Grady's moves are finally rasing some eyebrows in both the Boston and New York media. The Boston Globe questioned bringing in Sauerbeck, who they dubbed the "Rally Kerosene Guy"; Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal notes three reasons why the game got away, including sitting Walker and using Sauerbeck in a "pressure-cooker"; Little also had Kapler (0-12) leadoff because "I like the way he's swinging the bat" and "Someone's got to bat first." Wow. ... The New York Post proclaimed "Little Comes Up Small." ... Even better: Sauerbeck was injured! Absolutely the worst option out of the pen. I would have rather seen Mendoza last night.
A few more notes on Game 2: Kapler was not a good choice to lead off. His OBP was a paltry .330 and while he singled to begin the game, he was useless thereafter, striking out in each of his last 3 at-bats. In the second inning, Boston led 1-0 and had runners on 1st and 2nd with 0 outs. Seven of the first 9 batters had reached base against Pettitte. Thisd would have been a nice time to bunt. Grady said after the game that the Sox had not bunted that early this season and while that is generally true, I think the situation called for it. It was imperative for Boston to go for the kill in the early going. Kapler grounded into a double play and the rally was killed. After that Pettitte found a groove and the Red Sox never got more than one man on base in any of the next 7 innings.
Derek Lowe pitched decently, but had trouble in the 2nd and the 3rd, allowing a 2-run HR to Nick Johnson and allowing 5 consecutive Yankees to reach base in the 3rd. Still, after 5 innings, Lowe had thrown 71 pitches and trailed only 4-2. Suppan had been warming in the 3rd inning and so I assumed Lowe's his night was done. After all, this is what he had done in the past 9 days:
Date Game S/R IP H ER R BB K BF PITGump sent Lowe out for the Yankees 6th. Big mistake, I thought. But Lowe made quick work of Johnson, Boone and Juan Rivera, retiring them on 3 groundballs and only 6 pitches. Surely, Grady would pull Lowe after 6 innings. ... Think again. Lowe was sent out for another inning, with Sauerbeck in the bullpen. Soriano grounded to first and Jeter grounded to third. With Giambi (1-2 w/BB) and Williams (2-3) next, if Grady was determined to bring in Sauerbeck (he should have even been allowed in New York State in my opinion), this would have been the spot. ... But Grady let Lowe pitch on. He fell behind Giambi 3-0 and gave up a full-count line drive single to right. Grady came out to the mound and I was convinced -- finally -- Lowe was gone. But Grady went back to the dugout. Lowe walked Bernie Williams on 4 pitches. NOW, Grady came back out and pulled Lowe and brought in Sauerbeck.
10/01 ALDS1 R 1.2 1 1 1 4 2 10 42
10/04 ALDS3 S 7 6 1 0 2 2 29 100
10/06 ALDS5 R 1 0 0 0 1 2 4 17
Total ALCS 9.2 7 2 1 7 6 43 159
10/09 ALCS1 (1-5) 5 6 4 4 2 2 24 71
Total 14.2 13 6 5 9 8 67 230
10/09 ALCS1 (6th) 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 6
Total 15.2 13 6 5 9 8 70 236
10/09 ALCS1 (7th) .2 1 2 2 1 0 4 21
Total 9 Days 16.1 14 8 7 10 8 74 257
The Red Sox lefty turned Posada around to bat righty. This was a mistake. He is a better hitter from the right side. Posada looked at ball one, then smashed a double to the left center wall. Both baserunners scored and New York led 6-2. Sauerbeck then walked Matsui before getting the third out. The 4-run lead gave Joe Torre the option of leaving Contreras in for another inning. He was apparently prepared to bring in Rivera for 2 innings. Now, thanks to Gump's blunder, Torre let Contreras pitch another strong inning and had Rivera pitch the 9th, leaving him more rested for the rest of the series. ... Grady managed Thursday's game like it was May 9, not October 9.
My Quote of the Day: "Watching the Red Sox in October is the equivalent of watching a kind of baseball snuff film." One side benefit of winning it all will be shutting these clowns up. Dozens of sportswriters will have no choice but to retire because they have nothing left to say. ... The Rem Dawg speaks.
Cowboy Pop-Up: "As for our fans, I want them all to shave their heads like we did. I want about 20,000 shaved heads out there in the stands at Fenway Park. The spouses and girlfriends don't need to shave their heads, we don't want that. But I want every guy in the stands to have a bald head."
The Yankee Stadium rowdies were chanting "We want Pedro." After the game, Martinez had cordoned off his locker area for a second straight night with tape, this time emblazoned with the message, "Do not enter. Bad mood." This bodes well. ... Sister Grace Gallant of the Sisters of the Episcopalian Society of St. Margaret's Convent in Roxbury, Mass.: "God is a Red Sox fan." Lord, please help Boston's bats bring down some Old Testament-style retribution on Fat Billy from Ohio tomorrow.