Sunday, October 19, 2008
Hidy folks. I'll be better tonight, and we're all set for the do-or-die game. Who gets to host the Phillies on Wednesday? I'd say most of you armchair analysts are going for the Red Sox, given the events of the last couple games. First off, let's thank Ian from Sox and Dawgs for passing along Dennis Eckersley taking it on the chin from Ernie Johnson last night:
AA passes along the statement from TBS, explaining last night's outage:
STATEMENT FROM TBS REGARDING ALCS GAME 6
Two circuit breakers in our Atlanta transmission operations tripped causing the master router and its backup – which are necessary to transmit any incoming feed outbound – to shut down. This impacted our live feed from being distributed to any of the other networks in the Turner portfolio and caused the delay in our coverage. Both our primary and backup routers were impacted by this problem. We apologize to baseball fans for this mishap that caused a delay in our coverage.
It's a valid explanation, but not one that inspires any confidence in Turner Networks in general. But at least we're starting on time tonight!
Craig Sager looks rather subdued for him. Outlandish jacket and tie choice, but not horrific like his sea foam green and yellow tie with pink flowers from a couple weeks back.
Matt Garza is pitching for the Rays; he faces Coco Crisp first. Crisp lays down the bunt towards Garza, and he throws to Carlos Pena for the out. Dustin Pedroia waves at a 95 mph fastball for strike one. 2nd pitch is high. Third pitch is BELTED to left field for a homer, Sox take a 1-0 lead.
Gee, that was quick. Ortiz up and he's now dealing with a 2-1 count. Garza works in a fastball for strike 2, and the cowbells are LOUD tonight. Full count after one misses away, and it's ball 4. Ortiz on first with Kevin Youkilis coming up. Youk's feet are so damn close together when he bats, he looks like a gimp. First pitch is a brush back, 1-0. Next one gets fouled back, as does the one after that. Rocco Baldelli makes a nice play in right with the ball going towards the line, and Ortiz gets back to first. Two out. J.D. Drew up.
Matt Garza looks like John Turturro in the Big Lebowski. "Nobody fucks with the Jesus!" Jesus Quintana rolls a nice slider and it's 1-2, he gets Drew on a check-swing, and Navarro throws him out at first after dropping the ball.
Soul Men looks horrifically bad. This is not the last role we should be seeing Bernie Mac in, dammit.
"Garza allows the Pedroia homer but that is all in the first" - Chip Caray, who appearently forgot about the walk to Ortiz (via JFein)
Jon Lester starts with a strike to Akinori Iwamura. Quickly 0-2 with a breaking ball. Ron Darling just corrected himself after saying Lester pitched game 7 of the World Series last year, which of course, only went four games. Iwamura grounds out to Pedroia. Bossman Junior is up and takes a ball to start. Lester gets one over and Upton is knocking fouls back. 2-2, now 3-2 after a high fastball. Upton rockets a pitch to right, but right at Drew.
Carlos Pena whiffs at strike one, followed by ball one in the dirt. Pena chases strike two low.
"It's got a lot more finish on it." - Buck Martinez, on Lester's pitches. 2-2 count after a ball outside. Lester looks like a babyfaced assassin, and he gets Pena to go down swinging on another breaking ball.
Top 2nd inning
Jason Bay fouls off the first pitch from the Jesus. They replay Darrell Cousins' injury from last night, and that still looks like it hurt like a mofo. It's 2-2 to Bay now. "He's taken the earplugs out," says Buck, and Bay learns that this creep can hurl, man. Garza gets him on a check-swing.
Mark Kotsay takes strike one, knocks strike two up the middle and is robbed of a single by Jason Bartlett, who goes far to his left, crosses second, and throws Kotsay out.
Varitek's up. First ball's low, Tek fouls the next one, and the one after that. 1-2. Couple balls from the Jesus and we got a full count.
"If you want to end a conversation with Jason Varitek, talk about his impending free agency." - Buck. Tek fouls another ball on the full count. Dirty, nasty, filthy breaking ball gets Tek looking. Nice pitch, Jesus.
"He affects the game defensefully." - Ron Darling, channeling his inner Emmitt.
Bottom 2nd Inning
The Volcano Taco still looks foul weeks later. I've not tried one and plan not to.
Evan Longoria up, takes a ball, takes two others, and gets nailed with a strike that really wasn't. Longoria grounds in the hole to Alex Cora, who gets him by four steps.
Carl Crawford comes up to M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." Still like that song even though it's been everywhere now. 1-1 count, then strike two, and a high fastball gets Crawford swinging.
Willy Aybar is DH'ing tonight, and takes a strike. Next breaker is low from Lester. Aybar smacks an easy grounder to Youkilis, slugs it to Kotsay. Six up, six down.
