Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 25, 2004
BASEBALL: Two Down, But Can The Sox Go?
Random Game Two thoughts:
*Speaking of Willis Reed (see below), during last night's start by Curt Schilling, I thought back to some of the great or memorable performances by injured players: Reed, Kareem in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, Nolan Ryan pitching on a fractured ankle in Game 5 of the 1986 NLCS, Kirk Gibson's home run in 1988. What most great performances like this have in common is, they're one-day-only things. Schilling has pressed his luck twice, and there are real questions about whether he can go a third time.
*Tim McCarver said last night that Manny Ramirez is an "outstanding two-strike hitter." Well, I don't generally accept things like this on faith if they can be checked, especially concerning the two-strike hitting of a guy who struck out 124 times this year, so I looked at Manny's numbers the last three years, from ESPN.com:
The "Two Strikes" line adds up his 0-2, 1-2, 2-2 and 3-2 numbers. At first glance, Manny is a terrible two-strike hitter until he gets to 2-2, and only really good at 3-2. But nearly everyone is horrible on those counts; the fact that Manny slugs nearly .400 even on 0-2 and 1-2, .469 on 2-2 and over .500 on 3-2 is not bad at all, both absolutely and in comparison to his usual spectacular production. The average AL player batted .269/.431/.337 this season, but .195/.300/.266 with two strikes, a 26.3% dropoff in OPS; Manny falls off by 24.9% over a three year-period, which is visibly but not outstandingly better.
*Entering Game Three of the World Series, the Cardinals are 29-10 in postseason games at Busch Stadium since 1982, and 16-26 on the road; since 1996, the breakdown is 14-6 at home, 10-14 on the road.
*I wonder what Bill James thinks, being associated with a team that bats Orlando Cabrera second. Repeat: "I am just a consultant, I'm not the manager."
*Are the Green Monster seats now officially the cool seats now that Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks sit in them?
*I liked the way Cal Eldred went high and outside after Ortiz' foul homer; a lot of guys love to follow those up by jacking one out, and Eldred tried to get him to bite.
*Well, you get your bombs with Mark Bellhorn, and you get your boots. I still think he's worth the tradeoff as compared to Pokey Reese.
*Unless I heard wrong, Joe Buck described Jason Marquis as being "infestive" in this postseason, but then again that sounds about right.
*Buck was also doing a way-premature Sox-finally-win-the-championship victory lap in the 7th, before two wins were in the books. The announcers seem to have forgotten about the Cardinals, even after they posted the best record in baseball and dominated the National League. Coming from a crew of one guy whose dad was the Voice of the Cardinals and one who played in three World Serieses for the Cards, that has to grate on St. Louis' fans.