Monday, August 06, 2007


A disappointing and frustrating loss for the Red Sox. Manny Ramirez was thrown out and replaced with rookie Brandon Moss, who struck out to end the game with the tying run on first base.

He was only following a trend though. The Red Sox left men on base and in scoring position all night, like it was the cool thing to do. In case there be any confusion, its not. Unfortunately though, its completely par for the course. If this team could hit with any type of consistent power, they'd be unstoppable. Also, as my friend Bill is fond of saying, if my aunt had wheels she'd be a tricycle.

Think about that one for a minute.

Schilling pitched well through six, though didn't seem to have much speed on his fastball. Still, he struck out five in six plus innings of work. It was the seventh inning that was his undoing. First, he gave up a cheapy solo homer
on a line drive over the short wall in the shortest part of the park. The hitter, Maicer Izturis, had two homers on the year previous to this game. Either it was incredibly lucky, or it was a really bad pitch. Stay tuned to to find out.

Immediately following that, Orlando Cabrera doubled down the left field line. Except he didn't. This was only one in a series of lousy calls tonight, all of which went, rightly or wrongly, against the Red Sox. Some nights the umps don't have it and sometimes when they don't the calls all seem to go against one team. Tonight the forces of the universe aligned and smited the Red Sox. To wit:

The double that knocked Schilling out of the game looked to be foul on replay, despite the protestations of the Angel announcers. It bounced just a quarter inch to the left of the left field foul line and you could see brown dirt between the ball and the chalk when it hit the ground. Foul. Of course the third base umpire called it fair. That didn't stop the Angel announcers from blabbing that it was "definitely fair" over visual evidence to the contrary. I was surprised that Terry Francona didn't argue the call. The runner eventually came around to score, making it 4-2.

The biggest umpire assist to the Angels tonight came on a questionable check swing with two strikes by Manny Ramirez in the fourth inning. The official in question ruled Manny had swung and thus had struck out. Manny disagreed, visibly saying, "No!" and then walking away from the plate. While walking away he turned back and said something to the umpire who then followed Manny for a few steps and then threw him out of the game. I don't know what Manny said, but might it have been possible to avoid throwing the player out of the game? I think probably so.

Francona replaced Ramirez with rookie Brandon Moss who was just called up from AAA Pawtucket. Moss made two mistakes in the outfield, one costing the Red Sox a good chance to throw out a runner at the plate, and went 0-2 with a walk.

The same home plate umpire later called Mike Lowell out on a fouled ball in the dirt that the catcher did not catch. Lowell foul tipped a pitch into the dirt, thus it was a foul ball, but the umpire claimed the catcher caught it (thus strike three) and after a discussion the third base umpire confirmed the inaccuracy. Awful call. Especially since it came with two runners on base and no outs at the time.

The call was so bad that even the Angel's lead announcer admitted the ball hit the dirt. He said this over the blatantly false claims of the stupid color commentator. Of course seconds later the lead announcer then identified Coco Crisp as "Coco Crisp" and "Lugo" in the course of one sentence.

The combination of the umpires making bad calls and the Angels announcers verbally contorting every which way to confirm what were clearly bad calls was barely listenable. I don't hate the Angels, but wow, do their announcer suck. Other than the White Sox these have to be the worst announcers I've heard all season long. The Angels are a good team, but after listening to these guys you'd think this was the greatest team in the history of the world.

At the beginning of the game the color guy was comparing the two teams and said that the Red Sox had about 30 more homers than the Angels and about 150 more walks (he gave the actual numbers) but, and here comes the big comparison that makes the two teams equal, the Angels have about 30 more steals. Fair point, Mr. announcer man, being that 150 walks and 30 homers are roughly equivalent to 30 steals. Globally speaking...

Angels announcer with runner on first base: "The Red Sox are 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position tonight. And [Francisco Rodriguez] is trying to make it 1 for 11." Also, It took the asshole color guy 9 innings to compare Pedroia to David Eckstein.

In summary, it was an unlucky, frustrating, badly umpired, and badly called game. Good riddance. Hopefully the Red Sox can make up for it tomorrow.

AL East: The Yankees won to drop their deficit to six games. They beat Toronto, who in typical fashion, laid down like dogs.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): The Red Sox play the Angels in game two of three at 10:05pm EST. Tim Wakefield goes for Boston. Joe Saunders throws for Anaheim, or for California, or maybe for Los Angeles.

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