Thursday, April 11, 2013

Through the Margarita Goggles: Oh Joel

Ugh. Let's get right to it.

  • After the new Bash Brothers (Nava and Salty, more on them later) went back to back in the sixth to give the Sox a 2-run lead, I felt complete confidence. I'm pretty sure it was not my third homemade margarita. I'm pretty sure it was the four-headed bullpen monster the Red Sox assembled this offseason. Koji to Junichi to Bailey to Joel may not have the ring of Tinker to Evers to Chance, but after watching these guys pitch for a week now, I thought they would be the most effective bullpen lineup I have ever seen in Boston. Sadly, the shakiest member of our monster is the one who pitches the ninth, Joel Hanrahan.
    • Joel has flirted with disaster in his three previous save opportunities leading up to the big stink here. He needed 21 pitches to collect his first save in New York. He walked a batter in his second save chance that brought the tying run in the form of Edwin Encarnacion (who hit 42 home runs last year) to the plate. And in his third save chance on home opening day he allowed a home run and a long double to again bring the tying run to the plate.
    • This game was just an absolute mess.
      • The home run to Chris Davis was mildly defensible because he is hitting homers off everyone right now. However, on a 1-2 pitch, Joel left a breaking ball up and you just can't do that against major league hitters.
      • He made quick work of Weiters and Hardy, though Hardy really helped him out by swinging at some bad pitches. With two outs and the 8-9-shitty 1 hitters coming up my confidence had not been shattered yet.
      • He started Flaherty off well and had him right where he wanted him, but the pitch he allowed for a hit missed the catchers glove by about a foot and a half.
      • When he walked Reimold on 4 pitches I knew it was over. From here he really looked like he had no idea where the ball was going.
      • Immediately after loading the bases with a second walk, he threw his first pitch about 50 feet and it bounced so violently Salty had no chance to block it. With that, the game was now tied and you could just tell it was not going to stay that way for long. One more pitch and his night, and the team's night, were over.
  • Has Ryan Dempster reminded anyone else of Josh Beckett from the last couple years? When the Sox signed him, I thought we were getting one of those ultra efficient, quick pitchers from the National League that keeps the ball in the ballpark, keeps runners off base and has only a modest strikeout rate. So far he has been the exact opposite. He nibbles. He keeps the ball up in the zone too much but doesn't throw hard enough to live there. He strikes out a ton of batters. I'm already annoyed by that glove wiggle he does in the middle of his wind up. I'm definitely not ready to give up on the guy yet, but homeboy has a strong defense behind him (last night notwithstanding) and he needs to trust it. Keep throwing your splitter down and let the infielders carry you through the 8th inning like a majestic Nord God on the back of a flying white dragon (sorry, I've been watching too much Vikings and Game of Trones).
  • With 3 center fielders in one outfield there are going to be a lot of "Venn Diagram" plays that end in sadness. A "Venn Diagram" play, aside from being something I just made up, is a play where two fielders have incredible range that over laps and a ball falls into that shared space. With 3 guys used to being able to call off their teammates, the non-Jacobys are going to have to learn to trust Ellsbury in these situations.
  • Can someone please get Jackie Bradley a helmet that fits? He's been in the bigs for 10 days now (cough service time cough) and the clubbies can't find him the proper head gear? At least once an at bat he takes a swing and it falls off. Last night he was running to third and he was fucking around with that thing. I don't know if someone is hazing him by dipping his do rag in sex lube or if the thing is just too big, but someone please take care of the young fella. I'm pretty sure Crash Davis in Bull Durham said something like, "You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains. And, oh yeah, they give you fucking helmets that fit!"
  • Mike Napoli has about 1 more week until the Curly Headed Boyfriend (Dan Shaughnessy) writes some bloated column filled with REO Speedwagon lyrics talking about how he "Can't Fight this Feeling Anymore" and "You Get What You Pay For". God, even my own fake version of his column annoys the shit out of me.
  • Offensive players of the game:
    • Runner up: Daniel Nava. Pretty soon I may start to believe that Nava is actually a cyborg built by Walt Disney and placed on the Earth just to be the subject of the greatest baseball movie ever made. Until then, I will just marvel at what this guy has done to turn himself into a productive ballplayer. He won't be a middle of the order force this year, but he will definitely show that he belongs on a Major League roster.
    • Player of the Game: Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Two player of the game awards in just 8 games? Holy cow! My Uncle Lonnie thinks I'm head over heals for Salty so I'll try not to gush too much, but just a stellar game from the big catcher. If Ferrell can limit him to only hitting against righties (.777 OPS against righties and .597 OPS against lefties) Salty should have a career year right as he hits free agency.
  • My Uncle should be more concerned about my love for Koji Uehara, as should my girlfriend Sarah. He throws every pitch with such precision. He comes off the mound after a successful inning like he's just won the World Baseball Classic for Japan. He high-fives his teammates like Brody and his crew in Point Break. When this season is over, I may flee to Osaka with him and buy a fleet of used underwear vending machines.

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