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Another Pinch-Hit Game Report from Batter's Box regular Elijah, who fills us in on last night's 10-7 Blue Jays' loss to Oakland. Look for another Pinch-Hit Game Report tomorrow, too. If you'd like to volunteer to be a Pinch-Hit Game Reporter, e-mail us with your available dates and any writing samples you'd like to point us towards. Take it away, Elijah!

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Gord Miller said it best on the TSN broadcast (and as bumpy as Miller was at times, it sure was nice to not have to suffer through 11 innings of Rod Black) -- "This game had a little bit of everything."

While last night's match did feature an inside-the-park home run and a player coming up lame during his home-run trot and limping around the bases, the game also included a lot of offense. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, the Athletics came out on top 10-7 in an 11-inning affair.

There are two ways to look at Tuesday evening's game. The optimist would say, "Look how many times the Blue Jays fought back. They were down 3-2, 5-3, and 7-5 and tied the game each time. They fell short, but the A's are a good team that's playing very well, and games like this one happen every so often. The boys will get 'em tomorrow."

Then there's the Chicken-Little-pessimistic fan who says, "The Jays had so many chances to win. They could have won in the 9th after Scutaro's error. Miguel Batista v.2005 has transmogrified back into Miguel Batista v.2004. Orlando Hudson hurt himself running out a home run! Does this mean we have to see more John McDonald? What a terrible game. It's all over."

The fan side of me is always the pessimist and rarely the optimist. The rational and realistic side of me believes that the Blue Jays were lucky to even have been in this game. The Jays did get some timely hits, but were fortunate to tie the game in the ninth inning when Gabe Gross' slide on Vernon Wells' apparent double-play grounder caused Marco Scutaro to throw the ball away, allowing Russ Adams to score the tying run.

Most batters will tell you that they're not trying to hit the ball out of the park. They want to deliver solid line drives and, occasionally, watch those line drives sail out. The A's had a sound approach to Tuesday night's game and were an excellent example of selectivity and plate discipline. While Oakland batters only drew four walks, each and every one of their 18 hits was well-struck. This included four home runs, two Nick Swisher doubles and a shot by Eric Chavez in the 11th that would have been a double had there not been runners on base.

I talk to myself way too much. So here are several questions I asked myself during the game but didn't have time to look up or think about until now. And you can see I'm into esoteric minutiae. (Is "esoteric minutiae" redundant?)

1. Did the Blue Jays pitchers make that many mistakes tonight?

It's hard to quantify what a "mistake pitch" is. Perhaps STATS Inc. or Elias or Baseball Info Solutions is already developing a pitcher's MP% (Mistake Pitch Percentage) and a corresponding offense stat for BAMP (Batting Average on Mistake Pitches) or SPOMP (Slugging Percentage On Mistake Pitches).

But until they come up with that stat (I'm expecting you to put a word in, Magpie), I'll have to rely on my two flawed eyes and my notes from tonight's game (where I wrote "hanging slider" or "fastball straight down the middle" or "missed Zaun's target badly").

The A's didn't seem to miss many of the Blue Jays' mistakes. With the exception of Kotsay's 9-iron homer, most (if not all) of the balls hit by Dan Johnson, Nick Swisher, and Crosby were right over the middle. The Jays pitchers appeared to throw their fair share of fat pitches on Tuesday night.

And while we call some hitters "mistake hitters," it would appear to me that the great hitters rarely miss mistakes, while the marginal hitters foul many of those pitches straight back, pop them up or just flat out miss them. I figure that a batter may see at least one mistake pitch every game, if not more. If a guy like Manny Ramirez hits those mistakes hard 50% of the time, compared to another batter who hits them hard 25% of the time and fouls the rest off, that could add up to a lot of total bases by the end of the year.

Even the best pitchers don't always make good pitches, and the great batters rarely let the pitchers get away with it. The A's have been hitting the ball very well lately, and they didn't miss too many mistakes from the likes of Towers, Walker, Chulk and Batista tonight.

