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The sixth inning was the pivotal one last night. Things went from bright to ugly real fast, but my mood was for some unknown reason light. No drugs were involved.

Shall we, pardon the pun, rehash it?

The Jays were down 4-1 after 5 innings. Frank Thomas led off the sixth inning with a fly ball that struck the Monster in straight-away left about 4 and 1/2 feet up. Manny was playing in, but could have caught the ball easily, I thought, had he not misjudged it, and Hurt ended up at second. Glaus doubled down the line to score him. Overbay worked the count (as he did all night, adding substantially to the wear on Matsuzaka), and eventually grounded out to first moving Glaus up. With the infield creeping in, the next batter Aaron Hill golfed one over the Monster to even the score. After Gregg Zaun flew out to center, John McDonald came to the plate.

Should they send up Stairs or Clark to pinch-hit? On the one hand, it's only the sixth inning and you might need of them later. There were 2 outs and nobody on. On the other hand, you're not likely to need both of them late with this lineup. I'd have pinch-hit with Clark. The magic has gone from John McDonald's bat, and he is returning to his career averages at lightning speed.

After McDonald grounded out, Dustin McGowan returned to the mound in the bottom of the inning.

If you put together McGowan's facial hair with Reed Johnson's, you would almost have a ZZTop/rabbi look. But seriously, should they pull McGowan? He has thrown 99 pitches and given up long homers to Ortiz and Hinske and was obviously not sharp, plus he's just had a long rest on the bench. Gibbons doesn't trust Frasor in this situation and wants to give McGowan a shot at the win. When will they ever learn-pitchers do not win games, teams do.

Mike Lowell led off the inning with a hump-back liner to right-center. Jason Varitek followed him.

Varitek looks like a demented fairtyale character with the old school red socks above the uniform. "...and the wolf huffed and he puffed and was about to enjoy a lovely pork dinner when Jason Varitek arrived and beat him senseless with a baseball bat, thereby adding one more creature to the endangered species list".

Instead of beating the wolf senseless, Varitek took it out on the baseball, driving a McGowan pitch about 460 feet into the right-center field stands beyond the bullpen. Exit McGowan, enter Brian Tallet. After Eric Hinske struck out, Julio Lugo laid down a nice bunt for a hit.

How can Julio Lugo not succeed in Fenway? He has the power to knock quite a few balls off the wall and over it. He bunts. He reaches on infield hits. If he doesn't hit .260 or better over his time there, I will be shocked.

With Crisp up, Tallet seems to be more concerned with Lugo at first than the hitter. "He's going to walk him", I tell my father who has been commenting that none of the pitchers in the game seemed to have very good control. He had a point. Crisp walks, Pedroia follows with a single to drive in one. A Manny Ramirez sacrifice fly and a Kevin Youkilis RBI single makes the score 9-4.

Manny Delcarmen comes on, and looks great in disposing of the Jays. He apparently went on a strength training program during the off-season, and has added a little extra zip to his fastball. It is too bad that this news generates raised eyebrows, rather than admiration.

I discovered this weekend that "selig" means "blessed" or "ecstatic" in German. This might not be news to you. But, the whole idea of "Bud Selig" translating to "Ecstatic Beer" is appealing. Hence, "major league baseball teams are revenue generators for cities, whose residents ought to support the teams by agreeing to huge tax hikes to pay for new stadiums", Ecstatic Beer said. Or to look at it another way, I must have been drinking quite a few Bud Seligs to enjoy last night's game.

Litsch vs. Beckett in about 15 minutes. Enjoy the game.
Boston 9 Toronto 4- The Style Council | 26 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Rob - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#171552) #
Nice piece, Mike. We had the game on during a card game, and it took barely three tricks for the WPA graph to lurch back up towards the Bosox side.

The air is certainly screaming its way out of the John McDonald Balloon, isn't it? He's hitting .189/.184/.189 since the Minnesota series. Last year, after he was handed the starting job, he managed to run off a 2-for-27, a 3-for-27, a 7-for-38, and, because it was so much fun the first time, another 3-for-27. And this was just two and a half months. Anyone got a pin so we can speed up this deflation?
CeeBee - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#171553) #

And the Royce Clayton alternative isn't a whole lot better <shudder>

The Jays seriously need to be looking for anything to improve the hole at shortstop. I really like Johnny Mac but he should be a infield fill in who plays a couple of times a week and not every day.

Rob - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#171554) #
Jerry Howarth just officially declared this game a "honey" when Janssen entered. Just thought that should be made known to everyone.
China fan - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#171556) #

   Another good game by Jesse Litsch today.   This guy just might be the real deal.   There aren't many 22-year-olds who can stroll into Fenway and outpitch Josh Beckett.  

   This has prompted me to reflect on the difficulty of predicting the development of young pitching prospects.   If you go back to the beginning of 2006, how many people would have predicted that Litsch would develop faster than Purcey, Banks, Romero or almost any other pitching prospect?   I haven't done a scientific analysis of Bauxite commentary from 2005 and 2006, but how many of us would have expected Litsch to be beating Beckett at Fenway by the middle of 2007, or even beating anyone in the majors?   For that matter, who among us would have predicted that Marcum would have the lowest ERA of any Jays starter by mid-2007?    Yes, we all expected big things from McGowan, but that was the easy prediction.

    Anyone care to venture some analysis on why Litsch and Marcum have improved so much faster than their better-heralded colleagues?   And does anyone have any commentary on the art of projecting the future performance of young prospects?  Is it basically a crap shoot?   Do the cases of Litsch and Marcum basically just prove the unknowability of any of this?

Mike Green - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#171559) #
Litsch and Marcum have a long way to go to establish themselves as solid major league starters, but I can't say that I am shocked by their development.
westcoast dude - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#171560) #

Phillips called a great game, and Jesse has the tools to deliver the goods. When that happens, a 22 year oild rookie and a number two catcher can make the Ace and the formerly best team in baseball look ordinary. I would concede the Wild Card, but the Red Sox can be caught if they have one good losing streak. For me, this was a rare 3 War Whoop Game: Jesse with the force and starting the DP, then Rios gunning down Ortiz at the plate. The borderline dance ain't over.

Dave Till - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 06:16 PM EDT (#171561) #
I think of Marcum as a craftsman, and McGowan as an artist.

Marcum doesn't overpower hitters, but he can throw several different pitches for strikes, and is not afraid to throw anything at any time. He reminds me a lot of a right-handed version of Jimmy Key. He's a pleasure to watch.

I think of McGowan as an artist because he doesn't have complete command of his abilities. (Just as artists often need to connect with their Muse.) But he's getting better at hanging in there when he doesn't have his grade-A stuff - and, when he does, it's like, whoa. But you already knew that. He's a pleasure to watch too.

The Jays have a hole at shortstop because the original plan was to have Hill and Adams as the middle infielders. Adams didn't work out, and the Jays didn't have a backup (since there were other holes to fill). It's just like the first base problem of a couple of years ago: Phelps was supposed to be the man, but didn't make it.

Chuck - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#171562) #

can make the Ace and the formerly best team in baseball look ordinary

The Ace looked far from ordinary.

King Rat - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#171565) #
I'll admit that I was in a bad mood for longer than I should have been during today's game; I blame Alex Rios' extraordinary misplay of Ortiz' fly ball in the sixth. But it was a great performance by some unusual suspects-Overbay, Hill and Clayton offensively, and Litsch, of course, pitching a good one. Even my personal bete noir on the team, Jason Phillips, had a decent game.

Now, if they can just have a good series in the Bronx...

Chuck - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#171566) #

I blame Alex Rios' extraordinary misplay of Ortiz' fly ball in the sixth.

Rios, while immensely talented, is no stranger to mind farts, so I'm not intending to act as an apologist. In this instance, I wonder if Wells, as the de facto captain of the outfield, doesn't have some role to play on those types of flyballs. If he wasn't, and he may well have been, he should have been shouting out Rios' name so that Rios knew it was his ball. While it's not in Wells' nature to be a loud, take charge type of personality (certainly not in the clubhouse, anyway), he must assert his presence in the outfield, particularly with a sometimes distracted teammate flanking his left.

ahitisahit - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 07:55 PM EDT (#171567) #

Rios and Wells both looked very ordinary in the field this series. Reed Johnson is significantly slower since the surgery (and rightly so I'd imagine). He used to just be thrown out by a step or two last year on ground balls, it's more like 15 feet now. Also, for the first time in quite awhile, Matt Stairs was fairly disappointing at the plate.

Didn't get to see the whole game, but Litsch did pretty well. On to New York.

Pistol - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 10:06 PM EDT (#171570) #
he should have been shouting out Rios' name so that Rios knew it was his ball

But Rios wouldn't necessarily know what Wells is saying.  He might just hear Wells and think Wells is calling for it.  If Rios doesn't hear anything he should try and get it.  If he does its Wells' ball.
paulf - Sunday, July 15 2007 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#171571) #
Interesting symmetry in the box today:
Downs (H, 12)   0.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.27
Janssen (H, 13) 0.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.27
King Rat - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 12:14 AM EDT (#171572) #
I will admit to a guilty pleasure I enjoy related to baseball. On those glorious days where the Jays beat the Red Sox, whom I hate far more than I hate the Yankees, I toddle over to SOSH and read the increasingly anguished game thread. I will concede that this is juvenile, mean-spirited and sorta pathetic, but it brings me joy to read the whinging that Bosox fans are reduced to when their cursed team loses.

