Monday, October 10, 2005


So there you have it - no Red Sox, and no Yankees, in the ALCS this year. Did anyone actually call that back in April? Both looked outmatched, and tired, in their Division Series, against teams they each really had a shot at beating (at least the Yanks forced a game 5). I'm bummed Boston is out, but also thrilled that New York is out also. Of course, the only people upset about both are the folks at Fox Sports. And, at the very least, what's bad for Fox is probably good for baseball.

Let's go Angels.


  1. Well I am really looking forward to enjoying a post season for the first time in 3 years.

    I have to say that the Angels series was a very good series. Lots of momentum changes. Some big plays. Some top performances. Who would have thought:

    Vladi - 0 RBI
    Figgy - 0 SB
    Colon - no wins and leaves game 5 after 1.

    Never would have thought the Angels would win.

    And sure Fox is bumming a bit, but its not like it is TOR vs. KC. We are talking about the 2nd and 3rd largest markets. Even if it is the second most popular team in each.

    At least the Guillen quotes will keep coming. What I would like to see is a bench clearing brawl with Scioscia vs. Guillen in the middle of it.

  2. I have to admit, I really am looking forward to an ALCS that features neither the Yanks or Sox... the '02 playoffs were incredibly fun because I was never actively rooting for anyone, and could just enjoy the games. Hopefully I'll be able to catch most of this year's. I still say Cards will take it all, but in the end, I honestly wouldn't mind seeing any one of these teams do it. And that is cool.

  3. I am glad the Angels beat the Yankees. It shows that having identical records in this season meant the same outcome...

    I would like the White Sox to win the AL pennant and then lose to Houston in the series.

    As much as I can't stand Guillen, I will give him this. The reason they beat the Red Sox was good managing. He had his players prepared. He positioned his players extremely well, stole bases, bunted, what always seemed the right moments.

    Game 1 he didn't have to do anything, but 2 and 3 a lot of his input won those games.

    Anyway, I still don't want him to win the WS. And I don't want the Cards to win the WS. I don't know why, I just don't like them. I want Houston because I like the way they sucked this year and then caught fire and made up a ton of ground. I also want Yankees fans to know what it is like to watch Clemens win a WS for another team...

  4. I hate how Guillen manages his offense - any team that has the kind of power the WS have shouldn't waste as many outs as they do - but his management of the pitching staff all year has been completely brilliant. He rode the hot hand out of a good bullpen, refused to name an official closer, wasn't afraid to start the best pitcher he had down the stretch in Game 1 rather than his certified 'ace', just an all around excellent job with a very talented group of pitchers. If he stopped running Podsednik every time he reached base and called for a few less sacrifices towards the top of the order, they'd be an even scarier team. I completely underestimated them.

  5. I guess I'm alone in thinking this, but: the White Sox really didn't look all that great when we played them during the regular season. We just saw them play 3 games well -- don't the other 7 count for anything?

    Seriously: given the way the Red Sox played -- with their only real strength, offense, pretty much nowhere to be found the last month of the regular season -- I find it hard to read into anything about the White Sox from the ALDS, except that their pitching is really good. But we knew that already.

    They go into the ALCS with a massive advantage, so probably will advance to the WS. But my opinion of this team has not changed.

    Cards over Sox in 6.

  6. My favorite comment in this thread:

    I also want Yankees fans to know what it is like to watch Clemens win a WS for another team...


  7. Earl - you really think the advantage for the White Sox is massive? I guess it all may hinge on whether Colon is truly hurt.

    The advantage you speak of, I assume, is that they are rested. But a 7 game series the dynamic is totally different. I think if I remember correctly the Angels lost every game one in their 2002 run. Granted it is a different team, but their bullpen has returned to form the last few weeks. They did not use Shields last night nor Donnelly, so they could close out a game. Or they do lose tonight but then washburn could bounce back and they get their split.

    A 7 game series is very different.

  8. Fair enough. As usual, I was exaggerating. If Colon is okay, that's different. We'll see.

    As GR pointed out, the ChiSox clearly did some good scouting on Boston; they've had lots of time to do the same on the Angels. We'll see.

