One of the only baseball blogs (to my knowledge) in the blogosphere that focuses on the Montreal Expos. Okay, mostly baseball in general, however with Montreal Expos references to be found within!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Chicago White Sox, 2005 World Series Champions

One day shy of a year after the Red Sox won their first World Series title in 86 years, the Chicago White Sox win their first in 88 years!

Turned out game 4 had the best pitchers duel, when it was probably least expected. Which made for an entertaining game. I believe Phil Garner will, or rather has been, under fire from fans and media for some decisions, but getting the Astros to the WS, and last year to the NLCS, and almost the WS is still quite an accomplishment.

To see the look of disappointment on George H.W. Bush's face, priceless! I think I may have been rooting more for the Astros to lose, but either way, that amounts to rooting for the White Sox. Both teams, the Astros, and White Sox beat the teams I wanted to see in the WS, the Cardinals, and Angels respectively. The White Sox also beat the Red Sox, which didn't really bother me that much, only reason I was rooting for them for the most part was if the Yankees beat the Angels. However I was happy to see the Angels beat the Yankees.

One thing worth mentioning that most highlight reels will skip, is Carl Everett's job in grounding out to second, to advance Willie Harris to third, who then scored on the next batter, Jermaine Dye's single to centerfield. This off closer Brad Lidge. Oh, yeah, and Carl Everett was an Expo for half a season! He was brought in as a replacement of sorts for Vladimir Guerrero. Had he played as well as he did with the White Sox when he was with the Expos, he would have been much closer to a Vlad replacement, but even then, Vlad is pretty much impossible to replace! In his first game back as a White Sock, July 19th, 2004, he went 2 for 5, drew on BB, and scored twice, including a solo homer!

Run differential was a mere +6 for the White Sox over the Astros, which tied the 1950 New York Yankees who swept the Philadelphia Phillies. The next three lowest run differentials in WS history goes as follows (all sweeps):

1963 +8 Los Angeles Dodgers over the New York Yankees
1914 +10 Boston Braves over the Philadelphia Athletics
1966 +11 Baltimore Orioles over the Los Angeles Dodgers

Maybe next year should be the Cubs turn! Regardless, it will be an interesting off season!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Game 3 Hero (Geoff Blum) Started in Montreal

As I write this now, game 4 remains scoreless. However, thanks to Geoff Blum, the hero from game 3, the White Sox have essentially guaranteed a World Series win.

Geoff Blum came in as a defensive substitution for Tadahito Iguchi in the bottom of the 13th. So with two out, Jermaine Dye singled, and Paul Konerko grounded into a 543 double play, Geoff Blum lined one out of Minute Maid Park in a hurry, and gave the White Sox a lead in the top of the 14th. What all the play by play people, FOX, the international feed, and journalists, would have mentioned, was that he was in San Diego this year before becoming a member of the White Sox, of course that he was an Astro as well, and went to Tampa Bay for game 4 starter, Brandon Backe, but more than likely, unless they went in depth, which I doubt in most cases, is that he started his career as a Montreal Expo. Of course it was also mentioned his first WS at bat was that one. His first postseason AB he popped out 2B Tony Graffanino, and stayed in the game at first base as a defensive substitution for Paul Konerko. Geoff Blum was selected in the 7th round of the free-agent draft, on June 2, 1994.

Two other former Expos made their 2005 postseason debuts last night, C Chris Widger, and RHP Dustin Hermanson. Chris Widger started in Seattle, but spent the most of his time in Montreal. He was traded with Trey Moore and Matt Wagner, in exchange for Jeff Fassero and Alex Pacheco, October 29th, 1996. Dustin Hermanson started in San Diego (originally selected by Pittsburgh in 1991, but did not sign), selected in the first round, 3rd overall in 1994, and found his way to Florida, November 21, 1996, and then along with Joe Orsulak went to Montreal, in exchange for Cliff Floyd.

All three were Montreal Expos together for a short time, in 1999 and 2000. However before that, Dustin Hermanson and Chris Widger were teammates from 1997 until 2000.

Dustin Hermanson was credited with the blown save last night, however in the end it did not matter. After allowing a game tying double to Jason Lane, he got Brad Ausmus out on strikes. Chris Widger struck out at his first at bat, but his next two he drew walks, the latter giving him an RBI, and an insurance run for the White Sox, their 7th, making it 7-5.

