where opening day begins in the middle of the night happensYour official and epic Papelblog Opening Day I Was Half-Asleep and There Was No One Here to Tell Me I'm Not That Funny Live Blog.
Well, this should be fun. I've liveblogged baseball drunk, I've liveblogged baseball by scribbling down my thoughts on bar napkins, but I've never liveblogged while still 97% asleep. I asked Katie if she wanted to meet somewhere and watch the game, she said, "I don't get up at six am." Boy will she be jealous when she finds out that Josh Beckett realized he wasn't going to be the opening day starter, commandeered a plane to Japan and is about to leap out of the Wally costume and take the mound. Or maybe that's happening in the 3% of my brain that's still asleep.
top of the first
Lead-off single for Pedroia! I've got a good feeling about that kid. Youk grounds out to the third, Papi pops to short left, Manny flies out to deep right. Ho-hum.
bottom of the first
Okay, my biggest wish for Dice-K in 2008 is that he be less afraid of pitching to contact. So I'm taking that first-pitch ground out as a good sign. (Wait for it.) Okay, not that much contact. 1-0 As after the Mark Ellis homer. And here's the Dice-K give up a homer, get frustrated, give up a walk, hit a batter, throw a wild pitch special! Okay, I was feeling rusty, but now baseball is BACK. The bullshit is coming fast and furious now, we've got bases loaded and one out. Remy says it'll be hard to tell if anyone is warming in the bullpen because the bullpens are underground, and then we see "bullpen cam." The bullpens look like something out of the movie Hostel. I laugh grimly. At some point a run scores on an infield chopper, I also contemplate going back to bed, eventually Dice-K strikes out Jack Hannahan swinging while doing that maddeningly reasonable impression of a major league pitcher.
top of the second
Mike Lowell drops a base hit into center field. Retired members of NDRaPRSFftEMRSoML are pleased. Like I said, I'm still waking up, so the sight Brandon Moss' baby face is when it first comes to my attention that JD Drew faked "back stiffness" when he found out that he wasn't going to be allowed to hit the Japanese balls anymore. That's just great. Lowell out at second on a Moss grounder. Varitek promptly grounds into a double play. God dammit.
bottom of the second
Suzuki kicks things off by lobbing one into center field. I look down for a second, I look back up and top bar says bases are loaded. I briefly wonder if I mercifully slept sitting up through two walks, but then they take the bar away so I guess it's just technical difficulties. Hey, a strike out! This is followed by two walks. I don't even know. First Batshit Tavarez the Carnie King sighting of the season, he looks very at home in the subterranean Hostel bullpen. Eventually, Dice-K strikes out Jack Cust with the bases loaded to escape the inning with no runs scored, even though that inning lasted, like, 2,474 years.
top of the third
Jacoby strikes out, Julio Lugo lines one into center field. Maybe this is just opposite day? Pedroia flies out to deep right, Youk beats a close throw at first, and now it's two on, two out for Papi. C'mon! C'MON! And Papi ... lines into the shift. They show Dice-K jogging back out to the mound as we go to commercial and I feel vaguely nauseous.
bottom of the third
Two quick outs followed by a walk, so much for a one-two-three inning. I think that's walk number three zillion, but I might have lost count. Um. Then the inning ends due to some IMPECCABLE defense by Julio Lugo. So that was interesting.
top of the fourth
Apparently there is a chance of snow showers tonight in Boston, so that's one good reason to play games in Japan. Remy points out that the Sox are out-hitting the As 4-2 despite being down 2-0, so that's a good reason to take a break from the game to take a shower. And all I miss is a 1-2-3 inning, so.
bottom of the fourth
Now Kyle Snyder is throwing in the bullpen/dugeon. Do you think all the relief pitchers are down there underground or do they just go down there to warm up? If they're all down there the whole game, I think there is a 99.9% chance that Papelbon has organized a Texas Hold 'Em tournament. Since I'm trying to catch up, I watch this inning on fast-forward, thinking the 3-2 counts will be more tolerable this way, and, of course, Dice-K picks this inning to go 1-2-3 including a sweet struck out looking on three pitches. On to the fifth!
