ALCS games as seen by hometown sports writers
Last updated 10/19/2021 at 7:07pm
After writing sports for six decades, it’s plain for me to see how one visualizes the sporting event being covered. Is the offense good or is the defense bad? Is the team really hitting well or is the opponent’s pitching poor? Get the message?
I happened to see an article written for Sunday’s Boston Globe by a nationally prominent veteran sports writer who can be seen on ESPN most any day.
He was analyzing Game 2 Saturday night in Houston that began with two grand slam home runs in the first two innings and was won 9-5 by the Boston Red Sox that evened the series at 1-1 and sent the next three games to historic Fenway Park in Boston.
The headline on his game story read “Game 2: Take that, you cheatin’, stylin’ Stros!” Perhaps his memory is so short he forgot to mention that the 2017 garbage-can cover incident was the brainchild of the Boston Red Sox’ current manager Alex Cora, who was the bench coach for Astros then-manager A.J. Hinch back then.
Then he criticized Astros slugging shortstop Carlos Correa who hit what proved to be the game-winning home run in Friday’s thrilling 5-4 Houston victory.
His version of the homer was “The Sox couldn’t have been too happy Friday in the seventh when Houston’s veteran shortstop Carlos Correa stopped and looked at his watch after slugging a go-ahead homer off Hansel Robles, It certainly looked disrespectful.”
He compared the incident to the time Yankees slugger Aaron Judge walked by the Fenway clubhouse with a boom box playing Sinatra’s “New York, New York” after the Yankees won in October of 2018.
“It was reminiscent of the (Tampa Bay) Rays lounging in their dugout eating popcorn as they blanked the Red Sox in Game One at the Trop Dome,” he recalled.
“Just a few hours after Friday’s four-hour, seven-minute epic, all returned to Minute Maid for Game 2. Anticipation was great. The Park was filled with orange-clad Houstonians, ready to watch their ‘Stros jump to a 2-0 Series lead en route to a non-cheating World Series showdown with the same Dodgers they robbed in 2017.
“Little did these folks know what they were in for. The game started at 3:21 Central and was effectively over in time for everybody to get home for the second half of BYU vs. Baylor on ESPN,” the article concluded.
The Houston Chronicle beat writers for the Astros, who followed the team for 162 games during the regular season and seven playoff games viewed the early blowout as a concern for the pitching staff, especially the starters who were two players short--Lance McCullers, Jr. and Luis Garcia) which represented 24 mound victories plus playoff wins.
The reason for such a concern is that Manager Dusty Baker used eight pitchers in Friday’s 5-4 win and five in Saturday’s 9-5 loss. He had to insert Game 4 starter Jake Odorizzi to spell the injured Garcia in the top of the second inning, who also gave up a grand slam and a solo homer, giving the visiting Sox a 9-0 lead.
Because of Garcia’s knee injury, Odorizzi was allowed as much time as needed to get ready to pitch. Normally, Odorizzi takes 40 minutes to do stretching exercises and do long toss for a few minutes. He reduced his warmup time to about 15 minutes before facing a hitter.
Here’s how the Globe described it: “Odorizzi milked it, big time. He stretched. He long-tossed. He short-tossed. Maybe he was trying to freeze (Boston starter) Nate Eovaldi in the Sox dugout. Maybe Odorizzi was giving everybody the finger.
“By any measure, it was one of the worst advertisements for baseball. Sad, but true, MLB’s players have little concept of how unwatchable they are making their product,” the article concluded.
I believe that whatever advantage the Houston Astros had before the best-of-seven series started Friday night is long gone. The third game was played Monday night, Game 4 yesterday and Game 5 is slated today at 4:08 p.m.
Hopefully, there will be a Game 6 in Minute Maid Park on Friday and if necessary, Game 7 on Saturday.
KWICKIES…As I predicted several weeks ago, LSU coach Ed Orgeron might be seen poling his pirogue up Bayou Lafourche instead of guiding his players in spring football. And just 21 months after reigning as the NCAA national champion, he and LSU have agreed to part company at season’s end. Ironically, Orgeron put together a game plan that upset No. 20 Florida 49-42 Saturday and then was handed his walking papers the very next day. The blowout loss to Kentucky the week before was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Orgeron was 49-17 with the Tigers in six years, a record most college coaches would kill to have. But he was only 9-8 since winning the national championship.
Rory McElroy surged past fan favorite Ricky Fowler Sunday to win the CJ Cup at Summit in Las Vegas last weekend. McElroy fired a 62 Saturday and then came back to shoot 66 in the final round to win by a single stroke over Collin Morikawa, who shot 62 Sunday.
The Atlanta Braves took a commanding 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday in the NLCS with the second walk-off hit in as many days as the action resumed yesterday on the Left Coast.
The Boston Red Sox players got a lesson on “How to Win When Your Team is Behind” from the Dallas Cowboys Sunday when about a dozen BoSox players were given tickets by manager Alex Cora to Sunday’s Dallas-New England Patriots football game at Foxborough. The Cowboys won 35-29 in overtime. “This is a fun week sports-wise here,” Cora said. “People are into it. We got the Patriots. We got the Celtics. We got the Bruins and we got us this week. For a city that enjoys sports, it’s kind of like a perfect one.”
If someone wants to know how to blow a first-half lead in a football game, they just need to look at the last two games the Texas Longhorns played against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. I’ll bet some of the big-money donors are already talking about canning Steve Sarkisian.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown 12 touchdown passes with only one interception in the Packers’ current five-game winning streak. Rodgers is 22-5 as a starter against the Chicago Bears, who Green Bay beat 24-14 Sunday.
JUST BETWEEN US…If a high school football fan fails to listen to KOGT’s game of the week or Channel 6 for the Friday night wrap-up, that fan may be in the dark about the results of Friday night’s games. Unfortunately, the bi-weekly paper in Orange County goes to press Friday night before the games are over and the daily in north Jefferson County covers about two games and has no results of the others. And their Sunday sports section had all the games listed with XX’s for scores. The only word for that begins with an “L” and ends with a “Y” with an “AZ” in the middle.