Just some notes while watching a ballgame
The Summer is ending for me in just a few days, as I head back to school this upcoming weekend. That means I'll be living in a dorm room instead of in my mom's house and, sadly, it means no more DirecTV and no more MLB Extra Innings package.
So, from now until then, I have promised myself that I will watch every possible baseball game, day or night, rain or shine, Yankees or Brewers. With that in mind, I woke up yesterday morning (okay, afternoon) and immediately thought to myself, "Is there a game on?" And wouldn't you know it, not only was there a game on, there was a great game on!
The Boston Red Sox versus the Seattle Mariners. Two of the four teams (with Oakland and New York) fighting for just three playoff spots. And, as if that weren't enough...
Gil Meche (13-9, 3.92) vs Pedro Martinez (9-3, 2.32)
Nothing beats a little Pedro to start your day!
This set of notes is coming to you LIVE! from my room in my mom's house, located in beautiful Minnetonka, Minnesota. I'll be joined this afternoon by my Boston Terrier, Samantha (who is a big Red Sox fan, obviously), several cans of Sprite, and a jumbo-sized bag of Cheetos. I'll be watching the game on the New England Sports Network (NESN) and our announcers today are Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo.
The big news in the pre-game show is that Pedro Martinez is in a bad mood. This happens quite often, or at least it appears to from the way the media portrays him. This time it seems to be over the way the team treated him this past week when he was sick. He skipped his last start and I guess some people were mad that he didn't show up at the ballpark or something. I really don't know, because I really don't care. I think Jerry Remy just said it best: "I hate this part of baseball, just tell me about what happens on the field." Amen Jerry, amen.
I was just informed by Don Orsillo that, "as we all know, Pedro Martinez has never lost to the Seattle Mariners in his career." Wait a minute, did everyone else know this? Because I certainly had no idea and that actually is pretty amazing (if it's true). I'll look up the stats when the game is over.
[Sure enough, coming into yesterday's game, Pedro Martinez was 11-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his career against Seattle. Absolutely amazing.]
When they display the "Red Sox defense" right before the game, they show a big graphic saying that Boston is "5th in the AL in defense" because they have the 5th-best fielding percentage. It boggles my mind that, in the year 2003, with all of the advancements in baseball analysis and statistics, some people are still of the belief that the best way to judge a defense, as a team or in a individual, is to look at fielding percentage.
Here are the lineups for the game:
RF Ichiro! CF Johnny Damon
DH Mark McLemore 2B Todd Walker
2B Bret Boone SS Nomar Garciaparra
1B John Olerud LF Manny Ramirez
CF Mike Cameron DH David Ortiz
LF Randy Winn 1B Kevin Millar
3B Carlos Guillen RF Trot Nixon
C Ben Davis 3B Bill Mueller
SS Rey Sanchez C Jason Varitek
Boston's lineup is pretty much their everyday lineup. You'll notice the name "Edgar Martinez" is absent from Seattle's lineup. Edgar is apparently nursing a sore foot.
[First pitch: Pedro to Ichiro!]
You know how your little league and high school coach kept yelling at you not to "step in the bucket" and all that stuff? Did Ichiro! just ignore all that when he was a kid or what? The guy isn't just stepping in the bucket, he's halfway out of the batter's box on every single swing. It's amazing.
Just as I was marveling at his swing, Ichiro! smoked a liner to Johnny Damon in CF, who made a full-out diving catch for the first out of the ballgame. So, it took exactly one play to see why errors are a stupid thing to judge a defense by. If Damon doesn't make that play, there is no error, but it is a hit and not an out. See my point?
[Mark McLemore up]
I have Mark McLemore on both of my Diamond-Mind teams (hey, he was good last year!), and I have been checking Seattle's boxscores all season long, waiting for him to reel off a little hot-streak to get his numbers into the "respectable" range, so I can keep him for next year. No such luck of course, although I guess there is still time.
He just got plunked by Pedro. Maybe that'll jump-start him for the rest of the year. At least it helps his on-base percentage, right?
[Bret Boone singles to left]
Why is Bret Boone getting zero talk for the AL MVP while Ichiro! is getting a ton? I don't get it, I really don't.
Remy: "Pedro's velocity is not top-shelf. That fastball was about 90 MPH."
Uh oh. By the way, before I forget, I want to mention that Jerry Remy is one of my favorite announcers.