2. It does appear Shea Hillenbrand gets a lot of bloop hits. I wonder what his line drive percentage is.

According to our friends at The Hardball Times, Shea's LD% after Tuesday night's game was 23.0%, good for 12th in the AL. I guess that with all the bloopers come a lot of line drives.

But since I was already there, I decided to look at a sampling of the A's LD%s. Here they are:

Through 7/4/05     LD%    PA    BABIP
Dan Johnson        29.9%  119   .299
Keith Ginter       26.6%  131   .189
Mark Kotsay        26.5%  353   .296
Jason Kendall      23.3%  322   .290
Bobby Crosby       21.8%  129   .337
Bobby Kielty       21.8%  247   .318
Eric Byrnes        21.1%  200   .272
Marco Scutaro      21.1%  247   .274
Scott Hatteberg    20.9%  277   .303
Mark Ellis         20.5%  193   .308
Erubiel Durazo     19.4%  167   .258
Eric Chavez        18.7%  351   .320
As a team, the A's lead the AL in LD% at 21.0%, yet are ahead of only the White Sox in BABIP at .285. They're also last in batting average with runners in scoring position. What does this mean? I'm no statistician, but I believe that the A's offense is currently underrated. Despite being 3rd to last in the AL in runs scored, they're hitting the ball hard -- they're just not always getting the timely hits and showing themselves to be a bit unlucky. Tonight, they continued to hit the ball hard, but very few were actually hit directly at Blue Jays fielders.

Okay, so this had less to do with Shea Hillenbrand. But for the A's, a consistent offense, along with improved pitching from Danny Haren, Barry Zito and even Kirk Saarloos (plus the return of Rich Harden), means that the A's, while they might not catch the Angels, are probably going to be in it yet again.

(In case you're wondering, the Blue Jays are actually third in the AL in LD%. The Red Sox are 2nd.)

3. Shea Hillenbrand has now been hit 14 times this season and drawn 17 walks. I wonder if a player has ended a season with more HBP than BB.

Thanks to Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia, it wasn't that hard to find out. And whaddya know! The Blue Jays' own Reed Johnson was plunked 20 times in 2003 and drew 20 walks, while Mike Kinkade had 16 HBP and 16 BB in 2003. Dan McGann's 1901 season featured 23 HBP and 16 BB.

Looking at 19th-century players, Hall-of-Famer Hughie Jennings tops the list: 51 HBP against 19 walks in 1896 (and just to prove that wasn't a fluke, Jennings had 46 HBP against 42 walks in 1897). He also had 32 HBP and 24 walks in 1895. Incidentally, Jennings is the all-time HBP leader with 287. Craig Biggio is 19 behind him, and just passed Don Baylor for the modern career HBP mark.

But knowing Shea's aversion to walks and penchant for attracting the baseball, we know he can do it!

4. Why did John Gibbons burn Frank Menechino in the bottom of the 7th, after he saw Orlando Hudson limp around the bases, leaving John McDonald as the only infielder left?

I'll be honest. At the time, I thought it was a good move, considering I'd rather burn Menechino than Alex Rios at that point. Of course, those in the chat room had a little more foresight than I did. We all gasped in horror when Johnny Mac led off the bottom of the 9th. But even so, why not lose the DH and move Adams to 2nd and insert Hill at shortstop?

While I noted earlier this season that there's no need to worry about a 10th unless you tie it in the 9th, I suppose there are limitations to that statement when it's not a do-or-die situation or a playoff game. If Gregg Zaun were removed and Ken Huckaby were in the game, one would probably agree that Gibbons should not hit for Huckaby just to tie the game and insert putative third catcher Menechino, as he would be susceptible to injury by playing out of position.

In my opinion, the only justification for not pinch-hitting for McDonald in the 9th is if John Gibbons and Brian Butterfield are absolutely convinced that neither Hill nor Adams could play second base. But if the only reason to leave McDonald in was to avoid the forfeiture of the DH, then Gibbons' decision leaves something to be desired. As it turns out, the Blue Jays tied the game in the 9th even with McDonald hitting a weak groundout to lead off the inning.

