Monday, May 07, 2012

Aaron Cook on DL

After being spiked in the legs while covering home plate, Aaron Cook was placed on the DL. His gash needed 11 stitches, and I still don't know why the Sox let him return to the game Saturday.

So he'll get a few starts off while his legs heal. Obviously if the stitches came undone, he'd literally be open to more serious health problems like infection.

The Sox activated Andrew Miller to take his place.

Right now, Buchholz's spot in the rotation seems safe. He'll start Friday against Cleveland.

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Day 21*

LA is already in the Conference Finals, and up in the NHL offices in Toronto, they're sacrificing live animals to get New York to the Stanley Cup Finals to face them.

COYOTES 1, PREDATORS 0 - (Coyotes lead series 3-1)
Mike Smith is the second best goalie in the playoffs so far. The skaters in front of him are doing the little things, executing along the boards, not making mistakes. Nashville can still win, but they need their skaters to all do their job, each and every shift. Phoenix isn't making it easy for them to win.

Game 5 tonight in Arizona.

CAPITALS 3, RANGERS 2 - (Series tied 2-2)
A Mike Green power play goal was the difference in these game. Each team has scored only twice with a man advantage in the series. Whoever can get their power play to score more often could win the series.

Game 5 tonight in New York.

KINGS 3, BLUES 1 - (Kings win series 4-0)
It's not very unusual for an 8 seed to do well in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But it is unusual for an 8 seed to eliminate a 1 seed, then a 2 seed, and to do so in only 9 games. Dustin Brown has 6 goals in those 9 games. But the main reason LA is waiting for their next victim is the play of UMass alum Jonathan Quick. Only 14 goals allowed in those 9 games, a 1.55 GAA, and a .949 SV%. He's the best goalie in the playoffs right now.

DEVILS 4, FLYERS 2 - (Devils lead series 3-1)
Philly blew a 2-0 lead. The Flyers have a lot of talent, but they're inconsistent. They also depend heavily on Danny Briere scoring. Briere didn't even get a shot on goal in this game. The Flyers only got 20 pucks on Brodeur.

Game 5 Tuesday night in Philly.

Tonight's games:
7:30pm - Capitals @ Rangers - NBC Sports - Series tied 2-2
10:00pm - Predators @ Coyotes - NBC Sports - Coyotes lead 3-1

Another Lost Weekend for the Sox

Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis went 2 innings, allowing 0 runs, 2 hits, and stuck out 2. Adrian Gonzalez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were struck out by a first baseman. A first baseman got a pitching win against the Sox. That's how bad things are.

The Red Sox lost all three of their games to the Orioles, but it felt like four due to the length of Sunday's loss. In fact, the Fenway Park grounds crew is still cleaning up all the runners the Sox left in scoring position during the series.

I gave Clay Buchholz a pass for April. He's started slow in the past, so he gets a Mulligan for that month. It's May now. No more free passes. It's time to send him down I-95 to Pawtucket and let him work out his problems there. He's making too many mistakes. I wouldn't mind giving him one more start in Boston, but it has to be a good start. Not just decent, not just solid, I'm talking 7 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits good. Otherwise, it's Triple-A for Clay.

In extra inning losses, the tendency is to look at all the scoring opportunities that weren't capitalized on. The Sox went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position. One more hit in those situations and the game ends in 9 innings or 12 innings or 15 innings. But it was the starting pitching that cost the Sox the game. It was Clay's 3.2 innings. That's why Darnell McDonald was on the mound in the 17th, because the bullpen had pitched 12.1 innings of relief at that point. And had only allowed an unearned run.

If Clay pitches better, the Sox don't even get into an extra inning situation. They can win in 9 innings. Even if they do go extras, McDonald doesn't have to pitch for another 3 innings.

Will Middlebrooks hit a Grand Slam, and has done well since his call up. But what the hell is he doing not running down the line on a ball that's 50/50 fair or foul? Who does this 23 year old, #64 wearing kid think he is?

It's the type of attitude that a large number of the Sox seem to have. Middlebrooks will fit right in with that crap.

Then the other half of the team is pushing too hard. Aviles was caught-stealing twice. Pedroia was caught also. The Sox are 8 for 13 when trying to steal based, which simply isn't good enough. These caught-stealing outs are free outs given to opponents. It's better to stay at first than to steal second base 60% of the time and get thrown out 40% of the time. The out is much more valuable than the base.

Speaking of pushing too hard, why the hell was Aaron Cook allowed to go back into the game on Saturday? He got his legs sliced up, then comes back out for his next shift like it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Don't get me wrong, it was extremely refreshing to see a pitcher with guts (as opposed to Josh "the Blister" Beckett, who Cook was replacing that day), but we also saw other parts of Cook's internal anatomy that day. And I think the Sox risked too much by letting him resume the game.

The Sox need pitching, but they need it for 5 more months, not 5 more innings in a game in May. They shouldn't have let him go back out there.

I know the Sox are plagued with injury right now. But every team endures injuries. The problem with the Sox is that their healthy players aren't doing their jobs. Buchholz, Lester, Beckett, Aceves. Adrian Gonzalez never seems to get a hit when the Sox really need him to get one. Darnell McDonald's ERA is lower than Mark Melancon's. More than 22 runs lower. Not a single starting pitcher has an ERA below 4.45. Sox starters have a combined ERA of 5.72.

You don't win without starting pitching. Poor starting also exposes an overworked and undertalented bullpen.

Maybe a trip to Kansas City will give the Sox a chance to collect some wins. Doubront faces Jonathan Sanchez tonight. Who isn't very good.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

The Hawks Have No Heart

Before yesterday's game, I was worried about the status of Avery Bradley's shoulder. Did it go back into its socket?

The medical question I should have been asking was, do the Atlanta Hawks have a heart? The answer, thoroughly demonstrated last night, is no.

The Celtics hit their shots in the 1st, pulled away, and it was all over after 12 minutes. The Hawks tried to come back by forcing shots, failing to realize the basic fundamental principle that basketball comebacks are made with defensive stops, not quick offensive scoring. The Celtics pulled even further away.

By halftime it was 64-41. The Hawks would have to outscore the Celtics by more points in a half than they'd manage to score on their own in a quarter. Everyone in the Garden knew that wouldn't happen, especially the Hawks themselves.

Here are some of the more obscene stats from Sunday's win: Pierce had 24 points, despite only playing 17 minutes. He scored 10 points in the 1st, and was a big reason why the Celtics pulled out to such a big lead. He was +33 in those 17 minutes.

No man has burned Atlanta as ruthlessly as Pierce since General William Tecumseh Sherman in November 1864.

Rondo had a double-double, 20 points, 16 assists. Just another day at the office for him.

Bradley was able to play, and he scored 6 points in 19 minutes.

The Celtics were able to give their starters some rest and give minutes to their bench. KG only played 27 minutes. Ray Allen was in for 19.

The Hawks are dead. I wouldn't be utterly surprised if they pulled a win out of their ass down in Atlanta. But this series is over. I'm not lighting the cigar yet, but I'm taking it out of the humidor, and reaching for my lighter.

Game 5 Tuesday night in Atlanta.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo