Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Seriously, this is your JOB!

Not that any of the last three games were even remotely close (perhaps this is too soon to call for the third game, as it's 11-5 in the seventh), but it's driving me crazy how the Red Sox are being plagued by stupid baseball. I've already written at least twenty posts about how bases-loaded walks are unacceptable and something that very rarely happens for pitchers who a) deserve to be in the major leagues, b) are capable of concentrating, or c) have any idea where the ball is going when they throw it. I haven't written about the team's 20 errors by pitchers, which is being harped upon by Pete Abraham and will be addressed later in this post.

But for probably the third time this season, I am flabbergasted with the Red Sox' inability to run the bases. Tonight's incident at third base involving Eric Patterson and Victor Martinez is the latest egregious offense. With the infield in (and this might have caused some of the franticness and confusion, but still no excuse), there was a ground ball to second by Ortiz - shocking, I know. Patterson got caught in a run-down as Martinez took third. Patterson somehow made it back to third and the Rays tagged both runners. Going by the basic rule of baseball, the lead runner has the base. But for some reason, Patterson thought he was the one who was out, and walked back off the base, only to be chased and tagged out, for a double play.

Unbelievable. I mean, if your career is chiefly as a fifth outfielder or pinch runner, isn't this a rule you should know? That's like being a writer and not knowing how to use a semicolon: Not the most important thing to know, but if it's your freaking job, it might be something you should pay attention to. Seriously, when this guy sits on the bench for a week and a half at a time waiting for a night where JD wants to pad his "games played" stat but doesn't want to play the whole game, what does he think about? Maybe not obscure baseball rules. But when he's in the game, he should have a fully functional brain. In a situation like that, both players are supposed to stay on the base and get tagged, then continue to stand on the base until the confusion is cleared up. You don't saunter off the freaking base. Seriously, baseball's been your life for the last twenty years. You're not very naturally talented, so you gotta rely on smarts. Get a freaking clue.

Also from the "get a freaking clue" category, as previously mentioned, what the F is the deal with the pitcher errors? I love Dustin Richardson probably MORE than the next guy, but why on earth is he doing a Nomar throw over to first base under any circumstances? This entire pitching staff is either careless, clueless, or both when it comes to throwing the ball around. You learn in Little League to minimize throwing the ball around, because you can't throw the ball away when you don't throw the ball. These guys maximize that. The Buchholz error on the REAL worst loss of the year (the Dan Johnson/JD Drew game). Okajima's bunting mishaps on another top-five loss. And now Richardson's Nomar throw to tear a game open. Seriously, this is baseball fundamentals.

Contrary to Abraham's constant lamentations about how more work and less golfing should be going on in Fort Myers, Fort Myers stuff isn't going to be helping you in August or September. Making defense a priority as a habit - ESPECIALLY for a team priding themselves on "run prevention" - is something that should be stressed or worked on. At least starting pitchers, what do they do on days they a) don't pitch and b) don't throw bullpen sessions? Sleep the hangover off? Let's get some of these idiots in for fundamentals. This year it doesn't matter and they might as well protect their AL lead in errors by pitchers. But next year? If it means saving the team two or three games? Might be worth thinking about.

2 comments:

TimC said...

The last paragraph brings to mind Ichiro's comments in a past year when he said he thought the Mariners should practice more. After watching the brain farts and fielding mishaps of Okie and Dice this year I think we can agree that the "fundamentally superior" Japanese baseball players are only that way because of how much more they actually practice than their American counterparts.

I shudder to think of JD's injuries, though, if he had to practice, too.

Anonymous said...

DV,

Was listening to the game on the radio last night in the car when the Patterson incident occured. For some reason I couldn't force myself to get fired up about it. What you are saying is completely true, but with all the things that have gone wrong this year it's hard to be outraged about a play that involved Eric Patterson in a borderline meaningless game.

Still DV, you have showed time and time again that your well of outrage runs deep and for that I commend you.

bandi