So, not so great yesterday with the crystal ball. The Reds most certainly did not come through, though they had their chances. The A’s also didn’t come through, but I think Justin Verlander had more than a little something to do with that. It’s hard to blame Oakland for that. The Cardinals were beat on a walk-off homer from Jason Werth, but as described before, I have a hard time caring. At least Baltimore did force a game five, and did it in the thirteenth inning. I told you these guys are evenly matched.
First off, yes, the Reds choked. But, I have a hard time blaming Dusty Baker, though. His guys had so many opportunities to score runs and win each game in Cincinnati. That’s all you can really ask for out of your manager. He can’t hit or pitch the ball himself. But he can finagle his line up to get the right guys up at the plate. He had reconfigured his rotation to start Mat Latos in the fifth game. Without Johnny Cueto, who else would you have wanted? Zack Cozart has been absolutely solid all year. You can’t blame Dusty that he dropped the ball trying to throw home. The Reds had the winning run at the plate in the form of Jay Bruce in the ninth. Jay Bruce, who you might be aware, has more than a little pop in his bat. Who else would you have wanted up in that spot? The only thing I can really see blaming Dusty for is relying on Scott Rolen at this point in his career. There are probably reasons why Rolen got the time over Frazier at this point, and it probably all points to the past. Truly, that’s the only thing I could say I would have done differently had I been in Dusty’s shoes, and there could well have been reasons outside of his control for playing Rolen.* I mean, do you think Joe Girardi really wants to put A-Rod into the line up every day at this point?
*His rumored retirement is probably high on that list. The nice thing is, though, the Reds should be built to do this for quite a few years.
That series also would have been much different if Joey Votto’s power hadn’t abandoned him since his surgery. If I were a real Reds fan, I would be holding my breath and praying that the power does come back. It would be a huge shame if it didn’t. Votto’s still a very good hitter without his power, but he is superb (or better) with it.
I didn’t see any of the A’s-Tigers game. I was already fast asleep when it started. But, I read that Verlander finally had a dominant performance in a clincher. This is overdue. But, A’s fans can take some heart. If they’re willing to spend just a little bit of money, this is a team with a brilliant future. There might not have ever been a team that outperformed expectations as far as these guys did. Sure, there have been surprise playoff teams and even surprise teams to make the World Series. But I don’t think any of them were so roundly viewed as undertalented also-rans before the first pitch of the year. The other teams that came through like that were viewed as being pretty good teams, but not very good teams. I don’t know if anybody was looked at as a bad team that turned out to be a darned good team like this. If the Tigers had lost this series, though, Detroit would be in bad shape. This is a team that’s built to win right now. And if Verlander can finally find his mojo in the playoffs, it just might happen.
It’s getting on lunchtime now, so I’ll make the football portion of this quick. The Colts go to New York to face the Jets. I don’t think the Jets are a very good team, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this one. It’s on the road, and the Colts are primed for a let-down game after such a huge upset of the Packers. The Colts should win this game, but unfortunately, I don’t think they will. Purdue gets to play host to Wisconsin for homecoming. This game will most likely decide if Purdue is going to sneak into the B1G championship or not. I’ve gotten my hopes up about Purdue being competitive with Wisconsin before, and they’ve been shattered. I’m going to have to pick against my Boilers this week.
Lest you think I’m all pessimism, I do think Wabash will win this week. They travel to St. Louis to take on the Bears of Washington. Wabash has had two games where they look like the Little Giants they were supposed to be. The last time Wabash went out to their place, they played one of the worst games I’ve seen out of them and lost. This year’s Washington team is nowhere near as good as that one, and Wabash already got their toe-stub game out of the way. Besides, Washington couldn’t even beat DePauw, so they’ve got to be bad, right? Wabash should win this one going away.
It’s lunchtime for me. Plus I’ve got to buy new shoes. We’ll see you next week when we have a clear picture of the LCS.