5. Is Ken Macha serious about fining his players for showing up to the ballpark too early?

According to the AP recap, there's an interesting note about Ken Macha fining his players $450 for arriving early to Wednesday evening's game. According to Macha, the team "always struggles" on the second game of an East Coast trip.

But who needs statements when you can look it up?

At BAL:
Game #1 Apr 4 L, 0-4
Game #2 Apr 6 W, 9-0

At NYY:
Game #1 May 6 W, 6-3
Game #2 May 7 L, 5-0

At TB:
Game #1 May 24 L, 5-4
Game #2 May 25 L, 14-6

At WSH:
Game #1 Jun 7 L, 2-1
Game #2 Jun 8 L, 7-2

At TOR:
Game #1 Jul 5 W, 10-7
Game #2 Jul 6 ???????

That's not exactly a large sample size, but the A's have lost each of the second games of their East Coast road trips since winning in their game after Opening Day. And I'll allow Macha to not count that game, because (1) it was the first and second games of the season, so presumably they were well-rested, and (2) they had a day off in between the first and second games.

I believe that rest is critical, and some players tend to work too hard such that they wear down over the course of the season. Perhaps this is comparable to a guy playing hurt. While his teammates and radio talk-show hosts will gush about his guts and heart, the injured player may be hurting his team and his own future by playing at less than 100%. Likewise, other players and managers always talk about a guy always being in the weight room, taking extra batting practice or throwing some more on the side. The extra work may seem like nothing taken on a daily basis, but added up over the course of the season, it could result in nagging or serious injuries or diminishing returns on the field.

So I applaud Macha for some out-of-the-box thinking, essentially forcing his players to rest (although I don't think $450 will deter an obsessive player who can't help but get to the ballpark early). Then again, why mess with something that's working? After being 17-32 and 23-36, the A's now stand at 41-41 and are rising up the standings with a bullet. If I'm Macha, I let the players do what they've been doing for the last month.

6. How come I didn't write more about the Blue Jays? Enough about the A's! I haven't read this much about the Athletics since Billy Beane wrote Moneyball!

I want to apologize to Rob Dibble and Joe Morgan for that.

The Good

Despite the loss, it was a good game for Gabe Gross, who went 2 for 3 and had a third hit taken away when Kotsay appeared to deke Russ Adams into thinking he was going to catch a shallow fly ball in centrefield, which resulted in an 8-4 force play in the 11th inning. As Mike Wilner said on the radio broadcast, since starting 0-for-13 on the season, Gross is 9 for his last 19. Gross almost made a tremendous catch off the long Chavez single in the 11th as well.

The Bad

I'm starting to worry about Vinnie Chulk. It was right around this time last year that he started to really struggle. Tonight, he served up two gopher balls in the seventh inning. In June, Chulk sported an ERA of 4.91 in 11 IP with 11 hits, 5 walks and just 6 strikeouts. It might be time for Gibbons to swap the roles of Chulk and Justin Speier, who has acquitted himself very nicely in a virtual mop-up role. After a bumpy April, Speier has been splendid in May and June (did you know that his 2005 WHIP is under 1.00?) and has earned the right to pitch in higher-leverage situations.

The Ugly

The injury to Orlando Hudson was as bizarre as any I've seen. I suppose this is why lots of players don't run hard on every popup. Kirk Gibson could've circled the bases twice in 1988 before Hudson reached the plate. On the positive side, his injury doesn't look as bad as Melvin Mora's did about two weeks ago, and Mora only missed 10 days or so. Hopefully, Hudson will be back shortly after the All-Star break.

Menechino and McDonald will likely share duties at second base until Hudson returns. It's too bad, because Hudson was heating up. He was 2 for 3 with a triple and a home run Tuesday, and since bottoming out with an 0-for-4 on June 26, he'd been 13-for-28 with a double, two triples and three home runs, scoring 11 runs and recording 9 RBI over those eight games. And of course, we'll all miss those spectacular plays that Orlando routinely makes. Get back soon, O-Dawg.

