Saturday, September 01, 2012

Orioles Give Yankees A Game

Stupid Pedro Strop comes in with the O's up by one in the 7th, walks the first guy he faces to load the bases, and the walks the second guy to force in the tying run. Next batter hits one that the shortstop bobbles, and the Yanks go up 4-3, and that was your final.

The O's had been up 3-0, and should have been up by more, but they hit into several double plays and had a guy picked off. So the lead's back to 3 games.

Yankee Lead 80% Gone

Let's start with the good news, eh? The Orioles showed up! Second inning, they got right to it, taking the lead at juiceless Yankee Stadium. And Miguel Gonzalez held the Yanks' bats to zilch. So it was 3-0 until the 6th, then 4-0 till the 9th. At which point the Yankees, still oblivious to the fact that he's a Red Sox undercover agent, sent Derek Lowe to the mound and he got the "save," giving up a dong to the first batter and then 3 hits in a row, clinching the win for the non-Yankees. You're doing a great job, Derek, keep it up! 6-1 final.

So Balty takes game one. Two games back! Even NESN is finally starting figure out there's a race. Still, Don says things like "all of a sudden" the Yankees have dropped back to the pack "a little bit," implying he just doesn't follow the rest of the division. Which is pretty difficult considering he reports the scores every single night. Again, if this were the Red Sox going from a 10-game lead to a 2-game lead, TC and Don and everybody else would be lovin' it, using their favorite line about the objects and the mirror and the closeness and the appearance and whatnot. Meanwhile the Yanks are collapsing before their eyes and they're like a month behind on it.

Speaking of Don-isms, tonight he referred to the Angels, who just swept us in Anaheim, saying how "they had an even longer flight than we did." Well yeah Don, considering Oakland is the closest American League city to L.A., it would have to be. How does Don take the shortest possible flight and then play shocked to the fact that another team had a longer one? They all did!

Well, as I was typing all of the above stuff, the A's scored 9 runs in an inning against the Red Sox. But hey, they were already up 9-2, so, I guess. More than half of Oakland's starting lineup tonight was made up of ex-Red Sox (or brothers of ex-Red Sox). And they all love to "get back at us" despite that we really didn't wrong any of them.

Even though the tying run is on...(what's the word for 14-tuple?)...deck, I'm gonna go ahead and call this one in the 8th. Red Sox lose, (at least) 18 to (at least) 2.

[Update: 20-2 final. I did some research. The Red Sox had been 8-8 in games decided by 18 or more runs. We've only lost by 18 or more four times in my life. 1980, 1990, 1994, and 2000. The 2000 one was 22-1 to the Yanks, on the day Libby Dooley died. The 1980 one was also a 20-2 loss, at home against California. Only 3 Angels had fewer than 3 hits in that game, and those guys each had 2. Freddy Patek went 4-6 with 7 RBI. In the '94 game, the Twins had 10 runs through 3, then tacked on 11 in the 5th for a 21-2 victory. I believe Mike Greenwell was the only guy to appear in two of these four games ('90 and '94). In 1923, we actually lost two games by 18 or more (20 or more in fact), losing 27-3 (in game one of a doubleheader; we lost game two 8-5) to Cleveland and 24-4 to the Yanks.]

Friday, August 31, 2012

Octubre Anaranjado

Lester had a rough first few innings, settled down and lasted through the 8th, throwing 121 pitches. But the 5 early runs he gave up were too much for our offense to overcome. 5-2 loss. Loney had a dong for us. So we're swept in the series, and the season series vs. the Angels too.

O's won, Rays lost, Yanks idle. So the Rays are 4 back, and the O's are 3 back as they head to The Bronx for three. Yet Orioles fans still won't support their team! They barely reached the 10,000 mark today. Granted, it was a weekday afternoon game. But if you had told any Orioles fan at basically any point in the last decade that they'd be battling for the division in the final days of August and had a home game on a sunny, 80-degree day, I would have thought 100% of them would have said, "You're crazy, but if it did happen, I'd be at that game no matter what." Guess not. In fact, there were more fans at the last game at Fenway (37,506) than at the last three games at Camden combined (36,080)! I still don't get why they get so mad at other teams' fans for coming to their park, when they have no interest in using the seats! Why do I need to tell O's fans to get on their own bandwagon? I want their team to win this weekend more than they do! Come on Oriole people, and everyone else, the Hunt for Orange October is on!

