Saturday Chat

Rough first inning for Jason Verlander today — five runs in the first to the Red Sox : Crisp doubled, Cora singled him to third, Varitek drove him home with a groundout, then Papi and Pena walked to load the bases for Eric Hinske, who hit a grand slam. The Sox batted around in the first (three hits, three walks) and lead, 5-0.

Got nothing to do on a Saturday? Here’s an open thread for you.

More chat fodder: The Sox and Tigers got into it with a bench-clearing to-do sparked by two unintentional HBPs and a third uninentional near-HBP, all by Josh Beckett. Todd Jones responded by throwing behind J.D. Drew, and Jim Leyland had to be restrained from going after DeMarlo Hale. Leyland and Jones were tossed. Tidbits from the Globe and Herald blogs:

  • Brandon Inge, after acknowledging that Beckett’s curveball that beaned Magglio Ordonez and forced his removal from the game was unintentional, criticized him for throwing the same pitch to him and nearly beaning him, too. "Once Beckett beaned someone with that curve, Inge said, he shouldn’t have thrown it again." That makes no sense whatsoever. Beckett clearly needed to work on his curveball’s command. Is he supposed to paint a strike zone on the back of a barn and throw at it? This baseball, not ballet, Brandon (Alliteration! Awesome).
  • Inge also said the incident was "water over the bridge." So was there a flood in Clearwater?
  • The Sox seemed to have a good sense of humor about it, at least. Beckett playfully noted that he was the only constant between the dust-up with the Tigers and last spring’s incident with Ryan Howard and the Phillies (he was not at the Tavarez sucker-punch game, though), and Drew even dropped a Dodgeball reference, earning my everlasting devotion (yes, I am that easy): "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a baseball."
  • And both papers’ blogs report on Sheffield’s extensive comments about the Sox being his first choice this winter if the Yanks had not picked up his option. As we all know, this was precisely why the Yanks did pick up his option and trade him out of the division.
22 comments… add one
  • Rough second inning for Beckett, and only partly his fault:
    Weak grounder— error.
    Double play ball— error.
    Hit Batsman.
    Weak single up the middle— 2 score.
    Double play ball— double play.
    Weak ground out to end it.
    Both errors were by Pedroia, I think. Kinda sucks, but here’s to hoping he gets these hiccups out of his system before the season starts.

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 1:56 pm
  • Edit: Whoops, I meant first inning. I forgot for a moment this is an away game.

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 2:00 pm
  • Missed a run in there, somewhere, Mouse. Beckett allowed three runs, none earned.
    Drew, meanwhile, doubled home a run in the second off Verlander, who finished his day giving up six runs in two innings. Yikes.

    Paul SF March 10, 2007, 2:06 pm
  • I guess I shouldn’t quit my day job. :)
    It’s still only ST, but the Tigers have got to be at least a little worried about Verlander, given how he got roughed up a lot in the second half of last year as well. He isn’t exactly shutting up his doubters thus far.

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 2:10 pm
  • So much for my small fantasy of Beckett getting through ST with a 0.00 ERA. Oh well.
    Someone can correct me if I’m wrong (again), but I believe this is his final line on the day:
    3IP 5R 2ER 3H 1BB 1 K. And the walk was a VERY borderline call. Would’ve been a much better day if not for the fielding adventures.

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 2:22 pm
  • (Batting 1.000 today for sure)
    He came back out for the forth and got pulled after a bunt hit. So, 3.2IP and 4H. Otherwise, the line’s the same.

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 2:50 pm
  • Count me in with the Verlander doubters.
    A kid that throws in the mid-high 90s with a plus curve should miss a LOT more bats than he does. Until he starts striking guys out, I’m not buying into him.
    Kind of a shame that he got the AL ROY last year with so many other candidates. If Liriano and Papelbon had stayed healthy, Verlander would’ve been nowhere near that award. Hell, Jered Weaver might’ve had a better case had he gotten 5 more starts or so.

    Steve March 10, 2007, 2:55 pm
  • I don’t think it’s a “shame” Verlander won ROY, Steve. I thought he was deserving, given how he was one of the reasons the Tigers made the playoffs. And he has legitimately nasty stuff.
    I do agree that it’s odd that he doesn’t have a higher K-rate. He doesn’t break a lot of bats, either, from what I’ve seen, which is also odd for someone who throws as hard as he does.
    Hmm…anyone think he and Beckett might be distantly related? :)

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 3:01 pm
  • He’s not really comparable with Beckett. Josh does miss a lot of bats, and allows a very low BAA…he just gave up a ton of bombs last year.
    I just personally think there was better candidates than Verlander last year. He was good, no doubt, but not extraordinary. Liriano and Papelbon were extraordinary, and Weaver was well on his way.

    Steve March 10, 2007, 3:09 pm
  • I was joking there. Mainly, I made that quip because both of them throw hard, have good curveballs, and refuse to be clean-shaven. :)
    And it’s only ST and we’ve already had a bench clearing incident. Sheesh.

