Saturday, April 23, 2005
The Celtics began the game slowly going 1 for their first 11 shots from the field. In the 1nd quarter though, the 2nd line came out very strong. The Celtics went on a 21-3 run that pretty much gave them a game unless they allowed themselves to lose, which they didn't. They take a 1-0 lead in the series but won't play again until Thursday so the fact that Pierce and Walker got alot of rest will be pretty much irrelevant. 1 win down, 15 more to go.
The Boston Red Sox have had an Ace pitcher since the 1998 season. At the moment, they have no Ace. I'm not saying Schilling will never be the same, but right now, he is definately not the Ace he was last year. More on that later.
Schilling couldn't hang on to the lead and the Sox couldn't amass a big inning or add to their lead. Like the tortoise and the hare, the Red Sox ran out to a nice early lead but then allowed the tortoise to catch up and eventually win the race.
The Man of the Game is David Ortiz who busted out of a slump with two bombs. Unfortunately, nobody was on base for either of them.
The Bitch-Goat shall be divided thusly:
Schilling: 0.8 - 7 IP, 6 ER
Varitek: 0.1 - 0 for 4, K, LOB
Bellhorn: 0.1 - 1 for 3, big K with 2 outs and 2 on in the 8th
The problem for Schilling seems to be endurance. As he gets deeper into the game, he seems to be losing his stuff. In his first three starts, opponents batting average has improved in each inning. Here are the numbers:
That is a consistent increase in the opponents ability to hit him as he gets deeper into the pitch count and into the game. Furthermore, opponents improve after each AB. Most of the damage done in Schilling's appearances has been in the 3rd at-bat of the opponents. In their first AB, opponents are 7/26 which is a .269 batting average. They're slugging .308. In the 2nd at-bat, opponents are 9/26 with a .346 average and a .692 slugging percentage. In the 3rd at-bat, opponents are 11/23 with a .478 average and a slugging percentage of .826. That is ridiculous.
The bright side seems to be that the problem may resolve istelf as Schilling continues to pitch. I found it weird how he only had to start in one rehab game and was never really treated with the care that Pedro was given when he was rehabbing injuries. I know Curt's wasn't an arm injury, but it affects his ability to pitch just as much as an arm injury. Hopefully by mid-May we'll have an Ace again because in '97, we finished 4th.
POORLY STRUCTURED BENCH
The Red Sox bench lacks something which it had last year, I think. It lacks versatility.
Mirabelli is the bench's best hitter but he cannot be used as a pinch hitter many times because of the fear that Tek might get hurt and no-one would be left to catch. He can only play catcher and he is the slowest player on the team.
Vazquez can play all infield positions, but he cannot hit. He isn't that fast.
McCarty can play 1st and the outfield, but he isn't much of a hitter or a runner.
Payton can play the outfield but he is a poor hitter against right-handed pitching and despite his speed, is a poor baserunner.
So there is one player who can catch, one who can play the tough infield spots, and two who can play the outfield. There really isn't any great pinch hitting threat and there is no good pinch runner. I think Theo needs to seriously look at this bench and try to get guys with pop and speed and defensive versatility for the playoffs. We all know how great the bench contributed in the playoffs last season.
Round 1, Pick 32
G/T Logan Mankins, Fresno State
The Pats lost Joe Andruzzi and this guy appears to be his replacement. Then again, you never know with this coaching staff. He may end up replacing Ty Law. That was sarcasm, BTW. The word on Mankins is that he is storng physically and technically and that he is a hardcore player who gives it his all. The Pats have had success with their offensive line draft picks (Koppen, 2003; Light, 2001) so this pick looks to be a good one. Belichick may also know something few others do because Fresno's head coach was a member of Bill's staff at Cleveland.
Round 3, Pick 84
CB Ellis Hobbs III, Iowa State
"YANKEES SUCK" SHIRTS NOW TRUE
The Yankees are currently sucking. They're 7-11 in the bottom of the division. They lost Jaret Wright to injury for an unkown amount of time, mid-releiver Tanyon Sturtze is on the DL, Kevin Brown sucks, Johnson is getting hit consistently, and Mussina continues to be mediocre. Plus, they've made so many deadline deals with their top prospects that they don't have a whole lot of arms down in Columbus to come up and help them out.
