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Joe Buck can’t hold tongue. Hamels doesn’t have it.

Posted by athomeatfenway on November 1, 2009

Hamels walks 10.31.09

Hamels mildly imploded after 3.1 Hitless.

Happy Halloween.  The night of costumes came to us with Game 3 of the 105th World Series wrapped inside it.

Speaking of costumes, there was a day in 1999 that I eschewed my Red Sox garb and went to Yankee Stadium dressed in UConn paraphernalia.  Standing in the line for the tinkle room, New Yorkers extended congrats  for UConn’s recent National Title. They paired knowing nods with arrogant, conceited sentiments like, “There’s nothing like a championship.  We ought to know.  We’ve got 26 of ‘em.”

Screw you, Yankee Fan.  Bleeping bleepers.

It is nothing in particular and everything in general that makes me root against the Yankees.  Thus, I settled into my couch, notepad in lap, on Oct. 31, 2009, to observe game 3, hoping against hope for my Yankee-hating peeps in Philly.

Top of 1st

With Jeter retired, and a 2-1 count on Damon, the “Yankees Suck !Yankees Suck !” chant breaks out in Citizens Bank Park.  A sign of good things to come, I thought.

Bottom of 1st

With Rollins perched on 2nd and Pettitte facing Victorino, a new chant broke out:  “You Use steroids !  You Use Steroids !”.  Nicely done, Philly Fans.

End of 1: Hamels looks locked in.  Pettitte wriggles out of a jam.  0-0.

Top of 2nd

Fox cheats America, showing a commercial instead of Cole Hamels plunking A-Rod. With Mr. Kate Hudson at first, Fox’s Joe Buck calls a balk on Hamels.  The Umps do not agree.  Shut up, Joe Buck.

Soon, Cano is batting and his batting glove moves take on an OCD-like quality. Pull, pull, pull, snappity, snappity, snap.  Get the hell back in the box, dude.    He strikes out, missing the ball by three feet.

They earn $201 Million, but they were as hapless as the Washington Nationals.

Bottom of 2nd

Jason Werth’s awkward, reaching half-swing on a 3-2 pitch catches the jet stream and lands 10 rows in front of Harry the K’s restaurant, about 20 rows past the left center wall.  A 394 footer.  Liberty 1, Evil 0.

Feliz then shows he too can reach awkwardly across the plate and make contact, doubling to right. And Ruiz walks.  Then Cole Hamels, who batted .148 this season, drops a perfect BUNT in an impossible place for a single to load the bases.  Joy spreads across New England as Jimmy Rollins strides to the plate.  It’s looking bad for Big Andy.  He walks Rollins, gifting him an RBI.  Then, after getting ahead 0-2 to Victorino, Pettitte forgets how to keep it out of the strike zone and the Flyin’ Hawaiian strokes a sac fly to center.

End of 2: Hamel looks solid.  Pettitte melts down.  Phillies 3, NYY 0.

Top of 3rd:

It just can’t be more efficient.  Jeter makes Hamel throw him 6 pitches to get a line out, but Cabrera and Pettitte only require 3 total pitches combined to be retired.

Bottom of 3rd

Ryan Howard K’s for the 8th time in 11 WS at bats.  Werth and Ibanez give it a ride, but Andrew Eugene Pettitte has a 1-2-3 inning.

Somewhere Susan Waldman is saying Andy looks just like Sandy Koufax.

End of 3: Crisp, exciting pitching. Keep it going and we’ll all be in bed at 10:30, dreaming happy Phillie dreams.   Good guys lead, 3-0.

Top of 4th

Damon, batting .125 and looking every bit of 36 now, lifts a weak fly to RF.  They are going down like lambs.  Then, after Tex waves at a 1-1 pitch, Joe Buck announces that Hamel hasn’t allowed a hit.  It’s Top of the Fourth and the Fox play-by-play man strikes the first drum beat for a nationally televised no-hitter, breaking all the rules of Baseball mojo  !!!!  The Baseball Gods react quickly to the Buck boondoggle.  Teixeira walks on a pitch that looks like a strike out on replay.  A-Rod doubles.  No, wait, the ball hit a TV camera on the Right Field wall.  The play is under review as  “Yankees Suck !” begins anew.  Whoops.  The Umps reverse their original call; it’s a 2 run HR.

Screw you, Joe Buck.  Keep your mouth shut next time.

