PUT THAT MOMENTUM IN A BAG AND FLY IT TO NEW YORK
“It’s nice to be going home and playing again, instead of going home and it’s over. This is the most fun for me, and I’ve got a ring. That says a lot.”
–Angels Game One starter John Lackey, after his team swept the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. The Angels will face the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in Game One of the ALCS on Friday.
“Vladdy is a Hall of Famer in my book. They said he couldn’t hit a fastball anymore. That’s what a scout said to ESPN. I think he proved he can still do that.”
-Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, on his teammate’s base hit after the Red Sox intentionally walked him.
“I was watching the football game, and all of sudden some of the guys were yelling ‘Oh, my God’ and I went over and I saw the end of the Vlad hit. Everybody’s like ‘Wow can you believe this? You don’t see that too often with the Red Sox. Boston is still a good team, but it was the Angels’ time.”
-Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon, on the Sox loss.
“We’re finally here. I think that the fourth time’s a charm. It’s great for us, because we’ve been knocking on the door for a while.”
-Angels owner Arte Moreno, on his team advancing to the ALCS.
PLAYING FOR THE PIRATES HAS GIVEN HIM VALUABLE EXPERIENCE IN THESE SITUATIONS
It was 0-2, two outs, just waiting and planning on playing tomorrow. Then all of a sudden, one thing led to another and you look back and it was like, ‘Whoa-what just happened?’ He’s been our guy the entire year. Nobody goes through an entire year being perfect. It just happened it was Game Three, an elimination game in the postseason. But absolutely, we’ll take him any day of the week. … I feel bad for Pap, but at the same time, I don’t think anyone here looks at him and thinks it’s his fault. I think Pap’s strong enough to let this one go.”
-Red Sox left fielder Jason Bay, on closer Jonathan Papelbon‘s Game Three struggles.
“I think things happen quick more than anything. I wasn’t able to stop bleeding… Your team expects you to preserve that win for them, and when you don’t, it’s definitely not a good feeling.”
-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, on getting knocked around in the late innings of Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the Angels.
“It’s tough to walk the bases loaded. But he throws strikes and he had a lot of success against Guerrero. I think Hunter was probably 3-for-7 with a home run. I guess, put it in a nutshell, we thought it would give us a better chance to win. It didn’t work.”
-Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on walking Torii Hunter to get to Guerrero.
“I think it surprised everybody. I don’t think he deserves for [the fans] to do that. Obviously, it wasn’t everybody. You could tell that. But the few people that did [boo him], I personally think it was uncalled for. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. Hopefully we can come back next year and do better.”
-Red Sox starter Jon Lester, on the Fenway’s crowd reaction to Papelbon’s performance.
HE’S DESCENDED INTO A TAUTOLOGICAL LIMBO OF HIS OWN MAKING
“If you played the postseason 100 times, 50 times you might get bounced in the first round, and 25 times you get bounced in the next round, 12 times you might lose in the World Series, 13 times you might win the World Series. You’re not sure what you’re going to get. You root your players on, hoping that they show their best at the most important time, believing that they will, because we believe in their character.”
-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, before Game Three’s loss at Fenway Park.
“No, that sounds like a crutch. I think we got outplayed in this series. We didn’t play our best baseball. We didn’t play all that well, all things told, over these last three games. And they certainly did. They deserve it. They outplayed us fair and square and deserve to move on. You have to be a really good and play really well to win in the playoffs. We didn’t play well in this series.”
-Epstein, after his team was swept in three games.
“You find your mind going back to postseasons past and the last game. I still think about ’03. I still think about 2005 and last year. And now I’ll think about this. You don’t find yourself too often thinking about a Tuesday game against Seattle in April. Just as the times you win series, those stay in your memory bank, so do these. It’s part of life. It’s part of reality.”
-Epstein (Adam Kilgore, Boston Globe)
THEN WE ALL DECIDED TO SEND NICK PUNTO TO THE ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
“Although it was very disappointing again to lose another game where we had our chances, I told them I was very proud of them. From everything that they have been through this year, the run that they made to get here and the heart that they showed, they gave us everything they had.”
–Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on the Yankees’ three-game sweep of his team.
“Right now, it just stings. It feels like we were just throwing champagne over everybody, and celebrating.”
-Twins catcher Joe Mauer
“Morneau and Mauer are coming from the Metrodome. That’s about it.”
-Twins president Carl St. Peter, on the team’s 2010 move to a new ballpark. (Jack Curry, The New York Times)
THE GREATEST GAME EVER FORGOTTEN ABOUT SIX DAYS LATER
“Early on, it was a nice bonding experience. Everybody’s having a good time… but the game kept going on. We’re like, ‘C’mon, is this going 16 innings?'”
-Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, on watching Tuesday’s Twins-Tigers playoff game with his front-office staff.
“I’m really upset that it ended the way it did, having Brandon get hit by a pitch, because that totally changes that game. I can understand how the ump didn’t see the pitch hit him, but to say video was inconclusive upsets me because everybody in America saw that it did.”
-Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on the should-have-been HBP suffered by Brandon Inge.
“I want a hit as much as the next guy, but when it’s that important, it hit my shirt. I’m not going to lie.”
-Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, on the pitch.
“If Randy Marsh, who has worked about 4,000 games, said the replays he saw were inconclusive, then I would have to agree with his assessment at this point.”