[John Olerud up]
John Olerud's numbers are way down this year. He's pretty old, so maybe this is just a swift decline. I wouldn't bet against him bouncing back next year though, because he did have a "down year" in his first season in Seattle and rebounded from that.
[Olerud flies out to RF, Mike Cameron up]
Remember when I wrote the really long and in-depth entry about "The Most Underrated Player in Baseball"? No, you don't? Well, maybe you should check it by clicking here.
By the way, did I mention Mike Cameron is up?
I don't know about the exact velocity yet because I have missed a few of the radar gun readings, but Pedro's control is definitely a little "off" right now. Nothing is particularly sharp and he is missing way out of the strike zone on a lot of stuff. He just blew a 88 MPH fastball right by Cameron though. On 2-2, Pedro threw him a fastball up in the zone and Cameron popped it up to first base for the third out.
[Bottom 1st, 0-0 - Gil Meche pitches to Johnny Damon]
I had Johnny Damon on one of my Diamond-Mind keeper league teams, but I also had Andruw Jones, which made Johnny a left fielder and not a center fielder. That took away a lot of his value, so I decided to deal him. Of course, right after I did, he went on a huge hot-streak that is still ongoing. I don't remember the exact date that I traded him, but it was around the time he was hitting about .260/.325/.400 or so. He is hitting .319/.400/.461 since the All-Star break and has his season-totals up to .276/.349/.420, which is pretty close to last year's numbers (.286/.356/.443). If I had it to do over again, I think I would have kept him and maybe tried to deal him in the off-season.
[Damon flies out to CF, Todd Walker up]
While Damon has been hot, Todd Walker has been cold for quite a while. He is hitting .217/.264/.317 since the AS break and .179/.243/.224 this month. Walker is a nice player and a very solid hitter though, so I wouldn't be overly concerned. I haven't heard much about his defense is Boston and I wonder what Sox fans think of him defensively. When he was in Minnesota early in his career, he took a TON of heat for his D - from his manager, Tom Kelly, from the media and from the fans. He was never great defensively (and still isn't), but I never felt he was that bad.
[Walker grounds out, Garciaparra up]
Gil Meche is throwing 96 MPH according to NESN. I didn't think he threw that hard. He goes 3-2 on Nomar and then throws a fastball outside that Nomar smacks right down the RF line. Ichiro! races over to pick it up and Nomar stops at 1B, slamming on the breaks after rounding the bag hard. I wouldn't run on him either, Nomar.
[Manny Ramirez up]
If Todd Walker could get going again, this lineup could be incredibly scary. Heck, it already is incredibly scary, so I guess it would be whatever a step up from "incredibly" is.
Meche threw Manny Ramirez an almost identical pitch to the one Nomar just singled on and Manny did the exact same thing, smacking it through the hole between 1B and 2B for a single. That's just very good hitting by two very good hitters.
[David Ortiz up]
As a Twins fan, I miss David Ortiz. He was a lot of fun to watch and seemed to universally well-liked among his teammates. Plus, the season he is having right now would make him the best hitter on the Twins. I can't say that I blame the Twins for letting him go though and I am pretty sure I said here and in other places that I agreed with the move at the time. Still, it'd be nice to have his bat in the lineup, although I don't know where they'd play him. Ortiz pops it up to SS for 3rd out.
[Top 2nd, 0-0]
Randy Winn grounds out to 1B and Carlos Guillen lines the first pitch he sees from Pedro into RF for a single.
[Ben Davis up]
Ben Davis drives one deeeeeep to straight-away CF on the first pitch. Johnny Damon runs under it, catches it about a foot from the fence, and then smacks himself right into the wall. See, now there is no way that play is ever an error, but if Damon isn't as good, that is an extra-base hit and not an out.
[Rey Sanchez up]
Rey Sanchez is batting .350 for the Mariners and he has a .386 OBP and a .375 SLG. Example #1,256,365 why batting average, by itself, is completely worthless. Sanchez grounds out to SS for the third out.
[Bottom 2nd, 0-0 - Kevin Millar up.]
Kevin Millar smokes the first pitch from Meche (fastball, up) to the gap in left-center. It rolls to the wall and Millar goes for a double. Mike Cameron (did you read that entry on "The Most Underrated Player in Baseball" yet?) sprints over, picks it up, and makes a perfect throw all the way in the air to Bret Boone at 2B, to get Millar for the out.