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 3:19 pm
  • I should’ve stayed in bed today with all these mistakes I keep making. Grrr…
    Benches Clear
    Also this from Extra Bases:
    “Beckett received a visit from trainer Paul Lesard after he slipped and fell while trying to cover the plate. He was walking gingerly back to the mound, but told Lesard he was OK.”
    Quite a day.

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • Clippard pitches 2 more scoreless innings and continues to impress, Eric Duncan breaks the tie with a two-run jack in the ninth, and the Yankees continue their ST dominance.
    Quote of the day by the Pittsburgh announcers, “Now pitching for the Yankees, a lefty, number 62, Sean Hem.” “Sean Penn?” “No, wait, Sean Henn.” “…Does it really matter?”

    Andrew March 10, 2007, 3:40 pm
  • And re: Rookie of the Year, like most awards it doesn’t mean much. 1995: Marty Cordova(?) over Garrett Anderson, 2003: Angel Berroa over Matsui, Baldelli, and Teixiera, 2004: Bobby Crosby over Alexis Rios.
    It doesn’t necessarily guarantee future success, you see. And the smartest choice isn’t always made.

    Andrew March 10, 2007, 3:51 pm
  • Yeah, the ROY is pretty irrelevant. Eric Hinske was a ROY once too, and now he’s a corner ultility man (albeit a good one). One good season does not a career make, just as one bad season after sustained success doesn’t mean a career is over. (See also Lowell, Mike.)
    Speaking of rebounders, sounds like Josh got his clock cleaned by an old friend today. Must’ve been his goatee that prevented it from being a worse blow. :)

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 4:30 pm
  • Considering one of the qualifications for ROY is specifically that he remain healthy, it makes sense for Verlander to have won it. He won by default, essentially. Without checking, I’d guess less than half of ROY go on to have what would be considered successful careers…

    Paul SF March 10, 2007, 6:24 pm
  • I suppose he won by default, but, fellas, most years he would have won going away. In that sense, I think he had an extraordinary rookie campaign. Last season was a banner year for rookies, especially rookie pitchers. Verlander is a very strong young pitcher, who has good command of his pitches. His k-rate is oddly low, but he does have a plus arm and seems to have a good sense of how to pitch. I thought Papelbon should have won it, although Liriano was also spectacular. But Paps had one of the best seasons by a closer ever until he got hurt, and that’s a pretty amazing thing for a rookie.

    Nick-YF March 10, 2007, 6:36 pm
  • I just think of it this way…say a rookie on a random team pitches the entire year. 3.80 ERA, 135Ks, 45BBs, 1.25-1.3 WHIP.
    But another kid comes up at the All-Star break and from then on goes 2.10 ERA, 100Ks, 25BBs, 1.00 WHIP.
    Who gets it? It’s clear that the second pitcher is more effective, but he only logged half the innings, so it’s a smaller dose. Wear & tear over the course of a season can take a toll, you have an advantage only going the second half.
    It really is a tough call.

    Steve March 10, 2007, 7:07 pm
  • Verlander did badly against both the Sox (7.5 era, 0 – 1) and the Yanks (10.80, 1 – 1) which means he did great against the rest of the league: 3.63 and 17 – 9, with those stats included. But we remember what he did in the postseason.
    Beckett had a 5.01 era, with an era that just went up and up as the season progressed.

    john March 10, 2007, 7:24 pm
  • Not sure why Beckett is relevant to this discussion, John, but for the record, you are incorrect.
    Beckett reached his season high ERA of 5.27 on June 5. His ERA either stayed level or dropped after 10 of his final 13 starts, including six in a row during August and September.

    Paul SF March 10, 2007, 7:31 pm
  • This ground has mostly been covered, but I find it easy to argue for Papelbon for ROY; his closing stats for the season are some of the finest ever put up by any reliever ever, regardless of missed time. Liriano’s horribly unfortunate injury makes his case less easy to argue; it’s disappointing he did not pitch the full season, since as a fan, it would have been great to watch. However, it’s very difficult, bordering on impossible for me to argue against the choice of Verlander. In a season where so much of the metal handed out seems like bad choices, this is one with which I have no problem. One can split a hair here and there, but Nick’s right. It was a gravy year for rook hurlers.

    attackgerbil March 10, 2007, 8:04 pm
  • Is he supposed to paint a strike zone on the back of a barn and throw at it?
    Now that’s an idea. Ha! That Inge quote bugged me too. It’s freaking spring training–pitchers are supposed to be working on their command. I mean, duh. And I saw the video clip on ESPN–Ordonez clearly ducked into the non-curved curve. So it’s partly his fault that he got plunked.
    Weird day. Hopefully this doesn’t have any spill-over effect into the regular season. That’s all we need.

    mouse - SF March 10, 2007, 11:03 pm
  • Justin Verlander.
    Count me in the camp (one established here yet?) that think this season will be a rough one. He’ll either be good the first half and go down with a sore elbow, or be up and down virtually every start. Quite a workload on the young guy last season. I do think he’ll bounce back and be a valuable starter in 2008 and beyond.
    Also, “ST dominance” is an interesting phrase to throw around.

    QuoSF March 11, 2007, 4:15 am

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