Saturday, April 28, 2007
"The Yankees have a lot of fans"
I love that quote from Pedro. I forget what year he said it, but I know it was a few seasons ago when he pitched great, got squeezed by the home plate umpire, and wound up losing a close game. Apparently, home plate umpire Bruce Froemming is one of those Yankee fans Pedro was referring to.
I don't think you can ever really blame umpires or officials for losing a game, and I'm not doing that right now. The Red Sox lost this game and have nobody to blame but themselves. However, it was easier for them to lose this game because of some horrible home plate umpiring from Bruce Froemming.
Wakefield got squeezed big time. I know with the knuckleball, it's more difficult to judge where the ball is when it crosses the plate. Sometimes, Mirabelli might catch the ball off a hop, even after it crossed the plate at the belt. But there were numerous instances when Wakefield would throw a ball that hit a corner of the strike zone, but the pitches were called balls.
In the bottom of the 4th, the count was 3-2 on Matsui with nobody on and 1 out. Wakefield's first pitch looked like it nipped the outside corner, but it was called a ball. Then the final pitch of the at-bat was at the knees, right on the outside edge of the plate, but Froemming called it a ball. Next batter, Posada, hits a two run homer into the upper deck. Blame Wakefield for the homerun, blame Froemming for that fact that it was a 2 run shot.
Leading off the bottom of the 6th, Jorge Posada up. Similar situation, 3-2 count. Wakefield throws a pitch about knee high on the inside edge of the plate, called ball 4. Posada would advance to 2nd on a groundout, and score on a weakly hit ground rule double. The ground rule double was bad luck/allowing a hitter to make contact, Posada got to second because Wakefield double clutched, but he got on base because of Bruce fucking Froemming.
Apparently, Bruce doesn't believe that on 2 strikes, hitters should be defending the plate. Apparently, he's going to give hitters the benefit of the doubt on 2 strike pitches. Wakefield wasn't getting the knees called, nor the belt called, nor the corners called. And it led to runs for the Yankees.
All of this wouldn't be a big deal if Kei Igawa and the Yankees pitchers were receiving similar treatment. BUT THEY WEREN'T! Kei was getting everything called for him, even when he missed Posada's targets by half a foot!
Then there was Coco Crisp's at-bat in the 8th. Jesus Fucking Christ! The first pitch was a ball. None of the ball crossed the plate. But it crossed right next to the plate, so it was close. The second pitch was a very nice strike by Farnsworth. Then there were three obvious balls in a row, the third of which was called strike three. Absolutely horrific call. Crisp, disgusted, slammed his bat and helmet down, and I can't blame him. Hell, I think he showed remarkable restraint considering he didn't bitch slap Bruce Froemming in the face. I mean, what could have Crisp done with that pitch if he swung and made contact? Hit a chopper to the ball attendant? That pitch was nowhere near a strike, and it ended the inning and the rally.
Crisp very well may have struck out or flew out or grounded out on the next pitch. Nevertheless, he deserved to SEE a next pitch because he didn't swing at a ball. Instead, he got punished for having a good batting eye on that pitch. Fuckig bullshit.
Anyway, another good start for Wakefield, another weak supporting cast, and another loss. Ortiz, Ramirez, and Drew went a combined 0 for 9 with 4 strikeouts, and 10 men left on base. Ortiz grounded into two huge double plays, almost in identical places on the field.
When Karstens got hit by a line drive on the first pitch, I felt as though that was a good thing for New York. Kei Igawa had been slated to pitch today. The Sox had already seen Karstens and lit him up. We had yet to face Igawa, and we hadn't prepared to face him, either.
This was a bad loss, but it isn't the end of the world. The Yankees got some fortunate calls, some fortunate hits, and we didn't get any. Derek Jeter had the softest 3 for 5 I've ever seen in my life.
The Man of the Game was Igawa who went 6 innings in relief, allowing only 2 hits and 0 runs.
Brian Bruney: IP, 0 H, 0 BB, K
Tim Wakefield: 5.1 IP, 3 ER
Kevin Youkilis: 2/4, BB, run
Tim Wakefield: 0.2 - 3 ER
Bruce Froemming: 0.2 - horrible umpiring
David Ortiz: 0.3 - 0/3, 2 GIDP, 3 LOB
JD Drew: 0.2 - 0 for 4, 2 K, 5 LOB
Manny Ramirez: 0.1 - 0 for 2, 2 K, 2 LOB
The Patriots used their first 1st round pick to select Safety Brandon Meriweather out of the University of Miami (FL). Meriweather had a great junior year, but his senior year fell short of expectations. Many people felt as though he was a second round pick, at best. Another thing that hurt Brandon was the incident between the Hurricanes and Florida International, during which Meriweather, and others, stomped on an FIU player lying on the ground. A second potential red flag went up when Meriweather was involved in a shooting in which he fired at a man.
But here's the thing. The ENTIRE Miami football team was involved in the incident against Florida International. And the shooting incident? The police ruled that Meriweather used his gun legally. The gun was properly registered, and Brandon fired at a man who had fired on his roommate. No bad judgement there, just a man in a situation in which his friend is in danger, and he stuck up for him.
Meriweather is a good athlete and a good football player. He's also very versatile. Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson have both missed games due to injury in the past few seasons. Harrison is also getting up there in years. The status of Asante Samuel is in doubt, and Ellis Hobbs was exposed several times in the playoffs. Meriweather can be a nickelback, as well as a safety. No, not a shitty music making Nickelback, but a 5th DB kind of nickelback. He can back up Harrison, and possibly allow Wilson to move back to cornerback.
I would have preferred that the Patriots drafted a cornerback, but none deserving of the 24th overall pick were available. The Jets traded their 1st, 2nd, and 5th round picks to move up and get CB Darrelle Revis with the 14th pick. I wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots had been in discussions for that pick, but the price New York paid was WAY too high, in my opinion, and I'm glad we didn't pay it.
The Patriots traded their second pick in the 1st round to San Francisco. In return, they got a 4th round pick in this year's draft, and a 1st round pick from the 49ers in next year's draft. I LOVE this trade! There really wasn't anybody worth taking for the Patriots with this pick, so why spend a 1st round signing bonus for a guy you don't really need on your team when you can get a 1st round in next year's draft. This trade shows some of the differences between the Patriots and other teams. The Browns used their 1st round pick to get Brady Quinn, and the Jets gave up a lot to get Revis. Neither pick was all that bad, but they gave up some opportunities to improve their entire teams for the sake of sole individual players that they coveted.
The funniest part of the first round was the Miami Dolphins. The Jets fans acting like morons and chanting the war cry of their mediocre team over and over and over was a very close second. But Miami, in desperate need of so much, including a QB, passes on Brady Quinn and decides to take Ted Ginn Jr. with the 9th overall pick. Wow!
The feeling of desperation in the Evil Empire is palpable. The fact that Yankee fans cheered their 4 run 4th inning rally as if it were Game 7 of the World Series was laughable and pathetic. It feels good to be a Red Sox fan in the state of New York right now.
The Yankees have lost their last 7 games. The last time they lost 7 in a row was in 2000 (which also was the last time they won a World Series, so let's not get too excited about New York's horrendous play). The last time they lost 7 straight in April was in 1989, when they finished 74-87, and 5th in the 7 team AL East. The Yankees are the only team in baseball who do not have a save. They've had 7 save opportunities as a team, and blown them all. Reliever Sean Henn has the 3rd most innings pitched on the team. The Yankees already have 3 pitchers with 14 appearances, 5 with more than 10, and 7 with 8 or more. They're 5 games below .500, dead last in the AL East, a game behind Tampa Bay, 2 games behind Baltimore, 2.5 games behind Toronto, and 6.5 games behind Boston. They're one of 4 teams in MLB with a winning percentage below .400. Only Kansas City and Washington have worse records.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox are off to a great start. No team in baseball has more wins or a higher winning percentage. The Sox are 4 games up in the AL East. The next largest deficit between a 1st and 2nd place team is the difference between Milwaukee and Pittsburgh in the NL Central: 2.5 games.
But the New York Yankees aren't THAT bad. In their 7 game losing streak, they haven't been blown out very often. The Yankees have scored the most runs in baseball, 124 in 21 games, which is 5.90 per game. But the Red Sox are 4th on that list at 117 (in 22 games, 5.32 runs per game). The Red Sox also have the 3rd best team ERA at 3.25. New York has the 27th best at 5.12. The Red Sox have allowed 77 runs (3.50 a game), the Yankees have allowed 117 (5.57 a game).
As of this moment, the New York Yankees SUCK. It's only the end of April and there's about 140 games left to play, so things may very well change. Nevertheless, enjoy it Red Sox Nation. Your team is good, and the Empire is crumbling.
Last night, the Red Sox outplayed New York. The Yankees took a 4-2 lead in a tough inning for Matsuzaka, but Dice-K was able to settle down and pitch 2 more good innings to hold the Yankees to 4 runs.
The Sox had a very good response inning in the top of the 5th against Pettitte. Lugo walked with 1 out, then stole second. Youkilis hit a single to move Lugo to 3rd. Ortiz hit a single to score Lugo. Manny walked to load the bases. Drew struck out, but Lowell drew a walk that tied the game at 4-4. Pettitte threw a wild pitch to Varitek that allowed Ortiz to score, and the Sox retook the lead for good.