The ball beat Millar to the bag by about 3 feet, but after seeing the replay, I think Millar got his hand to the bag before Boone actually tagged him. I do hate the idea that someone can be called out if they weren't tagged before they touched the bag, but it seems to be accepted by almost all umpires.
[Trot Nixon walks]
Orsillo: "A beautiful day here at Fenway Park on 'Vermont Day.'
Okay, I'll ask. What the heck is "Vermont Day?" Nevermind, Orsillo just explained it. It just means people from Vermont are at the game today, at least that's what I think he said.
Mueller drives one deep to left center, but Randy Winn races under it to make the catch right up against the wall.
[Jason Varitek up]
Can you imagine Jason Varitek has been batting 9th all season long and he's hitting .282/.355/.539 with 21 homers and 27 doubles in only 358 at bats? Crazy. Meche strikes him out swinging to end the inning.
[Top 3rd, 0-0 - Ichiro! up]
I really hope Rafael Palmeiro got a lot of money for those Viagra commercials. I really don't have anything else I want to say on the issue, just that I really hope he got paid well at least.
My dog has been sleeping all day. She just got up, did the full dog "shake" and then went back to sleep. That's some life she has. At least I'm awake and writing notes while watching a baseball game!
Ichiro! flies out to left and then McLemore laces one down the RF line, but Trot Nixon makes a nice running catch, robbing him of a hit. I guess that hot streak won't be starting just yet for McLemore.
The Mariners are going up there hacking, that's for sure. I'm not sure what my strategy would be against a potentially not-quite-right Pedro. He just went way up and way in on Boone, pushing the count to 3-2. WOW! Pedro Ks Boone on an absolutely wicked 3-2 curveball that came in at 71 MPH and missed Boone's bat by about 10 feet.
[Bottom 3rd, 0-0 - Damon up]
Damon is 23/28 on steal attempts this year and he was 31/37 for the Red Sox last year. And they don't even run. I wonder how many he could steal on the Marlins? It'd be fun to watch. For his career, he is 237/302 (78.4%).
Meche is pumping fastballs in at 93-94 MPH pretty consistently. For a guy who lost basically two years to injuries, that's impressive and so is his season. Damon walks on a very close 3-2 pitch. If that wasn't on 3-2 and it was a 2-0 or 3-1 pitch, I think the ump would've called it a strike, without hesitation.
Orsillo: "The Red Sox have had at least one baserunner in every inning so far."
So, basically, for 3 innings? Right. I know announcers have to find things to say for an entire game, but...
Meche throws a wild pitch past Ben Davis and all the way to the screen, Damon scampers to 2B. Walker swings at ball four on 3-1 and grounds out to Olerud at 1B, advancing Damon to 3B. The announcers praise him for "moving the runner over," but I'd rather he just took the walk so Nomar and Manny could bat with two men on and none out. But hey, what do I know.
Nomar wastes no time and drops a looper into CF, in front of Cameron. Damon scores from 3rd for the game's first run.
[1-0 Red Sox, Manny up]
Meche throws Manny a huge curve for a first-pitch strike and then throws it again for strike two. I guarantee if he throws that again in this at bat, Manny will hit it very hard. Well, he threw it again on the very next pitch and it was at least three feet outside. The ump rings Manny up on a pitch that wasn't particularly close to being in the strike zone. Maybe Manny should blame this on Questec like all the pitchers do.
Ortiz is the type of guy that makes me wonder why in the world the A's would give Scott Hatteberg a 2-year contract extension for several million a year. I just don't get it. There are guys like Ortiz and Brad Fullmer and Travis Lee and Robert Fick available for peanuts every year and Hatteberg stinks this season. Maybe Billy Beane knows something I don't (very, very, very likely), but I don't understand the move at all.
As soon as I get done writing that, Ortiz smokes one past Ichiro! and into the stands in right field to give Boston a 3-0 lead. That's his 20th homer of the year, which ties his career-high, set last season with the Twins. He's on pace for about 25 homers and 40 doubles in just 420 at bats this year and he'll cost the Sox $1.25 million. Great, great move.
[3-0 Red Sox - Millar up]
To the Twins credit, they didn't have a chance to get Ortiz for $1.25 million. If they had gone to arbitration with him, they likely would have had to pay upwards of $3-5 million, which is a whole different story, although he has certainly been worth that much this year. Millar pops out for the final out of the inning.
