Posts from — September 2002
The baseball regular season is a marathon race stretching from spring training in February through the last scheduled game September 29th.
Now, the postseason takes center stage. It begins on Tuesday and the division series is guaranteed to end by next Monday, sending four more teams home to join the 22 that left on Sunday.
Every game now has a special meaning. Every at bat will help define the career of a ball player. Hall of Famers don’t need much help with career definitions, but for the other 98% playing this Fall, what they do in October will be long remembered.
Pitch counts become less relevant. There is no tomorrow as a playoff series unwinds. Little ball becomes important, defensive weaknesses show quickly, and it becomes clear quickly that good pitching still is the best quality a team can have.
With that in my mind let’s look at the matchups. [Read more →]
September 30, 2002 No Comments
Is it better to enter the playoffs on a roll or just cruise in playing .500 ball over the last fifteen games or so?
I have felt in the past that it is better to come in winning.
The Cardinals still have a shot at the better record between themselves and the Diamondbacks. St. Louis has closed a lot of ground on Arizona over the last two weeks.
St. Louis is a threat to dethrone the champs.
Arizona saw eighth inning set up man Mike Fetters give up five runs in the eighth yesterday. How good can they feel about Fetters setting up Byung Kim this week?
The Giants have quietly won 28 of 38, holding off LA for the Wild Card, and putting a scare into Arizona.
The Giants play solid baseball and have done it when it counts the most, in September.
Remember, I wrote that if you are just close heading into September, you have a chance to win, the teams that play the best baseball in September usually get in.
The Giants played better than the Dodgers the last month. The A’s and Angels played better than Seattle, knocking the Mariners out. St. Louis ended Houston’s hopes by consistently winning in September, while Houston never got it together.
Let’s look at the last Sunday of the regular season. [Read more →]
September 29, 2002 No Comments
With the last weekend of the season here, it is time to give the Daily Dish Blue Plate Special Awards to the best performers in various baseball categories during the 2002 season.
The Deep Dish Pizza Award goes to the Rookies of the Year in the American and National League.
Eric Hinske of Toronto started hitting the first day of the season and hasn’t stopped yet. He endured a managerial change when the forgettable career of Buck Martinez came to an end and he picked up his game under the more organized Carlos Tosca.
Hinske needss work with the glove, but what a hitter he is. The third baseman had 48 multi hit games, 23 homers, 82 RBI, scored 97 runs, and hit 38 doubles, all on a Blue Jays team going no where. He even stole 13 bases.
Hinske will be an all star and will make the Toronto fans forget Billy Koch, who he was traded for, for years to come.
In the National League, I give the nod to Brad Wilkerson in Montreal. Wilkerson played for a manager, Frank Robinson, who buries young players as quickly as he used to cream a Don Drysdale fastball.
Wilkerson scored 90 runs, hit 19 homers, hit 27 doubles, had 8 triples, and played flawlessly in the outfield (13 assists). He showed real plate discipline with an on base percentage of .368 and a good eye with 78 walks.
Click below for other awards.
September 28, 2002 No Comments
A baseball team has one goal when leaving spring training, get to the playoffs, win your division.
The A’s got it done in spectacular fashion winning 100 games for the second year in a row.
The Yankees were rained out yesterday and now may play a game Monday, if the home field is still up in the air. They have the tie breaker over the A’s, so don’t count on NY playing, but that would cause NY to use a starter (like they don’t have enough) before facing Anaheim Tuesday.
The Giants face a real team as the Astros come into Pac Bell. The Dodgers just won’t quit and why should they, the history between the Giants and Dodgers is to always expect the unbelievable.
Somehow, I sense that the A’s and the Giants could be heading towards a rematch of the Bay Bridge World series, this time without the earthquake.
How will it all turn around, I’ll give you my thoughts below. [Read more →]
September 27, 2002 No Comments
Tom Candiotti was a big time winner during his big league pitching career. Now Candy is analyzing baseball for ESPN. He will be my guest Friday at 3:50 PM Pacific on Right Off The Bat, heard here on loveofthegameproductions.com, the A’s website, or 610 AM KFRC, in Northern California. [Read more →]
September 27, 2002 No Comments
Major League Baseball
says that Pete Rose
is not in the Hall of Fame
because he placed bets
on baseball games.
As simple as that.
