Monday, May 03, 2004

Nine by Nine, 05.02.04

1. I don't blame Joe Morgan and Jon Miller, I really don't. They do a lot of games, both locally and nationally, and are expected to know a great deal about many players. Why however some producer, director, or silly intern can't write down and hand them a note that says "Tim Wakefield throws a curveball", I will never know. How many times do they have to remark "wow, that knuckler really looked a curve" before they consider the earth-shattering possibility than it actually is a curve? It's in the scouting report, I promise you. Seriously though, Jon and Joe are expected to know a lot, somebody help 'em out a bit.

2. In the 4th, Johnny Damon played an uncatchable, no-out single into a shutout-busting, soon-to-be-run-scoring triple. This is, for you fans calculating disappointment at home, the third time he's done that this season. To be fair, the other two were in Toronto and came largely due to the turf bounce, but this one was inexcusable. As Joe Morgan rightfully pointed out (it could happen), a single with nobody out is no biggy, but a triple is a disaster. When Damon dove he was several feet from the ball. It was a dumb play -- a problem for a player who is increasingly more valuable in the field than at the plate.

3. The Ninth's opinions on Pedro and his contract status are fairly well documented, but he brought it up again, so we'll say a quick word. It's a lot harder to hold a team hostage with your salary demands when the general public trusts the people running the show. Martinez's goal in going to the press with his contract frustration, no doubt, was to initiate a campaign of public outrage. The hope was that Sox fans would feel he was being cheated, turn on Theo and Larry, and put on the heat for more money. Problem is, we're on their side. Much like Bill Belichick, Epstein has made a lot of good moves lately, and we'll happily defer to his opinion. Were this a ladder-day Dan Duquette or a happily-lunching Lou Gorman, it might've worked. But Theo has New England's ear, and he's likely to keep it.

4. R.A. Dickey was sharp, no question. His stuff was good and his control was better, and that can make life difficult. But the Red Sox have faced better pitchers this year and still come up with runs. The problem here? Pitch count. Boston has been expert this season at getting starters deep into the 50's and 60's early in the game. Last night however, they were too anxious, and let Dickey play his game. In the 5th, 6th, and 7th they saw a total of 27 pitches. That's no way to get a guy out of the game.

5. I don't like to be crass, but judging by the quantity of Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis commercials last night, there
may be a causative relationship between baseball and uncooperative genitalia.

6. Johnny Damon did it again, in the 8th inning. Down 2-0, with only one three more outs on their side, Damon misplayed a carom of a Michael Young double and overthrew the cut-off man, putting Young at third with, say it with me, nobody out. Essentially hands Texas another run and puts the game pretty far out on the windowsill. Since when does Damon overthrow anything? He makes a baseball look like shotput, and now he's chucking balls over Pokey's head? Once again, if you don't hit, you can't do stuff like this.

7. It's amazing that Brian Daubach can be released, sent down to Pawtucket, recalled, and still hit 5th in the batting order. Not sure if that says more about him or the state of Boston's offense. He had bad luck last night though, three scorches, all right at people. Remember when he used to get hot? Sox could use some of that.

8. Last night almost looked like one of those Cowboy Up comebacks, didn't it? Boston loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th against Dickey and Cordero and had Jason Varitek good to go. Francisco Cordero, the Ranger closer, was throwing gas, but Tek is a pure fastball hitter, and if given chance could've ripped one. But when Cordero got behind 2-1, he stayed away from the fastball, and eventually walked him on what, despite all indications to the contrary, were sliders. One run in. The Sox then had the winning run coming to the plate, but had no good players left. Crespo was scheduled, but Kapler should've gotten the call. Had the Sox tied the game, Gabe could've played third and moved either Mueller or Bellhorn to short. It's not a good solution, but you never want your worst hitter making the decisive out in the game.

9.Is it really worth it to bring a broom with you to a game? Ok, best case scenario your team wins and you get to waive it around for a few minutes and yell sweep. That's nice. But brooms are big and awfully annoying to carry. You sit down in your chair, and what, have it sticking up in your face? What do you do when you have to go the bathroom? Do you leave it at your seat or bring it with you? And if you do bring it, do people in the bathroom think you're a janitor and ask for more papertowels? What happens when you lose -- do you have to throw it away or can you bring it home and use it to clean up messes and refuse? Sounds like a lot more trouble than it's worth to me.