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5/1/07 vs. Oakland

May 2, 2007

Win some lose some. Tough loss and a rare one in the way we lost it. As much as you’d like to think that because things are lined up how you want them to be, it should all work out, sometimes it doesn’t.

Our bullpen was the key reason we ended April with the best record in baseball and I don’t doubt for a second it will be a huge strength for us all year long, but even the best bullpens have off nights and last night was one of them.

I know how bad it feels to blow a save so you always feel for the guys down there when it happens because you know no one feels worse than they do.

I know Jason and I went in with a good game plan and for the most part we executed that plan. Always nice to be back in Fenway too, nothing matches the environment.

First inning was a quick one as Stewart popped out to right on a 2-1 slider and Ellis got jammed on a 1-0 fastball for the second out. Eric kept the bat head in the zone on a decent split and hit it harder than I’d planned to center to end the inning.

My slider felt good in the pen, as did my split, and the first few I threw today felt like they were working.

Our offense put a huge three spot on the board in the bottom of the first. Amazing how it works sometimes. The hardest hit ball of the inning was Manny’s fly out. We blooped and bled our way to three runs against a guy who’s turned into a very solid big league pitcher. I faced Joe here last year and he beat me by shutting us down for 7-8 innings and he was coming off a great start the other day as well. He mixes his stuff up and seems to have great command of his fastball to go along with a very good hook and change he mixes in.

Second inning starts with Mike chasing a split for strike three. We freeze Johnson on a fastball in for the second out. I hang my first split of the day and Bobby hits a hard single to left. Had the whole AB setup to get him to chase one in the dirt but I didn’t get the ball to bite and paid. Travis hits another split for what should have been a routine ground ball out to second. The main problem there was that about 10 seconds before I threw the pitch I moved Dustin more into the hole and the ball ends up being a single because of that. I fall behind Jason and then run the count full, the key pitch being the 2-1 split he chased. After a short battle he swings and misses at a 3-2 fastball that runs in more than I was trying to make it.

Bottom line though was we scored three and then put up a zero.

Top of the third starts with Langerhans chasing a high fastball. His two AB’s, and the results are a direct tip of the hat to our advance scouts. I had no history with him and hadn’t had a chance to look at any real video before the game so I relied on some face to face pre-game rundowns they gave me and they hit the bullseye in every way. You cannot overestimate the value of truly good advance scouts. At least I can’t. they’ve always been a huge part of what I do to prepare, especially on a night like tonight when I am seeing alot of hitters for the first time. The guys that advance for us are incredibly good and thorough at what they do and it pays off for guys like me who rely on that information to attack lineups with specific game plans.

I want to start Shannon off with a 2 seamer in and end up leaving it up and middle and he singles to left. A fly out to center by Ellis and a pop up by Chavez end the third.

 We tack another run on in the bottom of the inning as Youk drives in Coco after the lead off walk. Lead changes from 1-4 runs are huge. From one to two you get breathing room so one mistake won’t kill you. From two to three it’s huge because a mistake or walk won’t bring the tying run to the plate and from three to four is as huge because to squander a four run lead you have to have a nightmarish inning which is something we should really not see a lot of this year due to the bullpen we have.

Piazza leads off the fourth by lunging at a curve ball and popping up to center. I then make my first crucial mistake of the night. Going into the series Dan Johnson had swung at 1 of his last 19 first pitches. He took the first one in his first AB as well. I had a serious hunch that he’d be swinging at the first pitch and wanted to put a fastball on the corner, or just off, to get some bad contact and a quick out. Instead I end up aiming the ball and leaving it up and more on the plate than it could be and he crushes it over our pen to put them on the board. Bad mistake that could have been prevented with even an ounce of execution. I come back to get Bobby chasing a split for the out and then Travis flies out to right center to end the inning. We scored a run and I gave one back, not good.

Jason leads off the fifth by hitting a front door slider that got way too much of the plate, to center, to leadoff the inning. I get Ryan to chase a split for the first out and Shannon flies to center for the second out. I get Mark setup exactly how I wanted and leave a split up again, and he grounds the ball just over the bag at third, which our ball girl decides to field….. Back in that spot again, 2 outs and a game changing AB. I think I caught Eric guessing on the second fastball even though I was sure he’d swing at the first pitch. When he didn’t I had a feeling that he was trying to think along with us. So we go back outside for strike two and now we need to execute something here to end the inning. He lays off the first split and we go inside a few times and he fouls them off. We throw a pretty good split that fades away and then get the check swing call to end the inning.

