Basketball fans know what I’m talking about. The Spurs didn’t play very well, just well enough to win if things had gone as they should have. It was questionable of the NBA to assign a referee to a playoff game featuring a team he has demonstrated bias against (so much so that he was suspended for it), and he sure enough showed why in failing to call the last second foul that was apparent to everybody, including Lakers coach Phil Jackson. The NBA should retire Crawford permanently.
But seriously, the Spurs aren’t upset about the non-call. They know they didn’t deserve to win.
Why is Yankee pitching like Chicken Vindaloo? They’re both forms of Indian food.
The hapless Cleveland Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948, a record so tragic it’s even worse than that of the Giants. They’ve been the butt of a series of comedy movies about their extreme suckitude and get no respect from anyone. But they handed a spanking to the surging Yankees in the playoffs and probably ended Joe Torre’s career as a major league manager. And they did it by proving an old maxim of baseball wisdom: good pitching beats crappy pitching.
Seven Indians had OPS’s above 1.000, compared to exactly one for the slugging Yankees, Robbie Cano. Captain Clutch produced exactly no offense for the Yanks, as his three singles were erased by the three double-play balls he hit, and while he didn’t exactly choke, the great A-Rod hit a mediocre .267 with one measly RBI. You can’t blame it one the short series or the plague of locusts, as the Yankees simply didn’t have the pitching to dominate the Central Division champs.
All you can say for the Yankees and their $230M payroll is that they didn’t get swept, which puts them in rarefied company this post-season. But maybe it’s better for the fans of the Cubs, Phillies, and Angels who had their teams surgically removed from the tournament in the shortest order possible. The ALCS (or Real World Series as I like to call it) should be great baseball because the teams are so evenly matched.
Sabathia vs. Beckett: advantage Boston
Carmona vs. Schilling: advantage Cleveland
Westbrook vs. Dice-K: advantage Cleveland
Byrd vs. Wakefield (or somebody TBD): advantage Cleveland
The Indians have a better bullpen, with the exception of closers, and that may be the difference. I don’t see much difference between these two teams offensively, but the Indians have the edge on defense as long as Manny is on the field. Statistically, the Sox are slightly ahead of the Tribe in both ERA and OPS, but that was regular season. Post-season, the Indians have the edge in hitting and the Sox have ridiculous pitching numbers due to the performances of Schilling and Beckett. Small sample size. Emotionally, I’d give the edge to Boston as they haven’t had to work hard, while the Indians may crash with all the off-days they have before Friday and a big high after beating the Yanks.
Both of these teams are well-designed, so it will all come down to execution, as they say. Go Indians!
Tom Giovanetti wrote a pretty good Op-Ed on the neutrality riot for the local paper, so I started reading his blog. Turns out he’s a big Mavericks fan, being a Dallasite and all. After Game 2 he was gloating about how bad the Mavs were, so I left this little comment on his GioBlog:
If Riley can figure out how to get the role players in the game, he could potentially turn it around.
And of course that’s what happened: Udonis Haslem shut down Dirk Nowitski and the Heat won four in a row. I predicted the Pistons would beat the Lakers when they faced off in the playoffs too. Someday I’m gonna have to put some money on some of this sports genius, but not in a series where I have a favorite team.
Thank you and I’ll now go back to faking humility.