top of the fifth
Do you think Tito even pretended he was going to quit chewing this year? Sox go down in order AGAIN.
bottom of the fifth
Dice-K appears to have settled down nicely, striking out Barton and Cust, and getting a ground out to end the inning. I guess I should be happy, but mostly I'm just wishing I'd known to set my alarm for 7:47AM.
top of the sixth
Pedroia sails one past Travis Buck and cruises into second for a double. Finally, some luck! Youk walks on four pitches, Blanton looking like he ain't got shit. Crowd starting to make some noise, I'm even sitting up straight. Papi pops out deep behind third base (As enjoying a real home field advantage, the foul territory here rivals the Coliseum) but then on the first pitch, Manny scorches one down the third base line and notorious speedsters Pedroia and Youkilis score from second and first, respectively. YES! And Lowell strikes out but then Moss, Brandon Moss, Brandon Moss lines one into left field and Manny scores from second (tossing off the batting helmet in the process, MANNY STOP DOING THAT, did you learn nothing in the playoffs last year?) and the Red Sox take the lead! Great day in the morning. I take back everything I said. I love everyone. Pitching change, and it's good old friend Alan Embree, the dude who looks like he kills hookers at truck stops. Embree, how the hell are you? I'm jovial and punchy now, in case you can't tell. Embree and Tek are clearly eager to catch up, so Tek strikes out.
bottom of the sixth
And now ... we get Kyle Snyder. And before I can even explain to my roommate why I'm sitting on the couch in my bathrobe instead of getting dressed for work, it's 4-3 As. Dammit.
top of the seventh
Hit, double play, ground out, blah blah blah. Starting to wonder if things would go better if I left for work.
bottom of the seventh
SNYDER, AGAIN? Okay, bullpen cams again, and we can see in the As bullpen/dungeon that all the As relief pitchers are sitting on, uh, folding chairs? And watching the game on a television. I am now definitely sure the reason we haven't seen the Sox pitchers is that they are playing poker. Javier Lopez in for the Sox and if he pitches like Javier Lopez, I promise myself I'm going to turn off the television and leave for work. But then he gets two relatively quick outs and I'm still here.
top of the eighth
Keith Foulke. Weird. The Red Sox are still out-hitting the As, 8-4. God DAMMIT. Nothing about this inning changes that. Don-O points out what I have been telling myself for since the first inning -- the Sox got shelled by the freakin' Royals on Opening Day last year and everything turned out fine.
bottom of the eighth
Nice job by Corey, and a nice bid to be the new web-gemming center fielder of our hearts by Jacoby.
top of the ninth
Okay, I can guess how this is gonna go, I'm going to start packing my lunch, getting my gym clothes together, so that -- holy shit! Home run by Brandon Moss the baby-faced JD Drew replacement barbie! Tie game!
bottom of the ninth
Okajima! One player who is committed to not duplicating Opening Day 2007. Thank god.
top of the tenth
Lugo beats out a grounder and Pedroia squares up a nice bunt. Small ball power! Youk strikes out, Papi is intentionally walked. Okay, I remember what happened the last time somebody intentionally walked Papi to get to Manny, so let's just -- hey! HEY! THAT'S GOOD ENOUGH! Double off the wall, two runs score, 6-4 Red Sox! Now, c'mon, NESN, show me Papelbon in the bullpen dungeon. Show me. YES!
bottom of the tenth
PAPELBOOOOOOOOOOOOOON. He walks Barton but strikes out Cust. Just as I think it's safe to put on my coat, Emil Brown bangs a gapper and everything briefly seems fucked but then he gets caught in a run-down and now it's 6-5 but there are two outs. I guess that's ... good? Seriously, I'm starting to think I never woke up, because Papelbon gives up another two base hits. WHAT THE FUCK? I have to go to work! Okay, chopper to first, Papelbon covers, game over, I still want some explanation of how the last four hours just happened, but all games count the same once they're in the win column, and now I have to go sheepishly show up two hours late to work. Happy Opening Day everybody!