Forum Index > Pletcher called it one of the most impressive works hed ever seen

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BOSTON - With Game 6 looming, Fenway Park a quiet calm before a New England crowd fills it and creates a raucous storm, were down to the nitty-gritty in this American League Championship Series. The hometown Red Sox, leading 3-2 and a win away from a trip to the World Series; the visiting Tigers, facing the daunting task of having to win twice on the road to wrest away the American League pennant. The prospect seems doable, however, considering presumptive Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer is due to hurl Game 6 and, should Detroit win, former Cy Young award Justin Verlander is scheduled to pitch Game 7. These teams are grinding. A series which started on the strength of pitching has morphed into an offensive battle. The Red Sox are hitting only .206 as a group in the ALCS, the Tigers .259, but the two clubs have combined for 41 hits in the last two games after teaming up for only 35 total in the first three. The Tigers are hurting, namely their star third baseman Miguel Cabrera and catcher Alex Avila. Cabrera, sapped of his ability to drive the ball to the opposite field by a leg injury which also has further depleted his already limited range at third base, will continue to chug along as best he can. Cabrera is 5-16 (.313) in the series but his lone extra base hit is a Game 2 home run, more the product of a mistake curveball hung by Clay Buchholz than Cabreras ability to get his damaged lower body to leverage his swing through the baseball. There has been next to no discussion, except in whispers, to removing Cabrera from the starting lineup. Manager Jim Leyland couldnt do it, hed be skewered publicly if he did and the Tigers were eliminated, and from a logistical standpoint his replacement options are limited. Hernan Perez? Thats not happening. What about some combination of Jhonny Peralta and Jose Iglesias on the left side of the infield and the insertion of Andy Dirks or Don Kelly in left field? Sounds like a better plan but, really, despite Cabreras Game 5 base running foible, costly error and poor at-bats, a Miggy at 60-percent (or less) remains the best option. If hes willing and able to play, play him. "It kind of breaks your heart, to be honest with you," said Leyland of the state of Cabreras health. "Hes tough as nails. I have so much respect for him. Everybody is conscientious these days about people earning their money. You talk about somebody who is earning their money, this guy feels like he owes it to the Detroit Tigers and our fans to be out there." As for Avila, hes reaffirming the notion that catchers play one of the most difficult positions in pro sports. Hes fouled a pitch off his right toes, strained the patellar tendon in his left knee in a home plate collision with Bostons David Ross, had Ross foul a pitch squarely off his face mask, and left a game early dazed and in pain, all in the last 72 hours. Avila is willing and able to play and hes the man with whom Leyland must go. "The main thing from a managers standpoint, the one thing you dont want to happen is when youre dealing with an injury - and I think Alex is fine now - the one thing you dont want to happen is start the game and take him out in the second or third inning," said Leyland. "Thats the one thing I try to guard against as a manager." Meantime, Prince Fielder has a hit in four of the five games so far. It feels, however, as if hes done nothing outside of doubling and then scoring in the sixth inning of Game 2. The plate approach is being questioned, even Leylands referred to Fielders attempts to slap the ball to left field, but Fielders one of the horses which brought Leyland to the rodeo. Hes not coming out of the lineup and nor should he. The only lineup move of significance Leylands made has been to drop Austin Jackson from the lead off spot to the eight-hole. The Tigers bullpen has allowed seven earned runs in 11 innings pitched against the Red Sox (5.72 ERA) but the damage has been limited to just two of the games, although one is most certainly memorable. Five Detroit relievers each allowed a run in Game 2, the "Big Papi Grand Slam" game, and Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit each got nicked for a run allowed in the Tigers Game 4 win. Regardless of the numbers and how you break them down to determine the true extent of their ugliness, the relievers Leyland has are the guys hell have to live with - maybe die with - the rest of the way. No doubt Leyland is hoping Scherzer and Verlander, if necessary, can get him very deep into these remaining games. Boston, despite hitting a paltry .150 in the first three games, has an opportunity to book its third appearance in the World Series since 2004. The bats have awakened, with 22 hits combined in Games 4 and 5. The catalyst hasnt been David Ortiz or Dustin Pedroia but Mike Napoli, whose seventh inning home run off Justin Verlander in Game 3 accounted for that games only run. It also propelled Napoli, previously slumping, and including that home run hes since 6-10 with two home runs and a double. "As we talked about the other day, when it was thought because of his struggles or the way things were going in this postseason do you look to sit him and that was never contemplated, other than Game 2 where we thought there might be a better matchup with Mike Carp and the left hander," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "When he gets into that upswing he can carry us and not just because of the home run he hit (Thursday) night, you see the other things hes very capable of doing." Farrell has found magic in the back end of his bullpen. Koji Uehara has four saves in as many playoff opportunities but its been the work of Junichi Tazawa (2 1/3 innings - one run) and Craig Breslow (2 1/3 innings - no runs) that has solidified Farrells late game approach. The key has been Uehara. "Hes not doing something this year that is so out of the norm for him," said Farrell. "Hes been a very successful pitcher, whether its been in Japan or here.  