October 7, 2005
Tim Wakefield:
Whether he pitches today (or Saturday ...or Sunday, given a rain delay), the defending champs' season is riding on his knuckleball.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
PAIN.  DELAY.

If it wasn't for the rain forecast for all weekend in both New York and Boston, fans could look forward to ALCS clarity by Monday.

Instead, it's looking like the White Sox will have maybe one chance to KO the champs at Fenway on Friday afternoon before Mother Nature steps in and says "Not this weekend."

The last time the Red Sox benefited from a playoff rain delay, of course, it created that wild game-a-day mayhem in last year's ALCS that triggered the Comeback.

So you have to believe the Red Sox are just fine with a little weather postponement.

Make the ChiSox think about it a little more, while Boston sits back and embrace the pressure.

(The Yankees would love to throw Randy Johnson tonight at Yankee Stadium, but that also looks like a non-starter for their top starter. Delay favors the Angels, whose best starters pitched Games 1 and 2.)

The original playoff schedule is amazing for its tidiness; three games from Friday through Sunday. (Compare that to the endless NBA playoffs.)

So the inevitable rain delays are going to make a mess of things, potentially sending these two series well into next week.

Mess favors the underdogs: In the case of the AL, that's the Red Sox. Every day they haven't been eliminated is a day they're still alive.

That should have the White Sox chanting "Rain, rain, go away."

Braves Show Life
All those jokes after Game 1 about how the Astros really needed to save some of those 10 runs for Roger Clemens weren't so funny after all.

Then again, beating on Tim Hudson on Wednesday is a lot easier than scoring on MLB playoff wins leader John Smoltz.

Nice to see the Braves not simply rolling over in the face of Houston's Big Three, the third of which (Roy Oswalt) pitches Saturday in Game 3.

Cards Rocking Padres
How badly does MLB want this series to be over? So badly that they've scheduled Game 3 for Saturday night at 11 p.m. ET.

And so badly that they've scheduled Game 4 (right: "if necessary") for 1 p.m. PT the next day.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Randy McMichael: Fins extend star TE's deal through 2009
Miami: NFL awards a usual suspect the 2010 Super Bowl
Atlanta: Sugar Bowl moves from New Orleans to Georgia
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Pats injury list: DE Richard Seymour questionable vs. ATL
Chuck LaMar: New Devil Rays management group axes GM
Kenechi Udeze: Vikings starting DE out for season (knee)
 
I'm intrigued to see if the Padres can turn the series around back home in San Diego, throwing ex-Cards playoff stud Woody Williams vs. his old mates.

(Wait: Am I really intrigued? No, not really. That Padres bandwagon fever feels so long ago...)

NFL Week 5 preview
Game of the Week: CIN at JAX
Finally, a real test for the bandwagon-heavy Bengals to silence the doubters. But who wants to pick against Leftwich under the lights? (8:30, ESPN)

Pats Dy-Nasty Tracker
NE at ATL: The Falcons with a hobbled Vick is precisely the kind of team Belichick will feast on, no matter what the personnel problems.

McNabb Injury Alert
Considering every week he's been on injury watch, he's thrown for 300-plus yards and big Eagles wins, I'm sure fans say "Stay injured!"

Disbelief in Standings
MIA at BUF: Bills start Holcomb; too bad he doesn't play D. Gasp: Will the Dolphins actually move to 3-1 and own the division?

Welcome to the NFL, Rookie
IND at SF: Alex Smith, meet Dwight Freeney. Taking on the Colts D is no way to start an NFL career.

Unbeatens Watch
TB at NYJ: Vinny won't help
WAS at DEN: Skins 4-0? No way

Favre Farewell Futility Tour
NO at GB: You know your season is bad when the Saints players feel sympathy for YOU.

Giambi: Comback POY
When fans voted Jason Giambi as AL Player of the Year, do you think they took steroids into account?

Was this a pity vote? A New York-centric vote? A vote for the biggest "name" on the ballot? It's certainly baseball's Irony of the Year.

Something seems wrong about rewarding a guy for a "comeback" that only happened because he hit rock bottom after he stopped cheating.

In the NL, Ken Griffey won the fan vote. Was it a "comeback" as much as simply staying healthy for (most of) the year?

CFB Weekend Preview
Two words: Prove. It.

If there was ever a year that Texas would finally foil its nemesis, Oklahoma, it's this year, when OU is weak and UT is as strong as ever. (1, ABC)

Meanwhile, Georgia can establish itself as worthy of being the SEC's top Rose contender with a win at Tennessee. (Or, of course, KO themselves.)

Want to see USC lose? The top contender will be the winner of the Cal-UCLA game (both unbeaten!) Cal's untested; watch UCLA at home.

And as for Penn State? I'm not willing to say they're for real until they beat Ohio St. But if they do, they're Top 10. (7:45, ESPN)

Wayne Gretzky:
But it's only been 2 games! (So what?) Inauspicious coaching debut continues: Lineup-card snafu on Thursday night contributes to loss to the Kings.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
Stark on ATL
 
More NFL W4 Subplots
CHI at CLE
Hey, Orton: Say cheese!
 
BAL at DET
Ugliest. Offenses. Ever.
 
TEN at HOU
This game is brutal.
 
SEA at STL
Mediocrity rules!
 
CAR at ARI
This ain't Mexico anymore
 

NFL Week 5 Office-Pool Picks: NE, BUF, CLE, BAL, GB, STL, TB, TEN, IND, PHI, DEN, CAR, CIN (SNF), SD (MNF) (LW: 10-4, Season: 36-24)

Lakers cut Divac: Euro-pioneer will go down as the greatest flopper in NBA history.

Here's to a recovery for Chiefs OT Kevin Sampson, who was admitted to a hospital after reportedly suffering from a seizure.

More on the D-Rays: I'm liking what I'm hearing from new honcho Stuart Sternberg, who promises shake-ups (Free stadium parking in '06? Yes!)

Who would have guessed that the hot topic at NBA training camps is the impending stricter dress-code? Duncan joins AI in disapproval.

"Two For the Money": I don't know if this movie is any good, but it's the first I can think of dealing so specifically with sports gambling.



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