Sunday, October 7, 2007

ALDS Game 3: Checking out early from Hotel California

In 2004, David Ortiz completed a sweep of the Angels in the AL Division Series with a monster homer at Fenway. Today, Big Papi got things started in the fourth inning with a monster home run off Jered Weaver at Angel Stadium. After that, it was Manny’s turn to take Weaver deep. Although it was only 2-0 at the time, the game was over that fast. The 7-run 8th inning was just piling on. Curt Schilling put all his skills on display today. He didn’t have great stuff, especially early on. In the first couple innings he was a little wild within the strike zone, though he never allowed the Angels to score. It helped that Los Angeles / Anaheim / SoCal couldn’t get men on base, and therefore couldn’t move them over, much less get them in. Schill did his job, and once again cemented his reputation as one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time.

In retrospect, it’s clear that we faced the Angels at the right time. They were tired, banged up and playing at much less than full strength, but that’s what happens after a long, tough season. You work with what you’ve got. The Red Sox were just flat out better, period, full stop. No different than Colorado vs the Phillies and Arizona vs. the Cubs. Tonight we’ll see if it’s going to be four sweeps in four division series.

I have a friend who is a member in good standing of the BBWAA. When it comes time for voters to consider Curt Schilling’s resume for Cooperstown, what he accomplished when the calendar read “October” should be exhibit A. Great players become even better when it matters most. (a point of particular note to Alex Rodriguez)

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