The entire inning, Pettitte laboured. He shook off Posada countless times, and asked Posada to go through signs over and over again. Could you imagine a pitcher having to do that with Varitek behind the dish?
The parade of Yankee relievers began, as did the Red Sox hit parade. Daisuke didn't allow a run for the rest of his outing. Lugo hit a solo shot in the 6th to make it 6-4 Sox. Timlin pitched a scoreless 7th for his 2nd hold of the season. Lugo knocked in Pedroia with an RBI double in the 8th to make it 7-4. Okajima pitched a scoreless 8th for his 4th hold of the year. In the 9th, the Sox sealed the game and saved Papelbon from pitching the 9th with a 4 run inning. Rivera came in and the Sox had 3 consecutive singles off him. Then Myers came in and allowed some more offense. Pineiro mopped up the game in the 9th.
The Red Sox had 40 at-bats in this game and reached base 20 times.
The Man of the Game is Julio Lugo who went 3 for 5 with an RBI double, an RBI single, and a solo homerun. He was a triple shy of the cycle, and an RBI triple shy of some sort of Super Cycle. He also walked twice, scored three times, and stole 2 bases. He did make a fielding error, but when you get on base 5 times, knock in 3 runs, and score 3 runs, you can make an error and still have an amazing game.
Kevin Youkilis: 2/5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs, BB
David Ortiz: 2/4, 2 RBI, run, 2 BB
Daisuke Matsuzaka: 6 IP, 4 ER, 5 scoreless innings, and 1 bad inning
Wakefield vs. Karstens this afternoon. Wakefield is the only Sox starter who is 4 for 4 in Quality Starts (6 IP or more, 3 ER or fewer), despite his 2-2 record. Karstens was lit up for 7 runs in his 4.1 inning start against us last weekend.
The Red Sox had a sweeping week in which they were swept by Toronto, then went to Baltimore and beat the Orioles in 2 in the first meeting between the two teams.
On Monday, the Sox fell to the Jays 7-3. Wakefield pitched well enough to win, but once again found his supporting cast was lacking. The Sox only managed to put up 3 runs, made 2 errors behind Tim (which resulted in an unearned run), and the bullpen allowed 3 more Blue Jays scores.
The Sox managed 8 hits and 4 walks, but only one of those hits was for extra bases. The Sox left 10 men on base, 6 of whom were in scoring position. Lugo, Youkilis, Ortiz, and Ramirez went a combined 1 for 19.
The Man of the Game for Monday's 7-3 loss was Aaron Hill. He went 4 for 5 with a pair of doubles, a game sealing 2 run homer, 2 RBI, and 3 runs scored.
Honorable Mentions go to:
Vernon Wells: 2/4, 2B, 3B, BB, 3 runs, SB
Frank Thomas: 2/4, HR, 2 RBI, run, BB
Jason Frasor: 1.1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, K
The Bitch-Goat shall be divided thusly:
Wakefield: 0.2 - 6 IP, 3 ER, 4 R
Pineiro: 0.1 - 1.1 IP, 3 H, ER
Romero: 0.1 - inherited runner scored
Timlin: 0.1 - IP, 2 ER
Lugo: 0.2 - 0 for 5, 6 LOB, K
Youkilis: 0.1 - 1 for 5, 4 LOB (3 in scoring position with 2 outs)
Ortiz: 0.1 - 0 for 4
Ramirez: 0.1 - 0 for 5, 2 K
The Sox looked even worse on Tuesday night in a 10-3 pounding. This was probably the worst game the Sox have played this year. We only managed 5 baserunners, and although 3 of them scored, we still had fewer baserunners than the Blue Jays had runs. Also, Toronto managed to get 17 men on base.
Tavarez once again was the weakest link in our rotation. He allowed 7 hits and 6 runs in 4.2 IP. Two of those hits were doubles, one was a homer. Julian also walked a batter and hit a batter.
Five Red Sox starters went hitless at the plate. We only managed 5 hits, and Lowell's solo homer was the only extra base hit. We also saw the first errors of the season from Manny, Pena, Varitek, and Hinske.
Just an absolutely abysmal loss. Bad pitching, bad offense, bad defense. A good team loss with blame spread all around.
The Man of the Game was Vernon Wells who went 4 for 5 with a homer, 3 RBI, 4 runs scored, and a stolen base. He's become a Sox nemesis these past few years.
