clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rockies' 'Dragon Slayer' is work of art

Colorado pitcher Josh Fogg has been nicknamed "Dragon Slayer" for his knack for coming up big against opponents' aces of late.
Colorado pitcher Josh Fogg has been nicknamed "Dragon Slayer" for his knack for coming up big against opponents' aces of late.
Jack Dempsey, Associated Press

Colorado Rockies pitcher Josh Fogg is a big fan of art — especially when it's a painting of himself.

Fogg arrived in the clubhouse Saturday to find a mural of him slaying a dragon with baseballs hanging on a nail above his locker.

He didn't know who was responsible for the airbrushed painting but loved the piece.

"I'm pretty impressed," said Fogg, who will start Game 3 of the NL championship series against Arizona on Sunday night. "It's well done."

Fogg was nicknamed "Dragon Slayer" by teammate Matt Holliday shortly before the Rockies' wild-card tiebreaker against San Diego on Oct. 1. It was a reference to Fogg's ability to come up big against another team's ace.

Fogg outpitched Arizona's Brandon Webb in early September and also showed off his stuff in interleague play by beating Mike Mussina of the New York Yankees and Boston's Curt Schilling.

The mural depicts Fogg standing over a defeated dragon that has its tongue rolled out and a baseball lodged in the middle of its forehead.

"This is definitely a little treat," he said.

In the artwork, though, Fogg has ripped biceps.

"I think it looks just like me," he said with a grin.

Since he's staying at a local hotel and doesn't have a car, he's not sure what he'll do with the painting.

But that's for another time.

Right now, his main focus is on his first start of the postseason. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief against Philadelphia in the NL division series.

"That was probably one of my biggest thrills in my life," Fogg said. "But I'm sure (Sunday) will be a little more nerve-racking."

ONE GAME AT A TIME: Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the decision to pull Josh Beckett after 80 pitches in Game 1 was not an attempt to get him back on the mound an extra time in the AL championship series.

"That had nothing to do with it," Francona said before Game 2 on Saturday night against the Cleveland Indians.

Francona did note that it was cold and Beckett sat through some long innings while Boston jumped out to a 10-2 lead.

Beckett and Indians ace C.C. Sabathia would be pitching on three days' rest if they came back to start Game 4 on Tuesday. They could then come back for Game 7 on their regular four days of rest.

Beckett, who shut out the Yankees to clinch the 2003 World Series for Florida, threw a second consecutive shutout in the opener of Boston's first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Angels. But he came out after six innings on Friday night.

Tim Wakefield is Boston's scheduled starter for Game 4. The knuckleballer was not on the first-round roster and has not pitched since Sept. 29.

Paul Byrd is scheduled to take the mound for Cleveland.

GOOD INTENTIONS: The ever-talkative Eric Byrnes doesn't understand the rule enforced against Arizona teammate Justin Upton in Game 1 of the NL championship series. Upton was called for interference when he slid into Rockies second baseman Kaz Matsui.

Umpire Larry Vanover enforced a rule that called not only Upton out, but the runner who was going to first base as well.

Byrnes said Saturday that every baserunner in the majors goes into second on a potential double play with the "intent" of colliding with the second baseman.

"Therefore," he said, "I should probably be called out every time I slide into second base trying to break up a double play, because I have intent every time. And there's 30 major league baseball teams that teach the exact same way of going into second base, and that's with intent."

Vanover's call was based on Upton hitting Matsui with his left arm, sending the second baseman tumbling to the ground.

"You know, baseball often times can get labeled as an apathetic sport for people that don't really know the game," Byrnes added. "And you're telling me that you want to take out one of the few and exciting times that this game brings to you? I think that's wrong."

The rant concluded with a promise.

"I'm on base tomorrow night," Byrnes said, "there's a groundball to second base, I promise you I'll be coming into second base with intent. So hopefully that intent doesn't get both of us called out."

GAGNE'S EXTREMES: There was no middle ground for Red Sox reliever Eric Gagne in Boston's 10-3 win over the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the AL championship series.

The 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner struck out three in a scoreless ninth inning but also loaded the bases.

"He's trying," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Game 2 at Fenway Park on Saturday night. "It's just not as clean as we would like."

The former closer was similarly inconsistent after the Red Sox acquired him from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline to help out as a setup man for Jonathan Papelbon. Gagne went 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA in 20 games with Boston.

"He did the unforgivable: He gave up runs in Boston," Francona said. "Not a good place to do it."

Francona said after a tough start, Gagne was more effective at the end of the season. He did not allow a run in five regular-season appearances after Sept. 18.

He pitched once in the first-round series against the Los Angeles Angels, coming into a 9-0 game and allowing one run in Sunday's clincher. On Friday night, he gave up a single, a double and a walk, but struck out Grady Sizemore to end the game.

"When he went to using all his pitches, he was very effective, and when he got away and started staying hard, he ran into a little bit of trouble," Francona said. "So the good news is we had a lead and he got some swing and misses. The other side of it was that he got away from that a little bit, and it caused us to get in a situation where there were men on base."

FULLY HEALED: Willy Taveras expected to feel a little sore one day after racing into the gap and making a diving catch against Arizona.

But his run-saving grab in the seventh inning told the Colorado Rockies' outfielder all he needed to know — he was healed.

Taveras has been bothered by leg injuries this season. He missed the final month before coming back for the NL championship series.

"I feel great," Taveras said. "My body felt a little sore from diving, but I'm good."

And glad the Rockies are continuing their winning ways. He was afraid that his presence in the lineup might shake things up — in a negative way. Colorado has won 19 of 20 games, including the last two with Taveras starting in center field.

"They didn't want me to mess things up," he said with a grin. "They were playing great without me."