People are laughing at us Cowboys fans. You continue to make it difficult to be a Cowboys fan.
Jones emphasized during a radio interview on KRLD-FM (via ESPNDallas.com) that he thought the 2-3 Cowboys could compete for a championship.
“We’ve got to have some wins to make sure we’re in the hunt, but I keep pointing out we’re fresh off a world champion [Giants] that won nine of 16 ballgames last year,” Jones said. “We know you want your team as healthy and as in sync as it can be as we get on into the end of the season. We know we’ve played one division game and won it. We got those guys [the Giants] coming back in here. We know that’s going to be a big game for us.
“All of those things give us a chance to take a team that is, if you look at the pluses [Sunday], evolving into a team that can compete for the championship. Not next year. This year.”
The hosts, justifiably perplexed, asked if he meant to say they could win a title this year.
“Correct,” Jones said. “Let me emphasize that. I’m not into everybody getting better or learning for years to come. It’s this year.”
The Cowboys are more style than substance in recent years, with two playoff wins since their last Super Bowl in 1995, and a 122-123 record since 1997.
They’re also coming off a loss to the Ravens that saw them run well, but featured ridiculous clock management by coach Jason Garrett, and plenty of mistakes by his players. But he was hesitant to feel too good about it.
“I’m not either and I would agree, and I don’t want you to have to feel good about a moral victory,” Jones said. “We went up there, and everyone, before that ballgame on our team, thought we would win and we could win that ballgame, and we recognize that Baltimore has a good team and we recognize we were playing them away. But everybody thought we could win that ballgame.
“It’s terribly disappointing, but we played physically, we did things we can win with in the future. I think we are preparing ourselves, now let me say this, we’re 2-3, and so that’s five games into a 16-game season. We don’t have time to have a bad time here.”
Sounds like he’s saying, . . . oh, never mind.
Sending Justin Verlander back out to pitch the ninth against the Yankees with a 2-0 lead in Tuesday’s Game 3 was pretty much a no-brainer. It’s not like manager Jim Leyland was going to turn to Jose Valverde. 115 pitches is a pretty high total to be starting an inning with, but Verlander has been there before.
At that point, the ideal would have been for Verlander to finish his two-hit shutout at 125-130 pitches. The Yankees, of course, refused to go quietly in the ninth. Eduardo Nunez battled for eight pitches and then sent a hanging curve over the wall in left. 124.
Brett Gardner didn’t reach, but he too extended the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP. He tapped out to Verlander on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. 132.
That total tied Verlander’s career high for a regular season outing. He threw 132 pitches in 7 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on May 29, 2011 and again in striking out 14 Yankees in eight innings on Aug. 6 of this year. In all, he’s had four regular-season outings of 130 pitches, 20 of 125 or more and 47 of at least 120.
Verlander’s career high for a postseason start was 133 pitches in Game 5 of the 2011 ALCS against the Rangers. He also came in at 121 and 122 in his two starts against the A’s in the ALDS earlier this month.
So, letting Verlander carry on in the ninth would have put him into uncharted territory. And the truth is that Verlander wasn’t at his best in this one, even as he was racking up zeroes against the Yankees. He struggled all night to get ahead of hitters, and the fact that it took him 17 pitches to get one out of the ninth suggested he was done. That Phil Coke had pitched so well in the series and that the Yankees lineup was stacked with lefties made it an easier call for Leyland.
And Verlander didn’t seem broken up about it after the game. While he suggested he would have preferred to carry on, he also talked about how saving him for the rest of the postseason was important.
But I don’t think that was it. I think Leyland saw those last two at-bats against Verlander and thought Coke was his best option to get those final two outs. Otherwise, it probably would have been Verlander and that 140-pitch barrier be damned.
All worked out in the end, though not before Coke made things very interesting by giving up a pair of singles. Now it all goes well from here, Verlander will make his next start on seven days’ rest in Game 1 of the World Series.
Having overdue books from the library can cost you more than money.
As the Yankees were losing to the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS opener Saturday night, Alex Rodriguez had just one thing on his mind: procuring the phone number of one of the lovely ladies sitting behind the dugout.
Vikings set to invade England. This is not a repeat from 793 AD
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