for July 1-8, 2003
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July 8, 2003
Pedro denied throwing at Soriano and Jeter intentionally: ''No, are you crazy? The guys are right on top of the plate. You just have to pitch them inside. It's the only place you're going to get Soriano out, is inside. He reaches outside over the plate. ... If I was going to hit them, I would hit them with just one pitch. I don't think I'll miss.'' ... Steinbrenner cried after the game and denounced Pedro (although Soriano and Jeter both swung at the pitches that hit them), but failed to condemn his own pitcher (Clemens) who threw pitch near Millar's head the day before. I guess that's "being aggressive" ... The four-game series attracted 220,026, the largest four-game attendance in the 28 years since Yankee Stadium has been remodeled. ... Monday's game was a perfect example of why, despite what Joe Morgan will tell you, W-L records don't mean much: Rivera got credit for the victory. ... Check out the latest issue of The New Yorker (July 14/21) for an 8-page article on Bill James and what he's doing for the Sox.
And in the Chicken Little Dept., Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal writes:
The summer has barely started and, already, baseball season is over. At least for Red Sox fans. They may not admit it. They have, ever since 1918, been masters of denial. But they know it. And Yankees fans know it, too. Boston's baseball season ended yesterday, in the Bronx ... what hope is there now that Boston ever will catch them? ...
On Friday morning, Boston was 4 games out with 79 to play. Now they are 4 games out with 75 to play. Big deal. And if, as Donaldson claims, the season is over, the Red Sox have won the wildcard! Woo-hoo!!
July 7, 2003
Talk about day and night. The Red Sox take batting practice for two days and then ... nothing. I'd be feeling a whole lot better if the order of games had been reversed. ... Random things from Monday: Nice to see Pedro moving Soriano and Jeter off the plate (x-rays were negative on both) ... Pedro struck out 10+ batters for the 90th time (he's 5th all-time behind Ryan, Randy Johnson, Clemens and Koufax)) ... Toss out Pedro's 10-run outing in Baltimore and his ERA drops from 2.44 to 1.57 ... If Walker had more range than Jeter -- if he had range, period -- he probably would have snagged Giambi's 6th inning game-tying single ... In the 8th, I expected: Timlin for Wilson and Zeile, and Embree for Giambi, Sierra, Matsui and Garcia. Instead, Gump went with Kim. Which wasn't a bad decision. Little didn't actually gump this one away, although it was clearly Kim or bust in the 9th ... And Kapler should have led off the 9th against Rivera instead of Damon (4-for-his-last-36) ... Little has simply GOT to bat Damon 8th or 9th -- why is the team's worst OBP guy leading off and the AL's second best slugger (Varitek) batting 9th? ... On to Toronto with 75 games remaining ...
Yet Another Reason to Like Kevin Millar: "When's the last time he [Clemens] hit? Ask him why he didn't take the ball [at Shea Stadium] after the last time he hit Piazza in the head. ... You want to hit guys, then hit guys. But the next guy goes deep, and it's 2-0 Sox. The next thing you know, it's 8-0 Sox. ... Try to beat us for once, instead of [going] five innings and [giving up] eight runs. It's not our fault. Make some pitches.'' ... Casey Fossum, pitching for Portland (AA) on Saturday, threw 23 pitches in one inning, allowing two hits (including a home run), one walk and two runs; he had two strikeouts [box score]. He will likely pitch two innings on Tuesday.
July 6, 2003
On Friday night, ESPN mistakenly posted the AL and NL All-Star Game rosters. Although voting ended on Wednesday night, the rosters were not supposed to be announced until Sunday at 7 pm (on ESPN), and pages were pulled. Now the official pages are up here and here (though they are still initially dated July 4).
I wish someone -- anyone in the Boston media -- would ask Gump Little the following question: "Why did you refuse to use your 2nd and 3rd best relievers in the 6th and 7th innings when you trailed only 3-1 and 4-1 -- indeed, you used the two worst pitchers in the pen -- but decided to use your #1 reliever when you were down by 6 runs in the 8th inning?"
