It’s the playoffs…
And the crew gives their thoughts about what’s going on…
1) If Terry Francona manages the Cleveland Indians to a World Series championship, is he then a lock for the Hall of Fame?
Dan: I think Terry Francona should make the Hall of Fame. He’s did great things in Boston and has been a great manager throughout his career. He led the Red Sox to their first World Series title in almost 100 years, then he wins another, and, now, he’s bringing the Cleveland Indians on their way to a title in dominating fashion.
They shut down the Red Sox, who I had suspected was going to make the World Series.
Toronto shut down Texas, but, Cleveland is moving right past Toronto with ease, and, they even won a game while using their entire bullpen due to the blood show on the mound because of a cut on their SP hand.
I think he easily gets into the Hall for his wonderful coaching career.
At first, I was going to say that a lock is probably a step too far, but, to be the man that brought a title to Boston after nearly 90 years of futility, and, then to bring one to Cleveland after nearly 70 years of futility? That would push a man into the Hall.
If, he now wins a World Series championship with the Indians and snaps their drought of 69 years? I think he has a plaque in the Hall.
Steve: Very few managers have the luxury of making it into the Hall of Fame, by being a manager alone. Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Sparky Anderson are a few that just come to mind. Terry Francona? Well, I have to say that everywhere he has gone, he has had success. He managed the Red Sox to their first championship in nearly a century, and, if the Indians win the title this year, then, he would have broken a long trend of World Series drought for the Tribe, as their last title was in 1948.
Is he a miracle worker? Or, is he just a great manager. I say he is a great manager, and, yeah, I put him into the Hall of Fame. Is he a lock? I wouldn’t go that far, but, he should get in.
2) The final game of the Nationals/Dodgers series was, in a manner of speaking, an outlier as far as the relievers were used, what with Kershaw used as the closer and the closer coming into the game in the 3rd inning. However, once upon a time, before the idea of closers and setup men, et. al., mangers used relief pitchers depending upon the situation and what they thought they needed at that point in the game.
Do you think this method of managerial strategy will ever return to the game or was this something you probably would only see in a playoff game and the past is in the past?
Dan: I think that, for the most part, it’ll come back, but, they’ll have a designated pair of closers. I think the ideology of just having one closer on the team is coming to an end and they’ll start switching off closers. Besides, the few pair of closers who have been dominating as their only role, I think managers will start to see that in close games, you need to use your best relief pitcher.
I think the past is the past, but, they’ll start to go back towards that in the upcoming years. It won’t be a full revamp, but, it’ll be the closest you can get to it.
Earl: The Dodgers strategy worked because they had Jensen and more importantly they had Kershaw. You need some special pitchers in order to do that, and not every team has a closer that they can throw out there in the seventh inning and a starter who is willing to go on short rest. Kudos to the manager for taking the risk, and kudos to Jensen and Kershaw for coming up huge when needed.
I have always thought it was dumb to bring in the best reliever… in effect “save him”… at the end of a game when many times the outcome was essentially a forgone conclusion. Why not bring in your best reliever in the the most crucial, or critical, time when the damn game is really on the line?
Makes sense doesn’t it?
Steve: This is only going to be done in urgent situations like a one and done scenario. The Dodgers were in a must win situation and was win or go home. Kershaw was available, and ready to perform, and he did just that. No way will we ever see this in the regular season, unless of course it is a tie-breaker type scenario.
3) Clayton Kershaw pitched 7 innings of 2-hit ball as the Dodgers beat the Cubs 1-0 and evened up the NLCS at 1 to 1.
Is this the only game the Dodgers win or is it a foretelling of a tight back and forth series? Simply put, what is your prediction for the rest of the NLCS? Why?
Dan: My prediction for the rest of the NLCS, that 3 games have already been completed, is that the Cubs will come out on top in seven games. This is their year and I still believe they are going to win the World Series.
I think that the Dodgers will try and get it done to bring Vin Scully a World Series title in the year he is retiring, but, I don’t think they’ll have enough fire power to beat the great team the Cubs have. Cubs win in 7.
Earl: The Dodgers can win any game Kershaw starts. With that saying, unless Clayton starts Game 5, this will end in 5 games. The Cubs are just the better team. However, if Clayton can gut out a Game 5 and pitch another gem, then it will end in 6.
Look, I’m saying the Cubs will win. As long as Kershaw cannot pitch every game, they got this series.
Joe: When this question was first posed I said the Cubs would take the NLCS in 5. Kershaw would give them 1 win. We now know that was wrong as the NLCS is tied at 2 games apiece and Kershaw didn’t pitch both games. And, that’s where it ends for LA… the Cubs take the next two.
World Series is Cubs vs Indians.
