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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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*
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!