Orlando Hernandez made his 2005 WS debut last night as well, but that isn't too exciting as I have mentioned he had zero games played as an Expo, but he was an Expo, along with his brother Livan! Oh, and time wise, it was the longest World Series game ever, (tied innings wise, 14) and it broke a few other records! Alright, a few include walks by a team, Houston, overall walks, pitchers used by one team, Chicago, total pitchers used, total players used, and total LOB. That is what I remember.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

World Series game one.

Considerably different from last years game one that is for sure. One day shy of a year. This was definitely a pitchers duel in the making, Roger Clemens vs Jose Contreras. However in the end, the 'duel' only lasted 2 innings, as struggling Roger was pulled after 2IP 4H 3R 3ER 0BB 1SO and 1HR, due to his sore hamstring, his shortest WS start. And for the first time since game one of the ALCS Chicago did not pitch a complete game. Contreras lasted 7 innings, allowing 6H 3R 3ER 0BB 2SO and 1HR.

Not much else to say really. I am happy the Sox won, despite the fact they beat the Angels. Reason being I don't want the Astros to win. I was rooting for the Cardinals to make a big come from behind win, especially after Pujols' blast! However, to no avail, as Oswalt silenced them, and any momentum they had did not show. Pujols' home run will still go down in history, but would have been more meaningful if the Cardinals could have gone on to win the ALCS, which would have been nice!

As far as "God Bless America" goes, I felt Liz Phair's rendition was not quite that good. I'm not sure if it is as hard to sing as "The Star-Spangled Banner", but anyway, it is still better fit for voices such as Ronan Tynan, the Irish tenor who sings it at Yankee stadium. However since she is from Chicago, I imagine she couldn't resist the opportunity, especially if she is a Sox fan. And MLB would like the idea as well. Regardless, will be interesting to see who sings the anthem in the upcoming games (okay, maybe not!). Much moreso will be the next pitchers duel, Andy Pettitte versus Mark Buehrle. We shall see if the low scoring WS continues.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pujols (and Eckstein/Edmonds)!

Nice comeback! A mere strike away from their season being over, and David Eckstein gets a base hit. That base hit deserves loads of credit. Then Jim Edmonds draws a 5 pitch walk. Which sets up Albert Pujols for his huge home run, both literally and figuratively! 0-1 count, and Lidge threw a slider that hung there, and Pujols got all of it! See the homer and the rally!

I'm happy they managed to get the win, as I'd prefer to see the Cardinals in the WS. It would be nice to see Larry Walker, fellow Canadian, and ex Expo have the chance to get a WS victory. The Cardinals only have to win one more before being tied, if they can do so, possibly have momentum in their favour. All they have to do is look to last year, when the Red Sox were down 0-3, it makes being down 1-3 seem very doable!

Speaking of the Red Sox, Pedro Martinez won it all last year, and during the celebrations, in the locker room, he referred to the 1994 Expos, and how a part of the Red Sox championship is for us Expos fans. That was nice to see! So if Larry Walker and the Cards can get to the WS, and win, then that would be another Expo from that 1994 team winning it all! Not to mention, as I said earlier, a great way to end his career!

The only former Expos on the Astros is backup catcher Raul Chavez, and when he was with Montreal, he was always the third catcher, so he logged a mere 17 games in 2 and a quarter years.

St Louis also has Mark Grudzielanek, as far as former Expos go, and he was much more prominent than Raul Chavez! He was originally selected by the New York Mets, in the 17th round, but did not sign. Two years later, he was selected by Montreal in the 11th round. Not to forget Einar Diaz as well, who was the final Expos backup catcher. He has yet to log a postseason appearance this year.

If the Cards can make it to face the White Sox, Dustin Hermanson, Carl Everett, Orlando Hernandez (although as I mentioned in an earlier entry, he played 0 regular season games), Geoff Blum, and Chris Widger (also yet to have a postseason appearance) are the former Expos there.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

K E2

K E2, that was how it was ruled. Going back to last year, Boston in New York, for game 6 of the ALCS, the umpires two different times got together, and made the correct call. That was not the case last night.

The way I see it is probably the way Mike Scioscia saw it. And that being that A.J. Pierzynski was rung out by the home plate umpire, therefore he was out. And if the ball does hit the dirt, or touch the dirt, the catcher always makes the tag immediately after, and if need be, throw to first. Josh Paul knew he caught it, hence the routine of heading to the dugout. The umpires getting together obviously agreed it was not clearly caught. A.J. Pierzynski and the White Sox caught a break. So bottom line is the game ends with a controversial call that was wrong. Luckily it was not a game six or seven. Possibly it will give the Angels an extra boost to play better, and get more runs on the board.

