"It's OK to smile. To hope. To ponder the sweet hereafter, otherwise known as the American League playoffs." [Hohler, Globe] However, I remain, like Lenny Megliola, a bit cautious. Last night's win was Pedro's 100th in a Red Sox uniform (just 93 more, Pedro); he's now 100-28. His career record is 165-66, a winning percentage (.714) that is the best in history among pitchers with 200 decisions. Whitey Ford is #2 at .690.
Tony Massarotti notes that Martinez has pitched a combined 17 innings in consecutive starts, something that has not happened since August 29 and September 4 -- of 2000." ... Steve Krasner writes that Pedro is not likely to finish high in the Cy Young voting because of his low win total. Yet, as Krasner points out, Martinez has had 10 no-decisions, his ERA is 2.34 and he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 21 of his 27 starts. Over his last 19 starts, Martinez is 10-2 with a 1.99 ERA. But he's probably right; if he didn't win last year, he won't win this year. I want to look at the numbers and see if I can make a case for him, though. ... Martinez is usually stingy (.219 BA, .278 OBP, .321 SLG), but Alex Speier points out that when he "stretches past the 105-pitch mark ... batters suddenly tag him at a .370 clip, getting on base with frightening frequency (.419 OBP) and with Wall-banging clout (.444 slugging percentage)."
BlogWatch: Paul Testa remembers Game 6 and Travis Nelson looks at the stats and says Pujols is more valuable than Bonds. ... Thom Loverro, Washington Times: "There has been no farewell tour for Roger Clemens, who insists this will be his final season. Instead, it has been more like good riddance." ... Jim Baker wrote an article for ESPN Insider yesterday saying that Alex Rodriguez should win the AL MVP. Baker printed some of the emails he received and Jason Ellenbogen's litmus test is exactly the same as mine: "If you were creating a team for one year and you were guaranteed 2003 production from each player, who would be your first pick. That is your MVP."
Red Sox ALDS tickets will go on sale Friday evening. "If the Red Sox earn the A.L. Wild Card, they would host Game 3 and Game 4 (if necessary) of the Division Series on Saturday, Oct. 4 and Sunday, Oct. 5." ... Suppan/Zambrano at 7:05 pm. Thanks to Extra Innings, I can also watch Seattle (Moyer) at Texas (Drese) at 8:05.
Off the Diamond: Christiane Amanpour, CNN's top war correspondent and a guest on "Topic A With Tina Brown": "I think the press was muzzled [during the Iraq war], and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did. ... I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels." [Full transcript] Irena Briganti of Fox News: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
Briganti must not have gotten the latest White House memo. Cheney and Rice are now saying Iraq has nothing to do with al-Qaeda and Saddam was not in any way connected to 9/11. ... But didn't Rice say this on September 26, 2002: "There clearly are contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented; there clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there's a relationship here." ... And didn't Bush, in his 2003 State of the Union Speech, say this: "Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaida." ... And haven't they been hinting there is a connection for months? ... No, I must be mistaken. We've always been at war with Oceania.