Monday, October 06, 2008


I hate saying it, because he's been such a warrior for this team, but Mike Lowell isn't contributing in the way we need him to. He's 0 for 8 in the series, and has no range at third base. It's only by the grace of questionable managing that Mike Scioscia hasn't had Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins bunt up the 3rd base line every at-bat.

Sean Casey and Mark Kotsay don't have great histories with John Lackey. Casey is 0 for 6 in his career off him, Kotsay is 9 for 34 (.265), but Lowell is only 3 for 19 (.158) off Lackey.

The reason the Sox lost last night was not Mike Lowell. But he didn't do much to help the team win. And it's not his fault. He's doing all that he can do. In the field especially, the Sox need to make a change. Another 0 for 4 night, and a slow third baseman having trouble throwing accurately may cost them Game 4.


I've said it before, I'll say it again: the word luck should almost never be used in sports. Teams don't win thanks to luck, nor do they lose because of bad luck. But sometimes, especially in baseball, there is good fortune and bad fortune. To me, the Angels were blessed with a portion of fortune, while the Sox were slightly snake-bitten. But Los Angeles/Anaheim/Orange Country/California/Earth still did what they needed to do in order to win. And the Red Sox still did what they needed to do in order to lose.

Torii Hunter's 2 out single in the 1st was an example of Angelic good fortune. The ball was not hit hard, but it found a tricky place in the Sox' infield defense. Hunter reached to load the bases, Beckett walks Juan Rivera, and it's 1-0 Anaheim.

Mark Teixeira is 5 for 12 in this series. Dustin Pedroia is 0 for 8. But Pedroia's hit the ball much harder than Teixeira. He's just not finding the holes, and he's hitting it right at someone.

But good fortune/bad fortune aside, there are no real angels in the outfield helping Anaheim out. The Sox did more to help the Angels win than Lady Luck did.

Beckett looked rusty, and sluggish on defense. 5 innings, 4 earned is not typical Josh Beckett postseason stuff. Was it rust? Was it a lingering injury? Both, perhaps?

Jacoby Ellsbury deserves nothing but criticism for the way he played in the late innings. Oversliding 2nd base in the 7th, and standing up BEFORE CALLING TIMEOUT?!? That's stupid baseball! And it may have cost the Sox a scoring inning.

In the 11th, Ellsbury struck out looking. The third pitch was clearly outside, but home plate ump Kerwin Danley was itching to ring Jacoby up after he had a mini-tantrum on a close 2nd strike call at the knees. A little bit of immaturity may have cost Ellsbury a strike.

The good news the Red Sox have Jon Lester on the mound later tonight. The bad news is that it's still on TBS, and WEEI/WRKO are 4 seconds ahead of my TV. The game's also at 8:37, an hour later than Sunday's contest. Hopefully the teachers in Red Sox Nation are kind enough not to schedule tests and quizzes Tuesday.

Man of the Game:
Mike Napoli. 3 for 5, 2 homers, 3 RBI, scored game winning run in the 12th

Horrible Announcing Moments:
About Lowell being at the plate in the 10th "This is sweet symmetry." What?
"Everyone here has dry-mouth."


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
AP Photo/Elise Amendola


It started ugly for Matt Cassell, who was intercepted on his second throw of the game. Then he did something everyone in New England has been waiting for him to do... launch a bomb for Randy Moss. Perfect pass, perfect catch, and it was a touchdown. He tried it later, with the opposite result (an INT). But he eventually settled into the game management kind of groove we saw in the Jets game.

The defense also took some time to click. 95 of San Francisco's 199 offensive yards came in the 1st quarter, and 14 of their 21 points. But in the last three frames, the Pats defense allowed a mere 104 yards, and only 7 points.

J.T. O'Sullivan (one of the Irishest names ever) was picked three times, and was consistently pressured. He was only sacked once, but frequently had to get rid of the ball early, or scramble for yardage. O'Sullivan's 23 rushing yards accounted for about a third of San Fran's total offense on the ground. Gore only ran for 54.

The Pats relied heavily on all four tailbacks. Sammy Morris was the powerback, and got 63 yards on 16 carries. Kevin Faulk had his first ever 2 TD game, and was outstanding as always. LaMont Jordan was solid, but sat out most of the game due to injury.

Laurence Maroney was disappointing. 10 carries, 26 yards. I don't know if his shoulder is bothering him, but he's bothering me. There was a 2nd and 3 play in the 3rd in which Maroney hopped out of bounds, 6 inches shy of the first down marker. Had he lowered his shoulder, he would have gotten the first. Maybe he's hurting, maybe he's not. But he's not as effective as he should be.

Cassell progressed nicely as the afternoon progressed. He started off looking scared, worried, and extremely vulnerable when pressured. He ended the day cool, confident, and comfortable when surrounded by pass-rushers. There were a few hiccups, but by and large it was a solid performance.

The Pats go down the coast to San Diego to face the 2-3 Chargers.

Horrible Announcing Moments:
Calling 2nd year DB Brandon Meriweather a rookie
The nickname "Slot Machine" for Wes Welker
"Tackle Sandwich"
"I want some bacon and eggs with all these pancakes"


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Ben Margot
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu