Tuesday, August 05, 2008

what happened to kansas city, a free win with every visit?

I always feel like there's nothing worse than having Daisuke Matsuzaka turn in one of those agonizing performances where he, say, stretches 109 pitches over six innings but there were definitely points during the game when it seemed like he only might go 4.1 innings, and he only gives up two hits but he also gives up five walks and he gets away with only allowing two runs by striking out nine and stranding seven guys on base. When all's said and done it was a quality start with an impressive number of Ks, but you also felt like he was going to start blowing chunks at any moment.

Oh wait, THOSE WERE GIL MECHE'S STATS LAST NIGHT. Now I know -- it's torture watching Daisuke pitch what passes for "well" this season, but it's much, much, much worse for the other team.

Also, seriously, when was the last time Tampa Bay lost and the Red Sox won on the same night? They had Cliff Lee and you had the Kansas City Flippin' Royals and you couldn't get me a game in the standings? Do you want to push me over this ledge?

Monday, August 04, 2008

three games / five stages of grieving

Weekend with the Athletics

I did not think it was possible that I could want to shank Julio Lugo more than I already do, but now that Jed Lowrie is playing while Lugo's on the DL, Julio Lugo is actually making me hate him more while doing absolutely nothing. Recently I learned that Jed Lowrie is from Salem, Oregon, where I spent three of the most miserable years of my life (AKA college). I wonder if he would have watched the 2002 World Series with me when none of my friends would and I ended up watching the entire thing alone in my studio apartment eating rice with peanut butter and drinking tap water, because I was a) broke and b) under 21. That would have been cool.

Jason Bay is like the new step-dad who is trying really, really hard to let you know that we're all one big happy family now. Every time he takes me out for ice cream, I worry that I'm being disloyal to Manny.

Jon Lester had some spectacular starts in the month of July (thinking about his two games against the Yankees makes me weak in the knees), but Saturday's game was the kind of game that makes me think that he's really turned the corner and good Lester is not an illusion. After the home run and high pitch count disaster of a first inning, it looked like we were heading for a 4 runs/5 innings performance at the very best, but instead he toughed up and turned in six scoreless innings. I said this a couple times about Beckett last year -- your ace is the stopper, but he's also the guy who realizes he does not have his best stuff that day but is also able to keep you in the game and eat innings. Jon Lester appears to be that pitcher this season. The baby crab is officially all grown up.

Also on Saturday I saw a guy wearing a Manny jersey shirt and I felt like he was wearing a hot pink mini-dress to a funeral.


I am a mostly sabermetricly-minded person, but, last year, there was a certain part of me that was like, "Beckett has 21 wins! 21 WINS! Give him the Cy Young already!" (Although I still think the argument can be made that he deserved it because of strength of opponents and park factors.) I feel like Daisuke Matsuzaka is on a one-man mission to punish me for having those feelings, as he is probably going to be the most frustrating pitcher to ever win 18 or 19 games in a season. Daisuke, I just want you to know: every time you take a batter to a 3-2 count, a kitten DIES.

You know how sometimes on the news, the anchor warns the viewing audience that the following footage may be disturbing to some viewers? I wish NESN would do that every time they show highlights of Manny in a Dodgers uniform.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

then why was it all so good?

Our belated thoughts on the Manny trade, thanks to a couple days spent locked out of the blog because Blogger erroneously thought we were spam.

Recently Joe Posnanski wrote this great post about Brett Favre. Basically, he said that everything that made Brett Favre one of the greater quarterbacks ever is everything that's making Brett Favre the guy who doesn't care about untidying his legacy. I like this idea, because sometimes it's easy to forget that star athletes aren't actually fictional characters. They may show up on my TV more often than a Law and Order re-run, but there aren't any show runners behind the curtain scripting them into narrative arcs. There aren't very many happy endings in sports. Sometimes there's no real definitive ending at all.

Oh, Manny. I should have known that everything I loved about you was everything that was going to make it so messy when it was time for you to go.

So, Manny no longer being Manny, at least in Boston. So much to say, but thanks to Blogger thinking that we're spam (I sort of understand-- I mean, Papelbon is a bit of a walking advertisement these days -- maybe he's started hawking Russian mail order brides or something and google-bot got confused), we're a little late getting to this and the emotions have settled. Mostly, I'm annoyed at the attitudes involved and yes, as Kelly points out above, everything about Manny makes his childish exit unsurprising. Which is true and it's not so much him I'm irritated with -- I stopped being irritated with anything Manny does a long, long time ago.

What I'm actually sick of is every single time the Red Sox send a player who is popular with the fans out of town, there's always a series of conveniently-timed leaks from the front office about how unhappy everyone in the clubhouse is with the player, about how the organization tried to make this a good exit/keep the player but were unable to due to their inherent uncooperativeness, etc, etc, etc. It happened with Nomar, it happened with Pedro, it sort of happened with Schill, and it's happening again with Manny. I'm not saying it's not true. if I were a player on that team, I'd probably be irritated with all the superstars. But only to a point. I mean, professional athletes are used to insane, overpaid, and over-pampered prima donnas. and more than any player before, everyone knew how exasperating Manny could be. But just once I'd like to see a classy response from the front office about how the player has given a lot to the organization, but a business decision is a business decision so thanks and goodbye that isn't then undermined by playing on the Boston media's tendency to turn on any player with the slightest provocation. I mean, maybe they're not doing that, but it's awfully coincidental, you know?

Unrelated to all that, Jason Bay! I like that if we're going to add another boring white guy to the team that it's a Canadian one with (hopefully) neutral feelings on religion and not too much interest in making himself a New England folk hero. He seems like a decent fellow, really.

Having spent a couple days telling people that I would like to sell them Viagra and XXX porn (you know, the usual spammer stuff), I've calmed down a little bit. I agree with Katie, the front office stuff is frustrating. It's like, yeah, all the rumors that are coming out are most likely true, but it doesn't make me feel good to have learned that stuff, you know? It increases the time between when I was bummed that Manny left and when everything was a fuzzy memory of good times, shenanigans and towering home runs.

I am prepared to embrace the Jason Bay era. Although, with Manny's departure and Lugo's trip to the DL (get well soon never!) the team has gotten ... awfully white. This is exacerbated by Bay, Drew and Lowrie batting right in a row, they look like the world's most WASPy, non-threatening set of triplets.