Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A Loss That Should Have Been A Win

You people who go to bed early should be glad you missed this bullshit. We held a 2-1 lead and kept threatening to get some insurance yet couldn't. Meanwhile the pitching was unbelievable, keeping the A's at bay all the way until the 9th, when they pushed across the tying run thanks in part to an error, and then got a sac fly to win it.

The last few innings were crazy:

Top 8, we got the first two runners on base, only to have the next 3 guys go down.

Bottom 8, Padilla, who'd come in to get the last out of the 7th with the tying run on, gives up a line drive that Aviles just doesn't catch. Error. Coco singles and the next guy bunts 'em over, so the A's are in position to tie or take the lead. After an intentional walk to Reddick, Padilla shows a stomach of iron and strikes out the next two guys with the bases loaded, prompting Valentine to do a crazy arm-celebration in the dugout. Royster behind him could be seen doing the Karate Kid pose.

So it goes to the 9th, Sox still looking to extend the 1-run lead. We get the first two guys on. Guaranteed insurance, right? Nope, the inning would come to a crushing and end soon. Punto tries to sacrifice, and bunts a liner toward the charging first baseman, who makes a diving catch. Aviles is halfway to second. He sees he's gonna be a dead duck and stops running to first--WHICH YOU SHOULD NEVER DO BECAUSE THE GUY COULD MAKE A BAD THROW, and he does! Over the guy covering first's head, but he was able to jump, catch it behind the bag, and touch it. The weirdness came when Punto started arguing with the ump, as he had been running in case the ball was trapped. The second baseman touched first before Aviles got back but after Punto reached from home--so the ump had to clarify "I'm calling the runner out, asshole, you were out when the ball was caught." I still say Aviles could have made it close, but maybe he stopped since he saw Punto sprinting to first, thinking the ball wasn't caught. (Had Punto done this same sprint through the bag earlier instead of diving into first when there was no danger of a collision, maybe we'd have been up by more than one to begin with.) SO. It's now a man on second, two outs, and Kalish tries to steal third! And despite that he got there well before the fielder put the tag down, it appears the base was successfully blocked, and he didn't get the foot past the guy's leg. GODDAMN.

Bottom 9, we're still up by that little run. Aceves in. He gives up a single, but then gets a key pop-out. Next guy singles, so it's first and second. Moss comes up and lines one right back up the middle. Had Aceves been able to snare it, he easily doubles a runner off to end the game. Instead, he just misses. Kalish, playing very deep in center, still is going to have a chance to throw the tying run out at the plate, but he muffs it, can't pick it up cleanly, guy scores (he might have anyway), all runners move up. Error, and we're tied, with the winning run now at third instead of second. Then Coco (who homered in the first) hits a deep fly ball, sac fly, guy easily scores from third and the game's over. And of course insult is added to injury as Don does his usual routine where he's watching the A's RUN ON to the field while the Red Sox are forced to WALK OFF, yet perceives that as the A's "walking off with a win." His colleague Dennis Eckersley who coined the phrase (I was finally vindicated by an MLB article a while back, not that I needed it) needs to explain it to Don. I really think people do it because they're thinking of a cat burglar "walking away with the diamonds" or someone "walking off with 1.6 million dollars, never to be seen again," implying their theft was so perfect, they didn't even have to run away--nobody noticed the goods were gone until it was too late. If you just want to use that phrase, fine, use it for any game (final at bat win or not) where one team "steals" a victory. But the phrase "walk-off win" is used specifically when a home team wins in its final at bat, because the defense is forced to walk off the field, heads hung, as the game is suddenly over before the third out is made. This can only happen to the visiting team. Example: The O's won in their last at bat tonight on the road. Two-out, 9th inning home run. But the game didn't end at that moment. The M's stayed on the field (not forced to walk off it), got the last out, and took their last ups. You could say, using the non-baseball phrase mentioned above, that the O's "walked away with a victory" or "walked off with a 5-4 win"--but if you're referring to the baseball phrase "walk-off win," you can't, because it wasn't a walk-off win, which only the home team can have. Had the M's come back with two runs, they would have forced the O's to walk off and gotten a "walk-off win." But they wouldn't have "walked off," unless you mean figuratively, as with the diamonds. And if you tell me, Well Don DOES mean figuratively, then how come he only says it in games where the home team wins in its final at bat?

Anyway, I know I've explained that before, but I'm always down for a little clarification, especially in a world where everybody now uses the Don style, as the phrase has been officially corrupted. I need you now more than ever, Eck!

Lester was great tonight. After Coco led off with a dong, I suggested Coco would be his "Chili Davis." Which means he has a stellar performance, his one hit being the dong, while he strikes out 17. Allan Joy, being the huge Pedro fan, noted that you can't match that performance, which is true of course, but Jon gave it a go, giving up no more runs, just three more hits, and struck out 9. Too bad our hitters were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Those numbers on the entire road trip are horrible. Don said 4 for 40 or something, will have to check on that....

The Yanks lost in Tampa again, where they're on a/an historic losing streak--9 in a row at that park. And the Jays and O's won, so we were the only team not to gain on first place. This stinks. A win Monday night and we would have been in that second wild card spot, and alone in second place in the east. Now two losses later, we're alone in FOURTH again.

Tomorrow's the 4th of July. Those beaches WILL be open. And the Sox play the final game of the trip at 4:05 eastern, before coming home for the BIG WEEKEND, the final series before the break.


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