Comebacks, sweeps, and Papi power

Wow. Hi. I’m currently procrastinating writing a term paper, so let’s try to make this quick. I really have to finish this paper… 20% of my grade, yada yada yada, whatever.

Anyway, how ’bout them Sox? Sweeping away Texas thanks to David Ortiz pulling out of the slump, Pedroia and Ellsbury getting things started early every game, and Texas’s lack of ability to hold a lead or come from behind. Now, our Sox are ready to host the Angels, who they have systematically owned for the past three years. Beckett takes on Jeff Weaver (1-3, 3.60 ERA). Thanks to the addition of Torii Hunter and a red-hot Chone Figgins, this series probably won’t be a cakewalk like the last two ALCS these teams have met in, but it should be entertaining nontheless.

OH! Big news. I’m road tripping to Baltimore with 4 friends on the 13th and 14th to see the Sox kill the O’s. I’ll be sure to take pictures of Camden Yards and the Sox on the field, and hopefully we’ll see a couple good wins and lots of hits, runs, Ks, and homers by or boys in red and white (or… red and gray, on the road… yeah).

Until I’m not swamped with work I don’t care about, later.

March 26 – vs. Oakland @ Tokyo Dome

I refuse to say @ Oakland. Technically, these are away games, but come on. The A’s must be wondering how they got screwed into this series.

It’s about an hour until the first pitch, and I’m starting to slightly hallucinate from a lack of sleep (almost 48 hours!). I’m writing very slowly right now. I’ll try to pull it together before the game starts.

I’m publishing this now so you know something is coming. See you in 60!

Top 1st

Dustin and Youk uncharacteristically go down quickly to start off the day’s festivities. Ortiz walks, but then Manny gets a swinging K to bring the top to a close. Sorry for being so abbreviated, but I got behind quick.

Bottom 1st

Can anyone else hear that girl screaming “MAAANNNYYYY” over and over? Someone please kill her.

Buck leads off with a slow bouncer to short, which Lugo fields cleanly for out #1. If Ellis follows it up by popping out after a lenghty at-bat for the second out. Lester falls behind Barton 3-0 and can’t recover, issuing the walk on the 5th pitch. One on, two out for Sweeney. Lester looks as though he’s done messing around as he comes right after Sweeney, throwing pitch after pitch over the inside part of the plate. With a 1-2 count he leaves one over the outer half, which Sweeney skies to right field for a can-of-corn fly out. After 1, 0-0.

Top 2nd

Lowell takes a first pitch fastball for a strike. The next one is chin music for a ball, 1-1. The next one is low, 2-1. Harden comes back with a change-up on the 2-1 and Lowell waves at it, 2-2. Lowell sends the next pitch up in the air and right down in the mitt of the right fielder, one away.

Next up is Moss, who works the count some before striking out swining. Tek follows suit, and its to the bottom of the 2nd we go, 0-0.

Bottom 2nd

Emil Brown starts the inning off with a groundout to short, one down. Next up is Bobby Crosby, and he rips a double down the line. Man on second and one out for Jack Hannahan.

Lester continues to be aggressive on the mound as he is really pounding the zone. He works a 1-2 count on Hannahan before letting a slider get away and run way outside, 2-2. Tek comes out to talk about the signals, and now they’re good to go. The 2-2 pitch… Hannahan barely holds up and a good slider that dove down and away from the lefty. Full count, and the payoff pitch is coming. Hannahan… swings and misses, and now there are two men down with one on second for Suzuki.

Suzuki takes the first two pitches for balls. Lester resets himself on the mound, now throws. Inside again, and it’s 3-0. Last time he had a man 3-0, he threw the obligatory heart-of-the-plate fastball for a strike, and he does the same again here. However, the 3-1 misses inside and now it’s first and second with two out for Denorfia.

Denorfia takes a called strike one, 0-1 the count. The next pitch is lined into right field for a base hit. Hannahan scores easily from second, and the A’ strike first, 1-0.

Next up is Travis Buck. Lester again attacks the zone with a couple fastballs to start, going ahead of Buck 0-2. The next pitch is a curve that dives into the dirt, 1-2. The 1-2 pitch… called strike 3, and the side is retired. After 2 full, the A’s lead it 1-0.

Top 3rd

Whew! Cruising right along. I hope the Sox can drop a crooked number in this inning, but seeing as it’s Crisp, Lugo, and Pedroia… well, you never know, I supposed.

Coco takes a pitch up and away for ball one, the looks at a strike up and in. Next pitch is a curve that dives down and in and fools Crisp, who swings and misses for strike two. Harden throws two straight balls, full count. The payoff pitch… got him looking. Coco didn’t seem to think so, but his opinion doesn’t much matter. One down for Lugo.