But no one will ask that question or anything like it. The main story of Sunday's 7-1 loss will be how Andy Pettitte shut down the mighty Boston lumber company. He shut it down he did -- no question -- though the Sox did little to interrupt his rhythm. But when the game was still within reach, Gump waved the white flag.
Burkett was clearly spent at the end of the 5th inning. He had walked in a run and left the bases loaded. Boston trailed 3-1 and had four more innings to score at least 2 runs. Timlin started warming up.
Gump actually sent Burkett out for the 6th inning. I'll bet even John was surprised. The leadoff batter, Curtis Pride, homered and after a flyout, Jeter doubled and Giambi walked. A lefty, a switch-hitter and another lefty were due. Gump went to the pen -- and brought in Todd Jones. Todd Jones, he of the 8.24 NL ERA.
Jones somehow got out of trouble and the score remained 4-1, but this was a mind-bogglingly stupid decision. It was the wrong pitcher at the wrong time in the wrong game. These are the Yankees, Gump, and these games count! Why are you using the dregs of the pen in a crucial game when better pitchers are available? Jones came out for the 7th inning too! And of course he got into trouble. Jason Sheill finished the inning. New York led 7-1.
Gump brought in Kim for the 8th. Unbelievable. Truly unbelievable. Was Kim not rested enough in the 6th? And not only that, but with 2 outs and no one on in the 8th, Gump got Timlin up again.
The only explanation for this type of bullpen "management" is that Grady Little is trying his hardest to get fired. There is no other logical explanation.
Again, Pettitte pitched a hell of a ball game and the Red Sox likely would have lost even if Grady had tried to win the game. BUT he once again failed to put his team in the best position to win. Gump cost the Red Sox a chance to win. This has happened many times this season (including the Matt White debacle, also against the Yankees). I expect losses -- the Red Sox should lose at least 60 games this year. But I also expect the team to play hard for 9 innings and I do not expect the manager to throw in the towel in the 6th or 7th inning under any circumstances, and certainly not with a record-setting offense behind him.
Other stuff: Gordon Edes talks with Cynthia Mendoza ... Art Davidson defends Grady Little ... Clemens said it was Millar's fault he got hit: "Guys don't get out of the way of the ball anymore." ... His excuse for giving up a tone-setting jack on the next pitch to nemesis Nixon was because of the heat. Roger's quick with an excuse when he spits the bit, but after 20 years, trying not to repeat himself is getting difficult. He also hinted he would throw at Ortiz next time around: "He has too much plate coverage. I am going to have to make adjustments the next time I face him." ... I missed it, but apparently Sportscenter showed a clip of a chubby Clemens in his Red Sox uniform, talking about the importance of people like Puckett, Mattingly and Ripken playing their whole career with one team; they also aired his infamous quote that the Red Sox were the only team he ever wanted to play for. ...
July 5, 2003
The Red Sox (in winning 10-3) became the first team in history to hit 7 home runs in one game against the Yankees. ... And re the historic first inning against Florida, Baseball Prospectus tried to figure out how rare it is that 11 batters reached base safely before an out was recorded (assuming that those players current OBPs are reflective of their ability to avoid making an out). It would take about 344 seasons.
July 4, 2003
Here we go ....
Steven Goldman, author of The Pinstriped Bible, notes the Red Sox are hitting .299 as a team. "More importantly, the team is also leading the league in slugging percentage (.496) and on-base percentage (.365). The last American League team to slug .496 for a season? Hasn't happened. The 1927 and 1930 Yankees slugged. 488. The last AL team to record a higher OPS than the Sox' current .861 was the 1936 Yankees. ... Let's see how the two teams fare in position by position match-ups..."
Goldman dismisses Varitek a little too fast and seems shy about admitting Jeter isn't as good as Nomar. Also, sabermetrics shows us that Walker's 18 points of OBP is worth more than Soriano's 20 points of SLG. The 3B and RF advantages for the Sox are bigger than Goldman indicates and Boston's advantage in LF is insane. Goldman also conveniently ignores the benches. The only clear Yankees advantages are 1B and CF. ... Soriano splits:
AVG OBP SLG OPS
April 370 436 636 1066
May 229 290 466 756
June 268 302 415 717
The May and June OPS are quite bad -- equal to fellow second basemen Dan Berg (.724) and D'Angelo Jiminez (.742) and fellow AL-ers Joe Randa (.718), Johnny Damon (.720) and Casey Blake (.749). Soriano also ended 2002 with these monthly OPS: .788 and .797. Another trend I hope continues is this one:
AVG OBP SLG OPS
Home 241 299 418 717
Road 342 394 598 992
David Heuschkel and Lenny Megliola are talking about the possible sacking of Gump Little.
