Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Wild Night In Detroit

Before we get to the substance of the game and Josh Beckett's outstanding performance, I want to address a couple of unspoken rules that surround the on-going no-hitter. Because both came into effect last night.

The first is that batters are not supposed to bunt to break up a no-hitter. I happen to agree with this rule except when the game is very close and the batter getting on base would be the tying run or bring the tying run to the plate. I think then it can be excused. However, when you are down 4-0 and you are not known for your speed...Gerald Laird had no business doing that. And I am glad Beckett drilled Laird the next time he came to the plate.

The other rule is that when a no-hitter is in effect, no one should talk about it. Now this rule has been warped somewhat. It used to be that teammates of the pitcher wouldn't talk about it or sit near the pitcher. That makes sense. Then the announcers got in on the act, although they have nothing to do with the game itself. Now it has devolved into the fanbase refusing to talk about a no-hitter that is in progress.

Look, I am as superstitious about baseball as the next guy. Maybe more so. But you have to be out of your freaking mind to blame an announcer for Josh Beckett losing his no-hitter in the seventh. Which is what some yahoos were doing this morning. As if Eck, talking about a no-hitter, somehow altered the universe and made Beckett give up a hard single. You have to be ten pounds of stupid in a five-pound bag to think Eckersley was at fault. Besides, since Eck threw a no-hitter himself, I kind of liked getting the inside scoop on what is going through your head while it happens.

The big news, of course, was Josh Beckett's awesome performance last night leading the Sox to a 10-5 win over the Tigers. Seven and two-thirds innings with two hits and nine strikeouts. He gave up three runs but none were earned and most came when Bard inherited the runners and also fell victim to a bizarre eighth inning. It was Beckett's best game of the year so far. He has allowed only one earned run in his last three games. Beckett is all the way back.

The Sox gave him solid support through seven and then exploded for five runs in the top of the eighth. J.D. Drew continues to hit well out of the second spot. His two-run shot in the first kicked off the scoring for Boston. Pedroia went 2-5 and scored two runs. Varitek hit a two-run double in the eighth. And as deadly dangerous to Boston as Nick Green's fielding can be at times, he has been a real asset at the plate. He scored in the fifth to put Boston up 4-0 through some heads-up baserunning. Green advanced to third and was starting home on a wild throw from the Detroit first baseman. As Green turned, the Detroit pitcher was in his way on the basepath and Green was knocked down. Rather than turn back to the base, Green wisely kept going home. And although Green was thrown out, it didn't matter because the Detroit pitcher was called for interference. Had Green turned back, that run never gets scored. It was a smart play by Green.

And even Ortiz got into the act with a two-run double. He still needs to sit down, but it was a nice change of pace.

Now, we must adresss the bottom half of the eighth. I understand that with a 10-0 lead, a team's focus can wander a bit. But honestly, guys, that was just atrocious. Three errors in a row for three baserunners?? I have never seen anything like that. It was like someone cloned Chuck Knoubaluch and had him at every position on the field. The end result was five unearned runs. Has any team ever scored five or more runs in one game and had them all be unearned runs? are supposed to be a superior team when it comes to defense. But right now the only team worse than you in the field in the AL is Seattle. That is just pathetic. The only good news is that with a (to now) substandard starting rotation and a (to now) substandard defense, Boston is back in first place. If they ever fix these two problems (and the rotation has been looking better) they'll be in good shape to get to the post-season.

Today it's Wakefield against Dontrelle Willis at 1:05. Interesting matchup as Willis was mentioned as a potential target for the Sox in the off-season. Hopefully the Sox can close out Detroit and bring some good vibes back to Fenway.


Aviv said...

You're right on about the announcers. The announcers talked about Jon Lester's no-hitter when it was in progress. They talked about it when David Cone had his perfect game going. Same with David Wells. Didn't affect any of them.

Announcers have no bearing on the outcome of a game or any cosmic influence on whether a pitcher can throw a no-hitter.

Dave said...

And yet the superstition persists. I would love to be able to pinpoint when this mindset first took hold.