Again Harden misses on the first pitch to make it 1-0. Lugo fouls off the second to even it at 1-1, then looks at a pitch up for the second ball. The 2-1 pitch is a curve that neary gets Lugo, who dives out of the way. The 3-1 is a fastball right over the outer half of the plate for strike 2. The payoff pitch… walked him. Lugo with a free pass to first, and Pedroia will have a chance with one on and one out.

First pitch to him is a called strike. The next one is fouled off to the right, and it’s quickly 0-2. The next pitch is fouled off as well, and we’ll see it again. This time Pedroia hits a liner to center that Denorfia has no trouble with, two out.

Youk puts up a lengthy AB, eventually drawing the walk. Somewhere in there Lugo stole second, so Youk just occupies the empty space as Papi comes to bat.

Ortiz gets the count to 1-1 before he pops out to shallow right on a nice falling-over catch by Hannahan. Three down. To the bottom of the 3rd, still 1-0 A’s.

Bottom 3rd

Lester seems to be having more control problems now as he walks the first batter of the inning. He didn’t agree with the payoff pitch ruling, but it could have gone either way.

Barton comes up with one on and one out and quickly flies out to center after being down 0-2. Mark Sweeney with take his cuts now.

Sweeney reaches base on a crappy little bloop single, making it runners on first and 3rd. What does Emil Brown do with runners on the corners and one out?

Why, he hits a jack to left field. Three run shot, 4-0 A’s.

After getting the next guy to pop out, Lester allows another single and suddenly there’s action in the bullpen. Can’t quite grab a number on who it is, however. The following batter pops out to Tek, and finally the side is retired. After 3 full, 4-0 A’s.

Top 4th.

Manny works the count to 2-2 before striking out looking. Harden is getting that inside corner today, and I think Lester would have been as well had he been more in control.

Mike Lowell doesn’t wait around long, ripping the first pitch he sees into right field for a single. Well, the no-no is over for Harden.

Good, especially after how your Shannon Stewart ruined Curt’s…

Moss goes down swinging quickly for out #2. That’s K number 7 for harden through 4 innings. The guy is dealing.

Tek also doesn’t stay long as he grounds out to first for the third out. After three and a half, 4-0 A’s.

Bottom 4th

Lester strikes out the first batter he faces, one away. The next batter grounds out to 2nd, two away Is this a one paragraph inning? Lesterhopes so as he brings the count to 0-2. The next pitch is a breaker that dives down and in, ball1. The 1-2 is a fastball that’s over the inside corner for strike three. Well done, Jon. To the 5th, 4-0 A’s.

Top 5th

Coco has a solid AB as he fights off pitch after pitch, only to strike out in the end. One down for Lugo.

Lugo likes what he sees on that first pitch and rips a single to right. One on, one out for Dustin.

Dustin chases the first pitch low and grounds into the 6-4-3, and just like that the rally is killed. To the bottom of the 5th, 4-0 A’s.

Bottom 5th

Now you know why I drafted Harden this year.

Aardesma comes in to replace Lester, who threw 84 pitches through 4 innings. Not the start you want to see from the young lefty in his first outing, but what can you do? It’s his first one, he’ll get better.

I literally fell asleep during this half of the inning, but stattracker told me what happened. Three up, three down, and now it’s the Red Sox’ turn for the top of the 6th.

Top 6th.

Youk popped out on the second pitch he saw. If Youkilis is swining at the second pitch of an AB, you know the whole team is just up there guessing.

Next, Ortiz goes down swinging. Sweet. 2 down for Manny.

Manny swings and misses for strike one. The next one is high, the count evens at 1-1. Harden delivers the next pitch, and… wow. That ball went far. Manny homers to make it 4-1.

Now Lowell gives it a ride to deep left, but it’s to the track and no further. After 5 and a half, 4-1 A’s.

Ummmmmm

I hate to do this, but I’m literally falling asleep in my chair. I need to go to bed. I’ll finish up the postgame and stuff later on, I promise. Until then, I hope I awaken to a Sox win.

——THE NEXT DAY——

Okay, so I didn’t wake up to a Sox win. Ah well. Harden pitched one hell of a game, and when he’s on, he’s on. He got all the ground balls and strikeouts he needed to shut down the Boston lineup the best anyone really can; he really had them guessing at the plate.

