Saturday, April 14, 2007
Nice win by the Sox today, but the pessimist in me is thinking, we had Curt Schilling on the mound against Hector Carrasco, we're supposed to win. But there's a lot of pessimist in me. I'd say I'm 90% full of pessimism. But the pessimist in me would say I'm 10% empty.
I think I just set a record for the most times anyone has used "pessimist" or a form of the word in a single paragraph.
Great pitching from Schilling today. And great hitting from most of the lineup. We had a few breaks with the Matthews error, and the Wild Pitch resulting in our first 3 runs, but Carrasco wasn't throwing strikes, and Schilling was plowing through the Angels' lineup, so we were going to win anyway. We squandered a few early opportunities, but kept plugging away and put up 8 runs.
It seems like Ortiz might be breaking out of his slump, which is good because it was close to becoming a funk, not just a slump. He went 2 for 4 with an RBI single and a 3 run homer. He also walked.
Eric Hinske had a fine day, too. He was 2 for 3 with 2 walks, a triple, and 3 runs scored. You know, Hinske can play the outfield, and he can hit. Coco Crisp can play the outfield, but can't hit. Maybe it's time to try Hinske in right-field a bit, move Drew to center, and give Coco a rest. Trotting back to the dugout after all those pop outs and strikeouts must be wearing down Coco's legs.
Speaking of Crisp, he went 0 for 3, dropping his average to .111. Pedro Martinez hit .111 for the Expos in 1995, let's hope Coco can top that.
I know I seem to be getting on Crisp a lot, even after we've scored 18 runs in 2 games, but I'm not getting on him. I'm getting on Francona for keeping him in the lineup. The guy's just not hitting right now.
Back to positivity. Varitek had a good day, even though the numbers don't show it. He only went 1 for 4, but had two very hard hit line drives that weren't hits. One was the Matthews error, and one was an outright robbery by Izturis on a sharp liner down the left field line.
Why did Curt go 8 innings? I know he was cruising, and his pitch count was low, and we were only up by 5, and our bullpen sucks, but it seemed like this was a great opportunity to give him the rest of the afternoon off. He's 40 years old, and there aren't very many innings left in that right arm. Why not save him, just a little bit?
How sad is it that one of our set-up pitchers is also our mop up guy to come in and pitch the 9th with an 8 run lead?
I love when Sox games are on TV in New York, but it's always bittersweet, because I either have to listen to the Yankee propagandists on YES!, Joe Morgan's ineptitude on ESPN, or Tim McCarver's idiocy on Fox.
Fox is by far the worst of them all. Not only do you get McCarver saying things like "This is a quiet croud, and even if they're playing the Angels, they want to see the Sox ahead in the game." Wow, remarkable. Or how about "A lot of pitchers worry about first pitch hits, but I'd be more worried about hits on 1-0, 2-0, and 3-1 counts, because that's when the pitches are predictable." I think what he meant to say was "I'd be more concerned with throwing first pitch strikes and getting ahead in the count." Another classic moment was when he said David Ortiz hit two homers off "Juan Padilla" last Sunday. Juan Padilla is a reliever for the Mets who is on the DL and is about to undergo elbow surgery. Ortiz is 0 for 1 against Juan Padilla, lifetime. I'm pretty sure Timmy meant to say Vicente Padilla. Another great moment in broadcasting was when he called Julio Lugo "Cabrera." Must be Julio's new nickname.
But anyway, the worst part of watching games on Fox is the quick cuts to different shots around the ballpark. I'm a film student, and I've taken a few film theory classes, so I've been trained to notice this stuff. In between pitches, Fox goes crazy with the camera angles. We'll have a close-up on the pitcher, close-up on the batter, shot of the guy on base, shot of the entire field from behind home plate, shot of the manager, shot of the on deck hitter, close-up of the hitter, close-up of the pitcher, split screen shot of the pitcher and baserunner, shot of some fan in the stands, close-up of the pitcher in his wind up, then shot from center field of the pitch. This is no exaggeration. Just watch a game on Fox and you'll see sequences like this repeated over and over and over.
Fox is trying to create tension and conflict. But the tension and conflict is already there. If you have an interest in the game, you'll feel the tension as you wait for the pitch. In fact, keeping the camera angle in one place, like the camera in center-field, can create even more tension. Just watch a spaghetti western like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or Once Upon a Time in the West. In the big showdown scenes, there are few cuts and the camera rarely moves. It creates a lot of tension.
Tim Timmons had one of the worst umpiring performances behind the plate I've seen in quite a while. How is it that Hector Carrasco, who threw 41 balls and 38 strikes, was getting borderline calls at the knees, at the belt, and on the corners; but Curt Schilling, who was throwing strikes, couldn't get a call on the corner all afternoon?
OK, did anybody else see this? JD Drew catches a fly ball to end the 8th inning, then gives the ball to a fan. Fox shows a shot of Schilling trotting to the dugout, then goes back to the fan who got the ball from Drew. The fan is in the middle of flipping off some kid sitting two seats to his right. Classic moment right there. I can just imagine the conversation going on out there. "[expletive] off, kid, this is my [expletive] ball."
