Monday's question of the day: Who has been the MVP of the baseball playoffs so far?
Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they are wrong.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
Alex Rodriguez – finally -- has been money for the Yankees. He is the leading candidate to be Mr. October, 2009, when the balls and bats have been put away for the winter. But he’s not my pick for the first round MVP. The Yankees could have beaten the Twins without his two homers and six RBIs. The Twins, after all, were a team waiting to be beaten. That was hardly the case with the Red Sox, who have baseball’s largest collection of hard-headed players. They were a threat to turn around the series against the Angels all the way until the 27th out on Sunday. Consider that before the ninth-inning rally by the Angels, they had a 12-3 record in elimination games since 2003. That’s impressive. The guy who put them away, more than anyone, was Bobby Abreu. He doesn’t have A-Rod’s run-production stats but he reached back nine times in 13 at-bats—a vital stretch of good hitting behind the hitless leadoff man, Chone Figgins. He gave the Angels a chance against Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, and his double off the monster was the biggest blow in the ninth-inning rally in Game 3. Nobody’s been more valuable.
Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
Bobby Abreu set the tone as the Angels swept the Red Sox out of the playoffs. Chone Figgins, the Angels' leadoff hitter, went 0 for 12 in the series, with six strikeouts. That could have been a disaster for the Angels had Abreu, who bats behind Figgins, not worked his trademark on-base magic. In his 13 plate appearances, Abreu reached base nine times. He walked four times in the opener, with one of the walks preceding the three-run home run by Torii Hunter that gave the Angels all the runs they would need. Abreu singled twice in Game 2, scoring the Angels' first run. And he had three hits in Game 3, including doubles in the eighth and ninth innings. The Angels rallied to win with five runs in the eighth and ninth, with Abreu scoring the first and last of those five runs.
Dom Amore, Hartford Courant
The Most Valuable Player in the playoffs – hold on to your lunch – is Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees.
A-Rod has not yet buried his reputation as an October choker. That has gone on too long to be accomplished in a Division Series, but what he did in the Yankees’ sweep of the Twins was impressive.
Rodriguez had an impact in all three games, and two of them were close. He had five hits and six RBI; each of his hits meant something. His two home runs tied games late, with his two-run shot off Joe Nathan in the ninth inning of Game 2 was THE hit and THE moment of the series. The homer off former Yankee bust Carl Pavano in Game 3 started something, too.
So for now, Rodriguez is the MVP of October.
Bill Kline, Allentown Morning Call
Assuming Philadelphia's Cliff Lee doesn't pitch another masterpiece Tuesday night against Colorado, the MVP of the baseball playoffs so far is the late Nick Adenhart.
Adenhart, a pitcher, died in an automobile accident in April, and his Los Angeles Angels' teammates have been inspired all year to win in his memory.
That memory now has carried the Angels to a first-round sweep over their playoff nemesis, the Boston Red Sox. The same Red Sox team that had bounced the Angels three times in the previous five postseasons.
Some might say it was just the Angels' turn to win, or that the Red Sox bats turned icier than a Tiger Woods glare. But do not bet against the posthumous punch of emotion supplied by Adenhart, whose image is displayed on his team’s outfield wall -- for all to remember.
Photo: Bobby Abreu reacts after his ninth-inning tying double in Game 3 against Boston. Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images.