In "commercials you're forced to see 10 times per game" news: You know the car ad that uses that "Summer Nights" song from Grease? Yeah, the yellow pants girl. When the guy throws her up in the air and she does a split, they cut out a frame in mid-split. It's really weird, but I notice it every time. Why would they cut out this frame? Was the commercial .25 seconds too long and they had to cut a tiny bit out, and they chose a frame right in the middle instead of the beginning or end? Did some extra give the finger for a split second and they had to cut it out? My best guess is that the split looks more impressive this way. "Wow, she got those legs out quick." I even slowed it down and noticed that when the cut happens, some people are affected by it, and other aren't. There are so many dancing employees that they actually seem to be superimposing some into the shot. Maybe the edit has something to do with that. Like, the shot of one set of people is longer than the shot of the other. But again, if it's a length issue, why wouldn't they cut the first or last split second, instead of one in the middle in pretty much the only noticeable spot? Like the lights going out during the Blues Brothers set at Bob's Country Bunker, that cut was made on purpose. Watch for it. It looks terrible. But hurry, sale ends September 3rd!

Oh, and was Remy drunk tonight? At one point he was blurting out instructions for Don to read ad copy. He could have also been in "it's so damn late and nobody's watching except those bloggers who make fun of us all the time so who cares" mode. In fact, the night before, he almost cursed and Don encouraged him to go ahead and do it due to the lateness of the hour!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Norwood Gibson

I read that Zach Stewart's 9-run Red Sox debut was the worst since Norwood Gibson's in 1903. But the reports that said that only went that far. So I went and found the box score from the game.

From the Philadelphia Record, 4/30/1903:

So Norwood (the only guy in MLB history with that first name) was a little wild that day. Nine walks, and Washington stole 8 bases. He only gave up 8 hits over 9 innings, though, so I wouldn't say he was "lit up" as ESPN did, though two of the hits were triples and one was a dong. Gibson hit a triple himself, too.

Also note that only one run was earned. (But since Boston only made 2 errors and Washington scored in 5 different innings, I'm thinking maybe runs scoring due to walks weren't counted as earned runs back then. Anybody?)

Sox Lose By A Lot

Zach Stewart, who came over in the Youk trade, made his first start in a Boston uniform tonight. In the portion of the game after he left (4th-9th), we outscored the Angels 2-1. But we lost 10-3. So you can do the math on that one. I stuck it out until the end at 1:15 a.m. And received no reward. Okay, Loney had a nice play in the 8th. And I got to see Aceves resume his role as "guy who kinda comes in whenever," as he entered in the 7th with the team down by 7.

The Orioles couldn't capitalize on the Yanks' earlier loss, but the Rays could and did. So we've got the O's 3.5 out, and the Rays 4.0 out in the division race. Keep that pressure on, boys. Starting Friday, the Yanks play only those two teams for 10 straight games. That'll be a key stretch.

Remy's still under the impression that more teams are "in it" because of the second wild card. He said this, then we heard Don say that the top two teams are tied, with a few more close behind. Meaning, as I've been saying all year, that every single team in the league is exactly the same amount of games behind as they would have been last year with only one wild card spot available. Yes, you have a better chance this year since there are more spots, but you're no closer to the last playoff spot than you would have been last year, since the top two are tied.

The worst, though, was when Tom Caron proved he doesn't even understand how this all works, "estimating" that the Red Sox would have been 2 or 2.5 games further behind under the old rules when they actually would have been just a half-game further behind (since the top two teams were a half-game apart at the time). Which is like saying, "I'm 10 feet away from that window. If it were open, I'd be 7.5/8 feet away from it."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yanks Lose

The Yankees lost to the Jays today, and currently lead the Orioles by just 2 games in the loss column!

Just Regular Frustration, Nothing Too Crazy

For the non-night owls, here's how it went down:

Buchholz gave up a dong to Trout on his second pitch, then gave up another run in the first. But he settled down. In the meantime, Salty cut it to 2-1, and then we had a 3-run 4th. After two singles with the bases loaded made it 3-2 us, we still had nobody out, and Remy talked about going for the death blow. At which point Kalish promptly hit into the world's most perfectly tailor-made double play. It scored a run to make it 4-2, but Weaver got the next guy to end the frame. We should have had a lot more.

We added a run in the 6th to make it 5-2. But Clay started losing it again, giving back 2 runs, as Aceves warmed. He did escape further damage, keeping it at 5-4 after 6. Then he got out of another jam in the 7th, and left after throwing 109 pitches.

Finally Aceves came in for the 8th, and got the side in order. We had 4 baserunners in the 8th and 9th, but could not add any insurance.

With Bailey unavailable, Aceves stayed in for the 6-out save attempt, up by a run. He got the first guy quickly in the 9th. Then on a ball in the dirt, suddenly the ump awarded Aybar first base. Apparently the ball had hit his foot. Remy and Don didn't think so, as you could clearly see the ball bounce off the dirt behind his foot. Still, the ball could have skimmed the shoe. Any limp or fake-limp Aybar had quickly disappeared as he stole second, and the next batter walked on 4 pitches, putting rookie sensation Mike Trout in position to tie or win the game....

