I’m going to be live blogging this, but I’m picking it up in the second inning, so you’ll have to excuse the lack of an exact time for my first comments:
In just the first inning today, I can’t help but notice a few things about Jacoby Ellsbury’s play. First of all, he’s hitting .295 but his on-base percentage is only .327. That’s totally unacceptable for a leadoff hitter.
He’s been the supposed future lead off hitter for this team for three years now, and this is his second full season in that role. You’d think that, at some point, he may have picked up the Red Sox organizational philosophy of taking the walk, making pitchers work, and getting in to hitters counts. But alas, the center fielder continues to frustratingly hack at the first and second pitches almost every time he goes up there. TAKING A PITCH IS OK JACOBY!
The other thing is his outfield play. Ellsbury is great coming in on balls, but my God is he horrific at playing near walls. Even in Fenway, but especially on the road, his inexperience with walls is just astounding. Today he missed a catch on a Torii Hunter fly ball that his glove was no less than 6 inches away from, a play on which he didn’t manage to jump or even extend his glove hand in any way because he was busy running in to the wall.
In Little League, they teach kids to look back at the wall, figure out where it is, put their hands out to feel for it, and make the catch. In the majors, we see players make this sort of catch all the time, especially guys who are supposed to be “Gold Glove caliber” like Ellsbury. What’s more, he has ample time to practice these things with Red Sox coaches, and we haven’t seen any marked development in this area from the youngster.
It would be great if he could start making these catches, instead of what happened, which was an RBI triple for Hunter to score the Angels first run.
In general, it would be great if Jacoby could start to play with his head a little more.
What a catch for Jason Bay! I say all the time that his range is the only thing keeping him from being a much better fielder, and his UZR numbers show its still a problem. At this pace, he would cost the Red Sox 29.4 runs more than the average left fielder. Of course, he’s hitting just a little bit better than the average right fielder right now, and those numbers are way outside of his career norms. I would expect him to turn that around.
The first base ump just missed an easy call on a Dustin Pedroia double down the left field line, calling it foul when it clearly wasn’t. I’m always amazed how umpires miss calls which seem easy for the naked eye while watching T.V. rather than being 30 feet away. And then to defer to another umpire who was further away? What are these guys doing?
Along the same vein, Bill Miller has had a huge strike zone as the home plate umpire all day. It’s been going both ways, but with the Red Sox approach of taking more pitches, and the Angels approach of going after pitchers early and often, its obvious which team this hurts more. Just ‘sayin.
It sure looks like Pedroia’s groin feels better after he tagged up on a medium depth fly ball with Bobby Abreau, who has a very good arm, throwing, and then scored easily on a fielders choice. Very good news for Boston.
Brad Penny almost got out of that jam. It just doesn’t seem like the Red Sox can get Hunter out anymore, he’s hitting everything. Penny had been doing a good job bringing his best stuff in the most important spot, but he just left one right over the middle for Hunter to crush.
Once upon a time I said I liked what I had seen from Jeff Bailey because he’s shown great patience at the plate. I can honest say I haven’t seen that in one single at bat from him this year. After Bailey swung at the first pitch, as I’m typing this, Jason Varitek did the same thing, and both guys flew out to center field.
As Roberts has said several times this game, Ervin Santana is working on a pitch count in his first start this season coming off an elbow injury. This is just really bad baseball.
I know he got an RBI single, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about with Ellsbury. You’ve got a guy who walked the leadoff hitter and is on a pitch count, so you go up there and swing at the first strike you see? It’s called taking a strike, it’s a pretty standard baseball play. It’s often employed by guys who are (or have been) pretty decent like Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkiliss, David Ortiz, and the OBP machine J.D. Drew.
Give it a chance Jacoby!
That 0-1 fastball down and in Ortiz just fouled back? Yea, that used to be Ortiz’s pitch. It used to be almost guaranteed he’d rip it, if not deposit it in the seats. Now Ortiz is lucky if he doesn’t pop out foul on it.
Again Varitek, really? How many first pitch pop outs to center are we going for here?
Darren Oliver is still alive, good to know. Seems like so much more than seven years ago he went 4-5 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP for the Red Sox. Still looks like he’s tough on lefties though, just ask Ellsbury.
I mean, Ortiz was probably going to strike out anyway in that at bat, but lets be serious, Bill Miller, that was not a strike. Remember when Big Papi used to get the benefit of the doubt?
What do we think, can shit talk about Penny like this from Rob Neyer, maybe, possibly stop after this outing?
This makes five of seven possible quality starts, and his best three have been his last three. He’s throwing low in the strike zone, except when he wants to elevate, and he’s able to reach back and throw in the mid 90’s when he needs it.
I’m glad to see Francona decide to leave Penny in there for the 7th. With a pitch count of only 90 and eight consecutive batters retired going into the inning, there would be pretty much no excuse for him to be taken out. It also gives Penny a chance to get that ugly ERA down (it could be even better right now if Ellsbury had just made that catch in the first).
Wow. What a shitty pitch call to Eric Aybar right there. I don’t know if it was the genius Varitek’s call (we all know he brings these invaluable intangibles- pitch calling included) or Penny’s, but a first pitch get-me-over two seam fastball to a first pitch fastball hitter, on an aggressive hitting team? That’s just stupid.
Another great catch by Bay, unfortunately Aybar was able to tag and give Anaheim the 4-3 lead. That’s why you don’t throw get me over fastballs to first pitch fastball hitters in key spots. Just terrible pitch selection.
Huh, first pitch out from Bailey, who would have thunk it? Hurry back Kevin Youkilis!
