“Big Game” Rays get it done

Some thoughts on the concluding games of the ALCS:

*  Huge win for the Rays last night and I am honestly kind of surprised.  I didn’t think they had it in them.  Garza has been very impressive; the point, as always: find and keep young starting pitching.

*  So much for “Big Game” James Shields.  How can someone be given the nickname “Big Game” going into their third career  career postseason start and having just lost their last one?  Just because it rhymes doesn’t mean it’s true.  Then, in the 7th inning of Game 7, the announcer referred to Matt Garza as “Big Game” Garza.  What’s going on here?

*  I’ve officially cooled on the whole Rocco Baldelli idea.  I mean, I wouldn’t oppose it, but if he needs a defensive replacement in right field, I don’t think the Yankees could throw him in center, even if it’s only once a week. 

*  Ditto Mark Kotsay.  When you consider Gardner’s defensive projections, I think you should just throw him out there and see what happens.  Could he do worse than what Melky did last year?

*  Remember when the Yankees signed Johnny Damon and the Red Sox traded for Coco Crisp and everyone said the Yankees were making a foolish move?  I still remember Rob Neyer saying that Damon might be better at that moment but wouldn’t be at the end of the contract.  Oops.

*  Similarly, maybe I just don’t see it because I don’t live in Boston, but I’m surprised the Red Sox don’t take more heat for the Lugo signing.  They still owe him $18 million.  That deal is Pavano-esque.  At least when it’s a pitcher, you sort of assume there is a chance they might break down.  The Red Sox are a worse team when Lugo IS healthy.  That’s rough.

*  The AL East is going to be an absolute dogfight next year.  As much as I do want to say that the Red Sox will take a step back, I think it is more likely to be the Rays.  Will they be able to have all 5 of their starters healthy all season again?  At least they do have David Price ready to step in, so it’s possible.

*  Speaking of Price, he is supposed to be this year’s version of Joba (young stud starter breaking in in the bullpen).  Shouldn’t he have had a chance to close earlier?  Or at least a CHANCE to pitch in game 5?  He can be dominating, but I think I’d still take Joba.  Price is impressive and is left handed but he doesn’t quite throw as hard as Joba and his slider doesn’t have that “fall off the table” break.  But of course never underestimate the value of being left-handed.

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