Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Joshua Beckett: Surprisingly Not the One Bringing The Pain

Don't get me wrong, he brought a lot last night, but pain wasn't part of that. He brought a decent fastball. He brought a mostly cool and calm demeanor. He brought 5 K's, 108 pitches, and just enough for a win. He brought his ERA down below 7, which is what I'm most pleased about. It's at 6.75 right now. While that's not a GOOD ERA, it's better. I'll take better.

The one thing that Beckett did not bring was pain. It's not to say that the ten hits off of him weren't painful, because they very much were. He was sloppy, but managed to recover in time to prevent most damage. He didn't bring pain to the Yankees, and they deserved pain. There was nothing I wanted to see more than Beckett drilling Captain Intangibles square in the back with a 96 mph fastball. I wanted it so badly, but at the same time, I was happy it didn't happen. If he had hit Jeter, he would have been the one punished. The discipline committee, after all, is run by a Yankee. That's why Joba and his perfect control will not be penalized for sticking one between JayBay's shoulder blades.

"Weak." Eck grumbled after the HBP. I couldn't agree more, Eck. The guy gets twelve strikeouts, and is "painting" all night (as Eck would say), but suddenly the guy who's been hitting well comes to the plate and he loses his control? Bullshit. When the hell is someone going to do something about this fat, reckless asshole? Bad enough Drew got hit the night before. That might have been an accident. When Joba hit JayBay, that was no accident. He was happy about it. He walked off the mound pumping his stupid fists and getting all worked up. Guess what, asshole. You still lost. Nice job making yourself look like a bigger d-bag than I thought possible. I guess it runs in the family...?

Beckett's problems with the mound were 'not conducive to painting.' Seriously, I couldn't get enough of Eck last night. He was funny. He was refreshing after Buck Martinez and the random mish-mosh of personnel and reporters that were hanging around Tampa on Sunday. He's no Remy, that's for sure, but he was enjoyable. Please let Eck be the permanent Remy substitute when Remy needs time off. It would make me happy.

Hoping that CRW is ok, and hoping to see Youk back in a lineup soon. The guys just don't put the fear of God in opposing pitchers the way the Cincinnati Hillbilly does. JayBay is not an intimidating person (thank goodness that his bat does all the talking). Ortiz hasn't heated up yet. Can anyone really be unnerved by looking at Pedroia? Drew looks like he's always ready to take a nap. Tek doesn't intimidate anyone, even with the thighs of steel on his side. We need the guy who can literally scare the opposing pitcher into submission. That's Youk. Get well soon, Asshat.

My big problem from last night's game were the backwards K's. There were far too many of them, and a lot of them came with three pitches. I'm just going to take a few minutes and go over each one. Using GameDay to help my non-perfect memory, here is a rundown of the K's...

K 1) - Tek 2nd inning (looking)- Three straight called strikes. Not a single one of them was actually in the strike zone. Pitch 2 was close, but still outside.
K 2) - Captain Planet 2nd inning (looking) - Seven pitches. Strikes were called fairly.
K 3) - Papi 3rd inning (swinging) - Called strike 2 was outside. Other two strikes were swinging.
K 4) - JayBay 3rd inning (looking) - Four pitches. All three were in the zone.
K 5) - Drew 4th inning (looking) - Drew didn't move the bat off his shoulder at all. Three straight pitches were called strikes, though two were clearly out of the strike zone.
K 6) - Bailey 4th inning (looking) - After Drew took three straight pitches without moving, Bailey copied him and got the same results. All three pitches were in the strike zone.
K 7) - Captain Planet 4th inning (swinging) - Five pitches. No called strikes in this sequence. Green swung at pitches way out of the strike zone. Way out. Not even close. These pitches must have been up around his eyes.
K 8) - Vantastic 5th inning (looking) - 6 pitches. All three strikes were in the zone.
K 9) - Munchkin 5th inning (looking) - Eight pitches, just to take a strike three that was a very borderline pitch, belt high and inside.
K 10) - Mikey 5th inning (looking) - 5 pitches. All three strikes were in the strike zone.
K 11) - Drew 6th inning (looking) - 6 pitches. Another at bat where Drew didn't take the bat off his shoulder. 1st strike was borderline. 2nd strike was outside. 3rd strike was right on the outside corner. Apparently, Drew didn't feel compelled to do anything except wait for a walk here?
K 12) - Bailey 6th inning (swinging) - All within strike zone, except for the one he fouled off. At least he swung, I guess.
K 13) - Vantastic 8th inning (swinging) - Four pitches, three strikes. All strikes were over the outside part of the plate. Not even questionable.
K 14) - Mikey 9th inning (looking) - 6 pitches. Strike one was high and inside. The rest were actual strikes.

I account for the fact that umpires tend to be inconsistent, but we had four at bats where called strike 3 happened on the third pitch of the at-bat. In my eyes, that's no effort. If you see that the umps are calling strikes outside the zone, don't just stand there and wait for them to change their minds. Swing at anything close with two strikes. You've got far better odds of getting on base. This is basic stuff, isn't it? Our guys, some of them, were just not doing it yesterday. They weren't working counts, they weren't even moving the bat. Hopefully, our hitting coach was paying attention and, I don't know, does something about this? You can't do anything about where the umpire decides the strike zone is for the night, but you can do something about which pitches your guys swing on. A good rule of thumb is this... unless the pitcher isn't anywhere near the strike zone for the entire at bat, swing the bat at least once. Give me something in terms of effort. Lowell, Drew, Bailey, Green, and Van Every each had 2 K's. The only one without a K was CRW, but he was only in for three innings.

I've never been a baseball player, and I never will be, but there are a few things that I see over and over that just get on my nerves to no end. My three rules of what not to do are as follows:
1) Swinging at the first pitch.
2) Swinging at 2-0 or 3-0. Make the dude throw a strike! If need be, make them throw two.
3) Staring at strike 3.

There should never be a situation where a pitcher throws three strikes to major league hitters, and they don't move the bat once. We had it happen four times last night. It really bugged me. I know I'm not an expert, but I don't see anything useful in helping out the opposing pitcher.

Anyway, I'll stop dwelling now. Pavano vs. Fetus tonight. Here's hoping our little guy can bounce back from his first rough outing of the season!

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