David Price pitched a performance for the ages in the postseason, capped off by a sensational, historically superior outing Sunday Night to help the Boston Red Sox clinch their 4th World Series championship in the last 15 years.
Squaring off with Clayton Kershaw in game 5 of the Series in Chavez Ravine with the Red Sox holding a 3-1 lead in the series but needing a victory with a thinned out pitching staff, David answered the bell emphatically.
David out-dueled Kershaw and the Dodgers, 5-1, going 7, allowing only 3 hits, 1 run, a leadoff homer by David Freese in the first, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. It was an epic that capped off a phenomenal performance by the 33 year old superstar from Vanderbilt University.
David threw 89 pitches with 58 for strikes against 31 balls, and his changeup coming in at 85 MPH was masterful, while his fastball was hitting 93-94, he even hit 95 once or twice. His cutter was hitting the corners like it had throughout the playoffs. But the changeup he’s developed as he’s moved into his 30’s and lost about 3 ticks off his fastball, was the difference. David puts it in the perfect spot and has the hitters totally baffled. It was unhittable and left the Dodger hitters shaking their heads.
The whole postseason was beyond spectacular for David. , Dave was 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA while also coming on in relief last Friday Night in the bottom of the 9th and getting 2 outs in the Dodgers only victory, an 18 inning 3-2 victory. David’s history in the postseason tormented him. He had come into this postseason with an 0-9 record and a 6.03 ERA capped by a miserable division series game against the Yankees on Oct. 6th.
But everything changed in game 5 of the ALCS when David squared off with the great Justin Verlander of the Astros. The Astros were a unanimous pick to win it all by the media. I include myself in that although when I saw the Red Sox go 17-2 in spring training and defeat the Astros in the final game of spring training with many starters playing for both sides, I thought I might pick them. Out thought myself and picked the Nationals over the Astros. The Red Sox went 10-8-54 in the regular season and 11-3 in the postseason. That’s phenomenal.
With Verlander, Gerritt Cole, Dallas Kuechel, and Charlie Morton and those awesome bats of Jose Altuve, George Springer, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, etc… the Astros were a seemingly unbeatable team. But the Sox took a 3-1 lead on an Andrew Benintendi superior catch in the left central field gap with the bases loaded and the Red Sox leading by a run with 2 outs in the 9th in game 4 to secure the 3-1 series lead for the Sox. David did the rest and out pitched Verlander, going 6, giving up just 3 hits, 0 runs with 0 walks and 8 K’s. He had the Astro hitters totally perplexed. They had no clue how to hit him. The Red Sox won 4-1, and advanced to the Fall Classic, where David was brilliant.
The great New York Times baseball writer, Tyler Kepner, interviewed Coach Tim Corbin during the game Sunday while Corbs was in Nashville. Corbs, a native of Wolfeboro, N.H., told Kepner how difficult it is for players in Boston. David has been through a lot. With his heated exchange with Dennis Eckersley, the former great reliever and Red Sox commentator, who mildly criticized one of the Red Sox starters, Eduardo Rodriguez, last season, to his blow ups with the media. The pressure has been beyond intense in Boston. Corbs told Kepner, “Look, I remember when they gave Carl Yastrzemski a hard time, Jim Rice a hard time and my dad remembered when they gave Ted Williams a hard time. It’s like New York-we’re with you win or tie.”
I thought that was awesome. Also in the article, different Sox players talked about what an amazing teammate Dave is. He was the same way at Vanderbilt, always wanting the ball to help out his team and always supporting his teammates. When Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi took the loss Friday Night giving up 2 runs, with only 1 earned, in 6 innings of work, David stayed with him throughout most of the night. That’s the kind of teammate David Price has been and always will be. Just a massive heart in the 33 year old from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who will always be an epic Commodore. David donated $2.5 million to the Vanderbilt baseball program to help complete the amazing baseball complex we have now. It was selfless and shows what a devoted person he is to his former coach and his former program. David Price loves Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt loves David Price. No more questions about David Price in the postseason. He now owns a sensational resume and there’s more history to write.
Not lost in the World Series, at least to me and plenty of other VU fans, was the performance by Walker Buehler last Friday Night. Walk went 7 against the BoSox, giving up only 2 hits, 0 runs with 0 walks and 7 K’s. It was masterful. Walker threw 108 pitches with 72 for strikes against 36 balls, which is excellent, a 2:1, ratio. And, of course, Walker issued no free passes, which is always tremendous. His fastball was clocking in at 98-99. Walk was dominant. He gave the Dodgers hope with his performance. Walker’s future is beyond stellar. Walker says he wants to be the next Justin Verlander. He may be better.