Bottom of 4th

Pettitte comes out sharp, getting ahead of Feliz 1-2, inducing a grounder to 3rd.  But A-Rod then shows why his zone rating is below average, throwing wildly.  E-5.  Runner at first.  Was the Curse of A Rod setting the stage for a Phil’s rally ?  Nope.  A grounder, a sac bunt, and a soft fly to RF later, and no damage is done.

End of 4: Bad things happen to good people.  (Non-Yankees.)   Phils 3, Yankees 2.

Top of 5th

When Hamels can’t get Swisher to swing at two crap pitches on 0-2, the Son of Steve lined a double to left.  Hamels then gets 0-2 on Cabrera, and K’s him on a change in the dirt.  With one out and a man at second, Pettitte steps into the box for an easy out via the Cole Hamel express.  But wait, Hamels declines the heater and tosses a curve that Andy times for a solid single to CF.  Swisher then beats Victorino’s throw to the plate.  On the very next pitch, the first pitch to Jeter, the Yankee captain flairs a safety to almost the exact same spot in CF that Pettitte reached.  Two on, one out, and Damon, now batting .111, neatly lines an 0-1 pitch to the gap in RF for a 2 RBI double.

Suddenly, the Phillies’ clear advantage in pitching evaporates.

Tex walks.  Hamels yields to Happ.  Arod lines out.  Posada pops out.  The damage is done.

Bottom of 5th

As Pettitte gets Victorino to line out to  CF, I realize that with two consecutive World Series appearances Shane Victorino has become as recognizable to me as the mailman.

October is now a Philadelphia thing.

Pettitte retires Utley, 3-1, busting his bulk up the line to nip the fleet Phillie.  Howard pops weakly to Jeter to end it.

End of 5: How quickly things change.  Yankees 5-3.

Top of 6th

After registering one out, Happ allows a moonshot to Swisher.  Yankees, 6 – 3.

I cheerily recalled how in April I had seen the Phils win 13-11 in the only game I ever attended in Philly.  The Phils came from behind four times, over coming 5 homers by the Nats.  No lead is safe in Citizens Bank Park.

Middle of the 6th

And on that happy note, I retired for the evening after 36 outs, in the middle of the 6th, with New York ahead by 3 runs.

I had a lot planned for Sunday morning.

It was 11:24 pm, EST.

I would arise to the bad news.  Yankees win.  Y-A-N-K-E-E-S win.

But I won’t let one win bother me.  They won have 112 games in 2009.

I’m OK if they win one more.

But only one more.

My ultimate prize this year is to see the stuffed shirts in the boroughs denied the right to crow about a 28th Championship like it was their birthright.

Screw ‘em.

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Posted in NEW YORK YANKEES, Phillies, World Series, yankees | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Josh Beckett a bore; Angels 5 Red Sox 4

Posted by athomeatfenway on October 10, 2008

  
 
 
 

Stephen King a bad omen

Stephen King a bad omen

Horror Show starts with Stephen King

Cassidy and Johnny V. scooted down to the field near the Sox dugout to watch Heidi Watney interviewing someone in pregame.  Not much was happening under a chilled & blue Fenway sky.

 

Two young ladies pointed 15 feet away to the second row of Field Box 34.  One said, “There’s Stephen King.”

 

Sure enough, there he was.  Gigantic head skootched under a non-MLB ball cap, relaxed, chatting with his buddy.

 

“Wow ! I’ve got to get his autograph”, I said, knowing the wife would be pleased.

 

“He’s not going to sign.”, the petite, raven haired 20-something gal said.  “He wouldn’t sign for us.”

 

Bullsheet, as El Tiante would say.  I had to  try.

 

Thinking of how to get his attention….

 

Stephen, my wife goes to bed with you every night.  Would you sign this for her ?

 

Or,

 

Stephen, how come we don’t see you speaking at the Bookfest in D.C. ?  We get stuck listening to bores like Salman Rushdie.  Hey, sign this for my wife ?

 

Or,

 

Stephen…Stephen…my wife is in treatment…..would you…could you…sign this for her ?

 

I went legit.  I tried the the Bookfest angle.

 

King glanced at me, “Not going to D.C..  Been there, done that.”

 

“Oh, I see.  Would you sign this for my wife ?”

 

He shook me off like he was shaking off a fastball for Vlad Guerrero.  He broke eye contact.  

 

Being famous has got to be a bitch.  Putting up with wife-pleasing, beer-clutching fans is a burden.

 

That poor rich bastard.

 

I did snap 2 photos of King, however.  And one of the young ladies, at the prompting of Cassidy, said she’d email me a photo of herself in a bikini if I’d email her the photo of King.