17 Runs - 11 Innings = 6 Questions | 30 comments | Create New Account
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jimmylarsoni - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 09:02 AM EDT (#121644) #
With Hudson out and some people talking about what to do with Aaron Hill when Koskie comes back. Would this be the time to try Hill at second? I prefer him in the role he is now but some rumours point to an O-dog trade and Hill taking over the role at second. Anyone have any comments on this?
Pistol - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#121646) #

Nice work Elijah.

I agree about Speier. He's been pitching great lately, yet Gibbons doesn't seem to trust him. Speier only seems to pitch when both Frasor and Chulk are unavailable or in a game that isn't that close. Speier might be the Jays best reliever right now.
Player	        INN	ERA	WHIP	K/9	BB/9   K/BB
Batista, Miguel	37.7	3.11	1.20	5.5	2.1	2.6
Chulk, Vinnie	38.7	4.19	1.27	5.8	3.5	1.7
Frasor, Jason	35.7	2.78	1.29	6.6	4.0	1.7
Speier, Justin	29.7	3.03	0.98	5.5	1.2	4.6
Both Gross and Wells had balls that they just missed. Game of inches. What I found odd about the inside the park HR was that another OF wasn't there to back the play up sooner.
Pistol - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#121647) #
"Would this be the time to try Hill at second?"

It seems like the perfect time to me. If there's consideration to trading Hudson it'd be good to know if Hill (or Adams) can actually play second (although I don't really doubt that he can - he's a ballplayer, he can probably play anywhere).

The other benefit to playing Hill at 2B is that it opens a lineup spot for Gross. Who would you rather have in the lineup, Gross or Menechino or McDonald?
Mike Green - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#121648) #
It is perfectly reasonable to try Adams or Hill at second, with Hillenbrand at third, for the duration of Hudson's injury. It obviously would be ideal if Cat DHs, but this has been true all year and he's been kept in left field, so it may not happen.

I thought that Ron Hunt might have been hit by pitches more than he walked one year, but though he came close, he fell just short. Out of curiosity, does anyone know what happened his last season. He hit pretty well, and he was only 33. I am guessing that there was some kind of injury.
A - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 09:39 AM EDT (#121649) #
Sitting in the stands, I was horrified when Gibbons wasted Menechino. Taking out the DH spot is not an option I even considered (the way the Jays were playing, scratching out a run was more likely than not, so offering the A's a free out in the 10th or 11th would be flawed logic). But it just seemed wise to leave Menechino in there, let Gross come in defensively for Cat in the top of the 9th and either preserve MacDonald incase of another injury or as a defensive replacement for either Menechino or Adams, should the Jays go up by a run.

A couple other comments...
When Hudson took 60 seconds to clear the bases, it was great to see fans on their feet giving him support.

And that slide by Gross was awsome. This kid's a gamer. His competitive streak from football seems to shine through in his baseball talents and that's one helluva mix.

Also, I'm not sure how it looked at home but Gross saved a run when he went back on the ball that went off the wall. He made it look like he might have actually caught it so -- intentional or not -- he was deceptive enough to make the runner on second hold up.

Lastly, I definately agree with Towers' complaints about the strike zone. With what was being called, Blue Jay pitchers had nowhere to hide so giving up a few bombs didn't surprise me at all. But even more frustrating was that our hitters were being called out on pitches Blue had called a ball in the bottom half of the inning.
Flex - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 09:52 AM EDT (#121650) #
I would much prefer to see Adams at second and Hill at short. Hill's arm is terrific and I think at second it would be completely wasted. Adams' arm, meanwhile, is not terrific. Put him at second and I think you cut down substantially on his errors.
Chuck - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#121651) #
The other benefit to playing Hill at 2B is that it opens a lineup spot for Gross. Who would you rather have in the lineup, Gross or Menechino or McDonald?

