Postseason thoughts, Day 1

Yesterday’s games:
Cardinals 8, Dodgers 3
Red Sox 9, Angels 3
Twins 2, Yankees 0

Cardinals lead series 1-0
Hooray for Larry Walker. Good for him. Sixteen years in the majors, six in Montreal, nine-plus in Colorado, one playoff appearance with the Rockies in 1995. He he .214 with just three hits, one homer and three RBI. In his first game back, he slams two home runs. I listened to the game a little on the radio, called by the Mets’ own Gary Cohen and Arizona outfielder Luis Gonzalez (it seemed like every inning there was a former Diamondback on the field — Steve Finley, Elmer Dessens, Tony Womack), while I was on the road. And leading up to the game, it seemed everyone had the same feeling I did: is there one pitcher on either staff (Eric Gagne aside) who scares you? Not really. Walker’s performance got me thinking about the Expos that got away, mostly because Montreal has had a great farm system and player development run the last 15-20 years, but the team can never keep its own talent because of financial constraints. Walker may have been the biggest: one of Canada’s own, he didn’t want to leave, but Montreal couldn’t keep him. We’ve also got Vladmir Guerrero and Bartolo Colon (not brought up and developed by the Expos, but unable to stay because of financial reasons) in Anaheim (along with Andres Galarraga, who’s not on the postseason roster, and backup outfielder Curtis Pride), Orlando Cabrera and Pedro Martinez in Boston and Javier Vazquez in New York. So with former Expos on four of the eight playoff teams, we’ve got a shot at seeing one of them soaking in champagne in three weeks.

Red Sox lead series 1-0
I’m not going to get ahead of myself here (because it’s only a 4-1 Astros lead in the third), but could you imagine a World Series Game 1 in Boston with Curt Schilling facing Roger Clemens? Fox executives would be all tingly inside. The Red Sox seemed determined yesterday, and depending on which Pedro we see tonight, this one could end a lot faster and end up more wide-open than anyone expected.

Twins lead series 1-0
I think even the biggest Yankee fans expected this one. Johan Santana is pitching like God, but with a better slider. I’m not sure, but I think I saw Rudy Giulliani on ESPN this morning — taking a break from his tireless campaigning for President Bush — trying to convince everyone that, despite appearances, the Yankees actually won this debat- er, this game. But all this means is that the Twins didn’t let last week’s sweep in the Big Apple affect them. They may need to watch out: In 2001, Tony Womack’s father passed away, and Fox loved that storyline. It helped that he had some big hits in that World Series for Arizona. I can’t tell you how many times I heard someone at the network explain last night how Jacques Jones took the redeye back from California, where his father died over the weekend, and will return there after tonight’s game for the funeral tomorrow before meeting the team back in Minnesota for Game 3. Jones homered last night.

It’s the top of the fourth in Atlanta right now, and the Braves have left seven men on in three innings. Clemens has gotten into two bases-loaded jams and wiggled out of both, allowing the one run in the first. If they can’t get those guys in, they’re done.

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