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Live Blog - Game 1

  • 1st inning - I didn't like either half of it. It's a cardinal sin to lose an opportunity in the first inning to score when all it would have taken was Pedroia moving Jacoby over. By the way, can you have a worse call than the one on the ball Jacoby hit? "It's playable" Really? You don't say that unless you're sure. I also didn't like how tight the strike zone was with Lester and how he had trouble getting a strike with the curve.
  • 2nd inning - Both pitchers looked great. I think the Sox can hit Lackey. Or, he's going to drive me batty cause they won't hit his non-dominant stuff. Lester looked very sharp in inning two.
  • 3rd top- Tek should bunt... oops... Jacoby should run, though I'm guessing from the announcers that Napoli can throw, then again it's TBS... a friend just asked me what i thought of the steal meter: I hate it. Reminds me of Fox's godforsaken dancing robot during football games... Papi should have hit that ball for a hit. If he had we would have scored. Cause of the hit. He should have hit it hard. Sorry...
  • 3rd bottom - Lester's ability to get the heat and the curve inside on righties is great. I'm so glad he didn't walk Chone (Chone?)... How did Buck Martinez sell the producers on the idea that he'd discuss "theory" for catchers all game? I'm bleeding out of the ears... Lester's pitch that Anderson hit made me take heed to the earlier posited idea that his problem was and sometimes still is getting inside on lefties. He sure failed at that this time.... Shit Jed!!! I now worry about the rookie thinking about that. Let it go kid, let it go... It would be funny if Lester really did throw a fastball inside "with his eyes closed"... Here's a little story 'bout a man named Jed, he gave up a run in the playoff and, and damn it... Lester still looks sharp and the bats should be able to get at least 3 or 4 off Lackey.... Next inning, less running commentary.
  • 4th top - I'm surprised that Drew led the team in walks this year. I would have thought that Youk had walked more than the 62 times he did in 145 games (basically the same number of games he's played in each of his 3 years as a starter)... I sometimes forget how massive a strike out guy Bay is - his 136 this years is his smallest number as a major league regular.
  • 4th bottom - Lowrie looked nice on the first two outs, taking it in the hole and throwing on the run. However, jitters are biggest on the most routine plays, the ones you wait on and have time to think about... I'm surprised the Halos haven't tested Lowell's hip yet. They've obviously flirted with it, but nothing more.
  • 5th inning - Craig Sager's jacket. Wow... I love having real speed out there. Ellsbury bunting his way on then stealing second gave us a chance, a very good chance considering Pedroia was up. Unfortunately amounting to nada. (Wiki Moment: Sager was waiting for Henry Aaron at home plate after Aaron hit his 715th home run. Sager can be easily recognized in the fracas at home plate after the home run because of his long white overcoat that he was wearing.)
  • 6th inning - I really don't like that Lackey is stifling the Sox lineup and that he's only thrown 65 pitches. That means that the Sox will likely face only Lackey and some combination of the Halos' big three relievers... The fourth ball to Youk was interesting because it was a breaking ball well outside. They obviously don't respect Drew right now. A move justified by Drew striking out on a pitch he should have crushed... Jason Bay!!! He mashed that ball. It's so un-Bellhorn to strike out a ton, while hitting 30 homers and 100+ RBIs.
  • 7th inning - Lester is pitching very well and, we're going to live and die (this game and this season) on if Oki, Lopez and mostly Delcarman can get us to Paps. This game appears to be headed that direction, hopefully. With 80 pitches entering the 6th, Lester is unlikely to make it more than 7, and rather likely to not even make it that far... The TBS stat guys should tell the talking heads that that was Lowrie's first error in the majors at short. His two this year were at third... No way Lester doesn't come out for next inning. He's looking strong and sharp and has 100 pitches under his belt. Go go gadget insurance runs... What the heck just happened with Gary Matthews? It must have been the lights, but it always looks so terrible when a professional athlete looks that bad on a fly ball... I am always happy to see ex-Red Sox Darren Oliver coming in. I am not afraid of him, even lefty-on-lefty. He kept lefties to a .651 OPS, not much worse than righties. Regardless of any stats: he sucks... See. Wait. Papi needs to lay off some more pitches. He seems to be letting the pitcher dictate the at bat more than he used to. Missing Manny is a big part of that, but it's also just Papi trying to force the issue.
  • The Stretch: I hate TBS. They seemly sold all the musical interludes to Bon Jovi? Great. I can't wait for them to put advertisements on bats and have Jessica Simpson doing color commentary... I think that Craig Sager just called our second baseman Dustin Chernobyl. But I can't be sure... I hate ad-driven plays of the game in the seventh inning. It's only the seventh inning!
  • 8th top - Lowell is coming up third in this inning. The Sox should pull him after that and bring in Cora, moving Lowrie to third. The Sox should also consider bringing in Oki - over Manny - because Texeira has a much lower slugging batting righty and cause I feel that Oki would fare better against Vlad. I have no evidence for the latter. But I'm right... Not that the Youk foul homer was the wrong call, but shouldn't that ump be more than 10 feet behind the 3rd base ump? What's his point if he's not back to the point where the wall juts out... Mixed metafor crime: "Jon Lester finished up like so many thoroughbreeds: with seven straight outs." I forgot that part of the life of Secretariat. You must be right Buck, you wear a headset... Stop with the Bon Jovi!!!
  • 8th bottom - I don't like bringing in Masterson here. I don't get the rationale... What a great play by Ellsbury... Then a great play by Youk!! What an adjustment and throw. Though I was worried Lowell's hip might explode trying to make the tag... While it worked, I still do not like bringing in Masterson here: it's his post season debut, he's given up quite a few homers, it switches Texeira to the left side, and it tells Delcarman he's not the main righty set-up guy. As the bullpen by committee nightmare showed, the psychology of clear rolls for guys in the pen does matter.
  • 9th top - What a great game for Ellsbury. On base five times, two steals, nearly a homer, a fantastic game saving defensive play... If the TBS voices are right that people are leaving the game, that's ridiculous.
  • 9th bottom - I hope Pabst pitches better than he has of late. I pray... Yes! One down.
This ends a streak of defending World Series champs either not making the playoffs at all, or getting swept. I seriously said recently I really wanted to end that streak by at least not getting swept. Next game starts at 9:30pm on Friday night, again on TBS.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Jonny says you're full of it. says you're callng em with 20 20 hindsight. Dusty just got beat, that's all.
Wally said…
Jonny's right. Must be a fun new experience for him. Ziiiing.
Anonymous said…
brilliant insightful analysis of inning 3. Youre back on jonnys good side.
Smitch said…
OK, here are a few random reactions to some of your random thoughts:

