Before I talk about today (which, believe me, I will), I have to mention one thing about last night’s 4-2 loss in Toronto. I had to laugh a little in exasperation when John Farrell tried to argue that Mark Beurhrle was pitching too quickly. Ordinarily, I don’t have much to say about the newly-minted Blue Jays manager, but that was slightly silly. I know that his current superstar likes to take the opportunity to stretch out every muscle in his back as frequently as possible (and, I have truly nothing but respect for Jose Bautista and the amazing numbers he is putting up, and he really seems like a very genuine person, from most accounts), but I’m not sure that the little-used rule that says that the batter can’t wander in and out of the batters box and has to be ready when the pitcher sets, has a clause about the time that a pitcher must wait between successive pitchers. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)
His speedy nature is the thing I like best about watching Beurhrle pitch. Sign, Set, Throw. No rituals, no head-shaking negotiations with the catcher, he just gets the sign, and he’s ready to go. All business, all the time. He did a great job and, as always, it was a pleasure to watch him pitch.
Now, onto today. Game one of my two-day adventure to The
Rogers Centre Sky Dome.
I’m now going to try to talk about 14 innings of baseball in 200 words or less (and fail miserably. Bear with me, there were a lot of memorable things about today. Because I am biased. And, I was there. Which always makes it more memorable.)
- The LINE-UP. Getting to T.O. and getting this twitter update? Was awesome.
However, at the end of the day, the starting line-up almost became irrelevant in the face of the way the game ended up unfolding. I was kinda bummed that I was missing both Gavin Floyd and Mark Beurhrle, but getting Omar (get well soon, Beckham!) and Lillibridge in the line-up for my first game of the season was exciting. Omar is, well, Omar and Lillibridge has been such a spitfire this year, I was looking forward to seeing the both of them.
- Getting to hang out and watch the Sox just having a good time during batting practice. Even Dunn almost seemed relaxed.
- The roof was open in time for the game. Everything’s better with the roof open.
- Falling behind thanks to current Home-Run King Jose Bautista’s 20th HR of the season so quickly in the first inning didn’t sting so much after Brent Lillibridge stepped up to the plate at the top of the second and BLAM! A 2-run HR of his own.
- Watching Edwin Encarnacion hobble (literally) to and from the plate for a pinch-hitting appearance that was met with boos was kind of a downer. He and Adam Dunn could proably have a chat, though I wonder if it would end up helping or hurting both of them. But, man, he sure had the same beat-up expression on his face.
- The completely over-the-top booing EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Rios came to the plate was almost unbearably obnoxious. I was embarrassed on behalf of my hometown.
- Jesse Crain, being pulled into the game in a typical post-Thornton-meltdown 2-on, 2-out, Jose Bautista at the plate, Juan Rivera on deck scenario, finally gives it up. Just like Sergio, it was bound to happen to him eventually. But, he’s still my clutch-man. Getting it right 9-times out of 10? He’s more than earning his salary in my book.
- My biggest (biased) source of frustration today? Well, since I was sitting behind third base, I had a stellar view of the Jays’ outfield not having a clue what to do with Lillibridge’s extra-base hit in the 8th. And, also, of Jeff Cox punking out at third base put up the stop signal when there was more than enough time for him to make it home for an inside-the-park homer. The Jays’ defense had clearly given up on the play (seriously. They were practically having a conversation), sure that Lillibridge’s speed would have him halfway to home. The outcome ended up the same, when Lillibridge scored on a passed ball about a minute later. BUT IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING.
- Did I mention Chris Sale pitched 3 great innings of relief? In a pressure-situation? Who knew?!
- When I get done here, I am adding Brent Lillibridge’s almost-blooper-turned-wacky-defense to my ❤ defense page. It was the only time today I missed having the instant replay.
- So we’re in the top of the 11th, and in comes Quentin to pinch hit for McPherson (who was in after pinch-running for Konerko in the 9th) and signalling the offical start of Dugout Musical Chairs.
- Because, for the final out of the inning, Patterson (more on him later) grounds out to Omar’s giant novelty-sized glove and he bobbles the ball a couple of times before flipping it to Santos, who was ready and waiting.
- And, at some point in the 12th inning when pretty much the only thing missing (for me) from this game popped up onto the LCD running between the second and third deck: Gavin Floyd was in the bullpen. CHECK. Finally. It only took 13 innings, but when he came in, Ozzie finally made good on his promise of beefing up the bullpen with the starting guys. And, the people in front of me finally clued in that I wasn’t rooting for Toronto. My hat was very subtle, obviously.
- As Ozzie pointed out after the game, pretty much nothing happened offensively for the Sox (or the Jays) until the bottom of the 14th when Corey Patterson (the strangely, but wisely, appointed DH) blasted a walk-off homer in Gavin’s second inning of relief. (Who, up until that point, was pitching like the Dr. Jekyll half of his pitching personality.)
Carlos Quentin to RF –> Brent Lillibridge from RF to 2B –> Omar Vizquel from 2B to 1B and Sergio comes into the game for 2 familiar-looking awesome innings. At this point, it is important to point out that it appears Omar is using Adam Dunn’s first baseman’s glove.
At this point, I will take a break from the long-winded recap and draw your attention to the header across the top of my blog.
1. Jesse Crain – check. 2. Omar Vizquel – check. 3. Sergio Santos – check. 4. Brent Lillibridge – check.
In conclusion: a long, LONG game (I actually *had* to get up and stretch during the 14th inning stretch. My lower legs were starting to go numb). Ups and downs for everyone. And, if I have to watch a loss, at least it wasn’t a one-sided shutout and there was lots of good baseball to be had (and, okay lots of less-than-good as well). And, at more than 4 hours, I certainly got my (ticket and gas) money’s worth. My “drama-rama” (for noteworthy games) and “some people can do everything” (for my utility players) tags have never been more appropriate. At least for me. After today, I’m WIPED.
And, now, it’s time for me to eat some dinner, catch up on the rest of the league, and start hoping for a win tomorrow, when I do it all over again.