Whether it's Adams at 2B and Hill at SS or vice versa, I agree. Hudson's injury should ripple into Catalanotto DHing, Gross playing LF and Hillenbrand playing 3B. At least vs RHP.

Versus LHP, Hudson had been playing against LHP so one of Hinske or Adams would likely assume those AB's. That's premised on the notion that Menechino continues to serve as DH.

Thomas - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#121653) #
I was at the game too, and I similarly was very confused when Gibbons burned Menechino after Hudson had just obviously had to leave the ballgame. However, I would agree with those in the chat (and I was thinking it myself at the game) that said we should have pinch-hit for McDonald in the ninth. McDonald against a good righty like Street gives us almost no chance for a hit and we've automatically started the ninth inning with one out. Rios, whatever you think of him, gives us a much larger chance of a hit and that could have made a huge difference. I'd much rather get to the extras to begin with, rather than worry about the fact we might have to have Speier bat in the eleventh inning. (Obviously such a scenario shouldn't be taken to the extreme, like pinch-hitting for your second catcher, as has been pointed out.) I didn't like that managerial move by Gibbons and I thought he left Walker in there for a batter too long, and that really cost us. I'd rather have had Frasor face a good hitter like Crosby when Walker is struggling with his command and also has to start on the weekend.

I second A's comment about the fans coming to their feet to applaud Hudson's limping around the bases. That was something pretty special and it's rare to see those sort of moments at SkyDome.

Finally, I think the Jays need to run against Oakland more than they are doing. I don't happen to know how many opportunities they had where they didn't steal in stealing situations last game, but the only stolen base was by Gross. I thought Adams should have run in the ninth, but then I changed that thought when I saw how Street shortened his delivery to the plate. It all worked out for us in the ninth, but I think we need to take advantage of the throwing problems Kendall is having this season.
R Billie - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#121654) #
Since Hill has the better arm it seems to make more sense to me to have him take SS and Adams move to 2B. I think range on either side of the bag is important so whether you have more range on the left side or the right side probably isn't a big deal.

Besides even with increased range Adams seems really iffy on fielding and throwing the ball as he often has to rush to make even routine throws sometimes. So it makes sense to me to have him at 2B. It's where he played most of his games in college anyway so why not let Hill stick to SS/3B which he's familiar with and have Adams re-learn 2B which shouldn't take too long.
CaramonLS - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#121655) #
Adams would definately be the person to move to 2B with his arm. I agree with RBillie.

I'm not 100% about the range though, maybe someone who watched some AAA games could chime in about the 2 short stops and their fielding range.
Marc Hulet - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#121656) #
Adams has better range than Hill does at shortstop, while Hill has the much better arm.

The question though, is do you move Adams for what is basically a temporary change until Hudson comes back. Wouldn't it be better to keep Adams at shortstop so he can hopefully work and improve his defence since he would slide back there after Hudson returns?
Elijah - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#121657) #
I agree with all the readers that believe Adams should play second during Hudson's absence, however long that is. I just don't believe Gibbons is going to let that happen. With all of Adams' throwing problems at short, perhaps the brass believe that moving Adams off short now may hurt his confidence and suggest to him that once Koskie and Hudson return, he'll be the odd man out.

I think the more likely scenario is that either Hudson or Adams will be dealt in the offseason and if Adams stays, that's when he will move to second. I believe an inseason trade of either of those guys (especially Hudson given his status as a fan favorite - and they'd have to stop running that commercial) is fairly unlikely given where the Jays are in the standings.

Mike Green - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#121659) #
I don't believe we mentioned this in the minor league reports, but Gabe Gross stole 10 bases in 54 games in Syracuse this year without being caught.
Rob - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#121660) #
What I want to know is the location of Reed Johnson on Crosby's inside-the-parker. I saw Wells crash against the wall, then the ball rolled towards right-centrefield. I expected the RF to come and pick up the wayward ball, but he was nowhere to be seen.

If Hudson goes on the DL, who do they call up?
Four Seamer - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#121661) #
What I want to know is the location of Reed Johnson on Crosby's inside-the-parker.