Gump Gaffe 7/3: Lyon, in relief of Wakefield, needed 1 pitch to end the 7th and he retired Baldelli to start the Tampa 8th. Boston led 5-3 and needed 5 outs for the win. The next three Rays batters -- Huff, Lee and Martin -- are left-handed. It's elementary: three consecutive left-handed batters in a 2-run game = Embree. But Gump stays with Lyon ... and after Huff grounded out, Lee walked and Martin hit a game-tying home run. Afterwards, Gump said Embree had already pitched the first two games and has a history of arm problems (?). Gump also said he wanted to rest Embree (and Kim) for the Yankees series. This poor, reactive excuse was predicted during last night's Sam Horn game thread.
This is how Embree was used in the first two games:
Game 1 -- .2 IP 2
batters 10 pitches
Game 2 -- 1 IP 4 batters 9 pitches
Embree came into the Tampa series with four days rest. Gump is full of shit.
Gump Gaffe 7/2: Jackson pinch-ran for DH Ortiz in the 8th inning. In the 9th, Boston led 5-4 with Nomar on 1st and 1 out. Jackson has an injured hand that makes it hard to swing the bat. Kapler, 7-for-9 in two games at Fenway, was on the bench. Nomar moved to second base on a wild pitch and the count was 1-1. Kapler could have been sent in here, too, but he wasn't. Jackson swung weakly and off-balanced at strike three. The Sox held on to win 5-4, but this was a golden chance to possibly add another run. Then Gump had the nerve to say this after the game: "We'd really rather have a few more runs, a little bit more of a lead." Yet he did nothing to increase the chances of getting "a little bit more of a lead."
I think the bullpen can be pretty good if everyone is used the way they should be used. It's simple. You don't pinch run Ortiz when you have better (and ready) options on the bench. You don't send Pedro up to pinch-hit when you have better (and ready) options on the bench. And you don't send Lyon out to face lefty hitters when you have better (and ready) options in the pen. Yes, Ortiz *might* steal a base and Pedro *might* hit a double and Lyon *might* retire Huff and Lee and Martin, but you are putting players in situations they are not well-suited for. And you risk getting burned.
And that is the main problem with this pen at this point. Gump avoiding Embree is like Gump looking past Manny and telling Chad Fox to grab a bat to try to knock that winning run in from second. Manny might not do it, but you've got a much better chance with him instead of Fox. ... Dump Gump -- there are only 79 games left.
According to Elias, the Florida Marlins were the first team to allow and score 20+ runs in a game in a 5 game span since the 1896 Pirates.
Pedro is now 2nd on Boston's career strikeout list:
1 Roger Clemens 2590 2 Pedro Martinez 1343 3 Cy Young 1341 4 Tim Wakefield 1128 5 Luis Tiant 1075 6 Bruce Hurst 1043 7 Joe Wood 986 8 Bill Monbouquette 969 9 Frank Sullivan 821 10 Ray Culp 794
July 3rd in baseball history:
1983: The Rangers explode for 12 runs in the 15th inning of a 164 win over the A's, setting a new major-league record for runs in a single extra inning.
1966: Pitcher Tony Cloninger hits two grand slams and drives in nine runs, as the Braves rout the Giants at Candlestick Park 173. Cloninger is the first National League player to slam two in a game, and the first pitcher ever, and his nine RBIs are a major-league record for pitchers.
1951: Bill DiBenedetto of the Class D Hornell Dodgers walks 21 in a 51 loss to Corning.
1925: Brooklyn 2B Milt Stock sets a modern NL record by getting four hits in his fourth consecutive game.
