Monday, April 5, 2010

Opening Night Blow By Blow

Pre-game

- As the little kid giving the "Miracle" speech says about the Yankees: "Screw 'em!"

- Nice seeing Pedro throw the first pitch. Wish he had scaled it into the Yankee dugout instead.


Top of the First

- Scutaro throws out Jeter on a first-pitch grounder. He's already better than Renteria.

- 1-2-3 inning. Yeah, that "defense-first" idea really sucked...



Bottom of the first

- Is Sabathia somehow even fatter this year? 10 more pounds and the baseball will start orbiting him between pitches.

- That said, he puts his weight behind it. Easy out with Ellsbury flying out to center.

- Pedey chases a fastball about a foot over his head for the second out. Granted, that is chest-high for you or me, but he knows better.

- CC is pitching well, can't deny that.

- Rem-Dawg talking about the Gold Gloves won by the Yankee fielders. Impressive number, until you remember the only one Jeter should have won was in 2009.*

- V-Mart hanging tough with CC. But he bounces it off the first base bag for the third out.



Top of the Second

- ARod up. Surprised he finds time to hit in between giving testimony about doctors who supply PEDs.

- Beckett looking sharp. Makes it hard for Youk to get ARod out on the grounder with a lousy throw. But Youk shows why he is one of the best first baseman in the game. He made that out look easy.

- Cano out on two pitches.

- Just a thought: you think the Marlins are regretting canning Girardi?**

- Up comes Gramps Posada. He joined the Yanks in the first Reagan Administration, right?

- And the old man makes me STFU. Beckett hangs a high fastball for Posada to ding off the Pesky Pole. 1-0 Yanks.

- Here's newcomer Granderson. You think he's thrilled to get out of Detroit? He hit 30 homers last year and only racked up 71 RBI. How is that even possible?

- Beckett goes full against Granderson. And then allows another solo shot. 2-0 Yanks.

- Just a thought: the run-prevention defense is the right idea. But you need to allow the defense to actually have a chance at the ball.

- Beckett gives a single up to Swisher. And he looks shaky as hell all of a sudden. NESN had a poll about which pitcher should be considered Boston's ace. Beckett was running away with it. I would have chosen Lester in about a half-second. Not that Beckett isn't a good pitcher, but Lester doesn't have these kinds of moments.

- Single to Gardner. On the upside, maybe CC's arm is getting cold from sitting down for so long.

- Here's Jeter with runners at first and second. Beckett's breaking stuff looks weak right now. And Jeter is fighting off Beckett's fastballs.

- Jeter grounds to Scutaro for the force at second. Scutaro is now officially better than Lugo.

- The bad news: Boston is down 2-0 going into the bottom of the second. The good news: it could have been worse.


Bottom of the Second

- What do you think CC eats in the dugout between innings? A whole grinder? Bowl of pasta?

- Youk with a double off the scoreboard. Helps when CC puts a fastball over the middle. Probably didn't get all the mayo off his fingers.

- And here comes Papi. No pressure, Big Guy, but if you can't get back to normal you're going to kill us. Good luck.

- CC runs it to 3-1 on Papi. You know a fastball is coming now. What's Papi going to do? Foul it to the back, that's what. Three years ago, that ball would've broken someone's windshield on Lansdowne.

- Papi grounds out to first but moves Youk to third. A real "kissing your cousin" moment.

- The first appearance of Adrian Beltre. Be nice to see him get Youk across the plate. He should do well in Fenway with the Monster.

- Beltre flies out to Granderson in center, but gets it as close to a homer as you can without doing it. Nevertheless, Youk crosses the plate and its 2-1 New York.

- JD Drew goes 0-2 in two pitches. You're kidding? Really? What a shock.

- Well, the Sox haven't been hitting CC per se. But they've been making him work. He's sweating already. That must be encouraging to Yankee fans. At this rate he'll need a defibrillator by the fifth.

- JD Drew strikes out to end the second. Color me completely unsurprised.


Top of the Third

- Between innings I've decided to call CC "Black Homer Simpson" (BHS) from now on. If he gets any chunkier he'll need a pitching wand because his fingers will be too fat to grip the ball.***

- Meanwhile, the much more svelte Beckett walks the first batter of the third. Beckett is doing a dead-on impression of John Wasdin right now. Sadly, it's not Halloween.

