Monday, June 05, 2006

Sox-Yanks game one post-mortem

Well, that sucked. First, Melky's mad dash in the first inning: this is why I hate the overshift with men on base. To set the stage, Melky was on first with one out. Giambi was up, so the Sox shifted, with Lowell essentially playing shortstop and Gonzalez playing second. Beckett bounced one in front of Varitek, and when he couldn't find it right away, Melky made a late break towards second base. Varitek rushed a throw that went wide of Lowell and got past Gonzalez backing up. With the ball in the outfield and nobody covering third because of the shift, Melky kept running. Varitek realized that third base was empty, so he ran towards it to receive the throw.

In the confusion, the throw back to the infield went to Youkilis for some reason (probably because nobody knew where they should be positioned in such a situation, and because Gonzalez isn't used to hitting cut-off men from short right field), but with Varitek heading to third, nobody was covering home. Melky saw this (even though Larry Bowa didn't) and kept running. Varitek realized what was happening and basically raced Cabrera back to the plate. He lost, but he couldn't corral Youkilis' throw anyway, so it didn't matter. I was in disbelief watching on TV, so I can only imagine how that unfolded in the stadium.

In the second inning, Beckett was garbage. That's about all you can say about that. Bonus points to A-Rod for stealing second base with a six-run lead in the second inning with his best pitcher on the mound on a 3-0 count.

But the third inning drove me to switch to OLN permanently for the rest of the night. Again, setting the stage: one out, Bernie Williams on first base, Miguel Cairo batting. Cairo hit a ball almost straight down into the ground, and Varitek pounced on it in front of the plate. He tagged Cairo out, and threw to second to try to get Bernie.

Now, the home plate umpire's body language was kind of hard to read - at first, it looked like he threw both hands up and called it a foul ball, but if he yelled out "foul," Varitek would have heard it and held onto the ball. On the replay, you can see the ump point to Cairo with one hand and raise his other hand as if to signal an out, after pseudo-signaling that it was a foul ball.

Anyway, back to the play, Varitek threw to Gonzalez at second, but Bernie beat the throw. For some reason, probably because he saw the ump at home throw his hands up, Bernie turned around and started to walk back to first, and Gonzalez tagged him out. Double play, inning over.

But it was a lot more confusing than that, because the first person to run out and argue was Terry Francona. But once he saw the double play call, he stopped and went back to the dugout. Then Torre came out to argue, and NESN went to commercial thinking the inning was over.

Not so. When they came back, the Yankees were still batting with two outs, and Bernie was on... first base. I guess Varitek tagged Cairo, but it was a foul ball, so the ball was dead, but Cairo was still out, or something. The whole thing made no sense. At the time, the score was 8-2, but the Yankees promptly scored five 2-out runs to put the game out of reach, chasing Van Buren and basically making the Red Sox burn their entire bullpen.

Now, burning your bullpen is bad. Burning your bullpen in the first game of a 4-game road series is worse. Burning your bullpen when you have seven games in the next six days is even worse. And when two rookies are expected to start two of those games, including one making his second start ever, in Yankee Stadium, the next night... well, it's the kind of thing that can de-rail an entire week.

On the plus side, I could be an Edmonton Oilers fan right now, with my starting goalie injured in a Game One that my team should have won on the road. So I guess I shouldn't complain.


Ross said...

I'll give you the perpsective of all of this from four rows from the top of the Stadium.

Melky's dash looked insane. It looked at first that the throw would beat him easily at 2nd, but it was thrown away.

It was obvious he would easily make it to third. All I'm seeing is Larry Bowa stopping him, and Melky running anyway. Then the ball is cut off near the mound (I don't know by which Red Sox player), but when it is, Melky is nowhere near home yet (maybe only half way there).

As my eyes have yet to shift to home plate as I was watching the ball and Melky, I'm thinking he's dead at the plate. However, with the ball in somebody's hand, and me expecting an immediate throw to the plate, my eyes head that way, and all of a sudden I felt very bad for my impure thoughts about Melky Cabrera and his decision making process. It was such an odd play.

As for the Cairo play, you could only imagine how confusing this was at the Stadium. From where I was sitting, I thought the umpire signal was that it was a foul ball. Especially the way the rest of the play developed with everyone moving in slow motion.

When the Red Sox started leaving the field I was very surprised but it was obvious what the call then had to have been, which was a fair ball with tag outs.

After the Red Sox retook the field they put the "Official Scorer's Decision" on the scoreboard which helped clear things up, which was that Cairo's foot had hit the ball in fair play, that he was out and it was a dead ball, sending Bernie back to first base.

All of the confusion can be placed on the home plate umpire for his odd motions that left every fan in the stadium, all the player on both sides, and the other umpires confused (with the possible exception of Jason Varitek).

Sully said...

From what I remember of watching ten replays of that play last night, the ball did not hit Cairo's foot. And because of that mistake, the Red Sox need seven strong out of David Pauley tonight. I'm not banking on it.

Ross said...

I will be very dissapointed if Dave Pauley makes it seven innings. Although not shocked as historically the Yankees do not always fair well (including this season; see Scott Baker) against pitchers they have never seen before.

Sully said...

Yeah, the Red Sox are the same way with first-time pitchers. It's really annoying. As for Pauley, I've seen him pitch twice: last week against Toronto, and in the last game of the spring, an exhibition in Philadelphia. He's generally got good control, but he got hit hard both times. I'm legitimately dreading tonight's game.