- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
Thom Loverro: Big risk for Rays
Question of the Day
This is one of the joys of postseason baseball - dissecting every move a manager makes at a time when every move is magnified because the stakes are so high.
In the postseason, something as simple as the order of a pitching rotation, which is listed among the agate in daily newspapers during the regular season, can become the story of the day. Such is the case now with Joe Maddon’s decision to start Scott Kazmir on Thursday at Fenway Park instead of, as expected, James Shields.
Maddon offered logical reasons for his decision to start Kazmir, who simply has not pitched as well as Shields, in Game 5 against the Boston Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who beat the Rays in Game 1.
Kazmir has better numbers at Fenway than Shields, for instance. Kazmir is 4-4 with a 3.02 ERA at Fenway vs. a 2-3 record and a 4.29 ERA against the Red Sox at home. Shields is 0-3 in three starts with a 10.13 ERA at Fenway in his career.
“This has not been his most effective place to pitch, and he’s been very effective at home,” Maddon said. “Kaz has been good here.”
But the logical reason that feels so emotionally wrong is this: Maddon is figuring that, with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Rays can lose Game 5 and still have Game 6 back home in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“You’re looking at not only tomorrow’s game and what can happen, then of course what can happen at home,” Maddon said. “We’re just trying to look at the big picture with the whole thing. … If things don’t work out well tomorrow, we have Shieldsy at home.”
Maddon is playing a dangerous game. His Rays have the Red Sox on the ropes, particularly after the 13-4 beating they put on them Tuesday night. By the end, Boston seemed like a beaten team ready to head for its favorite golf courses for the winter.
The Rays, though, should be trying to finish the job in Game 5.
As everyone knows, the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees and went on to win the World Series. And it was the Red Sox who came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Indians last year and went on to win the World Series.
Now, this is a different situation. Unlike last year, the Red Sox won’t be going back to Fenway if they win Game 5. They also won’t have Curt Schilling, and this time around they may not have the typical postseason version of Josh Beckett.
But they do have Matsuzaka on Thursday night, and he is coming off a near-no hitter in a 2-0 win over Tampa Bay in Game 1. If he wins, then you have Beckett in Game 6 - which means the Rays are gambling they will get the struggling Beckett who allowed eight runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings in Game 2, not the lights-out Beckett of postseasons past.
They are counting on not facing the Beckett whose confidence and cockiness as a kid kept him from being a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Tampa Bay was struggling to decide whether to draft Beckett in 1999. The story goes that when Beckett visited the home of then-owner Vince Naimoli before the draft, Beckett called the owner “Vince.” The Devil Rays then went with Josh Hamilton, which didn’t exactly work out.
If that old Beckett is on the mound for Game 6, then you may be looking at Game 7, with all the momentum in Boston’s favor.
About the Author
- LOVERRO: CBS Sports leaves broadcasters hanging in Redskins name debate
- LOVERRO: Who are the men behind D.C. 2024 curtain?
- LOVERRO: Ian Desmond could follow Jeter model in D.C.
- LOVERRO: Red Klotz an unquestioned winner despite 14,000 losses
- LOVERRO: As King James returns home, all is forgiven
Latest Blog Entries
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, slams Obama's handling of Iraq
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- BERMAN & MADYOON: An Iranian-Turkish reset
- MAY: Barbarians at Jordan's gate
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq