Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Night of Bad Pitching: Sox - Royals Game 2

Today’s game can only be described as what I can imagine being on a bad trip with Hawk & DJ is like. Clearly, the baseball gods were drunk. Surely, Kenny and Ozzie were for letting Toby Hall behind home plate. First of all, Toby Hall proves my jinx theory once again. Can we just have a nice, simple game after battling it out yesterday? No, let’s bring in Mr. Error! In the end, to bring the Sox their fourth straight win, 3.5 game lead, and the score to a final 7-6, it was a game winning balk. No, really!

Tonight, TCQ was a superstar, Dotel pitched a perfect ninth inning, and Crede, Ramirez and Konerko/Swish combined for 3 double plays. Carlos had two 2-run homers (Bringing the season grand total to 21- just one behind professional thorn in my side, Grady Sizemore of the Indians.), and had the honor of stepping on home plate for the –I have to say this again, because how often do I get to?- game winning balk. Logan had a great outing for the second consecutive day, and so did Dotel, perhaps with some help from the umpires.

Vazquez and Konerko, though… well, they’re no prize and certainly didn’t make me proud today. Perhaps Konerko gets kudos for pointing at the pitcher during the balk fiasco. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the laws of math would indicate that, technically, 4 strikeouts tend to make AVGs lower, rather than higher. Javi was hot on the trail of Grandpa Jose and gave up 11 of the night’s 13 hits and all 6 of the runs. JD choked at bat for the second day in a row (0-10 this series), but Crede made things interesting today, only having a pop-out once. Don’t get me wrong, that’s NOT a compliment, just an observation. The man was 0-for-4, (I feel so proud to have to make announcements like these about him.) but it was an atypical day because he did so via two groundouts and one lineout.

In terms of miscellaneous observations, D.J. Carrasco was called up to fill out the bullpen in Jenks’s absence. This is foreign territory for me; the most I can tell you about him is what I have read recently in terms of stats. Good news from the Twins: they got swept by Boston. (And, boy did that broom hit them on the way out! The final score of game three was Twins 5 – 18 Boston. I assure you, that’s no typo!)

Some consistencies between yesterday’s game and today’s: the managerial decision to move Swish on first and bring Brian in CF toward the end of the game. There really was something good in that formula while Konerko was away, so I’m still trying to figure out if this had to do with Paulie’s strike-outs, if it was move that intended to ease Konerko back in from rehab and give him some rest, or to ease Konerko into the idea that Swish may be getting more playing time on first. Thoughts?

While I’m not particularly thrilled with this game, (Admittedly, it had it’s good elements, but I really expected this to be a much easier series. Was I really wrong to expect the Sox to have a smoother series considering that KC is near the bottom of the division?) I like that the offense can make a comeback. I remember a time when it was a miracle if the Sox came back from a 2-run deficit. Today, coming back after 5, and yesterday, making a comeback over and over really shows growth. I’m also a big fan of “winning ugly,” and like singles, doubles, and triples scoring more than home runs. I love the fireworks, but I’d be happier if we always had men on base and all the fly outs we see from Quentin and Crede would be “sacrificed flys” rather than outs and guys like Thome and Carlos would try to be double and triple instead of HR leaders.

Tomorrow, the Sox finish their away series against the Royals with Buehrle pitching.

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