With the Yankees and Dodgers and Angels completing their sweeps over their respective opponents over the weekend, we're down to one division series to analyze. For now, let's look at three folks from yesterday who contributed to their team's success and/or demise:
- Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: What's that? Wasn't Jonathan Papelbon the dude who blew the Red Sox lead with two outs and two strikes on three straight batters in the top of the ninth? Wasn't the parade of Angels hitters who drew walks and hits more important that the Red Sox center fielder? Shouldn't credit be given to Angels closer Brian Fuentes for actually doing a good job with a 1-2-3 ninth for the save? Why am I asking so many hypothetical questions? The fact remains, on Vlad Guerrero's bases loaded, two-run single to center that not only tied the game but gave the Angels the lead, Ellsbury was playing so deep in center field he could smell the exhaust on I-90. Ellsbury was so deep that there was no chance to catch a ball that, had he played in his normal spot, he would have held the Angels to just one run via sac fly and given the Sox another chance.
- Nick Punto, Twins: The Twins played a risky game of aggressive baserunning all season long; sometimes it worked and sometimes the team fell flat on their face like Punto did last night. Nick Punto committed a conspicuous RIVERA, rounding third base through a stop sign in the eighth inning and killing a rally dead. Just like the Rays in 2008, the Twins lived and died via aggressive baserunning, finishing very high in extra bases taken but also high in outs recorded on the paths. Punto's RIVERA not only ruined a great chance of the Twins winning Game Three, he added to the Jeter Mystique.
- Jerry Meals and Ron Kulpa, Umpires: Sheesh, do we have to keep talking about this? The Phillies scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning last night thanks to the rare double-missed-call on a Chase Utley "single". Utley smacked an infield hit that actually bounced off his leg; Meals missed the call at home. Rockies reliever Huston Street snagged the baseball and threw to Todd Helton at first just beating Utley; Kulpa blew that one by saying Helton was pulled off the bag. Folks, I've railed against instant replay in the past but all these egregious errors by umpires in the past week have really given fuel to Bud Selig's plan to round up and murder all the umps and replace them with computerized bionic baboons.
How would you like to shame my choices today?