White Hat Sports Headlines

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Random thoughts from Houston

This was a very interesting series for the Red Sox, they started well and had a definitive moment where they kind of fell apart and lost momentum for the series. Here are some of my random thoughts from the weekend:

~How do you drop 2 of 3 if you're the Red Sox to the Houston Astros when you have guys like Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis all having a 4 hit game somewhere in the series, and Ramirez and Drew also hitting home runs. That's a tough thing to do but I guess it happens when your bullpen is forced to work 4 innings per game the first two.

~Cecil Cooper did a really nice job managing his team in this series and in my opinion out managed Terry Francona. Francona in my opinion took out Dice-K way too early in the first game, yet they won so I'm not going to criticize and yes his pitch count was in the 80's. But that set the team back, but nobody saw Lester's game 2 happening the way it did. (More on that below). Then today, it looked like he wanted to pull Beckett again after 5 innings today for a pinch hitter to try and break the game open, before he realized that he had taxed his bullpen for 8 innings over the last two days and got bad results from it last night.

~Lester in game 2 was flukish and just plain weird. I mean he was all but out of the inning, he had battled to get out Pence and Berkman before giving up a two on, two out, two strike hit to Carlos Lee (I'd call him by his nickname because it's pretty bad ass here, but I can't spell it.) scoring two runs and cutting the lead down to two. Then a liner off his ankle, puts two aboard and with the very next pitch, Mark Loretta who is definitely a good hitter, but has little in the way of pop drills a 3 run homer to take Boston's newly found 4-0 lead and turn it into a 5-4 deficit. This was the turning point in this series. Yes the Sox could and did battle back, but it was an up hill climb and just felt like one of those games where you thought the team that bats last is always going to win. They didn't need the last at-bat, but had Manny gotten on, they would have.

~How awkward is Hunter Pence? I mean really now. By the way, Delcarmen's walk to Pence in the 8th inning of game 2 is what lost the game in my opinion, not so much the hit to Berkman. Berkman hit a good pitch, a pitch that only the best hitters can make contact and get to drop in for a hit. Pence wouldn't haven't done it, but he forced himself to have to face Berkman in that situation because he couldn't put away Pence first after getting ahead of him.

~David Aardsma is a Brain-Dead Heaver if ever I have seen one. No, I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean that as an out and out compliment. The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen on their 1988 World Series Championship team called themselves the Brain Dead Heavers. They had very few rules and the ones they had were simple. The following is an exerpt from Jerry Crasnick's column about two years ago for ESPN.com about radar guns and speed.

In 1988, Dodgers pitcher Jay Howell formed a club called the Brain-Dead Heavers, with six conditions for membership: (1) no changeups, (2) throw as hard as you can, (3) change speeds by throwing harder, (4) absolutely no location, (5) little attention paid to mechanics, (6) never read the scouting reports. A young pitcher named John Wetteland was part of the fraternity until he violated policy by working on a curveball.

Aardsma just rears back and throws for all he's worth, he doesn't get taken yard, I like it. Keep it up David, I love flame throwers coming into the game.

Sterling Pingree

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