And That Happened: Division Series Edition
Phillies 4, Reds 0: Joey Votto, after the game, explaining what it was like to face Roy Halladay: “It’s like trying to hit nothing.” Someone is going to repeat that phrase at Halladay’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It will be written in his obituary.
Some no-hitters don’t seem so impressive as you’re watching them. Edwin Jackson’s, for example. Even Dallas Braden’s perfect game was less than overwhelming in many respects. Hallday’s Game 1 was not one of those games. It was as if the ball was on a track, destined to end up in a part of the strikezone at a specific velocity that made it impossible to hit no matter what the Reds attempted. He went 0-1 on 25 of the 28 batters he faced. He looked like he could have thrown 12 or 13 no-hit innings. I don’t recall ever seeing a pitcher as locked-in as Halladay was.
Rangers 5, Rays 1: Man, if the Phillies hadn’t been so dumb as to trade Cliff Lee they’d be up 2-0 on the Reds already. OK, that was a joke. But trades certainly had an impact here. The Rangers’ heroes of the game -- Lee, Francoeur and Bengie Molina -- were all mid-season pickups. Picked up, you’ll recall, when the team was in ownership litigation turmoil. Indeed, they may not have been able to even do these deals without signoff from Major League Baseball, which had the Rangers on a line of credit at the time. I wonder how the Rays’ owners feel about that today?
Yankees 6, Twins 4: And this is why, despite my objective assessment of the team’s strengths, I had to pick the Yankees in this series. You just can’t kill them. Down 3-0,you just knew they’d string together a few base hits to rally. Tied at 4, you just knew that they’d score again. Or maybe you didn’t know -- and maybe you couldn’t have predicted Teixiera going long on Crain -- but there certainly shouldn’t have been any surprise when it happened. Well, hell, maybe you could have predicted the homer given that, just before it happened, TBS showed a replay of him going long to the right field corner on Jessee Crain from back in May. Oh well.
It’s weird to say this about a Game 1, but it was a game the Yankees really needed to win given all of the uncertainty in the rotation behind CC Sabathia. And speaking of Sabathia -- if the plan really is to bring him back on short rest, why on Earth did Girardi not bring out the hook for him in the sixth? He was clearly gassed, and ended up throwing 111 pitches.