Now the Cleveland Indians should worry. If you watched the clinching game of the ALDS on Monday, you would have seen the Indians partying like rock stars in the clubhouse. Perhaps I should say that they partied like they had already won something … and they hadn’t. Beer and champagne flowed in the visiting clubhouse of Yankee stadium like the World Series was final and Cleveland had won it all for the first time in nearly sixty years. What a difference four days can make.
In game one of the ALCS, the Indians were dismantled by the Red Sox in much the same way that the Indians took apart the Yankees in game 1 of the ALDS. The series is far from over, and the tribe may have the most unhittable pitcher left in the playoffs (Carmona) on the mound tomorrow. That said, this young team needs to quickly find a renewed focus if they hope to beat perhaps the most complete pitching staff in baseball.
Speaking of focus … the Colorado Rockies continue to plug along at a clip no one has ever seen before. After watching closer Manny Corpas blow a save in the ninth on the road to the D-backs, this mostly young team from Denver once again displayed unflappable veteran-like character, as they mounted a rally which culminated in a bases-loaded walk to Willy Taveras. Freshly back from injury, Taveras — who was added to the roster for the second round of playoffs — has been in the middle of everything in the first two games of the NLCS for the Rockies. (If you didn’t see the catch he made in right center field to end an inning and kill an Arizona rally last night, go to your television and find SportsCenter right now!!!! You won’t be disappointed.
I will be the first to admit that I thought it was a mistake to add Taveras to the roster. Out since the beginning of September, the Rockies started this amazing run at almost the time he was put on the shelf. My theory is: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Obviously, Clint Hurdle and Taveras have a different theory … and it is working.
These two series could end quickly, as did the four opening series. I think the main event will be where the real action will take place this year. Can anyone stop the Rockies?
A BRIEF NOTE ON THE ORIOLES:
Whether you agree with the firing of Leo Mazzone or not, I applaud the club for acting swiftly and decisively. I wrote in PressBox a few weeks back that the offseason moves in terms of front office and coaching personnel needed to happen swiftly so that a concerted and consolidated effort could be made towards building the 2008 club immediately after the baseball season ended. I also wrote that they had to let Trembley pick his own staff. They decided that they wanted him to be manager. Let him be the manager. He should be allowed to sink or swim with his guys around him. McPhail has been up front, decisive, and unapologetic with his decisions. I respect that. Frankly, sweeping away large parts of what has been broken for a decade is long overdue. Even though Mazzone and Duquette had only been here for two years each, they were brought in by a regime that needs to become a footnote in Baltimore Orioles history.
Speaking of which … I have a great amount of respect for Mike Flanagan. Flanny has accomplished more than most could ever hope. He has done it with class along the way. However, he is very much part of the old regime I just spoke of. Ask former GM of the Atlanta Braves, John Schuerholz, about how many consecutive days off he has had in the past 26 years as the top man of two successful franchises. The job that you signed on for is arduous, exhausting and filled with rude awakenings. If you want to be part of the solution, you need to be a part of everything that happens. If you are not, you could be swept away by the winds of change like Perlozzo, Duquette and Mazzone. And there are many more I am sure will follow in the coming weeks. Sleep when you are dead. The team is bad, and there will be many sleepless nights ahead for those who try to right the ship until it is fixed.