Thursday, October 02, 2008

Boston 4, LAnaheim 1 - Red Sox lead series 1-0

Odds and ends

  • Awesome performance from Jon Lester. He started a little shaky, but never let things get out of hand, and the only run he allowed was unearned, on an error by Lowrie followed by a soft fly ball that wasn't hit hard enough to reach Bay in the air. Following that Hunter single, he retired 13 of the next 15 batters, working through the seventh. He walked one and gave up six singles while striking out seven in the course of 117 pitches. Just tremendous.

  • One of the concerns about the Ramirez trade was whether Bay would have difficulty performing the post-season. 2-4 with the game-winning HR and a double. That's a pretty good start.

  • Speaking of the Bay HR (the key play of the game), Lester's awesomeness manifested itself clearly in that, after he got the lead, he struck out the side in the sixth, and struck out another between an infield pop up and a soft infield liner in the seventh. His team gave him the lead, and he allowed no more baserunners.

  • I love the DVR. Went to bad with Boston up 2-1 before midnight. Watched the last three innings this morning in about 25 minutes, no commercials, bare minimum Buck Martinez.

  • Ellsbury was 3-5. Should have been 4-5 with two extra base hits, as Matthews clearly lost that ball in the lights and never touched it. If MLB is going to say that Utley hit a double on a ball that Cameron got his glove on and dropped, then they've got to give Ellsbury a triple there.

  • Is Buck Martinez getting paid by the word?

  • Apparently, Jed Lowrie's first Major League error at shortstop led to an unearned run in the playoffs. I briefly had visions of 2005, and Tony Graffanino's error at 2nd base that set up the winning unearned runs for the White Sox in game 2. Fortunately for Jed, Jason Bay came up big a couple of innings later, and Lester didn't let the Angels have anything else.

  • I'm not a big fan of the bunt, but had no objections to Varitek sacrificing in the 9th. And he laid down a beauty.

  • My favorite piece of commentary was probably Martinez talking about how vital game 1 was, just as they were putting the graphic on the screen which showed that teams winning game 1 in the ALDS are something like 13 of 28 (.464) since MLB went to the third round of playoffs.

  • Guerrero was out by about 3 miles at third base, but it wasn't as bad a play as it looked.
    1. If the ball bounces just a couple of feet away from Youkilis, no throw ever gets made.

    2. Many first basemen don't make that throw as quickly, or as well, as Youkilis did.

    3. Getting to third in that situation sets up the possibility of scoring the tying run on a ground ball or fly ball out.

    As to how badly it affected the Angels, there's no way of knowing if Kendrick would have done the same thing with runners at the corners as he actually did with a runner at first, but what he did do was hit a double-play ball that would have ended the inning whether Guerrero was at second, third or in the dugout.

  • The Red Sox have tied a Major League record with their 10th consecutive victory over the Angels in the post-season. The record was previously held by the Oakland A's, who won 10 consecutive post-season games vs. the Boston Red Sox from 1988-2003. Any Red Sox fan who looks at that streak and starts feeling cocky should remember what happened following that 10th consecutive Oakland win, as Boston overcame an 0-2 hole in the 2003 series, sweeping the A's out of the playoffs in the next three games.

  • This is a little bit different than that, of course. The first eight games of that streak were in 1988 and 1990. There was no similarity between the Oakland and Boston teams that played the first eight games of that streak and the Oakland and Boston teams that played the last two. The last seven games in this streak have featured the same managers and many of the same players.

  • I'm going to talk about component offense and the contribution of luck to close games again, but I'm not going to spend much time on it today. I will say this - the line score says that the Red Sox got 8 hits and 4 runs while the Angels got 9 hits and 1 run. Run Created says that the Red Sox created 4 runs and the Angels created 2. Which is pretty close to what actually happened. And a little bit of wind and a slightly different bounce would have had the Angels tying the score or taking the lead in the 8th. 1-2 run games are enormously dependent on bounces and breaks.

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