October 8, 2007


Byrd's uplifting outing clinches ALDS (Anthony Castrovince, 10/08/07, MLB.com)

It took all of three pitches for the Indians to prove they were in no mood to head back to Cleveland for a Game 5. That third pitch came out of the hand of Chien-Ming Wang, connected with the bat of Grady Sizemore and went sailing over the right-center-field wall for a leadoff home run.

The Tribe had clearly come to play.

Wang's troubles continued that inning when Travis Hafner singled and Jhonny Peralta drove him in with a base hit to center. And when the Tribe loaded the bases off Wang in the second on a controversial hit by pitch awarded to Kelly Shoppach, Yankees manager Joe Torre, who had elected to start Wang on three days' rest, had seen enough. He made the call to veteran Mike Mussina.

Mussina quelled the waters a bit when he got Sizemore to ground into a double play, but a run still came across on the play to make it 3-0. And that lead was bumped to 4-0 when Asdrubal Cabrera shortened his swing in a two-strike count and lifted an RBI single to shallow left.

Firing Torre is the easy way out. The reality is they knew last year their pitching staff stunk and they did nothing to improve it. Joe threw the guys they gave him and they just aren't playoff quality.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 8, 2007 11:06 PM

Torre doesn't deserve to lose his job for this series. (Of course btw, he won't be fired, since he's actually out of contract)

In any case, it was mostly the Yanks dreadful situational hitting that did them in throughout the series, beginning with inning one against Sabathia. Tonight they had 10 runners on vs Byrd in 5 ip and they could only manage the 2 runs.

It's as inane as anything you've ever written about the Yanks (and that says a lot) to claim that they lost b/c they didn't have "playoff quality pitching." Pettite, Hughes, Joba, Mo, all pitched very well. And Wang, who's more responsible than anyone else for the series loss has been great this season (he did beat the Sawx 3 times this year btw, usually matched up against the top of their rotation). Indeed, in the final 3 games, the Tribe scored 12 runs in 28 innings, under 4 er/9, hardly shabby.

At the end of the day, the Tribe won b/c the they have the best, by far, 1-2 starting combo in the playoffs this season in Fausto and CC, and b/c they have 2 great arms in the pen, in the Raphaels, who can shorten a game by 4 innings when CC and Carmona aren't pitching.

The Yanks should've been able to hold at home and take it back to Cleveland, but the Indians are an awfully good team, and with their Big 2, no one would've beaten them in a short series.

Even in the long series, btw, they've got to be favorites. Fausto, CC, and even Byrd all pitched very well vs the Sawx this season. Beckett might be able to match CC, but who's going to match up to Fausto for 2 games? Dice? Hardly? Schilling? He's the Sawx version of Byrd at this point. It's a whole new ballgame. Y'all aren't playing a team effectively missing 3 of its best 4 everyday players in this round.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 9, 2007 12:26 AM

Hughes has a chance to be a good pitcher for a few years, though, like Buchholz, doesn't have the lower body of a great one.

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2007 6:27 AM

Thanks for the kind words about the Tribe Jim but OJ is right about the Yankees pitching.

How many innings did Wang and Clemens pitch? I know Clemens got "hurt" but he was on the ropes anyway. Wang has to be the worst "ace" I have ever seen. 19.00 ERA. Yet Torre had no choice but to start him on short rest because they had no one else to rely on. Mussina pitched ok but really, did anyone expect that?

Very telling also that when the game was on the line in the late innings, only Chamberlain and Rivera were called on. A two man bullpen, no matter how good, just is not enough in the playoffs.

Hughes and Kennedy show signs of being successful pitchers. Chamberlain has the stuff to be a good closer but unless he learns to get that slider over for strikes, people are going to stop swinging at it. (You got a taste of that in his last inning.)

The Yankeees are old and they need to rebuild. Tear it down like the Indians did. But Steinbrenner just won't let that happen. So they will spend a boat load of cash and have good teams but fail in the playoffs.

Posted by: Bob at October 9, 2007 8:57 AM

Bringing Clemens on was just throwing money away.

Posted by: pchuck at October 9, 2007 11:07 AM

Not just a waste of money, it also kept them from making any useful moves.

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2007 3:26 PM