Top 3rd Inning
Frank Caliendo pushing Dish TV is just as annoying as Frank TV ads. The Jesus faces Alex Cora to start the 3rd. The shortstop flies out to Carl Crawford in left.
Crisp comes in for his second at-bat. He fouls off strike one, and this gives Chip Caray room to work in stuff about him replacing Jacoby Ellsbury. Garza buzzes him to make it a 2-2 count.
"If you're gonna buzz somebody, you better check his background. Coco's father was a profesional boxer in Los Angeles." - Buck
Crisp fouls another one back, and chops another foul at the plate. "He's tracking the ball very well right now," says Buck, and now I think Buck is talking too much already. The Jesus gets Covelli for his fourth strikeout on a curve. 2 down.
Garza gets Pedroia for strike one, and swinging for an 0-2 count. Stays alive by fouling it off.
That doesn't make him any good. Chip Carey's father was a professional broadcaster. - Rick James Bible Owner, referring to Buck's statement about Crisp's boxing background.
Pedroia gets popped hard and takes his base. Ortiz comes to the plate, takes strike one, leans back as the next pitch is high and inside. A very low strike 2, and Ortiz didn't much care for that call. Pedroia steals second on the next pitch without a throw, but Garza gets Ortiz for strikeout #5 with a high fastball.
Bottom 3rd Inning
"Pedroia is a guy that can hit anybody's fastball. It doesn't matter how hard it is, where it is..." - Buck Martinez (via JFein)
Even if it's 10 feet outside the zone, he'll get a bat on it somehow. He's just that clutch.
I hate those Bud Light drinkability ads. Of course it's easy to drink, because there's no weight to it. Whether it tastes good is another matter.
Dioner Navarro takes strike one, then takes a ball way inside. Lester lost control of that last one; it was really high, over his head. Inside strike, 2-2, Rocco's not swung the bat yet. Next one's fouled out of play behind the plate. Full count after a backdoor curveball, which Lester wanted badly. Navarro whiffs for Lester's third K of the night.
Rocco Baldelli's up, and down 1-2 quickly. Lester gets him looking for the fourth K, and he's got the first eight down.
"When you're catching a guy like this, you feel like a catching genius. I can call any pitch I want." - Buck.
Jason Bartlett pops up to Pedroia, and Lester's gone through the line-up once in order.
"If Lester is going to settle in, this is where he normally does so" - Chip Caray (via JFein, who's right to wonder if he isn't settled in already)
Top 4th Inning
What's with the off-center behind the pitcher camera angle? Hard to tell balls and strikes. - Mal
This is a frequent thing with TV shots behind the pitching mound, it's just more pronounced with lefties and more so with TBS' shot. It is really confusing, though. Anon does have an explanation for us: "I remember watching games on YES and ESPN, same place. The Trop is a circus tent, not ideal for camera placements."
Youkilis stands in, and is quickly down 0-2.
"He's carrying more than a chip on his shoulder, he's carrying his whole team." - Buck. Youk hits one down the line to Longoria, who throws it and is saved as Pena scoops it out of the dirt for the out.
Drew drills a high pop up to Pena for out #2.
"Garza learned you can't throw angry pitches." - Chip
If he can strike out a few more batters he'll be in his happy place. He's got Jason Bay on a 1-2 count now -- and he gets Bay again.
"They've got plenty of cowbell, now they need some runs!" - Chip, after Garza's sixth K.
Bottom 4th Inning
Iwamura starts the top of the 4th with a single to left -- first hit off Lester tonight.
Bossman Junior takes ball one inside, followed by strike two off the plate away. After fouling off a couple, Upton goes down swinging for Lester's fifth K.
Lester hits Pena with strike one inside, after Chip Caray repeats the most tired of cliches, "One swing could turn this game around." The shift works as Pena hits one to Pedroia, who tosses to Youkilis, who covers second and forces out Iwamura.
Longoria comes up with 2 outs and takes a strike. He belts it into the right field corner, the third base coach is waving Pena all the way....relay throw is close, Pena beats the tag! It's all tied up at 1-1 now.
Very bang-bang, nice play, good aggressiveness. Longoria's at 2nd, Crawford is down 0-2 now after swinging at a bad ball out of the zone. Youkilis tries to go for a foul ball, but it lands out of play.
"If he sees it, he thinks he can catch it." - Buck, on Youk.
Crawford goes down swinging on a high fastball, but it's knotted now.
Top 5th Inning
Just watch. We've got ourselves a pitcher's duel now.
Kotsay takes two straight balls from the Jesus. He gets to a 3-1 count, then pops up to Iwamura at 2nd base.
Varitek gets ready to take his second hack, struck out the first time.
"Garza's thrown 71 pitches. In Game 7, that's about 40 pitches." - Buck
"Spoken like a true manager." - Ron
Garza gets Tek to ground out on the first pitch, and now it's Cora's 2nd time up. Strike one in a good location. Strike two is FILTHY. Nice breaking ball from Garza, and another nasty one for strike three. Sit down, Alex.
