves into the stage collectively known as the Hot Stove League. Several other on and off-field moves have taken place already that will effect the 2010 season and beyond...

- San Diego hired Jed Hoyer as its general manager, filling the hole left by longtime GM Kevin Towers. Hoyer is part of the new breed of baseball executives, a young individual who never played in the majors and cut his teeth in various front offices on his way up the ladder. The 36-year old spent the last several years working along side Theo Epstein in Boston. Hoyer had interviewed for both the Pirates and Nationals GM positions, and has long been seen as a GM in waiting.

- I'd be surprised if Towers doesn't find another high execuvtive slot if he wants one. He had a pretty successful 15-year run in San Diego, and still is a fairly young man.

- Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan will return to the Cardinals in 2010, after speculation arose that one or both would leave, potentially for Cincinatti or Houston. Of course, the bigger news in all this is that Mark McGwire has returned from his self-imposed exile of the last several years, and will be the hitting coach for the Cardinals in 2010. Some see this as a terrible thing, decrying the absurdity that McGwire be allowed back into the game. Why? He (probably) took steroids, just like hundreds of other players in the time period in which he played. He didn't lie about it. And I don't buy that McGwire has been in hiding because of the infamous Congressional hearings in 2005 either. McGwire never was comfortable in the spotlight, and seemed content to do his job and be left alone. As a hitting coach, I wouldn't expect that to change now.

- The Marlins got an early start on their annual trading away of useful pieces, sending Jeremy Hermida to Boston for two young lefty pitchers. I'm not sure how much Hermida will play there, but alot of that will depend on what happens with leftfiedl (Jason Bay is a free agent) and DH (will Big Papi be back or not).

- Tampa sent Akinori Iwamura to Pittsburgh for relief pitcher Jesse Chavez. Yawn. Chavez will appear in 65-75 games for Tampa out of the pen, Iwamura will play a decent half-year in Pittsburgh before being traded to a contender that needs middle infield help around the deadline. Why do the Pirates even bother? Iwamura is set to be their highest paid player in 2010, at $4.5 million. If you know nothing else about baseball economics, know this: if your highest paid player is scheduled to make p$4.5 million, you're probably going to stink.

- The Phillies somewhat surprisingly declined their 2010 option on third baseman Pedro Feliz. Feliz is maddening at the plate, but provides an outstanding glove at a premium defensive position for a relatively low cost. Rumors abound that the Phillies are now in the market for Adrian Beltre (who I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole) or Chone Figgins (who I wouldn't pay what he'll be looking for). The Phillies, publicly at least, have not ruled out Feliz returning in 2010, but at terms more advantageous to the club.

- The General Managers' meetings take place in Chicago this week. Several deals may or may not go down, but there's sure to be a lot of dialogue. And in baseball where there's dialogue, there's fire. Just enough to warm the good old Hot Stove...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

World Series Wrap-Up

I have to admit that I'm disappointed. I don't mean because the Phillies lost (although I am certainly disappointed by that), but rather that this series was just kind of mediocre, that it just kind of happened. The Yankees and Phillies had clearly been the best teams in their respective leagues all year, and I expected an intense, thrilling, clean, well-played series on both sides. But we didn't get that.

I expected a series where both teams would put their best foot forward, and at the end you would say "Wow, they both deserve to win and it's a shame one of these teams has to lose." Kind of like the Cardinals-Steelers Super Bowl back in February. But as a baseball fan, I feel a little cheated that we didn't get that from two great teams.  The Yankees won, and were definitely the better team in the Series, but they were very beatable. Who had a great series? Before Hideki Matsui driving in six runs against Pedro Martinez, a pitcher he has owned, Chase Utley most likely would have won MVP honors for the losing squad. Just a weird series in that regard.

Onto my final thoughts about the 2009 World Series...

- Looking at the two lineups, and the two teams, it's hard to see an advantage. Look how they matched up. You can find a comparable player in both lineups. Ryan Howard (.174, 1 HR, 3 RBI) matches with Mark Teixeira (.136/1/3). Raul Ibanez (.304/1/4) and A-Rod (.250/1/6). Jayson Werth (.263/2/3) and Jorge Posada (.263/0/5). Chase Utley (.286/5/8) and Hideki Matsui (.615/3/8 in 13 at-bats). Carlos Ruiz (.333/1/2) owned Nick Swisher (.133/1/1) and Robinson Cano (.136/0/1).

- So how did the Yankees win? What is the difference? The top of the orders. Jimmy Rollins was .217 with 0 home runs, 2 RBI and 3 runs while Derek Jeter was .407/0/1/5. In the second slot in the order, Shane Victorino was .182/0/2/3 while Johnny Damon was .364/0/4/6. The top two guys in the lineup were always on base for the Yankees. They were rarely on base for the Phillies. And that made all the difference.

