10/12/08 2:40 AM EST
Strange doings brewing in October
Interesting happenings hallmarks of both Championship Series
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Those were the first words out of Joe Maddon's mouth following one of the most unbelievable Major League Baseball games you will ever see, so you might as well start there in describing the postseason picture right now.
Things you don't see every mid-October:
More than 400 pitches in a game.
The Tampa Bay Rays winning an American League Championship Series game, with a mob celebration scene after B.J. Upton's sacrifice fly.
Josh Beckett giving up eight runs.
Mike Timlin, 42, taking the loss in his 45th career postseason appearance. David Price, 23, recording his first Major League victory in a postseason classic.
Dodger Stadium hosting a National League Championship Series game. That will happen at 8:22 ET tonight, and it will be the first time since exactly 20 years earlier, when Orel Hershiser pitched the Dodgers to a 6-0 clinching Game 7 victory over the Mets.
Ron Darling, the losing pitcher that night at Dodger Stadium, in the TBS broadcasting booth for Saturday's 9-8 thrill-ride victory by the Rays in 11 innings.
Jamie Moyer, 45, scheduled to start for the Phillies in Game 3 against Hiroki Kuroda, a 33-year-old Dodgers rookie from Japan.
Jacoby Ellsbury going 0-for-6 in a playoff game.
The Rays and Red Sox combining for seven home runs, tying the record for the most in a postseason game.
How about it!
"People with Dodger flags hanging on their car, and they aren't even going to a game," e-mailed our friend Alyssa Milano, the MLBlogger, Hollywood actress and longtime Dodgers season-ticket holder. "Also, the Dodgers on 'SportsCenter' in October."
Nomar Garciaparra possibly starting at first base after appearing there in just eight games this year. He made the All-Star Game at that position in 2006 thanks to the fans' Final Vote, but could not play due to injury. Manager Joe Torre said that third base also is a possibility for Garciaparra in Game 3.
Overhead blimp shots of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
So what if it's a dome. They were still playing in there.
Jonathan Papelbon entering the game with a tie score in the ninth, keeping his postseason scoreless streak alive but ultimately becoming a footnote.
Forever Collectibles Boston Red Sox Work Gloves on sale at the MLB.com Shop. Get your holiday shopping started early, take 25 percent off your Home & Office purchase of $150 or more, then slap these gloves together just like David Ortiz does while he's wearing his work gloves at the plate.
According to Craig Sager of TBS, Red Sox manager Terry Francona going through an entire bucket of 72 pieces of bubble gum through the first seven innings.
How about it!
Upton being worth the price of admission all by himself, contributing a home run, seemingly endless warning-track drama and then the game-winning at-bat.
Three solo homers in one half-inning.
The woman in purple in the first row right behind home plate at the Trop, throwing her arms in the air every time a Rays pitcher struck out a Boston batter.
The Former Astros Reliever Factor playing a big role. Brad Lidge already has saved both Phillies victories in the NLCS. Dan Wheeler came out of the Rays' bullpen and induced a huge double play in the eighth, then proceeded to throw a seriously wild pitch that let Boston tie the score at 8, then got out of a jam in the ninth. He pitched longer in Game 2 than in any game since he was with Houston.
Beckett leaving the game with massive run support and a no-decision. The eight earned runs he allowed were the most he has given up in a postseason series. The most had been seven in the 2003 NLCS, but that was over three starts.
Francona telling the media after the game: "We wanted Beckett to get through that fifth and set up our bullpen, and it didn't work."
How about it!
The Rays beating the Red Sox in five hours and 27 minutes.
An all-night party in Florida, and a sendoff for a team that goes to Boston and more uncharted territory against the guys with all the experience.
A Mannyfest and Dodger Dogs for everyone on a Sunday of hope in Tinseltown.
Ryan Howard, 2-for-17, and so far it not mattering.
Evan Longoria, breaking out of his "slump" with a homer and two doubles, then saying afterward: "In October, there's different heroes every day."
The Rays being in on that hero action.
The Tampa Bay Rays. Baseball team.
These are things you don't see every mid-October.
It could get even stranger on Tuesday, the next occurrence of a full moon.
How about it!
We're not even halfway through the postseason yet.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.