Luck of the Draw

Any other night and Daisuke’s a winner. But last night belonged to the King.

It’s an interesting study in high expectations when we feel disappointed that Matsuzaka "only" gave up three runs in seven innings, but compared to Felix Hernandez’s incredible dominance, he might as well have taken the night off. No one was touching Hernandez.

Even so, one can see how luck plays a role in the most memorable games. Hernandez lost his no-hitter by about a foot — the distance between J.D. Drew’s weak ground ball and Jose Guillen’s Lopez’s outstretched glove. Earlier in the game, Hernandez was saved by nice plays on hard-hit balls that seemed sure to fall for hits. You win some, you lose some, and sometimes you get lucky and throw a no-hitter.

Another interesting note, just in case this post isn’t rambling far enough afield, but ESPN’s random list of five pitchers to have started a season 2-0 with 15+ total strikeouts and going at least eight innings in each of their starts has no Hall of Famers on it — in fact, no noteworthy pitchers at all.

39 comments… add one
  • Just posting this again here, it’s in the Moose thread too, which you guys can delete if you want.
    Matsuzaka pitched well, not great, but decent for his first outing in Fenway. I also think he was getting a pretty tight strike zone, but again, that will happen from time to time, it’s not an excuse.
    Felix was unreal, simply unreal, there was nothing we could have done to win that game short of Matsuzaka also pitching one hit ball and forcing it to come down to the bullpens.

    LocklandSF April 12, 2007, 11:36 am
  • Picking nits, but it was Jose Lopez who couldntquitegetto Drew’s groundball.
    I agree with Lockland’s line of thinking. Matz pitched well, but threw a lot fewer first pitch strikes and got behind quite a few more hitters than he did last week in KC.
    C’est la vie- guy can’t be nails every time out. And when you run into King Felix on an “on” day- fuggadeboutit.

    Nate- Soxfan April 12, 2007, 11:54 am
  • i was there. it felt like a playoff game.
    ipswich street (behind right field) was packed bumper to bumper with satellite trucks. japanese reporters everywhere, many translating boston papers for the viewers in japan. helicopters circling overhead. the flashbulbs were almost blinding as ichiro got his first pitch.
    when daisuke dished an 0-2 ball, i shouted out a “Boo!”. every head in my vicinity immediately spun around. if looks could kill… regardless, when the next ball was tossed, a bunch of people around me began to boo as well. i got a kick out of how fast sentiments changed.
    a great game.
    oh… and manny made a great play in the outfield. a great throw after that, too. i usually complain about his fielding here, so i thought i’d make a point to recognise that. (a play or two later in the game weren’t as spectacular, but i feel i must acknowledge the good plays as well.)

    Yankee Fan In Boston April 12, 2007, 11:57 am
  • YFiB – maybe everyone else was booing the ump? I was at a bar, and people were definitely booing some of the calls Dice K wasn’t getting.

    Tyrel SF April 12, 2007, 12:10 pm
  • I agree that Daisuke’s command wasn’t as sharp, and also that he seemed to be getting squeezed, particularly low in the zone. I remember two pitches specifically that Matsuzaka did not get that Hernadez got the next half-inning. Not that it would have mattered, but since we’re analyzing… At any rate, if that’s Matsuzaka’s off night, we’re in for quite a season.
    Thanks, Nate, on the Lopez/Guillen note. Corrected above.

    Paul SF April 12, 2007, 12:16 pm
  • Tyrel SF- that thought did cross my mind. it did seem as though the ump was being pretty rough on him at times.
    and yeah… his off night is the kind of outing many pitchers would maim to endure.

    Yankee Fan In Boston April 12, 2007, 12:35 pm
  • Any other night and Boston could still not score any runs, like their effort against R. Tejeda, or 1 run against Royals ‘Ace’ Gil Meche.

    Andrew April 12, 2007, 1:06 pm
  • Not to toot my own horn too much, but I did predict in the game thread on Tuesday that that day’s 14-run bonanza might well lead to the Sox bats going silent on Wednesday…

    Hudson April 12, 2007, 1:31 pm
  • Was it the 14 Runs scored on tuesday that silened the sox bats or was it the best pitching performance of the year by a dominant young righty?

    sam YF April 12, 2007, 1:37 pm
  • Sam YF, we’ll never know.
    Poor hitting can make good pitching look like great pitching; great pitching can make mediocre hitting look like terrible hitting.
    Generally, I don’t subscribe to theories wherein a single factor is cited as the sole explanation of the outcome, in sports or in politics or any other walk of life.
    But in either case, there have been many occasions in several decades of watching baseball when I’ve seen blowouts followed by shutouts.

