Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday baseball thoughts

Two moments that sum up all that is good about watching baseball...

Magglio Ordonez' perfect swing with two out in the bottom of the ninth to send the Tigers to the World Series...

The sheer, unrestrained joy of Placido Polanco as he literally skipped around the bases following Ordonez' blast.

As for the NLCS Game 3:

It looks a great deal as if Scott Rolen was playing tonight with a chip on his fatigued shoulder. One got the definite impression that if he could have rifled the ball past Pujols and straight at Tony LaRussa on a few of those highlight-reel grabs, he would have.

If the Mets lose this series, it will come down literally to inches - the few inches by which Green missed two balls of the bat of Spiezio and Endy Chavez' near-miss at the wall. Truth be told, for all of Chavez' superior defensive reputation (and metrics), it looked like Green was making more effort, albeit without more results. Then again, he's now at 2 dives, two Pony-Eater triples, so maybe he'd be better off playing it on the bounce next time.

Lost in the noise - Darren Oliver single-handedly rescued the New York bullpen tonight. By going out there and sucking up the rest of Traschel's start, he bought a night of recovery for the thouroughly trashed front-liners in the Mets' pen. The game was pretty much a lost cause by the time he entered, but by keeping the Cards in check the rest of the way, he rendered Bradford, Wagner, Mota and Heilman back into usable weapons for Game 4 and beyond, and, with Oliver Perez and the T-1000 going in the next two games for New York, that may prove to be huge.

Right now Jeff Suppan has provided more NLCS offense than Jose Valentin. That should be frightening to Mets fans, on several levels.

For all of the Cardinals' fine defensive work during the game, they had to be thankful that Pony-Eater Scott Spiezio didn't exactly get a lot of balls hit to him in left. His approach to fly balls is about two-third Benny Hill video, though with Chris Duncan's continued struggles at the plate, we may well see him out there again. Incidentally, whoever at Fox thought it was cute to compare Duncan's rookie year with Ryan Howard's (with the implication that Duncan was better) clearly has been starting early with the Budweiser. Howard pretty much mashed wherever he went, and was called up late primarily because he was blocked by an All-Star with a huge contract. Duncan was, before this year, the epitome of the coach's kid, a grinder with mediocre stats whose place in the organization seemed to be a product of heredity, not on-field skill. If he matches this year's production next year, I'll be surprised. If he matches Howard's second-year production, I'll be looking for pork in the skies.

Albert Pujols is not running well at all. I'm just sayin'.
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