"Any manager will tell you that the hitters tell you when a pitcher doesn't have his stuff any more." - Buck
Bottom 5th Inning
Willy Aybar takes strike one as Lester keeps attacking inside to the righties. Strike 2 is in about the same place. Ball 1 in the dirt. Aybar leans out and digs for the ball, driving it into the left field corner and missing a homer by feet. Nice piece of hitting.
Navarro up takes a ball inside.
"You can see John Madden...pfft...Joe Maddon sizing up whether to bunt." - Buck, who was looking forward to meeting the Turducken King until he heard he was going to take the week off. Navarro's working the count well, it's 3-0 and the crowd and the bells are getting louder. Maybe it's the dome, but this is the loudest baseball game I've heard in some time. Lester hits the inside corner for a 3-1 count. Navarro pops it out of play, full count. Ground ball to short, Cora doesn't have a play after Aybar holds. 1st and 2nd, no outs.
Rocco Baldelli gets strike one. He nails the ball, but just a bit late, and it's a 400-foot towering foul ball. Base hit in to left, Aybar scores, it's 2-1, Tampa! 1st and 2nd again, with Navarro leading and Baldelli coming through.
"And how big are two out hits in the post-season?" - Chip, forgetting that there are no outs.
Garza v. Cora to end top of 5th: Fastball 94 mph, Curveball 75 mph, Slider 86 mph (per mlb.com). All for strikes. That is amazing control of 3 pitches and changing speeds. - Mal
That is insanely good stuff.
Did you see the shot of Vitale going nuts after Baldelli's RBI single? - Mal
Dammit! No, I missed that. I was rushing to type. Awesome with a capital A, baby!
Bartlett's got an 0-2 count on him, and Lester gets him to strike out for out #1. Iwamura grounds out to Lester, runners move to 2nd and 3rd with two outs for Bossman Junior.
Upton strokes a golf shot foul down the left field line to start. He lines out to short to end the inning, but Garza gets a one-run lead to go back to the mound with.
Top 6th Inning
Crisp up to face Garza for the third time. Garza gets him to 0-2 on a nasty breaking ball. The Jesus throws three straight balls to get to a full count. Crisp hits a tapper back to Garza, who fields it well and shovels it to Pena for the out.
"Six leadoff batters in a row." - Ron
"That's the Jon Lester formula." - Chip
Pedroia takes a fastball down the middle for strike one. Next pitch misses. Another fast one away for a 1-2 count, and the cowbells are going gangbusters with the thought of another K. THE COWBELLS WANT BLOOD. That one just missed (but it looked way wide from the proper angle.) Pedroia bats the next one foul past third base, fouls another one -- and a few more. Full count after a ball outside. Pedroia takes ball four low and away.
Garza gets Ortiz to wave at strike one. Takes a look at a ball, Ortiz then swings and misses down in the inner half. 2-2 after a ball in the dirt.
"That's fisted over to the Red Sox dug out" - Chip Caray as a fly ball lands in the fourth row...(via JFein)
Full count after a fastball away. Fastball inside, Pedroia goes...Ortiz misses, and Pedroia is NAILED at second!
What awful camera work on the DP - Bazooka Jones
TBS, the Versus of baseball.
Those Volkswagen ads with the talking Beetle used to be funny until Brooke Shields got involved. Funny how that works, huh?
Bottom 6th Inning
Carlos Pena up to start. Lester gets him to pop out to third for the first out.
Longoria hits a towering fly ball, but Jason Bay has it easily.
Crawford hits a fly fairly deep to center, Crisp gets a beat on it and Lester is done in short order with the sixth inning.
Top 7th Inning
How much longer can Garza go? He's at 100 pitches, probably one more inning if he doesn't have to work too hard. Then again, I'm not a major league manager. When to pull Garza will be an important call for Joe Maddon.
Youkilis up. Low and inside, ball one. Bartlett moves in behind Iwamura, takes the pop up for the first out.
"After the first pitch, Garza looked down at the bullpen, saw two guys getting warmed up, and got more focused. 'This is my game, boys.'" - Buck
Drew gets a 2-0 count, and gets a 3-0 on the next pitch. Drew takes a walk on four pitches. Navarro and Garza talk it over as Jason Bay comes to the plate. Strike one on the inside breaking ball. Bay then knocks a single into left. 1st and 2nd, one out. Maddon makes his first trip to the mound.
Mark Kotsay's got a chance to knock one. Strike one on a pop foul. Ball one in the dirt. Ball two is high. Kotsay flies out to left; Drew tags and heads to third.
Varitek fouls the first pitch to right field; he then holds up his swing on a pitch in the dirt. Another pop foul for a 1-2 count. Garza gets him swinging! Navarro throws him out at first, with the ball in the dirt, and the Jesus wriggles off the hook!