    Hudson April 12, 2007, 1:46 pm
  • Uh, I’m gonna go with Hernandez just being the best right-handed pitcher in the AL right now. At least, over his first two starts. And for the record, I think he’s going to challenge Santana for the Cy.
    The ESPN gun was a little juiced, but even taking 3 mph off, the kid was throwing 95-97 consistantly to go along with a 92-94 two-seamer, unhittable slider, and a mid-80’s 12/6 curve. He was throwing all his breaking stuff for strikes. Not a damn thing ANY team could have done…I’m surprised there were only 6 K’s.
    How many runs did NY score off Ramon Ortiz, Andrew? Mediocre pitchers can pitch good games, too…although in the case of Tejeda, I actually agree that Boston beat themselves.

    desturbd1 April 12, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • I hear ya Hudson, but Felix looked flat out dominant to me last night. As Olney said in his blog today, he has only let 7 balls out of the infield this year in his first two starts. Great pitching can also make great hitting look bad…

    sam YF April 12, 2007, 2:04 pm
  • Without straying too far into philosophical territory on a sports chat site… People watching on TV call pitches unhittable because no one is hitting them. If batters make contact, then the pitches become hittable.
    Duh, right? Except in watching sports we engage in the fallacy that one person or one factor caused the outcome all the time.
    Yeah, maybe it was just that Hernandez is a damned good pitcher having a damned good night.
    But when Pedroia claims with all earnestness that the other guy’s pitches were moving “six feet,” I have the same reaction as I do to some rookie in Spring Training saying solemnly that Dice-K definitely threw him a gyroball.
    It’s easy to forget that pretty much everyone in both dugouts for both teams is in the 99.99th percentile of athletic ability, and that the difference between a 1-hit masterpiece and a 3-run, seven-inning solid performance is one of the very slightest degrees, which may have as much to do with luck as a genius performance.
    One weak pitch by Hernandez coupled with one good swing by Lowell after Drew’s single, and the lens we see this through is much different.

    Hudson April 12, 2007, 2:11 pm
  • I understand what you are saying but I also think you are discounting the ablity of a fan to recognize a good pitch and great hitters being fooled. Watching on TV we can tell when a ball is moving alot and when hitters are struggling as a result of pitching. The point is that Hernandez didnt make that one weak pitch to Lowell. I dont judge a pitcher as dominant on any given night based on his line more from what I am watching. He could have given up 5 hits on ground balls and I still would thnk that he was pitching great. The sox made lots of contact last night but the pitches were so good they couldnt do much with them.
    As far as DiceK is concerned, sure he pitched well but I dont think anyone who has watched both of his starts would say his stuff was as good last night as it was vs. the Royals. At a certain point the Pitchers need to get some credit too. A great start isnt typically simply the result of the other team missing the ball but the pitcher having his way with them.

    sam YF April 12, 2007, 2:19 pm
  • Andrew just pushing buttons… something about glass houses..

    Brad April 12, 2007, 2:21 pm
  • Like I have said a million times before, I am a baseball fan first, Yankee fan second. I watched the first pitch through the last pitch of the game last night. I watched the Yanks on Red Sox commercial breaks. It was a beautifully played game. Both pitchers were very impressive. I do however think Daisuke’s strike zone was a little tighter then that of King Felix. (As I stated on last night’s thread) Even with that both teams should be ecstatic with the efforts put out by both pitchers. Last night’s game was the type of game that makes me beam with happiness about the state of MLB.

    Triskaidekaphobia April 12, 2007, 2:46 pm
  • For those Baldur’s Gate fans…don’t stow thrones in grass houses.

    Andrew April 12, 2007, 3:21 pm
  • word, triskaidekaphobia… word.
    another thing to consider when judging this particular one hitter is that there could easily have been a few more if it weren’t for a couple of great plays by the mariners’ defense. there was a close call at first that went their way, too. (at least it looked really close from the 3rd base side.)
    both pitchers pitched really well. i’d like to have either on my team. or both.

    Yankee Fan In Boston April 12, 2007, 3:25 pm
  • get us a game thread. youk is batting 5th and drew is sitting.

    sf rod April 12, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • Can SF, YF, or Paul please shoot me an email?
    Thanks.

    Brad April 12, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • Nick? Anyone?

    Brad April 12, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • Crisp is batting 2nd, because of a 10/18 career line vs Washburn, including 5 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, and a walk.

    desturbd1 April 12, 2007, 3:56 pm
  • just sent you an email, Brad.

    Nick-YF April 12, 2007, 3:56 pm
  • …there’s no way this game gets played. Oh well.

    desturbd1 April 12, 2007, 4:02 pm
  • ok…i’ll make one…..
    Hangover in the Hub- Sox M’s game 3.
    Wake comes off one of his best outings in quite a while with nothing to show for it. Run support has always kept Wake from being the 20 game winner we know he could be. Will the sox wake up the bats today? Will Wake wake up sleepy seattles bats? Its the rubber match, so let’s run out our rubber arm. Drew sits to give WMP some needed at bats. Coco moves up to the two spot, Youk hits fifth. OBP be damned.

    sf rod April 12, 2007, 4:11 pm
  • Just logged on from CA, is the game postponed or just delayed?

    rootbeerfloat April 12, 2007, 4:14 pm
  • game off.
    darn.

