Thanks to Matt Garza and the Rays, we will NOT have another season-long set of ruminations about the possibility of a RedSax dynasty.
Kudos to Garza and David Price, who pitched with a two-run lead and held it as opposed to the hacks in the Rays' bullpen who coughed up a 7-0 lead needing only 7 outs to win the pennant last Thursday. Garza's pitching was the single biggest reason that the Rays did not capitulate to what would have been a choke job that rivaled the Yanks' bonk in 2004.
And the Rays deserved it -- they outscored the Sawx 43-28 (including 29-5 through the first 24 innings at the Ratway), banged 16 homers (the Sawx had 10 for a total of 26 for the series, yipes) and should have had this thing done last Thursday.
I'm thinking the Mets and Twins are feeling really stupid right now. The Mets traded their top prospect Scott Kazmir to the Rays for Victor Zambrano in 2004 -- a trade that was stupid when made, not just in retrospect. Kazmir is a top lefty (only 26) who has a career ERA+ of 124 (better than Glavine, Sabathia, Beckett, Peavy and better than Drysdale, Marichal and Spahn), 780+ Ks in just over 720 career IP and a winning percentage of .560 for a team that, until this year, was awful. The Twins traded Garza for problem child Delmon Young. Put those pitchers with their previous teams, and both the Mess and Twins would have been in the postseason.
A couple of notes about the broadcast on TBS. No, not the glitch issue from Saturday, this is about the broadcast team. Chip Caray took a LOT of heat last year for being bombastic, talking nonsense off the cuff, and getting his facts completely wrong. He improved this year in all three, although he's still a preening peacock in his delivery. Give him credit where due -- he reads the ball well off the bat and worked better with his broadcast partners this year. That first is important -- Caray's grandad is famous for long drives that the third baseman caught on the infield, and how many "deep" flyballs called by Michael Kay in Yankee telecasts are caught 25+ feet in front of the warning track (Paul O'Neill has previously needled Kay about this)?
Those broadcast partners are a hit and a miss. Ron Darling may have a Yale degree, but he's not capable of putting what he knows into a broadcast. He also comes up with too many irrelevant facts and comments. Buck Martinez is far better. The long-time broadcaster and former manager is better at detailing the strategy of the game and rightly noted that Joe Maddon's thought process in the 8th inning, with a tired Matt Garza on the mound and a bullpen that stank on Thursday, was "is the guy I want to bring in better than the guy I have pitching right now"? As for the studio show -- for next year TBS should ditch Eckersley, light a fire under Ripken's butt, and borrow Chris Singleton from ESPN.
Congrats to the Rays for whupping the RedSax, choking, and rebounding. And for showing the Yanks the blueprint for the future -- young, energetic players who work hard (hear that Robby Cano?).