Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reverend Horton Heat

Game 11 – Red Sox

Red Sox 7, Angels 2
Record: 7-4

I’d like to thank the magic of portable electronic communications technology for keeping me up to date with the Sox yesterday, with a big assist to Whitney. I was stuck in an all-day meeting here at Inatech’s global headquarters in Philly and assumed that the biblical deluges along the Eastern Seaboard would wash out the day’s action entirely. I got an email from my brother in blog telling me that the game was on and asking if I’d like him to update me on its progress.

And update me he did, though the game was effectively over before the Sox recorded a single out in the bottom of the first inning. Thanks to Angel starter Ervin Santana and his array of meaty offerings (and free-flinging second sacker Howie Kendrick and his avant-garde defensive stylings) the Sox led 6-1 after a single frame. Whitney’s updates got much shorter from that point on, though I particularly liked the one entitled “Whoa”, which read:

“Manny makes a crazy grab on a pop-up in short left that this Candlestick-like wind did goofy things with. Saves a run. Going to Bottom 2. Still 6-1.”

The mental image of Manny sauntering in circles, dancing to his own salsa/punk beat before snaring the ball made me smile, and brought back fond memories of his convention-defying adventures during Game 1 of the 2004 World Series.

The stats say that Beckett continued his torrid April pace, and the highlights I saw on Baseball Tonight confirmed something I noticed in Spring Training. Beckett’s throwing far more breaking pitches far more effectively thus far in 2007 than he did last year during his introduction to the American League. Per ESPN, 75% of his pitches last year were fastballs, while 63% of his 2007 pitches come after Jason Varitek extends a single finger. That mix, combined with the enhanced movement Beckett’s getting from his two-seam fastball versus the very straight four-seamer he threw most of the time last year (and you know what Serrano says about straight balls), has been deadly to hitters in the early going. Beckett’s pitched 18 innings, striking out 18 while only allowing 10 hits. Still early, but I’m pretty sure I saw Matsuzaka nod slowly and approvingly in the dugout yesterday, and I like what the early returns imply for the rest of the season.

My trip to Citizen’s Bank Park got rained out last night – probably for the best. It was miserable here yesterday. I’m catching a cold just thinking about sitting out in the elements for 3 hours in that drizzly dreck. Jose Reyes’ hamstrings and the entire Township give thanks to MLB for calling that one off.

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