- Beckett had Teixeira at 1-2 and now runs the count full. But he gets Teixeira to chase ball four for a fly-out to shallow center. Better to be lucky than good, baby.

- And here's ARod. Who promptly grounds into a classic 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Nice...

- The once-upon-a-time Toyota spokesman got old and looks like he was stung in the face by 100 bees. Not good...


Bottom of the third

- BHS is breathing like he just finished the Ironman. It's the third inning. C'mon, man...that just isn't right.

- CC walks Cameron. Both pitchers just losing their stuff after the first inning.

- Remy and Orsillo tell us we have a "special" musical guest coming up later between the top and bottom of the eighth. What are the odds on it being Ronan Tynan? 5-1? 4-1?

- Wow. Scutaro lines out to ARod who picks Cameron off first for the double-play. Well, he sure made up for his weak-sister act to end the Yankee third. Of course, on the replay its obvious Cameron was safe. But such is life.

- Ellsbury up. Be nice to see him get on base so he can put his speed to use. I think he has it in him this year to hit 80 stolen bases.

- Ellsbury grounds out to end the third. But BHS hits 50 pitches after three innings. The sweat glands must be working overtime. Nothing a few sandwiches can't help.


Top of the Fourth

- Cano hits it into the left-field corner for a double. Ellsbury mis-times his jump for the ball. Left field in Fenway is not easy in the corner with the Monster and complete lack of foul territory. He'll make those outs in time, but it's a process.

- Posada grounds out and moves Cano to third.

- Beckett gets Granderson to ground out to first for the second out and keeps Cano at third. At the risk of jinxing the Sox, it looks like Beckett is slowly re-finding his groove.

- Too slowly. Swisher is looking to get Cano home and Beckett's breaking stuff is still all over the place. It's starting too far off the plate and not breaking enough to the left.

- Still, Beckett gets Swisher to chase a fastball to run the count full. But he misses with a third breaking pitch for the walk.

- Falls behind on Gardner 3-1. Beckett either has to get cracking on the breaking stuff or just pound the fastball. Beckett grabs the corner for a full count.

- Gardner gets the single and drives home Cano for the 3-1 lead. BHS is happy because he gets to chow down some more.

- Beckett goes inside on Jeter. I only wish he had meant to do that.

- Jeter gets a seeing-eye single past Scutaro to bring home Swisher home for the 4-1 lead. Forget that whole groove thing I wrote earlier.

- Remy bitching about Joe West not giving Beckett the corner. That's true to a point, but Beckett's stuff has just been mediocre tonight. His breaking stuff is crap.

- Good lord. Yanks pull off a double-steal to perfection and get their fifth run. But hey, Beckett gets the strikeout to end the fifth right after. Now that's what I call timing.

- The Yankees are now right where they want to be. Last year, once they got five runs they were near unstoppable. It will be interesting to see how Boston responds to this inning.


Bottom of the Fourth

- 21 minutes and six cannolis later, BHS takes the mound.

- Pedroia leads off the second.

- Pedey grounds to first and looks like he beats the flip to BHS on the bag. Replay shows Pedey beats the tag by a hair. But hey, looks like Joe Hernandez wants to screw the Sox over tonight. That's two calls he's screwed up at first that have gone against the Sox. I don't agree with the West criticism tonight, but Hernandez has been atrocious at first.

- By the way, Pedroia is not a speedster. So let's not get all excited about BHS lumbering over to first. Speed is relative, people.

- That blown call at first just sucked the life out of Fenway. At this point, as long as Yankee pitching doesn't throw a rod, the Yankees should win this.

- 1-2-3 fourth. Thanks Hernandez. Want to kick some babies in the larynx between innings to top it all off?


Top of the Fifth

- Look, Josh. West isn't giving you the corner tonight. He isn't giving it to BHS either. So adapt already, okay? God damned stubborn Texans...

- First Heidi Watney sighting of 2010. She's looking very...blonde.

- Josh gets the first two outs and then Cano lashes a hit to deep right that hits so hard that Drew gets it back in to hold Cano to a single. Love those.

- Beckett goes 2-0 on Posada as he hits 90 pitches in the fifth inning. Wow. It's like the Brian Rose Era all over again.

