Thursday, August 14, 2008

Give My Regards to Broadway (Delive Me to Harold Baines?): Sox -Royals Game 3

The lineup? OC, Griffey, TCQ, Dye, Thome, Konerko, Ramirez, Uribe, Hall. That in itself is something to worry about. I have trust issues with Toby Hall, Griffey is Griffey... But my real worry? Lance Broadway. He hasn’t been impressive in Charlotte this year. Not… dismal, quite similar to Davies (pitching for the Royals today), but we have 3 starters with ERAs under 4.00 right now and a game to win, so he had some catching up to do. I was hoping to get a quick 1-2-3 inning from him, but I wrote more notes about his first inning alone than I did about Buehrle all day yesterday. I’m not sure how the Sox were only awarded one error because they deserved at least two. Sure, Broadway wasn’t brilliant in the first, but he was getting ground balls and the defense was hurting him all the way. After a leadoff base hit, Paulie allowed a double that should’ve been safely in his glove. Instead, we had men on 2nd and 3rd. Well, it’s make it or break it time. No outs, two on base. What’s Lancelot going to do? Well, he gets the third batter to pop out, but a single RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE scores a pair. And then it’s followed up by a walk. Just when I was imagining a 6-0 inning, Guillen was caught stealing third (it was a close call, but when it’s in our favor, I don’t complain) to make it 2 outs before Alex Gordon grounded out to end the inning. I had to give it to Broadway, he got out of trouble. Sure, the pitch count got ridiculous ridiculously fast, but he didn’t allow any more damage. He gave up 5 hits in all and walked two combined with some errors on our guys, but completely shut out the Royals afterward, those runs being the only 2 to the Sox' 9.

My overall take on Lance? Well, in his 5.1 innings, he obtained a 3.18 ERA and only struck out one, and threw 100 pitches and 62 strikes. I can’t mention enough how much I love a pitcher than can get out of trouble, and that’s what he is. He can induce the ground ball. He had very few high pitches, stayed low, didn’t allow any home runs despite about 600 foul balls hit by the Royals (Gordon, especially). From what I saw, I like him. Stamp of approval given, signed, sealed, delivered. This is his second win as a starter with the Sox, and it could’ve been his second shut-out. And I’m sure he could’ve gone a little longer, but Carrasco is almost never a bad choice, like I said. It’s a smart choice for Broadway to start, because Carrasco is worth his weight in silver (Well, he’s not perfect or his ERA would be 0.00, so I won’t say gold) as a long-term reliever. Horacio Ramirez, on the other hand… I don’t like him. He has a low ERA so far, but he makes me cringe as much as Logan in his last days. I can’t explain it, or back it with facts, it’s just a feeling. Or maybe it was some nerves carried over from Broadway’s innings. And have to mention our 8th inning guy/closer, Adam Russell. His ERA got ridiculous in a game or two that I missed, so I’ve never seen him pitch badly. He continued pitching well today, getting not hits, no walks, and 4 strikeouts with his well-located fastball. Another day of good pitching. It really makes me giddy.

Of course, if you follow the Sox, you must know about the biggest event of this game! Paul Konerko stole a base! Well, that was exciting, but that’s not really the most exciting moment of the game. It was the bottom of the 6th. Peralta of the Royals was brought out to pitch. The Sox were still leading 3-2. The inning had started with Cabrera, who ground out. Griffey strolled to first on a walk, Carlos followed it up with a walk of his own. Dye flies out. With two outs, Thome smacks a 3-run homer! Sox leading 6-2, cheers all around. Kaptain Paulie at bat smacks one high and far, two consecutive homers in one inning. Ramirez up to bat, smacks a couple foul, whatever, then punches in a home run. Three in a row? This is too good to be true. And too awful for the Royals to believe. Pitching change mandatory. Uribe comes up to bat, chases a high fast ball and doesn’t miss it, it sails over the field, passes the fence, falls, it’s the fourth consecutive home run in the inning with two outs! By the time Toby Hall got himself out, the entire lineup had gone through, and 6 of the 9 had crossed home plate, bringing the score to 9-2! This is only the 6th time in baseball history that 4 consecutive home runs have been hit, and I'm willing to bet there are even fewer of these instances where they have happened to with 2 outs.

There were a few frustrating innings where there were bases loaded situations that bore no fruit, but thanks to that great 6th, by the end of the game the only guys not to get a hit were Wise and Getz who only got one at-bat each in the 7th. The same goes for Anderson, but he managed himself a walk, turning a count around from 0-2 to 4-2. If he keeps this up, he’ll soon have more hits than strike-outs for the year. Progress! Baby steps, okay? Don’t judge me for making a big deal out of a walk. The Kaptain, though… 3-for-5 with a homer. Stop the presses. Not only did he have a stolen base and a home run, but he’s been getting solid hits and has the ability to turn a count around. I won’t jinx him or anything, but I will say he had a good day. Dye had the next-best day. He had 2 hits, and one of them was an almost grand slam double. Uribe had himself two hits, too. Good man, that Juan Uribe. He’s been THE defense on his side of second base. Especially with Cabrera slacking today. I believe my exact words were “OC, I am so over you today.” It was definitely an off day for him today. Somewhere in the mix was Griffey who was 1 for 2 and had two walks. I’ll tell you one thing, he does very well against the Royals.

Yes, the Sox swept the Royals, with a combined score of 22-2 over 3 days. They are now a full game ahead of the Twins and 68-52 for the year. There are only 42 games left in the season, and the Sox are still in first! If Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Javi Vazquez can gives us strong games in our roadtrip to Oakland, we'll be in good shape.

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