The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

LCS Mayhem

As recently as Saturday night I thought that by now the Yankees would be sitting at home on their couches (much like me) watching the conclusion of the NLCS to see who they’d be facing in the World Series. Improbably though, the Red Sox have taken the past two games and have made this into something of a series. With Curt Schilling taking the hill for the Red Sox tonight, almost anything could happen.

Literally. Schilling could be lights out and pitch a shutout. Or, and what seems more likely, given how things went down – Schilling could be highly ineffective, and put the Red Sox in a big hole early on. He could even cause himself a career ending injury tonight. I’m definitely not wishing for any of that later stuff to happen, but it could and that will only add to the drama and intrigue surrounding this series.

At this point, it’s shaping up to either be the same old story for the Red Sox, or the greatest comeback story in American League playoff history. Sure, other teams have come back from the brink of elimination to win the series, but none had the weight behind them like this Red Sox – Yankees series. None had the history behind them, or the media coverage, or the 19-run, 22-hit blowout put down on the Red Sox by the Yankees in Game 3. If the Red Sox come back and win this series, it will be the greatest come back in playoff history. The only question will be if the Red Sox have enough left in them to win the World Series. But after knocking off the Yankees, they might not care.

Oh wait, yes, of course they would.

And I’ll admit that I’m more than a little disappointed that the NLCS didn’t end quickly. I was hoping that either the Cardinals or the Astros would win the series in four or five games so that they’d have some time between series to rest their pitchers and get their rotation in order for the World Series. There’s still a possibility that that could happen – particularly if the Astros rest Roger Clemens tonight and somehow find a way to win.

That would allow Clemens to start game 1 of the World Series, and possibly two more games. It would also allow Roy Oswalt to be in position to start up to two games (assuming the series went long). But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. To make that happen, the Astros would have to win tomorrow night in St. Louis, against the team that had the best record in baseball during the regular season. Sure, the Astros took the season series, and even played well there at home, but many of those games (including the last four) took place at the end of the year when the Cardinals had the division and top seed in the playoffs locked up, and little else to play for.


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