October 23, 2007

IF YOU'RE NOT A STEINBRENNER, IT WAS A A FINE YEAR:

Why the Indians lost to the Red Sox (Ryan Richards, October 23, 2007, Hardball Times)

Although the Indians got unexpected help from some of their supporting cast, the poor performances from players expected to carry the team, especially Fausto Carmona, Travis Hafner, and Rafael Perez, allowed the Red Sox to first extend and finally win the ALCS. The 2007 campaign should be counted as a success especially given where the Indians were a year ago, but blowing a 3-1 series lead against any team, even one as good as the Red Sox, is a disappointing coda to an otherwise promising season.

A couple of things stood out in the series:

(1) You noticed it most in the respective performances of Beckett and Carmona, but it was illustrated best in Game 7: in a "big game" you want to start a fastball pitcher, not a sinkerballer, because while the former's overthrowing just makes his heater more dominant and provides greater separation from his offspeed stuff, overthrowing the sinker flattens it out.

(2) While Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez are premier hitters, no one else in the Indians' lineup is hard to handle.

(3) This may have been the first 7 game series in any sport where there was near universal recognition that the team that was up 3-1 had its back to the wall.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 23, 2007 12:00 AM
Comments

Dice K has this interesting talent: theres a baseball, a solid object in his hand, when he throws, between the mound and home plate the baseball transitions into a gaseous state, and then when it arrives at the catcher's mitt it solidifies again. Swing at it as you will, but you can't hit a vapor trail.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 23, 2007 9:19 AM

The thing that stands out in this series is four bad outing by two supposed Indian Cy Young award candididates who everyone said, by sheer virtue of them being on the staff, gave the Indians a good chance to win - and the Indians only coming up short of tying in late inning game 7 by a goof a third base coach.

Posted by: Perry at October 23, 2007 9:31 AM

near universal recognition

Talk about listening inside an echo chamber.

and the Indians only coming up short of tying in late inning game 7 by a goof [by] a third base coach.

And if he had, what's-his-name who dropped the ball that let him get there would have been the Bill Buckner for a New Generation.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 23, 2007 10:30 AM

Tie goes to the Sox.

Posted by: oj at October 23, 2007 11:09 AM

The Indians struck out 63 times, a record for a post-season series. That is more interesting than even Sabathia and Carmona walking so many BoSox.

I haven't watched much baseball lately, but Travis Hafner looked like the guy in movie where the teenager (a Cub) strikes out the beefy slugger with an eephus pitch.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 23, 2007 3:08 PM
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