Someone, please send Derek Lowe on a nice long vacation.
Or, at least, a short one like I just had.
Monday, May 31st, 2004
A pitcher who works quickly and throws strikes brings joy to the hearts of his teammates, his coaches, and his fans. Evidence shows that fast workers benefit from improved defense, and the virtues of getting ahead in the count are clear. But watching Jon Lieber yesterday one couldn’t help wondering if it’s possible to be too—for lack of a better term—good. Through his first three innings, all scoreless, Lieber only reached one 2-ball count. Then, with a 1-2 count to Aubrey Huff with an out (sic?) in the fourth, Lieber sent a pitch down the middle, and Huff deposited it in the right field seats. One wonders just why a hittable pitch was left anywhere near the strike zone on such an advantageous count. Lieber’s reputation as a strike-thrower should only make batters more prone to the chasing of pitches.
If only it were possible to meld Get-Ahead Lieber with Fall-Behind Contreras—who has a fantastic out pitch but so much trouble positioning himself to use it—then you’d really have something special.
Sunday, May 30th, 2004
Saturday, May 29th, 2004
Erik Estrada’s got nothing on Curt. From AP:
WESTWOOD, Mass. — Boston ace Curt Schilling helped police catch a man driving erratically Tuesday night, hours after he led the Red Sox to a win over the Oakland Athletics. Schilling was headed to his suburban Boston home when he spotted a car driving unevenly on Route 109 in Westwood, a two-lane highway. He called police on his cell phone, and police tracked the driver down and pulled him over.
Despite bumps, bruises, slumps, struggles, and difficulties of scheduling, the Sox and Yanks now have, respectively, the top two records in MLB.
Meanwhile, Derek is up to .221—a 32 point increase in 4 games. Sheffield, too, seems to have found his groove (now at .287, 5 hr).
And, finally, congratulations to Mariano Rivera, on his 300th save (including 23 against the Sox, if you’re counting).
Friday, May 28th, 2004
Thursday, May 27th, 2004
Derek, 3-5 last night including two solidly hit drives and one little ducksnort (as Ken Harrelson would have it) that dropped in for a double—i.e., a bit of good fortune, finally, for the captain. Plus a big night for Sheff and a key hit for Bernie.
Now, what exactly is the deal with Mr. Brown? We hope nothing serious….
Hey, Scott Boras can negotiate with the best of them, but the following quote, from Sean McAdam’s column in today’s Providence Journal, leaves me confused. I am not sure his examples of catchers who played into their late 30s are those that will convince Theo Epstein & Company to give ‘Tek 10M per. Scott may want to work on his case studies – Whitt was a career .253 hitter, Boone hit fewer than 7 home runs each of the last 7 years of his career, and Parrish hit about .230 over the last 5 or 6 years of his time in the Majors.
BOSTON — Agent Scott Boras, who represents potential free agents Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe, has been at Fenway Park the last two nights, but not with the intent of restarting negotiations for his clients.
For one thing, GM Theo Epstein has been out of town scouting potential picks in next week’s amateur draft. For another, Boras figures that the contractual stalemates will best be revisited after the season.
But Boras did take issue with two popularly held theories regarding the players.
Rebutting the industry-wide belief that catchers degenerate physically once they hit their mid-30s — Varitek will be 33 soon after the 2005 season starts — Boras countered: “Studies show catchers don’t hit (in their mid-30s) and that they don’t play because they don’t hit.
“But there are plenty of catchers who play late into their 30s — Ernie Whitt, Lance Parrish and Bob Boone — because they can still hit.”
Wednesday, May 26th, 2004
Time Warner Cable offers the complete MLB package to their subscribers, and this poster, suckered in by the promise of Curt Schilling, Manny, et. al. took the dive. Hence, I get to watch NESN nearly every night and enjoy Jerry Remy’s expert commentary – they beam in local coverage for all the games. Tonight, I got home and noticed that the Sox were blacked out, only to be found as ESPN2′s Wednesday Night Baseball national telecast. The announcers, who I have yet to identify, are TERRIBLE. They talk as if everyone tuning in is watching their first baseball game, overdescribing everything, errantly ascribing talents to players who don’t have them (Kevin Millar is a good outfielder?), basically announcing like they are teaching a fourth grade social studies class (“and over here we have JAPAN”-type stuff). It’s really dreadful. Plus they are currently interviewing Ben Affleck, who is sitting on the first base line looking like an ass and spouting all the idiotic cliche mumbo-jumbo (26 guys 26 cabs blah blah blah) about the Sox and their history. Go away, Ben, get out of someone else’s better-deserved seat, and take your soon to be C-list career with you.
I guess that’s the difference between local cable, where most of the people tuning in are intimately familiar with the game, and the national broadcast, where less people know what’s going on. It sucks, and it’s making my eardrums bleed.
YF was out hobnobbing with the glitterati last night (Lizzy Grubman, looking freshly bleached and thankfully without SUV at a certain West Village “gastropub”), and missed the action live, but we were nonetheless heartened to read of yet another home run by Ken Griffey, Jr.: his 11th of the season and career 492nd. Is there a more splendid swing in the game? We think not. It’s nice to see the erstwhile greatest player in the game returning to form. And at 34, he still has plenty of time to add to his resume.
Meanwhile, we had a chance to review some of the events in Yankeeland on YES Rewind. Derek’s 1-6 might easily have been 3-6. He just can’t find a break.
And interesting mound stories for both the Sox and Yanks tonight, with Lowe and Mussina pitching respectively. Is Moose really back on his game? Will Lowe find his? We shall see….
Tuesday, May 25th, 2004
“He wants to stay here and I personally would like to see him stay here,” says Nomar’s agent Arn Tellem. Here are 10 reasons why YF figures he just might (apologies to Dave Letterman):
10. Wants to complete Harvard dissertation on Poetics & Romantic Epistemology
09. Yanks already have a guy at short who strikes out constantly
08. Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage
07. Always wins Truth or Dare games with Manny & Pedro
06. Giving up job to guy named Pokey too embarrassing to contemplate
05. With fifty year contract extension may finally see completion of Big Dig
04. Addicted to El Tiante’s saussage w/ peppers & onions
03. Refining craps technique with MIT guys from “Bringing Down the House”
02. Mia has already picked out drapes
01. 2003 BA in Boston: .359; 2003 BA on road: .243