Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Game two in running

Thank God for ESPN. Without them I would not know that..
  • Manny Ramirez is a good hitter
  • Brandon Moss is a rookie
  • Japan is not the United States
  • Papelbon likes to dance
  • Rich Harden is occasionally injured
Honestly, where would we be without them?!

On to the game

First inning
Boston 0 Oakland 0

10:04 am in Dublin, Ireland. I don't know how I feel about this, whilst it's nice being completely awake for a game, there is something about late night baseball, well, watching it late here in Ireland, I mean. A start this early feels like watching, for example, Manchester United v Arsenal at 12 pm on a Sunday morning, just a bad time to watch sporting drama unfold.

First off, I will go on record as saying I like seeing Crisp getting a chance. It's a balance thing, to me, and great man management by Tito. Crisp is a hard working veteran and deserves a chance to show his stuff this early in the season, whilst Jacoby needs to stay grounded, and this move is the type of move to ensure he keeps his head on his shoulders.

First interesting moment, Rich Harden threw pitch one, and his arm did not fall off.

Pretty cool that Youkilis is just two games away from tying the MLB record for most games at first base without an error, 193 in total. That's pretty excellent, to say the least. Imagine playing 191 (Youk's current mark) games without making a single error? Absolutely incredible.

Harden gets through Dusty and Youk but walks Ortiz, and looks a little like he would prefer to pitch to Manny. I wonder did he see yesterday's game?

Well, as it turns out, maybe he did. Harden strikes out Manny and the half inning is over.

Bottom of the first
Boston 0 Oakland 0

Lester starts off well, breaks the lead off batters bat. Is it just me or does Lester look a little bigger than during the playoffs? Am I right in saying that Lester is clearly tabbed as the third starter, while Schilling is on the DL?

21 minutes into the game and there has already been three shots of Dice-K sitting in the Red Sox dugout. Who is pandering to who there?! ESPN to Japanese viewers maybe?

Daric Barton, eh?

'Darling, what shall we call our son?'
'How about Daric?'

I guess they already knew too many Dereks. Barton walks and Lester denies himself a 1-2-3 inning. If Lester can avoid doing this, he will have a great season, if not, he will struggle. Having watched him pitch a lot, his Achilles heel is a pretty high pitch count.

Fly out to right and Lester gets out of the inning. No score in the first.

Top of the second
Boston 0 Oakland 0

Isn't it great to see Mike Lowell back at third base? Remember all that guff about A-Fraud coming to Boston? Hard to believe people even thought that a realistic possibility. Lowell flies out and ESPN show Brandon Moss's long ball from the morning before again, and yes, I could watch that several times over.

That young man has a healthy cut on him, maybe too much so, as he strikes out wildly.

Varitek is now 0-5 with four K's to start the season. Yeesh. Is it September already?!

Bottom of the second
Boston 0 Oakland 0

Lester hangs a slow curve or something to the second batter and it gets ripped into left for a double, with one out. Again, you have to think, all Lester needs to make the jump to the next level is to up his concentration levels a little. That was just a lazy pitch. To emphasise the point, Lester blazes a beautiful outside-corner fastball by the next batter.

To digress real quickly, ESPN love talking about Manny/Ortiz 'watching' their home runs, how come there was no comment on either Oakland batters 'watching' their bombs yesterday morning? Both stopped, watched, and finally hopped out of the box on their trot. Just call it both ways fellas, that's all I am saying.

Actually, as Lester blows high cheese past Hannahan for the second out, I find myself wondering, why no radar gun? Any particular reason, I wonder?

Kurt Suzuki, the A's catcher, his .151 off lefties last season. That is not good. Lester falls behind him maddeningly 3-0. The guy hit .151 off lefties in '07! Lester, nevertheless, walks him. First strike pitches would improve his game and my sanity ten fold. Suddenly there is two on, with two out, with the immortal Chris Denorfia at the plate. Naturally he smacks a single and the A's take the lead 1-0. Nobody likes to beat a dead horse (has anyone actually ever really beaten a dead horse?! Seems kind of morbid?!) but if Lester had just gone right after the guy who hits .151 off lefties, well, you know what I am getting at here.

Absolutely beautiful inside curve to strike out Buck to end the inning and stop the damage, and as the ball zips in and the batter freezes and the umpire grunts loudly, strike three, you have to wonder, why oh why does Lester make things so hard on himself?! This guy has the potential to win 17 games in '08, with a little self discipline. On to the third, Sox one down.

Top of the third
Boston 0 Oakland 1

Coco! Anyone having Coco Pops, right now? As Crisp bats? As ten million new members of Red Sox nation cry 'Why no Jacoby?!', Crisp does himself no favours by striking out looking.

Shot number four of Dice-K in the dugout, without any reason to close to Dice-K. Suddenly ESPN jump in and explain! It's a 'world-feed' and the shots are coming from Japanese television. That explains pretty much everything.

Harden walks Lugo and the smallest guy with the biggest swing is up, Pedroia at the plate. Dusty gets under one and lifts it to center for the out. Awesome story introduced out of nowhere by ESPN, Canseco coming out and saying that not only did A-Rod approach Jose for steroids, he also hit on his wife! Good lord. I guess this will be the next book from the pen of Jose Canseco?

