Home MLB On the edge and in the balance

On the edge and in the balance

by Matt Smith

The A’s fortunes take a downturn and I stop posting for a few days.  Mere coincidence?  Mmmm, not really!

I’ve been in a mild sulk to be honest.  Getting past the Twins was a great achievement but, as Eric Chavez said himself, losing in the first round the last four times isn’t as painful as losing in the ALCS.  It’s a case of being so near yet so far from the ultimate prize.  Just like losing an FA Cup semi-final, losing in the big event is extremely tough but at least you made it to the event at all.

Still, I’ve got no real complaints about the A’s being 3-0 down.  The Tigers have simply been the better team in all three games.  Their hitters in particular have shown a hitherto unknown amount of patience at the plate, waiting for the Oakland pitchers to make a mistake and then capitalising on it.  We all know it is possible to come back from 3-0 down in the ALCS, but it’s not probable.  Jeremy Bonderman was originally drafted by the A’s and it would be a typical sports story if he was the guy who ended our season.  Danny Haren will be looking to start the fight back and can only hope that he gets some run support.

While the ALCS has the look of inevitability regarding its outcome (here’s hoping I’m wrong!), the NLCS is wide open.  Tom Glavine continued his play-off heroics in game one (despite what Albert Pujols may say), but the Cards fought back in a cracking match-up yesterday.  Scott Spiezio made Tony La Russa look clever (not an easy feat if you ask me) coming through with a couple of crucial hits in a spot start in place of Scott Rolen.  Everyone decamped on mass to St Louis straight after the game, with the initial game one rain out taking away the scheduled travel day.  The Cards will head home with a spring in their step, while the Mets may feel they let slip a good chance of taking control of the series.  I’m sure I am hardly the only person looking forward to a game seven decider.

Finally, I can’t let the moment pass without expressing my condolences to Cory Lidle’s family (how many other British baseball fans have been tut-tutting at news readers referring to Cory “Liddle”?).  I mentioned earlier in the week that it would be an interesting off-season in New York, but no one could have imagined that the initial interest would be caused by such a tragic event.

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