A strange thing happened on my television last night. The Sox were swept by the Rays, who scored six runs in the seventh inning off a combination of an ineffective Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen, David Aardsma and Javier Lopez.
The strange thing was how shook the pitchers looked in the seventh for a team coming off a World Series title. Craig Hansen looked like a deer in the headlights, if the deer was bout 6’5”, weighed 250 lbs. and couldn’t find the strike zone with a map of home plate.
The Sox wasted a cycle-plus effort from The Little Pony, who finished with two doubles, a triple and a homer. During the game ESPN showed that there have, surprisingly, been a similar number of cycles and no-hitters in the history of baseball. If it seems counterintuitive, that’s because it is: if you took the number of games like Dusty’s, which is to say, those who hit for at least a single, double, triple and homer in a game, the numbers wouldn’t be close.
As I was discussing this with my roommate over some beef with string beans — which is to say, a large carton of string beans with whatever “beef” Dragon Gate was using last evening — the Red Sox started to come back off Tampa Bay closer-replacement-extraordinaire, Dan Wheeler. Soon enough it was 7-6 and Jason Varitek was up with Mike Lowell on first with one out
For those of you in “the know” — LIKE ME (and everyone else watching ESPN) — Jason Varitek is in a terrible, terrible slump. He has problems hitting the baseball, which is a problem for someone in his profession. Anyhow, despite this, Terry Francona put on the hit and run with Varitek at the plate, and JayVay responded by actually lining a shot down the right field line, just foul. On the next pitch, the hit and run was back on, and this time, Varitek responded the way everyone thought he would — he whiffed on the pitch completely, and Lowell was thrown out by about ten kajillion steps. That was strike two, and it was summarily followed by strike three.
I actually like the hit and run call in that situation, or at least I’m able to defend it on these grounds: if Varitek is having trouble hitting the ball, Francona’s trying to force him to by putting on the hit and run. Trick the guy into simply making contact and maybe you’ll trick him into a hitting streak. Okay, maybe it’s not that easy to defend. But I gave it the old college try.
Tonight, Me and Pedro will be at Yankee Stadium. A PayPal account will be set up for you to contribute to my hot dog/beer fund. Euros preferred.