Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mid-Week Recap

So we've had so much going on over the past four days with all of my squads, that a rewind of the events is in order. We'll go team by team in order of relevance at this particular moment.


We all know what's going down. The Tribe has knocked off the Yankees in Four to advance to the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox, fresh off a sweep of the Los know what, to write out that whole stupid new name...Angels, have decided to alter their rotation a bit. Cy Young Candidate Josh Beckett will go in Game One as expected, but Terry Francona has pushed Curt Schilling ahead of Daisuke Matsuzaka for the Game Two start. "Red Light Curt" will then be in line to make two starts at Fenway if need be. Dice-K will start Game Three Monday at the Jake, followed by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, if Wakefield's back allows him to. My thinking is that if the Indians are up 2-1 in the series at that point, Beckett would come back on three days rest in place of Wakefield.

The Red Sox took five of seven from the Tribe earlier this year. But as we just saw against the Yankees, what happened in the regular season has little bearing come October. If you recall however, the series at Jacobs Field in June had back to back 1-0 games, one won by each team. In those two games, the Indians threw Fausto Carmona (8 IP, 0 ER, W) and C.C. Sabathia (7 IP, 1 ER, L). The two pitchers who faced the Tribe were Beckett and Dice-K.

It's nice and quiet here for a few days and that is fine by the Indians, and by me. As much as the Tribe needed a couple of "mental health days," so did I. I'm spent. These games take a ton out of me as a Tribe fan. We'll be geared back up come Friday night. Tomorrow I will have a positional breakdown for you, the way I did for the Yankees series. Links to peep are below:

What the Astros Can Learn From the Indians, Rockies, D'Backs - Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle

Indians Rate Preferential Treatment - Dan Shaughnessey, Boston Globe

More Than One Factor in Pitching Change - Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

Peter Gammons on insider gave the Tribe their just props:

The saddest part of the Indians-Yankees series is that the story became Torre and Steinbrenner and A-Rod, not a Cleveland team that won more games than the Yankees during the season. With a payroll half the size of the Red Sox's, the Indians matched Boston in wins. They moved two kids named Asdrubal Cabrera and Franklin Gutierrez into key positions in mid-August (after which they had the best record in the league), and they took Carmona out of Buffalo and watched him develop into one of the three or four best pitchers in the league. It's a shame that the swarm of bugs became the story of Game 2, the reason Chamberlain lost. When Carmona got to the Indians' bench after pitching during The Plague, they scraped more than 50 bugs off his neck and face, but Carmona didn't get distracted.

The Indians' lineup is deep, they play defense, they have two great starters, two very good relievers (Rafael Perez and Betancourt), and they grind out at-bats and make it hard for starting pitchers to get into the seventh inning. They deserved to beat the Yankees, and it's possible that they will deserve to beat the Red Sox. They aren't a tabloid team in an era when celebrity news is so legitimized that Paris Hilton gets 100 hits on Google for every one for Nancy Pelosi.


Readers of MTAC emailed me wanting to know how I didn't have at least a blurb or two about the Browns 34-17 loss at New England Sunday. Well here's your analysis. I didn't see the first half as I was on a plane home from pit that is New Orleans. I have to give the Browns a lot of credit for sticking with the Patriots in the second half. Down 20-0 at halftime, Derek Anderson put together some nice drives and put up points. True, his interception in the end zone was an atrocious throw that only a 5th grader or Charlie Frye would make, but he recovered well. I happen to think they should stick with Anderson as long as possible. No need to rush the Golden Boy Brady Quinn the way DA has handled the starting job. With the weak Miami Dolphins coming to town Sunday, the Browns are starting at a 3-3 record with Anderson at 3-2 as a starter. The Fins will be starting Cleo Lemon at QB this week. Derek Anderson vs. Cleo Lemon. Boy, that NFL sure does have a lot of quality at the QB position these days, doesn't it?

