Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dirty Water: Sox Talk With the Thunderstick, Postseason Edition

I've no idea if all of the baseball playoff talk will cost readers or gain readers. But this is the most wonderful time of the year, and my personal hope is that we'll be doing these installments of "Dirty Water" through the end of October.

Thunderstick: Great ball game today. You know, you talk about momentum coming in to the playoffs and all those things, but the bottom line is that teams get hot and cold during the course of the season and it usually happens all of a sudden. We fretted about how this team played down the stretch and really for the better part of the last 3 months. But it looks like they've gotten to the playoffs and are on a roll. I know Anaheim is not really healthy and running at top speed, but as we say so many times during the regular season, whenever you take 2 of 3, even if it's against the DRays, that's about all you can expect. So to sweep anyone, especially in the playoffs, it's a solid performance and we look like we've been able to turn it on and get on a hot streak.

Not much to complain about in this series--Schil looked great today. Not the great velocity he's had in past years, but he had pinpoint control and really moved the ball around well today in the strike zone to keep the hitters off balance. We got big blasts from Ortiz and Manny and then we teed off on the bullpen and that was all she wrote for this series. You have to have a positive assessment in most phases of the game from this series. Starting pitching was excellent two nights and passable the third. Bullpen (for the one game they pitched meaningful innings) was excellent. Manny and Papi are getting it done in the middle of the lineup and the rest of the lineup made pitchers work and got some runs in. Dice was worrisome as well, but the make up of this team is such that we can hopefully ride some great outings by Beckett and have a hot bullpen so that Dice, Schil and whoever goes in game 4 will just need to get through 5 with us in the game and let the pen take us the rest of the day.

We'll hang tight until the end of the other ALDS series to discuss the matchups. Obviously both teams present unique challenges, be it the Yanks lineup or the Tribe's top two pitchers. But we've got the luxury now of having 4 off days before game 1. The pitchers will be going on substantially extra rest. We can roll Beckett in game 1 rather than later in the series which is great because you know he'll go game 1 and 5 and be available for at least a few innings in game 7 if need be. And they'll be at home so there's not even any travel involved between now and Friday night. So it's set up about as well as we can hope. Tribe started out well tonight, but as I write this, Lebron's Yanks have taken an 8-3 lead and it looks like we'll see a game 4. But we can sit back and watch these teams slug it out for as long as this goes knowing that the Sox are home resting up to take on the winner.

dcat: The first step is done. We won the ALDS in convincing fashion and in the eyes of most probably set ourselves up as the team to beat. Now we have a few days to get guys rested and to get ready to start with a clean slate. What happened in the last few days literally means nothing in the next group of games, whether we face the Indians, which seems likely, or a Yankee team that remonded us tonight of how dangerous they can be.

I echo your sentiments. It all starts with the rotation, and the starters are looking fine right now. I know you are nervous about DiceK, but I think he is going to be fine. he is incredibly inconsistent, and I expect one of these times he will show that flash of brilliance. He will give us seven innings and give up one run and take stress off the bullpen. If we get that from our number two (and after today de facto number three) we are going to win a lot of series. I also love the way Papi and Manny are taking over the games when they ahve to and how the rest of the guys are following their lead. I'd love to see us score more runs early, but if that is our biggest complaint after a three-game sweep, I guess we'll survive.

I also think it worth echoing something we've written back and forth about before: Tito seems to have the magic touch in the postseason. What I have always liked about him is that he always has a reason for what he does. And if it does not work he gets up and says "here is what I was thinking," and even if it did not work, you can feel assured that this isn't Jimy Williams' Jimywocky or Grady Little's Bubba Gump routine.

It is going to be weird having four days between Sox appearances. I do not really worry about rust. Unless we lay an egg on Friday, at which point we'll inevitably lament the four days off. Still, this is as great a position as we can ask to be in, and while it is an impossibility for me to root for the Yankees, after the fact I can say that I am not broken hearted that the Yankees showed signs of life tonight. In the end, though, we have to beat whoever gets to the next round. Neither of those teams is going to be easy. Let's enjoy the time off and the fact that they have a lot of work to do before one of them gets through to face us in Fenway on Friday night.

And as always, Go Sox!!!


Sports History Student said...

My team has forever been the Texas Rangers but since they traded a player nicknamed "Tex" to hell with them.

The RedSox have been my second favorite team for as long as I can remember, and since the trade deadline they are now my team. I wish I had become a mber of "The nation" earlier.

That being said, I wanted the yanks to win so that that socks could beat them in the ALCS, but you cant always get what you want.

Prediction for the ALCS MVP: "MANNNNNYYYYYYY" 2 hr in a 5 game series. Go Saauux (Boston accent)

brian said...

Goooooooo bandwagon!!!!!

Yay rah!!!!!

GoodLiberal said...

Torre fired, Steinbrenner upset, A-Rod going, Giambi's albatross of a contract, Rivera's going, Mussina's albatross of a contract.... It's weird- it's not a joke, but I find what I have written really, really funny!

dcat said...

Good Lib --
Yeah, I'm trying not to be snotty about it, but between you and me, it is a joy to behold. Schadenfreude is something, isn't it?


dcat said...

Sports History Student -- we'll take all of the fans against those dastards from Cleveland that we can get.


Anonymous said...

Too bad for you the wheels are about to come off of your wagon! This is the Tribe's year!!

Go C-town!!!

- Donnie Baseball