Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Through the Beer Goggles: Home Opener

Unemployment watch: 78 days and counting. What better way to fill the void than by checking out the Red Sox home opener alone in a bar. And when I say alone, I mean literally me, the bartender and the cook. Though I may have felt like Kim Jong Il, at least I was able to watch a great opening day game. Here are some of my drunken thoughts.

  • Mookie. That's really all that needs to be said about this game and I'm guessing we will have many more games where he almost single-handedly wills the team to victory. Red Sox beat writer Alex Speier (now with the hated Boston Globe, but he's by far the best Sox writer in Boston right now) has been referring to Mookie as #featsofmookie on Twitter for about 2 years now because almost everything he is doing is some kind of record or amazing play. Here is a recap of what he accomplished yesterday:
    • Makes a leaping catch of a certain home run off the bat of Bryce Harper in the first inning saving 2 runs. Mookie has played outfield professionally for less than a year. Harper is also 1 of only 3 players younger than Mookie in MLB right now.
    • After drawing a leadoff walk and with David Ortiz at bat, he steals second. Then, because he is a robot, he calculates the distance away from third and top line speed of Jordan Zimmerman and computes that he will be able to also steal third base on the same play with .2 milliseconds to spare because of the Papi Shift. He is just the 11th player in baseball history to steal two bases on the same play. The last player to do it? Dustin Pedroia last year on a Papi Shift. In case you didn't know, these two guys are now teammates. I have a feeling like Pedey is going to be a positive influence on Mookie.
    • In his next at bat he drills a 3 run homer over the Monster and in his next at bat hits a sac fly for his 4th RBI. I swear Mookie doesn't hit fly balls, they are all line drives. I could be getting this stat wrong, but I think someone on NESN said that Mookie is the first Red Sox leadoff man ever to hit a home run, drive in 4 runs and steal 2 bases in a game. Not Boggs, Nomar, Damon, Dom Dimaggio, or even Rickey Henderson.
  • Let's talk about the $82 million man for a second. Rick Porcello, I fear, is going to end up being the biggest goat on this team for the next 5 years because people can't wrap their head around his value. He had a pretty good game yesterday (4 runs, but only 3 earned over 8 innings with 6 Ks and only 1 BB). Most importantly he let the tired Sox bullpen off the hook. He's going to be a really good innings eater for this team over the course of his contract because he limits walks and pitches to contact. Unfortunately, this heavy contact approach will lead to some mistakes and a lot of times it will feel like he's pitching worse than he is. So far I have not been too impressed by the location of his pitches. He is leaving way too many pitches up in the zone and he is getting punished on these mistakes. You can see him drop his elbow and get under the pitch when it ends up high. It's definitely a mechanical issue that I hope the Sox can fix. If he can stay consistently down he will be a really good pitcher. If not, watch out.
  • Ortiz hit his second homer of the year, but he has looked pretty bad this year even against right handers. He didn't play a lot in Spring Training so he may be getting his timing down still. Luckily, for Ortiz and the Sox, the DH position has diminished so much that Papi doesn't have to hit too well to be valuable. The average DH last year hit .246/.317/.416. Ortiz has only failed to reach any of those numbers once, in 2009, when he had a .238 average but still hit 28 home runs.
  • I'm over Shane Victorino. Sorry Kati Black. I wanted to give him longer than a week, but he's done. Too much punishment on that body. I want to make a Hawaiian joke but I don't know if that's racist so I'll put that one aside. Any way, we will be forced to live with Shane for a little while longer as Rusney Castillo is nursing a sore shoulder in AAA.
  • I love that 2 of the biggest off-season "Ace" targets, Zimmerman and Cole Hamels, have been absolutely destroyed by the Sox offense. Baseball is the best.
  • Xander Bogaerts didn't exactly kill the ball yesterday and he did make an error, but in the few games since the 19 inning bloodbath, he has just looked more confident at bat and in the field. I really think confidence is going to be huge for him. When he starts casually chewing on his gum like an Aruban Brad Pitt you know good things are going to happen.
  • Thank Xenu baseball is back.
  • Finally, no That's So Random today, but here is a music video in case any non-sports fans actually read this. The start of the baseball season is my favorite time of the year, especially because it coincides with spring in Boston. I have not stopped smiling for the past week. To show you how enthusiastic I am about this, here is a video of twins playing the Beverly Hills 90210 theme song on one guitar. I don't know if I'll ever be as happy as the one twin at the beginning of the video, but it's pretty close. Also, would love to see Jon and Sam Hendricks recreate this...