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Baseball Insider: October 12, 2008 - October 18, 2008

You're Not Crazy, The Game SHOULD Be on TBS

Before anyone throws their TV out the window, realize that you're not crazy: ALCS Game 6 between the Rays and Red Sox is being bumped by a re-run of the Steve Harvey show right now because TBS is experiencing technical difficulties. At least that's the official explanation for why there's...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 18, 2008; 8:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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Game 6 Lineups -- And a Word About Jinxes

For the Red Sox: Coco Crisp - 8 Dustin Pedroia - 4 David Ortiz - DH Kevin Youkilis - 5 J.D. Drew - 9 Jason Bay - 7 Mark Kotsay - 3 Jed Lowrie - 6 Jason Varitek - 2 (Josh Beckett - 1) For the Rays: Akinori Iwamura -...

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 18, 2008; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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The First Casualty of Game 6: College Football

Every city has its sports priorities. In D.C., it's the Redskins first, the Redskins second, the Redskins third and then the Wizards, Capitals, Nationals and a vast array of talented college basketball teams racing behind. In Boston, things are a bit different. The Red Sox easily slide into the role...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 18, 2008; 12:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Red Sox  
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Reading Friday's Tea Leaves

How do we know that no one really understands what to make of Thursday night's Red Sox comeback? For starters, ESPN's Baseball Tonight spent an entire segment speaking with a sports psychologist about the Rays "potential state of mind". Cue the spooky music. It's time to get that ready for...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 18, 2008; 1:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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Maddon Channels His Inner Phil Jackson

Anyone who follows the NBA has probably read far too much about how Bulls turned Lakers coach and championship kingmaker Phil Jackson tries to use various Zen philosophies in approaching his team and molding players' attitudes and, as a result, their performances. Well, Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon may be...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 17, 2008; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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Instant Replay: Anatomy of an Epic Comeback

Just when you thought you'd seen everything baseball had to dish out, the ALCS throws you one more curveball. How else can you explain the most recent epic Red Sox comeback, an 8-7 win capped by J.D. Drew's second clutch hit in as many innings, the second-largest comeback in postseason...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 17, 2008; 8:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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Change in Direction

I began writing this blog entry in the middle of the seventh inning of last night's Game 5 between the Red Sox and Rays. I started to compare Tampa Bay's domination of the Red Sox to a four-game series in September of 1978, when the Yankees arrived at Fenway Park...

By Tom Heleba  |  October 17, 2008; 3:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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You're Watching "How the Red Sox Can Lose"

Remember the old Sesame Street episodes that were sponsored by a letter? Well, this Baseball Insider post is sponsored by the letter "Y". Youth starts with "Y", and like the youthfully exuberant Rays, "Y" is a lot more intimidating than "O", which stands for "old", not unlike the Red Sox....

By Cameron Smith  |  October 16, 2008; 9:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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Lineups, Forecast From Fenway

As you probably guess from that second word in the title of this post, we may have some weather issues tonight. The forecast is for scattered showers, so it doesn't seem to be anything that could cause a rainout. But there could be a delay or two. That, combined with...

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 16, 2008; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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How the Red Sox Can Win

If you'd told Red Sox fans a week ago their team would be facing elimination in Game 5 at home, they'd probably have said you were crazy. Turns out you weren't, because Boston's inability to hit with runners on base and a staggering onslaught of Tampa Bay offense, particularly at...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 16, 2008; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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Hamels Was Great, But He Can Be Even Better

That sounds sacreligious to say hours after the lefty earned the NLCS MVP, winning both Games 1 and 5, pitching seven innings in both and giving up only three runs across the 14 total innings, an amazing 1.93 ERA. Still, the latest Phillie pitcher to earn NLCS MVP -- Curt...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 16, 2008; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Dodgers , Phillies  
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Philadelphia: World Series-bound

With an emphatic 5-1 win tonight at Dodger Stadium, the Phillies have won this series 4-1 and are heading to the World Series. Cole Hamels pitched seven ace-worthy innings (five hits, one run), protecting an early lead that built just eight pitches into the game when Jimmy Rollins led off...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 15, 2008; 11:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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At Stake For Billingsley