[Top 4th, 3-0 Boston - Olerud up]
Olerud laces the first pitch from Pedro into shallow CF for a leadoff single.
Pedro's last two fastballs have been 87 and 88 MPH. He is behind Cameron 3-0 now. Cameron takes an 87 MPH fastball outside for a four-pitch walk. This is the definition of a guy "getting by without his best stuff."
Pedro gets ahead of Winn 0-1 with an 82 MPH curve right over the plate. Another 88 MPH fastball that Winn fouls off for strike two. Up and in with a 90 MPH fastball on 0-2. Good pitch. Down and away next? Nope, back inside with a fastball that Winn yanks foul. 90 MPH heater outside, Winn fouls it off again.
Tough at bat from a guy who was 0-2 against Pedro Martinez. Winn smokes a 78 MPH curve right over the plate to right field for a "double."
Olerud, for some crazy reason, didn't break immediately from 2B and ended up stopping on 3B. Cameron had to stop at 2B with Olerud planted on third, so Winn, who would have had a standup double without a problem, runs to 2B before realizing Cameron is standing there. Nixon tosses the ball into the infield, at which point Winn is just standing about 5 feet from 2B, with his hands on his knees, waiting to be tagged out.
Olerud really messed that play up. Instead of a run scoring and runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs, it is still 3-0 and there is one out and men on 2nd and 3rd.
Guillen yanks one down the RF line, with home run distance, but it goes just foul. Pedro then strikes him out swinging on the best fastball he's thrown all afternoon.
Davis flies out to RF for the 3rd out. Olerud ends up costing the Mariners at least 2 runs. I like John as a player, so I won't be too harsh, but if you're going to be really slow, you better be a smart baserunner at least.
[Bottom 4th, 3-0 Red Sox - Nixon up.]
Nixon lines the 0-1 pitch up the middle and it looks like a single until it hits the mound, slows down and is very playable for Sanchez at shortstop, who throws Nixon out. Mueller then lines the first pitch deeeep to CF. Mike Cameron sprints back and easily makes the play. The camera shows Mueller rounding first and he says something to himself that probably sounded like "@#$%!"
By the way, did you read that "Most Underrated Player in Baseball" entry yet?
Varitek shows bunt on two straight pitches. Remy thinks he trying to give Pedro some extra time between innings, since the first two at bats were quick ones. I think I agree. Varitek lines the next pitch to RF, where it drops about a foot in front of Ichiro! I'm kinda of surprised he didn't try to make a diving catch.
Remy: "With two outs, Varitek may try a delayed steal. He's done that several times this year, including once this series."
On the very next pitch, Varitek tries a delayed steal, but Damon fouls the pitch off. Not bad Jerry, not bad at all. Damon grounds to 3B for the third out.
[Top 5th, 3-0 Red Sox - Sanchez up]
This game is moving very fast. We are only an hour and 5 minutes into it and already through 4 innings. I like it! Plus, it gives me a chance to work on my "speed notetaking skills," which I will need next week (well, not really, but you know...).
Pedro goes 2-2 on Sanchez and then strikes him out on a 88 MPH heater up and in. His third K of the game.
Ichiro! grounds to 1B for the 2nd out.
Pedro goes 2-2 on McLemore. Fastball up and in? Nope, slow curve over the plate - McLemore slaps it foul. Another curve, this one low. 3-2 now. 78 MPH changeup that McLemore swings right through for strike three. Pedro is at 72 pitches through 5, which isn't too bad.
[Bottom 5th, 3-0 Red Sox - Walker up.]
Walker lines the 2-2 pitch into left-center for a single and Mike Cameron bobbles the ball as he picks it up. Walked decides to go for two and, despite another strong throw by Cameron, he makes it into second safely. Cameron gets an error on the play. But don't worry, you should still read the entry on "The Most Underrated Player in Baseball."
Nomar dumps one into RF in front of Ichiro! for a single. Walker stops at third with absolutely no thoughts of testing Ichiro!'s arm. 1st and 3rd, no outs.
Did I mention I love this lineup?
Manny works the count to 2-1. If Meche comes with a fastball here, watch out. He doesn't and Manny takes a curve in the dirt to push the count to 3-1. Fastball low for ball four. Bases loaded, no outs.
