Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Here's some hardcore, as it happens thoughts and analysis of the Red Sox game.

Russ Adams begins the game with a lengthy at-bat forcing Arroyo to really work. He grounds out to 2nd. Arroyo grooves a "curveball" that looks like a slow cutter and Catalanotto drills it 420 feet to the triangle for a stand up triple. The next batter, Vernon Wells, hits a homerun into the Monster Seats. 2-0 Blue Jays. Arroyo comes back with a strikeout, then Eric Hinske hits a freak single to 3rd that Mueller couldn't play due to its oddness. Greg Zaun then pops out in the infield.

Johnny Damon begins the Red Sox attack with a weak grounder back to the pitcher. Damon continues to struggle in the 2nd half of the year and when he struggles, our offensive machine struggles. Renteria, however, is not struggling. He comes to the plate 10 for his last 22 at-bats and makes it 11 for his alst 23 with a homerun to center. Lilly falls behind Ortiz 3-0 but David is unable to capitalize and eventually strikes out. Manny ends the inning with a weak fly out.

Meanwhile, the Yankees and Orioles are scoreless in the 1st, as are the Devil Rays and Indians.

The Blue Jays begin the 2nd with a fly out by Reed Johnson. Gabe Gross fouls off a 3-1 pitch and it is caught by Varitek. Hill works a 2 out walk, Adams grounds out back to Arroyo to end the inning.

Meanwhile, the Orioles are up 1-0 after a homerun by Javy Lopez.

Varitek extended his long stretch of poor at-bats with a strikeout. Millar hits a hard shot off the wall in left for a double. Bill Mueller works a 4 pitch walk. Even though he got ahead in the count, Nixon grounds out to the first baseman who throws to 2nd for a fielder's choice. The play does advance Millar to 3rd for Graffanino who is 5 for 10 against Lilly. Lilly once again falls behind the count. 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, bad call and its 3-2, throw over to first, pop foul the first baseman catches it. End of the inning, still 2-1 Blue Jays but at least Graffanino makes Lilly work a bit and it appears that the Red Sox are getting close to mounting a rally.

The O's are still up 1-0 in the 3rd and the Indians are still tied at 0 with Tampa in the 3rd.

Frank Catalonotto, who is 5 for 8 in the series and hit a 420 foot triple, leads off the 3rd with a solo homerun to right field. 3-1 Blue Jays. The anger starts to rise. Arroyo gets ahead of Wells but Vernon hits a single. The croud is incredibly silent at this point. Koskie pops up for the first out of the inning. Arroyo got ahead of Hinske 0-2 but Arroyo missed with a high fastball and Hinske crushed it to center, giving the Jays a 5-1 lead. Three homeruns and a 420 foot triple given up by Arroyo is Dinardo warms in the pen. Greg Zaun grounds out. Thankfully, only the heart of the Blue Jays order is doing damage. But Arroyo is 4 runs behind and over 60 pitches into this game. The bullpen is already stressed from the doubleheader on Tuesday. Reed Johnson flies out to left to end the inning but the Red Sox are further behind.

Damon hit a fly ball to center and Johnson appears to have trapped it but the replays are not conclusive. The ump hustled out to center to make the call though. Damon receives a possible gift single. Renteria works a walk and it appears that with the big bats up there, the Red Sox might be able to do something. It's weird, I'm almost more comfortable when the Sox are behind than when we lead. Ortiz swings at the first pitch he sees depsite Renteria walking on 5 pitches and flies out to center. Ortiz is in the midst of a 3 for 28 slump. Strike, ball, ball, strike, swing and a miss strike three. 2 outs for the struggling Varitek who is 0 for 1 with a K. Tek quickly falls behind 0-2. Foul, foul, ball just low, ball high, ball low. Full count, baserunners in motion. Foul ball. Ball 4. Bases loaded, Millar comes up as the potential tying run. Once again after a walk, the Red Sox swing on the first pitch and it results in another fly out. The good news is they're making Lilly work and appear to be getting closer to scoring. The bad news is, they haven't done it yet and the Blue Jays aren't getting too fooled by Arroyo. We're running out of time.

Baltimore still leads New York 1-0 in the 5th. Cleveland and Tampa are scoreless in the 5th.

Arroyo walks Gabe Gross to begin the 4th as the bullpen stirs for the Red Sox. The #9 hitter Hill hits a curve to left for a single. Dinardo resumes warming up. Arroyo looks bad and doesn't seem as though he will be pitching much longer. Arroyo walks the leadoff man Adams. Francona emerges from the dugout to pull Arroyo who pitched like crap. We really needed him to come up with a quality start with the bullpen being depleted the day before and with the playoff races being so tight. Lenny Dinardo comes into the game with the bases loaded and nobody out and the Jays already up by 4 and poised to go up by more.