Another thing I think of, is when catchers are involved in a play at the plate, they usually have respect for eachother, and won't slam into, or make a violent play. This sort of surprised me that A.J. Pierzynski ran after Paul caught it. In the postgame press conference, he said he ran when he didn't hear the umpire call him out, and he realised he wasn't tagged, that being why he started walking away before running to first. He also said something similar happened in San Francisco last year, he was catching, and the pitcher tried to bunt, didn't get it down, ran, and was called safe. From what I understood, the pitcher started walking towards the dugout (visiting dugout on the first base side), then ran to first. Anyway, view the postgame press conference at the ALCS video page.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Red Sox, they gone!

I'll start this entry with an Expos/Red Sox reference. (And I apologise for the White Sox announcers call reference used on the now swept Red Sox! Used when a White Sox pitcher strikes out an opposing batter.)

Watching game 5 of the Yankees versus the Angels, when Giambi got on base, Mark Bellhorn took over as pinch runner. He then got to second on the defensive indifference. So while there, he reunited, albeit not for that long, with his 2004 Boston teammate Orlando Cabrera, both of whom won the World Series almost one year ago. It is mostly a Red Sox reference, but prior to the trade, Orlando was an Expo since his MLB debut. It is small things like this I tend to notice.

Now onto post season baseball. When Boston got swept out of the playoffs, at that point I was rooting for the Angels again. Reason being, had the Yankees beat the Angels, I would not have been too upset, but this was assuming Boston would meet them in the ALCS, since they make for good games against eachother. So, it was good to see the Angels move on to the ALCS. Nice pitching performance by Ervin Santana, after Bartolo Colon only went one inning.

Ervin Santana I might add is 6'2" and 160 according to his player page at MLB, although he doesn't quite look 160, he looks like he may weigh a bit more. I add this because it reminds us not all ballplayers are built like Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero, and Johnny Damon, to name a few! There are still some smaller (less muscular guys), like Ichiro, who still have pop! Especially former Expo Endy Chavez, but he isn't quite at Ichiro level! Regardless, Barry Bonds was once a small guy! Oh, and say no to steroids! Johnny Damon once said how he gains weight the proper way, drinking beer! Although I don't do that much either! Anyway...

Bartolo Colon was an Expo too, for the second half of 2002. That being one of Omar Minaya's bad trades, sending him, along with Jorge Nunez to the White Sox in exchange for for Rocky Biddle, Orlando Hernandez, Jeff Liefer. Orlando Hernandez pitched a grand total of zero (0) innings for Montreal. And Rocky Biddle, well, in late 2004, as a starter, he did well! Prior to that he did have some (some being the key word!) success as a closer!

Now, to get some Red Sox fans mad! First off, I was rooting for them in 2003 and 2004. Now the part to get them mad. Since they do have the second highest payroll in baseball, one can argue, what is wrong with baseball in the way everyone refers to the Yankees, can be thought of with the Red Sox too. Their payroll for 2005 was just shy of 60% of what the Yankees' was. The Yankees tipped the scale at $208,306,817, and the Red Sox at $123,505,125. So my point being, it is good to see the big money teams gone in a way. Although it was proved last year (and other times, but last years example is too good!) piles of money still won't buy an invinsible team. In close third is the "Next Year is Now" Mets, at $101,305,821. Bringing the New York MLB total to, three hundred nine million, six hundred twelve thousand, six hundred and thirty-eight dollars! Those three teams all have over one hundred million payrolls, however the Los Angeles Angels (yes,) of Anaheim, are in fourth with $97,725,322. Would be nice to see the Kansas City Royals or the Devil Rays win the World Series for payroll reasons! Why do I not see that happening anytime too soon!

Whew, now I am tired of typing!

The NL side is much briefer, and I'll elaborate further once game one of the NLCS is over. I was happy to see the Braves choke again, having won 14 consecutive titles (notice my previous post, in regards to the NL East), and only winning one World Series. Now that is a given, win the division, lose the NLDS. Now four years in a row they have lost the NLDS, and five of their last six. Their last NLCS appearance was in 2001, losing four games to one, against Arizona. Arizona went on to beat the Yankees, and win the W.S. Hats off, Luis Gonzalez! I'll end this entry now, and use game one of the NLCS to talk about those teams. As well as the ALCS once their game two is over. Tomorrow's game for the Angels will be their fourth consecutive playoff game.