PETEY! That RBI base hit marks the fifth time Dustin’s been on base today. I know he hasn’t hit a home run since the first game, but he followed pretty much the same pattern last year, and that went pretty well for him. The important thing for him is that he’s hitting the ball hard to all fields, and he’s collecting his doubles. Since Pedroia is doing both of those things, Red Sox fans don’t need to worry about him one bit.
Oh, and conversely Ortiz is 0-5 with two strikeouts and seven men left on base so far. Go ahead and worry about him.
Seriously, Jacoby, the wall isn’t going to come out and punch you in the face or something. You’re a professional ball player. Sometimes, you may run into the wall. Stop being such a pansy, holy crap! I’m going to try not to over react in the heat of the moment, so I’m not going to say Ellsbury is one of the most over-rated fielder in the game. Nope, I’m not saying that at all.
Huge at bat here against Hunter, lets go Ramon Ramirez!
Amazing play by Drew to save the game for the Sox! Why is Drew playing so shallow against Hunter? I don’t care! Holy shit what a play!
And what the hell is Abreu doing trying to tag on what was essentially an infield pop up? Also, as Dave Roberts said, great throw on the run by Drew.
I’m on record as a huge J.D. Drew fan, and he obviously just made a game saving play, but I couldn’t agree more with pinch hitting Rocco Baldelli in this spot. Brian Fuentes is a tough lefty and Drew struggles against all lefties. This is a huge spot, and you don’t lose much/anything defensively with Baldelli out there. And as I type this, he gets a solid base knock into right field. Good move Terry.
Hey, at least Bailey has been making all the plays at first base today. He’s been awful all day, including the strikeout looking to end the threat in the top of the 9th, but I count at least 5 tough plays he’s made on ground balls at first.
I’m an optimist, what can I say.
Maybe I’m just being a homer, but generally, when Terry Francona gets tossed from a game, the umpire is probably wrong. He’s not the type of hothead who gets thrown out for no reason or just to get his team going, he generally only does it when he thinks he’s got a legitimate beef. I’m a little surprised that he picked that pitch to Lugo to flip out on, because it was just the home plate umpire, Miller, being consistent with his terrible strike zone. All day long he’s had an absurdly huge strike zone, and I wasn’t even phased by that call as it happened.
If I were Francona, I’d be most enraged if suddenly my pitchers weren’t getting that same big strikezone, but I guess he had had enough of Miller’s “strike zone” for the day.
I disagree with Roberts, I thought that was a bad baserunning play from Lugo, who makes a lot of them. It wasn’t his usual style of cover-your-nose terrible, and he stayed in the pickle long enough to get Ellsbury in scoring position.
Great, and important, play from Nick Green keeping the very fast Aybar off the bases to lead off the bottom of the 11th. He hasn’t played third in quite some time, and it looks like he’s made the transition quite easily today. That’s exactly what you need out of your utility man.
Nice eye black Jeff Mathis. You look like an idiot.
How good is Ramon Ramirez? This is getting ridiculous, he’s now thrown 19.1 innings for the Red Sox, allowing just 12 base runners while striking out nine. That’s just sick. And Roberts said he’s deceiving people because they are unfamiliar with him, which is obviously untrue since he spent all of last year dominating hitters in the AMERICAN LEAGUE, where he remains. This guy is just good, lets not try and take away from it alright?
I’m usually a fan of pitching your best guys in the most high leverage situation, and with the middle of the Angels order (though I’m not sure Maicer Izturis and his .294 OBP counts) coming up, we’re going to get to see it in action. Here’s hoping we get good Jonathan Papelbon today.
Steady diet of splitters and sliders from Papelbon today, and one of his earlier fastballs was only 91 MPH. I’m loathe to say it, but is there an injury here, because he seems to have absolutely no confidence in his fastball. I know, there’s good reason for that, because he hasn’t been locating it all season, but this is undoubtadly not the Papelbon we’re used to seeing.
Varitek has now caught nine of 46 would be base stealers this year, bringing him under 20%. This seems deceptively high, as his throws have actually been much weaker and he’s thrown a number of balls away that have allowed runners to advance. For all the talk about Tek’s improved mobility behind the plate, which I’ll grant is true, he’s taken just as large of a step back with his throwing this year. And it’s not all on the pitchers, he’s throwing some serious lollipops out there to second base.
That was a great 2-2 slider that Mike Napoli fouled off, and then another great fastball on the black to finally retire him. The best part of it all, though? Lugo didn’t botch the play!
Five hits today for Lugo, that’s pretty spectacular, even for a guy who can’t field at all. So far this year, he hasn’t been hitting with any power at all, but he’s getting a ton of hits, this is encouraging indeed. Seems like his old habit of trying to pull balls and rolling over it with weak grounders to short, and reaching for balls to produce weak grounders to the right side of the infield, are over. Lugo’s doing a great job of staying back on the ball and hitting it through the middle.
Ellsbury walks! I guess if you wish upon a star for something enough, it does come true. And Dustin Pedroia is coming to the plate with the bases loaded and one out! Could this be the end to the longest blog post of my life? God I hope so!
in case you were wondering, Papi is now 0-7 with 11 runners left on base.
Right as I was about to say it’s great to be able to bring a guy like Manny Delcarmen in in this situation, he goes and gives up a lead off single to Juan Rivera. Reggie Willits is pinch running, and as I type this up Aybar has sacrificed him over to second.
Game winning single into center by Mathis. What a spectacular waste of an afternoon. I’ll be back later with reaction.