July 4th in baseball history:
1985: In a marathon game that borders on the surreal, the Mets endure two rain delays and 6:10 of playing time to beat the Braves 16–13 in 19 innings. The Mets had taken a 10–8 lead in the top of the 13th inning, only to watch the Braves tie it up. The Mets score again in the 18th, but relief hurler Rick Camp (a .060 hitter who was batting because Atlanta had no more position players available to pinch-hit) ties the score with his first ML home run on a 2-out 2-strike pitch. Finally the Mets erupt for five runs in the 19th off Camp and Atlanta can respond only with 2. Keith Hernandez hits for the cycle for the Mets, and the game ends at 3:55 A.M. on July 5th, the latest finish in ML history. At 4:01 A.M. the post-game fireworks display begins, causing local residents to think the city is under attack.
1934: When Dodgers manager Casey Stengel comes out to the mound to remove Boom Boom Beck from the game in Philadelphia's Baker Bowl, the frustrated Beck turns and fires the ball at the tin wall in RF. Dodgers OF Hack Wilson, not paying attention to the happenings, hears the ball, hurries to retrieve it, and fires a strike to 2B to prevent the imaginary runner from advancing.
1900: At Cincinnati, in the 3rd inning of Game 2, Giants 1B Jack Doyle slugs ump Robert Emslie after being called out on a steal attempt. Fans jump from the stands as the two get into it and players finally separate the two fighters. Two policemen chase the fans back into the stands and then arrest Doyle and take him to the York street station. He'll be fined for the assault.
Ah ... the good old days ...
July 3, 2003
Not enough has been said about the comments by Grady Little and Mike Cubbage in the wake of the 25-8 drubbing of the Marlins last Friday. Grady told the media he apologized to Marlins skipper Jack McKeon for his team tagging up on several short outfield flies late in the game. (But if the orders to tag didn't come from Grady, who's running the Red Sox?) To have a manager say he was sorry his team played hard for nine innings is disgusting and one of the bigger embarrassments for this Red Sox fan in years. But, sadly, that attitude is pure-Grady, who seems content if the game he's watching is exciting. Judging from Gump's in-game managing style, his facial expressions in the dugout and his post-game comments, winning or losing doesn't seem to matter.
Cubbage's comments about sending runners home that he wouldn't normally send was more egregious. The damning quote (as reported by John Tomase of the Eagle Tribune) was:
"It's a fine line. Guys want to score for the hitter. I kind of regret sending Walker. But it was a chance for outs, and they were having a hard time getting outs."
The first time I read that, I was confused. I had to read it again. "It was a chance for outs, and they were having a hard time getting outs." Cubbage is admitting he saw a chance to give Florida outs and so he sent Red Sox runners into situations he felt would lead to an out. How is this different than throwing a game? I see no difference. I can only assume that John Henry and Theo Epstein do not know about this statement, because I refuse to believe they'd let this stand. Deliberately helping your team make outs ... I would love to hear Cubbage defend this comment.
... Now that Kim is the closer (and close he did), I suppose the media will pronounce once and for all that the "bullpen by committee" was a bust. But as those who truly understand the concept (including Theo Epstein) have repeatedly stated, the Red Sox were never able to implement the plan. The reasons: the entire pen got off to such a poor start and Grady Little was either unwilling or incapable of putting the ideas into practice.
According to Bill James, a team should use its best reliever in high-leverage situations, even if it does not lead to a save. Boston began the season with (what they hoped was) a bunch of above-average arms, but no "proven closer." But in the early weeks of the season, when Grady brought relievers into games as though he was pulling names out of a hat, the whole idea of the committee was almost uniformly misunderstood and widely criticized. People assumed what Grady was doing was a "bullpen by committee." It was not.
The questions now are: Will Grady put Kim on the mound in the 7th inning with a one-run lead and runners on second and third? Will Grady allow Kim to throw two or three innings in a tight, important game? Or will he burn Kim by using him in the 9th with a three-run lead, thus making him (possibly) unavailable for a higher-leverage situation the following night?
There should never have been any controversy about the committee in the first place. This is not a new idea. As James has consistently pointed out, the closers of twenty years ago (such as Gossage and Quisenberry) were more valuable because they were used for more than one inning at a time. ... Most of the pitchers in the Red Sox pen -- Kim, Lyon, Timlin -- can throw two innings if the situation warrants. But using a bullpen in this way requires a manager to think and to make difficult decisions. The modern closer pattern requires little or no thought at all and it offers the perfect excuse when it fails: putting your closer out there for the 9th is what you are supposed to do, the pitcher simply didn't do his job.
