White Hat Sports Headlines

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Boston Bullpen's Acolytes of Hope

The Red Sox just took 7 straight games, their longest winning streak of the season. They took the entire homestand, (Brewers and Royals) instead of the Texas Triangle, can we call this the Midwest Line Dance or something of that nature?

Sidenote: We will probably never see a team play the Royals and then the Brewers back to back ever again, so my nickname dies there, it was so young, it never got a chance.

Today's game was particularly intriguing to me, because figuring that there has to be a game that they drop in a 4 game series, this one looked to be the one. Before I go any further, I really like the Kansas City Royals rotation. Which is weird, because their best guy statistically right now is Zack Greinke, hasn't won me over yet. Brian Bannister on the other hand, had me at hello. He works his 90-91mph fastball on the corners and really sets up hitters. The comparison is that you could say the same thing (minus 10 mph) about Jamie Moyer, but Bannister is doing it at alot younger age (27) and is really doing it as pitching as an art. Which brings me to why I enjoyed the "Thought" of today's pitching match up of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Brian Bannister. Two guys who when they are on, are incredible to watch, they paint the corners, they get called third strikes too.

Red Sox 11, Royals 8 Final

How did it become this kind of a blow out? Two things, and they pretty much revolve around Daisuke walking 6 batters and the bullpen giving up 5 runs promptly after taking the risky 11-3 lead after Mike Lowell hit a grand slam, (which I predicted the pitch before he hit it, I have witnesses) and who were the two guys who gave up the 5 runs? That's right, my two bullpen Acolytes of Hope, David Aardsma and Craig Hansen. Hansen gave up a gopher ball and then another run, Aardsma got into his 2 on 2 out scenario that he always does and this time got burned by something called Miguel Olivo, hitting a three run bomb.

Aardsma and Hansen, Hansen and Aardsma, they throw hard, I can't watch either of them pitch and not think that the runs that they give up are a result of the other team getting remarkably lucky on infield hits and weird spins and winds pushing the ball into an uncovered territory in the outfield corners.

Matthew Berry could call these two guys sexy, because of the fact that they throw hard and to me that's what you need coming out of the bullpen late in the game, just a fire breathing monster to come in and blow guys away with heat. Hansen and Aardsma are both in the high 90's with their heaters and would instill confidence in my come Ocotber, if they had been pitching well for a stretch because they throw so hard. Use Mike Timlin as a corrilary in this case, two years ago there wasn't anybody else that people wanted on the mound in a pressure situation coming out of the bullpen. His fastball though has lost a few mph's and is getting hit a little bit more, the home run has been brought into play now, and people have sort of left the bandwagon of loving the move to play Black Betty at the Fens and bring in Timlin. Velocity might have something to do with this and the other guy who could be used as an example is Keith Foulke.

How many saves did Foulke register when you just fully believed that the batter he was facing wasnt't going to sit on his change up and rip him for a home run? Was it because he topped out at 89-90 and pitched mostly 88 with the heater and 80 with the change up and everything seemed to be dead center of the plate. Now Jonathan Papelbon is right around the plate for the most part, misses locations when he tries to go way upstairs with the high fast ball but he gets away with it because he throws 97.

My last posts make me seem like a nut for radar gun readings and makes me sound like I get wood off flame throwers in the bullpen. They are just beacons of hope, no, they are: THE ACOLYTES OF HOPE!

Sterling Pingree

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