Seattle pitching coach Bryan Price comes out to chat with Meche. Kaz Sasaki (no longer the closer) starts warming up in the bullpen. I'm gonna guess this is the earliest he has ever warmed up in a major league game before.
First pitch strike on a 84 MPH "fastball." Ortiz complains on the second strike call and homeplate ump Larry Young yells right back at him. I am of the opinion that the umps shouldn't try to escalate confrontations. 2-2 to Ortiz now. Ortiz loops a single over 3B on an "inside-out" swing to score 2 runs.
[5-0 Red Sox - Millar up]
Meche's 100th pitch of the game is pulled foul by Millar, bringing the count to 1-2. Millar pops the 1-2 pitch up to SS for the 1st out.
Gil Meche's day is done, as Kaz Sasaki comes in to relieve him after 4 1/3 innings pitched, 5 runs in and 2 more on the bases. Sasaki goes 2-0 to Nixon on back-to-back 88 MPH fastballs. Nixon smokes the 2-0 pitch to CF, but Cameron makes the catch for the 2nd out.
Mueller comes out of his shoes on a 2-2 pitch and lines it deep to RF, but it slices foul. He then smokes one off the top of the Green Monster in left-center, for a 2-run double.
[7-0 Red Sox - Varitek up]
This lineup is like a machine. Everyone has long at bats, everyone fouls off pitches, everyone shows good discipline and everyone can flat out hit. Add in the fact that there is a huge green wall like 275 feet away in LF and it's almost not fair. Varitek pops up the 1-0 pitch to 3B for the 3rd out.
[Top 6th, 7-0 Red Sox - Boone up.]
Boone smokes the first pitch right up the middle for a single to CF.
Pedro runs it to 3-0 on Olerud, as Bronson Arroyo (just called up from AAA) starts warming in the bullpen. Pedro throws a 86 MPH fastball well inside, for a 4-pitch walk. 1st and 2nd, none out.
Cameron swings over a 78 MPH changeup on the first pitch. Pedro gets ahead 0-2 on 87 MPH heater. Cameron hits the 0-2 pitch very hard, but grounds it to Mueller at 3B, who goes to 2B for the force. Todd Walker tried to turn two, but he got absolutely nothing on the throw to 1B, getting it there in like 12 bounces.
Pedro goes 2-1 to Winn with a 87 MPH fastball in the dirt. Winn lines the 2-1 pitch to deep left-center, but Johnny Damon runs under it to make the catch. The runner tags and scores from third easily to make it 7-1 with 2 outs. Johnny Damon may throw like a girl, but he sure can go get it.
Guillen takes a home run cut at a first-pitch changeup and misses it by 3 feet. Pedro throws him the same pitch again and Guillen loops a single over Walker's head and into RF. 1st and 3rd, 2 outs.
Pedro gets a visit from Boston pitching coach Dave Wallace. I'd say it's very likely this is Pedro's last batter, regardless of what happens. Davis swings at the 2nd pitch and grounds out to 2B for the final out.
[Bottom 6th, 7-1 Red Sox - Damon up]
Pedro is getting handshakes and hugs in the Boston dugout, so he's done. Not a bad outing from a guy with less than his best stuff. 6 innings and 1 run, with 4 Ks.
Damon lines one to LF and Winn appears to be in position to make a leaping catch and gets his glove on it, but can't make the play. Damon runs into second for a double. I think Winn thought he was closer to the Green Monster than he actually was.
Walker muscles one into the gap in left-center and it rolls to the wall. Damon scores from second and Walker glides in with a double. I was just informed that the Sox have 316 doubles this year, which is amazing. I think the Red Sox and Twins tied for the MLB lead in doubles last year with like 350.
[Not bad Aaron, they did tie for the MLB lead, but with 348.]
[8-1 Red Sox - Nomar up]
Sasaki falls behind Nomar 3-0. I'd like to take this time to point out that 9 runs have scored since the last time my dog moved. Don't worry though, she is just fine. I can tell because she still manages to pass gas like clockwork every 5 minutes or so.
Sasaki comes back to get the count to 3-2, as Larry Young has a confrontation with Nomar. Nomar walks on a very close 3-2 pitch, certainly a better pitch than was called a strike on 3-1. Sasaki doesn't like it at all and even Nomar paused a little before heading to 1B.
