October 2, 2002

Not a bad first day

Yours truly is getting some nice things said about the Playoff Preview and Predictions article that I posted on this site on Monday.

Since I am never one to pass up a compliment and always one to tell other people about them...

John Perricone from "Only Baseball Matters" actually posted my entire article on his site as a "guest column."

I suspect that most of the people that read this site regularly also read his site regularly, but nonetheless, it was a very nice gesture.

He called it a "truly spectacular playoff preview" on Monday.

And then today, after the first day of games, he pointed out to everyone that I did pretty well previewing the Yankees/Angels series (at least as far as game one goes).

Here is what John wrote:

".... Nostrodamus?

Looking back at Aaron Gleeman's playoff previews, I found that he absolutely nailed the Yankees/Angels series. He said, among many things:

...will the Yankees struggle to score runs when the walks aren't as plentiful and they aren't getting as many opportunities to hit a 3-run home run?
Last night, they were able to get that three-run home run.

I think the Yankees will be able to score runs off of Anaheim's pitching staff, particularly off of Appier, Ortiz and the middle relief.
4 runs off of Weber and Donnelly.

The Angels simply do not strikeout.
No kidding. I mean, come on, Ekstein fouled off a pitch out.

We should be seeing a lot of bouncing ground balls that get by the outstretched gloves of Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano.
I counted three, at least.

Can the Angels stop the Yankees from scoring? I think the answer to that, outside of Jarrod Washburn and Troy Percival, will be no.
The answer was no, at least for one night.

I see a lot of 6-4 and 7-5 games, with the Yankee middle relief (Mendoza, Weaver, Stanton, Karsay, El Duque) doing a better job than the Angels' (Weber, Donnelly, Levine, Schoeneweis, Shields).
Final score, 8-5.

See, I told you it was a spectacular preview. Great job, Aaron."

Also, fellow Twins nut, John Bonnes over at Twinsgeek.com, called my article "an uber-comprehensive overview of all the playoff series."

Thanks guys.

And to all my readers that don't regularly check out those two sites (if there are any of you) I suggest you do so, they are both awesome.

Okay, enough with other people complimenting me! (I would keep going, but I ran out of compliments to tell you about)

And on to the baseball...

That was one hell of a first day of the playoffs!

First and foremost (well, second behind all the compliments I got, I guess) the Twins somehow managed to beat Oakland, in Oakland, despite trying their absolute hardest to give the game away in the first couple of innings.

Except for the errors (Brad Radke needs to get the f@%! out of the way on pop ups, he just stands there!) the Twins won by doing almost the exact same things I said they would need to do to get a win (oops, now I am giving compliments to myself!).

This is what I said in the preview:

"The Twins are going to have to take advantage of the one area of strength that they have over Oakland, their bullpen.

The A's have great starting pitching, but if the Twins can work some long at bats and get those pitch counts up, they can get into the Oakland pen and do some damage.

It is a lot easier said than done obviously, as Zito, Hudson and Mulder are all complete game shutouts waiting to happen at anytime and in any game."

"The Twins need to get decent pitching performances from their right handed starting pitchers, get them out of the game before they can allow any damage and then turn the game over to the three great lefties in their bullpen, Johan Santana, J.C. Romero and Eddie Guardado."

Of course, I need to point out that I didn't actually think they would do those things (especially after the first two innings), but I am more than happy to have been wrong!

The Twins hit Tim Hudson pretty well and then Art Howe did them a small favor and lifted Hudson in the 6th inning.

And then, amazingly, the Twins lefties actually got hits off of a lefty pitcher (Ted Lilly).

Radke did the best he could have done to minimize the damage and then the Twins decided to "turn the game over to the three great lefties in their bullpen, Johan Santana, J.C. Romero and Eddie Guardado."

All in all, a hell of a win.

If they are planning on winning all of their games like this, I might not make it much longer!

Today's game will be the real test, facing A's lefty Mark Mulder.

I feel good knowing a) the series is going at least 4 games (meaning at least two in The Dome) and b) the Twins know they can get to Hudson now.

I already showed (or let other people show) how brilliant my preview of the Yankees/Angels series was, so I won't re-quote myself.

I definitely thought Mike Scioscia made a mistake not bringing in Troy Percival to face Bernie Williams.

Hindsight is obviously 20/20, but I just assumed that when he made a move to the bullpen to replace Schoeneweis, that he was going with Percival.

I agreed with all of his pitching moves up to the Williams at bat.

I really think it is sad that a statistic (saves) could have an impact on the way a manager manages a game.

If the Angels would have been up 1 run instead of the game being tied, I have no doubt in my mind that Percival would have been brought in.

You bring your best relief pitcher into the game in the most important spot you possibly can.

But because it was not a "save situation" (it was a "win or loss situation" instead) the Angels' best reliever stayed in the pen and...well, you know the rest.

I found myself rooting pretty heavily for the Angels as the game wore on.

I don't really see how someone could not root for David Eckstein.

Just as I don't see how someone not from or living in the New York area could possibly root for the Yankees.

I am sick of Derek Jeter being called "The New Mr. October."

The man is a very good baseball player and he plays well in the post-season, but the praise that is being heaped upon him for his "excellence in the clutch" is getting ridiculous.

"The New Mr. October" hit a robust .148 in last year's World Series and .118 in last year's AL Championship Series.

Like I said, he has been very good over the course of his career in the post-season, hitting .304/.372/.448 before yesterday.

But guess what? Those numbers are good, but they are actually worse than his career regular season numbers!

Wouldn't "The New Mr. October" have to actually play better in October than he does in every other month?

Can you imagine if Barry Bonds hit .148 in the World Series and .118 in the League Championship Series?

I have a feeling "The New Mr. October" wouldn't be among the things people would be calling him.

Jeter is a good player who tends to be highly overrated.

I undertand it though, he plays shortstop for the most successful franchise in baseball history, he apparently is good looking and he has made some very good plays on a national stage.

By the way, "Mystique and Aura" did not "make an appearance" last night, Mike Scioscia did.

Okay, rant over.

Enjoy the baseball today folks.

I watched about 10 hours of it yesterday and I am planning on doing the exact same thing today.

Yes, it's true, I have no life.

But I sure do love baseball.

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