On Dinardo's first pitch Catolonotto hits a double off the wall, making him a single shy of the cycle. It scores 2 giving Toronto a 7-1 lead. There are runners on 2nd and 3rd with 0 outs. Wells strikes out for the 1st out of the inning. Koskie walks on 5 pitches to reload the bases for Hinske. Hinske strikes out for the 2nd out of the inning. Zaun flies out to right to end the inning. The Red Sox have not overcome a deficit of more than 6 runs this season.

In Baltimore, Alex Rodriguez has hit a solo HR to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the 6th. The Indians and devil Rays are still locked at 0-0 in the 7th.

Mueller leads off the 4th by swinging at the first pitch and popping it up. Way to respond, Sox. Nixon grounds out weakly to 1st. It seems that Lilly has settled. This is bad, bad news. Graffanino ends the inning with a weak fly out. An absolutely terrible response inning for the Red Sox. Lilly has settled in and the Blue Jays can now feast on our worn out, crappy bullpen.

Reed Johnson flies out to center. Gross grounds out. Hill walks with 2 outs. Adams grounds out. Dinardo has pitched well apart from the double he yielded on the 1st pitch of his outing.

Damon flies out to center. Renteria doubles to left. He is the only Sox player who has hit well in this game. Ortiz singles to the gap in left center, knocking in Renteria. 7-2 Blue Jays. The Devil Rays take a 1-0 lead over Cleveland and the Yankees are threatening in Baltimore. Ball 1 to Manny. Ball 2, ball 3, ball 4. New York takes a 2-1 lead over the Orioles. Once again, Varitek falls behind in the count, 0-2. Johnson makes a diving catch to rob Tek of a hit and 2 runs and Ortiz nearly gets doubled off. Millar flies out to end the inning. We needed to get a few runs in this inning, instead, we only got 1. Millar has left 5 men in his last 2 ABs.

Catalonotto is retired via groundout. It is the first time in 7 at-bats since he hasn't recorded a hit. Dinardo robs Wells with a nice play. Koskie grounds out. Dinardo has retired 9 of the 11 men he has faced since allowing that 2 run double.

Tampa Bay hangs on against Cleveland 1-0 going into the bottom of the 9th. The Orioles have the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the 2nd but still trail 2-1. The Red Sox are running out of time and need to come up with a big inning, putting a crooked number on the board.

Lilly remains in the game despite throwing 91 pitches. He does have a 5 run lead though and he is facing the bottom of the roder. He begins the inning by getting Mueller to ground out. Mueller is hitless. The Indians get the leadoff man on against Tampa. Nixon has a truly pathetic one pitch at-bat that results in a flyout. Graffanino hits one off the Monster, he tries to extend it into a double for some reason and is thrown out on a questionable call. The inning ends as Graffanino runs into an out down by 5. The Red Sox look laughable out there. How the heck have we won 92 games this season?

Cleveland grounds into a double play and are down to their last out still down 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th. Travis Hafner grounds out to end the game. The Red Sox and Yankees take a brief 0.5 game in the Wild Card as the Indians have lost 2 straight.

Dinardo remains on the mound in the 7th. He and Renteria have been the only two Sox players that have played well today. Hinske grounds out. Dinardo walks Zaun. Zaun advances to 2nd on a wild pitch. Mike Myers warms in the pen. Zaun advances to 3rd on a Johnson groundout. Gross flies out to the track in center to end the inning.

The Red Sox failure to make Lilly work allows him to stay in the game. Damon starts the 7th with a crappy at-bat. He swings at the first pitch (not something new for the Sox tonight) and grounds out. The sole Sox hitter of the night, Renteria, comes to the plate as Lill crosses the 100 pitch mark. Manny Delcarmen warms up in the Sox pen. Dinardo is probably done after 4 innings of 0 earned run relief. Lilly comes back from down 3-0 to make the count full. The payoff pitch is a ball and the Red Sox get a 1 out baserunner for the slumping middle of the order. Lilly has walked 5 but we've swung at his first pitch way too much. We have shown no patience at the plate. Ortiz bunts but it is a terrible bunt. The catcher fields it and throws to second to retire Renteria. For some reason its scored a sacrifice but he was most assuredly bunting for a hit. With the righty Ramirez coming up, Lilly is finally taken out of the game. The scoring is finally corrected and it is scored as a 2-5 fielder's choice. Vinny Chulk comes on to releive Lilly. Manny pops up to end the inning. The Sox have left 8. I really feel like throwing my computer out the window at this point because we're playing like shit.

The Yankees take a 2-1 lead into the top of the 9th, looking to get an insurance run.

Manny Delcarmen comes in releiving Dinardo. He went 4 innings, allowing 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 3 walks, 2 Ks, and 0 HRs. He allowed 2 of 3 inherited runners to score. He has kept us in the game, we just have refused to capitalize on it. At the very least, Dinardo has saved the bullpen. Hill grounds out to short. The Orioles go to the bottom of the 9th down by a run against the Yankees. Russ Adams walks. Adams moves to 2nd on a fielder's choice hit into by Catalanotto (how many different ways have I spelled that?). Gibbons begins the Orioles 9th with a groundout against Rivera. BJ Suhoff lines out and the Orioles are down to their last out. Wells flies out to end the Toronto 8th. Javy Lopez strikes out to end the game. New York wins 2-1.