From my vantage point behind the Oakland bullpen, it looked like Reed was doing exactly what I was doing: watching Vernon attempt to make the catch. I was following the ball, not Johnson, but I think he was shaded towards centre to begin with. Since the ball was hit to straight-away centre field, he should have been able to get a good jump on the ball and cover some ground, but when I saw the ball elude Vernon, my eyes turned to Reed, who was still miles away. To a certain extent, you can blame a lack of familiarity with the position, but backing up the centrefielder is a pretty standard requirement of either corner outfield position.

Mike Green - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#121662) #
Good question, Rob. A pulled hammy is usually a 10 day proposition (he said from painful experience). With the All-Star break coming up, I wouldn't DL Hudson unless I was sure that he'd need the full 15.

The options are hardly inspiring. Kevin Barker, JFG, Jason Alfaro. Justin Miller. Jason Arnold. Spike Lundberg. The problem with getting more pitching help is the relief staff is not overworked, and there's a 3 day break coming. Barker's hitting very well, and is 29, so if he sees limited action, it will be seen more positively than if he were younger.
Four Seamer - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#121663) #
Speaking of Jason Arnold, has anyone been watching the pre-game presentation they have on the ribbon boards where they flash up the names of all the players? I confess to not paying any attention to this during any of the previous games I've been to this year, but last night I happened to see his name flash up there along with every other player actually on the 25 man roster. Has his name been up there all year, or was I simply hallucinating? ($9.30 for a 20 oz. Keith's will do that to you.)
Rob - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#121664) #
Speaking of Jason Arnold, has anyone been watching the pre-game presentation they have on the ribbon boards where they flash up the names of all the players?

We established one day back in May or June that this was a secret move: release Whiteside and call Arnold up in his place, and only the ribbon board operator was let in on it.

Seriously, though...I don't know what's going on. His name has been up there all year, but he's never pitched for Toronto.

Calling up Alfaro or Bryant Nelson means someone has to drop off the 40-man roster. Now, I would have kept Alfaro over John McDonald at the beginning of the season, so I would be perfectly fine with that move right now. Yes, that would keep the 25-man roster at 24 -- a perfect time to recall Dave Bush. When the O-Dog is back, Scott Downs can take a seat on the Syracuse shuttle.

Marc Hulet - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#121671) #
I'm pretty sure there are only 39 players on the 40 man roster.
westcoast dude - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#121677) #
Last night for the first time I was conscious of missing Koskie, so it's good to hear he's close to coming back.
Adams at 2nd seems reasonable. I'd like to see Johnson DH.
A video of the Gross, Wells, Rios outfield assists to home plate these last two seasons, complete with slow motion and an Ernie Whitt commentary, would be a hit.
rtcaino - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#121685) #
I agree with Flex and R Billie et al. I was unaware that Adams played 2nd in College. Oddly enough, I called Jayís talk a week or two ago asking Mike what he thought the Jayís should/ would do in this very situation. He didnít give a definite answer; rather we debated the virtues of Adams range and Hillís arm.

Alijah makes a good point. Though I feel that Adams should be moved to second. I donít see Gibbons moving him mid season, when he already leads the team in errors.
Magpie - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#121686) #
I'll have to rely on my two flawed eyes

Actually, there apparently is another way. Darrell Johnson, who managed the Red Sox in the 1975 Series, was once asked how he knew when to change pitchers. And he said:

"Well, you listen to the sound of the bat hitting the ball. It makes an awful noise."

Good job, Elijah. Behold Roosterites - the draft is working!

VBF - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#121690) #
About the Vernon mis-catch, Johnson was pretty far off. Once Vernon had hit the ground, he looked for the ball, and at that moment, once he realised how far Reed was from the ball, he put on a sprint himself to get it.

So anyways, I'm reading the program from a couple games ago, when Frank Menechino's obvious nickname hit me. Forget Mini-Me, Frank Menechino should be known as "Little Italy".

