Vin Sylvia: Of Sox and (lack of) sleep
Warming up for the ALCS while wondering whether any more Red Sox games this season will finish at a time ending in "p.m." ...
• Major League Baseball made it official on Thursday: Games 1 and 2 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park are scheduled for 8 p.m., all but ensuring finishes 'round midnight. At least those are on Saturday night and the eve of Columbus Day, so school-age fans can go to the games or stay up to watch them on Fox. Of course that's assuming there still are school-age kids who watch televised baseball games.
• Perhaps the most endearing trait of this Red Sox team is the number of players who have stepped up to make major contributions in key games. Who foresaw Craig Breslow as the hero of the ALDS clincher and arguably the series' MVP?
• The Cardinals' Game 5 win over the Pirates in their National League Division Series eliminated any possibility of a World Series match-up of New Hampshire-bred GMs. Still, there's a strong chance one of two Granite Staters could win MLB Executive of the Year, selected by the Sporting News. Boston's Ben Cherington, of Plainfield, is the obvious candidate in these parts, but Pittsburgh's Neal Huntington, of Amherst, also merits strong consideration.
• Nice aspect of the Sox moving onto the bigger stage: more people learning the story of Daniel Nava. From student-manager of his college team to independent-league player to starting left-fielder and key member of a big-market participant in the ALCS — you can't make this stuff up.
• New Hampshire's four major-league players all were with teams that made the playoffs. They saw a combined five innings of action in the division series. Leading the way was Londonderry native Brian Wilson, who was the winning pitcher in Game 4 of the NLDS against Atlanta. Durham's Sam Fuld got one at-bat off the bench in the Rays' wild-card victory over the Indians, then pinch-ran and scored a run in Tampa Bay's ALCS Game 3 win over the Red Sox.
Out all year with a shoulder injury, Chris Carpenter (raised in Raymond, educated at Trinity High in Manchester, owner of a home in Bedford) had his postseason participation limited to a ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the Cards' NLDS.
Conway's Jeff Locke, whose All-Star first half was one of the main reasons the Pirates reached the postseason for the first time in 21 years, was left off the playoff roster after running out of gas in the last two months. The 25-year-old left-hander finished his rookie year with a 10-7 record and 3.52 ERA.
• More on Nava: His slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/on-base-plus-slugging) for the regular season was .303/.385/.831 in 134 games; former Sox left fielder Carl Crawford's was .283/.329/.736 in 116 games. Nava hit 12 home runs, drove in 66 and scored 77. Crawford's numbers in those categories were 6, 31 and 62.
Two more figures to compare: Crawford's salary for this season is close to $21 million, Nava's $505,000 — and the Dodgers are on the hook for Crawford for four more years.
Crawford had a big game (2 homers) in the Dodgers' NLDS clincher against the Braves, but at this point in their careers, I'll take Nava.
Vin Sylvia is a New Hampshire Union Leader deputy managing editor. Email him at email@example.com.