Tony Kemp was sensational for the Astros versus the Red Sox in the ALCS making an amazing leaping catch against the MInute Maid Park wall in left on a ball destined to be a double or triple. Tony elevated to what looked like 4 feet and grabbed the ball right before it hit off the wall. Tony has always been a stellar, clutch player and I’m ecstatic the Astros are finally recognizing that. Tony also hit a homer and had 3 hits in the series in the games he played in. He should be a major piece in the Astros’ future plans. They still have an amazing collection of players returning next year, so we’ll see if they can win another Fall Classic, though Boston and New York among others will have a major say in that.
Dansby, Sonny and Ryan Flaherty were also in the playoffs. Dans’ future is bright with the Braves. Would like to see him hit .280-.300 like he’s capable of doing. He’s got such a textbook swing and is such a superior athlete so I expect him to do that next season. Dans was injured and not available in the playoffs. Hopefully Ryan will be in the Braves’ plans next season. Ryan is a solid player. If the Braves don’t bring him back, which they very well could, he’ll get a shot elsewhere with his solid talent and him being such a great team player.
I don’t know what to think about Sonny’s situation. I wish he could get out of New York and get to Atlanta. Sonny would be an awesome Brave. I wish that would happen. New York doesn’t seem to work for him. Sonny’s more of a smaller market pitcher. He can certainly excel in the right place.
Kyle Wright looks to be a potential starter in the Braves rotation. Kyle was impressive in his appearances in September for the Braves. Kyle, with his electric fastball at 96-97 and his electric stuff in general, will be a major factor on the Atlanta Braves team next season.
Curt Casali had a very solid season for the Cincinnati Reds. I expect him to have another excellent season next year with the Reds or somebody else.
There are plenty of other guys from our program who will make an impact in the big leagues next season. I’ll keep you posted on their progress. Still believe Pedro Alvarez can be a great major league player. His status is up in the air right now. Just know what a great guy and player Pedro is and his story from his upbringing where his father, a taxi driver, and he would hit balls in the basement of their apartment building constantly with his father throwing to him and Pedro hitting into a net, and coming to Vanderbilt when Corbs saw him launching home run after home run in Yankee Stadium the summer before his senior year in high school and Corbs thinking he didn’t have a chance to get him to VU. Pedro was drafted pretty highly, but chose Vanderbilt for the education and the baseball. It was very admirable. So I never give up on Petey. Will always believe in him.
Our 2019 baseball team looks special. I’ve gone over our talent with Stephen Scott, Austin Martin, J. J, Bleday, Ethan Paul, Philip Clarke, Pat DeMarco, just some serious lumber. We’ll play excellent defense as well. The pitching will be the key and we’ve got some potentially stout starters and a bullpen that could be lockdown. The SEC is a challenge, but that’s what our team likes. Will have more in January on this year’s squad when I talk to Corbs. I’ll have more in November and December, too.
Football dominates in Fayetteville
Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran for 172 yards and 3 TDs, tight end Jared Pinkney caught 5 passes for 93 yards and 2 TDs, wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb caught 4 passes for 44 yards, Kyle Shurmur played an efficient game completing 13-of-19 passes for 192 yards, 2 TDs and 0 ints, and JoeJuan Williams and Louis Vecchio registered NFL like interceptions in the Commodores’ 45-31 victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville.
It was a tremendous team victory. Left tackle Justin Skule was named Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance. Justin, left guard Cole Clemens, center Bruno Reagan, right guard Saige Young and right tackle Devin Cochran put on a spectacular performance opening hole after hole for the Mamba and Khari Blasingame, who played very well also running for 46 yards on 10 carries and a TD. Khari also caught 2 passes for 42 yards including a big play 23 yard screen that was set up to perfection. The blocking was tremendously good. Kyle had good time in the pocket. He was sacked 3 times, but the Razorbacks brought the house quite often. For the most part, the o line was flawless. Ke’Shawn is a very, very special player for us.
The great JoeJuan Williams posted an amazing interception in the second quarter. Stepping in front of a Ty Story pass attempt to one of his receivers and picking it off in NFL fashion. It was a superb play by our stud corner. We posted 6 tackles for loss of 15 yards and 2 sacks. Louis Vecchio registered one of the sacks and made an interception that is maybe the best play we’ve made all season. We put great pressure on Story and as he threw it, the ball was jarred from his arm. His arm was moving forward. Louis was falling on his back, batted the ball in the air and as he fell on his back, he reached back with both hands and he grabbed the ball from behind his helmet with both hands right before it hit the ground. Odell Beckham Jr. was envious. Such a superb play. As was JoeJuan’s. Our defense played extremely well. We gave up a touchdown late with our backups in. Linebacker Dimitri Moore led us with 8 tackles. Awesome safety LaDarius Wiley added 6, and inside linebacker Jordan Griffin, who is leading the SEC in tackles, added 5. Griffin and Dayo Odeyingbo had 1 1/2 tackles for loss, Allan George and Vecchio had 1 and Darion DeBrossard and Cameron Tidd had a 1/2 TFL apiece. Tidd had 1/2 sack, as did Dayo and Vecchio had 1.