    Also, F-Rod just doesn't scare me the way he used to.

  9. We were 4-3 against the Sox during the season, and a lot of those games were close.

    Andrew, I think that giving up outs is stupid most of the time, too...But let's really look at the money ball teams against "other". The Yankees bunt when needed but slug the hell out of the ball. The A's always get close, but never quite there. The Sox have been good with one WS win.

    Guillen obviously doesn't buy the moneyball philosophy. While the stats point one way, he goes the other. I was thinking about this, though. You can point to some key spots in the ALDS where the Sox got a leadoff double (Graf in the ninth...Damon was up). Bunt him to third and he scores on a fly ball to the outfield or a weak ground ball, or a passed ball, wild pitch). Easy to say in hindsight, I know. I also know that this offense is capable of many thing (the numbers are staggering). But with Damon and Renteria up, moving Graf over by bunting may have helped. It also might not have helped. But there is more pressure on the pitcher with a guy on third than on second (especially with the way that Jenks's curve was repeatedly in the dirt that game)...

    That is just one time. I am not a big fan of bunt the guy to second. But, I am a fan of bunt the guy to third (with no outs).

    Not second guessing Francona, just throwing out there that I've seen that move payoff a lot.

    Of course, that one out you give up could mean Manny not getting to the plate...I get all of that. Just seems to work a lot...that's all.

  10. "Guillen obviously doesn't buy the moneyball philosophy."

    Do you mean Francona?

    Not much use worry about the Red Sox at this point.

  11. Not sure about bunts -- I really haven't been following closely -- but it seems pretty clear to me that the steal attempts did nothing but hurt the White Sox. X and I spoke about this a lot -- they were 4th in the AL in HR (more than Boston!). Given all the slugging they're doing, they're not built on "manufacturing runs"...but that's what they try to do all the time. And they don't do it well -- led baseball is CS, and were 9th in the AL (after Tampa Bay) in Runs. Imagine if they just let Podsenik not try to steal -- he'd still make it home on the HR, and they'd be a better team offensively.

    Anyway, yeah -- on the season + postseason the White Sox beat the Red Sox 6-4. And, not counting the Game 1 blowout, outscored them by only 3 runs, in 9 games. Which is why I continue not to be terribly impressed.

  12. I forget who said it (probably a lot of people) - if you play for one run, that is what you get.

  13. No, I meant Guillen...Francona plays all the stats, barely runs (is not quite as bad as the A's in the station-to-station play), and rarely sacrifices...

    I think that moneyball is great over the course of a long season. Certainly, bashing your way through works as the Red Sox did this year.

    I think, though, on a game-to-game basis in a short series that it doesn't work as well. I might try to look at the moneyball teams in the post-season and see how it went...

    When you are facing a tough pitcher you have to try to move guys up...Especially against guys that don't give up the long ball.

    You can't point out just one example, but does Roberts score last year without the steal? Maybe, but it made it a hell of a lot easier (more possibilities) when he was on second...

    And, yes, the WSox might have scored more runs in the regular season, but what does that matter? They swept the Sox. Game 1 bashed them to death. Games 2 and 3 outplayed them in pretty much every aspect of the game. The Sox pitched as well as the White Sox in those last 2 games, but being aggressive helped them out. How big was that squeeze play in the ninth for the insurance run? Yes, they lost by two, but that probably changed the Red Sox approach (from being aggressive to trying to just get to Ortiz) at the plate.

  14. Actually, I got my games mixed up...

    Anyway, long story short, I looked back at the game logs. The error killed them in Game 2, the bases-loaded/no outs/El Dookie shutting them down, killed them in Game 3.

    I still think that in a short series, when the pressure is huge to not screw up that getting runners in tight games in to scoring position (at the expense of an out) has a gigantic impact. I would add way more than in Game 56 of the season...