- It really is striking how close the correlation between Rollins scoring runs and the Phillies record is. In the 2009 playoffs, they were 7-0 when he scored a run, 2-6 when he didn't.

- On top of that, one of the games they won when Rollins didn't score was game four against Colorado, when Ryan Howard's two-run, two-out double gave the Phillies the win. Victorino scored the tying run, after reaching base on a fielder's choice that forced Rollins. So what I'm saying is, that's a run Rollins shoul've scored, but Victorino vultured. Which just furthers the point that the Phillies win when Rollins scores runs.

- The other major difference, obviously, was that the Yankees had Mariano Rivera, and the Phillies didn't.

- Both teams had their struggles in middle relief, and not surprisingly, whoever's middle relief struggled more lost that particular game.

- The umpiring in the World Series was much better than the earlier rounds of the playoffs, with the only real complaints coming in the form of the age-old griping about the strike zone.

- Alex Rodriguez is receiving plaudits for his post-season performance, but let's be real about it. Rodriguez struggled offensively and defensively in the Series, delivering five hits, eight strikeouts, and an error. He also looked whiny complaining about getting hit three times when the Phils were clearly trying to pound him in, and a few balls got away? The Phils weren't throwing at you, Mr. Rod, they were pitching you inside. And do you know why? Because you weren't getting any hits when they were doing it effectively.

- A common complaint amongst myself and many baseball fans is that that the Yankees buy championships, and Yankee fans retort that they have alot of players that are homegrown or developed in the Yankee system. Oh really? Let's examine that a bit further. We'll look at the World Series roster for both teams. In this matchup, we'll separate players that each team acquired because of wealth (scrap heap acquisitions have details in parenthesis)...

Homegrown/Scrap Heap:
Phillies: Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino (Rule 5 draft), Jayson Werth (non-tendered by LAD), Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Ryan Madson, Scott Eyre (waivers), Antonio Bastardo, J.A. Happ
Yankees: Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Melky Cabrera, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Mariano Rivera, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves, Brian Bruney, Phil Coke

Acquired through wealth:
Phillies: Eric Bruntlett, Ben Francisco, Matt Stairs, Raul Ibanez, Cliff Lee, Brad Lidge, Joe Blanton, Pedro Martinez
Yankees: Alex Roriguez, Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, A.J. Burnett, Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte (was a Yankee, but only able to come back because of Yankee wealth), C.C. Sabathia, Hideki Matsui

Normal acquisitions (relatively average priced free agents, trades, etc):
Phillies: Pedro Feliz, Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park, Paul Bako
Yankees: Jerry Hairston Jr, Chad Gaudin, Jose Molina, Eric Hinske

First off, not to sound like an elitist, but if you don't know what 'Rule 5,' 'non-tenedered,' or 'waivers' means, you're not qualified to argue the point.

Yes, the Phillies and Yankees both have 12 of their 25 players who were developed and/or rose to their current level with their respective teams. But the Phillies 12 includes six All-Stars, six of eight everyday position players, three of their top five starting pitchers and their best setup man. The Yankee 12 includes three All-Stars, four of nine everyday position starters, one starting pitcher and the closer.

Meanwhile, the Yankees 'wealth' players include seven All-Stars, five of nine everyday position players and every starting pitching performance in the 2009 playoffs. The Phillies have benefitted from wealth also, no doubt, but have only two All-Star appearances combined (Lidge 2008, Ibanez 2009) out of their so-called 'wealth' players. Let it also be noted out of the Phillies 'wealth' players, six (Lidge, Bruntlett, Blanton, Stairs, Lee, Francisco) were acquired in trades that cost a total of 11 prospects (most of whom are middle to elite level) that the Phillies had drafted and developed, while the Yankees traded for three wealth players (Rodriguez, Swisher, Marte) that cost nine middling prospects and/or marginal major leaguers.

If you take away the 'wealth' players from the Phillies and the 'wealth' players from the Yankees, the Phillies are still in the playoffs, while the Yankees have a few great players and a bunch of nobodys.

I don't begrudge the Yankees for doing what they do. They have an advantage and use it, and why not? But don't tell me the Yankees built their team through scouting and development, because it just didn't happen.

- 151 days until Opening Day

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Games Three Through Six

Mea culpa. You got me. After posting my thoughts on game one, followed by a Phillies loss, then posting my thoughts on game two, followed by a Phillies loss, I intentionally decided to not write again until the end of the Series. Intellectually I know that my superstition had no impact on the outcome of the games, but as a fan, I can't help myself. But now we're back and ready to offer some analysis of the major issues from each game...

Game Three

- Andy Pettitte had nothing. He was hittable, he was on the ropes, and the Phils couldn't deliver the knockout blow. The Phils lefty trio of Utley-Howard-Ibanez went 0-12 with seven strikeouts on the game.

