Transcript – Curt On The Big Show, 10/8
Curt joined the boys on The Big Show this afternoon to talk Sox baseball and the Division Series against the Angels. A transcript of the highlights is below.
Are the Angels 0-5 all time in Game 1 of the ALDS because they do not have the killer number one guy and they are going up against killer number ones?
Yeah. I think that is the bigger piece. Last night was I think and important and reinforcing example for anybody that doesn’t believe it. Chris Carpenter, who is arguably one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, potentially going to be a Cy Young award winner, is a contact guy. At the end of the day he is not strikeout pitcher, he is a power-sinker, ground ball guy and we saw what happened last night with LA. You have to be a pitch-away-from-contact, strikeout guy to dominate in October. You can have your occasional good games.
You have a 162 game season and are dead tired at the end of the season – snap one of the playoff season and it’s like the first day of the year. There is an adrenaline and an energy that comes, nobody how tired you are, that I felt gave me an enormous advantage as a power pitcher going into the post season.
So, if your power pitcher is better than their power pitcher, it is much more of an advantage.
Yup, it really is. The power pitching, the strikeout guys. And if you look at those first five Game 1 losses you are not going to see a power guy starting for the Angels.
How important is it for Beckett to pitch well in this series. Can they win without him?
Yeah, but it is incredibly important because they are trying to win the World Series. I am not worried about Josh not doing well, I really am not. I would be stunned if he doesn’t do well, but, as I said earlier on WEEI.com, watch the first time around the lineup . . . and I say the first time around the lineup because I don’t believe the Angels starting pitching is going to be able to exploit a first inning run to the point of winning this series. But, watch the Sox first three starters in Jon, Josh and Clay, their fastball command the first time around is going to be probably a telling sign as anything.
Is the Angels speed that big a factor?
Are they? Because they haven’t in the past. Look at the series we played them in ’04 and ’07 and they didn’t run. I mean, they didn’t have a ton of base runners, but when they did they didn’t run. Opportunity, obviously, has to present itself. And, it is a different lineup this year because you do have a Bobby Abreu, who, Bobby is a four at-bat, 30 pitch guy through the course of a game and they haven’t really had that guy. Before they had Garret Anderson and Vladdy back-to-back, and you could literally face those guys through the game and pitch 10 total pitches. Whereas Abreu is 10-12 pitch per about.
Their lineup is a little bit different this year, I heard somebody talking about how much more patient they are this year, and if Jon is commanding his fastball and Josh is as well, that could be a deadly combo for them. Because patient lineups in October who are patient against power pitchers with command, it is generally the fourth of fifth inning before they say ‘hey, we should probably get more aggressive early in the count.’
Game 1 is important
If Game 1 is crucial in a seven game series, in a five game series it can decide the series, so to speak. I think if they go out there and they get beat by the Red Sox tonight there is no possible way those guys aren’t going “here we go again, oh my god.” You can’t help it, it is human nature, you can’t avoid it. I think a Red Sox win tonight will be a much bigger momentum swinger than an Angels win would be for anybody. Because I think they proven it, the Boston clubhouse, that ‘hey, that one is over, let’s go get them tomorrow.’
Runner on base important to pitcher psyche?
I never cared. In my mind the guy wasn’t going to score anyway. The difference is that for a lot of teams you have to get two to three hits to get a guy in from first, in Anaheim, over 162 games, a walk, a stolen base, a bunt, a sac-fly. That works over 162 games because you are going against rotations and bullpens that you are not seeing in October. You don’t manufacture a run in October and have that run stand up the whole game. Especially against the arms on the mound to back it up.
The biggest piece here . . . in ’04 and ’07 they ran crazy. They did not run against us and if you count on that to be a key part of your offense the entire season and suddenly come October you don’t have that piece, it would be like you run a two-back tandem [in football] on offense and both of them are power guys and you give them equal carries, then you go to the playoffs and put one of them on the bench. It changes the complexion of your offense.
Have you ever head of a running itself through the playoffs? You can pitch your way through the playoffs, you can hit your way through the playoffs, which they didn’t. In 2002, when they won, they hit. They didn’t run, they hit. I am not trying to downplay them, they are a great team led by a great manager. I think they have a little bit different team this year with Morales and I think Vladdy is hitting better. Bobby Abreu is going to be a big piece to this. Because Chone Figgins, you know, there are a couple guys in that lineup that are fast but they are guys who I didn’t worry about their speed because they didn’t hit like they were fast. They were early count jump on the ball guys who unlike guys who use speed to their advantage are seven to 10 pitch guys.
They really don’t have a true ace.