Here is a fantastic look at Boston's high-leverage situations this year and who is getting work and how they are doing. The last 20 games (philly sox fan's post on July 2 at 6:43 pm (almost at the bottom of the thread)) show that Grady has been doing the right things lately. ...
"Hitting protection" -- does it exist? ... More bullpen chat ... And from a look at the AL East, as of July 1:
OBP and SLG for Boston and the AL by batting order position
OBP SLG AL OB AL SLG OPS difference 1st .321 .402 .330 .406 -.013 2nd .384 .501 .339 .418 +.128 3rd .363 .567 .364 .484 +.082 4th .411 .553 .366 .485 +.113 5th .382 .515 .343 .434 +.120 6th .407 .537 .329 .424 +.191 7th .367 .538 .324 .417 +.164 8th .318 .423 .303 .359 +.079 9th .335 .452 .293 .347 +.147 team .366 .499 .335 .428 +.102
Johnny Damon is not getting it done at the top of the order. I wouldn't mind seeing Gabe "2.400 OPS" Kapler in the outfield for a little while. Small sample, I now, but Damon's OBP is lower than Jeremy Giambi's.
July 2, 2003
Well, here's a loss I can't pin on Gump, though I was surprised to see Kim for only two innings (and 24 pitches). His last appearance was his 5-inning start Thursday, so I thought he'd go at least three. But as the official closer, Grady wanted to save him for the rest of the week. Not a huge deal, really (though if Lyon is now setting up for Kim, why did Gump bring Kim in first, followed by Lyon?). ... However, sending Chad Fox -- fresh off the disabled list, prone to wildness, with a so-so rehab assignment -- into such a close game (on a night when the Yankees and Blue Jays both lost) showed pure Gumposity. Decisions like this show why Grady still operates with the mind-set of a minor league manager -- where giving players a chance to work through their problems and building their confidence is more important than winning. ... Burkett suffered through a rough first inning (again) and then remembered how to pitch. Some splits:
BA OBP SLG RS
1-15 383 453 511 14
16-30 273 344 400 11
31-45 232 262 357 8
46-60 308 367 365 8
61-75 250 267 500 8
76-90 250 294 417 4
BA OBP SLG BB K
1-2-3 301 361 460 14 28
4-5-6 232 277 360 9 20
Mendoza threw 46 (or 44) pitches yesterday. Gump said his sinker was the best he's seen. And so Mendoza has been penciled in as the starter against the Yankees on Saturday. From watching him for years with the Yankees, Mendoza is very capable of shutting out a host of distractions, but this move has disaster written all over it (and it's a bad decision even if he throws 6 good innings). Mendoza did well in his Class A on Sunday, but was he that amazing? Let him build up some endurance with a couple of starts in AAA. Why are the Red Sox experimenting with their rotation in Yankee games? These games count for Christ's sake. ... Having Mendoza in the rotation sounds like Gump's decision. Still, Theo Epstein had to do something with Mendoza (he can't stay on the disabled list or in the minors indefinitely), so if he's healthy, Theo had to bring him back to Boston and Grady has decided to shove him into spotlight (which could further dig his (Grady's) own grave). ... Mendoza will face rookie Brandon Claussen on Saturday. And the rotation up to the break looks like this (all road games):
TB 7/ 2 Pedro (v Bell) TB 7/ 3 Wakefield (v Gonzalez) NY 7/ 4 Lowe (v Clemens) NY 7/ 5 Mendoza (v Claussen) NY 7/ 6 Burkett (v Pettitte) NY 7/ 7 Pedro (v Mussina) TOR 7/ 8 Wakefield (v Halladay) TOR 7/ 9 Lowe (v Davis) TOR 7/10 Mendoza (v Escobar) DET 7/11 Burkett DET 7/12 Pedro DET 7/13 Wakefield
Not only does this send Mendoza and Burkett against New York, but it puts Lowe and Mendoza (both sinkerballers) on the turf in Toronto. ... One cool thing about the four-game Yankees series is that all the games (including Friday and Monday) are during the day!
