On the hill tonight? Joe Saunders and Andy Pettitte, one a relative newcomer to the big stage facing one who has not only been here before, but has a full season’s worth of postseason appearances for New York (and, in case you had forgotten, Houston in 2005).
Heading into 2009’s postseason, Pettitte made 35 starts, good for 218.1 innings and a 14 – 9 record. A lot of starters would LOVE a season like that – and Andy Pettitte has done that in the PLAYOFFS and WORLD SERIES, against good and great teams in big moments on the biggest stage. That’s flat out impressive.
One day we’ll have to see if Pettitte deserves to be considered as one of the all-time greats, or just a pretty good pitcher who has happened to be in the right place for his career. If he had been drafted by, say, the Texas Rangers, would he have been this revered? Even if he did use HGH… For two days.
Meanwhile, MLB announced that for the first time in more than a dozen years, only experienced umpires will work the World Series… You know, some of the most experienced umps have been the ones blowing calls in the playoffs now. [FoxSports]
The Best Team Money Can Buy…
The Yankees spent a lot of money on the team, which has yet to show any cracks in the armor. They also spent a lot of money (much of it public funds) on the new stadium – which apparently DOES have cracks in some of the ramps. A spokesperson says that the cracks are superficial, but investigations into the company who designed the concrete have revealed that some of the tests that were supposed to have been done during the construction process either failed or were not done. [FoxSports]
Cleveland is taking a chance that Manny Acta’s poor managerial record is due to his spending time in Washington. Acta gets a three-year managerial contract with an option in 2013. Let’s hope for the Indians’ sake that Cleveland can get healthy and compete in the AL Central the way they should have the last three years. (Meanwhile, former Indians aces may face each other in game one of the World Series. Ugh.) The Indians like the way Acta helped bring along some of the young talent when with the Nationals. I would rather have had Don Mattingly. [ESPN]
Those sticking their fingers in the wind and making pronouncements suggest that Tony LaRussa will sign another two-year deal to remain at the helm of the Cardinals. LaRussa is three years away from passing John McGraw for second on the all-time managerial win list. [MLB]
I don’t know where to file this, so I’ll add it to the managerial carousel notes… Frank McCourt fired his (soon to be ex) wife, Jamie, who was an executive with the Dodgers. Management claims that the family squabble at the top is not affecting the team – which, of course, isn’t playing but will soon have to sign free agents and get other players under contract and all that stuff. [FoxSports]
Jarrod Parker is scheduled for Tommy John surgery, which means the Arizona Diamondbacks lose someone who looked like a contender for a fourth or fifth rotation slot. The ninth pick of the 2007 draft, Parker showed signs of progress in moving from A (Visalia) to AA (Mobile), and has a 17 – 11 minor league record with 212 Ks in 215 innings and good control (3:1 K/W ratio).
An 18-year-old Japanese kid with a 96 MPH fastball is going to stay in Japan, though he was drawing interest from this side of the Pacific. Yusei Kikuchi may well be the top pick in the Japanese draft. [MLB]
Detroit Tigers 2B prospect, Scott Sizemore, broke his ankle in an Arizona Fall League game. Sizemore had planted his foot when turning a doubleplay and a runner slid into him. An MRI hopes to show that the injury is a simple break and that Sizemore will be ready by spring training. If Placido Polanco is allowed to leave, Sizemore likely becomes the second sacker for Detroit in 2010. [FreePress]
The Mets announced that a member of their Venezuelan program, 18-year-old Rafael Castro, died of an apparent heart attack. Castro had been with their academy for two years as a pitcher having been signed out of his native Columbia. [ESPN]
58 years ago, he was the hero of the 1951 NL Playoff between the Giants and Dodgers. Today, Bobby Thomson turns 86. A hero for this World Series, maybe, Pedro Martinez turns 38 today.
Others being remembered with cake and cards include: Dirty Jack Doyle (1869) and Weldon Henley (1880), who were teammates of Rube Waddell many moons ago. Doyle was with the 1901 Cubs, while Henley was with the early Philadelphia A’s. Smokey Joe Wood was born on this day in 1889, Lee MacPhail was born on this day in 1917, joining Roy Hartsfield (1925), Al Cowens (1951), Rowland Office and Roy Smalley (1952), Tito Landrum (1954), Danny Darwin (1955), Kelly Downs (1960), Mike Harkey (1966), and Joe Nelson (1974) on the list.
Every now and then I would see Mike Harkey working with Marlins pitchers at spring training and I would remember him with the Cubs and how his career got away from him. He was a winner – but his body wouldn’t support it.