But the fact hes the closer here, hes gained the notoriety that he deserves." Farrell, by the way, deserves credit for the handling of his pitching in Game 5. Sensing that Jon Lester was losing control of his outing, a 4-0 lead had been trimmed to 4-2 with one on and one out in the sixth inning, Farrell called for Tazawa and initiated his plan, which asked for Tazawa, Breslow and Uehara to get the final 11 outs of the game. The plan worked and even if it hadnt, it would have been unfair – flat out wrong – to question Farrells strategy. Farrell also deleted the slumping Will Middlebrooks from the starting lineup and replaced him with 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts, whos responded with two doubles, two runs scored and a walk (2-4) in five plate appearances. However this series concludes, the winner will be lauded and the loser will be second-guessed. What weve seen in this series, for the most part, is great pitching and good baseball. The best could be yet to come. Cheap Jerseys free shipping . Bernard James posted 10 points with six borads for the Seminoles (22-10), who take on second-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday. I thought our players committed themselves to reversing the ball and moving the ball and making an extra pass, and we got higher percentage shots, said FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton of his teams surge in the second half. cheap jerseys canada . Carlos Delfino pumped in 16 points and hauled in 10 boards while John Salmons scored 14 points to help the Bucks snap a two-game slide. Milwaukee played without center Andrew Bogut, who missed the game with a rib injury. http://pavansukhdev.org/jerseypope.html. The UFC said Fukada, who lost to a unanimous decision to Brad Tavares at the March 3 show in Saitama, tested positive for phenylpropanolamine, norpseudoephedrine and ephedrine, which are stimulants and banned substances. Cheap NFL Jerseys . Seppi is up to a career-high ranking of No. 18 after reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, and he relied on his solid form to overcome the persistent Dodig, who is ranked 59th. wholesale jerseys free shipping . You can watch Game 1 live on TSN at 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt. The young Thunder, with twin 23-year-old superstars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, will play the bucking bronco trying to throw the Spurs when this rodeo kicks off Sunday in the Alamo City.NEW YORK -- The two Hall of Fame jockeys were just about nose to nose as their horses hit the middle of the final turn of the Belmont Stakes. Gary Stevens, aboard Preakness winner Oxbow, was going to relinquish the lead to the hard-charging Palace Malice, and he knew it. He glanced over to his right and looked at good friend Mike Smith and told him: "You go on with him big boy, youre moving better than me." Was he ever. Palace Malice seized the lead with a quarter-mile to go Saturday in the final leg of the Triple Crown and ran off to a 3 1/4-length victory over Oxbow at Belmont Park, with Kentucky Derby winner Orb another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. "Mike rode a superb race," Stevens said. "Midway around the turn, I said, Well maybe. But I have ridden long enough to know that he (Oxbow) was going to walk home. To finish second, I am really surprised." Palace Malice, who came into the race with only one win in seven starts, vindicated trainer Todd Pletchers support of the 3-year-old colt despite a 12th place finish in the Derby. "Its huge. Its huge," Pletcher said about his second Belmont win. "We always felt like he had a big one in him. We were just waiting for it to finally develop. I told (owner) Mr. (Cot) Campbell this horse is training unbelievable. I know hes got a big run, we just need to put it all together." The Belmont concludes a Triple Crown season in which hopes were high that Orb could break the 35-year drought without a sweep of the classics. In fact, its the fourth time in five years each race was won by a different horse. Palace Malice, who skipped the Preakness, covered the 1 1/2 miles in a slow 2:30.70 on a fast track following a 24-hour downpour. A crowd of 47,562 turned out on a warm, sunny afternoon as Tropical Storm Andrea moved out of the area. For the second time during this Triple Crown run, Pletcher sent out five horses. He came up short in the Derby five weeks ago, skipped the Preakness and regrouped, and came through at his home track for an owner who has supported him from the start. "Its the mother of all great moments, Ill tell you that," the 85-year old Campbell said. "Im proud for Dogwood and proud for my partners, and Im proud of Todd, one of the greatest horse trainers of all time." Sent off at odds of 13-1, Palace Malice returned $29.60, $11.20 and $6.70. Oxbow, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, returned $9.90 and $6.10, and Orb, the 2-1 favourite trained by Shug McGaughey, paid $3.30. "He made a good run arounnd the turn, but we had given up so much," McGaughey said about the colt who was still ninth with a half-mile to go and just could not make up the difference.dddddddddddd "I dont think he got tired. He put up a pretty good run to get where he was, and those horses just werent coming back." Incognito was fourth, followed by Revolutionary, the filly Unlimited Budget, Overanalyze, Vyjack, Golden Soul, Will Take Charge, Giant Finish, Midnight Taboo, Freedom Child and Frac Daddy. Golden Soul is owned by Canadian Charles Fipke. Rosie Napravnik, who was aboard Unlimited Budget, became the first female to ride in all three Triple Crown races in the same year. She was trying to become the second female jockey to win a Triple Crown race. Pletchers other Belmont starters were Revolutionary, Unlimited Budget, Overanalyze and Midnight Taboo. All week, Pletcher expressed optimism that Palace Malice was ready to unleash a big effort. On June 2, the son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin put in a blazing 4 furlong workout in 47.40 seconds. Pletcher called it one of the most impressive works hed ever seen. And it carried over to the race and gave the nations leading trainer his second Belmont win (he won the 2007 Belmont with the filly Rags to Riches) to go with his 2010 Derby win with Super Saver. Smith won his second Belmont, having won aboard Drosselmeyer in 2010. "The game plan was mapped out, and it really went according to plan," Smith said. "We were laying third on the outside of Oxbow, like we wanted. At the three-eighths, Gary said, Go on, little brother. ... And we went on it with it, man." The 14-horse field -- the largest since 1996 -- got off to an even start. Frac Daddy and Freedom Child set out for the lead from their inside posts, with Oxbow not far behind. As the field came out of the turn, Oxbow had the lead heading into the long backstretch run. But unlike the Preakness, he had company up front and the pace was a bit quicker. By the time Oxbow reached the far turn, Palace Malice loomed and Orb was beginning to make a run from way back in the pack. And thats when Palace Malice took charge. The only question was whether anyone was going to catch him. Unlike the Derby, Orb could not complete a come from behind victory. He couldnt even reel in the tiring Oxbow. "Its been fun. Ive got no problems with anything, everthings fine with me," McGaughey said. "I just wish we wold have showed a little better performances in the Preakness and the Belmont." ' ' '
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