Peer-reviewing the GMs

6 Comments

The Buster Olney story I mentioned earlier today in which he got the inside dirt from general managers about general manager is up. It’s Insider only, however, and will be in the July 12th edition of ESPN the Magazine. Some highlights:

  • Easiest GM to make a deal with: Jim Hendry, Cubs. And no, it’s not because he’s a bad GM who is easy to fleece. It’s because he’s a nice guy and people just like him. And because he’s easy to fleece, I’d guess.
  • Toughest: Brian Sabean, for the points mentioned in today’s earlier article. Ned Colletti is an honorable mention because GMs don’t know that he really has any authority when they talk to him.  Probably because he’s being steered by a couple of psycho owners and V-Energy and everything.
  • Great quote about Omar Minaya being a “card player”: “He’ll offer you a $5 bill and ask for two 10s in return.”
  • An intriguing vote of confidence for Theo Epstein: “Theo’s career has been helped by being in Boston, but I think that if
    you had put him in Kansas City five years ago, they’d be pretty good
    right now.”
  • And finally, something I’ve heard said about the Rays’ Andrew Friedman before, though I’m not sure we know enough about what GMs do all day to really say for sure: “He’s the best GM in the game.”

Anyway, it’s a pretty neat article. One of the few that ESPN puts out there that, in my opinion anyway, justifies an Insider subscription.  If they did more stuff like this I’d tell everyone to put their money down for it.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

Getty Images
2 Comments

Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.