Jose - author, player, creative-mind

The Red Sox make Harden work, and increase the odds of the oft-injured pitcher's arm simply falling to the ground mid-pitch. Lugo steals second, Youkilis walks and up comes Big Pappi, who promptly pops up. I have to come out and say it, for all Lugo and Youk's hard work getting on base, how does Big Papi feel about just getting up there and hacking wildly at pitches out of the strike zone? It is exactly what just happened, so why doesn't anyone ever mention this? I guess probably because every 13-15 times the ball ends up 5,000 feet away on a street somewhere.

On to the bottom of the inning.

Bottom of the third
Boston 0 Oakland 1

First batter and another full count for Lester. A walk and runner on first. Throw more strikes Jon Lester!

First and third and one out with Emil Brown up to bat, and ESPN says 'maybe' Brown can redeem himself here. Sure enough, he does so, blasting a huge three run shot to left on a lazy pitch from Lester. Suddenly Boston has plenty to do to get out of this 0-4 hole.

I'll tell ya, nothing like a 675 foot Emil Brown blast to take the steam, the zip, out of your early inning baseball buzz.

Varitek makes a nice catch to get Lester out of the inning. Oakland four zip up. Bla.

Top of the fourth
Boston 0 Oakland 4

Tee hee hee. ESPN, talking about good hitters knowing the weight of a bat, '...the feel of their tool in their hand..'. Chuckle chuckle. Please God don't let me be the only one to mention this. I had to say it though, come on. No? Okay. Moving along.

Manny takes a few wild cuts and sits down, while Lowell slices the Red Sox first hit of the ball game to left field.

Brandon Moss needs to stop watching Big Pappi and Manny take BP. He takes three inane cuts and sits down. Harden is now up to 7 strike outss and gets out of the inning without breaking a sweat. That's right ESPN, Rich Harden IS in charge of this ballgame right now.

Bottom of the fourth
Boston 0 Oakland 4

Lester readies his ship with two quick outs, which is naturally, a promising sign. He even adds an exclamation mark with a strike out to end the inning. Nicely done young man. Super quick inning.

Top of the fifth
Boston 0 Oakland 4

I was laughing at ESPN being surprised that they sell Sushi at the ball park in Japan when the inning ended with a double play. That was a quick one. Quicker than the bottom of the fourth even. Moving along.

Bottom of the fifth
Boston 0 Oakland 4

What's the deal? I make a phone call and the inning is over before I am finished. What's going on here?!

On to the sixth.

Top of the sixth
Boston 0 Oakland 4

Right, I have to eat, going to get lunch and when I get back I expect the score to be 4-4!

Top of the seventh
Boston 1 Oakland 4

Well, apart from Manny's bomb, no great change. The Sox batters have to be looking forward to hitting against Oakland's bullpen after Harden struck out nine. Oh hey so ask me what I got for lunch? That's right, sweet chilli noodles and Hanyang Roll Kimbap, with extra seaweed. Let's just say it was 'for the occasion' and all that. I couldn't resist.

Captain Varitek's NINTH consecutive season opening start this year. That's about all you can say as he strikes out again. Yikes.

Coco! Nice double, sliced to right, shame there is two out when he smacks it. Sure enough Lugo grounds out. Hard to see the comeback today, the bats look lifeless.

Bottom of the seventh
Boston 1 Oakland 4

I have high, sky high hopes for Manny Delcarmen for 2008. I like the kids moxy. He fields his position well too, picking up a squibber and throwing the guy out at first. Nice play to start the inning.

He then jams Daric Barton for another ground ball out and appears to be in good shape so far.

Isn't it odd seeing Mike Sweeney playing for the A's? Having played so many years for awful Kansas teams, I wonder how he feels about playing for such a young A's team? He slaps a little single to center, to keep the inning going.

Sweet offspeed pitch to end the inning. Manny Delcarmen, a strong 2008, you heard it here first!

Top of the eighth
Boston 1 Oakland 4

Boston running out of at bats fast.

Did the sky fall anywhere? I only ask as Keith Foulke is pitching for the A's, against Boston, again. Hey, love him or hate him, Foulke looks like Foulke version 2004 right now, doesn't he? Maybe he is back to full health, and maybe the A's got themselves a bargain.

Remember me?

Foulke earns his days pay check by working through Ortiz and Ramirez to get out of the eighth inning. Beautiful strike out pitch on Ramirez.

Bottom of the eighth
Boston 1 Oakland 4

Brian Corey seems like a decent little reliever, no? He throws some good stuff. Interesting to see him pitch again after last night. Could be a nice fit into the bullpen mix.

...and just as I say that, Oakland tag on another run and it's 5-1 and Boston have hit a bit of a wall on day two of the season.

You kow though, you can't really blame the pitching here, not entirely. Five runs is not a deluge of runs, and one run is not going to win you many ball games. That's for sure.

Top of the ninth

Boston 1 Oakland 5

So here we go, Boston has to get four runs off former Sox pitcher Alan Embree to extend this particular game further.

Who better to start the rally than Iron Mike Lowell? Base hit to left. Sean Casey, first at bat for the Boston Red Sox. Oh boy, ground ball double play. What's the sound of deflation?

Oakland wins as Varitek strikes out, yes, again. So there we go, 1-1 to start 2008. So much for 162 wins anyway!

Tip of the cap to Foulke and Embree, think they enjoyed that?

1 comment:

John Fitzgerald said...

nice work. you've just motivated me to do another MLB Blog Roundup tonight.

Funny you should mention Jose's "next" book... there is a portion of it over at Deadspin. It's pretty interesting stuff - you know, if you're into the "baseless rumors" that Bud Selig will vehemently deny or ignore until he's dragged in front of Congress.

Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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