Sox at the plate

Uh… yeah. Like I said, Harden was dealing and the Sox had no answers. Manny had just a monster of a homer, but that was the only well hit ball all game aside from Ortiz’s near jack. Apparently, the ball doesn’t carry well in Japan because Papi friggin crushed that pitch. But alas, an out is an out, no matter how exciting it may be. The Sox only managed 3 hits off of Harden and 2 off of the relief staff of Castilla, Foulke, and Embree.

Sox on the hill

Not exactly what you wanted to see from Lester. He missed the inside corner all day, something a lefty HAS to have against righties if he wants to be successful. You saw him pay for it against Brown, as that pitch caught way too much of the inside half. Delcarmen and Lopez did well to keep it close, and Corey let in a junk run in the eighth. Corey pitched last night, so it might have just been due to fatigue.

Overall rating: B-

It would be worse if it wasn’t a) against Harden, 2) In Japan, and d) the second game of the year. Still, Lester was shoddy and they just couldn’t figure out Harden, and that carried over to the relief staff. Let’s be serious though. These were basically important spring training games. Here’s to a week of rest before having to actually try again.

Also, from now on, I’ll be doing half-inning summaries instead of pitch-by-pitch. That was these blogs aren’t so un-Goldy long and I get to pay attention to the game instead of my keyboard. Until April Fool’s Day (or some earth-shattering Red Sox event), peace.

OPENING DAY!

YES!

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BASEBALL IS BACK!!!!

I pulled an all-nighter to watch this game, so I’m going to blog about what I’m seeing. Right now it’s the top of the 3rd and WHAT A HUSTLE PLAY BY YOUK! INFIELD SINGLE! So yeah, 2-0 A’s, Daisuke’s been shaky, let’s move on.

Oh yeah, also I’m watching this via TV Ants, which is free live streaming. Only problem is, it’s ESPN… Taiwan. So there’s no commentary, just ridiculous ads. I’ll keep you posted on those, too.

Also, I’ve been drinking since 6 A.M. It is now 7:00.

———————————————————————

Ortiz is up, and… well, anyone who is a baseball purist must hate that shift. I know I do. Not that I’m a purist to the full extent of the word, but… you know. To the bottom of the 3rd, 2-0 A’s.

These commercials are pretty funny. I can get the gist of what they’re selling, but they’re so over-the-top that I’d die laughing if I went to a supermarket there, because all I’d think about is these ads for Cola.

Bottom 3rd

One pitch, one out. Didn’t catch who was up… hey, I need a pre-season as well, y’know? Anyway, the second out came somehow (this is getting ugly) and I was treated to the tape of D-Mat’s no hitter in high school. Awesome. Let’s see one in the pros. Sorry if I sound bitter, I’ve been awake for 20 hours and I’m a tad irritable. He’s at a full count with #22, and… walked him. Damn.

This A’s team may as well be the Bowie BaySox, for all I care. I don’t know any of them except Ellis (fantasy team), Harden, Cust, Chavez, and Blanton. And I guess Bobby Crosby.

Swing and a line dri- LUUUGGGOOOO with the nasty snare. To the top of the fourth!

That Cola ad was just on again. It has these four people eating spicy chicken, then they start to have steam out their ears, then one almost blows up. He drinks the soda, and everything is cool. Alright.

Top 4th

Manny’s up. He takes a pitch inside, then swings at one down and in. Takes two more before launching one right to the right fielder’s mitt. One down for Mike Lowell.

Just a side note: Budweiser Select tastes just like Budweiser. Hm.

Lowell takes 5 straight pitches to run the count full. Blanton isn’t wasting any time out there as he delivers #6, which Lowell fouls off. Here’s #7… Lowell gives it a ride to deep center, but whoever plays center for the A’s is there for the catch.

As one of my friends put it, the A’s are the Washington Generals to the Red Sox as the Globetrotters. No one cares who they are, just as long as they lose. And they’re doing a BAD JOB of that.

Brandon Moss, in for the sandwich known as J.D. Drew, quietly grounds out to first to end this half of the inning. To the bottom of the fourth, 2-0 A’s.

That Cola ad was on again. Now I want some. Well played, Taiwan.

Bottom 4th

The bottom of the 4th starts with two straight balls from Daisuke, and thankfully the 3rd pitch is a fly out to medium left field. The next batter, who I think is Travis Buck, takes a called strike one. Swing and a miss, and it’s now 0-2. Here’s the windup, the pitch… Called strike three, a fastball up and away, and Buck(?) is down on strikes. Now, Mr. Triple Crown Mark Ellis is up to bat (Note: He’s leading the league in HRs, tied for RBIs, and is probably leading in BA. I’m just making assumptions here.). Anyway, he grounds out to second to retire the side.

