Monday, May 23, 2005

Weekend Catch-Up. Sox Take Two From Braves.

Catch-Up Time

This weekend was a busy one that included my first ten-pin action since my work league ended back in early April. I went with Shy Stef from Inside Sales and we rolled four games. I managed to rack up scores of 164, 182, 190 and 190 for a four-game total of 736, or a 184 average for the day, a mere 18 pins above my average for the 2004-2005 season. Stef had an up and down afternoon with scores of 82, 137, 93 and 129 for a total of 441, or an average just a hair over 110.

I've been experimenting with a new delivery for most of the last season because I've gone about as far as I can throwing a straight ball. I've tried to put a spin on it, but I can never get the necessary rotation. The damned ball just spins on it's side. But after watching some of the other players I hit upon a new delivery (for me) that consists of getting as far to the right of the approach (I'm right-handed) and letting the ball go with my hand perpendicular to the ground instead of parallel. When I'm hitting the pocket the results are usually pretty explosive because I throw hard. Now I just have to work on my single-pin spare accuracy...

Sox Take Two Of Three From Braves And Other Baseball Musings

The Red Sox beat the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park yesterday 5-2 behind the pitching of Matt Clement. Clement tossed a complete game and only had one rough inning, the fourth in which he allowed the two Braves runs.
But until the Sox got John Smoltz out of the game (112 pitches in 4 2/3 innings) and broke through against Bobby Cox's bullpen, they'd squandered opportunities to score in every inning.

Among the culprits was Edgar Renteria who just plain stinks right now. Over the weekend he must have left 200 men on base. His defense was nothing special either as he made two errors in the series to raise his total to eight, which leads all AL shortstops. He also got tossed out of Saturday night's game after looking at a borderline strike three in the bottom of the ninth, so that can't have helped his state of mind. I know this guy is a good player, and at times a great one, but right now he looks lost.

Speaking of lost, Mark Bellhorn looks as if he's trying to break his single-season club record for striking out. Last year he whiffed an amazing 177 times in 138 games to shatter the previous record of 162 set by Butch Hobson in 1977. Bellhorn takes a lot of pitches -- too many if you ask me. He gets behind in the count way too often, and then the pitchers just toy with him. How much longer can the Sox put up with his anemic bat?

Another Lost Boy is first baseman Kevin Millar. He fouled a pitch off of the "inseam" of his left foot (in the words of the immensely talentless Sox announcer Don Orsillo) late in Saturday night's game, and was replaced yesterday by Kevin Youkilis who got a key RBI single when the Red Sox finally got to Smoltz in the fifth inning. I hope Youkilis stays in the lineup, even if Millar's "inseam" injury isn't too serious. The kid can hit, and he is more mobile around the first base bag than Millar, although that isn't such a hard thing to manage.

Among other weekend baseball highlights was watching the Saturday Yankees-Mets game that pitted Randy Johnson against Kris Benson. Johnson wasn't sharp and the Mets got him out of the game in the seventh inning after relief pitcher Dae-Sung Koo hit a long double to center field over Bernie Williams. Koo then scored ALL THE WAY FROM SECOND BASE on a Jose Reyes sacrifice bunt that catcher Jorge Posada fielded. After making the throw to first, where rookie second baseman Robinson Cano covered, Koo saw that Posada was sort of hanging around about a third of the way down the first base line. Koo kept going, and Posada recovered to take a throw from Cano, but Koo slid in head first and was called safe (although replays indicate that Posada may have tagged him on the shoulder before Koo's hand touched the plate). Koo, who replaced a tiring Benson in the top half of the seventh, struck out all three men he faced. What is amazing is that the double came in just his second professional at-bat! Koo, 35, had spent several years pitching in Korea and Japan without ever once coming to bat. When he stepped in against Johnson, Koo, a lefty batter, nobody would have even guessed he'd even get a foul tip much less hit a 390-foot double. That, to me, is what makes baseball such a great game -- anything can happen.

Unfortunately, the Mets couldn't hold a 3-1 lead for Pedro Martinez yesterday as they let sloppy defense and erratic relief give the Yankees a gift 5-3 win at Shea Stadium. That bullpen bothers me. I haven't seen enough of Koo to know if he's real or not. Roberto Hernandez is washed up. Braden Looper is a terrible closer. Mets General Manager Omar Minaya is going to have to find Willie Randolph a legitimate closer if the Mets are to contend for the NL East.

Quick Notes

Not much else to say today. I know that the wingnuts are trying to portray Howard Dean as a traitor by claiming he dislikes Tom DeLay more than Osama bin Laden on Tim Russert's Butt Boy Sunday program. They are also attacking the Tillman family and saying that should shut the hell up about the fact that the army lied about the way their son Pat, the former NFL player, was killed by our own troops, and his death in combat used as a Bush campaign slogan before they came clean. To the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world I offer the late, great Frank Zappa's most heartfelt curse: May your shit come to life and kiss you.

No comments: