Just not a lot going on right now, so some general thoughts:
- The Cardinals say they have extended the time frame on the GM search. Also, LaRussa is getting daily reports on what’s going on, who they are talking to, etc., so it’s pretty obvious that Tony will be back for another year. The only way that extending the search turns out to be a positive thing is if the Cardinals bring in someone like a Chris Antonelli who is involved in the playoffs. If they take this valuable time and then just let Mozeliak have the job, they are really putting themselves behind the eight ball when it comes to things like contacting free agents, setting priorities, etc. Because, reasonably, Mozeliak can’t be planning all that far in advance since he doesn’t know if it’s his job or not.
That said, what is the new GM going to think about having a manager already in place, and not only a manager, but a Hall-of-Famer who has the undivided attention of management? If they want to get their own guy in there, even if it’s next year, do they have the freedom to let Tony go? When push comes to shove, who is DeWitt going to listen to? To get top talent in that job, DeWitt is going to have to assure them that they outrank the field manager. That could be hard for him to do.
- Josh Beckett is proving to be the next John Smoltz. It’s amazing how well he pitches in big games. I wanted Cleveland to win last night, but I knew when they got down 2-1, it was probably over. The only thing that gave Cleveland some hope was his response after the Lofton incident. He seemed to be overly pumped after that, having a little trouble with location and the Indians got two on with two out, but couldn’t convert. Then the Red Sox started tacking on and that was that.
- Cleveland has to feel a little uncomfortable, even with the 3-2 lead. Carmona goes tomorrow night, and that’s a positive for them, assuming he doesn’t get rattled by the big crowd at Fenway, like he did in Game 2. If he comes out and pitches his game, there’s a good chance that the Indians clinch. He’s up against a big game pitcher in Schilling, who could come out and dominate as well. If it goes to a Game 7, it’s anyone’s ballgame. Neither starter inspires all that much confidence right now, and with the Sox having the last at bat, the Indians wouldn’t be all that favored. They really need to finish it off on Saturday if at all possible. Score early on Schilling and give Carmona a little bit of confidence. And call up the Cardinals–they have plenty of experience (1985 World Series, 1996 NLCS) blowing 3-1 leads.
- You might have heard about the whole Joe Torre thing. Nice to see very few are falling for the “Torre left willingly” bit that the Yankees were trying to create by offering him that contract. It was a situation where you make things miserable enough, you’ll get the employee to quit on their own without having to fire them. With the zoo that is New York, there’s no way a guy that had put in all that time would take a one-year contract, especially one that called for basically a pay cut. Having to deal with the whole circus around whether he’s gone at the end of next year, if he has to make the playoffs to keep his job, if he could be replaced mid-season, all of that wasn’t worth the money, especially since Torre is not hurting at all. Be interesting to see if they hire a former Yankee like Mattingly or Girardi and how they’ll fare with the press and the fans.
- It’ll be nice when the Series is over and the Hot Stove league can really get heated up. Not that the end of baseball is ever a great thing, but these playoffs are dragging along with the off days, short series, etc. Let’s have a good Series then get to the fun of the offseason!