Bryan Price comes out to visit Sasaki and the Don Orsillo sends it to some sideline reporter guy who is interviewing kids from Vermont. After about 5 questions to two different people, the only thing I learn is that they are from Vermont, the Red Sox are treating them nice and they drove some sort of boat on a "Duck Tour." Hard-hitting journalism at its best!
Sasaki gets ahead of Ramirez 0-2 and now Manny is pissed at Larry Young. Sasaki throws a fastball way outside, at which point Manny gives Young a look and says something to him. Manny lines the 1-2 pitch to RF, where Ichiro! makes a nice running catch for the first out.
Sasaki goes 0-2 on Ortiz and throws him a nice splitter in the dirt, which Ortiz just spits at. Seems like Sasaki racked up tons of strikeouts with that pitch on 0-2 in the past. I wonder if it isn't as sharp or maybe his fastball isn't as fast, making the split less impressive?
Ortiz fouls off a 1-2 fastball away and then takes another splitter in the dirt. Ortiz didn't even check his swing on either of the splitters. Sasaki gets him swinging on a splitter in the strike zone for strike three. So much for that theory, I guess, although I would assume most of the strikeouts he gets on splitters aren't from pitches that end up in the strike zone.
Millar flies out to center for the third out of the inning.
[Top 7th, 8-1 Red Sox - Sanchez up]
I just took Kerry Collins over Tom Brady in my fantasy football draft and I am having buyer's remorse like 30 seconds later, which has to be a record of some sort.
Bronson Arroyo comes into the game to replace Pedro. This is a nice spot to get him some work in his first appearance in the majors this year. I wouldn't be surprised if he finishes the game, pitching the 7th, 8th and 9th.
Sanchez pops up the 0-1 pitch to Nomar for out number one.
Ichiro! is first-pitch swinging and he grounds one between 1B and 2B, which Millar makes a nice play on, flipping it to Arroyo covering 1B, to beat Ichiro! by a step.
Arroyo pitched a perfect game in AAA earlier this month, but McLemore breaks up his perfecto today by lining a single into RF.
Bret Boone has to have the largest forearms in the major leagues. It is freakish looking.
Dog update: She just woke up, did the big "dog shake," hopped out of bed, went into the kitchen, got a drink of water and then hopped back into bed and went back to sleep. That means she is officially done moving for the day. For the week maybe.
Arroyo appears to have pretty good stuff. I don't remember ever seeing him pitch with the Pirates. He gets Boone to pop the 2-2 pitch to RF for the third out.
[Bottom 7th, 8-1 Red Sox - Nixon up]
Some woman from Vermont is singing "God Bless America." I'm not a big fan of God Bless America being sung during every 7th inning, in every game, but there is something sort of cool about hearing it in Fenway, you know?
Okay, I think I'm ready to make my official AL playoff predictions. I said last Friday that I thought the Twins would win the Central and I'll stick to that. I'll also say the Yankees will win the East, the A's will win the West (even without Mark Mulder) and the Red Sox will win the Wild Card, narrowly beating the Mariners.
Arthur Rhodes is in the game now, replacing Sasaki. Nixon gets a rare at bat against a tough lefty and grounds weakly to 1B for the first out.
Nixon is sort of like Boston's version of Jacque Jones. They both have simply never been able to hit lefties, even after being given hundreds of at bats against them, year after year after year. The Red Sox are a whole lot more willing to bench Nixon against southpaws now though, while the Twins keep running Jones out there like they have no idea what's going on.
With Mueller, Millar and David Ortiz, the Red Sox sure made some great, cheap pickups for the offense this year. They didn't have to give up anything to get those three guys and they paying them a total of $6 million this year. Okay, so the Jeremy Giambi acquisition didn't work out so well, but Theo Epstein isn't perfect.
Bill Mueller sure does foul off a lot of pitches. He takes the 10th pitch of the at bat for a 3-2 walk. It was pretty close and Larry Young definitely flinched behind the plate. Surprisingly, Arthur Rhodes didn't get upset.
The Mariners have a very interesting bullpen. They have 4 power guys in Sasaki, Rhodes, Armando Benitez and Rafael Soriano, yet they have a soft-tosser in Shiggy Hasegawa doing the closing now. Any of those 4 power guys could definitely close for a lot of teams and I actually think Soriano is the next Johan Santana.
Varitek loops one into RF and it drops right in front of Ichiro!. Mueller thought Ichiro! was going to catch it, so he was halfway between 1B and 2B. Ichiro! picked it up on the hop and fired a strike into 2B to force out Mueller and to rob Varitek of a base-hit.