–Mike Port, MLB’s VP of Umpiring (Jason Beck, MLB.com)
WHY NOT THROW A BAT AT HIM INSTEAD?
“I didn’t see the play, so I would have had coaches in the booth calling in my ear on my headset. Give me a headset, give me a red flag, and we can fix this stuff. But I’d have to have somebody calling in my ear to throw the flag.”
-Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on a should-have-been double by Joe Mauer in Game Two of the ALDS against the Yankees that was called foul by umpire Phil Cuzzi.
“The great thing about baseball is the human element of the ball, and I hope we keep it that way. It’s not easy when you’re in New York. The lines are short, it’s not easy. So there you have it. You’re going to have a few (mistakes).”
“There’s really nothing we can do about a terrible call, and that’s really what it was-a terrible call at the wrong time. When they showed the replay, I thought it was at least going to be a close call, but this thing was clearly about 8 or 10 inches inside the line, and [Cuzzi] was about 10 feet from it.”
-Twins closer Joe Nathan, on the call. (Anthony Rieber, Newsday)
AND THE WORST THING TO HAPPEN TO JAMEY NEWBERG
“I thank God that Joe Torre gave me this opportunity. This has been the best thing to happen to me all my life.”
–Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla, on closing out his team’s series against the Cardinals on Saturday.
“Of course we want Albert to hit home runs. But sometimes he can’t. Someone has to pick up the slack sometime. It’s up to us to do it.”
-Cardinals infielder Julio Lugo, on his teammate’s power drought in the series.
“I came to the realization in August there was no predicting how these guys might do, but when they show up to play, they are really something.”
-Dodgers manager Joe Torre, on his team’s sweep of the Cardinals.
“I didn’t know what it would be like to play for him. I’d heard he was a great guy. He seemed pretty solid over there with the Yankees. I didn’t know if he had a sense of humor. You just always saw him kind of sitting there in the dugout, and I never knew him other than that. He’s been fun to play for.”
-Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake, on his manager Joe Torre. (Mark Newman, MLB.com)
SOMEHOW ALBERT PUJOLS WILL EVENTUALLY BE BLAMED FOR THIS MISCUE
“I feel bad, because we know what he can do. He got better on defense when he was here. We know he’s better than that. Obviously, something went wrong. It never even hit his glove. If you’re in the big leagues, you know how to catch a ball.”
–Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba, on an error by Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday that cost his team Game Two against the Dodgers.
“I hope that when Matt gets introduced and when he comes to the plate for the first time [on Saturday], our fans give him a long standing ovation. And that’s what we expect, is our fans are going to be there, and we will not let them down.”
-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on his home crowd’s reaction to Holliday’s botched play before Game Three.
“As outfielders we know that’s a tough play, it’s a tough read. Whether it was Holliday or not, you feel bad for the outfielder because that’s a tough play in a game of that magnitude in the postseason obviously to a friend of ours, we feel bad.”
-Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs (Gerry Fraley, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“I’ve seen certain teams draft people and send pitchers right to the big leagues. You don’t see that very often with us, taking a pitcher like Porcello with Detroit and going right to the big leagues and not spending much time. We have a different philosophy, our organization always has. We like to run them through the levels and make sure we protect them as much as we can and get them there. Some people knock it. But it’s been successful for us. We’ve been able to maintain at least a chance to win now for, whatever, seven or eight years. The organization has a pretty good philosophy about taking care of these kids, and I like to see it.”
-Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on his club’s organizational philosophy. (Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune)
“There are no regrets. We understood the risk we took. If you don’t win your division, you don’t get to the postseason. When you look back, in hindsight, you understand that the talent we gave up is real and rich. We stood by those moves from day one, and thankfully they made for a very exciting season.”
-Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, on his team parting with Brett Wallace in a mid-season trade only to see his club lose in the ALDS. (Derek Goould, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“I wasn’t much pissed that he wouldn’t overturn the pitches, but show me a little bit of respect. He just straight-faced me and then walked away. I was just like, I went up to [Victor Martinez]. I said, ‘Vic, he’d be pissed if I did that to him.’ I’m not asking him to even overturn it, just listen to what I have to say. Don’t like, take your mask off, straight-face me and then walk away. I can’t say anything to the point of getting thrown out.”
-Red Sox Game Two starter Josh Beckett, criticizing the behavior of home-plate umpire C.B. Bucknor. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)
“Going back to spring training, I think I’ve just taken some self-inventory. I just felt I had an opportunity to have a fresh start. I also know with all the stuff that went on, that being 34 and not 44, I had some opportunities to do some good things. So I went into this year with no expectations, and that was the approach I had all year. That’s been my approach so far.”
-Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (Jim Baumbach, Newsday)
“It was a great game. Great battle. Overall, I was proud of the way everybody pitched. Everybody found a way to stay warm and get people out.”
–Phillies closer Brad Lidge, on his team’s four-hour and six-minute victory over the Rockies on Sunday night. (Troy E. Renck, Denver Post)
“It’s a time-honored myth. A perception can be long held and certainly believed, but that doesn’t make it a fact.”
–Mike Port, MLB’s VP of Umpiring, on allegations of umpire favoritism toward the Boston Red Sox. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)
“If you want to talk about today’s game, we’ll talk about today’s game. If you’re talking about anything else, I’m walking right through that door, and I’m leaving.”
-Tigers manager Jim Leyland, to the media when asked about Miguel Cabrera playing while under the influence during the last week of the season.
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.