October 13, 2004

ALCS Game 1: New York 10, Boston 7. What did we learn? (1) Curt Schilling's ankle is apparently more of a problem that we thought. (2) The Yankees pitchers have to be perfect to keep a lid on the Boston offense, and after Mike Mussina, the pitchers are far from perfect. (3) It is never a good idea to spot your opponent 8 runs. [BSG's take.]

First 19 Red Sox batters: 0 baserunners, 8 strikeouts (including Damon, Bellhorn and Ramirez all caught looking in the 4th) and only 4 of 19 outs to the outfield. ... Next 12 Red Sox batters: 8 hits, 7 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple (Tiz!), 1 home run (Varitek's first hit in the Bronx this year; better late than never). In a matter of minutes, the game goes from Mussina being up 8-0 and eight outs from a perfect game to Boston having the tying run on third base in the 8th inning.

At that point, Mariano Rivera came in and got Millar to pop out to Jeter. Damn. New York tacked on two insurance runs in the 8th. Still, Rivera allowed two one-out singles to Varitek and Cabrera. That brought Bill Mueller to the plate as the tying run and fans on both sides were no doubt thinking of Mueller's game-winning home run off Rivera back in July. But Mueller couldn't do it again. He tapped back to the hill for a 1-6-3 double play and Boston was down 1-0 with Game 2 tonight.

Schilling either simply had a bad night or his ankle is causing serious problems (or both). I don't think his fastball hit higher than 92 and he had trouble pushing off the rubber, so his pitches are a little flat. With two outs in the first, both Sheffield and Matsui doubled and Williams singled to give New York a quick 2-0 lead. Schilling needed only 10 pitches for a 1-2-3 2nd inning, but he fell apart in the 3rd. Jeter and Rodriguez singled, Sheffield walked and Matsui cleared the bases with a double to left. Posada's sac fly brought home the Yankees' sixth run.

In the 3rd inning, as Schilling struggled, Francona had Myers warming up. WTF? I thought Lowe and Mendoza were on the roster as the long men. So why was the LOOGY the first guy up? Schilling was one hit away from being pulled mid-inning, so maybe Francona was going to use Myers against Olerud or somebody. It really made no sense. Leskanic was now up and he came in for the 4th. From there, Francona used one pitcher per inning: Mendoza, Wakefield, Embree and Timlin (although Foulke was needed to get the last out in the 8th).

Boston scored 5 times in the 7th and 2 times in the 8th, cutting New York's lead to 8-7 and silencing the crowd. Plenty of nervous faces in Fox's crowd shots. Nice to see. ... Timlin began the 8th by getting Jeter, but then both Rodriguez and Sheffield singled to left. With Matsui up, this was the time for Myers. but as far as I can tell, he wasn't even warming up (Foulke was). Francona could have had Myers face Matsui and then Foulke for switch-hitters Williams and Posada. ... Timlin got Matsui to line to Cabrera, but Williams followed with a double over Manny's head in left for two runs. 10-7.

Fox's coverage was about as bad as expected. Buck and McCarver made numerous references to "Brandon" Arroyo, with McCarver at one point saying "Brandon" would be facing Pedro in Game 2. Buck added in the 3rd that Arroyo was available for long relief, although if he had actually prepared for the game, he would have known that Francona had said exactly the opposite for two days. ... In the first inning, Schilling got ahead of Jeter 0-2 and McCarver said Jeter is "an outstanding 2-strike hitter." Here are some splits:
            2004         2002-04


On 0-2 .286 .500 .287 .368
On 1-2 .167 .202 .193 .244
On 2-2 .256 .476 .226 .365
On 3-2 .250 .404 .301 .470
Is that really "outstanding"? What are the league averages with 2 strikes? ... And what the fuck was with McCarver talking about Jeter's "calm eyes"? (That's worse than saying (as he did last year) that one of Rivera's strengths is his "elegant gait" coming in from the bullpen.) Damn, Timmy, just propose to the guy and get it over with.

We heard several "Who's Your Daddy?" chants last night. I expect there will be a more of them tonight. Losing the first game doesn't worry me (New York lost Game 1 last ALCS), but I expect to see Pedro bring some serious shit tonight.


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