- Does it make anyone feel better that Beckett was lousy last April as well (2-2, 7.22 ERA)? Me neither.

- Hey, Beckett doesn't get the corner again and walks Posada. Who saw that coming? Oh, right, everyone!

- And here comes Scott Schoeneweis. 4.2 innings for Beckett along with five runs on eight hits...so far. Let's see if Scott can close this inning out.

- Well, a muffed pitch by V-Mart allows runners to move to second and third with two out. Not exactly a great Opening Night for Sox fans thus far.

- But Schoeneweis gets the strikeout to end the fifth without any damage.


Bottom of the Fifth

- Word is that between innings, Joe Hernandez drowned a couple of kittens in the Muddy River out in the Fens. And laughed while he did it.

- BHS wakes up from his nap for the fifth inning. It's fun to joke and all, but Chubsy-Ubsy is throwing a one-hitter through four and working with a nice lead. Still, it hasn't been a dominating outing for BHS. But when Beckett goes Wasdin, you don't have to be dominating.

- Papi pops out on a 3-1 fastball. That's two he has missed. It's not a good sign when your slugger can't tee off on a fastball.

- Beltre chases a low change-up for out number two. You can almost hear the grass growing in Fenway right now.

- Drew gets a two-out single. He makes it look so easy. WHY CAN'T YOU DO THAT MORE OFTEN????

- Cameron runs the count full and gets a single off BHS. Runners on first and second with two outs.

- Scutaro gets Boston's third single in a row. Drew comes home on a crap throw from Gardner that allows Cameron and Scutaro to advance a base. Second and third, two outs and Ellsbury coming to the plate with Boston down 5-2.

- Ellsbury has had a rough night. No hits and a botched fly ball in left.

- West suddenly decides to start giving the corner. BHS uses it twice to go 0-2 on Ellsbury. Thanks, West. Could have used that decision about three innings ago.

- Ellsbury leaves the runners on base with a called third strike. Still, Boston grabs another run and makes BHS sweat through his shirt.


Top of the Sixth

- Schoeneweis gets two quick outs and comes out for Ramirez, who gives up a first-pitch single to Jeter. Look, I understand the whole "left-right" thing. But Schoeneweis was rolling. Why not give him the third out?

- Nick Johnson flies out to end the inning. Wow...a pain free inning. Haven't seen one of those in over an hour.


Bottom of the Sixth

- BHS comes out to start the sixth and is approaching 90 pitches. This is when I believe they wheel out the portable oxygen tank.

- Pedroia walks on five pitches. Now, I think it's clear that BHS is starting to fade. How long with Girardi wait to go to the pen? Why risk your lead? On second thought...good plan, Joe!

- V-Mart laces a double down the left-field line. Runner on second and third with no outs. One cannoli too many for BHS.

- Youk comes up and Girardi leaves BHS in. Could this be a major mistake? The Fenway crowd is warming up. I don't know, but I am wagering that Aviv is screaming at Girardi through his TV screen right now to take out BHS.

- Youk calls time to get sweat out of his eyes. That's the downside of going bald - no natural mop-up material.

- YOUK!!!!!! A triple down the right-field line makes it 5-4 as Swisher seems to lope after it. Thanks, Girardi! Everyone could see BHS was on his last legs except you.

- And then Youk almost gets picked off third on a passed ball. Luckily, ARod wasn't on the bag so there was no throw.

- Another fastball, another foul from Papi. And BHS is still in the game. What is Girardi waiting for?

- Broken-bat ground out from Papi that keeps Youk stranded at third. And Girardi finally pulls BHS. Because this was the obvious time to do so...if you're clinically insane.

- Beltre with the single and we have a tie ballgame folks! Never doubted it for a second! Forget all that other talk.

- The Yanks escape without any more damage. But it's 5-5 going into the seventh. Now we see which bullpen can carry the day.


Top of the Seventh

- The happiest guy in Fenway right now? Beckett, who gets a no-decision for the night.

- Steven Tyler in the house for "God Bless America". He is officially in the "Creepy Looking Old Dude" phase of his life.

- Ramirez walks the first batter and then gives up a monster double to ARod. Second and third with no outs. Way to piss away the tie, Ramon!

- In the Battle of the Bullpens, New York takes the lead.

- Yanks get 6-5 lead on sac grounder. Right play by Pedroia.

