Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pitching and Defense: Finally Getting Around To Winning Games

Oh, Jon Lester, how I love you. Jon and his pirate friends were able to shut out the Rays 2-0 yesterday, limiting the AL East leaders to one hit for the night. Yep, one hit. That ups the number of one-hitters that Jason Varitek has caught to six. Sure, Jonny only lasted six innings, but Clay only lasted six innings this time around, too. The Rays were definitely making our pitching staff work, and we ended up surrenduring six walks, but the pitching staff also accumulated 12 strikeouts. Hey, whatever. Wins don't have to be glamorous, though this one was on the verge of glamorous. According to Remy and Don, the only other game Sharky has lost this season was Dallas Braden's perfect game. So is it safe to say that Sharky will only win when his team gets two or more hits? Anyway, between Jon and the bullpen, our pitching was solid, which is just beyond fantastic to see. I really hope we can keep on this roll.

It was a heck of a game. Where do I start? How about the strike zone? It was a tad ridiculous, and between the two teams, nine walks were still issued. I'm not going to get all high and mighty about how the Rays should just shut their yaps and not complain about the strike zone. Was it professional? No, absolutely not. As funny as it was to see Crawford and Maddon ejected from the game last night, it's really just a piece in the bigger picture of the season. I feel that this season, more than any in recent memory, has seen the umpiring be absolutely horrible. This isn't the first time there's been a ridiculous strike zone. A lot of games I'll watch on TV AND on Gameday, just because I like getting the general idea of where a pitch is when it goes over the plate. The results have been maddeningly inconsistent. I absolutely think Crawford and Maddon should have been ejected, but perhaps the umps might need to look at their own game data to find out why hitters are getting so mad.

And oh, David Ortiz. I love how now that Papi is back on track, all the people who were complaining to me a month ago that David needs to be released, or beaten or whatever, are all proud of him. One guy who works with me has come over the last two days saying 'what about that David Ortiz, huh? He won the game last night.' My response was something along the lines of 'glad we didn't release him like you wanted, huh?' and the guy just laughs. I take verbal attacks on Papi very seriously, and I don't think people who gave up on him a month ago deserve to brag about how well he's doing now. But it's cool. Get back on the Papi bandwagon for now. I swear, though, I better not hear these same people complaining again the next time Papi slumps. And he WILL slump. It's part of the game. David locked this game up for us and Jon last night. His two-RBI double was all we needed. Which is good, because it's all we could get. I loved it. I love seeing David win games. That was a glimmer of clutchness, wasn't it? Maybe his clutchness is starting to come back already!

I am going to give Beltre some credit here. Our defense last night was terrific. Actually, in the last five days, no one on the team has committed an error, so everybody is doing their job. How could I even fathom complaining about that? It amazes me what a difference three weeks made. My first post of May was complaining about how horrible they were playing and how I didn't even want to watch them any more. Of course, the night after I posted that, I totally wanted to watch them again, because I love baseball, and I love the Sox. But just three weeks ago, everything seemed so dire, and all of a sudden, they clicked. We're on our longest winning streak of the season. I'm pretty sure we're on the longest error-less streak of the season. We've had six quality starts in the last seven games. It's such a nice change. It's so nice to see a talented team actually utilize their talent.

Tonight, John Lackey will be on the mound against Camel. Oh man, does Matt Garza bother me. Everything about him bothers me. There's nothing I want to see more than Lackey rebounding from his craptacular outings with a W against Garza. But hell, my niece is performing a concert tonight, so I'll be getting updates on my phone. Even if he doesn't have a good game, I won't be able to see it. I'm not actually holding my breath for the sweep, but it would be nice.

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