August 21, 2006

Was This Your Celebrated Summer?

I don't even want to hear his excuse.

There can be no rational explanation. It's impossible. His decision to go with Timlin and then Lopez -- and leave his best arm (who had not pitched at all in the series) in the pen -- was inexcusable. He should be fired. This is a man who does not want to win.

In a playoff-caliber battle, Curt Schilling gave everything he had. He had waited through a one-hour rain delay, and thrown 73 pitches through four innings. Knowing he had to go deep into the game, he fought his way through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, needing only 10, 14 and 12 pitches, retiring nine of 10 Yankees.

David Ortiz wanted to win. His long home run broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning and he hustled his way to a double leading off the bottom of the ninth. Manny Ramirez drove in the first run of the night and was on base five times. Coco Crisp tried, in vain, to snare HGH's home run in the 10th and possibly hurt his left wrist.

(Did you see the sweat pouring off Giambi when he was back in the dugout? I could have put him in front of my house and watered my lawn. ... Jon Miller said he got that sweaty running out the home run.)

But the man at the helm -- in what was the first must-win game of the summer -- did not go for the throat. He didn't want to win. The choice of pitcher to start the eighth was not his only misstsep. Having Kevin Youkilis, the team's third-best hitter, bunt in the ninth was also the decision of an idiot (even Joe Morgan was surprised). The bunt did not work, and the Yankees intentionally walked Mike Lowell, leaving the game in the hands of Eric Hinske and Doug Mirabelli.

In the eighth inning on October 16, 2003, when the manager walked away from the mound and did not make a pitching change, John Henry -- who had wanted to fire the Grinning Jackass before the 2003 season even began -- turned to Larry Lucchino and asked (through gritted teeth, no doubt): "Can we fire him now?"

Last night, as he watched Francona make decisions that were 180 degrees away from everything the organization has been preaching for three years, I wonder what Henry was thinking.


laura k said...

I turned off the TV after Giambi's home run, and went to sleep. I guess that's the equivalent of leaving the game early. The most maddening part is it was all so predicatble.

allan said...

Neil H at 3,079 Miles to Fenway, 3,448 miles to Yankee Stadium writes:

We have Tito saying before the game - "Papelbon is available to go deep"

We have Tito saying in game to Jon and Joe - "2 innings? Papelbon could go 4"

and then...

Presented with the perfect opportunity to use Papelbon for six outs he chokes.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock: Not a horrible loss. Just final...and I do mean FINAL...proof that this edition of the Sox doesn't have what it takes, and the Yankees do.
Nobody should knock Papelbon, who pitched valiantly and well. Jeter simply blooped a garbage single on a good pitch, as he has a million times. When he beats Papi for MVP, this series will be why. "Why wasn't Kaplar playing shallow..." PLEASE!
Ridiculous after-the-fact carping. Pinch-hit for Mirabelli? Come on; Varitek would be likely dead-duck in that situation too. At least Doug hit the ball, unlike Hinske. Give DM a break: he was brought in to catch Wakefield, not to be Mike Piazza. Implying someone's a bum because they can't hit Mariano Rivera is unfair.

And I have to say that I disagree with your argument that Tito should have brought in Papelbon to begin the 8th. The guy's reaaranging deck chairs on the Titanic...SOMEBODY's got to be able to throw strikes other than the Kid. At this point, the bullpen is hopeless. Hopeless. Tito didn't assemble that bunch. Why is Hanson even in the major leagues?
[This was written before I learned that he's been demoted. I hope it doesn't wreck him, but it has to be done. BUT: if he was that close to being demoted, why use him in such a critical situation? THAT, not Timlin in the 8th, is unforgivable.

In the faces of Papelbon and Schilling, I saw competitors, pitchers with class and courage. That's two...another (Wakefield) is on the DL, and a 4th pitches today. Too bad three of them are 40 years old.

Jack Marshall said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thatdietcokegirl said...

it's baffling isn't it? i remember him saying that in the little dugout conversation during the game. why the fuck did he say that when he wasn't really going to do it?


The most maddening part is it was all so predicatble.


Timmy Mac said...

I was surprised Tito didn't use Paps for all six outs, considering that he'd said he would, but really, the best case scenario is that we'd have put off our date with death for one more game.

Stankyfish said...

the best case scenario is that we'd have put off our date with death for one more game

No, the best csae scenario is that you win a tough fought game, take a little momentum into the final game of the series and have a possibility of only dropping one game in a series that was looking like mass murder.

Tito opted to lie down and die along with half of the team. This team does not have what it takes to win and last night is all the proof we should need to see it.

Outside of the 3 and 4 hitters, there is little to nothing to inspire any confidence whatsoever.

This is the major leagues, for Christ's sake, and (whether you agree with the call or not) we can't lay down a bunt to move runners?

Mirabelli can't catch a ball in the dirt?

Kaplar can dive for a ball that's 18 feet out of his reach and turn a single into a double letting the tying run move into scoring position, but lets Jeter's drop in front of him to score the tying run?

Torre proved, once again, to be in a different class than Tito. He has shown that the best way to beat the best hitting tandem in baseball is to not pitch to them, and Tito has no answer. Except Lopez in the five hole. That worked out well.

I suppose it's better to happen now than in October when it just hurts that much more.

I just hope I don't have to sit through press conferences with Theo where he tries to tell the fans that they were expecting too much in a "rebuilding" year in an attempt at supreme cover-your-assness.

Bill said...

Dont blame Francona.

Bunting with Youk was the correct move in that situation, as it avoided the inevitable double play...but i do have to question if bunting is part of the red sox practice routines at all some times.

Yes, last night was the text book 2 inning save situation, but honestly, we cant have pap. pitch 2-3 innings every game we are up.

This team just does not have the personel to win against elite teams, it's really just as simple as that.

If anything, blame the front office for not supplying tito with decent arms in the pen, trading away our best position prospect, and throwing away arroyo.

Jack Marshall said...

I was with you until the last sentence Bill.

Arroyo was not "thrown away"...and he's still a .500 pitcher. And a prospect is a prospect. Theo had to trade prospects to get those arms we don't have. You can't have it both ways.

RichBrlsnFan said...

that grinning idiot's new team is 4 games up in the NL west.

Michael Leggett said...

Misappropriation of resources, I'd say:

You're blog has been added to my link list, now about the size of Beckett's ERA;

Essay on 2 teams, 2 years after World Series;

The years are '02 & '06.

Jackie said...

and the NL West is nowhere near as competitive as the AL East.

DLowe looked pretty good in his last start, though. :/

Jal said...

Do you have a source for Henry's reaction to Little's non-move? I always wondered if ownership was thinking what we were thinking.

allan said...

It is on page 224 of Seth Mnookin's new book "Feeding the Monster".

I always wondered if ownership was thinking what we were thinking.

Henry adds: "I felt pure rage."

So, yeah, he felt like us.