P.S. Lessons from Jack McKeon: If your team wins 20-1, you tell the press: "We didn't try to run the score up. We just couldn't stop [our] guys from hitting." If your team loses 25-8, you accuse the other team of running up the score. Okay? Class dismissed.
July 1, 2003 (Part 2)
Theo Epstein on the season so far: "I have mixed feelings. This is a team with a world of potential that we have to capitalize on. ... Where we've failed - and just for now I'll say that it's a first-half failure - it's a combination of a lot of things." And: "We have a plan. It's just a matter of time - we have a vision in our minds. ... Disappointed is a better word ... We obviously have a very good team with lots of potential. We're just a little short in one department.'' Epstein also admits to be unable to sleep after certain losses. Every one knows the bullpen needs fixin' and may get help from Byung-Hyun Kim and Casey Fossum.
Grady Gump, when asked if the Red Sox could contend with the bullpen pitching the way it has, said: ''It wouldn't be tough. It would be impossible." So even though Boston leads Oakland by 1½ for the wildcard and is only four games behind New York --with 82 games to play -- the team cannot contend. ??? Does Gump know his job is in jeopardy and is trying to shift blame ("I can't win with these guys") so he looks fairly blame-less when it comes to finding another job? How does the bullpen feel about these comments? Alan Embree isn't too pleased. And morale will no doubt skyrocket once all the players know that the manager feels that winning is impossible with them.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported John Henry was surprised by the news of the apology. "Grady apologized? I disagree with that. ... Don't we owe it to our fans to play hard all the time?" ... Some fans feel that a .500 (or so) road trip -- Tampa, Yankees, Toronto, Detroit -- will lead to Gump's departure. I'm not so sure. I fear we be doomed to suffer his laid back "that's-okay-boys-we-will-get-'em-tomorrow" attitude for the rest of this (eventually, even more disappointing) season.
Eric Wilbur reports: "Long lost footage reveals that on the night Wilt Chamberlain scored an NBA record 100 points, he apologized by sending candy to the opposition's locker room." ... Ramiro Mendoza will throw off a mound and in front of the coaches and manager before tonight's game. Mendoza pitched 5 scoreless innings (2 hits, 1 walk, 4 Ks) on Sunday in Sarasota and could take Kim's start on Thursday. ... Tony LaRussa on Albert Pujols: "I think he's absolutely beautiful. If I were a woman, I'd go for him so fast it'd make your head spin." ... Dan Duquette will play the manager of the Yankees in a Pittsfield, Mass. production of the legendary musical "Damn Yankees." ... Memo to Jack McKeon: This is why it's a good idea to keep scoring even if you are ahead 14-2 in the 7th inning. ... On July 1, 1920, Walter Johnson threw his only no-hitter at Fenway Park. ... Art Martone on Gabe Kapler and the blush of new love.
Boy, Kevin Millar sure loves playing for the Red Sox:
I don't think there is a guy in this locker room who appreciates coming to the park every day more than I do. I really do. I look forward to waking up in the morning and look forward to driving to Fenway Park and I look forward to just being in front of these fans.
These are the most unbelievable fans I've ever seen. Going out of the parking lot after games, people are clapping and taking pictures and it's like you're a rock star. It's truly an honor to play in front of fans who have this much passion. ...
Sometimes I have to pinch myself. These are the days you want to go slow. They say life goes fast. But these are the days you really want it to go slow. These are the best days probably of my life. ... The second half is going to be awesome. You basically tape up your wrists and you tape up your ankles and you're basically just looking to win a World Series. ...
The metal "14" plate is going to Cooperstown, signed by all the players who appeared in the game.
July 1, 2003
Unbelievable. Just when I think Grady Gump can't piss me off any more than he has already, he shows me I have underestimated him. The day after the Red Sox routed the Florida Marlins 25-8, Grady Little offered an apology to Marlins manager Jack McKeon (and a half-hearted one to the press) for scoring so many gosh durn runs: "There's a right and wrong way to play the game and I feel we didn't play the game the right way totally." ... I thought scoring runs was what baseball teams are supposed to do ... Also from Jeff Horrigan's Herald story:
Little said the Sox made "mistakes'' in judgment during the game and he indicated that he spoke to the violators both after the thrashing and before last night's game. He said the team didn't intentionally try to embarrass the Marlins.