It was a phenomenal effort by Coach Mason and the team. Coach Mason kept the esprit de corps up when things weren’t looking so positive and it paid huge dividends last Saturday.
We’re off this week, which is excellent timing to get everybody healthy and get ready to visit the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 10th at 11 AM CT on the SEC Network. The team is now 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the SEC. Excited to see what we can do the rest of the way with games at Missouri, Nov. 10th. and at home versus Ole Miss and Tennessee on Nov. 17th and 24th respectively. If we can get a strong finish, we can get to a bowl game and reward this team for all its hard work, let them enjoy the excitement and fun of playing and competing in a bowl game, get more reps for the players coming back in 2019, which is huge, and get a big boost in recruiting.
I like the recruiting class we have right now. We have 16 commits, with 4 star safety Anfernee Orji leading the way. He is 4 star freshman linebacker Alston Orji’s little brother. Both will be tremendous players for us. Read about our quarterback commit, Jamil Muhammad, from Madison, Alabama and James Clemens High School on Saturday. Jamil lead his team to the Class 7A, Region 4 championship last Friday Night. He’s a true dual threat quarterback with a rocket for an arm and awesome wheels. He’s another edition to our quarterback group which features Deuce Wallace, as Deuce will be coming back next semester after being suspended for the season and I hope he has his act together as he’s a talent, the talented Syracuse transfer Mo Hasan, who can make plays with both his arm and his legs as he showed Saturday in Fayetteville, and high 3 star freshman Allan Wallace, whom Coach Mason is really high on. So we’re in good shape at quarterback for the future. Just need to keep adding one every year. Jamil’s teammate, Daevion Davis, is a 6’2”, 314 defensive tackle commit to us and is a dominant player. Daevion is a 5.7 and 87, 3 star and a super get for the staff. Really like what we’re getting with this class and if we can keep winning, we can add some more excellent pieces to this 2019 group.
Jordan Matthews had a huge day for the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in their victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London. JMatt caught 4 passes for 93 yards. He was terrific. JMatt was cut by the New England Patriots before the season started because of what looked like a season ending hamstring injury. But JMatt, being the dedicated professional that he is, rehabbed hard to get back and it’s now paying off. Jordan looks like a major part of the Eagles’ plans the rest of this season.
Zach Cunningham got hurt Thursday Night, but it was minor and Zach has been a tackling machine for the Houston Texans., Zach could very well be having an All Pro season for the surging Texans, which, after losing their first 3 games of the season, have won 5 in a row, and are rolling. Amazingly, Andre Hal is back and playing. Andre has recovered brilliantly from the Hodgkins Lymphoma and is now in the Texans lineup. He was hurt Thursday and didn’t play, but played the game before, and Andre should be fine for the Texans next game @ the Denver Broncos this Sunday.
Oren Burks is a key part of the Green Bay Packers defense at inside linebacker, as is defensive end Stephen Weatherly for the Minnesota Vikings. Adam Butler is playing a good bit on defense for New England, and Wesley Johnson is the backup center for the MIami Dolphins. Also, Spencer Pulley, is the backup guard and center for the New York Giants. Kenny Ladler is a backup safety for the Washington Redskins. Kenny was awesome in the Canadian Football League corralling 7 interceptions last season and earned a spot in the NFL. Really believe in Kenny’s ability along with all the guys.
So our guys are doin serious work in the National Football League.
The women’s soccer team finished the 2018 season going 15-2-1 and 8-1-1 in the SEC to win the conference regular season championship. It was an awesome performance by Coach Darren Ambrose and his team. Darren won SEC Coach of the Year. We are No.7 in the country. Redshirt freshman Haley Hopkins won SEC Freshman of the Year. Nia Dorsey landed on the second team. Ella Shamburger was also selected on the All-Freshman team.
Our team opens SEC Tournament play tonight against Florida with a 5 PM CT game on the SEC Network. The Tournament is being played in Orange Beach, Alabama. The NCAA Tournament starts Nov.9th at campus host sites. The Women’s College Cup, the Final Four will be played in Cary, North Carolina November 30th-December 2nd. Hopefully, our women will be hoisting a national championship trophy on December 2nd. Got a lot to do to get there though starting this afternoon versus Florida.