The Yankees take a 0.5 game lead in the division and a theoretical 1 game lead in the wild card. After scoring 17 runs yesterday, the Orioles were only able to muster 1 against the Yankees. We need a serious comeback to keep pace with New York. Varitek flies out to begin the inning against Chulk. Olerud comes up to pinch hit for Millar. Olerud works a 1 out walk. The Sox have been walked 6 times but none of the recipients have come around to score. Mueller lines a single to center. Chulk is releived for lefthander Scott Schoenweis. We need to get some runs. We don't need to tie it right now, but we need to make it close for the 9th. Right here would be a perfect spot for Gabe Kapler to be pinch hitting if he weren't hurt. I fear a double play. It seems as though he always does it. Nixon doesn't ground into a double play, instead he grounds into a fielder's choice that moves the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Graffanino comes up with 2 on and 2 out. Tony fouls out and the Sox strand 2 more to make it an even 10.

Myers releives Delcarmen who threw a scoreless 8th. So far, our bullpen has performed very well. It's a pity they couldn't do this last night. Koskie grounds out to 2nd. Hinske lines out. Zaun grounds out.

Johnny Damon leads off the bottom of the 9th. It is his 5th time leading off an inning. The only time he has reached has been on a questionable trap call. Miguel Batista warms for Toronto. We've only had a leadoff man reach once tonight. The trend continues as Damon grounds out to 1st. Renteria strikes out. Ortiz is going to line out I think to end the game. He does hit a line drive but it falls into the outfield for a basehit. Manny comes up. The tying run is on triple deck. Manny fouls out to end the game. We fall a game back of New York in the division and are still tied with Cleveland for the Wild Card. I picked the wrong game to try out this "as it happens" things. I am pissed.


The primary reason it is difficult to sweep doubleheaders, in my opinion, is that you use up your top pitchers in the 1st game. The winning team typically needs to utilize their top set-up man and closer in order to win the first game. Then they typically can't use them in the 2nd game. That's what happened in the 2nd game. On any other day, we probably win that game. Schilling wouldn't have had to go deep into the 7th. We could have used Papelbon and Timlin to end the game. We probably would have won.

The notion that Craig Hansen should be the closer for this team is laughable. It was laughable when people running sites like Boston Dirt Dogs suggested it after his impressive debut. The guy is still a kid. He's got great stuff, but he hasn't proven himself yet. We're not some crappy team willing to experiment, we're the Boston Red Sox. You need to EARN your spot on this team. It isn't just given to you after one good performance.

Apparently, an anonymous member of the Red Sox clubhouse was ragging on Curt Schilling. "When he comes into the game, people cheer him like he's the Pope? You think they'd let Pedro get away with this? Why does he get a free pass?"

Now, my guess as to who the player is Foulke. Think about it, Foulke has been crapped on by everyone in Red Sox Nation for pitching poorly due to injury. Yet Schilling pitches poorly with an injury and get standing ovations even when he allows 3 runs in an innings. Foulke was just as big of a part as Schilling in last years Wild Card and World Series victories, if you ask me.

I'm not saying what was said should have been said to the media. But I understand why it was thought. I mean, I love Schilling. But I love everyone who won the World Series last year. That means Bellhorn, Foulke, Cabrera, Pedro, D-Lowe, and a number of other players not with the team or not helping the team. And in my opinion, Schilling has been getting a free pass compared to the crap players like Foulke, Pedro and Bellhorn have gotten. I remember a few years ago people complained that Pedro wasn't doing enough to stay in shape over the off-season. Curt Schilling showed up to Spring Training visibly overweight. How the hell was he supposed to rehab a bad ankle while his body was adjusting to some extra pounds?

We love Curt when he speaks his mind. When Pedro did it, we hated him. We worship Curt for pitching through an injury, we forget about Pedro's outing in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS. We praise Curt as some sort of savior to the Red Sox, but in reality, this team was nothing until Pedro got here. And guess what, without Foulke or Bellhorn, we don't win the World Series last year even if Schilling pitched on two healthy ankles.

Unlike most members of Red Sox Nation, I appreciate what Foulke, Pedro, and Bellhorn did for us last year. Yes, Foulke was an a-hole for calling the fans Johnny Burger King. Yes, Pedro was greedy for going to the Mets for more money (weird how Boston Dirt Dogs can criticise Pedro for wanting a few million dollars and when you look at their site, its covered in advertisements and links to buy their crappy t-shirts), and yes Bellhorn wasn't doing it for us. However, these men brought a World Series Championship to the city of Boston for the first time since 1918. That gives them, ALL OF THEM, a free pass. But only Schilling has gotten one.