Thursday, October 07, 2010

Yankees 5, Twins 2

1. Stupid me me for picking a Thursday night class to teach this semester. Heard the Yankees go ahead 4-2 by text. My class seemed uninterested.

2. Year of the pitcher? In losing two games, the Twins have scored six runs. In the other four games, the loser has scored . . . one run. Total. Three games have been shutouts. Two games have been complete-game shutouts, one the first post-season no-hitter in 54 years.

3. Go even further inside the numbers. A pitcher who allows one hit per inning is doing a splendid job. In six games, the the pitchers on the winning teams--starter to closer--have allowed 24 hits in 54 innings, an average of .44 hits per inning, or less than half of excellent (or, if you prefer, doubly excellent).

4. CC Sabathia allowed four runs. The other five winning starters: three runs total, in thirty-eight innings, for an ERA of 1.40.

5. All this happens in the post-season much less often than anyone might think. The starters for the very first playoff game were two Hall-of-Famers at (obviously) the twin peaks of their powers, Phil Neikro and Tom Seaver. Both were bombed; the final score was 9-5. Atlanta's Hall-of-Fame troika of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz won a single World Series, in 1995, then lost the Series to the Yankees in '96. Thereafter, they failed to win a single playoff series against anyone except their designated patsies, the Astros and Mets. (The only time they even reached the World Series again was in 1999, when they drew the Astros in the NLDS and the Mets in the NLCS, and beat both. Then they were swept by the Yankees in the Series.) Randy Johnson was rented in 1998 to bring the 'Stros to the World Series: he went 10-1 for Houston in the regular season and was 0-2 in the NLDS. Roger Clemens, during his best years, was either nothing special (1986, 1988, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007), worn down (1990), or a disaster (1999) in the post-season--every year but 2001. And maybe we have a few ideas about that. Nolan Ryan went 500 starts without surrendering a three-run lead . . . right up to the deciding game of the 1980 NLCS, when the Phils took him over. And speaking of the Phils, Steve Carlton constantly put the Phillies in the playoff hole from the late seventies into the eighties: first the Reds and Dodgers, then the Astros. That's eight Hall-of-Famers, plus Clemens.

And? Kerry Wood looks like the real deal, at least for now (Jay Witasik? Mark Wohlers? Jared Weaver's older brother? Scott Proctor and Flash Gordon were worked into the ground by Torre; they get a pass). Nice to see Puma step up: 2-for-4, double, homer, two runs, two RBI. And if we can dispense with the notion that Tex hates cold weather, what explains his Aprils, which (at this rate) may keep him off the Hall-of-Fame short list?

1 comment:

SundevilJoe said...

How about Lancelot! As Joel Sherman of the NYPost put it:

"Technically, he was a Yankee. He had the uniform, drew a paycheck signed by a Steinbrenner, enjoyed the company of a clubhouse saturated with All-Stars. But even Berkman admitted he wasn’t really a Yankee. He acknowledged that “they were making the playoffs with or without me.” And since his July 31 acquisition, it has essentially been without him. There were days he seemed to be hitting with a wet sock rather than wood, so stingless were his at-bats, so lacking in meaning were his regular-season efforts".

He goes on to say the obvious: It's official, he's now a Yankee.