That is the be all, end all here for me. John Lackey is a very good pitcher, I really like Joe Saunders, I think they are making a mistake pushing Kazmir back that far. I would have him running out early and often in this series.
If I like him [Kazmir] in Fenway, I love him in Anaheim. I think he is the one power guy in their rotation that they can put out there. If you don’t have a power guy you are going to be at 100 pitches after five innings against this lineup.
What do you think of that bullpen? Fuentes has blown seven saves and Bulger is a little beaten up.
Here is where you are going to see that manifest itself. Listen, it is what it is, he is going to close, Arredondo and some of those guys are going to set up, but to me how it is going to manifest itself is how he manages their offense in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Instead of, if you got a Papelbon, you do push for that run to make it a 4-2 game instead of 3-2. If you got Fuentes and you are not confident moving that runner over to get that extra run. You are hoping for that big-bopper to give you that three-run, four-run lead. So, I think it will manifest itself in the offense. Cause listen, the cards are played, are you suddenly go with the guys who are your set-up men? You are going to go with the guys that got you there. It is almost like the Fergosi, Mitch Williams in ’93. Williams was burned out, he had pitched far beyond his means but to his credit he was taking the ball every night but at the end of the day Jim Fergosi brings in his closer and his closer blows the game. What’s he supposed to say, “I brought the guy in who I used all year.” It hasn’t [worked] in the past.
Fuentes is a closer who is scared. They say they fixed some things but I would be worried.
That is probably a big an impact on the guys standing out in the field as anybody. You get Pap in there, you know he is throwing strikes, you are on your toes ready for a ball in play as opposed to maybe a guy, Brad Lidge this year, where you are sitting in the outfield saying ‘jesus just throw the ball near the strike zone.’ From a focus stand point there is different mentality when your closer is on the mound when everybody is saying “is he going to get three outs before he gives up five runs?”
Is it possible that Beckett is requesting Jason Varitek to catch in Game 2?
I don’t know. If I were to go out and say that then everybody would say “he said that Josh said that.” I don’t know. I can give you my word that the guy [Terry Francona] is going to put the nine players on the field that gives them the best possible chance to win every night. He will pinch hit when he want to pinch hit. You do every thing you can do to win three games before the Angels do.
I can tell you that I never cared what my catcher did at the plate. I wanted him to get four hits so he could feel good about himself but I never cared what he did offensively because I wanted him to be . . . I figured I could out pitch his offensive capability if that were the case. I guarantee you that Josh has all the confidence in the world. He is taking the ball tomorrow, if it were me I would have a little bit of grudge that I didn’t get the ball Game 1 and would be looking to ram the ball down the throat or put it in somebody’s backside pretty badly to prove that I was that October guy.
Does Kevin Youkilis really rankle that many people that a player would “refrain” from making comment in the Jackie McMullen piece in the Globe yesterday?
You can say what you want about Youk but here is the deal. The guy plays 100-percent everyday he can play. He plays his ass his off offensively and defensively and he acts like a nine-year old when he makes an out. I don’t care. Listen, I guarantee you he is no more or less annoying than other guys, especially a guy like me.
I played with Greg Jefferies and Greg Jefferies was headed for the Hall of Fame but could not understand that you are going to make 300-400 outs a year. And he has proven me wrong because I told him that if he keeps this up you are going to be burnt out by August. Well, obviously he wasn’t and hasn’t been. I love guys who play every game and every at-bat like it was the last out of the World Series and he does that. Appreciate it for what it is. If a teammate says that, that teammate is not as good as Youk because he is the best player on the team, so I don’t really care about what they say.
Have you seen the umpiring crew? Joe West, C.B. Buckner and Greg Gibson. Does it worry you?
It is embarrassing. Listen, Joe West, I think he is an ass and I have had problems with him forever but here is the thing – Joe West is a pretty decent umpire. Greg Gibson and C.B. Buckner? They suck. They’re horrible, horrible and they are not the only ones. The first thing that comes to mind is, on a merit system or an achievement system to be in the postseason.
It is a fraternity, because, in the postseason some of these guys make more than they do in the regular season.
Listen, Joe West hates the Red Sox. I never wanted Joe in Fenway. He called Game 6 of the ’04 playoffs. Behind the plate he called it pretty consistent, he’s good. He’s not big, he’s more of a hitters ump. Unless he doesn’t like you as a hitter. I would make it a point to find out the guys that Joe West doesn’t like as a hitter because I knew that my strike zone was 34-inches wide no matter who was up.
The thing I have with Greg Gibson was that he was having an argument with Tito and he said “Tito, do you realize you are arguing with the best young ump in baseball right now?” Dead serious.