Anyway, I was quite amused, reading today's thread, to read disparaging references to Toronto's bullpen, as in "now let's take it to this bullpen" and so forth. I don't mind if Boston fans gloat over their superiority over the Jays, or make an argument that the Sox have better starting pitching or hitting than Toronto. I don't even mind if they argue that the Boston bullpen is better than Toronto's, provided that they don't assume that it's some sort of joke bullpen that they can walk all over. So I was quite pleased to see Downs, Janssen and Accardo continue to make a name for themselves. It's even better when the Sox fans don't even know who's beating their team.

Craig B - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 12:44 AM EDT (#171573) #
I will concede that this is juvenile, mean-spirited and sorta pathetic, but it brings me joy to read the whinging that Bosox fans are reduced to when their cursed team loses.

Wow, you feel bad about this?  It's one of the great joys of any Red Sox series.  I usually save it for the following morning, so I can get the whole angry post-mortem together with the sputtering rage as the Sox' candle burns out during the live game.  Schadenfreude at its finest, except of course I no longer feel any shame in it - not since the Sox payroll broke through nine figures.
Craig B - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 01:04 AM EDT (#171574) #
Just to whet your appetites, by the way... (the thread is here)... here are some quotes:

" This has got to stop. We were supposed to win this win this game. "

"Now get some runs, you a*****es."

" I think this is why you can't just throw a B- lineup at a B- pitcher and assume it'll all work out"

"What are we, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays?"

" They get nine hits off this chump yet only score once. The definition of frustration."

"there is absolutely no way the Bue Jay bullpen holds that lead. No way."

" The Rays better suck this f****** bad when the Red Sox play them."

" Would it kill someone to deliver a big hit?"

"This is completely unacceptable. It's friggin' JULY. The time to hope they snap out of this offensive funk is well past. "

" **** You Toronto Blue Jays"

I am telling all of you, the entertainment value is unbeatable.  Those aren't even the best ones.  The sense of entitlement three years after winning the World Series, the constant derision and desertion of the team's best players... it's all pure gold.  They are so perfectly hateful...

Craig B - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 01:15 AM EDT (#171575) #
Did anyone else notice how slow and boring all these games were?  The Red Sox have to be the most boring team in creation.  Every single one of their pitchers works godawful slowly (even illegally slowly in some cases, like Matsuzaka).  Their hitters take everything close (a few, like Youkilis, getting an unconscionable number of calls from the umpires), run ridiculously long counts, and step out of the box on almost every pitch.  Today's game was a 2-1 game and it still took nearly three hours to play.

Both teams threw 127 pitches, which is ridiculously low, and yet the clock time was 2:52, probably 20-30 minutes more than a typical 254-pitch game.  That's how much slack time the Red Sox use.  Unbelievable!

I guess I am lucky to watch the Jays, who generally seem to encourage their players to play crisply.  The hitters stay in the box and the pitchers are encouraged to throw strikes and work quickly.

pjfreshphil - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 01:24 AM EDT (#171576) #

I am telling all of you, the entertainment value is unbeatable.  Those aren't even the best ones.  The sense of entitlement three years after winning the World Series, the constant derision and desertion of the team's best players... it's all pure gold.  They are so perfectly hateful...

My personal favorite is the several part discussion on whether or not one poster is an "asswhipe".  Nice.

pjfreshphil - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 01:28 AM EDT (#171577) #

Really glad I misspelled a**wipe.  I feel like a total a**whipe. ;)

China fan - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 03:56 AM EDT (#171578) #

   Mike Green, you were certainly one of the first to spot Marcum's potential, and your assessment of a year ago was very astute on Marcum.   But even a year ago, Litsch was considered to be behind Purcey, Banks, Romero etc.    If you go back to the end of the 2005 season, the Box's experts had ranked Marcum as the team's 9th best prospect (behind Purcey, Banks, Quiroz, Romero, etc).  And, most interestingly, the name Jesse Litsch did not appear anywhere in the team's top 30 prospects in the year-end rankings!  That was only a season and a half ago.  So, in a season and a half, this kid goes from nowhere to beating Josh Beckett at Fenway.  I find this a very revealing commentary on the unpredictability of development.  And yes, I concede that Litsch is far from a proven major leaguer, and he could still regress.   But surely he is now a giant stride ahead of Purcey, Banks, Romero etc.

