Game 21 - Red Sox
Red Sox 5, Orioles 2
9:06 -- David Ortiz thus far in this evening's increasingly infuriating contest against the Orioles: 0-for-3, 1 K, weakly grounded to the pitcher twice with two outs and a total of 5 runners on base. This game is a textbook example of Theoball - Sox get a good to decent start from Beckett, cause the opposing starter (the soon-to-be-scary-good Adam Loewen) to throw a lot of pitches (104 in 6 innings) and get to the opponent's bullpen in a close game with plenty of licks left. Textbook, except for the fact that the offense sold their copy back for beer money midway through the semester.
And not that you care, but this Baltimore rotation could be nastynasty in a year or two. Loewen's got a killer breaking ball and decent command of his fastball. Daniel Cabrera has, according to Curt Schilling, "electric" stuff, and he's massive at 6'7". Erik Bedard's been on the cusp of greatness for a little while now, thisclose to breaking through as a top-flite number one. Hayden Penn's struck out nearly a batter an inning in his minor league career, and is currently in Norfolk after a rough introduction to the bigs last season. Add Leo Mazzone's well-deserved reputation as a molder of young arms, and the AL East might want think about getting their shots in on the O's this season, because the orange and black might have something to say next year.
Of course, they're still owned by Peter Angelos, so it's a 50/50 proposition that their management will do something jaw-droppingly stupid. I'm a Redskins fan - I know from where I speak.
9:45 -- Holy Monkey Fuck. Two innings ago, I was about to wander in here and expound upon the giant sucking sound that is Wily Mo Pena's 2007 offensive output and plate discipline. As I clicked the 'Sign In' link, WMP ripped a double in the gap to left. FIrst time in weeks he'd centered a pitch. Then, just a minute ago, the O's walked Jason Varitek to load the bases for WMP. The result, a brobdingnagian blast into the Sox' bullpen to give the Sox a 5-2 lead. The level to which the MLC staff's collectve ignorance of the game of baseball sinks sometimes is beyond measure.
10:10 -- What the hell, while I'm here and not completely drunk (just a couple of Sam Adams' tonight - had 'em laying around and need to clear out the fridge for some Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA) let's go ahead and finish this one out. Beckett goes 8 and hands the ball to Papelbon, who works around a 2-out walk to Ramon Hernandez (bunting cocksucker - yeah, I remember you) to hammer it down. Beckett was absolutely phenomenal - that may have been the best 8-hit performance I've ever seen. He's actually *pitching* this year instead of trying to throw the ball through the backstop. His last pitch was a bat-freezing changeup that Aubrey Huff just waved at. He got through 8 full innings with only 100 pitches, getting outs by letting his defense work instead of trying to do it all himself. Beckett's 5-0 now, the third pitcher in Boston history to get to that mark in April (joining Babe Ruth and Pedro Martinez - how's that for company?). Cripes, if Beckett's for real...
(Editor's Note: In the cold light of day, "absolutely phenomenal" is perhaps a bit hyperbolic in reference to Beckett's performance last night. I meant to say that I was impressed by his ability to pitch through adversity, managing the game and keeping the damage down in situations that would have caused him to blow oil all over the scoreboard last year. It was a pretty damn terrific and encouraging effort for an 8-hitter.)