 I get lucky leading off the sixth as the fastball to Mike gets more plate than intended and he hits it to the deepest part of the park. Coco runs it down for the first out. Dan gets jammed on a very high curve ball and pops to short and the inning ends on a pop up to third by Crosby.

Seventh inning starts ominously as Travis hits a ball to the gap in left center for a lead off double. Jason singles to left on a hanging split and now we are right back trouble. Was caught off guard by Walker PH for Langerhans but Jason and I confer with John and we devise a way to pitch to him. First pitch backdoor slider is followed by a slider that was not as in as it was supposed to be and he lines it softly to center. I can almost always see the result of a fly ball to center before the end of the play. The only guys that screw me up are really fast guys, like Coco. I didn’t think there was any chance he was catching that ball and as I am wandering over to back up third I am already thinking about how I am going to pitch to Stewart. He comes up with it, and at the time in my mind that catch wins us the game.

I end up getting Shannon to ground out on a jam shot to second in which Dustin makes a great play charging in on the ball. Mark pops out to first and we avoid letting them get any closer, but that second run is huge in my mind.

Okie comes on and does what he’s done since day one. He gets more and more impressive every day you watch him perform. After the eigth I’m thinking game over. Now I’m still nervous, but it’s a Rivera’s on the mound to save the game for us kind of nervous. Paps may give up a hit, or walk a guy, but blown saves are few and far between.

You all know the ending so no need to rehash it. Bottom line is those guys got the better of us on a night when that doesn’t usually happen. Nothing to do but strap it on today and get back after it. The beauty of the season is just that, you get to go back out the next day and right the wrongs and a lot of times that its own cartharsis.

119 Comments leave one →
  1. cphil818 permalink
    May 4, 2007 8:06 pm

    Hm… I don’t know what to say. It’s a tough loss. I was as surprised as anyone else.

    Chris (My Blog)

  2. sonofapitcherman permalink
    May 4, 2007 10:15 pm

    Go Go Coco!

    Well tonight in MINN, Wake pitched a gem, and Paps is back, sorta, and Coco again made the play of the game after Paps put our hearts in our throats with that long drive he gave up, some 408 feet to center.

    If Paps could ever develop a good change up . . . too many fastball and too many good fastball hitters in the league.

    Three great defensive plays by Coco this week. Wow. He’s becoming a joy to watch.

    Seems like again the run support was lacking for Wake.

    Big guy, you got a duel coming up against Ponson, who is trying to get back on track. I hope that the run support is there for you and that the bullpen can hold a lead if we get one. Sometimes I think I’d prefer you to pitch a complete game, but in these days of strict pitch counts, not likely to happen, and the brain trust seems to keep Tito on a short leash.

    How about the recent play of Cora. Again, I believe the brain trust has Tito sticking with their boy Dustin, when I’d guess that he would prefer to go with the hot hand in Cora, who is now batting 406 and can seem to do no wrong at this time.

    Give Wake a pat on the back, Curt, his ERA is down to 2.11.

    You guys are playing pretty good ball out of the gate. Keep it up, and you, keep blogging. You’re doing a great job so far. Just wish you could offer a quick post after each game so as to keep the flow of the season and the schedule, and then continue to offer your in depth analysis of your starts as you do so well.

  3. thedoctorx permalink
    May 4, 2007 10:18 pm

    Congrats to Wakefield for what sounded like a good outing on the radio.

    Congrats to Coco for what definitely sounded like a good defensive play.

    Glad to see Big Papi cured himself of his “power problem” he had in Minnesota :D

    . . . and . . . the MFY blew a 5-0 lead.

    Life . . . is . . . good!

    –J.D.

  4. kevinpjames1 permalink
    May 5, 2007 12:11 pm

    Just wanted to say thank you for reaching out to the fans of baseball and the fans of the Boston Red Sox. This must be very time consuming, considering the amount of time you put into preparing for a game. I commend you on your ability to reach out and take the time for your fans. I hope all is well.

    Kevin James, Fall River, Mass.

  5. May 5, 2007 9:57 pm

    Just wanted to say I’m looking forward to seeing you pitch against the Twins tomorrow. A friend and I are traveling from Eau Claire, Wisconsin to brave the ire of the home team fans and root for the Sox.

    We’ll be sitting near the visiting team bullpen, so we’ll be able to watch the pre-game warm-up. My friend will be the one with the Schilling jersey and Yankees-Haters cap. I’ll probably be wearing my Mariners cap.

    I can honestly say, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about going to see a baseball game. I’m originally from Seattle, so I don’t get to see very many games with teams I actually care about. This will be a treat.