The Dos and Don'ts of baseball are largely unwritten -- they're not even available on audio CD -- and so sorting through what's proper and what's not sometimes requires guesswork. But judging by the backlash that Los Angeles pitcher Chad Billingsley faced this week, it seems he missed an obvious...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 15, 2008; 8:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Dodgers , Phillies  
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Tonight's lineups from Dodger Stadium

Philadelphia Jimmy Rollins -- SS Jayson Werth -- RF Chase Utley -- 2B Ryan Howard -- 1B Pat Burrell -- LF Shane Victorino -- CF Pedro Feliz -- 3B Carlos Ruiz -- C Cole Hamels -- P Los Angeles Rafael Furcal -- SS Andre Ethier -- RF Manny Ramirez --...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 15, 2008; 6:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Dodgers , Phillies  
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The Odds

Let's talk a little about numbers here. The Phillies need just one more win to send themselves to the World Series. They have three games to do it, starting tonight. Baseball Prospectus, which has some very powerful calculators at its headquarters, gives Philadelphia an 84.9 percent chance of taking this...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 15, 2008; 5:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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NLCS Game 5: What to Watch For

1) Can the Phillies drub Chad Billingsley the way they did in Game 2? The 24 year-old righty gave up a whopping eight runs -- seven of them earned -- in his first NLCS start en route to Philadelphia's win, which was a less-onesided than imagined in the first inning...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 15, 2008; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Dodgers , Phillies  
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Not Done Yet

It was my opinion last year that if the Cleveland Indians wanted to go to the World Series they needed to win Game 5 of the ALCS, at home, with C.C. (he used the periods back then) Sabathia on the mound. Cleveland lost badly, and the Red Sox then went...

By Tom Heleba  |  October 15, 2008; 12:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Maddon's Move, and Why it Makes Sense

In a surprise move, Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon announced this morning that pitcher Scott Kazmir will start Game 5 for the Rays in Boston, getting the ball on regular rest -- he pitched Game 2 on Saturday -- while saving scheduled starter "Big Game" James Shields for a potential...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 15, 2008; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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Francona Looks X-Rayed

Terry, you look like you're toast. At least try to hide it. Very poor post-game press conference. No confidence. Looks like he thinks it's just a matter of time and that he knows the Rays, after playing them 22 times this year, and getting beaten 13 times, are simply better....

By Thomas Boswell  |  October 14, 2008; 10:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Please, Rays, Stop Scoring

Enough already, Baby Rays. Save some runs! Every team says, "Save some for the next game." But nobody wants to stop hitting. We'll see on Thursday night if 31 runs in three games __and still counting as they bat in the ninth, leading the Red Sox 13-4__ is too much...

By Thomas Boswell  |  October 14, 2008; 10:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Wakefield in the ALCS: Bring Your TUMS

Wondering how knuckleball specialist Tim Wakefield, who doubles as a weekly cardiac fitness test for Red Sox fans around the country, has done in the playoffs? Don't worry, you're not alone. Manager Terry Francona is wondering the same thing. That's because Wakefield has been just as Jekyll and Hyde in...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 14, 2008; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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Francona Pulls Lineup Out of His Hat

Some old-time manager, can't remember who, when his offense was scuffling, used to write nine names on scraps of paper in his hat and pull them out one-by-one, and that was his batting order for the day. Red Sox Manager Terry Francona didn't do that today, as we get set...

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 14, 2008; 4:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Joe Torre: Goat or Scapegoat?

Oh, they're having a great time ripping good 'ol Joe out in L.A. today. The only knock on Torre as a manager is that, in New York, he never had to manage. Manage people, oh, yes. And it's possible that nobody has ever been better. Huge egos and, in his...

By Thomas Boswell  |  October 14, 2008; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Can The Rays Close the Deal?

Dave, nice comparisons on the Red Sox starters when they're backs were against the wall in '04 and '07 versus their rotation this year. The current Red Sox starters certainly look more vulnerable. But the Rays have a worry, too. Dan Wheeler is about as unimpressive a closer as any...

By Thomas Boswell  |  October 14, 2008; 11:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Are the Red Sox Done?

Under normal circumstances, such a question would be absurd. Their deficit to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS is a mere one game, following yesterday's emphatic loss. We all know how the Red Sox have come back from far more dire situations than this in two of the last...

