(Afternoon Links provided by Guest Blogger David Vidinha. Dave can be reached at DVidinha@gmail.com)
The Red Sox will look to even their series with the Indians tonight under the lights at Jacobs Field. With yesterday’s win the Indians are now 3-0 in this year’s postseason at the towel haven that is the Jake. Despite the ground swell from certain contingents of Red Sox nation, as well as the media to start Josh Beckett, manager Terry Francona will hand the ball to the veteran knuckleballer “Bill Wakefield”, err – Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield who has not pitched in this year’s postseason due to back problems, will make his first start since September 29th. Wakefield who sports an impressive 4-0 2.61 ERA in four career LCS starts will look to silence Cleveland’s bats. Also a win tonight will serve to take the momentum back in the Sox direction and guarantee a return to the friendly confines of the Fens.
Opposing Wakefield will be grizzled veteran Paul Byrd. Byrd who’s coming off of the ALDS clinching victory against the Yankees last Monday, steps to the mound with a career 4-2 record vs the Sox. Included in that 4-2 record is a victory over the Sox on May 30th in which Byrd yielded two runs over six innings.
The game will begin one hour later than last night’s start time, with Fox’s coverage scheduled to begin at 8PM. Fox sideline reporter and baseball writer Ken Rosenthal says the Sox babying of Beckett now may cost them the playoffs, saying that “pitchers are all but sealed in bubble wrap”.
Despite the statistics of pitchers pitching on three days rest, Rosenthal is not a man alone on an island. Yahoo! Sports Dan Wetzel feels the same way, making his case to Terry Francona about pitching Beckett in Game Four. Stan McNeal over at the Sporting News gives his three reasons for Beckett over Wake. Even the NY Post’s Mike “Dropi Papi” Vaccaro gives us his take. Dan Lamothe pleads his case to Tito.
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci says that pitching coaches should look away as tonight’s two starters both “non-conformists” and employ rather awkward styles of pitching. Tom also says Dice-K has hit a wall. Howard Bryant picks up where Verducci left off saying that while Dice-K didn’t exactly melt down, a la Wang, he managed to exhaust himself and his manager. Check out this Insider Edge “Pitcher Command Report”, in it we see that our eyes weren’t fooling us watching Dice-K pitch last night. Pay attention to how many “major miss spots” he had last night.
Jackie MacMullan had a chat today, you can guess what a majority of the questions were.
Around the Web
Somehow in Peter Schrager’s Power Rankings, the Patriots demolition of Dallas does not warrant a #1 ranking.
Charley Rosen over at Fox Sports has his Atlantic Division preview.
Peter King has his MMQB Tuesday Edition. Peter actually defends the Patriots from a disgruntled Cowboy fan who alleged the Pats ran up the score. Speaking of Peter, he tried and failed to defend himself over the SpyGate/Wade Philips he said/she said drama on his weekly appearance on WEEI this past week. Not only did Peter not really defend himself but he managed to answer every question posed to him, with a question. For as talented of a football insider Peter is, he sounded horrible in that interview.
Bill Simmons gives his take on the Pats running up the score, as well as other thoughts.
Mike Reiss has his weekly mailbag.
Since his season is now over, Derek Jeter is using his clout to fix parking tickets.
The Inside Track was all over Paul Pierce’s 30th B-Day.
Vic Carucci has his rankings set.
Cold Hard Football Facts re-examines their findings regarding “establishing the run”.
Raise your hand if you took the Rockies odds at the beginning of the year……well if you did, your a happy man.
Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports has his Atlantic Division preview.
“Going from a day of Patriots on Sunday to a day of the Rockies on Monday is like stepping off of death row in a rotting Kentucky prison, and into an open grassy meadow with fresh air, dandelions, a clear blue sky, and 37 young, beautiful Brazilian females in the midst of an anything-goes orgy.” That is an actual quote from a “column” on AOL’s Fanhouse. The author is listed as none other than Gregg Easterbrook. I kid, I kid!!
Joe Sports Fan has a memo from God regarding Bill Simmons’ favorite comedian.
Sabernomics has a look at the crazy contract Joel Piñeiro just signed.
Aaron Schatz over at Football Outsiders has this week’s DVOA Rankings.
On TV Tonight
All of the Boston sports world will be focused on tonight’s ALCS Game Four. The game which will begin at 8PM is being broadcast on Fox. For the seven hockey fans left in the Boston area, there is a NHL game between Atlanta and Philadelphia at 7PM on Versus. For the rest of tonight’s action check here.