Damon slices a liner down the LF line that is called foul. The crowd boos the 3B ump loudly, despite the fact that he clearly made the right call and also the fact that the Red Sox are up 8-1. Damon grounds to 2B for the 3rd out.
[Top 8th, 8-1 Red Sox - Olerud up]
I just checked in over at the Twins message board that I frequent and there is a lengthy thread entitled "FIRE GARDY!" This is very amusing to me for some reason.
Arroyo is back out to start the 8th and Olerud laces a liner to LF that Manny Ramirez makes a very nice leaping grab on to rob him of a hit and probably a double. In one of the funnier things I have seen in a while, Manny then receives a hug from Johnny Damon, while standing in left-center.
Cameron singles to right-center. Did I mention you should read my entry about "The Most Underrated Player in Baseball"? Oh, I did? Nevermind.
Winn hits the 2-0 pitch hard on the ground to Millar, who scoops it up and fires to 2B for the force play. 2 outs and a Winn on first.
I just got the news that the Royals traded two minor leaguers to the Indians for left-handed starter Brian Anderson. Anderson has had a nice year, but this isn't exactly a move that scares me as a Twins fan. I guess he's better than Kevin Appier, who appears to be on the verge of trying to pitch left-handed in his next start, just to try something that might not hurt his elbow.
Arroyo strikes Guillen out swinging on a nasty curve down and in.
[Bottom 8th, 8-1 Red Sox - Walker up]
Hasegawa is in now. So the Mariners will have used Sasaki, Rhodes and Hasegawa to finish out a blowout loss. I hope they have a day off tomorrow. (mental note: check on that after the game).
[Nope, no off day. They begin a 3-game series against the Devil Rays, in Seattle. I am a little confused as to why they would use three of their best relievers like that.]
Walker grounds out to SS for the first out.
Nomar hits a very hard grounder to 3B, which Guillen makes a very nice play on, fielding the ball off to the side and then making a nice spin and throw to 1B for out number two.
I'm a little surprised the Red Sox didn't pull Nomar and Manny and put in Damian Jackson and Gabe Kapler or someone. Manny works the count to 3-2 and then lines the pitch to deeeep CF, where Cameron glides under it for the final out of the inning.
[Top 9th, 8-1 Boston - Davis up]
I just saw a local Boston ad for a "Seatbelt Law." There are lots of things to say about this commercial, but the thing I liked the best is that the commercial ends with a state trooper saying something like, "Buckle your seatbelt, it's the LAR." Gotta love those Boston accents.
Hey look at that, the Red Sox just yanked Manny for Gabe Kapler. Do you think Grady Little and I are on the save wavelength? Boy, that's a scary thought.
Davis grounds out to 2B, where Walker makes a nice to play for the first out. Arroyo is still in and it looks like he'll finish the game, just I suspected earlier. Another example of Grady Little and I thinking similarly (oh no!). Arroyo falls behind Sanchez, 3-0, tosses a "get me over" strike and then gets Sanchez to pop the 3-1 pitch up to 1B.
[Willie Bloomquist pinch-hits for Ichiro!]
Well, Ichiro! avoids any chance of a rare 0-for-5 day by being pinch-hit for. Arroyo gets ahead 1-2 on Bloomquist and then strikes him out swinging on a slider low and outside for the final out of the game.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to wake my dog up and take her outside, because my mom says she needs to go out during the day. I say that it is obvious that not only doesn't she need to go outside, she doesn't even need to move or breathe for large portions of the day.
It was fun, we'll have to do this again sometime...
Boston (76-55) 8
Seattle (76-55) 1
W: Pedro Martinez (10-3)
L: Gil Meche (13-10)
SV: Bronson Arroyo (1)
Link of the Day:
Baseball Prospectus interview with Rickey Henderson
An excellent interview with one of my all-time favorite players and one of the most entertaining personalities in baseball, by BPro's Will Carroll and Nate Silver. A must-read.
Philadelphia (Padilla) -100 over Montreal (Day)
Colorado (Oliver) +140 over San Francisco (Schmidt)
Chicago (Loaiza) +155 over New York (Clemens)
Detroit (Cornejo) +180 over Cleveland (Traber)
Total to date: + 2,180
W/L record: 214-214 (0-2 yesterday for -200.)
*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****