Results tagged ‘ NLCS ’
We needed all the help we could get. I put Gibson in his rally cap in the second inning.
During the ninth, I was manically pacing around the living room wondering where it all went so horribly wrong. My chihuahua’s just watched me go back and forth. Back and forth. Forth and back. I would stop my pacing … slowly look at the screen … then quickly turn away and just start pacing again. I couldn’t bear to watch. I did peek out of the corner of my eye.
The postseason is such an odd thing. I was 16 the last time we made it this far (don’t start). Everything feels so different. Am I right? It is still your team, your boys, your uni’s, but it all feels totally different for some reason. SOOOOOO much is on the line with every pitch. And to make matters worse, you are listening to guys call the game that are not your guys. No Vin. No Charlie. No Steve. Everything just feels different.
I peeked back at the screen just in time to watch Nomar take that final hack and strike out for the final out of the game. I screamed. I got a little misty. And then … Oh, yay! Finally, a familiar face. Ah, Kevin Kennedy. Yay! Phew.
Kevin and I became friends last season. He has become somewhat of a mentor in my never-ending quest for baseball knowledge.
“EUREKA! He will tell me what went wrong,” I thought to myself as I sat back down on the couch ready to listen to Kevin’s wisdom. “Tell me Kevin. I can take it. I am all ears.”
He said something about “sequencing” and then all of a sudden the postgame show was over. Just like that. I was left to wonder. “Did he just say sequencing? What is he talking about? Why is the postgame show only 14 seconds? Wait! Come back, Kevin.”
I needed answers from Kevin and I needed them NOW. “I am just going to call and ask him what he thought of the game,” I decided.
I figured I wasn’t the only one wanting more of the postgame show. When I got him on the phone, I asked if I could record the conversation for the blog. He graciously said that I could. Below is the transcript of our conversation:
KEVIN: HI ALYSSA.
Me: That was painful. I started getting weepy when the game was over. I am miserable. I want to vomit.
KEVIN: SO SORRY MY PREDICTION DIDN’T COME TRUE. THOUGHT THEY WOULD SPLIT THERE. MY GUT DID HAVE A CONCERN THOUGH BECAUSE BILLS [CHAD BILLINGSLY] NEEDS MORE CONFIDENCE IN HIMSELF TO KEEP THE EDGE.
Me: It was painful. What do you think the difference in him was tonight compared to the Chicago series? He certainly seemed confident then.
KEVIN: IN CHICAGO, THEY WERE UP 0-1. TONIGHT THEY WERE DOWN 1-0. HE PUT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON HIMSELF THAT HE HAD TO BE TOO FINE WITH HIS STUFF. HIS CURVEBALL WAS HIS BEST PITCH EARLY AND HIS COMMAND OF HIS CUTTER AND FASTBALL WASN’T THERE YET. SO AS A CATCHER YOU RECOGNIZE THAT, AND GO TO THAT WHEN YOU NEED AN OUT WHILE TRYING TO STILL CULTIVATE THE FASTBALL. NURTURE IT ALONG AS YOU FEEL THE FLOW OF THE GAME. PHILS WEREN’T TOUCHING HIS OVERHAND CURVEBALL.
Me: I heard you say something about “sequencing” in the postgame show.
KEVIN: SEQUENCING IS THE CATCHER’S RESPONSIBILITY.
Me: Okay. This may seem like a stupid question, but in layman’s terms, what is Sequencing?
KEVIN: CALLING THE RIGHT PITCHES IN THE RIGHT COUNTS, AND RECOGNIZING WHO IS SITTING DEAD RED ESPECIALLY WITH RUNNERS ON BASE AND MEN IN SCORING POSITION.
Me: Sitting “dead red”? Now I feel really dumb.
