Friday, October 8, 2010

Aced in October

Any more doubts how special this year has been for pitchers? Two days into October baseball and we have two pitching debuts for the ages along with another solid outing from last year's October darling Cliff Lee.

On a night when Tim Lincecum pitches a 2-hit, 14-strikeout masterpiece against Atlanta, everyone's still buzzing about what Doc Halladay did yesterday. The best part of his no-hitter? He helped his own cause with an RBI single and he threw under 100 pitches.

As much as I respect CC Sabathia, Halladay's the best pitcher in baseball right now and had he not had great games spoiled by Toronto's lack of run support, he'd be closer to 200 wins than he is now. I honestly think that's one of the greatest postseason debuts in any sport I can recall. The only thing I can recall is Dwyane Wade hitting a buzzer beater to win his first playoff series. 

Two no-hitters in a season. 21 wins. An almost guaranteed Cy Young award for a great all-around season. Welcome to Doctober.

(Welcome to the Freak Show - October edition)

It's crazy that Timmy the Freak goes out, throws the 3rd most strikeouts in a shutout and yet he'll almost be overshadowed. Just a reminder that in a down year, he's still the Freak who throws like a young Pedro despite weighing less than most HS defensive backs. 

Cliff Lee picking up where he left off last year. Game 1 saw him pitch another 7 IP (minimum), 10 K game, setting a Rangers K record.. Ho-hum. Dude's pitched 3 of these games but it's still amazing because he's almost a guaranteed W when he steps on the mound. If he gets a lead, its a wrap. 

Sabathia's so-so performance in Game 1 was woefully overshadowed by these 3 brilliant starts. He was bailed out by 4 runs in the 6th inning so he didn't pitch his way to a win as much as he was saved. More ammo for the King Felix for Cy Young committee but one game is only one game.

Biggest surprise to me has been how bad the Rays have looked. There's a reason why they've been no-hit three times over the past season and a half and the Rangers pitching has found that magic. And I get having Matt Garza in Game 3 for a must-win on the road but 2nd guessing Joe Madden feels totally normal on saving him for that. You gotta go with your best weapons up front because nothing is guaranteed in October.

Well, except for the Yankees owning Minnesota. As happy as I am for Orlando Hudson reaching the postseason to stick it to the team that gave up on him, there's no chance they're coming back. 

It sickens me almost that the Dodgers had a chance to get CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee and somehow we didn't make it happen. Almost as bad as Cleveland watching 2/5 of their 2008 Opening Day lineup start in October without them. I digress, angry rant of a Dodger fan missing October baseball for the 1st time in 3 years.

Just a reminder that October is for aces, pretenders not need apply. Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson, Jack Morris, Orel Hershiser, Curt Schilling, Livan Hernandez approve of this statement.

Baseball's better when great pitching trumps great hitting and great hitting finds a way to shine around it. This year has been a great one in every sense of the word so October can only be better. And that's why it's the best month in sports. MLB postseason, NBA and NHL return, college and pro football in full swing. Wouldn't have it any other way.

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