Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off

What do Mariah Carey and Daisuke Matsuzaka have in common? Well, other than Derek Jeter rounding bases with both of them, they are both fans of shaking it off. Except when Mariah's talking about the Calgon commercial and getting up out of here, Matsuzaka's talking about Victor Martinez. Part of the fallout of Monday night's latest chapter of the 2010 meltdown of the Boston baseball franchise, Matsuzaka and V-Mart had some barbs to trade with each other to the media. They had a meeting with Francona today.

After the game last night, Martinez said that there was some miscommunication and that Matsuzaka shook him off with a frequency he took exception to. According to Martinez, Matsuzaka was the one with the final say on which pitch to throw during last night's disastrous first inning. According to Matsuzaka, there was a problem with his first innings, and he knows what those problems are, but doesn't want to tell the media what they are (clearly implying he's talking about Martinez). It's been a long time since the Red Sox have so outwardly hated being on this team, and maybe Francona's drank so much Bigelow Green Tea that he can't even handle these guys anymore. Lowell saying he might ask for a release is also quite a development, and Ortiz continuing to say the team is using NESN to turn the fans against him is not much of a development, because the guy's had a big mouth since it was determined he was irresponsible with his use of vitamins and supplements.

But this shaking-off scandal between this battery makes me say a few different things:

1. Maybe Matsuzaka SHOULD START LISTENING TO MARTINEZ! If Matsuzaka is shaking the catcher off repeatedly, overusing his unimpressive fastball he couldn't locate, and getting absolutely shelled, maybe his ideas are not better! This is as if Mariah, with her alleged eight-octave voice, decided to go against her advisors' advice, sing only Avril Lavigne songs (which span about one octave), selling no records, and blaming her advisors on it. No. Maybe you're underutilizing your own talents because you have no confidence in yourself. Nice gyroball, you stiff.

2. Time to blame yourself. Maybe he's been hanging out with friggin Ortiz too much. He's shaking off his catcher non-stop, then he's saying his catcher is the problem.

3. Is this disharmony between pitcher and catcher a new thing? I mean, we've seen this, we've seen Beckett (who probably has Troy Percival Syndrome, by the way) insist on Varitek, we've seen Burnout versus Posada, Lackey versus Varitek, Randy Johnson versus Posada, and we've seen Varitek vs. Buchholz (we'll get to that later). Is this something that has just started lately in the age of instant replay and one-hour postgame shows? Or has it always been this way?

4. Perhaps the worst thing that could possibly come of this development is the fact that Tony Massarotti might get his way in the respect that Varitek might get more playing time. Martinez may be blamed for this pitching staff imploding because John Farrell is untouchable here. If Matsuzaka doesn't want VMart, Beckett doesn't want VMart, and Lester preferring Varitek--and they all get their way--we'll be right back to the ice bags on the knees and .230 average by July 4th. The responsible use of Varitek has been a boon for the Red Sox' offense. And I still cannot grasp the idea that he's so much better at putting fingers down than Martinez. Buchholz doesn't seem to be complaining too much and--oh!--he's been the best freaking pitcher on this staff so far.

4a. Plus, Varitek's done awesome with Matsuzaka. With Varitek, Matsuzaka threw seven straight fastballs to dead-fastball hitter Kenny Lofton in the playoffs. And I have cited this incident several times on this blog because it's not an isolated incident of the catcher poorly handling the pitcher's expansive repertoire.

5. This situation is a lot different from the Varitek/Buchholz incident of two years ago that was covered extensively by the YES network but completely ignored by NESN. Instead of trying to show up a 23-year-old rookie on his 36th birthday, Martinez was expressing his displeasure toward a veteran who should know better.

6. This, coupled with the non-stop whining on this team last year, the overall collapse circumstances surrounding Monday's game, an unhappy Wakefield, an unhappy Ortiz, an unhappy Lowell, and an organization allegedly unhappy with its left fielder, is further evidence that this team is unraveling at the seams. It's gonna be a long summer.


the gm at work said...

Did they really win that game last night? Good work by Joba.

from the bronx said...

and how about Thames doing his best Luis Castillo impersonation in right field?? terrible game by both teams.

PF said...

i'll try to work some of last night's stuff into tomorrow's post. what a disaster. coldest/nastiest game i've ever been at weather-wise, playoffs included. going again tonight (my third of four games this week...really having a big baseball week) so hoping for a better result.