14 April 2005

BOS 8, NYY 5

WP- Keith Foulke (1-1)
LP- Tom Gordon (0-1)
HR- J. Payton (1), E. Renteria (1), J. Varitek (3)

What a weird ass-game.

First, since it's not the type of thing I particularly like to belabor over, I'll say just a couple quick things about the Sheffield incident. First, Sheffield's initial gut reaction was 100% justified, whether you think the fan was trying to hit him or not (which I'm not convinced you can tell from any angle anyway). Running down the line, in a hostile atmosphere with your adrenaline pumping and limbs flying everywhere from the stands, and you get popped in the face unexpectedly, it's going to set you off. If he'd gone back after throwing the ball to the infield and made more contact, he would have been way out of line. But he didn't. Trust me, I loathe Gary Sheffield alone among all baseball players, but you have to call a spade a spade. That one was the fan's fault, and it's hard to deny the reaction was both expected and understandable.

Now, standby for the barrage of references to the play for the rest of the week on ESPN, and on through the season with regard to "The Rivalry," with the attendant hyperbole.

Now, the game- a classic case of "Reverse Lock" theory. Randy Johnson and Bronson "Brandon/ Death Wish" Arroyo. Who do you pick?

Bronson looked great early, and Johnson had two of his sole mistakes crushed by Jay Payton and Edgar Renteria (who is starting to look calmer and more comfortable at the plate). But, in the 4th inning, Greg Gibson's already shakey strike zone got Arroyo into serious trouble. With the score 4-1, runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 outs, full count, Arroyo floated a perfect- there really is no better word for it- curveball directly over the equicenter of the plate, belly-button high on the batter. Sheffield took, and was given ball four- arguably one of the 2 or 3 worst ball/ strike calls I've seen in years of watching baseball. Just atrocious. So Arroyo goes from getting out of the inning- no harm done- to surrendering a two run single by Matsui and an RBI single to Rodriguez. Arroyo wasn't great in the inning- but at the end there, he was certainly good enough to get out of the inning unscathed. AWFUL call, and this from someone that normally subsribes to the "human element/ it all evens out" theory of umpiring.

Interestingly though, and this will say a lot, it wasn't the worst call of the game. Tony Womack, leading off the game, shot a ball the other way, and Edgar Renteria made a nice diving stop. He had to rush his throw on Womack, who is very fast, and it pulled Millar off the bag to the home plate side. Millar swiped back to tag Womack as he passed, and he missed him by- conservatively- 3 feet. Womack was called out. It was so bad, it was almost funny. I mean, one of those things- the ump was out of position. But it was really as bad a call as you'll ever, ever see.

But back to the game- Johnson had decent stuff, but the fastball wasn't overpowering, and the slider flattened out a tiny bit here and there. That said, other than the three HRs surrendered- that's saying a lot, understood- he was pretty dominating, striking out 9. Varitek absolutely murdered a pitch to LF, over the Sports Authority sign and onto Lansdowne Street.

I don't know how people remember Alex Rodriguez from his pre-Yankee days, but this is, without question, a different player. Not to sound Zimmer (for what it's worth, that will heretofore be my shorthand for "Luddite old-school") about it, but there is no more automatic out in the Yankee lineup currently, and that is especially so in big situations. In the 9th tonight, with two on and none out, as the tying run against Keith Foulke who could absolutely not find the plate, all he could do is a long fly ball to LF. Something is different about Rodriguez- pressing, too bulked up, slower swing, whatever- but he's a totally different from the 57 HR monster in 2002 and the AL MVP of 2003. I'm not like, pulling for the return of that, but you have to wonder if he's beginning a decline phase.

The bullpen was great again- especially Embree, for a third appearance in a row- and while Foulke still looks like he's rounding into form, he was certainly able to keep the runners away from scoring.

There was a really funny instance of Yankee asskissing on YES too, when in the 3rd inning, with Jeter at 2nd, Matsui hit a (somewhat) lazy flyball to LF. Manny, trying to hold Jeter from running through at second, bluffed as if he had the ball lined up for a catch. At the last moment though, he had to back off to play the carom.

The camera keeping both Jeter and Ramirez in frame showed clearly Jeter waiting halfway between 2nd and 3rd, waiting on Manny. The second he sees Ramirez back off the bluff, he went. Manny bluffed him, it worked, but the ball was just too far off to hold him from scoring. It was a perfect play by Ramirez, it just wasn't enough to keep Jeter from scoring. Routine for Derek. Of course, for the YES guys, the credit went overwhelmingly to Jeter.

Another funny moment- when a tattoo that was shaped like a ring was spotted by the YES cameras on Alan Embree's throwing hand, the announcers initially couldn't tell what it was. They determined pretty quickly it was a tattoo, and Kay and Kaat quickly put it to bed. But Bobby Murcer- who talks sometimes like he had a career in boxing, not baseball, was adamant- "oh no, he's got to take that off. A batter could complain- it's distracting- they could have them take that off." Even Kay's intelligence was insulted. "Uh, the tattoo?" "Yeah," Murcer insisted. "It's distracting."

Good game. As great as Renteria was tonight, when you consider the play Varitek made to end the game, nabbing a foul pop barely in the field of play battling Bill Mueller, he's the player of the game, no doubt. Big HR, HUGE 2-R 3B in the 8th.

And now, a nice respite from the Yankees. Tampa Bay starting tomorrow, including old buddy Hideo Nomo. I'm calling a huge series from Manny.

Remember that deodorant commercial Rodriguez did upon joining the Yankees where he does the pitch, and at the end he says something like, "Pressure? No sweat!" Apparently at the end, a creative (assumed) Sox fan snuck in a little note- as the cameras flash and the product is shown, you can see a little scoreboard that CLEARLY shows "E5." Don't believe me? Well, here's a screen capture:

How fucking funny is that? Meanwhile, he's telling anyone that'll listen how much of a hero he is.

Here's a good one- FleaBag's assessment of the Sheffield incident is predictably self-righteous in tone, and somehow, he thinks HE is a "real fan." Yeah FUCKING right, douchebag. The "real" Red Sox fans weren't a mouthpiece for running Nomar out of town and having a Glenn Close for Pedro. Loser.

This was the best line:

This is what happens when Red Sox Nation "cardholders," who don't know enough to keep their hands in the stands, go to games instead of real baseball fans, who can't get tickets to Fenway anymore.

Hahahahahahahahah!!! He tried to make this about his lame little Red Sox Nation Card thing! What a dumb fuck. Everybody knows that if you got that card, you came out smelling like roses- like myself. Thanks to that $10, I have tickets to like, 8 games this season. But yes, blame that for the drunk fan. Don't blame post-6th inning beer sales. Or fewer brain cells. He even wants people to be "impressed" he's taking a hard line on this mental giant. Wow, Silva, you shot a deer sittin' right there in a cage! Impressive!

Man, that flat out made my night. I'm not even mad, my usual reaction to a DirtDog posting. Classic.

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