So a game that had been going fairly smoothly was now in the high-pressure zone. In other words, it's still 2012.

Trout got jammed, and broke his bat, blooping one to the left side of second base. Pedroia got close to it coming from the other side of the bag, but couldn't knock it down, which would have at least kept the tying run from scoring. Instead he scores easily, and now Hunter's up needing only a sac fly to win it. And that's just what that shit got. We lose 6-5. Be glad you didn't stay up till 1:15 a.m.

Of course, adding insult to personal Jere injury, Don Orsillo says, literally while we're seeing the Red Sox dejectedly walking off the field and the Angels running onto it, that the Angels walk off. Adding insult to that insult, Remy also says the Angels walk off. Yeah, and James Holmes went into a movie theater and "got shot" by dozens of innocent victims. While Batman watched them!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spies Like Us

Red Sox spy Derek Lowe came through tonight, making a huge error in extra innings to allow the Jays to beat the Yanks in NY. Soriano had been one out away from saving the game in the 9th, but gave up a 3-run dong to blow it.

So the O's with their win jumped over the Rays and are now 3 back in the loss column, with Tampa 4 out. Plenty of time to get this done. The beauty part is, both Tampa and Balty are in a dogfight with each other and 2 other teams for the wild card, so they're going all out anyway. I'm hoping just one can pull this off. It would be great if they both (along with a third team) passed the Yanks on the final day of the season tp knock them out. But I'd settle for either one taking the division title and leaving the Yanks in the one-game playoff. (This is all a distant second/third to the hope of the Red Sox winning every game through the rest of the season and the Yankees losing every one, of course.)

Extreme Yankee heartbreak is very possible this season--get on board!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Red Sox Win/Huge Mistake By Don

Sox win 5-1 behind great performance by Dice-K. We'd be on a 5-game win streak if we hadn't blown two 6-run leads....

Don is really losing it. You know the red line that runs across the top of the Green Monster? A ball must clear it to be a home run. It's part of the face of the wall. Yet Don has been telling the audience today that a ball hitting the red line is a homer.

Cody Ross slammed one high off the wall, right off the red line. He was thrown out at second, but not before 2 runs scored giving the Sox a 3-1 lead. On the replay, Don starting saying how since the ball hit the line, Ross should have been credited with a home run.

Later in the game, they revisited the zoomed-in replay, and again Don insists it should have been called a homer. Obviously no one else at the network knows the rule either as they are cueing up these super-slow zoom shots of the ball hitting the line.

Wouldn't common sense at least tell these people that a ball off the wall in baseball isn't the same thing as a ball over the wall?

And didn't Don see a ball mere days ago that hit the TOP of the red line (not the facing/front like today) and was called a home run, and talk about how it shouldn't have been called a home run? Here's an article about the play, which I also wrote extensively about.

Simply put, the ball didn't clear the wall. Regardless of what lines are where, that's not a home run.

A few notes:

1. Yes, if a ball hits either of the vertical yellow lines (or to the right of them) in left-center and right-center field, that IS a home run. These lines are there since it's a flush wall, part of it being considered outside the field of play, part of it inside, due to Fenway's quirks. (You could easily move the lines a few inches to the left and say "ball must go to right of line" for consistency with the red horizontal line in left. But that's not really the point. In fact, maybe that's why they made the red line red. It's a different type of marker. It's just a barrier to provide ease in seeing if a ball hits above it or not.) The red line is at the top of a wall which does end at that point.

2. A check of the Red Sox web site reveals that the ground rules they use are from the freakin' 50s:

"Foul poles, screen poles and screen on top of left field fence are outside playing field."

The screen atop the left field fence was removed in favor of the Monster Seats about TEN YEARS AGO. Anyway, they neglect to mention the red line, so there isn't much documentation of it online.

3. The red line in general is kind of pointless. It's not like the ball can disappear behind it. The way to tell if a ball clears the Monster just look at it. With replay available, there's certainly no need for that line. Maybe painting the ledge-back atop and set back from the wall all red would help, as umps could see any ball hitting red as gone. For now though, all you need to see is if the carom is coming from the wall itself, the top corner, the top, the back ledge, etc. Anything that would clear the wall if nothing was on top of or behind it is a homer. It's that simple. The one thing that's not clear is if a ball comes straight down from the sky and hits the top of the wall (technically "clearing" the red line) and bounces back onto the field. That should be in play, as it would be if it hits the top of any other wall in fair territory in the park. But here it would be called a homer since it cleared the red line.

