Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reflections of the First Game and a Half

Okay, I got a few things to say about the first game and a half, including some Cervelli stuff, some stuff to address Wednesday's fantastic comments section, and treading on a comple of third rails.  That's DV.

1.  Let's start with Cervelli.  The fantastic Twitter handle "@SoreGloveHand," in between blatant rips of the overarching attitude of Tufts University, made the comment that if 46 had been thrown at every single time he did that insufferable "one clap after modest accomplishment" bit, his ribs - front AND back - would have more dents in them than the green monster.  That said, he should have been thrown at for doing what he did.  That also goes for Marco Scutaro in 2007 and for 46 whenever he acts like an idiot.  Unlike others, I think a well-placed beanball is, and should be, a part of the game.  I think both parties acted appropriately after Cervelli pulled the "one clap after modest achievement" act at home plate.

1a.  Then again, I'm sure if Jarrod Saltalamacchia read that paragraph, he'd call me a hothead (Goodfellas term) half-Mick, half-Guinea.  Adding the part about Cervelli and Latin players was probably not a great idea, although there is a certain truth to the fact that a lot of the more emotive players are Latin American.  As they should be.  For a lot of them, baseball is very important because baseball took them out of the hood.  We've been there before when discussing steroids.  In a term paper somewhere around the year 2006 I had to write about and defend the "hothead Latin player" stereotype, which really originated in 1965 with the Juan Marichal/Johnny Roseboro bat-as-a-weapon incident.  I'm surprised that someone born in 1985 would say something like that, and I wonder if that comment makes anything awkward in the Red Sox' clubhouse.  If so, this further demonstrates the importance of someone like Mike Lowell in a clubhouse.

2.  The CC Sabathia workload issue.  As Bandi said in the comments section, people have continued to talk about CC being overweight.  You know what?  At some point, yup, he'll probably break down.  Probably not going to be this year, though.  I don't blame Girardi for leaving Sabathia in there at all.  First of all, each game this series has more at stake for the Yankees than it does for the Red Sox.  Better to have your best guy out there.  Plus, if a bullpen guy blows this lead, the talk is all about how Sabathia was inefficient, couldn't get out of the sixth, blah, blah, blah.  Sabathia's not JD Drew.  He cares about doing well, and six innings was probably best for his psyche.

3.  Gunn's comments about Lackey and "bend-don't-break" being effective because the team scores ten runs in each of his starts really manifested itself on Tuesday night.  I heard a comment on the radio about Lackey "pitching to the scoreboard," which is simultaneously frustrating (why don't you always pitch like it's 0-0?) and understandable (I've let off the gas when blowing out the fields in certain races).  Agreed on the fact that his stuff is not as good as Bedard's.

4.  Speaking of stuff, Beckett's continues to be quite good on probably about nine out of ten pitches.  The Yankees are certainly taking advantage of the tenth pitch, which is commendable.  Like last night (and it's the sixth inning), this Yankee team seems to prioritize winning these games quite a bit, and will try to grind out a win by any means possible.  I think the Cervelli incident helped the Red Sox turn the switch on, at least in terms of their approach.

5.  Last thought:  There are certain miniscule things in a baseball game that occasionally literally keep me up at night, irrespective of the amount of caffeine I have.  The way Cervelli was pitched to in his first at-bat is one of those things.  We're talking about a weak-hitting backup catcher who got thrown at last night and had to talk about it.  He's obviously thinking about it.  On the first two pitches, breaking balls from Beckett buckle his knees and end up in the strike zone.  He Jetered out of the way of each pitch.  What should pitch three be?  a) behind Cervelli, b) high and tight, c) low and away.  There was a man on second and one out, so a) was a bad option, so b) would be the obvious one.  You don't want to advance the runner, you got the guy on the ropes, you got a pitch to waste, and you got a batter who crowds the plate.  Go for the K in two pitches.

Unparalleled genius Jason Varitek who knows more about every pitcher and hitter in baseball history, so much, in fact, that he'd be invaluable even if he hit .130, goes with option c).  A hotshot to first that was hit squarely by an unintimidated hitter advanced the runner.  It's baseball fundamentals.  The play ended up inconsequential, but it will still keep me up all night.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

5. Truer words have rarely been spoken in this space. There is nothing softer in the game of baseball than a pitcher who gives leads back the half inning after his team gives him the lead. Hughes did this once tonight, and then hughes and logan came back for round two. The first one is semi excusable. Yankees score first to make it 1-0. Would you like hughes to have a quick shutdown inning and get the offense back out there against a beckett they were hitting like it was every year prior to 2011? Of course. But you can say that about every inning, really. And I don't expect hughes to throw a shutout against that team in that park. But the second is worse than inexcusable; it's a complete ebarrassment. The yankees just put a 4 spot on beckett to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead in the SIXTH INNING. Not early in the game, borderline late in the game. Totally changed the tenor of the game. You don't need a shutdown inning there. You HAVE TO HAVE A SHUTDOWN INNING THERE. Not just in the general sense of protecting the lead, but also because you are three freaking outs away from the back end of the best bullpen in the american league. After that 4 run inning this freaking game was right there for the taking. Yankees could have stole one. What do hughes/logan do? They don't just give the tying run back. They give up a freaking 3 spot. To the bottom of the freaking order. That's pathetic. Yankees could have stolen one tonight and had a house money game tmrw (meaning they would be playing with house money). Instead the need to win a burnett/lester matchup to avoid losing thir second straight series against the sox where they won game 1. Which isn't as soft as giving back multiple leads in the same game, but isn't far behind either. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

And to bring that comment full circle, by the way, all of that nonsense will have me up all night. That's why I put a #5 before it, to correspond with DV's list. The most frustrating loss of the season. Not because of the loss or the circumstances surroundng it. Because of how they lost. Soft. I can't freaking stand soft.

the gm at work said...

Those comments were obviously Pat's. As far as how I feel about surrendering leads once your team gets it for you, it's probably similar to the idea of "pitching to the scoreboard." Probably more frustrating, though, as you're being careless when the game is most likely still close.

As I texted Pat last night, regarding Logan surrendering that home run to 46, I actually thought that was a good pitch. Good piece of hitting by 46, and you guys all know how much it pains me to say that.

Anonymous said...

DV

That was a good win by Boston. In the old days, once they fell behind 5-4 the fans would have sat on their hands, the Yankees would have pushed the lead out a run or two and the Sox would be looking at sweep tonight. Instead, they could take two out of three and end the series feeling very good about themselves.

I had not heard about Saltalamacchia's remarks about Latin players. First of all--they were completely innocuous. Secondly, and more importantly, even if they weren't, even if they were rather pointed, who cares?

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

Agree totally on paragraph one. On paragraph two, I agree that it's not a big deal. I was just surprised that someone growing up in this world would say that. You'd expect it from a sports-talk-radio caller who was born in the 1940s, but not someone four days younger than me. The answer to "who cares" are people who get easily offended. As you know from receiving your Colby education, this kind of person is becoming more populous in the world. Hopefully they won't try to change society by sitting down and blocking pedestrian thoroughfares.

Anonymous said...

DV

When I asked "who cares?" I should have asked "who, with a life, cares?" No question there are people out there who would get fired up about something like that. And I agree that the comments are surprising, but also in a way refreshing. So many players are scared to say anything that reporters only get the blandest of responses from athletes. And not that David Ortiz is Representative Number One of the Latin-American community, but he agreed with Saltalamacchia's assessment, for what it's worth.

--the Gunn