Each morning during the playoffs, we'll attempt to answer some questions about the playoff games that absolutely nobody asked. This could be helpful and fun or this could be painful and uninformative. Either way, it's another listicle in the listicle-ful sportsblogosphere.
- Who deserves the most credit for Matt Stairs home run? Well technically, Matt Stairs should be lauded for, you know, actually swinging the bat and putting the baseball into the stands, but let's go back a bit further. Charlie Manuel was down to Stairs and catcher Chris Coste on his bench in the eighth and went with the guy who had just two playoff at-bats to face the Dodgers tough righty closer, Jonathan Broxton. But really, that was a pretty simple decision to make. Truly, we must salute general manager Pat Gillick for making that late August trade with the Blue Jays to bring the slugger Stairs to fill out a solid Philly bench. He never could have imagined this particular situation, but having three solid lefty bats on the bench finally proved to be a great idea against the Dodgers righty-stacked bullpen.
- What happened to the Jon Lester we all knew and loved? Nothing I guess, he didn't do anything differently last night. The Rays just approached his fastball with fervor for once, After getting just two runs off the lefty in twenty innings during the regular season (three Lester wins), Maddon's Rays finally jumped on his pitches, sending two of his pitches into the seats and bringing five fellas around to score. It was the first time since June that Lester had allowed two taters in a game. He also hadn't allowed any leadoff runners to reach base in his first two playoff starts but let the first man reach in the second, third, and fourth innings last night.
- How giddy is B.J. Upton right now? Kid's got five tater tots in his first 31 postseason at-bats. In comparison, and forgive me for doing this, baseball purists, but among great centerfielders of all time: Kirby Puckett's five postseason taters came in 97 at-bats, Ty Cobb had zero in 65 playoff at-bats, Joe Dimaggio needed 200 World Series at-bats to hit 8 dongs, and Willie Mays hit just one homer in 89 postseason at-bats. He may never get back to this lofty company again but to be here now, kid's gotta be just high-fiving Baby Jesus in his head right now.
- Will any non-Manny Dodger get a big hit? Manny Ramirez is OPS'ing 1.584 in 18 NLCS plate appearances. The rest of the team is hovering around the .700 mark. So far, the only Dodger to have a big hit in the series is Blake DeWitt, whose Game Three bases-clearing triple is his only hit so far in the series. The Dodgers lineup has simply been too one-dimensional in this series which is the exact opposite of what they were in September and their crushing NLDS romp over the Cubs. It's time for Ethier or Blake or Martin to get off their ass and do something if the Dodgers want to avoid being sent packing tomorrow night.
- What the hell happened to our shitty blog last night? The script that allows comments to be made shut down and the entire publishing system nearly went into the crapper and yet our guest bloggers Dmac and Sooze kept bringing the awesomeness in their glogs. Hopefully, comments are working smoothly today and hopefully, they'll continue to work tonight, when we bring you the liveglog of ALCS Game Four.