October 13, 2006


Mets get blank look (MIKE FITZPATRICK, 10/13/06, The Associated Press)

Sharp and deceptive as ever, Tom Glavine took charge again, putting the pitching-depleted Mets on his 40-year-old back and giving New York the lead in the National League Championship Series.

Carlos Beltran rocked Shea Stadium with a homer that crashed off the scoreboard to back another gem by Glavine, and the Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 in Game 1 on Thursday night.

"Tommy was the key," New York manager Willie Randolph said. "He's quiet, goes about his business and is one of the leaders on our staff."

Making his 34th postseason start, Glavine shut down Albert Pujols and extended his scoreless streak to 13 innings in this postseason.

Did that growth on Jeff Weaver's face make anyone else regret the advent of HD-TV and 50" screens? He looked like he should have been pitching for Molokai.

Dumb Luck, Bad Decisions Have Backed A's Into Corner (CHRISTINA KAHRL, October 13, 2006, NY Sun)

The Quick Hook? When a starter doesn't have it early on in a postseason start, a manager doesn't have the same freedom to wait and see if he'll get himself ironed out. At this time of year, there are few tomorrows, and nobody gets a trophy for saving for tomorrow something that you really need today. Could Macha have helped himself by getting his starting pitchers out of the game earlier than he did? [...]

After watching Loaiza surrender his five runs in the first four innings, could Ken Macha have spared himself Loaiza's last, subsequently crucial pair of runs allowed in the sixth? Perhaps, but Loaiza only needed seven pitches to get through the fifth, and he'd thrown only 68 total pitches through five. Complicating matters was the A's having to use four relievers to finish up their Game 1 loss, including key setup men Kiko Calero and lefty Joe Kennedy. Combined, you can understand the reasoning to leave Loaiza out there, and after getting the first two batters in the sixth — including the Tigers' best, shortstop Carlos Guillen — it looked like Macha would get to the seventh with only those five runs allowed.

That brings us to one of the other things that have helped put the A's down 2–0, which is plain old Dumb Luck. Generally speaking, teams like to carry a second lefthander in the bullpen to give the manager the freedom of action to use his second-best southpaw when his team is trailing. Pulling Loaiza with the now-immortal Alexis Gomez due up in the sixth might have made sense on a tactical level — Gomez bats lefty, while Loaiza had been smacked around by left-handers (.319 AVG/.369 OPS/.522 SLG). Unfortunately, a second lefty wasn't in the A's bullpen. Part of that was a tactical decision made because the Tigers carry a lineup heavy in right-handed hitters, and part of that was the recognition that of their three bats from the left side of the plate, only rookie center fielder Curtis Granderson has an exploitable platoon split. So Macha decided to forego carrying a second lefty, and he'd already used Kennedy in Game 1. Using him again to come in to face Gomez in the sixth down 5–3 would have meant Kennedy wouldn't have been available later in the game. Subsequently, he ended up using Kennedy any way, but by then, it was too late to get back the two runs scored on Gomez's homer. The right bullet wasn't used at the right time, and the A's were down four runs instead of two.

Happy circumstance rewarded Jim Leyland's willingness to take a risk with Gomez, but the reason why it paid off was his willingness to take his cue from Casey Stengel, and look something up.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 13, 2006 8:15 AM

Was Spezio really sporting a purplish strip of chin fuzz, or do I need to adjust the color on my set?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 13, 2006 11:17 AM

Last time I saw him it was red. Could be my TV though.

Cardinals vs. Mets. Can't they both lose?

Posted by: jdkelly at October 13, 2006 6:25 PM