Afternoon Mania

Red Sox win 8-6. Reminder: Monday's game is at 1:35. Weird that the Rays and A's had a scheduled Sunday off-day today, first time it's happened in the majors in 17 years. I looked for the TB score on the scoreboard for waaaaay too long before finally checking their schedule to see the blank white square....

How I look at the Red Sox' chances to make the post-season: This month has felt like September. Meaning it's had the feel of a long, drawn-out "final" month of a season that's been over for a good while. So think of it this way. Imagine if you had a September like that, but were then given a bonus month of games to see if you can get back into it. That's what we've got. Most people probably don't want to hear this, but there actually is a long way to go. So we're not dead yet. A nice start to getting back to the pack would have been winning the two games in which we had 6-run leads this week, but still....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Luss. I Am At A Luss.

As Kim and I left the car wearing our various items of leopard-print clothing (our neighbor the burlesque dancer puts on a yearly Bettie Page tribute), we felt secure knowing the Red Sox had a 9-3 lead. When we got back to the car at 11:40, the first thing I heard was Castig's voice. I had DVR'd the game, so I quickly turned the volume down, but then I thought, "that didn't sound like highlights, that sounded like the game was still going on." Knowing I'd only recorded through to 11:00, I figured if the game was going on, and I don't listen, I'll get home, see the game to 11, then have the rest cut off. So I decided I had to turn the volume back up and just catch it live.

I turn it up, and Joe's in the middle of a call. Wow, this freakin' game is somehow still on at 11:40. Joe ends the call with a sad "and this one's over." Yup, we randomly got to the game to hear the final out, and the Royals had beaten the Red Sox in 12 innings, overcoming a 6-run deficit, the second one we've blown in three nights. Sigh.

And the deal is official. I guess my first thought is: How can a person be named Rubby? Anyway, the move was made for salary-dumping purposes, and you have to do that sometimes. Still, Gonzalez is a guy you build around when trying to improve, not a guy you get rid of. I just really hope we can sign Papi next year and Ellsbury the year after that, and that these Dodger dudes end up being what they could be. Or that we can use 'em as chips to get other awesome guys. I thought Loney was good but not this year I guess. He's the guy that hit the foul ball last year that hit me in the hand....

I'm still not listening to any Boston media, but I do "hear things," like what they say on NESN during games and in pre- and post-games, and on the radio broadcasts, and what I read on Joy of Sox. And I keep hearing these smug media guys thinking they know what fans want to hear by acting like the only players you want on your team are the ones who are nice to the media! O'Brien said tonight that the trade was "made largely..." (at this point I thought he was gonna say something about payroll) " change the culture and climate of the clubhouse." Did the team say this? And do I give a shit about what happens in the clubhouse or who's a "leader" (something the media decides on as if they could know)? How can the announcer tell the audience something that's his opinion as if it's fact? Tom Caron did the same thing the night before, while the rumors were flying, saying how Salty "gets it" because he "knows what the fans expect of him" based on the fact that he says the right things when asked questions of the media. The same media which has basically said the Red Sox fans, "you've always hated Adrian Gonzalez, and you're glad to have that cancer removed from the team." As those fuckers aren't just gonna lambaste whoever else comes to town and has the nerve to just want to play baseball and not have his personal life under a microscope.

Maybe I'm wrong about all of this. But fans want the team to win. In the end, it doesn't matter who was good in the clubhouse. So if the media wins and gets all the perfect media-friendly guys onto the team, and they don't win, everybody's still gonna be pissed. So what's the point? We need to put the media on waivers. Problem is, no city in its right mind would claim these assholes.

And I hear about Aceves, and I'm thinking What the fuck? But then it hits me: It's another case of the media spinning it how they want. Beckett was just finally officially run out of town with these guys all saying how he doesn't get it, how he clearly doesn't care, doesn't want to win, bla bla bla, and then Aceves goes berserk due to what? A desire to take the ball and pitch. And it's "this guy's on his way out of our new, how-the-media-wants-it, proper-attitude clubhouse because he's a bad seed." At least that's how O'Brien spun it. The guy should have controlled himself, and I'm assuming the suspension was because of his inability to do so, and I agree with that. But the message from the media to the players remains: "Whatever you do, we're gonna kill you for it. Even if it's the exact opposite of what we killed someone else for. We know the fans are pissed at the losing, and we can manipulate them into thinking that literally anything you do off the field is the cause of the losing." In a weird way I'm glad Beckett, Crawford, and Gonzalez got out. They get to just be baseball players again. And they were all really good ones, too, and could be again.

The media isn't going away. Yet. Not until we run them out of town. So once the clubhouse is "fixed," the next time the team of spotless angels has a losing streak, maybe people will join me in another anti-media day, because only then will they realize they were duped, that what a player does off the field has nothing to do with his talent level.

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