KEVIN: SITTING ON THE FASTBALL. RUIZ, A .214 HITTER, FOULED BACK A 93-MPH FASTBALL ON THE FIRST PITCH. THAT IS WHAT HE WAS LOOKING FOR THE WHOLE AT-BAT WHEN HE DOUBLED IN THE FIRST RUN. BILLS SHOULD HAVE THROWN A CURVEBALL TO STRIKE HIM OUT AND END THE BOTTOM OF THE 2ND. INSTEAD MARTIN CALLED A FASTBALL AND RUIZ WAS LOOKING FOR IT. HE HITS ONLY .214 BECAUSE HE CAN’T HIT A BREAKING BALL. THEN LATER, VICTORINO ALWAYS, ALWAYS LOOKS FASTBALL NO MATTER WHAT COUNT. HE EVEN TOLD ME THAT THIS WEEK. AFTER LOOKING AWFUL ON A CURVEBALL EARLY, WITH 2 STRIKES, THEY CALLED A FASTBALL AND IT WAS UP OVER THE PLATE AND HE HIT THAT 2 RUN SINGLE TO LEFT-CENTER … THUS A 4-RUN INNING.
Me: Don’t remind me. So if a fastball isn’t where it is supposed to be, should the catcher/pitcher abandon it all together?
KEVIN: NO. YOU STILL HAVE TO THROW FASTBALL, JUST NOT IN A PUTAWAY COUNT. HIS CURVE WAS HIS PUTAWAY PITCH EARLY IN THE GAME. AND MARTIN AND BILLS DIDN’T RECOGNIZE THAT. THAT IS ALSO THE PITCHING COACH’S AND ADVANCE SCOUT’S ISSUE. THE FASTBALL MIGHT HAVE COME ALONG AS THE GAME PROGRESSED, BUT IT NEVER GOT TO THAT POINT. THE PHILLIES KNEW THAT. YOU GO WITH THE CURVEBALL WITH TWO STRIKES UNTIL THEY PROVE THEY CAN HIT IT.
Me: Was that how they shut down Howard? They seemed to be throwing him a lot of curveballs.
KEVIN: YEAH. THEY DID A GREAT JOB ON HOWARD WITH CURVES AND WENT AWAY FROM IT WITH EVERYONE ELSE.
Me: It is always so enlightening speaking with you about baseball. You made me feel better for some reason. I don’t feel like throwing up anymore.
KEVIN: GOOD. GLAD I CAN HELP. THINGS WILL GET BETTER! I REALLY BELIEVE THAT THEY WILL WIN GAME 3. IT IS NOW A MUST-WIN.
Me: Are we going to have pitching issues for the rest of the series? And by the way, between this and the election I have constant heartburn.
KEVIN: BECAUSE LOWE AND BILLS DIDN’T GO THAT DEEP, THEY CAN BOTH COME BACK ON SHORT REST FOR GAMES 4 AND 5. TAKE SOME TUMS.
Me: I love the strategy. It is an amazing game.
KEVIN: I BET YOU HAVE FUN TALKING STRATEGY WITH YOUR DAD DURING THE GAME.
Me: Oh, yes. He still teaches me new things about the game. There are always things to learn. If you were Joe, what would your strategy be going into Game 3?
KEVIN: HE JUST HAS TO MANAGE WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY AND KEEP THE MOMENTUM ON THE DODGERS SIDE. THIS TEAM IS GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN.
Me: Thank you so much for spending the time with me and answering my questions (no matter how silly they may have been).
KEVIN: YOU ARE WELCOME. RELAX. HAVE FUN THIS WEEKEND AND DON’T WORRY.
Me: Easier said than done. Thanks again.
On the eve of the NLCS, I am sitting here typing away as a nervous wreck. Everyone around me, is predicting a Dodgers-Red Sox World Series. I hold my breath when they speak of it. I knock on wood. I cross every limb. Funny how superstitious one gets when the thing you want so badly is completely and totally out of your hands.
Could you imagine a Dodgers-Red Sox World Series? Torre against his old rivals. Manny against the team still paying his salary and the fans that turned against him. Wow. Emotions will run high.
But first we have to make it past the Phillies. They have a lot of lefties in their lineup. I wonder how we will match up considering our lack of lefty pitchers. Sometimes, the numbers kill me. Stats are an important part of the game. And on paper, this looks like it may be a tough series for us. The stats don’t cover heart and chemistry though. If we can pick up where we left off last week, I think we are unstoppable.
I can’t begin to express what it felt like to watch the Dodgers sweep the Cubs. All the media experts picked the Cubs in that series. That’s okay. Keep underestimating us. We don’t mind. It only makes for a better story in the end.
I leave you now with this YouTube video.
This has made me laugh out loud numerous times. If we win the World Series, I hope Joe Biemel, Manny, Russell, and Furcal remake this.
And here are some photos of the game last Saturday: