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Rothschild At Blame For Prior & Wood?

By bullpenbrian - November 23, 2010 - 12:01 am 15 comments.

Dusty Baker is blamed for the downfall of both Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.
But what about former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild?

Baker, of course, controlled the reins on how many pitches each threw and when they came out of the game. But does Larry get a free pass for not fixing the mechanical issues of Prior and Wood?

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Name That Cub!

By bullpenbrian - November 22, 2010 - 12:01 am 4 comments.

Is a Chicago native.
Pitched two seasons in the majors.
Made his debut on September 11, 1981.
Made his final appearance on September 11, 1982.
Has two World Series rings.
Name that Cub!

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Kerry Wood’s Clean Upper Lip

By bullpenbrian - October 26, 2010 - 12:01 am 6 comments.

SI.com

It hit me Friday when I saw Kerry Wood pitching for the Yankees just how close he had come to making the World Series again. But for the second time, Wood was on the wrong side of the upset.

It’s been seven long years since the 2003 NLCS. Wood was then, 26, and coming off his best season to date–(14-11), 3.20 ERA and 266 strikeouts.

Now he’s a well-worn 33-year-old, clean shaven and pitching in a set-up role.
But to make it this far, despite all the setbacks, is a credit to Wood’s character.

He’s handled the highs and lows like a pro, and by reinventing himself from dominate starter to a reliable setup man, he’s carved out a niche to stay in the game.

Wood’s calm demeanor and experience make him a perfect fit in New York. His long road back from arm recoveries has hardened him for the league’s toughest market.

What criticism hasn’t Wood heard about his game, his toughness, his durability that the New York media could say to rattle him? Nothing.

I know not all Cubs fans share my soft spot for Kerry, that the names Wood and Prior are haunting terms in Wrigleyville, names better left unsaid, names to be forgotten. But I still root for Wood, even despite his pindtripes and clean upper lip.

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Cliff Lee Yankees’ Daddy

By bullpenbrian - October 19, 2010 - 12:01 am 4 comments.

I picked the winner of Game 3 to win the ALCS. Texas in the World Series…who would have thunk it?

The series, of course, is far from over, but the Rangers have been in control since the first inning of Game 1. And with Cliff Lee, Ron Washington’s bunch knows anything is possible– including toppling the mighty Yankees.

Lee just makes it look so easy out there. Poised, in control and hardly a sweat to wipe off his brow. The man’s not only dominated this postseason, but holds a career 7-0 record and 1.26 ERA in October. Unreal!

How many pitchers in baseball can do what Lee did Monday night at Yankee Stadium? Eight innings, two hits, 13 strikeouts…against NY…in October. I know this much–not many.

Lee’s been so ridiculous he’s become the first pitcher to achieve double digits in strikeouts three times in one postseason. Which means what?

It means we’re watching one of the best postseason pitchers ever. And for those who are wondering, that is possible for players not wearing a Yankees or Red Sox uniform.

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Joe Girardi’s Resume

By bullpenbrian - July 24, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Florida Marlins
2006: (78-84)…kept Marlins in Wild Card race despite the
league’s lowest payroll–$14 million.

New York Yankees
2008: (89-73)…3rd place division.
2009: (103-59)..Won World Series against Philadelphia.
2010: (61-34)…1st place division.

Notes:
*Won 2006 NL Manger of the Year Award.
*2006 candidate to succeed Dusty Baker in Chicago.
*Catcher for the Cubs from 1989-92.
*Graduate Northwestern University.
*Native of East Peoria, Illinois.

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Curt Schilling’s Bloody Sock

By bullpenbrian - February 2, 2010 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

The suffocating coverage of Dwight Freeney’s injured ankle reminds me of the Curt Schilling ‘Bloody Sock Saga.’

Believe it or not, that was just five short years ago that Schilling mowed down the Yanks in Game 6 of the ALCS on October 19, 2004.

99 pitches, seven innings, one run, four hits, four K’s, no walks.

Thing-of-beauty!

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Not The Yankees Again

By bullpenbrian - November 5, 2009 - 1:01 am 1 comment.

Would you believe it’s already been eight years since Luis Gonzalez’s RBI single off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth lifted Arizona to a 3-2 win in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.

I certainly remember the moment well. Gonzo jumping up & down with boundless joy, the D-Backs celebrating its first ever championship, and the wild scenes of jubilation coming from my college dorm room.

To hell with the Yankees and their seemingly go-billion dollar payroll, I thought. Long live the Snakes!

And with that thought in mind I drank most of the night away. I was feeling good about baseball and tickled pink those damn Yankees were at last first place losers.

Not exactly the same feeling this year. At least not with the Yankees back on top and me watching the series’ finale while eating a Stonyfield Raspberry yogurt.

What baseball fan wouldn’t want to feel that excitement from the ’01 series again, and to share another go-round with the all-night celebratory beverages with friends (except for New Yorkers, of course). But next time how about it’s the Cubs winning the World Series.

For certain, it can happen, but  in the mean time I’ll settle for the alternative: anybody except those damn Yankees!

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Utley On Pace To Set HR Record

By bullpenbrian - November 3, 2009 - 12:49 am 1 comment.

Cliff Lee is deserving of all the love.

It’s pretty clear the Phillies get swept this series without him.

But don’t overlook the performance of Chase Utley, either. Yes,  the guy who’s just happened to tie Reggie Jackson’s 32-year-old record of five home runs in a world series.

Jackson led the ’77 Yankees to glory with home runs in Games 4, 5 & 6 against the Dodgers.

His three blasts at Yankee Stadium in Game 6 became the series’ lasting memory. He also earned the series’ MVP honors, too.

Utley’s blasts haven’t been as memorable, but no less important than Mr. October’s.

Two coming in Philly’s Game 1 win against CC Sabathia, one in Game 4 and two more in Game 5.

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Yankees Win World Series, Unofficially

By bullpenbrian - November 2, 2009 - 1:05 am Leave a comment.

Three weeks ago I witnessed the Chicago Blackhawks’ biggest comeback victory in team history.

The Hawks rallied from five goals down to beat the Calgary Flames 6-5 in OT.

By NHL standards, a five-goal comeback is a rare feat, the same holding true for a 3-1 series deficit in baseball.

What I’m saying is, there’s not going to be a dramatic comeback by the Phillies.

At least not needing three-straight wins, two of which will have to come on the road at Yankee Stadium.

Sorry Philly fan, it ain’t happen’. Not with Brad Lidge closing, Cole Hamels’ pitching and the big-three collectively hitting worse than Nick Swisher.

The Yankees are too deep, A-Rod too great and the NY pitching staff too good for the Bombers to let this thing slip away.

Unless Cliff Lee is equally effective on zero days rest as he is on four, the Phillies are finished…defeated, dethroned.

It’s a rather rude greeting, but welcome back to old-times again baseball fans. Welcome back to baseball reality…the World Series is over: Yankees win, Yankees win, thaaa Yankees win.  Stinks, I know.

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Kit Kat Bars & He-Man

By bullpenbrian - November 1, 2009 - 1:02 am Leave a comment.

I dressed as a skeleton for Halloween. It’s the same costume I wore last year, and the year before too.

Next Halloween I’ll break out the ol’ bones wrap yet again.

And why not? It fits perfectly, is light-weight and age-appropriate, as far as adult costumes are concerned!

Betcha didn’t know Kit Kat bars are my favorite Halloween candy, either. Loved them since I was playing Little League and dressing up as He-Man.

If Kit Kat bars were starting pitchers, I ate the entire rotation this afternoon. I just can’t help myself; they’re so darn tasty and chocolaty!

Meanwhile, have you any idea that nine of the past 10 teams to win Game 3 –with the World Series tied 1-1– have gone on to win the series?

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