    I have to admit though, I am obligated to root against the Sox when – AND ONLY WHEN – they face the Mariners. I’m sure you understand. ;)

  6. beyondb4 permalink
    May 5, 2007 10:19 pm

    Coming out of your amazing balance is your incredible pinpoint accuracy. Add to that the teamwork this year. That adds up to a great game tomorrow.
    We can celebrate another win, just for the fun of it! Good luck!

  7. thedoctorx permalink
    May 6, 2007 4:19 am

    Though that tough lost, particularly given how well Julian T did.

    Give ‘em Hell today.

    –J.D.

  8. clat1 permalink
    May 6, 2007 11:08 am

    Do you guys have any word on Matt Clement’s recovery?

  9. 21pitchesforsox permalink
    May 6, 2007 3:34 pm

    Clemens on the Yankees your thoughts??

  10. thedoctorx permalink
    May 6, 2007 4:42 pm

    . . . which you did. Congratulations, as well as congrats to Drew, Tek, and YOUK!

    Obviously, everyone will be interested on your thoughts on the scurrilous trait [Stop it.–Ed.] on Clemens return to the MFYs.

    –J.D>

  11. theotherm permalink
    May 6, 2007 5:29 pm

    Good game Curt, what do you think about Clemens going to the Yankees? I really didn’t think he’d go there but I guess money does a lot of talking!

  12. May 6, 2007 6:38 pm

    Sorry To Go Off Topic But , Roger Clemens Is A Heartless POS.
    That dirtbag is gonna go to the hall of fame wearing a RED SOX hat , and he considers NY his home town. I’m so upset right now , I can’t complete a single thought.
    If my friends were in a fight , and we were losing … I wouldn’t go on the enemies side just to win, I’d go down with honor.
    Clemens Karma will bite him in the ass.
    I know you’re a part-time friend of his , but he is nothing but a heartless , disgraceful, honorless coward. I’d like to say I pray something terrible happens to him , but as a Christian that wouldn’t be right…… So let me just say I pray in the name of Jesus that Roger Clemens gets what he deserves. I LOVE YA CURT . GOD BLESS.

  13. mistersir permalink
    May 6, 2007 8:33 pm

    schilling, no good man. Why you got to lie about the sock, you can get some sort of deal with Heinz. To bad you lie.

  14. cmac1973 permalink
    May 6, 2007 9:11 pm

    Curt —

    I may be late to the party on this one, but I never knew you chewed tobacco, and I must say I was disappointed to see it, especially given all the work your wife and family do for skin cancer. It seems a bit disingenuous for you to run the risk of mouth, throat or other forms of the disease. I know Terry Francona has a bet going with Larry Lucchino over whether he can quit chewing for the rest of the season — I assume that’s still going well? — so maybe you should consider a similar deal, with Larry forking over some dough to the Shade Foundation if you can pull it off and you dropping a little bit into the Red Sox Foundation kitty if you can’t. I’ve always admired you as a pitcher and marveled at your charitable work off the field, so to see you jam that wad into your mouth after your work on the mound was done today in Minnesota was a bit of a letdown for me.

    Thanks for listening,
    DCM

  15. thedoctorx permalink
    May 7, 2007 1:38 am

    Hey, I do not believe in it, but I will share scottyrod’s prayer.

    I mean . . . every little bit helps. . . .

    –J.D.

  16. johnnyh92107 permalink
    May 7, 2007 11:32 am

    Curt, I am trying to help and kid with brain cancer who is coming to a game with his senior class in May. Can you help? Email me at howland_john@hotmail.com. Thanks John

  17. bosocker permalink
    May 10, 2007 11:25 pm

    Brother Curt,

    I always heard since you came to the BoSox that you were one of the smartest guys in the game, how you studied up on your opponents. Your blog has proven it to me as I read your comments on each game and players. Your blog stirs more interest to the game, knowing what is going on from a baseball genius’s perspective. You are one of the greatest the game ever had. Perhaps when you hang up your glove you can come back to be a manager or coach. Keep up the good fight.

    Bosocker Mike

  18. john02747 permalink
    May 30, 2007 11:12 pm

    EVERYBODY listen up. I think when Barry Bonds plays in Boston every fan should hold up a newspaper in front of their face every time he bats.

    Let’s do this

  19. vacamim permalink
    June 7, 2007 5:08 pm

    Once again, you are my hero! You are the consummate team player. I will never forget what you did for us in 2004, and I will never forget your performance today. Thank you!

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