Monday, May 24, 2004

Nine By Nine, 05.23.04

Sorry about Friday and the lateness today. Sometimes fake day jobs don't realize they are so.

1. Hey everybody, yesterday was Vermont Day at Fenway Park! Let's celebrate Vermont, the home of outlet stores (wait, that's Maine), Mount Washington (sorry, that's New Hampshire), and inbreeding (also New Hampshire). Syrup, maple syrup. That's Vermont. What goes better with several hours of athletic competition than some warm, sugary tree sap? Get those hotcakes ready boys, it's Vermont day! Why are we doing this again?

2. Ok, as we discussed, the Sox have already taken the first two, so we're going to be satisfied if they don't sweep, right? Sweeps are tough to pull off, and are above reasonable expectations, right? We're not gonna cry if we lose, agreed? Oh look, we won! Thank God.

3. Johnny Damon, a historically slow starter, has had a very nice beginning to the season. Not quite as good as his first year in Boston, but easily the second best start he's had since leaving the Royals. What happened to that Johnny Damon, the guy who sprayed line drives all over the park and had an OPS over .850, we may never know. But remember, that guy couldn't play much centerfield. This one can.

4. Kevin Youkilis' batting stance = Shea Hillenbrand's stance. I'm serious. It's creepy. Ok, maybe that doesn't really count as creepy.

5. Mark The Ninth's Words: Bronson Arroyo's 8 inning shutout of Toronto will be viewed as a turning point for this team. Since then, Boston is 6-2, has outscored its opponents 50-20, and has made only two errors. Yeah they've played bad clubs, but they've been at a higher level. Slick, confident play. All started by Charles Bronson Arroyo.

6. In the bottom of the third, Miguel Batista had given up 6 runs, thrown 90 pitches, and still had a runner on 2nd -- a delicious deli sandwich known as the Wes Gardner. Good for him. But the crazy thing is, only after the sixth run score did Carlos Tosca get anyone up. The game is already over Carlos. You might as well leave Batista in there at this point. Why don't you pull him when you know he does have it and give yourself a chance to win the game? Managers don't do this enough. If you have a non-premier pitcher going, the kind of guy who can fight his way out of trouble, and he clearly has no stuff, pull him early and give your team a prayer. Sure it hurts your bullpen, but chances are you're gonna up yanking him before the sixth anyway. If you're gonna juice your long man, you might as well do it when it counts.

7. Timlin threw two changeups to Carlos Delgado yesterday, and I don't think I've ever seen him throw even one. Carlos, for the record, swung and missed at both.

8. In the 8th inning, with a 7-2 advantage, Francona went to Timlin for an 1.3 innings, which is otherwise known as "too much". As the 9th began, he had Foulke warming up. Why? In case Josh Phelps hit a 3 run homer with no one on? And why does Terry keep doing this? This is Jamie Brown, Everyday Lenny Dinardo territory. Big lead, bad team, closers no throw. Things got tight after Timlin retired Phelps to start the 9th, so Francs went to Embree to get the last two outs. Phew. At this rate Boston will have three different relievers with over sixty appearances. Not the end of the world, but quite strange.

9. The site has been going very well lately, and I want to thank all you regulars for the loyal traffic. Every little bit counts. We've had some great links and hits have been on the up and up. As always, any questions, reactions, or requests you might have, hit me with an email. And if you can drop the link to a few of your buddies, hey, that'd be great too. Seacrest out.