The 15 Mr. Octobers (cont.)
Posted: Monday October 29, 2007 1:52AM; Updated: Monday October 29, 2007 10:12AM
11. Dave Stewart, A's, Blue Jays. Untouchable in League Championship Series -- 8-0 with a 2.03 ERA -- he always gave a good effort. Full of moxie and finished at 10-6 with a 2.84 ERA in October play.
12. Jack Morris, Twins, Tigers, Blue Jays. Turned in perhaps the single greatest postseason pitching performance of the era, winning Game 7 1-0 for the Twins over the Braves in the 1991 last-to-first showdown. Overall, he was 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA in the World Series and 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA in all postseason games.
13. Ramirez, Red Sox, Indians. He is the all-time recordholder with 24 career postseason homers, and that .519 lifetime slugging percentage in October isn't too shabby, either. Since the 2004 World Series, he's slugged .710.
14. Ortiz, Red Sox. A .317 career hitter in postseason play, there are stretches when he never seems to make an out.
15. Kirk Gibson, Tigers, Dodgers. If only for that one moment, he makes the list. I couldn't believe what I just saw either (and I was there). His lifetime .842 Series slugging percentage isn't bad, either.
Around the Series and the Majors
The Red Sox disproved the old "crapshoot'' theory espoused by a lot of folks who keep losing in the playoffs. The best team won in 2007, and that is no fluke.
I'm just wondering. Does Boston lose at anything anymore?
The run differential of 19 is the most ever in a four-game sweep, and it was more about the Red Sox than the Rockies -- though the Rockies weren't themselves. The layoff hurt the Rockies, even if they were too polite to admit it. This wasn't the team that won 21 out of 22 games. That said, the best team still won.
Boston's duo of GM Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona make a superb tandem. It's refreshing to see a GM and manager get along to this degree. Also, it doesn't hurt that both are terrific at their jobs.
Epstein engenders some jealousy for being so good so young. But he absolutely has to try harder to get rid of Manny Ramirez this winter. A third title in five years with Ramirez will be totally unacceptable! ... OK, just teasing about that one.
Jonathan Papelbon volunteering to go back into bullpen in spring training was a key to the whole season. The Sox worried about his arm, but he wound up closing out the last three games and pitching more than an inning each time.
Mike Lowell, an admitted "throw-in'' in the Beckett deal is another key. To bat .400 and win the World Series MVP after his superb regular season shows he's one of the greatest throw-ins in baseball history.
The story of Jon Lester is a wonderful one. The kid who overcome lymphoma won the clincher for 5 2/3 shutout innings. Having interviewed him in spring when he was just trying to get back to pitching is a memory for me. He's a quiet and dedicated young man. Everyone was thrilled for him. "Personally, I feel we have a little bit of a link because of what both of us have gone through,'' said Lowell, who beat testicular cancer earlier in his career.
The Rockies' crowd showed something by never giving up, even when all was lost. And it was lost, certainly by Game 4. The Rockies still captured a city, even if they didn't come so close to capturing the crown in the end. And that's not bad, either.
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