"I've already spoken to most of them,'' Little said. "Sometimes the mistakes I feel were mistakes, if you talk to 50 different people, maybe you'll get 25 different answers on whether they were mistakes or not. They're not clearly defined. A lot of them are unwritten things, (but) we probably crossed the line in a couple of different areas.''
Todd Walker saw things in a different (and correct) way. ''Every chance you get to score a run, you're going to score a run." Red Sox principal owner John Henry agreed: ''If we're supposed to stop trying to score, we should just put up a disclaimer on the scoreboard: 'You should go home now, we're not trying anymore.' You've got people giving up their Friday night to be at the ballpark, spending a couple of hundred bucks, and we're supposed to stop playing? The idea is to score runs. If not, then why are we out there?'' Henry added:
I'm supposed to feel sorry for the other guys? Look, that's my infield out there [for the Marlins]. I love those guys. There is no team in baseball that I have less desire to see embarrassed. But you can't stop playing baseball just because you're ahead by 10 or 20 runs. I guarantee you every fan in the ballpark was wishing for 30 runs, just so they could say they were there to witness history. So for us to quit trying just because we might upset the opposition. Why don't we just say no one on either side should continue to play and try to score runs.
I can only hope this means front office support for Huckleberry Happytalk is dwindling.
John Tomase reported that Little conducted Friday's postgame press conference "with his shoulders slumped and his voice flat." The next day on NESN, Jerry Remy said Grady felt worse after the 25-8 win than he did after blowing three leads to the Phillies. ... Sadly, Gump wasn't alone in his idiocy. Third base coach Mike Cubbage admitted he gave Florida extra outs. "It's a fine line. Guys want to score for the hitter. I kind of regret sending Walker. But it was a chance for outs, and they were having a hard time getting outs." (Boston's 14-run first inning ended with an easy out at the plate, also.) Isn't helping the opposing team record outs similar to throwing a game?
Two members of the Boston Herald -- Tony Massarotti and Steve Buckley -- also decided the Red Sox had disgraced themselves and the grand American game with their disgusting run-scoring, proving that the Boston media will piss on anything, no matter how good it is. I will not be surprised by columns condemning the Red Sox for "excessive" celebrating and "poor sportsmanship" after they win the World Series (for making the losing team feel bad).
Massarotti spoke of "a night for shame ... Red Sox ruthlessness on the basepaths ... no compassion ... tactless." And Buckley added (in a pay column): "... your beloved Red Sox didn't exactly cover themselves in glory last night. They had this game in the bag in the first inning, and then spent the rest of the night taking the extra base, trying to score on close sacrifice flies ... boorish ... the Sox made history last night. They also made asses of themselves."
Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media wrote (scroll down to June 28):
Did Buckley and Massarotti knock the Yankees and say they should've had "compassion" or "mercy" (two words used by Tony in his column today, implying that the Red Sox should've had shown some of those two qualities last night.) when the Yankees pounded on the Red Sox by a 22-1 score on June 19, 2000? No. I went and paid my money and looked through the Herald archives. If there was any shame in that game, it belonged to the Red Sox for their dreadful performance. There was shame to Jimy Williams for embarrassing Tim Wakefield by making him pitch the final part of that game. Nowhere was it implied that the Yankees should've shown a little "mercy" or "compassion" to the Red Sox.
Last night, Grady Little used his worst relievers, Rupe, Seanez, Almonte and Sheill. He put Doug Mirabelli at first base. The Marlins complain about the Sox sending runners on shallow drives ... Talk about a mercy outs. Had that been a close game, I don't think Walker and Mueller would've been sent in those situations.
Florida manager Jack McKeon and third base coach Ozzie Guillen both whined about those evil Red Sox crossing home plate (as though their pitchers had nothing to do with it). Guillen said Cubbage (not Little) should be the one apologizing; actually Guillen should be thanking Cubbage for giving the Marlins outs they did not deserve.
