“I know they feel better about themselves right now, and confidence is
really a wondrous thing in regards to us humans,” said Tampa Bay
manager Joe Maddon. (about Carlos Peña and Evan Longoria, who combined for three hits in the first part of Game 5 after going hitless through the first four games)
Um…yeah. Er, who else would it be in regards to? Have you made contact with another planet, Joe? This is going to be a bizarre game regardless, with the “seventh-inning stretch” just six outs past the start of the game and relievers working, well, pretty much right from the start. (Of course, as certain extra-inning games have shown, it’s more like the “every seventh inning stretch”.) This is going to be really cool, no matter what happens, and if the Rays can take it back to Tampa, well, like I said, things could get epic. Now, for the obvious question: If the Rays do force Game 7, who gets the start for Philadelphia? Would they opt to bring Hamels back on short rest, or would they go with one of their other starters? And if it’s the latter, who do you choose, Moyer or Blanton? The way I see it, in Game 7 of the World Series, everyone is available to pitch. Since Hamels still wouldn’t have the full four days rest (although personally, I think this sucks anyway–call me a purist), I’d go with Blanton to start and bring Hamels and whoever else you need out of the bullpen. Of course, this is all just hypothetical–the Rays need to win Game 5 first, and then we can start thinking about Game
7 6. (No, I’m not even going to declare that one a foregone conclusion, even though they should have a marked advantage. There is only one time that I’ve called a postseason game that wasn’t guaranteed to occur to be a foregone conclusion if it did, and that was in 2004, right after Game 5 of the ALCS, when I facetiously referred to that night’s game as “Game 7”. That much I was certain of. With the Yankees ahead 3 games to 2, I was certain that there were only two possibilities: Yankees win it 4-2, or Red Sox win it 4-3. My reasoning for this was flawless in that just as I expected, the Red Sox absolutely hammered the Yankees’ poor excuse for a Game 7 starter.)
Also in the weird world of the 2008 World Series: the effects the rain
had on gambling. According to the Nevada Gaming Commission rules, the
final score of a baseball game is determined at the end of the last
completed inning, and so in Las Vegas, all bets on the Phillies in Game
5 have paid out, as they “won” 2-1 in five innings. There will be a
prop bet on the resumption of the game.
Is it possible to get thrown out of a game that’s already over? It
didn’t quite happen, but all-time ejections leader Bobby Cox was out to
argue as trail runner Gregor Blanco was called out at home plate on
Yunel Escobar’s two-out RBI single in the tenth; had Blanco been safe,
the game would’ve been tied at four, the Phillies having scored twice
in the top of the inning. Shane Victorino drove in the first of the
Phils’ two tenth-inning runs with a triple, scored the other on a Chase
Utley double, and threw Blanco out to save the game. Also in the
Phillies’ area of MLB.com: future “Excuse me?” All-Star Devaris
Strange-Gordon, selected in the fourth round of the draft by the
Dodgers, son of tonight’s winning pitcher, Tom Gordon, much beloved in
Boston (as memorialized in a Stephen King book) for saving 46 games in
1998 and for spectacularly failing to record a single out in the eighth
inning of the fifth game of the 2004 ALCS.
Meanwhile, the Rockies climbed the ladder in the eighth inning, as four
consecutive batters combined for a cycle in ascending order: Ryan
Spilborghs with the single, Todd Helton with the double (driving in
Jonathan Herrera, who had singled ahead of Spilborghs to start the
inning), Garret Atkins tripled to chase Guillermo Mota without a single
out to his credit, and Brad Hawpe greeted Brian Shouse with a home run.
The Rockies run an “E-Mentoring” program, and because tonight’s
featured school, Columbine Elementary, picked Brad Hawpe to homer
tonight and he did, the students get tickets to a September game. Yes,
I was actually listening to the Rockies’ broadcast. I got hungry, okay?
I can choose any game I want to to listen to in the car, and this was more interesting than
Mets-Padres, Cubs-Dodgers, or A’s-Angels. Atkins’s triple tied the game
at 4-4, and Brian Fuentes recorded the save to give the Rox their first
three-game winning streak since mid-May–the first game back from
interleague weekend was the third win in their last one.
In residual Rays-Red Sox news, eight suspensions totalling thirty-eight
games were handed out, led by the three ejected players–7 games for
Crisp, 6 for Shields, and 5 for Gomes. Pitchers Jon Lester and Edwin
Jackson also got five apiece–Lester for hitting a batter after the
warnings had been issued, Jackson for his role in the brawl. Also
ejected for their roles in the brawl were Rays outfielder Carl Crawford
(4 games), Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura, and Red Sox first
baseman Sean Casey (3 games apiece). Ironically, the player initially
responsible for getting these teams riled up got no suspension at
all–Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett, who angered Coco Crisp by blocking
second base on a (successful) stolen base attempt in the sixth inning
of Wednesday’s game. In follow-up action, the Rays ended their
three-game losing streak by following in Cleveland’s footsteps and
pounding the sh*t out of the Rangers, tripling their hosts’ output over
each of the following three stretches: the first seven innings (3-1),
the eighth inning (3-1), and the ninth inning (6-2). The Red Sox didn’t
fare quite so well, as Seattle scored in five different innings en
route to an 8-0 victory; Felix Hernandez has yet to allow a run in two
career starts at Fenway Park, the other start being Daisuke’s first
home start last year, at which point Hernandez stole the show by
carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
Speaking of ejections, I’m now listening to the Cubs-Dodgers game, and
apparently Jeff Kent was ejected. Apparently he was arguing a called
third strike to end the fifth inning. LA leads 2-0 after 5.
And speaking of Cleveland, Paul Byrd recorded his 100th career win as the
Native Americans Indians beat the Detroit Tigers for the 1,000th time in franchise history (opposite 1,022 losses).