That Cola ad is on again. I swear, this must be the only drink available in the Taiwanese culture. Maybe they have it at Epcot as the “Taiwanese Coke.” I know where I’m going for my next vacation… Disney, for the soda!

Top 5th

I was too busy describing how much I want to be at Epcot to watch Tek’s AB, but he struck out anyway, so it’s not like I missed anything. Blanton is throwing junk now; a lot of his pitches are missing by a foot or more. Patience, my Red Sox, patience. Think Theo at the plate.

Just as soon as I finish saying that, Ellsbury is up there hacking away. It’s a 1-2 count with one out.

This whole time they’ve been cutting to the booth where the ESPN guys are interviewing Bud Selig, but there’s no audio of it because I’m watching the Taiwanese feed. I imagine the conversation is something like this:

ESPN: So Bud, asskiss asskiss asskiss.
Bud: Blah blah I don’t have a spine.

Anywho, Jacoby grounds out to first, so two down for Mr. 1-for-1 Julio Lugo! No sooner have the words left my fingers than his magnificent 1.000 BA is gone forever! He grounds out to short for out #3. To the bottom of the 5th, 2-0 A’s.

Just assume that Cola ad is on during every break. If I keep mentioning it, then the capitalist pigs who made it are winning.

The Sox haven’t scored in 5 innings, so now the possibility of being shutout arises. Do you even KNOW how upset I would be? I mean, I’ve seen them get shut out before, but NOT AT 6 A.M. HERE, 7 P.M. IN TOKYO. Blah… happy thoughts, happy thoughts…

Matsuzaka is still in the game and… he fans the first batter he faces! Nice… good sign. It’s not entirely his fault that the Sox are losing. Let me put it to you this way: if I told you that D-Mat would only give up 2 runs every outing, would you take it and rely on the Sox offense to score 3 runs? If you say no, you’re a filthy liar.

Anyway, 1-2 on… #22 again? I think so. Now 2-2 after Daisuke missed outside. But alas, all is well as he gets 22 swinging on a 2-seamer away. Two down for Emil Brown (I got one!). Count goes to 2-0 as there’s activity in the Sox’ pen… looks like Kyle Snyder. He’ll have to wait until at least next inning, however, as Brown grounds out to 3rd to end the inning. To the 6th!

I’m not writing during this break, my hands hurt. I need extended spring training for this stuff.

Top 6th

Daddy doubles off the wall to begin the 6th! Good sign, seeing as he’s in scoring position with no one out for Captain Intensity, Kevin Yoooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuukkkkkilis.

While there’s a mound meeting, I’d like to point out it’s always good when you see someone like Pedroia with that huge swing go the opposite way. That’s discipline.

As I was blabbing, the Greek God of Walks worked the count to 3-0, then took ball four to reach base in typical Youk fashion. Good thing, too; this eliminates the shift option for the A’s now that Papi is up.

Ball one in the dirt to Papi. If I’ve learned anything about watching Ortiz, it’s this: He will mash a 2-0 fastball into oblivion. If I’m Blanton, I’d be looking to avoid that. Oops! He did it anyway. 2-0 to Papi, runners on 1st and 2nd. Here’s the fastball, but it’s too high for good contact as Ortiz fouls it off. Ortiz takes an absolutely murderous hack at that 2-1 inside fastball and lined it into the screens that protect the crowd from such occurrences. So, the 2-2 coming… in the dirt, full count. Please Papi, be protective. He was indeed as he fouled off the 3-2 pitch, which he was way out in front of. He also fouls off the next one, but this one is in play and caught by whoever the hell plays left field for the A’s. Ah well, can’t be clutch every time. Solid AB anyway.

No sooner are the words out of my mouth than Manny decides to swing at a first pitch fastball and line it down the left field line for a double! Pedroia scores! Here’s the throw to the plate to nab Youkilis, but he scores as well! This baby is all tied up!

Now, with one out and one on, Mike Lowell has a chance to make things interesting…er. More interesting. Yeah. Anyway, he takes a couple and fouls a couple off to bring the count to 2-2. Blanton misses low, and it’s now a full count. Look for Blanton to go high here. Apparently Mike was listening to my advice, as he was blown away by a fastball low and outside. Two down for… Brandon Moss.

Well kid, you want to make a name for yourself in Beantown? Do it now.

Holy cow… he did. Moss singles through the hole on the right side, and Boston now leads 3-2. Blanton’s night is done and he receives a well-deserved round of applause from the Japanese audience. Kid pitched a good game through 5.1 innings; but you didn’t really think he’d shut out the Sox, did you?

