Thursday, June 4, 2009

Curtis Granderson: I No Longer Like You

Curtis... oh, Curtis, I knew it would be you. I didn't want it to be you. I didn't want it to be anyone, to be quite honest. I kept hearing Eck and DO prattle on about how you are no problem for Beckett, how he's owned you and how you are helpless against him. That's how I knew it was going to be you. I didn't say anything to anyone because I'm not about to jinx a guy going for a no-hitter. I kept my fear to myself until said fear was realized.

You didn't have to do it. You could have just let him get the no-hitter. It's as close as he's ever come, and if you didn't get that base hit, the game wouldn't have fallen apart the way it did. So, I no longer like you, Curtis. I used to sort of like you. I thought you were a good player. Perhaps not the best, but good. Now.... no more. I never want to see your face again.

Beckett was unbelievable last night. Dominant. Everything I want in a starting pitcher. But the game devolved pretty quickly after that base hit. Looking at the score, you would never guess that Beckett took his no-no into the 7th, would you? Craziness ensued in the final innings. Not that it wasn't wacky before then. Let's recap, shall we?

-The night starts off with JD Drew getting hit 200th career home run off of Gallaraga.

-Youkilis steals a base (hopefully preventing a double play) and ends up getting doubled off second, even though he was clearly back to the bag in time, during JayBay's AB.

-Gerald Laird tried to drop down a bunt in... I want to say the 5th inning, but it may have been the 6th. The bunt attempt drove Eck crazy.

-Eck started talking openly about the no-no going on. ECK! You should know better! We do NOT mention the phrases "no hits," "no-no," or "no-hitter" in the middle of a no-hitter. You jinxed it, man. So not cool. Didn't anyone ever tell you to, um, NOT do that? D.O., you were sitting right next to him. For two innings, he kept saying the above banned phrases, and you did nothing to stop him? That's completely unacceptable. You can say "he's putting up a lot of zeros" or "no baserunners have reached except for (list recipients of walks), who reached on a walk" or even "he's dominating tonight." We'll know what you meant, and you don't have to annoy the superstitious part of the fan base by jinxing it. I'm not always superstitious, but you never NEVER say the phrase in the middle of a no-hitter. Never do it again, Eck.

Then in the 8th, it unravelled. Why was Beckett back out there, some people have wondered. Do you know why he was out there? Because he had been pitching well, and Tito felt no need to unnecessarily use the bullpen. I completely support that decision. Beckett is a grown up. He doesn't need to be babied. When he's on, let him pitch. I defend Tito's decision to keep him in there. The eighth was ugly. It started with a double, and a HBP. Beckett plunked Laird. Could it be because of the attempted bunt? I don't know, I guess it could have been. Don't tell me it was unintentional. Beckett had pinpoint control all night.

Unfortunately, the eight also saw us commit three errors. The first was from Munchkin, who tried to flip to Captain Planet covering second, and ended up throwing the ball into left field. The first unearned run scored. Daniel Bard comes in to relieve Beckett. His first batter reaches on a fielding error by Captain Planet. That's now two errors in the inning that Green has played a role in. Asshat gets kicked in the ankle and has to come out of the game. Mark Kotsay, who had replaced JD Drew, moves from right to 1st, and Baldelli jumps out to right. The next batter reaches on a fielding error by Mikey Lowell, loading the bases. The second unearned run scores. And then that smarmy little jerk Granderson hits a triple, letting the third unearned Beckett run scores, and a couple of unearned Bard runs score. Hideous. Just to recap, that was three fielding errors in the span of four batters (there was a K after the first error). 2B, SS, and 3B basically ruined the inning for us.

Then in the ninth, and I'll admit that I didn't see why this happened because I was getting myself ready for bed, apparently my beloved Mikey gets kicked out of the game. Mikey? Seriously? I wish I had seen that, because Mikey NEVER gets kicked out of games. I can't recall a single other occasion when Mike was kicked out. He just doesn't have the temperment for it. Then Saito was getting squeezed by the ump. I saw five to six pitches that were strikes that were called balls. I bet it was because of the ruckus.

Either way, they held on to win. What should have been a spectacular no-hitter turned into your routine 10-5 victory. I was beyond impressed with Beckett. He's now on the verge, and hopefully only a start away, from getting that hideous ERA down below 4. I think he's at 4.09 right now. There's nothing I love watching more in all of baseball than Josh Beckett when he's got solid command of all of his pitches. He throws some of the prettiest curves you can imagine when he's going good. And oh, the paint. He knows how to paint. The sexiest thing in baseball is an 0-2, 95-96 mph fastball that paints the outside corner and freezes a batter. I didn't get that last night. The closest we got was Brandon Inge's 2nd inning AB. Beckett throws a 94 mph 4-seamer right on the outside corner, and Inge just stares at it. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Now Wakefield, you no longer have the lowest ERA on the starting staff. Let's try to remedy that this afternoon against Dontrell Willis. I won't get to watch you, since I will be in class, but I promise that I'll be rooting for you while muddling through macro economics. Good luck, Tim!

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