Man of the Game is Curt Schilling. He went 8 very strong innings, scattering 4 hits and a walk. He allowed 0 runs, threw 106 pitches, 68 of which were strikes. He's looking good, folks. Only one of those hits was for extra bases.
Curt allowed 5 total base-runners. Kendrick in the 3rd reached on a single and was left at 1st. Cabrera singled in the 4th and moved to 2nd on a ground out, but was stranded there. Kendrick singled in the 5th and was stranded on 1st. Cabrera doubled in the 6th and was stranded there. Kendrick walked in the 7th and was left on 1st.
No Angel ever reached 3rd base in this game. I guess that's why they're Angels.
David Ortiz: 2/4, HR, 4 RBI, R, BB
Eric Hinske: 2/3, 3B, 3 R, 2 BB
Howie Kendrick: 2/2, BB, SB
Ervin Santana against Josh Beckett tomorrow afternoon IF the weather allows.
Crazy game. At one point, the Sox were down 1-0. Then up 2-1. Then up 4-1, but with two runners on and 1 out, then up 10-1.
Good pitching from Wakefield, and a good (and rare) Hold from Papelbon. Of course, had the Sox not scored 6 runs in the 8th, one can assume Papelbon would have stayed in the game to pitch the 9th and gotten another 5 out Save. Once again, this was due to some trouble with the set-up pitching.
I really am not sure why Wakefield started the 8th inning. I know his pitch count was still very low, but pitch counts aren't everything. In the 7th, he allowed a single, and a double. I guess it wasn't too bad since the 9th hitter was due to lead off. But I think when you have a 7 inning start by Wakefield, you take it. Then again, with our crappy middle relief and set-up situation, I guess Francona was forced into trying to extend Wakefield as much as he could.
Having good middle-relief makes a manager's job so much easier. And it makes a closer's job easier, as well. But we don't have that.
Thankfully the offense exploded in the 8th so Papelbon could sit in the 9th, and Timlin could get another stress free inning of work.
The 8th was just a good old-fashioned crooked number rally, compliments of Darren Oliver.
Mirabelli leads off with a fly out. 1 out
Pedroia works a walk. Man on 1st, 1 out
Lugo lines a single to center, 1st and 2nd, 1 out
Youkilis singles to left, bases loaded, 1 out (classic Red Sox station-to-station baseball)
Ortiz with a nice 8 pitch at-bat and a ground rule double, 2 runs score, men on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out
Manny walks on 4 pitches, bases loaded, 1 out (Pena pinch runs for him)
Drew singles to left, 2 runs score, 1st and 2nd, 1 out (Hinske pinch runs for Drew, I wonder how many times in his life Hinske has been used as a pinch runner)
Lowell doubles to left, 2 runs score, man on 2nd, 1 out
Crisp and Mirabelli strike out, inning over
5 HITS, 6 RUNS, NO ERRORS, 1 LEFT ON BASE
And Mirabelli actually contributed offensively. He was 2 for 5 with a solo homer, and an RBI single. I think he'll have 7 or 8 hits this year, and 5 of them will be homeruns.
Coco Crisp did not contribute offensively. Hitter usually find their jobs in jeopardy if they're having trouble staying above the Mendoza Line (.200 batting average), but Crisp is below the Wakefield Line (Wake has a career average of .125, Crisp is batting .121)
Here are Crisp's at-bats:
Bottom 2nd, runner on 1st, 1 out, Crisp strikes out on 4 pitches
Bottom 4th, runner on 1st, 2 outs, Crisp pops out to short on 1 pitch
Bottom 6th, runner on 2nd, 1 out, Crisp grounds out 4-3, advances runner to 3rd, 2 pitch at-bat, this was his most productive at-bat.
Bottom 7th, runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 outs, Crisp grounds out 6-3, 6 pitches
Bottom 8th, runner on 2nd, 1 out, Crisp strikes out on 4 pitches
Total: 0 for 5, 2 strikeouts, 6 left-on-base, and for some reason, he was hitting 7th instead of Pedroia, who is actually hitting with some decency.
When the hell is Francona going to wake up and put Pena in for a few games? I know Pena is a horrible defensive center-fielder, and he strikes out a lot, but he can actually hit the ball, and hit it hard. And he can hit for a good average if given sufficient playing time.
Man of the Game is Tim Wakefield who went 7+ innings, allowed 5 hits, 2 walks, and only 1 earned run.
Jonathan Papelbon: perfect 0.2 IP, including striking out Guerrero with 2 on and 1 out, Vladimir is not very easy to strike out.
David Ortiz: 2 for 5 with 3 RBI and a big ground rule double in the 8th which sealed the game
Julio Lugo: 3 for 5, with a double and two runs scored
Schilling vs. Carrasco this afternoon, the game will be on Fox nationally.
This is odd, every game in this 4 game series has a different start time. 7:05 PM last night, 3:55 PM today, 1:05 PM tomorrow, 10:05 AM on Monday.
Just imagine being an Angels fan in LA, and the Monday game starts at 7:05 AM Pacific. Weird.