Tagged: Ellsbury

Slugfest

My folks now swear by StubHub. They bought four tickets, pretty close to the field, in the field box area. According to my brother, the closer the game is, the more desperate the ticket holders were to get rid of the tickets, so the lower the prices went. Interesting.

What a slugfest today. So much for defence. It’s worrisome when the players seem to be hitting Beckett’s sweet spots. Although Varitek’s catching and throwing to the stolen base attempt was awesome.

Seems that while the team won, Ellsbury got caught in his offensive running, a couple times too many. Well, you can’t be perfect. Sorry to miss the game. But I have a bit of comfort that Boston climbed their way back up to the top of the division. Now, if only they would play better on their away games…

I’m beat. Exhausted. I didn’t even really do that much relative to physical activity.

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Six win streak and counting

Red Sox: 7, Angels: 6

What an exciting game. Start ahead, fall behind, tie, get ahead, tie, break ahead. I felt like my mind was volleying back and forth like a tennis ball in a court.

Observations:
– NESN called the play of the day Youk’s homerun. While he tied the game after a four run deficit, I feel like the honors really belong to Ellsbury, closely followed by his partnership with Pedroia. Two homeruns, and the winning score. That’s almost half the Red Sox score.
– Lugo’s hitting is hot. I’m still holding his defensive weakness against him.
– Timlin didn’t really earn the win… no more than Oliver deserved the loss.
– Best facial expression: Weaver’s open-mouthed gape at Youkilis’ homerun.
– Oki wasn’t so hot tonight. I hope that’s a temporary thing.
– Would kinda have liked to see Pedroia holding a catcher’s mitt, just for schitz and giggles.
– Wished my parents’ ginormous plasma HDTV had captioning.
– It’s good to be able to watch a Sox game, though.

 

Happy Birthday, Tito.

Long games help absentminded fans

Wow. Didn’t think I would be able to still watch the game. Am currently on the Left Coast for business. Came on in time to see Pedroia tag Cabrera.

Exciting moments of the game that I was lucky enough to catch:

– Double-play by Pedroia in the 8th
– Coco and Pedroia in the 8th.
– Lopez almost force Abreu to a face surgery. (damn. I’m not sure I’d be all the calm if I were Abreu.
– Casey saving Lugo of another error with a fantastic base catch and out on Abreu.
– A-Rod striking out (apparently the second of the night!)
– Delcarmen closing, effectively.

 

Observations:

– Wow. Coco and Ellsbury on the same line-up. Two of the Sox’s fastest runners and most effective base stealers. Must be quite a show.

Have thoughts about the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry. Will probably post it in time for the next match up later this week.

How Red Sox are you?

I’m clapping like a gleeful 4-year-old with the news of the clubhouse exercising the option for Wakefield. Yes, he is injured. Yes, he had not had a good postseason. Yes, he had not had a good end of the regular season. But 17 wins in a season? It counts for something. It counts for a lot. Then there is also the intangible.

I alluded often to the “Red Sox identity.” The postseason really emphasizes on how professional baseball is different from school teams. It’s business. I don’t say it in a demeaning way, just factually. But, given all that, once the player is on a team, he plays for the team. I didn’t see a single person on that team being half-hearted about the World Series win, even if he was bound for free agency. All this, after all, is a team sport.

But some players got deeper into the sense of team and seem to adopt the team as his home team. Those players identify themselves as a member of that specific team, regardless of pay, and regardless of team’s hardware or lack thereof. Of course, this sense of is limited to some common sense factors like decent treatment from the clubhouse, some level of loyalty to the coaching staff and nucleus team composition.

Some players I feel had developed a true sense of Red Sox identity:

  • Varitek (obviously, the captain)
  • Youkilis
  • Ortiz
  • and Wakefield (for whose return I truly celebrate)

Some, I hope, will develop as they go deeper into their budding careers, and some of whom are starting to show it, but are really too rookie to tell:

  • Papelbon
  • Pedroia
  • Ellsbury

Finally, some who want to, providing the club demonstrates some reciprocal treatment:

  • Lowell
  • Schilling, to some degree

And I’ll dare to say it: sometimes I feel Manny is Red Sox, other times I wonder if he plays more for himself. He certainly has helped define the Red Sox with his seemingly carefree and loose attitude. But who has his loyalty? We may technically hold the contract but what is his heart saying? I can’t tell.