I wonder If Pete lost
any money in the
1988 World Series ?
By Amaury Pi-GonzÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¡lez [Read more →]
September 26, 2002 No Comments
Notwithstanding the bumps in the road, the A’s and Angels will settle the West today.
Anaheim plays in Texas beginning at 12 Noon Pacific. The A’s will face Joel Pineiro at 3:35 PM Pacific. By the time the A’s get underway, either the Mariners will be eliminated, if Anaheim beats Texas, or the A’s will be Western Division Champions, if Texas knocks off the Angels again.
The Giants have the day off and can watch the scoreboard tonight when Arizona plays Colorado in Phoenix. Randy Johnson goes to the mound to try to get his team closer to the division title.
The Dodgers staved off certain elimination by rallying for two ninth inning runs against Jose Jimenez and the Rockies last night. San Diego takes on LA with Brett Tomko facing LA’s only legitimate starter, Hideo Nomo.
If your favorite team is struggling right now heading into the playoffs is it anything to worry about?
For some yes, for others, no.
Click “Read More” and I’ll explain.
September 26, 2002 No Comments
The season is 162 games, the beauty of the game of baseball is watching how the entire season plays out. Each year we see injuries, missed opportunities, and dreams die within the last ten games of the year.
This year is no different.
The Diamondbacks are limping in to the finish line without the services of their most reliable power hitter, Luis Gonzalez who is out for the year with a separated shoulder.
Things are so bad in Arizona that Bob Brenly is bringing Curt Schilling back today to try to beat the Cardinals and ensure home field against the Cards in the first round of the playoffs.
The Angels have slumped over the past ten days. Now they need to win one more game to qualify for the playoffs.
On the other side of the coin, the Giants veteran lineup is clicking and rolling over the teams they need to beat.
Not only are the Giants going to qualify for October baseball, but a couple more Arizona losses this weekend, may give the Giants a realistic shot at the division.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if SF had to travel to Atlanta to make up the suspended game Monday to win the division, instead of the intended purpose of settling the Wild Card with the make up game in Atlanta.
Barry Zito had number 23 in the bag last night before the bull pen and the A’s defense let it get away.
What did that loss show the A’s?
Click “read more”. [Read more →]
September 25, 2002 No Comments
Picking up the sports page this week I’ve noticed that it has become quite fashionable for the ink stained wretches (Ted Williams favorite term for baseball writers who ripped him) to debate the merits of choosing between Miguel Tejada (the top traditional candidate) and A Rod, the “how can we overlook the year he had on a last place team candidate” for American league MVP.
I’m waiting for the writers who line up on the side of A Rod to be consistent and start including Magglio Ordonez, Mike Sweeney, and Jim Thome in their list. These players have had fabulous seasons and while we are at it how about Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Eric Hinske.
See, all these players have put up outstanding numbers on teams going no where, the same place the Rangers have gone in 2002.
Nomar’s hitting .313, plays great defense, and has driven 114 runs, and if I was starting a team he would be very close to my first pick.
When was the last time a writer considered Nomar for the 2002 AL MVP award?
Point being, if you want to define the award as the best player in the league, there are a whole bunch more to consider and Miguel Tejada slips from the focus of the debate to seventh or eighth on the list of worthy candidates.
The writers who argue for A Rod are inconsistent in their presentations if they immediately pit A Rod against Tejada or Jason Giambi or Alfonso Soriano and don’t include all the fabulous players in the league in the discussion.
There is more to say, so click below and let’s continue.
September 24, 2002 No Comments
One thing you can always count on during a baseball season is the classic finish the Dodgers and the Giants stage the last week of the season.
Whether it be 1935, 1951, 1962, 1982, 1993 or 2002, these teams just won’t let the other get comfortable, if there is a breath left in their post season hopes.
The Giants lead by two games with six to play. Just let LA close this race to one game and then watch out.
San Diego comes in to Pac Bell Tuesday night, while the Dodgers play Colorado in Los Angeles.
Pitching at home against Colorado will give the Dodgers an edge since the Rockies go into a batting nose dive as soon as they leave Coors Field. San Diego has played every game as if their season was on the line.
This race isn’t over yet.
The A’s are close to clinching the West, needing three wins /or Angel losses / or any combination of the above to close the deal.
Who should start the playoffs for the A’s?
Click “read more” and I’ll tell you. [Read more →]
September 23, 2002 No Comments