Steve: Well, obviously, it’s not the only game they are going to win, as a matter of fact, the Dodgers are in primed position to win the NLCS and advance to the World Series. The Cubs simply cannot hit anything, or anyone, and, if they want to get back into this series and bring it back to Chicago to try and win a pennant, they need to wake up their bats.
I wonder if Pedro Ceranno is around.
4) On Sunday Joey Bats… aka Jose Bautista… said, “All you have to do is go look at video and try to count the number of pitches they have thrown over the heart of the plate. It hasn’t been many. They’ve been able to do that because of the circumstances… that I’m not trying to talk about because I can’t. That is for you guys to do, but you guys don’t really want to talk about that either.” The implication is that the Toronto Blue Jays’ batters are being squeezed by the umpires widening the strike zone on balls and strike calls.
Is Joey Bats off base or should he shut the heck up?
Dan: I think that he just needs to shut up and play the game. I don’t think the umpires are intentionally going against the Blue Jays. What is their motive to do so and why would they even have an interest in going against them? Because they beat Texas? Because they have a fantastic offense? Because they’re from Toronto? Because the umpires want to see Cleveland win? I don’t get it. Just shut up and play the game, every strike zone is different, but, an intentionally widen strike zone compared to every other team, and only for the Blue Jays batting, just sounds ridiculous.
Earl: I love Joey Bats, and, Jose follows me on Twitter, but, he might want to pipe down. I saw a good bit of Game 1 and a little of Game 2 and while I found the calls to be a bit inconsistent, it was inconsistent for both teams. The Indians would have a complaint, too, if they lost a game, but, they haven’t.
The thing the Blue Jays need to do is hit. Just hit. Heading back to Toronto, down 2-0, should be backs against the wall time. Just shut up, play, and win.
Simply put… he needs to shut the hell up.
In another note… some of the words coming out of his mouth this ALCS haven’t exactly been the wisest. Like… just because the Tribe were throwing an essentially untested rookie into the fire of the playoffs when they said they would start Ryan Merritt (just his second MLB start), Bautista said “With our experience in our lineup I’m pretty sure he’s going to be shaking in his boots more than we are.” Not the wisest thing to say when your team is down 3 games to 1 and its now win or go home. Not in my opinion any way.
As I said… Joey Bats needs to shut the hell up.
But all that’s moot now, ain’t it? Because he’s going home and Ryan Merritt is going to the World Series.
Steve: The Jays offense has struggled, and, because of that, they lost their second consecutive ALCS. I honestly don’t think the umpires have been that bad in the American League. I have seen more inconsistencies in the National League during the Cubs vs Dodgers series. I felt like Kershaw was getting calls, while Hendricks was fighting for close calls. Never the less, the batter needs to adjust to the strike zone, just like a pitcher does.
I am a big fan of Bautista, but yeah he needs to shut up.
5) So far, the trades that the Indians and the Cubs made in acquiring Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman at the trade deadline have paid off exceedingly well. If, these two teams make it to the World Series how big would these trades, figure into their being there?
Dan: I think both trades were big, but, I believe, the Cubs were already a World Series team before the trade. What their trade did was basically give them a closer to shut down opponents and virtually make them unstoppable in the 9th. Damn near guarantee them a victory at the end of the game. I think that was a fantastic trade by Chicago.
Another good move was the acquisition of Andrew Miller by Cleveland. He really bolstered the pitching of the Indians and it is showing wonders. Their pitching was great to begin the season and despite injuries, they’re still just absolutely dominating with their pitching (and their offense is coming to light too).
These two trades already have proven to be huge and I think if both teams make the World Series, it makes these trades just that much more important and impactful.
Their acquisitions were crucial when they happened and both relievers would be a big part of their teams reaching the World Series.
But, the way Miller has been pitching in the playoffs? Simply put… lights out. And, then whenever he is called upon? Miller means a hell of a lot more to the Indians than Chapman does to the Cubs right now.
Steve: Well the Andrew Miller trade is proving to be the biggest asset for the Indians this post season, as he has been the work horse and has been nearly unhittable. So, the trade for Miller is probably one of the key reasons the Indians are advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1997.
As for the Cubs, getting to this point is huge for the Cubs and Aroldis Chapman. However, I will say this… Maddon needs to use Chapman in the 9th inning and only the 9th inning. He has proved to be vulnerable when he tries to put him in before the 9th.
Both trades have been huge for each team, but the Miller trade probably is the main reason the Indians are where they are.
On October 20, 2004…
The Red Sox won the final four games of the series to become the first team to ever rebound from a 3-0 deficit. Johnny Damon hits two homers, including a grand slam, and David Ortiz hits a two-run homer in the first inning for the Sox.
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