May 14, 2004

18-Inning Circus. I worked some overtime this week, so I taped Wednesday's and Thursday's games. I watched them both this afternoon. Ugh.

The starters can't finish the first inning without giving up at least one run, the opposition is getting a lot of hits on supposed pitcher's counts, balls are falling between fielders in both fair and foul territory, errors are being committed on pick-off throws and line drives right at the outfielders, some of the hitters aren't running hard out of the box, situational hitting and working the count has seemingly gone out the window. Their travel schedule has been brutal. Is anything going right for the Red Sox these days?

And Francona's use of the bullpen has me worried. Last night, Toronto led 3-2 going into the bottom of the 6th. Curt Schilling was out of the game. Who was entrusted with keeping the game close? Lenny DiNardo. ... On NESN, Jerry Remy didn't criticize the move, but he did remark: "We've seen a great deal of Lenny DiNardo." Indeed -- the young lefty was also the first man out of the pen the previous night.

The 6th inning of a 3-2 game is not too early to go to the top arms in the pen. That means Timlin, Williamson, Embree, Arroyo and/or Foulke. ... DiNardo is either your last or next-to-last choice. He allowed a double, a groundout, a single and then committed a throwing error. All three of his baserunners later scored. Toronto scored five times in the inning and went on to win 12-6. Even if DiNardo had pitched a 1-2-3 inning, there is no justification for bring him in at that point.

And why is Francona using Scott Williamson like he's the dregs of the pen? He threw the 8th inning on Wednesday with Cleveland up 6-2; on Thursday, he faced three batters in the 7th with the Red Sox behind 8-6. ... Tonight? We have a ground ball pitcher working on turf. I fear we will see the Derek Lowe Face very early this evening.

Also: City officials in Pittsfield, Mass. have released a document they say shows baseball was being played in that town in the late 1700s. The evidence is a 1791 by-law to protect the windows in the town's new meeting house by banning anyone from playing ball within 80 yards of the building. "It's clear that not only was baseball played here in 1791, but it was rampant," said historian John Thorn. "It was rampant enough to have an ordinance against it." Before this, the earliest documentation was 1823.

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