Did you?

Nah, you didn’t. Pitching change at Tokyo Dome. With 2 down in the top of the 6th, the Red Sox lead the A’s, 3-2.

Resuming Play, Top 6th

Well, look who came in to pitch! Old pal Alan Embree. Back from ’02-’04, he and Timlin were absolutely untouchable out of that bullpen. Now… not so much. He’s facing his old glove as well. Tek works the count full, then fouls off the next pitch. Pitch #7 coming… ew. Ugly half-swing by Tek, and it’s back to the field for the Sox. However, they return with the lead after dropping a 3-spot on the A’s in the top of the 6th. To the bottom we go, 3-2 Sox.

Semi-Pro ad! Cola ad! Taiwan seems awesome.

They’re showing Daisuke’s highlights, and I didn’t realize he had 7 or 8 strikeouts this outing; not bad at all. Like I said, if he pitches like this all year, yikes. 18 wins, here he comes.

Well, apparently they were showing his highlights because he’s out of the game. Kyle Snyder comes in for relief, and I’ve heard solid things about him this spring training. And… I jinxed it, Slow bouncer up the middle, base hit. That’s the kind of base hit you only get in domes.

Daisuke’s final line: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER,1 HR, 5 BB, 6 Ks.

Damn you, Kyle Snyder. Two run homer by that cursed #22 and it’s a 4-3 Oakland lead, just like that.

Well, the next two at bats were lackluster, and there’s now two down. The count goes to 3-1 before Snyder gets Travis Buck to pop out to Pedroia. After 6 full, 4-3 A’s.

Kyle Snyder, you jerk. You cost Daisuke one of the most special wins he could have had in his career. Never do it again!

Top 7th.

I certainly hope Jacoby gets the Sox off to a fast start, no pun intended. And wow, look at that! He singles to open the 7th inning. This is followed by some nice clips of the ’07 World Series.

Embree immediately tries to pick off Ellsbury. Gee, think word has gotten out that the kid is fast? Turns out, he should have stolen, because Lugo grounds into the double play. So, top 7th, 2 outs, and Dustin is at the plate.

Pedroia takes a called strike, 0-1. Now a fastball down and in makes it 1-1. Pedroia nubs the next pitch off the tip of the bat and it rolls right to Embree for out #3. Blah. To the bottom of the 7th, 4-3 A’s.

Bottom 7th

Kyle Snyder gives up another deep fly, but this one manages to stay in the yard. Fracona finally has seen enough and pulls Snyder… but for who? It remains to be seen.

Oh, why, it’s Javier Lopez! He gets to 1-1 with Daric Barton before Barton rips a hot shot right at Youk for out #2.

Wait a minute. Was that Keith Foulke warming in the A’s ‘pen? Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease. Holy… it is!

Lopez gets the count to 2-1 against Cust. Now 3-1 after missing inside. Cust fouls the next one off, full count. Annnnnnd… got him! Nice pitch over the outer-half of the plate for the K. To the 8th!

I would like nothing better than for the Sox to score 100 runs right now so I can go to bed. However, I expect to be awake to finish this game. Argh.

Top 8th

I don’t want to label this as the last chance for the Sox… but its Youk, Ortiz, and Manny right now.

Youk gets away with a poor swing at a changeup from Foulke, the new pitcher, as the ball barely gets out of play. Otherwise, that’s a pop out. Instead, he hits the ball about 400 feet to dead center, which is good for a long out.

One down for Papi. He watches ball one go by. Fouls off the next one, 1-1. Fouls the 3rd pitch back and out of play, 1-2. Ugh. Come on, Papi. This would be a sweet time for… well, you know. He takes a ball outside, 2-2. Holds up on the change-up falling out of the zone, 3-2. Check swing foul that ends up in the bleachers. Redoing the payoff pitch… sends it foul on the ground to the left side. Again, the 3-2… makes good contact, but lines out to left.

Well Manny, you did it against the Indians. Why not a tying jack right now? First pitch dives inside, 1-0. Next one is down and away, 2-0. Green light time, baby. Oops! Car stalled. Manny swings and misses, so it’s 2-1 now. Swings and misses at another change diving down and in, 2-2. C’mon Manny, c’mon… damn. Looks at a blatant strike that caught a lot of the outside half. Three up, three down, and we hope it can stay at one run for the 9th.

Ray Allen is in a shoe commercial for Air Jordans that plays on this station all the time. Unfortunately, Terrell Owens and Derek Jeter are also in the ad, so… it sucks.