I HAVE A FEVER AND THE ONLY PRESCRIPTION IS MORE COWBELL! - James Craven
Don't we all?
Bottom 7th Inning
Willy Aybar's up against Jon Lester, taking strike one and fouling off the next for a second strike. He takes two straight balls. Very close on that 3-2, right off the corner. AYBAR TATTOOED THAT MOFO OUT. 3-1, RAYS.
Navarro pops to right on a 1-2 count. J.D. Drew has it.
Baldelli comes up for his third time at the plate. He strikes out, making the 8th for Lester. (Garza's gotten nine on strikes.)
Bartlett fouls off three straight pitches, then flies out to Crisp in center.
"Baldelli's a young man that was compared to Joe DiMaggio" - Chip
"Yeah, you just have to look at his number." - Ron [The 5 on the back of his jersey.]
If TB wasn't leading, Yankee fans may find yet another reason to throw something at their TV's... - Anon
Top 8th Inning
Six outs to go for Tampa. Matt Garza's still pitching. Maddon doesn't want to yank him until he absolutely has to. Alex Cora fouls off the first pitch, and a ground ball eats up Bartlett at short. Cora on with the error, and Maddon's going to the bullpen.
Garza gets a massive ovation, well deserved. Dan Wheeler comes in. He throws two balls, gets Crisp to foul one off. Coco fouls a bunt attempt, he got antsy. Crisp hits one through the right side, 1st and 2nd, nobody out.
"You give the Red Sox life. They take the life away from you." - Chip
Pedroia up, takes a strike. Wheeler gets him to fly out to Crawford, runners stay put. Wheeler's night is done, as Maddon calls for J.P. Howell.
Howell's on to face David Ortiz. Throws a breaker on the inside for strike one. Ortiz fouls a grounder for an 0-2 count. High fastball for ball 1, sinker low and away for ball 2. After fouling out numerous pitches, Ortiz grounds to Iwamura, who throws a force to Bartlett to take Crisp out -- and Crisp would have beaten it if he'd gone for the bag. Another pitching change.
Chad Bradford, the submariner, is throwing. Youkilis up. Inside near his legs, ball one. 2-0 on the next pitch. 3-0, inside again. Finally, a strike. Fouled off, 3-2. Youk holds up, ball 4. Bases loaded for J.D. Drew, and David Price is coming in to face him.
First pitch slider in for a strike from Price. 87 mph breaker for strike 2. Fastball, 96 mph, away for ball 1. FROZE HIM ON THE OUTSIDE CORNER. Nasty, nasty, nasty. Nice job, David.
Bottom 8th Inning
97 mph on the outside corner. Which Vandy grad has a stronger arm? Price or Cutler? - Mal
On the David Price strikeout:
Best thing he's said all night. - Rick James Bible Owner
Iwamura up against Hideki Okajima. Grounds out to Pedroia, who has to rush the throw, but gets him.
Bossman Junior comes up now. He tags one into shallow center and Coco Crisp makes a nice sliding catch for the second out.
Pena busts one off foul for strike one.
"There might be mutiny if Price doesn't go out to start the 9th." - Buck
"A high strike evens, or makes it 0-2 to Pena, beg your pardon." - Chip
Pena takes ball one in the dirt, and then takes strike three high. Three outs to go for the Rays and an American League pennant.
Top 9th Inning
"He has a chance to pick up a win and a save in the postseason before he's had either in the regular season." - Buck on David Price (via Mal)
It's Bay, Kotsay, and Varitek. Price nails strike one, then throws a sinker low to even it out. Ball two is way inside, getting Bay to go down to the dirt. Fouled back out of play. 2-2. Fouled off again. Bay just holds off his swing on the high heat. He fouls off the next one. Bay takes a walk.
Kotsay comes to the plate. He bunts foul for strike one, fouls the next one for strike two. High cheese for ball one. 2-2 after a 95-mph fastball just off the corner. STRIKE THREE ON THE OUTSIDE CORNER. Again, filthy, filthy, filthy.
Ball one to Varitek. Tek then swings and misses a fastball. Next pitch is fouled back for strike two. Super-high and outside for ball two. TEK GOES DOWN SWINGING. One more out to go, and David Price is just ringing it up.
JED LOWRIE GROUNDS OUT TO IWAMURA FOR THE FORCE, AND THE RAYS ARE YOUR AL CHAMPIONS!!!!!
Man, what a game!
they should have sent a poet.
/contact'd - Dan
FOX's nightmare comes true! - Luis
"From 9 equals 8 to 9 equals 2, Joe Maddon and his Tampa Bay Rays will face the Phillies in the World Series." - Chip
Thanks for joining me, everybody. We'll have World Series live blogs next weekend, I'm sure. Have fun and see you next weekend!