  15. We're sort of having two discussions here at once: the White Sox, and moneyball. One at a time:

    1) My point about the White Sox was simply this: that I saw nothing in those three games which blew me away. I totally agree that they outplayed Boston in literally every aspect of the game in all three games; but that's not necessarily saying much. I continue to loathe the White Sox, and I don't feel I've underestimated them at any point in the season.

    2) Moneyball: I totally agree that the moneyball advantage disappears in the playoffs, especially in a best-of-5-series (Billy Beane has said as much, referring to the playoffs as a "crapshoot"). It sometimes works (2004 Sox), it sometimes doesn't (2001-03 A's).

    What's interesting about Francona is that even though he avoids the bunt, steal, etc., he's often blasted by the press and the fans by being too loyal or trusting to his players, and not playing the statistics enough. Leaving pitchers in to face batters they shouldn't, not going with pinch hitters at the right time, etc. Quite frankly, I think he might lose his job this offseason because he's not stats-oriented enough.

    We'll see.

  16. Francona has the worst job in America. I think he should resign and take care of his health.

    And yeah, I can't stand Guillen. The only solice I will take if CHI wins is that we lost to a better team than the Yanks did.

    In bigger news - Colon is off the Angels LCS Roster. Advantage CHI now.

  17. "Francona has the worst job in America. I think he should resign and take care of his health."

    Well put. That's actually something people don't talk about. It's amazing just how calm and level he is in press conferences, answering criticisms matter-of-factly, laying out his thinking with a good deal of confidence. Compare to Little's hickish defensiveness, or Jimy's clamming up: "Manager's decision". Not sure what I feel about the guy's on-field management, but he's a pretty impressive guy.

    [BTW, Cashman's job may be worse. His contract ends Oct 31; will be interesting to see what he, or Steinbrenner, does about it. Philadelphia's looking for a GM...]

  18. I am wondering if Francona was great with just this group of guys? I guess what I am getting at is with all the young guys coming in, and the whole "Idiots" thing finished, would Francona (being a players' manager) be the type of guy to bring along younger players?

    Looking at the lineup next year we have Youk, Pedroia, and Papelbon (most likely Hansen). I don't think Hanley will be on the roster. That's 4 (essentially rookies) young players.

    Francona seemed to deal real well with veterans like Ramirez, Schilling, Millar, etc...He also tended to avoid giving playing time to Youk and Hansen, and (until really forced to go down this path) Papelbon.

    With that said, the guy brought this town a WS. He then took a team with no ace and no bullpen to a 95-win season and the playoffs.

    Anyway, back to the Guillen thing...I don't like the guy, but I do think he's a good manager.

    Point #2- Angels won last night.

  19. Good point about Francona and the vets. I do think he will do just fine with the kids. He seems to hve worked Papelbon in nicely. And with Delcarmen and Hansen he basically kept them on the bench because he thought they were not quite ready. I have to assume he talked to them about it.

    When Francona was in PHI he managed Rolen in his early days - of course Rolen is such a talent maybe anyone could have managed him. The phils had some other young players although not sure the timing overlapped - Bobby Abreau, Marlon Anderson. Not sure they had any young pitchers besides maybe Paul Byrd and Randy Wolf.

    And probably more important than the handling of any group of guys is his deft handling of the media.

    I was listening to an interview with Susan Slusser (SF Chronicle baseball writer) and she said that most of the hype about Guillen is really that he gives so many interviews and fills up the writers notebooks that the media just can't stop talking about him. Whereas Scioscia, for instance, keeps very quiet. He even has Bud Black do the in game interview.

    In related news - CHI small ball did not work out so well. Two CS, O SB. The Pierzynski one may have been a botched hit and run. Inexcusable in your 166th game of the season.

    One last note - it was pretty telling that Cashman pretty much burst into tears when asked if this was his last game with NY. I would have to guess he is a goner. And yeah, his job is probably worse than Francona's but I am seriously really worried about his health. Maybe he can block out some of the pressures of the job, but he has a very bad history.

  20. Paul Byrd is available in the off-season...Francona has worked with him. Nice addition if we can get him.