Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To join the 1990 Diamond Dawgs (pictured here) ...

2008 DAWGS Need a Short Memory Tonight

Moreau needs to give us three good innings. He will have to throw his curve for strikes because those guys will crush his not-so-fastball if it is across the plate. Mendonca should NOT see another fastball under any circumstances. He looks worse than Andruw Jones flagging at curve balls, but groove a fast ball and you better have a flight attendant onboard – going to be a long trip. Both Mendonca and Susdorf are left-handed hitters and Moreau’s curve ball could slow down their bats if it is thrown for strikes. Can’t fall behind in the count against those two (or any of their hitters for that matter.) And for God’s sake, do not walk the nine hole every time tonight.

We have Weaver and McRee coming out of the bullpen. Those are our best two middle relievers and they should be ready. McRee made a mistake on Monday night, but previously in the CWS, he has pitched 6 innings allowing only 2 hits, 1 run, 3 walks and 8 Ks. His curve ball can also give Mendonca and Susdorf trouble if he is ahead in the count and they can’t afford the luxury of waiting for a fastball strike.

Weaver has thrown 4 and 2/3 innings allowing 7 hits, 4 runs, 0 walks, 2 Ks. He’s a righty, so he will not have an advantage against their two biggest bats, but if he can continue to not allow any walks, he should be able to limit base runners and thereby reduce the chances for more monster innings from their obviously corked bats.

In a perfect world, I would prefer that Joshua Fields remain a spectator tonight because we are two touchdowns ahead of them in the ninth. But, I wonder if he can be effective for 6 outs? If so, we will need McRee and/or Weaver to give us less than 3 innings apiece – assuming Moreau gets through no less than three innings. Ideally, Moreau would get us through the 4th without allowing more than 2 or 3 runs. Then McRee gets us through the 6th and possibly the 7th. Weaver gets us through the 8th and hopefully they have been limited to 6 runs or less. Then we can hand the ball to Fields for the 9th. If all goes according to plan, we won’t be batting in the bottom of the 9th.

Their bullpen... any live arms remaining? Seems like if we can get to The Cajun Cook, Justin Wilson, early and often we could be the team putting up a football score tonight.

Sprague and Hower each threw 3 innings last night and Sprague threw an inning Sat. and an inning Sun. I think those two are probably done.

Miller and Allison are also probably both done, but Allison, who pitched 6 against UNC Sun. may be available.

That leaves Bonesteele (3 on Mon), Breckley (2 on Mon), Tomlinson (1.1 Mon), Floethe (0.2 Mon) and Burke (2 on Sun and 1 on Mon). Other than Burke, those are all 6+ ERA guys - not that that seemed to matter much at times on Monday night. But, I still think that if we can get their starter off the hill, we can rough them up sufficiently to bring home the hardware. It may take double digit runs, but our Dawgs are plenty capable. Regional Final vs GT = 18-6; Super Regional Final vs NC State = 17-8. In fact, in our 5 elimination games thus far this post-season, we have outscored the bad guys 66 to 25. That is an average of 13.2 runs per game for our Dawgs and 5 runs per game for the other guys. How about one more football score for our Dawgs tonight!

If FSU musters more than a dozen again, then we will be talking football by midnight tonight.


UPDATE - Congrats to FSU. They played great baseball and continued their unstoppable run through a gauntlet of highly seeded teams. No one could stop them. Hats off to those Bulldogs and a large hand for our Dawgs and their outstanding season. They have much of which to be proud. Go DAWGS!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rich Poythress scoring the tying run in the bottom of the 8th inning.


Throughout the first game of the College World Series Championship tonight, I could not get any rhythm going with my various superstitions. No matter what I tried, we kept swinging at the first pitch and bouncing balls on the infield or popping up to the shallow outfield. There were moments when I thought I had found the combination, but then Fresno State would nullify any gains achieved. Finally after sitting in three different locations, after Fresno scored three in the top of the 8th to take a 6-3 lead, with my nerves frayed, I did something I should have done much earlier. I poured a glass of wine. For good measure, I also changed my shirt. I ditched the shirt that got us through the Miami game and replaced it with the shirt that I wore during the first Stanford game - which is an 11 year old gray Polo tee shirt that I wear to sleep.
The superstitious delicious wine of choice was 2005 Evil Chardonnay from Australia - 90 points from Wine Advocate.

If you are wondering why it took me so long to think about turning to alcohol, your point is well taken. But, I was at my son's baseball game and did not get home to watch the UGA game until the bottom of the 4th inning. Then I was eating dinner and had kids running around the house for about an hour and it just slipped my mind that I had a nice glass of wine left in a bottle that did not get finished Saturday night. Once this oversight was remedied, the Dawgs rallied for 4 runs and took the lead 7-6 going into the ninth. Joshua Fields then came to the hill and mowed down the feisty and dangerous FSU hitters 1-2-3.

Now the Dawgs are one win away from a second National Title in baseball in what has been a tremendously fun post-season. However, this is baseball and the other resilient Bulldogs are sure to put up another fight tomorrow night. Our guys will have to remain focused and hopefully play a little looser than they did tonight.

My son also has another game tomorrow night at 6:45, so I will again miss the first 3 innings or so. But, when I do get home, you can be assured that I will waste no time in pouring that glass of wine!

Go Dawgs, GATA.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Monday, June 16, 2008


Dawgs Hunker Down against Stanford and rally for a 4-3 win in a nail-biting, nerve-wracking affair that lifts them to the driver's seat in their bracket. There is a lot of baseball left, but our odds just got exponentially better to make the finals.

This game featured 7th inning heroics and near-heroics of legendary proportion. With two men on base and trailing 2-3, Bryce Massanari lifted an arching opposite field slice that would hit the top of the wall on or near the painted yellow foul line and would then bounce high and to the right into foul territory. It was ruled a foul ball. It may have been a foul ball. But, it could have equally as well been ruled a home run. Upon replay after replay, it appeared to me that part of the ball lined up with the foul line, which ironically, is actually fair territory. This is what I saw despite Orel Hershiser's telestration trying to indicate that the ball hit the padded fence 6 inches to the right of the foul line - which it clearly did not. I could also not tell if the ball caromed off the foul pole, which is also deemed fair territory, after it bounced off the top of the padded wall. As a biased Dawg fan, I was seeing a home run replay after replay. However, the first base umpire called it foul and that was that. Now that we won the game, I may concede that it was foul. But, I still do not know whether it was fair or foul. Inconclusive at worst, home run at best, but not clearly foul under any scenario that I saw.

Anyway, Massanari was able to load the bases when he was hit by a subsequent pitch. Then tonight's hero, Matt Cerione, drilled a line drive into short center field to score the tying and winning runs. Cerione had 3 RBI on the night.

Our bullpen had another phenomenal outing allowing only one hit and zero runs in 6 innings. Starter Nick Montgomery pitched well mostly until he challenged All American Jason Castro with a repeat low fastball that traveled about 400+ feet for a two-run shot. It was a good time for a breaking ball in the dirt - as Hershiser proposed.

In two games, our bullpen has gone 11 innings allowing 4 hits and one run, a solo homer by first round pick Yonder Alonso of Miami. That is unbelievable.

Now the Dawgs get three full days of rest before facing the winner of the Miami-Stanford who play on Wednesday.

To put into perspective the significance of winning the first two games of the College World Series, only 2 of the past 18 National Champions won it all after losing one of the first two games. Indeed, I believe the Dawgs have been heard in Omaha!

Go Dawgs!!!