They probably won't stay where they are in the standings, but its kind of funny to watch them struggle. Kind of like laughing at Bill Gates for bein fined by the government even though everyone knows he'll be fine.
Bad baseball overshadowing good baseball. Never any excuse to lose to Tampa Bay. Untimely errors and an inability by Wakefield to pitch around those errors. I still thought we were going to win though. The big double play turned by Vazquez, Bellhorn and Millar with the bases loaded in the 8th and then the way the Red Sox built on each other's efforts to score their 3rd and 4th runs of the game made me think that we had the game. All we had to do was have a scoreless ninth and then Manny, DO and Millar would be up in the 10th. It was not to be though as Allan Embree threw one pitch that was rapidly sent into the left field stands to end the game.
The Man of the Game is Scott Kazmir who went 7 innings holding the Red Sox to one run off 4 hits and 3 walks. He was able to work out of some jams and give his team a great chance to win the game. Even though Julio Lugo's offense was a big reason for Tampa's win, without Kazmir's pitching, it may have been irrelevant.
The Bitch-Goat shall be divided thusly:
Alan Embree: 0.6 - IP, H, R, ER, 0 BB, 0 K, HR
Tim Wakefield: 0.3 - 6 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, didn't pitch around errors too well
Jay Payton: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 4 LOB
It was nice to see Bellhorn batting before a hitter like Ramon Vazquez but I think it would have been better if Bellhorn was batting ahead of Payton as well. Once again, I think it may have been a mistake to drop Youkilis down to AAA just to save Blaine Neal.
The Sox bullpen has been unreliable thus far. Hopefully the pitchers are just waiting to get into mid-season form. I don't feel safe with any of them coming into a game though. I think this potential bullpen problem is due to the way the Sox pen has been assembled. Career releivers surrounded by burned out starters and 30 year old minor leaguers. Truly amazing bullpens, like the one Anaheim had a few years ago, are bolstered by YOUNG minor leaguers with strong arms. We don't have anyone like that.
RENTERIA VS. CABRERA
You may have noticed the Renteria vs. Cabrera portion of the blog on the right sidebar thingy. It has been there since Spring Training. Renteria has struggled at the plate. He's batting .203, with an OBP of .225. He is slugging a mere .362. His OPS is an unimpressive .588. Cabrera hasn't been tearing the cover off the ball but he is putting up decent numbers. He's also hit a pair of game winning homeruns.
Now, I don't think Cabrera is better. I think Renteria is a slightly better defensive player but offensively, I think they are a wash. Cabrera fit into the Sox lineup perfectly when he came here and once we picked him up, we went on a tear. I just don't see why the Sox management decided to drop Cabrera and pickup Renteria. Why risk making a major change to the lineup and clubhouse chemistry when the only reward is maybe a few more plays made at SS?
SMALL MARKET VS. BIG MARKET PART II
Every time a fan of a big market team and a fan of a small market team enter into an intelligent conversation, it seems to devolve into the small market fan whining and moaning about not having enough money to "buy the World Series." Up in Toronto, some moronic Blue Jays fan sitting in front of me who celebrated his team's early April victory to the point of near heart attack, remarked to me in the 7th inning that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees were ruining baseball with their seemingly wreckless spending. However, I think that teams like Boston, New York, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta stimulate much of the baseball economy. A perfect example of this was the scene at Tropicana Field last night. 30,530 fans went to the game. That's about 4,000 more people than Tampa's Opening Day. That's more than twice as many fans as any other day besides Opening Day. On Thursday, the Rangers drew a mere 8,799. Small market teams make tons of money off big market teams when they come to town. They also get 10% of the gate when they go to Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park. The fact of the matter is, teams like Tampa Bay and Toronto and Kansas City make alot of money off the big market teams they often lament.