League Championship Series Update

By Peter Schiller

American League

Indians Go Up 2 – 1

    The story of this game was Jake Westbrook (1 – 1)! His sinkerball had the Red Sox batters pounding the ground with the ball, causing them to hit into 3 double plays in his 6.2 innings. He was a completely different pitcher than we saw in game 3 of the New York series. Last night, he was simply dominant!
    The only excitement for the Sox came on a 2-run HR by captain Jason Varitek in the 7th. Matsuzaka pitched well through four innings despite allowing a 2-run HR to 40 year old Kenny Lofton who is in his third go round with the Indians. Matsuzaka was not on top of his game & once again failed to pitch through the 5th inning. But in the fifth, the Indians wrestled two more runs from Matsuzaka with clutch hits on good pitches. Cleveland’s Cabrera & Martinez both hit tough pitches that Matsuzaka probably threw exactly where he wanted to. 
    The one thing that you hope won’t be a factor, especially in a playoff game, is an umpire. Aside from the slide in SD to end the one-game playoff between the Rox & the Padres, the umpires have quietly done their job well. But in the beginning of the game, TV analysts for Fox, Tim McCarver & Joe Buck, made it a point to mention how tight of a strike zone, last night’s home plate umpire, Brian Gorman has. That held up for the first few innings (much to the dismay of both sides). But as the game went along, Gorman became erratic with his calls, again on both sides; this time on behalf of the hitters. There were moments when both teams’ batters were visibly upset over these untypical, Gorman-like calls. On some pitches that were called strikes, Fox’s FoxTrack (digital display of the stike zone with an image of a pitch’s location)  showed the ball a good 2 to 6 inches off the plate. This was most obvious when the Sox were up, trying to stake a comeback. Twice, what should have been called ball four to Ramirez was called a strike and almost seemed like it was a make up call for blowing a call the previous half inning on a Westbrook pitch. Gorman did it again to Crisp later in the game. These two poor calls, no matter who you were rooting for, stuck out the most when you saw the replay on FoxTrack and were aware of the timing. If ever there was a time to use QuesTec it would be during the playoffs where a blown call can disrupt the game. Maybe they should add this to the list in the winter meetings along with instant replay. 

National League

Colorado Rockies Sweep into The World Series

    I’d hate to be young, D-Back firstbaseman Connor Jackson today. His error led to 4 unearned runs in the 4th by the Rox last night, capped off with a 3-run HR by NLCS MVP Matt Holliday, his 4th postseason HR of 2007. The Rockies scored a total of 6 runs in that inning & it proved to be all they would need, even with the late inning comeback that Arizona, led by Rookie Chris Young, started in the 8th with an RBI double off of Fuentes. Owings lasted only 3.2 innings after giving up the 6 runs, 4 of them unearned. He took the loss. Rox starter, Franklin Morales, lasted only 4 innings, but only allowed 1 run, while Matt Herges, who pitched the 5th & 6th innings got the win. Corpas, earned his 5th save this postseason.

     **More coverage of the Rockies in this week’s Pete’s Rose post later today.**

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