a few thoughts on the 2007 ALDS

8 10 2007

It’s October, and the baseball playoffs are underway.  I’d like to make a few notes on the 2007 ALDS (American League Division Series) between the Yankees and Indians.  It was exciting, and it was more proof that sports are the best “reality TV”, because you really don’t know what will happen.

The Yankees were 6-0 against the Indians during the regular season, which looked intimidating, but they didn’t face the Indians’ best pitcher.  In the playoffs, the Yankees went 1-3 against them.  That’s more proof that you never know…

Eric Wedge, the Indians’ manager, was really criticized before game 4 for starting Paul Byrd, a 15-game winner, instead of bringing back their ace C.C. Sabathia on 3 days rest.  Joe Torre decided to pitch Chien-Ming Wang on 3 days rest, and he gave up 4 runs in the first inning.  Byrd pitched a great game.  The lesson here is that using starting pitchers on 3 days rest is BAD.  Look throughout history and you’ll see that they usually do noticeably worse on less-than-normal rest between starts.  There are a few exceptions, but look at the overall stats and then see what you’d prefer.  (On a side note, that’s the biggest gripe I have with how Bobby Cox managed the Braves during their dynasty — he pitched Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz way too often on 3 days rest.  Smoltz did good nonetheless, but the other two usually pitched worse on less rest.  I think that’s the main reason they didn’t win the World Series more often.)

It sounds like Joe Torre will lose his job.  It’s definitely arguable whether he should — he pulled this season out of the toilet, but the Yankees just didn’t play well in the playoffs this year.  I actually respect Torre in some ways (which is kinda crazy because I’m a Red Sox fan), and I think it might hurt the Yankees to lose him (which is okay with me).  If he’s gone, it may affect some others leaving, like Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.  If all those leave, that will really hurt the Yankees next year.

For all the talk of Alex Rodriguez choking in the clutch, he actually got a few hits this time, including a home run when they were down 6-2 in game 4.  In the series, he went 4-for-15 with 1 RBI, and Derek Jeter (who is supposedly Captain Clutch) hit .176 (3-for-17) with 1 RBI and bounced into 3 double plays.

I haven’t even mentioned the Red Sox vs Angels series yet.  I can sum it up this way — the Red Sox threw the smack down!  They dominated, and they’re the team to beat this year.  The awesome pitching by Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling, the offensive force of David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Mike Lowell is nearly unstoppable.  In the 3 games vs the Angels, Big Papi hit .714 and drew 7 walks, for a .857 OBP (on-base percentage) — that’s video game numbers!  The ALCS should be a lot of fun.

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