- Cole Hamels was shot. He had good stuff on the first trip through the order, then started to get hit around, which to me was indicative of having a tired arm. However, tired or not, he wilted in the fourth inning when he didn't get a call on a 3-2 pitch to Mark Teixeira, and followed this up by throwing a homer to A-Rod. This was similar to the LA series when he was upset about something that happened on the field and then threw a homer to Manny Ramirez. In the next inning, Hamels inexplicably threw sloppy curveballs to Nick Swisher and Pettitte, and he got hurt on both. Pettitte especially was puzzling, as he was swinging a 75-mph bat, meaning he had no chance of catching up to even a decent fastball. However, Pettitte got a curveball at around 74-mph that he could hit, and did, driving in Swisher to tie the game.

- Jayson Werth may have as much raw power as anyone in baseball, particularly against lefthanders. After a wrist injury ruined the early years of Werth's career, the 2009 All-Star is on the verge of superstardom. Just in time too, as he is a free agent after the 2010 season.

- The Phillies bullpen did a poor job of keeping the game in reach for the offense, allowing tack-on runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth.

- The Yankees got key contributions from several sources that had not produced much during the playoffs, namely Nick Swisher, Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte.

Game Four

- Never has the adage that baseball is a game of inches seem so clear as in game four. With the game tied 4-4, two outs and two strikes on Johnny Damon, Brad Lidge's slider was tipped by Damon and just barely fell out of the glove of Carlos Ruiz. Damon, of course, later singled and ignited a rally with two stolen bases on one play, leading to the Yanks 7-4 win.

- Lidge's stuff was outstanding, but after Damon's double-steal he was defeated. He looked scared to throw the slider and Teixeira teed off on a fastball to break the tie.

- Joba Chamberlain, if he's going to have a future as anything but a heartbreaker, has to close it down in the eighth inning. He gave up a bomb to a struggling, no plan Pedro Feliz that tied the game. Chamberlain is 24, the same age that Cole Hamels was World Series MVP and Tim Lincecum won a Cy Young. It's time to put up or shut up for Chamberlain.

- C.C. Sabathia was good again, but not special.

- If the Yankees are Pedro's daddy, Chase Utley is C.C.'s daddy, granddaddy, uncle, godfather, father-in-law, and everything else. Three bombs off him in the Series.

Game Five

- Cliff Lee wasn't as good as in game one, but he was still pretty good. Through seven innings, Lee allowed four hits and two runs before running out of gas against the top of the Yankee order in the eighth. For the 2009 playoffs, Lee was 4-0, struck out 33 and allowed only 27 hits in 40.1 innings of work. A masterful performance from the Phils new lefty ace.

- A.J. Burnett- not so much. Game five showed us 'bad' A.J., as Burnett lasted only two innings plus, walking four and giving up six earned runs. The 2009 World Series showed us both sides of Burnett, as he was great in game two, and historically bad in game five.

- Chase Utley continued his hot streak, belting two more home runs to tie Reggie Jackson's record for most home runs in a World Series with five. Utley took Burnett deep in the first and then followed up with another rocket off of Phil Coke in the seventh.

- Clearly part of why Charlie Manuel left Lee in as long as he did was because he didn't trust anyone out of the bullpen. And why would he?

- Again, the equation is simple. Jimmy Rollins was on base three times. The Phillies won. It's just that easy.

Game Six

- Pedro Martinez is a warrior, but he had nothing in game six. His fastball was consistently 83-87. Nothing he threw had the movement and late life he exhibited in game two. All he had was guts and guile, but in a small ballpark, you've got to have some stuff to get some outs. Pedro had none of it.

- Honestly, Andy Pettitte didn't have much more. The thing that might be most galling to the Phillies is that Pettitte was hittable twice, and they really didn't get to him at all. Pettitte allowed nine baserunners in 5.2 innings, but once again, the Phils couldn't deliver the big blow.

- Hideki Matsui had a great game six, obviously. His six RBI tied a World Series single game record, and without his performance, Utley probably takes home MVP honors for the losers. An impressive performance for a guy that can barely move, which agitates those who hate the DH, but is obviously within the rules at an AL park. His first inning home run could not have been a better pitch to hammer.

- Manuel faced a tough decision in allowing Martinez to face Matsui the second time. Leave in Pedro or bring in J.A. Happ? Martinez had gotten knocked around by Matsui in their matchups, but has the big game experience, while Happ has been wide-eyed this postseason. However, down 3-2 in the series and 2-1 in the game, and facing Matsui with the bases loaded and two outs, your chances in the Series are hanging by a thread. I think you've got to go to Happ there and take your chances with the left-left matchup. Obviously, that's easy to say now, but Happ was up, and if you're not going to use him then, when?