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 14, 2008; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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What Others Are Writing

Mike Berardino of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel takes Big Papi to task for his Game 1 remarks. Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy bemoans the fate of the Red Sox and the Patriots and worries about the Celtics. Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times says a lack of pitching...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  October 14, 2008; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Pitching and Rest

If this LA-Philly series goes long, the short rest thing will become a big deal. Derek Lowe is going on three days' rest for tonight's Game 4, which means he'll almost certainly be Los Angeles's pitcher in a possible Game 7. Philadelphia's own ace, Cole Hamels, is younger than Lowe,...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 13, 2008; 8:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Seven Fined From Yesterday's Fracas

Seven people are a little poorer today. MLB today announced fines for four Dodgers and three Phillies involved in the Sunday fracas that drew both dugouts onto the field in Game 3. Those fined: * LA pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who threw the brush back pitch that ignited the mayhem *...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 13, 2008; 7:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Varitek's Woes

"Do not underestimate the residue of hard feelings in the wake of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona hitting for Jason Varitek a second time in these playoffs. Tito lifted Varitek for J.D. Drew against Dan Wheeler in the ninth inning of Game 2. It's refreshingly bold given Tito's reputation at...

By Tom Heleba  |  October 13, 2008; 5:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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New Rays Rooter

Sometimes, when you like both teams in a post-season series, you don't know who you're really pullinging for until you see the two teams on the field. That's how I've felt about the Rays-Red Sox ALCS. I've enjoyed the Red Sox since 1967 when I was in college in New...

By Thomas Boswell  |  October 13, 2008; 5:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Game 3, Starring Jon Lester As Josh Beckett

In October 2007, there was a sense of supreme confidence around the Red Sox any time they sent Josh Beckett to the mound -- and with good reason. This year, there is that same feeling surrounding the starts of Jon Lester, who will be taking the mound here at Fenway...

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 13, 2008; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Instant Replay: Pedroia Powerful When Patient

The Red Sox may have lost Game 2 of the ALCS, and the performance of their erstwhile ace Josh Beckett has created quite the dilemma for manager Terry Francona going forward. Still, at least one of the team's big questions was answered emphatically during the game: Dustin Pedroia has arrived...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 13, 2008; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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What Others Are Writing

Some reading to get you in the mood for today's day-night (evening-late evening?) doubleheader: The LA Times' T.J. Simers says that Manny Ramirez has become the Dodgers' team leader. Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer says that the Phillies' Game 3 loss opens the door for the Dodgers. The Boston...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  October 13, 2008; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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He's Done This Before

It should come as no surprise that Dodgers right-hander Derek Lowe was ready and willing to take tonight's starting assignment against the Phillies on three days' rest. In fact, he's already bettered that. Back in 2004, when he last pitched in a League Championship Series, Lowe took the ball on...

By Tom Heleba  |  October 13, 2008; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Moyer's Worst First Nightmare

Of all the bad playoff innings, Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer may have had the worst in the first inning of Sunday night's rout. How bad was Moyer's 1 1/3 inning disaster? The 45 year-old lefty gave up six earned runs over the course of the four outs he earned, creating...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 13, 2008; 1:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Dodgers , Phillies  
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Early and Wild

Lots to chew on from the first three innings here at the Ravine. First of all, Philly starter Jamie Moyer made sure to finish his night before the early-bird specials ended. The Dodgers knocked him out after just 1-1/3, and by then, Moyer had already allowed six hits and six...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 12, 2008; 9:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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From Dodger Stadium

GAME 4 STARTER * In a tight spot, the Dodgers are going back to Derek Lowe for Monday's Game 4. Lowe, who started Game 1, will be working on three days' rest for just the second time this year. So optimists, pessimists -- pick your stat: Would you rather know...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 12, 2008; 8:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Dodgers , Phillies  
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Why No Paul Byrd?

When Red Sox manager Terry Francona brought in Mike Timlin to start the bottom of the 11th inning last night, Boston fans could have expected the Tampa Bay walk-off win that followed. Once a sturdy reliever, the 2008 Timlin is a shadow of his former self, both the version that...

By Cameron Smith  |  October 12, 2008; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
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