It was great to see Josh Beckett wheel and deal last night, giving the Red Sox a crucial game five win. But when all is said and done, if the Indians win this series in either game six or game seven the blame should fall on one person....Terry Francona.
It boggles my mind that Beckett wasn't starting in game four instead of Tim Wakefield. Wake pitched okay, but in hindsight the guy was coming off an injury and frankly, Beckett is the best pitcher in baseball right now. Not to mention, Beckett has a track record of success in games where he pitches on three days' rest (umm game 6 of 2003 World Series where he just pitched a shutout. No big deal or anything). The decision was right there in front of Francona to make, and he hesitated.
Just terrible. It was an obvious move even if Beckett was a little sore. This is the playoffs. Suck it up and make the tough call.
And it's not like Beckett was going to have to pitch again on three days rest either. With the ridiculous amount of off days during the playoffs, Becks would have been able to pitch game seven on normal rest. Now, the Sox (if they make it to game seven) will have to rest their fortunes on Dice-K, whose mound demeanor has looked similar to someone in Hiroshima looking up to the sky as the A-bomb dropped back in the day (Is that appropriate..not really sure, but I will say I love the Japanese. Speaking of Asians, this Korean kid in my class here at MIchigan wore a shirt the other day that simply said "I speak English". Priceless.)
Granted, Dice K will likely be on a short leash in game seven, and I'm assuming Beckett will be used in relief if necessary. But I just don't understand why you wouldn't want your best pitcher to have the change to start in three games, especially when it's so easily conceivable.
That's the mound face. That's who your season rests on, Francona.
I'm not really rooting for either team in this series, though. I just want a memorable ALCS because I'm fairly certain whoever wins the AL will take the World Series in four or five games. It's a bold prediction, but I don't think anyone realizes how devastating eight days off can be for a baseball team. You simply can't simulate live game action. It's next to impossible in baseball. Look at the Tigers last season; they had five days off before the Fall Classic and got their asses handed to them by a far worse team.
Five Things I Have to Say
1. Who called that South Florida upset? This guy and about 6,000 other people in the media. I'm curious to see if my Oklahoma vs. LSU National Chanmpionship actually happens.
2. I said it last season after the Yanks faltered in the playoffs and I still agree with it: Joe Torre needed to go. I don't even think the Yankee brass should have offered him that lowball one year deal. All the analysts on TV are sucking Torre's dick saying stuff like, "Wouldn't you take a manager who's going to get you to the playoffs year in and year out and win four out of six World Series?" Well, to be honest, with the roster the Yankees have, I could manage them to 90 wins. And I wouldn't wear out my bullpen year in and year out either. The Yanks need a new voice in the clubhouse in order to get over that division series hump.
One year too late if you ask me. Tough times might be on the horizon for the mighty Yanks as well.
3. I'm not going to mince words here. I love the philosophy of Joe Gibbs football. I think that's well-documented. But his handling of scenarios like fourth downs and two-minute drills has just been atrocious. The Skins should be 5-0 if not for some horrendous clock management. Oh yeah, FYI to the powers that be in Ashburn, Va.: I'm a very competent center on my Mudbowl team. I actually won MVP last season just in case you need some extra bodies what with all the injuries.
4. Last night, I was over at a friends house for a girl's 22nd birthday. By last night I mean Thursday. And of course Mario Manningham, Zion Babb and Brandon Minor were there drinking and taking jello shots 48 hours before a huge road night game with Illinois. I'm not sure whether to be upset (which is what I'm leaning towards) or shrugging it off under the premonition that these guys are college students too and they deserve to have some fun. Now, that I think about more though, they can have fun in the offseason.
5. Gilbert Arenas now has a cartoon. It's about a character named "GAZO" and it's going to launched on some website in hopes of getting an actual TV deal. Apparently it's an adult cartoon about a high school outcast. Speaking of Gilbert, I'm going to have a full NBA preview in the next week or so, definitely before the season starts.