      By the way, Mike, I came across this comment of yours in September 2005 and found it still very accurate about the difficulty of predicting the future of pitching prospects:

    Picking 3 Top producers is a very subjective thing. The Jays do not have any Grade A prospects in the system; there are no Delmon Youngs or Felix Hernandezes lurking. But, what they do have is a large number of Grade B prospects of different types. David Purcey could be Sudden Sam McDowell by 2008-10 or he might still be struggling mightily for control. Shaun Marcum could be Doug Drabek in 2008-10, or he might be out of the league having had a short failed stint as a middle reliever.

Mike Green - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#171583) #
Litsch's ascent was fast.  He was a 24th round draft pick, who had done very well in Pulaski in 2005 at age 20.  We were watching him, but anyone would be hard-pressed to rate him higher than pitchers who had proven themselves at higher levels.

Pitching prospect evaluation is more art than science.  You look at tools (stuff, command, and the little things-holding runners, fielding), health and performance.  Often, evaluators are wowed by stuff and do not take a balanced look at the whole pitcher.

Chuck - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#171599) #

While Litsch has done very well to get to the majors by age 22, it may be premature to consider him a lock for the current rotation, yesterday's terrific outing nowithstanding. His K rate is awfully low and worse, he has walked more men than he has struck out.

This is not to suggest that he can't eventually blossom into a fine major leaguer, only to temper immediate expectations. Just as no team is as good as it looks when winning, nor as poor as it looks when losing, the same can be said for starting pitchers, something Dustin McGowan is insistent on continually reminding us.

Joanna - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#171604) #

I must admit, when the Jays beat the Sox, for the joy of it, I visit the SOSH.  One of the reasons I have developed a dislike for the Sox is their fans. They act like it's a crime if the team loses one game and they actively hate on their own players.  If the team loses, it's the fault of their players (who are losers or a--holes or useless), it's not because the other team out-played them.  For them to diss the Jays bullpen shows how far they are up their own asses.  Maybe they can't be expected to know the Jays, but I know and respect Pabelbon and know that Okajima is a scary presence in their pen.

And I agree about the games being slow and a bit dull.  I remember watching and at some points saying "OMG, it's only the 4th?"  The Sox are big fiddlers (Youkilis steps way out of the box and practice swings between pitches, Papi spits and smacks his hands, Varitek does little bat kicks, Manny touches the outer half of the plate with his bat and pushes his helmet down).  They also take and fight off a crapload of pitches.  I can't really think of Jays' plate fiddles that don't have direct connection to their swing, except maybe Reed's tripod when he is getting signs or Troy's thing when he pushes his chest back (he does it in the field too).  The fiddles certainly effective at building impatience for the defense, but it slows the game down.  I appreciate the inherent slowness of the game, but there is something to be said for crisp, up-tempo games. 

I truly think the Sox would be near unwatchable without Ramirez, for both his big hits and for outfield adventures.  Watching him on base is amusing too.

jasona - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#171605) #
a few comments if I may:
  • Red Sox fans shouldn't be surprising anyone with these comments...they'll celebrate you one day, lynch you the next.
  • The injuries are coming for them, numerous players are going down or admitting to injury, just a matter of time before a slide...lets hope the Jays are in position to take advantage.
Ok, so two comments isn't much, but I can't think of anything else right now.  An anecdote if I may, which I think sums up Red Sox Nation quite nicely.  I got jays tickets from my girlfriend last summer for a Red Sox game (front row, right field behind the bullpen) which were great.  Don't know if you'll all remember the start where the Jays lit up Beckett for 7 runs through 3?  Well...wouldn't you know, Papelbon starts to toss in the 4th (presumably just to stay loose) and myself, along with others begin to heckle him...two Red Sox fans behind me get pissed and say 'you should keep your mouth shut from 3rd place' which doesn't make me shut up, kinda encouraged me to be honest.  A minute later - Security shows of the section and around Papelbon in the pen...I called him a cry baby and he turns to me and says 'one more word motherf***er and these guys will take you home'. 
Not sure why I wanted to share that - I guess just to take joy in the fact that the Jays beat the Sox, and because our closer doesn't call security when the home fans get on him.

jeff mcl - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#171606) #
Coco Crisp puts one foot on the box, picks up a handful of dirt, sniffs it, then throws the dirt to the ground before getting set for each at bat.  Not only is that an extremely weird way to waste 5 seconds between pitches, but pretty gross, too.  If only a cheeky member of the grounds crew could mix paprika and cayenne pepper into the dirt around home plate...
Lefty - Monday, July 16 2007 @ 07:45 PM EDT (#171608) #

Speaking of buggering around at the plate.

Has anybody noticed that Pedroia does that Garciapara glove pecking thing.

That bugs me more than anything, like he's imitating some kind of legacy.


Boston 9 Toronto 4- The Style Council | 26 comments | Create New Account
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