And whether he meant to or not, McKeon may have suckered Gump into keeping the score down the next day. On Saturday, Boston led 9-2 with two outs in the 7th inning. Johnny Damon was on first base and the Marlins were not holding him on. Gump did not tell Damon to steal second. Wouldn't want to make my buddy Jack mad. So Damon stayed put. Then the Marlins scored four runs in the 8th, four more in the 9th (thanks to poor bullpen management by Gump), and won the game 10-9. Kevin Millar said he wanted to puke ...
Winning games is clearly not the top priority. I wouldn't be surprised if, with a Red Sox pitcher three outs from a no-hitter, Gump ordered his infielders and outfielders to sit down at their positions to increase the other team's chances of getting a hit. "Our boys had plenty of hits out there today," Gump would tell the fawning media, "and I didn't want the other team to feel left out." ... Grady Little does not have the killer instinct a manager needs to instill in his players to win. When the opposing team is faltering or has made a grievous mistake in the field, a winning team will pounce and take full advantage of it (the 1998 Yankees did that all season long). A winning team will pummel opponents whenever and for as long as possible, and not let up until the final out. That is not Grady's style -- and that is why the Red Sox will not win anything with Gump behind the wheel.
The Sons of Sam Horn have several threads devoted to Grady (as well as ripping him a new one every night in the game threads). Here are two comments relating to the above:
Johnny Damon not being held on at first, just standing there and not getting into scoring position on Saturday night, is to me the perfect symbol of the Grady Little era in Boston. It shows what Grady's priorities are, and how he wants his players to play. You don't kick the other team when you have them down, you stop and give them a hand up if you play for Grady. His comment about how he felt as bad after Friday's game as he did after the Philly debacle is just another example of how he is the wrong man to manage the Red Sox.
Not only does Grady get outmanaged between the lines, he was completely outmanaged in the psychological game as well. He completely fell into McKeon's trap, and went around and tried to make his own ballplayers feel guilty for kicking the Marlins ass so hard. I don't know if Grady's guilt trip contributed to the loss on Saturday or not, but it certainly could have. Regardless of whether they won or lost, however, is that the Red Sox manager should be sticking up for his Red Sox players at all times, not begging the opposing manager for forgiveness. I can't imagine that firebreathing competitors like Nomar and Pedro have an ounce of respect for Grady Little, and it'll be interesting to see how fast they turn on him as soon as they hit a bump in the road. Players want to win, and they don't need somebody on their own team telling them they should feel bad about being good.
Other stuff from the past week: Kevin Millar rips the Marlins front office and calls Nomar "retarded" -- but in a good way. ... The Greek God of Walks visits Fenway ... and Casey Fossum is feeling no pain in his left shoulder ... Will Kim be the closer?
Snips from Jayson Stark's "Useless 25-Run Game Information":
It took the Marlins 52 pitches, three pitchers, 12 hitters and more than 25 minutes to record an out in this game. Naturally, the next day, it took them two pitches.
The Red Sox scored 10 runs before they made an out. Through Saturday, the Tigers had gone 141 straight games without scoring 10 runs in a game.
Johnny Damon singled, doubled and tripled just in the first inning. Which made him the fifth player ever to get three hits in an inning, the second player to do it since 1900 and the first player ever to get three different varieties of hit in one inning. Here are the other members of the three-hits-in-an-inning club:
Stephens, Red Sox (June 18, 1953) -- 2 singles 1 double.
Fred Pfeffer, Cubs (Sept. 6, 1883) -- 2 singles, 1 double.
Ned Williamson, Cubs (Sept. 6, 1883) -- 2 singles, 1 double.
Tommy Burns, Cubs (Sept. 6, 1883) -- 2 doubles, 1 home run.
The totals on that first inning: 50 minutes, 91 pitches, 3 pitches swung at and missed, 19 hitters, 7 singles, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 5 walks.
Carl Pavano and Michael Tejera faced 11 hitters in this game, threw 53 pitches and got zero outs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that made the Marlins the first team to have its first two pitchers of a game not record an out since the 1973 Royals -- managed by the man who manages these Marlins, Jack McKeon.
Ha! Maybe that's why McKeon was so pissed off.
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