Bottom 8th

Bryan Corey is in to pitch the 8th. I also heard that he had a solid Spring, but apparently what the hell do I know, Kyle Snyder?

Anyway, the count is 2-1 when whoever the hell is batting launches a deep fly to center… Ellsbury racing back… he leaps… WHAT A CATCH! JUMPING UP AND BACK INTO THE WALL, JACOBY ELLSBURY MAKES A MAGNIFICENT CATCH! You’ll be seeing that one on ESPN for a while. Wait… let me check… yes, he’s scheduled to hit in the four spot in the 9th. So if anyone gets on… hm.

Corey gets the next batter to 1-2 as I’m salivating over the greatness that is Jacoby Ellsbury. The next pitch is grounded into the dirt right in front of the plate and Tek is there for the easy 2-3 putout. First pitch to the next batter is grounded right back to Corey, who makes the play for out #3. (Gulp…) To the 9th! 4-3, A’s.

Seriously, that was a ridiculous catch by Jacoby. First web gem of the year, baby.

Top of the 9th inning

Here’s hoping to a bottom as well.

Huston Street comes in to close. He misses on his first pitch to Lowell, 1-0. Lowell swings at the next one and pops it to shallow center, easy play for whoever the hell is out there, one down.

Moss comes up to bat. Count goes to 1-2 as I’m biting my nails. Moss takes… ball 2. Close pitch, could have gone either way. The 2-2 to Moss… WE HAVE A BOTTOM OF THE NINTH! WHO IS THIS KID, AND WHAT HAS HE DONE WITH THE MINOR LEAGUER KNOWN AS BRANDON MOSS?!!!? Seriously, someone push J.D. Drew down a flight of stairs. (Note: I know I’ll regret saying that sometime this season, just wait.).

So it is, 4-4 in the top of the 9th. Looks like Okajima and Paps are warming in the ‘pen. Meanwhile, ‘Tek goes down swinging for the second out and who comes to the plate. Mr. Ellsbury, who JUST misses going yard. I love this kid. He hits a liner to left, but it’s right at whoever is out there for out #3. To the bottom of the 9th, 4-4.

Bottom 9th

Okay, I didn’t do a write up in between innings because, holy crap, I’m freaking out. Red Sox Nation? More like Red Sox WORLD. Yeah, I like that. Eat it, Hank.

Okay, baseball. Okajima goes to 0-1 on Kurt Suzuki, then gets him waaay out in front with the Oki-Doki (a.k.a. a forkball, Jerry.). The 0-2 is weakly grounded foul. Again, the 0-2… low and inside. The 1-2… got him swinging! One down. Oki then throws one, two, three… four straight balls to walk Sweeney, who is then pinch-run for by some guy who is presumably faster than he is.

One on, one out for Travis Buck. Buck takes a called strike, then fouls one off for 0-2. Oki throws a ball, so it’s now 1-2. Next pitch, Buck swings and hits a fly ball to center. Jacoby fields it, and there’s two away.

Up next, the early terror, Mark Ellis. First pitch is a ball, 1-0. After a pickoff attempt, Oki throws another ball for 2-0. Finally a foul ball, and it’s 2-1. Now a called strike, 2-2. Uh oh… the next one is a ball, full count. I expect Okajima to come with the Oki-Doki on this pitch. It fools everyone and at the most induces a ground ball. Annnnd… indeed he does! Ground ball to Okajima, throws to first and we go to the 10th.

Top 10th

Lugo’s up and whiffs at the first pitch, 0-1. He takes pitch 2 for a strike, 0-2. Street’s next pitch bounces in the dirt, 1-2. Lugo swings at the next pitch and grounds to third. Third baseman up with it, throws, but it bounces to first too late and Lugo is safe!

Pedroia up next. He squares, and bunts! Lugo makes it to 2nd without a throw, so the go-ahead run is on 2nd base with Youk at bat.

You takes the first two pitches to draw the count to 1-1. Street is getting wild now. Youk pops the next one back and out of play, 1-2. The next pitch… up and away and Youk fanned on it, strike 3.

Ortiz won’t have a chance to win the game, because they’re walking him to get to Manny.

Manny comes to the plate. I really didn’t expect this tension during the first game of the season… ugh. Manny is quickly down 0-2. Now 1-2 after a pitch outside. The 1-2 pitch coming… Manny swings and he’s staring! This one has a chance! It is… OFF THE WALL! LUGO SCORES! ORTIZ SCORES! MANNY SLIDES IN SAFE AT SECOND WITH A DOUBLE! THE RED SOX LEAD IT 6-4!

