October 6, 2006
In the game against the Dodgers last night, Tom Glavine was every bit as dominating on the mound as when I saw him in D.C. on Saturday,* and the Mets won 4-1. They now head to Los Angeles with the confidence of presumptive pennant winners. Like the Twins, the Padres blew their home field advantage. In what may be his last game as a major league pitcher, David Wells gave up just two runs over five innings, but the Padres were shut out by Jeff Weaver and the Cardinals relievers. The Cards thus stand an excellent chance of "baptizing" their new home with a playoff series victory. It's a bit odd that two of the NL teams to make it to the postseason are from the Western Division, which was so mediocre last year.
* I took a photo of Glavine from only 15 feet away as he emerged from the bullpen just before the game began, but he was looking down and the cap covered his face.
After game one, it looked like the formerly-spectacular team from Detroit was going to go quietly into the night. Not! Between the steady, effective pitching of Justin Verlander (age 23) and the awesome 100+ MPH fastballs of reliever Joel Zumaya (age 21), the cream of the Bronx Bombers lineup was held at bay. The only runs came from Johnny Damon's homer into the right field upper deck, as the Yanks lost, 4-3. Tonight Randy Johnson (age 43) faces Kenny Rogers (age 41); "The Unit" will have to be in his old top form and shrug off any aches and pains if the Yankees are to beat the Tigers in their first-ever postseason game at Comerica Park.
Some TV announcer mentioned that this Yankee team may be the first ever in which the entire lineup has played in the All Star game. There is a downside to acquiring all that top-notch talent, however: Only two of the Yankee regulars have played in more than two World Series as a Yankee; three if you include reserve outfielder Bernie Williams, who joined the Yankees in 1991.
|Position||Player||Former team||Yankee since||World Series as Yankee|
|Pitcher 1||Mike Mussina||Orioles||2001||2|
|Pitcher 2||Chien-Ming Wang||!||2005||0|
|Pitcher 3||Randy Johnson||Diamondbacks||2005||0|
|First base||Gary Sheffield||Braves||2004||0|
|Second base||Robinson Cano||!||2005||0|
|Third base||Alex Rodriguez||Rangers||2005||0|
|Left field||Hideki Matsui||Nomiuri Giants||2003||1|
|Center field||Johnny Damon||Red Sox||2006||0|
|Right field||Bobby Abreu||Phillies||2006||0|
|Designated hitter||Jason Giambi||Athletics||2003||1|
As folks in Oakland, Phoenix, and Boston are no doubt aware, three of those players have postseason experience playing against the Yankees! It is nice, nonetheless, that two of those newer guys are are "home-grown," more like the team was in the late 1990s.
The Washington Nationals have begun contacting potential candidates for the vacant managerial position, and Braves' coach Terry Pendleton is at or near the top of the list. He played for the Braves and Reds, among other teams during the 1980s and 1990s. Other possibilities: Lou Piniella (ex-Devil Rays, Yankees, etc.), Joe Girardi (ex-Marlins), and Dusty Baker (ex-Cubs, Giants). Preliminary talks with Alfonso Soriano are underway as well. See Washington Post.