- 7-5 with a single from Posada. Oki seems to have Ramon Ramirez Disease. Boston's pitching (with the notable exception of Schoeneweis) has pretty much failed them tonight.

- Good lord, Joe West's strike zone is about the size of a deck of playing cards.

- 5-4-3 to end the inning. Very nice. A good example of what Boston's defense can do. That wasn't an easy DP and it looked easy.

- Steven Tyler sings "God Bless America'" and shows why Steven Tyler shouldn't be singing "God Bless America"****


Bottom of the Seventh

- And Chan Ho Park starts off by almost decapitating Scutaro. This should be fun!

- Scutaro with the single. I missed you, CHP.

- Ellsbury goes 0-2. Rough, rough night.

- Strikes out. Oof.

- Neil Diamond in the eighth inning. If you care. Which I don't.

- PEDROIA!! Two-run blast for the 7-7 tie. Who can hit? Pedey can hit!

- CHAN HOOOOOO!!! Love you, baby.

- Full count to V-Mart. Suddenly, Francona's decision to throw Ramirez out instead of Atchison looks good.

- Youk wall-balls a double off the Monster. And Girardi once again waits too long to pull a pitcher.

- That outing was Chan-tastic!

- So that Youk... he can play, huh?

- Marte goes wild and Youk moves to third. A single puts Boston in front. C'mon Papi!!

- Again!! Another wild pitch and Youk comes home for the 8-7 lead. Another unpredictable Boston-New York matchup.

- As a pitcher, Marte is mediocre. But he could clean up on the lawn bowling circuit.

- Here's comes Joba, the Reliever Who Wanted to Be a Starter.

- Joba gets the third out, but Boston leads 8-7.



Top of the Eighth

- It's Boston's next closer, Daniel Bard.

- Neil Diamond singing before Boston's half. If you care. Which I don't.

- Bard gets Gardner to ground out for the first out.

- Bard 2-0 to Jeter. Big at-bat here.

- Bard gets Jeter for the second out.

- Johnson walks. Once again, the Sox cannot close the deal with two outs.

- Teixeira up. Big moment for Bard. And he comes through. Bard showing some maturity here.

- Bard is the 21st Century version of Dick Radatz. Except his slider won’t end his career early.

- And Diamond comes out to kill momentum. I blame you pink hats for this garbage.

- He has a blazer that says "Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn." How very timely. I’m going to start petitioning to make sure the Braves don’t leave Boston.



Bottom of the Eighth

- Peter Abraham just twittered that the biggest cheer of the night was for Diamond. Kill. Me. Now. God damned pink hats...

- Papelbon warming up for the ninth. I don't feel particularly comforted by that fact.

- Cameron works Joba to get a single. Man on first with one out.

- Joba goes 3-2 on Scutaro. Cameron going on the pitch.

- Walk.

- Ellsbury... NOW is the time.

- Guess not.

- Pedroia gets the insurance run with a single as Cameron turns on the jets to score. Joba picks up relieving where he left off starting.

- What power outage?

- Joba double bluffs on the pickoff. Best part of his game.


Top of the Ninth

- Here comes Paps. By the way, Joba Chamberlain needs to get his head straight. What a mess.

- ARod up first. Paps gets the grounder to third on two pitches.

- Ellsbury hoovers up a Cano fly to left-center. Two outs.

- Posada gets a single. Crafty grandpa.

- Granderson could make it interesting.

- 0-2. Finish it, Paps.

- Beltre shows his awesome fielding powers for the final out. Sox win a doozy 9-7. And it isn't even midnight yet!

- Beckett looked bad and the bullpen was mixed, but the fielding was good and Boston’s hitting was damned solid. And not every umpire will call a strike zone as small as Joe West’s. In other games, Beckett will get those strikes. Bottom line, the Sox beat the Yanks to kick off 2010. Works for me.

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* Go on, defend one of the other ones. You Yankee fans know he got the early ones on name recognition.

** It's still one of the most baffling managerial decisions made in recent memory. Of course, Girardi did a lousy job of managing the pitchers tonight...

*** The only way this could get better is if Sabathia broke out a mumu. Or just starts eating things between pitches.

**** If you missed this, I cannot describe just how bad Tyler was. It was embarrassing. Just a painful experience all the way around.

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