Whew… okay. I’m calm. Manny absolutely crushed that ball. Guy surprises me every time he plays, whether he’s being un-clutch on the basepaths or absolutely amazing at the plate. I love the guy. I love this team.

But alas, this game isn’t over. Mike Lowell gets the free pass as Coco comes in to run for Manny, and look who comes to the plate.

Brandon Moss. He takes the first pitch for ball one, 1-0. After a swinging strike and a ball, it’s 2-1. Moss swings and flies out to left, 3 outs. I guess that means it’s time for the bottom of the 10th, and… Wild Thing.

Bottom 10th

Paps starts it off by throwing a 95 mph heater to Daric Barton for strike one. Next one is down and in for a ball, 1-1. Next pitch is a splitter that Barton waves at for strike 2. Another fastball up and away, but this one for a ball, 2-2. The next pitch is fouled off. Paps throws a borderline pitch that goes for a ball, 3-2. One more fouled off, then a rare walk from Paps to put the first batter on.

Cust is up and takes a 2-seamer moving back across the plate for a strike, 0-1. Next pitch is a 4-seamer that caught way too much of the plate, but Cust can’t pull the trigger and it goes for strike two. Cust takes a cut on the next one and launches it foul. The next one is a split in the dirt, 1-2. The pitch… blows him away, strike three! Good pitch by Paps, just blew that fastball by him. One down, two to go.

Emil Brown is up, and he wastes no time launching the first pitch into the right-centerfield gap. Coco throws it in to try to nab the runner going home, but Pedroia cuts it off and throws to third to catch Brown in the rundown. So Brown is out but the run scores, 6-5 Sox.

Crosby singles. I’m falling behind on this, but if Emil Brown was on base, he would have scored.

Hannahan singles, and now it’s 1st and 2nd with 2 outs. Believe in the Papelbon, believe!

Kurt Suzuki steps in. Pap misses inside, 1-0. Chin music to follow from Pap, 2-0. I’m literally holding my breath. The pitch… A GROUND BALL! YOUK FIELDS IT AND UNDERHANDS TO PAPELBON FOR THE THIRD OUT, AND THE RED SOX WIN!

*Pant, pant, pant, pant*

Okay. Wow.

Whew…

Wow.

Postgame, anyone?

Sox on the Hill

One word: Impressive. Except for a couple hiccups, they staff looked good, especially for opening day. Yes, Daisuke got off to a rough start, Snyder blew the lead, and Paps had his share of difficulty, but all in all, they held the A’s to 4 runs, only 2 of which came after the first inning.

Sox at the Plate

Badabing, Badaboom, and the job is done. So it took a little longer than we would have liked to get the runs, so what? They still got them. Clutch hitting, solid at bats, and resiliency did the trick today.

Overall Impression: B+

C’mon. They weren’t perfect.

Sorry for the short postgame, but I’m tired and such. I’ll have another for tomorrow’s game!

Sweeeeeeet

Ah, baseball. The feeling of spring training gets any red-blooded American’s heart pumping like… uh… nothing, I suppose. I love baseball. I love everything about it. I especially love when Joba Chamberlain gives up a 2-run homer to the Twins. All is right in the world right now.

I guess I should catch up on what’s been going on in the world of Red Sox Nation. In one sentance,

Hank Steinbrenner was like, “Urrr Red Sox are the dumb and I am teh smrt! Yankees can be teh best and I kind of look like Vince Vaughn!” and then John Henry was like, “Okay, I’ll take the high road and make you look foolish,” and Hank was like,“Blah blah blah,” OH WAIT HE HAD NO RESPONSE.

Yeah. You all know what happened. ESPN blew it out of proportion as usual, and no one gave a damn after the first ten minutes of talking about it except for Buster Olney, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, all of Around the Horn, and the rest of the idiots in Bristol (sans Peter Gammons and Bob Ryan, but definitely including Jackie McMullen).

Anyway, don’t get worried about Papelbon and this contract thing. Theo will work it out before Paps becomes a free agent. I expect Paps to be demanding Mariano Rivera money, which is around $15 million/year. I’ll put it this way: if J.D. Drew can make $14 million a year, Paps should be making $50 million.

Well, I’m out of topics and time. Until next time!

Baseball season has officialy begun

TODAY IS THE DAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

or yesterday.

Whatever.

Anyway, baseball is back, baby.  There’s no news yet about… well anything, but I don’t care. I mean, I love the Celtics and all, but now we finally have the Red Sox to take our minds off the Patriots. Well, that and the fact that Tom Brady is all smiles in Costa Rica with Giselle. As far as I’m concerned, if Tom Brady has managed to crawl out of the hole all of New England has been living in since the Super Bowl, then I’m ready too. All I can assume is that they’ll go perfect next season and finish the job. This is Belichick’s team we’re talking about.