 

I promptly lost the email address she had scribbled and pressed into my hand.

 

Things were off to a bad start.

 

 

Slowing twisting in the wind…upside down

 

 

Beckett struck out two and induced a grounder to Pedroia to record 3 crisp outs in the 1st. 

 

Josh K’d Anderson on a curve.  He whiffed Teixeira on a 93 mph cutter.

 

But, there was also a double to Figgins, a single to Hunter and walks to Vladi and Rivera – before that inning ending ground out to Dustin.

 

With 30 pitches to 7 Angels in the first, Beckett set the tone for an excruciatingly long game.

 

5 hours and 19 minutes long.

 

In this freakish contest, the Angels out hit us 16 to 7 while scoring just 5 times.

 

Platoon catcher Mike Napoli crushed two homers.

 

Napoli broke the tie, scoring the game winning run in the 12th inning.

 

Before Napoli’s first HR, the Angels had played 68 innings in the post season without one.

 

The Sox snapped their long winning streak in elimination games, dating back to the 2004 ALDS.

 

The Angels snapped an 11 game losing streak to the BoSox in the post-season.

 

The Angels misplayed a pop-up into a 3-run single for Ellsbury.

 

It was the first 3-run single in post-season history.

 

Beckett yielded four runs, nine hits, four walks, and struck out six in five innings. His postseason ERA nudged from 1.73 to 2.09.

 

The Sox did have opportunities. 

 

They left the bases loaded in the 10th.

 

Dustin, Bay and Jed dotted the frame with 2 whiffs and a fly ball out.

 

And perhaps hardest to watch of all, Dustin went hitless again.  He is 0-for-13 in three A.L.D.S. games.

 

Our best hitter didn’t hit. 

Our post-season stud couldn’t locate.

Our hunger for the kill evaporated.

 

 

I don’t know when Stephen King checked out.

We left Fenway at 12:40 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in ALDS, angels, BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Josh Beckett, Los Angeles Angels, RED SOX, Stephen King, World Series | Leave a Comment »

Prediction: Sox stun Angels in ALDS Sweep

Posted by athomeatfenway on October 1, 2008

 

redsox.com

redsox.com

 

 

Lester, Beckett, Wakefield Star

 

Oct. 1, 2008

6 p.m. EST

Red Sox Nation

Suffield, Ct.

 

 

Game 1:  3-1 Sox

Game 2:  5-4 Sox

Game 3:  6-3 Sox

 

 

On the early eve of the ALDS, the Sox do not have the Angels exactly where they want them.

 

The National Media is leading with the injury angle.  The Sox are banged up and the Angels are not.  Thus, with the Angels taking 8 of 9 from us this year, Vladimir & Co. must be the better team.

 

The Vegas odds makers agree.  The BoSox are solid underdogs in the first two games.  Lackey and Santana have the edge.

 

Fortunately, it all will not come down to who has the fewest injured players.  It will come down to what the healthy players do on the field.

 

Momentum.  Chemistry.  Motivation.  That’s what it’s all about. 

 

And Parts.  You got to have the parts.

 

HOME AND AWAY

 

The Sox are lucky to be catching Lackey and Santana at home.

 

Lackey’s ERA away is 3.23.  At home it is  4.29.  Lackey’s ERA against lefties is 2.59.   And 5.07 against righties.  With 3 switch hitters in our line up, we can send 6 righty hitters.  Make that seven if Lowell plays.  Also consider that 4 of Lackey’s last 5 starts have been less than quality.    I like getting Lackey now in Anaheim.

 

Santana has been excellent in 3 of his last 5 starts.  But he got spanked in the two sub-par starts by the Rangers and the Yankees, both of whom have star studded line-ups that can generate runs. Just like us.  (Yes, just like us  — when we are getting timely hitting.)

 

And both of those September beat downs of Santana came in ANAHEIM. 

 

Santana excelled in September against Seattle (twice) and Detroit, teams that both finished last in their division.

 

Media Hype Distraction

 

The talk around the Cali baseball scene is about a potential Highway Series between the Angels and Dodgers.

 

Today an LA Times columnist is shouting, “MANNY KNOWS HOW TO HAVE FUN, AND HE KNOWS HOW TO WIN !”

 

Hollywood ?  Mannywood.

 

Mike Golic joined the pickers picking Dodgers vs. Angels today.

 

Thank you, electronic media, for underestimating the Sox, moving the discussion to a context that will never happen, and lowering expectations.  The injured Sox are flying a little lower on the radar.

 

Great.  Let these visions dance in Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick’s heads.

