The boys are playing some good baseball right now. They certainly haven’t conceded the division but their fate is in Tampa’s hands for a Division title. Getting in to October play with 7 or more days off is a huge plus in allowing everyday guys to get as many/few at bats as they need to get rested. To allow injured players to rest, in Mike’s case, or get back and see how they feel, in JD’s case.
But for me, by far, the biggest and most important piece is allowing your 3-4 starters to do what they need to do to get ready. You don’t concede any games, and they won’t, but at the same time you know you are one of only 4 teams that has games on the schedule past Sunday, and you get your starters and your bullpen lined up to be completely fresh and rested, but not too rested, when game 1 comes around. Josh will be as fresh as he needs to be, Paps, Oki and the bullpen will be completely rested as well. It can’t be overstated how important it is for the bullpen as well simply because you will ride your relievers as hard as you have to, to win in October. Hell look at the ’04 post season MVP stats Foulke put up. He pitched, and dominated, pretty much every night.
Not to take ANYTHING away from any of the other teams. Anaheim had a fantastic year and is a very good and very different team than we saw in ’04 and ’07 and Mike Scioscia is, from everything I have heard, an awesome guy to play for.
Tampa? What can you say, hats off to Joe Maddon and that entire franchise. They had an incredible year and earned every accolade that comes their way. Don’t overvalue that ‘lack of experience’ either, it can be every bit, if not more, of a positive than anyone could make it out to be a negative.
The Central winner, whomever that is, is getting highly overlooked as well. I hope it ends up being Minnesota but who knows how it will end up. In a best of 5 the only thing that matters is who’s #1 is hottest, and best. If your guy is then you only need to find 1 pitcher to win 1 of the other 3 games.
Having tossed out those accolades I’ll hold to what I said earlier. I’ll take the Sox with Beckett leading the way over any team playing in October. Backing him up with Lester, Dice-K and Papelbon, damn. Fact of the matter is in game one you bust ass to get 6-7 stud innings from Josh, which would be WELL BELOW his norm for October, and you get Oki for the 7th, and Paps to throw 194 the last two innings. Win game 1, that’s the goal. Then work back from 10 to 0, and you have a parade.
In the NL I was hoping to see the DBacks squeak in somehow. Shame to see Webby win 22-23 games and not get a shot at pitching in October. The Cubs and Phils look like the teams to beat. I am hoping the Brewers can find a way to get in though. Offensively the Phils look very much like an AL team from 1-9.
I’m going Sox-Phils, and if the Phils don’t get in, Sox-Brewers. After that I like Tito to go to 12-0 in World Series games…. Rolling Rally anyone?
I read some pretty good baseball stuff on ESPN and wanted to link here. A fantastic article from Buster Olney on the Yanks and why they are where they are can be found here and Peter checks in with his usual home town rah-rah for the sox here. I’m glad he doesn’t apologize for loving the Sox, ya his stuff is wildly skewed in their favor 101% of the time but people get pissed even when he’s right. I think the article nails the truth all the way through.
Here’s what I wonder, just like I wondered some 15 years ago when JD Drew was drafted. There are links off of this article about the Alvarez debacle. Does anyone think that Scott Boras, for one second, considers the immense grief he’ll bring his clients by doing the things he does?
Listen these guys are grown men and need to be held accountable for the decisions they make, but they are paying and trusting this man with their careers when, at the end of the day, his resume and being able to add “highest signing bonus/salary/contract in history” ends up being the sole motivator. He’s complained about the unfairness of the draft for 2 decades, and nothings changed. So like any smart businessman he circumvents the rules as best he can, and gets his players top dollar.
But if these players are what he claims they are, what is the difference at the end of that HOF career between what they wanted, and what they got? Is it enough to have to wear that tag around for at least the first year or two of your career when fans are going to wear you out. It adds IMMENSE pressure ON TOP of the already unimaginable pressure of arriving and performing in the major leagues.
I know the risks are incredibly high for players, being drafted in no way shape or form guarantees you anything other than the bonus you get. It just seems to me that there is so much horrible advice being listened to and given by men whose ONLY motivator is to get you as much money as they possibly can, period. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when your agent is and always will be more despised and reviled than an IRS agent, by many clubs, a HUGE portion of fans and some of his former players, doesn’t that signal some red flags?
Obviously I am all for players getting as much as they can, but isn’t there a ‘cleaner’ way to do that? Oh and another thing. When teams intentionally avoid drafting players represented by certain people doesn’t even the simplest mind get the fact that the field of potential suitors for you is smaller???? Not as much in the draft, but moreso as a free agent? Just seems too bad that this kid, who by all accounts has superstar potential, is going to be saddled with baggage he doesn’t need before he even steps in for batting practice in his first major league workout. For how much money? I would guess the amount, after taxes, will be less than a years salary at big league minimum, maybe a little more….