Thursday, October 07, 2004


Playoffs - Day 2


HOU/ATL : You gave up a HR to Brad Ausmus. You should have just called it a game then. I would have taken Mike Hampton over Ausmus in a bet over who would homer in this series.

The Braves' biggest mistake was not jumping on Clemens early. Clemens is usually a little shaky in big games and he was real shaky yesterday. A couple a key hits and the game changes. They didn't get it. They won't get swept though and if they beat Oswalt they are still in control of the series.

Brad Ausmus. You think he closed his eyes before he swung?

MIN/NY: Gardenhire has to know that Nathan might not make it through the third inning and has to be ready to pull him if he starts to waver. I fully support putting him back out there in the 12th. I would have probably even kept him in after that walk to Cairo (I wasn't convinced he was done until the first pitch to Jeter). After the Jeter walk and 8 straight balls though, he would have been gone. The worry of a third walk alone would have done it. A third walk and you'd have to pull him. Then you'd have a rookie facing Sheffield with the bases loaded and no margin for error.

And what was that throw from Jones? That was Barry Bonds-esque (of course Bonds was trying to gun out the speedy Sid Bream so you can understand why he failed) . Just a 12th inning breakdown by the Twins.

Of course it only could have happened thanks to Gordon and Rivera having their own mini-breakdown. I'd be worried about Gordon. He seems tired. Rivera? This is a classic rally against Rivera. Put the bat on the ball and hope, after the bat shatters, that your bloop falls in. That was hit number one. Do that enough times and he's forced to go for the K - not his strongest point. Then you might be able to get a solid hit off him. That was Koskie's shot. It's not a great strategy but it's all you got.

ANA/BOS: Neither pitcher had it, AND they were being totally squeezed by the umpire. An umpire should never be the focus of the game. Just set a good strike zone and be consistent. This ump did the latter, but his strike zone was too too small. I saw a lot of good pitches get called for balls.

Of course Angels fans will complain about the bad pitch called for a strike to Glaus in the 8th but, to me, the most important at bat, was Garrett Anderson. So man on first and noone out. Timlin strikes out Guerrero. That hurts but you had to think it was a possibility. It's painful to watch him limp around the outfield, he's in a slump, and on his best day he'll still swing through quite a few pitches. But Garrett Anderson looked like he didn't even want to be up at bat. This is a team leader - a guy you count on - and he had one of the worst clutch at bats I've seen in a while (well there was that Klesko 3-pitch, all called, strikeout but that's Ryan Klesko. He probably blamed the fences in San Diego). It totally killed the crowd, who were, after Vlad, just looking for a ball in play. What happened after that is inconsequential in my eyes.

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