Hisashi Iwakuma did something weird Wednesday night, but that's not the weirdest part of this.
On Wednesday, Hisashi Iwakuma got his first save in the majors. It doesn't really call for an analysis of his post-save celebration, because it was one of those bastard saves where the pitcher protects a (in this case) 12-run lead by pitching at least the final three innings. Iwakuma's win probability added: 0.02, as he allowed three runs.
A closer look at how each of the four LCS teams were put together kicks off with Boston's ballclub.
With the postseason underway, now is a good time to look at the final four participants and talk about where these players came from on a scouting and player development level. Sometimes we can learn quite a bit about how a team was built, and sometimes all we have are good stories. Since rosters are not due to MLB until the morning before a series' first game, we'll go off each team's divisional series roster, and start with the Red Sox.
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Derek has a rundown of a Game You May Have Heard About.
So the question is, why are we back with these two teams? They came into this weekend series a game and a half apart in the standings atop the AL East. So far, the Yankees have taken the first three games-sweeping a Friday doubleheader that featured an afternoon blowout and the longest nine-inning game in major league history in the nightcap, then blasting past the Sox in the late innings of Saturday's game. With two games left in the series, the Red Sox have the opportunity to salvage the series, or to watch a prime chance slip through their fingers. With the level of competition we are seeing in the AL Central, the loser of this division race is anything but guaranteed a playoff spot via the wild card.
The Red Sox were swept out of the AL East race on merit, by a team that is just better than them right now.
The Yankees' brutal, and at times ugly, dispatch of the Red Sox over 75 or so hours was perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2006 baseball season. As disparate as the two teams' fortunes had been since the All-Star break, their recent history of playing each other to essentially a draw seemed to mandate a split, a 3-2 series that would leave the AL East race largely unchanged heading into the season's final six weeks.
Let's hear it for rainouts, as Derek checks out the Schilling v. Santana showdown in Minneapolis.
Welcome to yet another edition of Game of the Week. As you might have noticed, the game we set out to cover last week was rained out. That game, the nightcap of a planned Saturday day/night doubleheader between the Red Sox and Rangers at Fenway Park, was to have featured Red Sox past and future--former Sock John Wasdin going for the Texans, young Texan ace-of-the-future Josh Beckett pitching for the Beantowners.
It was a postseason atmosphere with postseason consequences in Boston last night. Paul breaks down the game.
Wang threw 104 pitches, 54 for strikes, and was out of sync quite a bit. He went to 3-0 counts with four batters, walking three, and 3-1 with three other batters, walking two of those. John Olerud started the fifth with a four pitch walk. Bill Mueller followed, working the count to 3-1, giving Wang seven balls in eight pitches to start the inning. Rather than let Wang hang himself with shoddy location, Mueller instead did what Mueller does best: he grounded into a double play. Mueller ranks 18th overall and first on the Red Sox in NET DP with a score of 6.44. Logic dictates you try to draw a walk in this situation, especially when you hit into a lot of DP's and you're facing a pitcher who produces a lot of DP's (Wang is 18th in pitcher NET DP). While this may seem a bit trivial now, these are the kinds of things that pile up in a three game series. Had the Sox put a couple more runs on the board here they may have forced the Yankees to go to the bullpen sooner.
The Sox did finally break through for three runs in the bottom of the sixth, but they may have been held to one run if not for some poor defense by Jason Giambi. Did the Yankees have better options at first base?