Monday, July 13, 2009

John Smoltz: Please Plan On Buttering Up the Bullpen

If anyone could explain to me what John Smoltz did to so deeply upset each member of our bullpen, I would much appreciate it. In his last two starts, at Baltimore and vs. Kansas City, the usually reliable bullpen has given up 18 runs. No, you didn't read that incorrectly. I did write 18. That would be 10 against the AL east cellar dwellers, and 9 against a Royals team that is 11.5 games out of 1st in a (currently) soft division. If it weren't for how awful the Indians have been this season, they'd also be cellar dwellers. Sad.

Smoltz, for what it's worth, did pitch well. Five innings isn't a long outing, I know, but I think that once he gets his stamina back up, we'll be seeing him go 7 or more. He's John Smoltz, after all. So he's making the 'pen work. Could that be what's gotten them all so uppity. Oh no, they have to cover four innings! GASP! I know, I'm being unusually mean to the pirates in the pen, but I still love them. They just really really REALLY need these next four days off to relax and put some ice on those swollen ERAs.

The game as a whole... just wow. I don't even know what to write that can cover it. First of all, the team lines were as follows: KC: 9 13 3, BOS 15 12 1. We got outhit. Again. By Kansas City. Really! I know, I didn't believe it either. Hey, a win is still a win, right? Strangely enough, just like Lester, Smoltz only allowed one hit. Our bullpen gave up 12 in 4 innings. Ouch. More ice, please.

JD Drew made a great throw from right to nail Miguel Olivo at home. Seriously, it was a gorgeous throw, right to Tek's waiting glove. Tek, for his part, stretched out like a first baseman for the force play. Had the ball gotten by JD, poor Smoltz would have been out of luck again. But he charged it, gloved it, and threw a perfect cannonball home. He has got an arm when he wants to. The only thing troubling about finding out how good these guys are is when they're not performing the way you know they can. Now that I've seen JD throw that well, I expect full effort every time. More outfield assists, David!

We had home runs from Tek and Papi, and a pair of dingers from Youk. Offense from all over the bloody place. Aaron Bates got his first major league hit and RBI.... the ball from which he sent straight to his mother. You can't tell me that isn't adorable. Ok, I'll admit, to this point I've only seen about three innings of this game, so I can't really comment. I was in Pawtucket watching poor Charlie Zink get a beating while the game was recording on my TiVo at home. I got home and watched a few innings, but the rest of my report is based on box scores.

Pawtucket did not fare well. They ended up losing 8-7. Charlie was hammered in the first few innings, giving up 3 in the 1st, 4 in the 2nd and 1 in the 3rd before settling down for a bit. Dusty Brown had a bad day at the plate. Jed Lowrie was looking pretty good though, and Chris Carter had a nice home run to cut Syracuse's lead a little. They came up just short. Thus is the magic of the knuckleball.... you just never know what it's going to do. So I guess I will have to wait until I finish watching the game to give my full opinion.

Who am I kidding? I know that's not going to happen. It was a win. It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. And the PawSox will get the next time!

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