I'll be honest, the Browns are so off my radar screen right now. So Eric Steinbach said that the late game knee-dive at Joe Thomas by Patriots OLB Mike Vrabel was a "cheap shot." I have to say I don't really care. Will Jamal Lewis' foot allow him to play Sunday or will Northwestern's own Jason Wright get the nod at RB? Snooze. I do hope Jamal's foot is OK though, I like the way he has run the ball so far this year. He looks like a man on a mission. Punter Scott Player was cut because Dave Zastudil's back is fine? Woo Hoo! I will miss Player's single-bar facemask and his 80's porn stash. Sunday also marks the return home of Glenville High School and Ohio State's own Ted Ginn Jr.

Dolphins Should Let Lemon Take the Reins - Armando Salguero, Miami Herald

Scouting the Dolphins - Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer


Last Night at the Q was the Cavaliers first preseason game. Not that preseason NBA is even worth watching, let alone talking about, but the Cavaliers put up a pitiful 62 point performance, mostly because Lebron James played just 15 minutes. The most important aspect of the preseason will be to watch the contract disputes of Anderson Varajao and Sasha Pavlovic. Both are currently not with the team holding out for a long term deal. Varajao is the more important guy - without him, the Cavs are forced to see what they have in backup bigs Cedric Simmons, acquired in a trade two weeks ago with New Orleans, and Dwayne Jones, who was with the team all of last year, but got about as much run as I did on my high school team.

Simmons is intriguing because he is a wiry big body (6'9, 206) and former first round pick out of N.C. State. He has the potential to be an upgrade as the 5th big behind Z, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall, and Varajao. But the Cavaliers don't want to have to go into the 2007-08 season with Simmons having such a key role. That would mean they would be without Andy.

Most importantly last night, was the crowd reaction towards Lebron. This was his first real public appearance in Cleveland since "The Yankee Hat incident." It was reported in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer that signs in the Q included "Lebron, How 'bout them Yankees" and "Lebron, Did you Witness That Game Last Night?" However, the crowd still cheered him as always.

Cavs at Forefront of NBA Restraint - Brian Windhorst, Akron Beacon-Journal

Cavaliers Display Good, Bad, Ugly - Brian Windhorst, Akron Beacon-Journal

Kansas Basketball:

As the months turn to winter, you will see more and more about my KU Jayhawks basketball program. It's been a rough summer recruiting tour for coach Bill Self. Many of his targets including Big Man Greg Monroe (dropped KU off his list), Wing DeAndre Liggins (committed to Kentucky), SF Terrance Henry (committed to Ole Miss), and Big Romero Osby (committed to Ole Miss) all passed on KU. The only commitment Self received was a layup, Wing Travis Releford from suburban Kansas City who is a top 25 recruit. Last Friday, 6'5 JUCO player Mario Little gave KU a verbal commitment. Little, a former Chicago Public League star, chose KU over Illinois and Kansas State. Once again, Self has taken a Chicago kid right from under the nose of U of I coach Bruce Weber.

Self has had his sights set for months of Dallas big man J'Mison Morgan of South Oak Cliff High School, the same school that produced KU's Sophomore stud Darrell "Shady" Arthur. Morgan is said to be a KU lean, but anything is possible at this point. Top 10 SG Willie Warren who has made headlines with his ridiculously outspoken commentary on his recruitment, is scheduled to visit October 19-20th. This weekend marks the KU "Late Night" tradition know to most schools as Midnight Madness. The Morris Twins, Marcus (Rivals #37) and Markief (#74) of Cherry Hill, NJ are scheduled for their visit. They had previously verballed to Memphis, but backed out after the Tigers signed 6-10 Angel Garcia last month. The Twins have a final three of KU, Villanova, and St. John's.

Lastly, yesterday's preseason All Big 12 team was announced and it featured KU's Arthur and Brandon Rush. Guards Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins were listed as Honorable Mention. Said coach Bill Self: "We have multiple guys who deserve preseason All-Big 12 recognition, and I think it’s great that we had a couple of guys land on the team. I also think Mario, Sherron, Sasha (Kaun), Darnell (Jackson) and Russell (Robinson) are worth mentioning too, because we will be a balanced team.”

Morris Twins Set Date for Visit - Gary Bedore, Lawrence Journal-World

Two Jayhawks Named All-Big 12 - Gary Bedore, Lawrence Journal-World

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