March 15, 2005

ALDS Rewind

Game 1: Boston 9, Anaheim 3
Game 2: Boston 8, Anaheim 3

I'm finally rewatching my DVDs of the 2004 post-season. I skipped through the first two games of the ALDS last night, but I don't have many comments.

Ortiz was on fire from the start. He drove the first pitch he saw into right for an RBI-single, scoring Manny, who had doubled. Tiz also walked five times in the two games, three times intentionally. After those BBIs, the next batters went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. ... I was also curious about how Schilling's ankle felt in the early innings of Game 1, before he tweaked it fielding Anderson's 7th-inning dribbler. In all the stories over the winter, I haven't read too much about that.

Most of my chicken scratches concern the truly shitty broadcasting team of Chris Berman, Rick Sutcliffe and Tony Gywnn. Gywnn seems like a nice guy, but he adds absolutely nothing to a baseball broadcast. Sutcliffe's stupid-to-reasonable-comment ratio is quite high and Berman continues to act as though he -- and not what's going on down on the diamond -- is the show.

Game 1, top of the fourth. Boston's up 3-0 after Ortiz walked and Millar homered. Varitek lined a hit to left and Cabrera walks. No one out. Gwynn: "It wouldn't surprise me at all if Billy Mueller's up there to drop a bunt ..." Well, Tony, if you had read anything about the 2004 Boston Red Sox before you went on the air, you'd know that they rarely bunt. Boston had only 12 sacrifice hits, the lowest in the AL; the White Sox led the league with 58 and the Angels were second with 56.

Mueller's at-bat would have been a good time to explain why the Red Sox would not be bunting, but no one did that. After Mueller struck out, Gwynn seemed genuinely surprised there had been no attempt to move the runners over for the #9 hitter. ... Gwynn again had bunting on his mind in the first inning of Game 2 when Damon and Bellhorn both singled. Bunting with Manny and Ortiz coming up? Please.

During Game 1, Berman noted that Bellhorn had set a new Red Sox single-season record for strikeouts, breaking Butch Hobson's old record, which had been set (he said) "in the mid-80s." ... Actually, Hobson set the record (162 K) in 1977. And his last major league game was on August 3, 1982, as a member of the Yankees. ... Berman repeated the Hobson "mid-80s" "factoid" during Game 2.

Pedro Martinez came out throwing heat in Game 2. Of his six pitches to Vladimir Guererro in the first inning, one was 95 and three were 94. By the 7th inning, Martinez was still consistently throwing in the low 90s. He had thrown 93 pitches through 6.1 innings, but then needed 12 pitches to get Eckstein to fly out and 10 more to strike out Figgins. That made 115 pitches and Francona handed the ball over to Timlin, Myers and Foulke. ... I noticed that Arroyo was warming up as Foulke was striking out Glaus to end the 8th. Boston led 4-3 at the time and Tito was apparently planning (just in case) for extra innings. But the Sox battered Donnelly for four runs in the 9th and put the game out of reach.

Check out The Baseball Desert for an mp3 of Vin Scully calling the 9th inning of Sandy Koufax's perfect game on September 9, 1965. ... Just what I need to cleanse my aural palate before subjecting myself to ESPN's Three Stooges for Game 3.

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