Roy Halladay: 8 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 10 K
Frank Thomas: 2/4, 2B, 3 RBI
Julio Lugo: 2/3, 2 runs, 2 SB
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's the Bitch-Goat:
Tavarez: 0.4 - 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 H
Pena: 0.2 - 0 for 3, 2 K, Error
Ramirez: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 2 LOB
Drew: 0.1 - 0 for 4
Varitek: 0.2 - 0 for 3, 3 LOB, Error
The Sox flew down to Baltimore to play the 2nd place Orioles. Weird saying that so deep into the season.
Schilling was coming off a less than stellar outing against New York, but he was able to give us one of the best performances of the season. Thanks to poor pitching, the Sox were able to get 19 men on base. Although 12 of them were left stranded, 6 of them came home, which was enough to win the game.
Some controversy emerged from this game as Gary Thorne, a broadcaster for Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and a broadcaster for many NHL games in the past, claimed that Doug Mirabelli told him that Schilling's stockings in the 2004 ALCS and World Series were painted red, not turned red by blood seeping out of Curt's ankle.
This story was particularly interesting to me because I'd have to change the name of my blog to Boston Paint Sox.
Doug Mirabelli politely denied this allegation by saying:
"What? Are you kidding me? He's fucking lying."
Theo Epstein had an equally priceless quote regarding the bloody sock fiasco:
"I couldn't give two shits about what was on his sock, I care that we won the game. The rest, and Gary Thorne, is just noise."
Schilling, being Schilling, threw a nutty on his blog and ripped apart Thorne. Thorne, to his credit, said he talked to Mirabelli the next day and admitted that he misheard/misinterpreted something that was said in jest. But, of course, Curt can't let ANYTHING go and is probably still grumbling about this right now in New York.
Anyway, back to the game. The Sox had a good team effort and won. One interesting point to mention is that Manny Ramirez had a 1 for 4 night, which RAISED his average to .200. When will it be time to worry about Manny not hitting? When/If we start losing, people will start noticing this and talking about it more.
The Man of the Game was Curt "DuPont Red 47" Schilling who allowed 1 earned run in 7 innings.
Kevin Youkilis: 3/4, 2B, 3 runs scored, BB
Alex Cora: 2/4 HR
David Ortiz: 2/3, 2 BB, 2 runs, RBI
The Sox offense was less impressive in Thursday's 5-2 win over Baltimore. Despite Beckett's brilliant pitching, the team was down 2-1 until the 8th inning. They had squandered many opportunities and it appeared as though we were headed toward a very disappointing loss.
but, the Sox had gotten Adam Loewen's pitch count up and gotten him out of the game after 6 innings of work. The Orioles have an expensive bullpen that looks very good on paper. They have Chris Ray, who recorded 33 saves last season. Danys Baez, who has 111 career saves, 38 career holds, and a 3.78 career ERA. Jamie "Dynomite" Walker who had a great year with Detroit last season. Former Athletic Chad Bradford who has a 3.35 career ERA. They have an impressive bullpen. But the Sox got to it.
Manny led off the top of the 8th with a walk. Drew flew out, then closer Chris Ray came in for an attempt at a long save. Lowell hit a ground rule double to put the tying run on 3rd and the go ahead run at 2nd. Varitek was intentionally walked to load the bases. Then Wilfredo Modesto Pena, who had hit the ball very well in the game, stepped to the plate.
Wily Mo is Pedro Cerano from Major League. He can slam a fastball, can't hit breaking pitches. So it's imperative that Pena gets ahead of the count to get fastballs. He took a slider to begin the at-bat, then checked his swing on a called strike. He then took another slider for a ball. Ray had given Pena three pitches, all low and away. But the count was 2-1. With the bases loaded, Ray didn't want to fall behind to 3-1 so he threw a fastball over the heart of the plate. Pena didn't miss it at all. The ball was crushed to left-center and landed in the Red Sox bullpen (which is behind the Orioles pen) for a grand slam.
Beckett pitched the bottom of the inning, then Papelbon pitched a hitless 9th. Beckett probably could have gone the full 9 innings. His pitch count was at 100 when he left. If Curt Schilling was at 100 pitches after 8, Francona would probably let him take the mound for the 9th. Rather, Curt Schilling would DEMAND to take the mound for the 9th. but Papelbon did need some work, so it worked out.
Man of the Game was Josh Beckett who went 8 innings, allowing 2 runs, scattering 8 hits, and walking none. He hasn't been walking too many batters this season, nor has he allowed too many homeruns. He is MLB's first 5 game winner of the year.
Wily Mo Pena: 2/4, 2B, Grand Slam, 4 RBI, also had a hard hit out
Adam Loewen: 6 IP, ER
The Sox left Baltimore with a 3 game lead in the division.