- Indians 4-Red Sox 3:
Something clicks in Josh Beckett's brain at playoff time, so they're not going to have to worry about him; but Daisuke Matsuzaka is very likely going to have trouble with the Angels patient hitters as they run up his pitch count and gladly accept his propensity to walk people. Jon Lester's been excellent this year and knuckleballers like Tim Wakefield are always hit or miss.
The bigger problem is going to be the lineup. Jason Bay has been everything the Red Sox expected when they traded Manny Ramirez away; that being said, Jason Bay is not Manny and has never once played in a big game on the national stage in his entire career. The Angels are not going to let David Ortiz beat them and are going to force Bay to deliver in the clutch as Manny did. Even with the MVP-quality years being had by Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia, they're not additives to what was already a championship recipe; they're actually picking up for the departed Manny; the injury-diminished Ortiz; the aging Jason Varitek; and the injured J.D. Drew.
No matter what Bay's stats look like and how well he's replaced Manny on paper and especially in the clubhouse, he's not Manny and he's not someone that the Angels are going to sit there and say, "we have to stop this guy if we're gonna win"; that could end up being a miscalculation, but it's a strategy not to allow Ortiz to beat them and to make Bay come through; if he does, you tip your hat to him. The Angels were never intimidated by the Red Sox just as they were never intimidated by the Yankees; the reason the Red Sox beat them so consistently was that the Red Sox weren't a favorable matchup for the Angels and the Yankees were; now that's changed and the Red Sox are in for a rough time heading to Anaheim unless Bay can make up for Manny's absence when it really counts, and that's a big question mark.
- Diamondbacks 4-Cardinals 2; Brandon Webb saves his second Cy Young Award:
- The trades you don't make are often the best ones:
Then there were the rampant rumors of Brian Roberts being sent to the Cubs. With the addition of Kosuke Fukudome, there probably wouldn't have been room to keep Roberts, Fukudome and Mark DeRosa and DeRosa might've been traded; DeRosa has never been the power hitter he's proven himself to be this year (it's likely his career year), and the Cubs have discovered that Fukudome may be just an average player, and not what they were expecting; he's lost his starting job to boot. Looking at the numbers, DeRosa has had almost identical numbers to Roberts except with more power and a ton of clutch hits. How many teams would've had interest in DeRosa, a player who can play every position competently except catcher?
These are just two examples of rumored moves that didn't happen and would've made things worse for their team if they had happened. It's easy to look at trades that were made and judge them in the long and short term, but sometimes more can be learned from looking at trades that were said to be "near completion", but never came to pass for one reason or another and ended up working out far better than any completed deal could have.