1. Your very first comment gets at an issue that is at the heart of the sabermetrics/conventional baseball wisdom divide -- whether it's worth it to give up outs to move runners over in certain situations (e.g., runner on 2nd, no outs). I subscribe to the sabermetricians' general philosophy that it is almost never worth it to willingly give up an out. The math, as evidenced by run expectancy matrices like these, indicates that the damage an out causes to your ability to produce runs far outweighs the positive impact of having a runner advance one base. In fact, it would only barely be worth it to bunt a guy from first to third.

I think there are moments when it is worth it-- like when you only need one run (bottom of the last inning in a tie game) or when you have a very very weak hitter up. But I think there's a kernel of truth to Jonny's assertion that hindsight makes people feel like there's more value to bunting than there actually is, because people are much more likely to focus on it when that guy at second with no one out doesn't score than they are to notice when he does score on a hit, and then the team at bat scores two more runs later that inning with 2 down because they didn't give up an out.

Anyway, that's my sabermetrics rant for the day. I'll stop.

2. I had previously considered Drew's huge walk total vs. Youk's unexpectedly low number. While there's not a lot of evidence to go on, it seems like Youk's OBP stays steady even when his avg fluctuates. In Pedroia's two years, you see the same thing. Not sure what that says about a hitter, as opposed to someone like Drew, who's OBP is always about 100 points (or more) higher than his AVG. (Glancing at his career stats, drew is an OBP MACHINE -- he OBPed .436 in 04 with the Braves.)

3. Jason Bay did crush that ball. It's interesting that you bring up Bellhorn in that same sentence, because both Bay and B-horn are guys who walk and strike out a ton. It's funny that most of the other guys who have stats like that tend to be pretty good hitters -- Carlos Pena, Jim Thome, BJ Upton, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn.... Jack Cust.... (Dunn's stats this year: 164 Ks, 122 BBs!)

4. Interesting analysis of the decision to bring in Masterson. I have a lot of confidence in Masterson, and I tend to put less stock in the psychology of middle relief roles in particular (I agree more with respect to closers), but you make a good point about turning Texieira around and Manny and Oki both had solid years... I wonder what Tito's thinking was.

5. That was a hell of a play by Youk. That guy is just ferocious... kind of like you.

OK, that's it. I'm sure we'll have much more to talk about when Dice-K somehow walks 29 guys tomorrow night without giving up any runs.

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