It works in so many ways. The Toronto connection, the height connection, the Italian connection...
Thomas - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#121703) #
I was sitting down the right-field line (of all the days to miss Cheer Club) so Johnson was right in front of me on the Wells play. Now, I wasn't watching him directly either, but it seems to me like he thought Wells was going to catch the ball (or alternatively that it would go for a homer and in any case, it'd be a dead play as far as he was concerned). I believe he took about three steps in, on a slight angle towards the Jays dugout/centre-field. I could be wrong about that, but he definately did not charge over to back up the play as some argue he should have. In hindsight, had Johnson been about three or four steps closer (which I believe he could have been) I think it would have prevented Crosby from scoring.
Jordan - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#121705) #
Looks like the Red Sox have themselves a new closer.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#121707) #
A few observations on the broadcast:

- it looked really good. TSN's home broadcasts now officially look every bit as spiffy as Rogers Sportsnet.

- I liked the redesigned bases/outs/score thingy. It's easy to read, clean, looks like the rest of TSN, and it doesn't whoosh or ding or anything. I mean, I don't mind some kind of audible clue that we're headed to a replay, or music in and out of commercials, but things that bonk and blip and beep and boop during the game, when things are updated on the scoreboard, those really annoy me. Sportsnet is also good for this; Fox is the worst offender, especially with the pitch speed indicator bursting into tiny flames with an audible crackle whenever a pitch was over 90-odd mph. And what U.S. network has the little computer-looking screen slide across that says ORIOLES HOME-RUN boop boop boop boop boop? Is their audience so stupid or so asleep that they need a flashing loud annoying thing to let them know that a home run was just hit?

- Gord Miller didn't bother me. He made some errors here and there, but so what -- when was the last time he did a baseball broadcast? Nice to see him getting some work when there's no hockey. I did kind of want to hear him shout "A one timer!" at some point during the game, but it was not to be. Anyways, Rod Black can cover as many golf tournaments on foreign soil as TSN can round up if it means we'll get Miller as a fill-in. I'd be curious to see what he'd be like with more frequent work.
Pistol - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#121709) #
Fox is annoying, but they did drop the flaming pitch several years ago (about the time they got rid of the glowing blue puck). Apparently these things appeal to the kids, or so the suits think.

They had the Jays broadcast on MLB.TV last night. I wasn't impressed at all with the announcers. I did learn for the first time however that hitting with RISP is one of the main principals of moneyball.

Does anyone in the traditional media ever use 'Moneyball' in the correct context?

Speaking of which, watching Sunday Night Baseball I learned that John Schurholtz is coming out with a book on how to build an organization and Joe Morgan can't wait to read it. I think Morgan already called it required reading.
Alex0888 - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 04:28 PM EDT (#121724) #
I believe I called that in the 4th inning in the chat room that the game would go into extras
R Billie - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#121733) #
Well Reed probably wasn't close enough backing up that play but a couple of things happened. One is that the ball hit the wall and then Vernon as he was falling so it deflected back towards right-centre a little bit. Two is that the new warning track absolutely deadens balls and slows them right down. Either way Reed was caught flat footed and Vernon was on his back when the ball hit Vernon and then the track.

Vernon made the throw in but Adams' relay to the plate hit the mound. A play where a stronger arm might have made the difference but at that point it would have taken a perfect play to stop a hustling Crosby. He was just safe so a little bit better D at the beginning or the tail end of that play would have made the difference.

I'm wondering if the new warning track makes players more leary to go gung ho into the wall anymore. Vernon seemed to slow up near the end where we've seen him plow fearlessly into the wall before. I'm also wondering if the turf had anything to do with Hudson pulling a hammy or if it was just one of those freak plays.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, July 06 2005 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#121734) #
Fox is annoying, but they did drop the flaming pitch several years ago (about the time they got rid of the glowing blue puck). Apparently these things appeal to the kids, or so the suits think.

They resurrected it for the All-Star Game last year, if I remember correctly, along with Scooter the talking ball. Or maybe it was the playoffs. Either way, I saw the burning pitch speed for the first time last year.

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