 

Meanwhile, David Ortiz is thinking, “Now we gotta do what we can do.”.

 

I think that David means We are bad muddafukas. We throw an adrenaline switch when we reach the playoffs.  We become the creature. Then we do what we can do.

 

 

 Let the media paint the Sox with defeat.  Go ahead.

 

THE LINE UPS

 

It is dangerous to underestimate the Angels.  One flight around their depth chart reveals a proficient MLB hitter at every non-pitching position except catcher, where Jeff Mathis bats 30 points lower than Jason Veritek.

 

Whoa, what a line up of hitters.  Hunter, Guerrero, Teixeira, Kendrick, Aybar, Figgins, Anderson.  Mathis.

 

These hitters should be feared on the same level as the White Sox, Yankees and Rangers in terms of pure hitting talent.

 

Shit.  These guys are good.

 

*************.

Then again….

 

Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Youk, Bay, Casey, Lowrie, Tek, and Crisp.

 

If anyone doesn’t believe our 9 is as good as their 9, they need to calm down.

 

They have a little more outfield pop than us.  We have potential gold glovers to offset that.

 

Let’s call it a draw.

 

Momentum Case:  Them

 

Who-is-hot and who-is-not is a huge factor.

 

The Angels won 17 of 26 games in September, a sterling .654 win pct. in the final month.

 

9 of those wins came against last place clubs and 4 more came against a team without a pitching staff  Texas.

 

The Seattle wins point up the fact that the Angels play in the weakest Division in the A.L..  They were the only AL West team that won more than they lost.

 

In September, they were 12-5 against the West, and 5-4 against the other divisions.

 

Think they’d have won 100 games if they had to play the Yankees, Jays & Rays a total 57 times ?

 

 

Momentum Case:  Us

 

The Sox in Sept. were 16 – 10.   We drilled Baltimore and Texas.  We played up to the Rays’ level in Tampa but lost two heartbreakers and a 3-game series down there, 2-1.  Then we lost a Series 2-1 again to the Rays the following week.

 

 

We won 5 of 8 series in the month, dropping the aforementioned two to Tampa and the last rain-marred Yankee series.

 

We were 4-3 the last week of the season.

 

We were 12 W – 8 L against teams with .500 or better records.  5-1 with teams under .500.

 

It was a very good month in black and white.

 

The feel and the touch of it was, however, much better than that.  Our middle relief hiccupped against the Rays, turning an 18-8 month into 16-10.  We could been heading into the playoffs having won 11 of 12 series that stretched from August into September.

 

And we were red hot in August.

 

That’s a damn strong case for momentum before we even throw the mojo switch.

 

“Now we gotta do what we can do.”.

 

 

Head to Head

 

THE FLU, THE QUALITY START & THE PAULEY

 

April 22 to 24

  • Pauley, our worse starter, starts and we win 7-6.  How ironic.
  • Lester is subpar on 4 days rest spotting up for a flu struck Dice-K, we lose 4-6
  • Masterson makes his MLB debut w a GEM, but DelCarmon and Lopez blow it, yielding 4 runs, we lose 5-7

BUCHHOLZ FADES, & HITTING FAILS

July 18 to 20

  • Buchholz continues to fall apart, gives 8 runs, we lose 3-11.
  • Beckett pitches a complete game GEM, but gives up a homer, a seeing eye single & a dying quail in the 7th…we lose 2-4.
  • Wakefield gives a quality start, but we suffer a lack of timely hitting, out-stranding the Angels 7 – 2 in LOB’s, and we lose 3-5.

IN A MANNY FUNK, WE PLAYED LIKE POOP

July 28 to 30

  • Matsuzaka, who would lose only twice all season, gives up two HR’s scoring 5 runs to take the L as the gopher ball takes us down 5-7.  Dice K would go on to yield only 12 HR’s all season, at a rate of about 1 HR every 3 games.
  • Buchholz continues to distintigrate, allowing 6 runs in 6 innings.  Pedroia singles and Youk HR’s in the 9th to break up Lackey’s no-no. We lose 2-6.
  • Beckett is awful.  We commit 4 errors. We lose 2-9.

 

 

Let’s Be Bullish !

 

Fellow Soxaholics, let’s expect nothing less than a terrific two games in L.A., and let’s expect to win.

 

The peculiarities of the nine games against the Angels this year were aberrations.

 

Aberrations.   Dammit.

 

We’ll kick their arses.  A sweep, I say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in ALCS, angels, BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, Los Angeles Angels, RED SOX, World Series | 1 Comment »