Also, I have no idea where to place Crisp and Beckett. I hope Beckett joins the club in more ways than a contractual agreement. Being the ace certainly made him more appealing but how red does he bleed? How red is he capable of bleeding?

Magic number: 2

Game: 2
Runs: 2
Lead: 2

This was a tight game. The kind of close nerve-wrecking, nail biting, leg fidgeting closeness that keeps the fans on the edge and the die-hard fans screaming their advice at the television screens. Both teams left a lot of runners stranded on base. Both teams had great pitchers with occaisional not-so-great pitches. Both teams had the clum somber look until the 8th when one gained a nervous hopeful excitement while the other looked downright sorrowful. This, my friends, is baseball.

Best play of the game: the pick off. Heck, yea! How often does that happen as it is, postseason or not.

Best offensive player: Matt Holliday. 4 for 4. That statistic says it all. I applaud Pedroia’s effort in stopping the fourth hit within the infield, but a hit is a hit.

Best target: Youkilis. Did no one else get a sense of déjà vu watching another pitch hurling towards our first baseman’s head.. again? Drew was the one who got it in the leg, ouch, although Lugo took a close one. But, Youkilis, man, just continues to attract moments like that.

Best popularity contest: Ellsbury is on his way to becoming the country’s favourite ballplayer is he keeps trying to feed us. Although it’s not my normal choice of food, I’m going to get one just because Ellsbury did earn it.

Best soft spot: Both teams gained so much from a surprisingly underguarded second base. Watching those ground and low line balls whiz across, literally, second base into the outfield was a bit painful. I was surprised how many Pedroia did not cover.

Best guardian angel job: Was it just me or the Sox third base coach was thanking his lucky stars when he ducked in time to avoid a foul ball from Youkilis, just after Ellsbury himself had to duck for an earlier foul?

In summary, both pitchers were good. Jimenez had spots where he had trouble controlling the ball. Schilling was far from perfect himself, hitting his first batter, but Jimenez’s throws were clocking just shy of 100mph, which can be **** scary if you get in the way. In spite of that, I can see Jimenez’s potential and why Rockies favour him. Schilling got a messy start, one that cost him a run, literally. Yet he held out for a solid outing, although the Rockies seem to be able to make good contact with his pitches. Something to pay attention to in Game 6.

I have more thoughts (as always). Will resume tomorrow. Especially on why I think the Rockies absolutely have the homefield advantage. Clue: mile high city.

Fans, you did it

I’ve been enjoying a lazy Sunday morning for once. Been watching the interviews on MLB. Here’s a huge theme: fan support. Quotes:

Lowell
– I think he got a great ovation. One that he really deserves… and he didn’t stop there. He put together a complete day.
– No one likes when, you get the fans… no one likes when they are getting on you.
– He deserves to be applauded and appreciated.

Papi
– You gotta bring everything you have… even if I have to pitch, I will, man.
– It’s going to be crazy here tomorrow. craaaazy.

Francona
– I’m glad we’re playing at home… you don’t see 45,000 white towels waving around.

Schilling
– How incredibly blessed I am. How, I mean, those are the moments you never forget… to play in this environment, in this stadium, in front of these people. I’ll argue you’ll never hear “homefield advantage” being poo-pooed again. They worked the crowd tonight.. it had an incredible effect on me.
– We’re very much channeling the fan base here. These fans are relentless, passionate and relentless. They don’t allow us to ever let up for a minute. And if we do, we hear about it and I think that’s part of it.

Drew
– The atmosphere was great.
– You hear [the cheering]. The effect is uplifting…. first priority is to play defense but it does kinda put an inward smile.

I’m curious… are these players required to get some public speaking coaching or training as part of their job? Some of them are very polical, respectful, and articulate.

       Ellsbury is back on the line-up, playing center field, and batting 8th. Excellent. Give the kid a chance and give him time.

          

I shall be missing yet another game, at least the beginning. Bummer. Will be trying to tune in as soon as I free myself of social obligations.