    Brad April 12, 2007, 4:15 pm
  • just delayed right now, but it’s not looking good.

    sf rod April 12, 2007, 4:15 pm
  • Well, that blows. If I have to be stuck in my office all day, at least it’d be nice to have a game to listen to….

    rootbeerfloat April 12, 2007, 4:24 pm
  • See, we knew there wouldn’t be a game, so we didn’t bother wasting time with the thread ;-). I just got out of a rodiculously long meeting at work, and I assume all the rest are pretty busy as well. Afternoon games in the middle of the week mess me up.

    Paul SF April 12, 2007, 4:49 pm
  • We were blessed to see such a tremendous pitching performance by two rising stars so early in the season.
    Hernandez was a double winner last night, too, because of the big stage expanded by Matsuzaka. He does this against KC and a couple thousand fans see it. On the stage he filled last night, the entire baseball world now knows that Felix Hernandez might be the best young pitcher in baseball.
    On another subject that generated a lot of comment yesterday, CBS has fired Don Imus.
    Is this consorship run amok or the right thing to do? Certainly Imus isn’t the first radio host to resort to this crap, but advertisers haven’t threatened Limbuagh, Hannity, Coulter, Stern, etc. Hell, even Al Sharpton has made racist remarks. Not to mention some rap music (Not to be confused with “Rap, rap, rappity-tap,” Bill McNeal).
    I’m torn on it. CBS can play it off as the right thing to do all it wants, but censorship is a slippery slope. This does stink of caving to pressure from advertisers.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 12, 2007, 5:24 pm
  • Censorship is less of a slippery slope in broadcast media because of Supreme Court precedent in delineating it explicitly from limitless media, such as cable, satellite, etc. Censorship exists all the time on broadcast TV and rasio under the logic that the airwaves are limited and thus owned by the public/government. If Imus had been fired by Sirius or XM, that’d be a completely different case.
    At any rate, it’s not censorship in the most negative sense of the word. It’s self-censorship, based on free-market desires to keep advertisers and whatnot. That’s been going on for a very long time.

    Paul SF April 12, 2007, 5:32 pm
  • Yeah, what Paul said. Imus’ sponsors were dropping his show, and it may not have been fiscally responsible to hang onto him. So yeah, it is caving to pressure from advertisers…who were themselves caving to pressure from millions of people who don’t particularly enjoy racism. So indirectly, CBS was doing the right thing. Besides avoiding behavior that directly hurts, maims, poisons, or kills innocent people, I’m not of the belief that a business should be expected to act against its own financial best interests. If airing Imus was still a profitable venture after what he said, they should have continued to air him. That it wasn’t reflects fairly well on society.
    Generally speaking, self-censorship is fine by me. It’s the business equivalent of biting one’s tongue. That said, media consolidation is an issue, and I’ve no doubt we’re going to be dealing with rumblings about an on-air personality getting canned for going against the political agenda of his carriers. That’s a different issue, though; media conglomerates scare the crap out of me.

    desturbd1 April 12, 2007, 5:46 pm
  • “it’s not censorship in the most negative sense of the word. It’s self-censorship…”
    i was just about to say the same thing. censorship-proper refers only to actions by governmental actors.
    i can’t say i’ve listened to much imus, but screw him. if i said anything like that at my job, about a co-worker or a client or someone on the street, i’d be fired too, and rightly so.

    Tyrel SF April 12, 2007, 5:46 pm
  • You guys sound like lawyers. Not that that (necessarily) is a bad thing.
    But what about CBS’ reaction? It didn’t do anything until complaints were raised, and now it certainly sounds as though it wants us to believe that its rationale was because it was the right thing to do, when we really have no reason to believe that the decision wasn’t market-driven. Not that I have a problem with that, but at least be up front about it.

    I'm Bill McNeal April 12, 2007, 7:14 pm
  • Imus said things he should have been fired for (or at least considered a universal disgrace) several times over the last several years and escaped. I figure this is his just desserts. I look at this in Machiavellian fashion: whatever the impetus was behind his dismissal, we are all better off for his having been fired and for people now understanding that spewing the bile he did can still have consequences.
    Good riddance to him. Hopefully Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck et al are next.

    SF April 12, 2007, 7:56 pm
  • Hear hear, SF!

    Andrew April 12, 2007, 8:04 pm
  • I’d gladly add Sharpton to that list. I thought it the height of hypocrisy that Sharpton was taking the lead for calling out someone else’s racism. Of course, this type of double-standard has been going on for quite a while.
    You guys sound like lawyers.
    I have been known to enjoy a good constitutional-law discussion or two. Proudest grade in college I ever received was a 98 in senior-level Communication Law, so heh. That’s enough tooting my own horn…
    Can’t speak for the timing of CBS’ decision, but Keith Olberman on The Big Show said he could vouch for the fact that because of the Easter break, the MSNBC people who would have been the proper people to investigate and respond to the comments were out of town and unable to do the necessary pre-response investigation until they returned. Perhaps something similar happened at CBS?

    Paul SF April 12, 2007, 8:18 pm
  • “You guys sound like lawyers.”
    Guilty.

    Tyrel SF April 12, 2007, 9:40 pm

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