Also, I hope Junior Seau stays another year, even if he plays two downs per game.  We’ll get him the ring.

BUT! Baseball! Soon enough hitters will show up and take BP and fungos, and then before we know it it’s February 28 and the Sox are playing a double-header against BC and Northeastern to officially start the competitive play of the 2008 season. As soon as that happens, we’ll be counting down until March 25 and OPENING DAY HOLY CRAP I’M EXCITED!!!!!!!

I’m really looking forward to doing the blogs again as well, I really do enjoy it and I hope everyone reading enjoys them as well. Until there’s some Spring Training news, Clemens’ indictment, or the BC game, farethewell!

Something off topic

Avatar

My avatar. PROTIP: Not really me.

So I was playing some poker on Bodog, and randomly some guy tries to start something with me. I’m choobins, he’s cnashplay. Let’s see how it went!

cnashplay: im glad they gave us the option to hide avatar to hide choobins ugly mug
choobins: haha
choobins: thats not even me chump
choobins: you should probably snoop around the internet a little bit
cnashplay: must be your mom huh
choobins: oh yeah sure is, cus my mom is a prepubescent guy
choobins: you idiot
choobins: you should talk less, it makes you look really stupid
cnashplay: tongue my ass
choobins: oo, good one
choobins: you’d like it too much
jblackmets111: cashplay go deepthroat a ******
choobins: you’d be like oooh choobins, please keep tounging my ass
cnashplay: yo loser ass mets fan when choobins gets done suking my taint u can do my sack
choobins: haha alright
choobins: lets see, the mets just signed johan
choobins: theyre definitley ****
cnashplay: mets are s*** just like pats
choobins: hahaha
choobins: maybe you should go to bed, your mom’s going to be pissed when she sees you’ve been playing poker
choobins: or do they let you rent out the basement?
choobins: thats nice
choobins: hows this: you stop being an internet tough guy, and I’ll stop ripping you to shreds
choobins: sound fair?
cnashplay: just keep eating my ass im not ready yet
choobins: not ready for what?
jblackmets111: hahah
jblackmets111: ready?
choobins: you mean your deep fried chicken from 7/11 is too hot to eat?
choobins: your pizza doesnt have enough grease on it?
choobins: its all set, you can take some from your face
choobins: seriously man, just shut up.
choobins: and for the record, how the hell could i be tounging your balls over the internet?
choobins: oooh thats right
choobins: cant happen
choobins: hmm
cnashplay: nice stack choobins same size as ur dik
choobins: 1) this is petty cash to me, 2) you spelled **** wrong, idiot.
cnashplay: u and mets fan couldnt fill a squirell in double penetration
choobins: how would you know how much it takes to fill a squirrel?
choobins: thats weird.
choobins: cnashplay, you keep gambling your welfare check away. have a nice night.

The end.

Case in point, idiots are plentiful and I’m glad I have intelligent people reading my blog.

Right?

A little Hot Stove fun

Sean Casey has joined the roster as the Red Sox first major off-season action. Good move? I think so. Casey is a solid 1B who has occasional power (no longer like his days in a Reds uniform, but it’s there), is a great clubhouse guy, and can provide a more reliable backup for Youk than Eric Hinske. If you remember, Casey was the starting 1st baseman for the Tigers last year. He showed significant improvement at the plate, raising his average from his ’06 .245 to .296, hit four dingers and drove in 54 while batting in the 7 hole. Casey bats lefty as well and judging by his average he’s learning to become more of a hitter and less of a swinger at the plate, if you know what I mean. Think about what Ortiz did last year as a lefty: he started going to left field. Casey should have an easy time doing that as well, seeing as he’s had a year of practice in a ballpark that is much less kind to players trying to go to left (hint: no 37-foot wall). The only downside? Casey only batter .083 in Fenway last year. Hopefully that can be attributed to the great pitching of the Sox.

In other news, Johan Santana is going to New York! But wait, climb down from your windowsills and put down your loaded .22s, Boston faithful. He’ll be in Queens. Santana agreed to a contract with the Mets for some ludicrous amount of money, which I believe starts at $22.5 million a year. Good for the Mets. Have him and his 30-year old arm and appalling contract. As long as he isn’t in Los Angeles Anaheim, The Bronx, or Motor City I don’t care.
So that’s all for now. And remember, pitchers and catchers report on February 19, so only

18 more days.