“Ain’t no free lunch,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in the gloom of the series’ aftermath. “Matt’s going to take some hits for this.” In the TBS studio, where he worked as an analyst for first-round games, Dennis Eckersley noted that though Holliday’s Game 2 error didn’t end the series, “That doesn’t take away from the fact that it was devastating. He has to take that with him wherever he goes. Nobody needs that kind of humbling, but that’s how this game can grab you at any time.”
Street had a sensational season in relief for the Colorado Rockies, but he was on the mound for the three-run, ninth-inning rally that clinched the series for Philadelphia on Monday night. Some have likened him to Eckersley, both in style and demeanor, and the comparison was apt in Street’s postgame reaction.
“You don’t cry, you don’t go home and lay in bed for two weeks,” he told reporters in Denver. “This game is played by men. Take responsibility when you get beat. I think it’s foolish to keep it with you, but I also think it’s foolish to forget.”
Once his interviews were done, Street went into the Rockies’ video room and watched the awful sequence: the walk to Chase Utley, the double by Ryan Howard, the go-ahead single by Jayson Werth. “That’s how I deal with it,” he said. “I want to see exactly what happened. I guess it helps me move past it … but it doesn’t feel good.”
Other notes on the postseason:
— Speaking of Werth: As the Giants hash out the Randy Winn-Nate Schierholtz debate, here’s a guy with big-time power, a great arm, tremendous instincts and a knack for the clutch hit. That’s what a right fielder looks like.
— A rash of blown calls has stirred the demand for more instant replay in the postseason. Bud Selig doesn’t like the idea, and he’s right: As soon as you allow replays of calls on the bases, the inevitable next step would involve balls and strikes – and complete removal of the human element.
One thing that must change, in any case: Forget having the umpires disappear for 5-8 minutes to study replays. Set up a three-man panel of umpires in every press box, taking the initiative to check every questionable play and announce a ruling within about 30 seconds.
— Fearing that wild-card teams have too much status, and that the system often diminishes the postseason races, people are calling for two wild-card teams in each league, facing each other in one-game playoffs to determine the final spots. A “wild-card shootout,” as it’s being called.
Terrible idea. What, you play 162 games to reach the postseason, and it’s one game? On the road, as likely as not? Nice deal for the home fans. Your team got to October, and here’s your one-game spectacular. If anything, the first round should be expanded to a best-of-seven, but only if …
— Selig and the owners come to their senses and start the season in late March. Selig used the World Baseball Classic as an excuse for this year’s abomination, but he simply wasn’t being truthful. Next year’s schedule starts inexcusably late (April 5) once again.
— Looks like Brad Lidge found his slider just in time, saving the Phillies’ last two wins against Colorado after a horrific September. Pitchers were challenging Manny Ramirez with fastballs for three solid weeks, but his stroke has returned.
— The Vicente Padilla acquisition seemed ludicrous from here, but Ned Colletti’s gamble just might carry the Dodgers into the World Series. Give credit to Randy Wolf, a former teammate of Padilla’s, and coach Larry Bowa for suggesting that Padilla (banished in Texas) deserved another chance.
— Love Fenway Park and the whole New England scene, but sorry, Red Sox fans, most of us won’t miss Jonathan Papelbon staring at the hitter with that ridiculous look on his face.
— Maybe the A’s can live with the absence of Street, Holliday, Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera, Joe Blanton and Nick Swisher, but not Andre Ethier of the Dodgers or Carlos Gonzalez, so poised and productive for Colorado. That should be two-thirds of the A’s outfield, and it will haunt them for years.