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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Both series provide drama

Both League Championship Series in Major League Baseball have been gripping, and for pretty much the same reason.

The New York Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the ALCS against the arch-rival Boston Red Sox, but, low and behold, the Sox became the first team in history to be down 3-0 and force a Game 7. They did this two nights ago by beating the Bronx Bombers, 4-2 in the first game.

They now have an opportunity to do something they have never done in their entire century-plus long history: defeat the “Evil Empire” in the postseason, let alone avenge last year’s dramatic, yet heartbreaking loss.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the NLCS, where the heavily-favored St. Louis Cardinals won the first two games of the series in Busch Stadium, only to drop the next three at the “Juice Box” in Houston. There have been two subplots to the three games the Astros took at home this weekend.

One is the play of future Major League orphan Carlos Beltran, who came to Houston at midseason.

He has hit eight home runs in 10 games so far this postseason. These days, every game he plays in ups his re-sail value when he goes free agent after this all ends. The other subplot is something that sounds vaguely familiar to something that happened just before the regular season ended.

After giving up the go-ahead run by way of a Beltran homer in the seventh inning of Game 5 Sunday, and another single by Jeff Bagwell, relief pitcher Julian Tavarez left the mound, and after a shouting match with Bagwell, proceeded to try and pull the bullpen phone in the visitors’ dugout out of the wall. After about 45 seconds, he realized he couldn’t and stormed into the clubhouse. He then punched a wall in the locker room and broke his non-pitching hand (Kevin Brown of the Yankees did the same thing right before the regular season ended).

The Cardinals still hope he can pitch in the NLCS, but I wouldn’t put him into a game situation at this point even if he could pitch! He is obviously way too unstable to be put in as big a game as either Game 6 or especially Game 7, should it get that far. Even worse would be if the Astros were winning and/or had men on base, or even in scoring position when he entered. The games may be in his home ballpark, Busch Stadium (his seventh so far), but it won’t make a difference.

Tavarez is one of the many pitchers in Major League Baseball that makes his emotions known to all, whatever it takes. He simply cannot control himself during big game situations, especially during the postseason, where he hasn’t been since 1996 with the Cleveland Indians.

Another example of a pitcher with a hot temper is Roger Clemens, but you can’t really compare the two. Tavarez is on his seventh big league team in the midst of a mediocre 12-year career. Roger Clemens has won six Cy Young awards, two World Series championships, more than 320 games, and has attained 4,000 strikeouts for his career.

As far as I’m concerned, Clemens has earned the right to let loose a bit, especially at age 42. By the way, assuming the Cardinals win and force a Game 7, he’ll be pitching on Thursday. The question is, will Tavarez?

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