6/2/07 Vs. NY…. Again.
Let’s see, I sucked, we still won. That about cover it? Check back next week…
Seriously, I did suck and we still won but it was another grind it out, use the whole bullpen and both offenses had their way for most of the day, until our pen got in the act.
Nothing out of the ordinary warming up. Felt fine. Knowing how hot and humid it had been and was going to be the focus on a day like today is staying hydrated and trying to keep your guys in the dugout as much as possible. Long innings can wear the every day guys out fast on a day like today.
No Giambi, no Damon in the lineup today. Regardless of who fills in you always want to take advantage of lineups missing key players, somehow it finds a way to really work or really bite you in the ass. Today it was the latter.
Given the fact that the work John and I are putting in and the fact that a lot of things fell into place the last start it’s hard not to think that everythings fixed after a game like that. Unfortunately it usually never works that way either. Making the changes we’ve made and the adjustments, is an ongoing process. The only positive to come out of it is that I didn’t do much of anything today, and continue to be horribly inconsistent, but we are finding ways to win on the days I pitch, which is huge.
So the game starts, Phil Cuzzi behind home plate. Phil’s nothing if he’s not consistent. I don’t think he ever gets too wide but he calls the corners very consistently regardless of the count or inning.
Bobby starts the game off squaring up a back door slider that ends up in an F-7 as Demarlo has the outfield positioned perfectly. Derek fights a few two seamers off and when I try to get back in there to finish the AB I leave the ball more on the plate than I’d like and he hammers a ball off the monster for a double. Matsui gets jammed on a first pitch fastball in to right for the second out. Alex swings and misses at two fastballs that were supposed to be in but I miss to the extreme with both, one middle out and one middle up. The AB ends when he chases a split for strike three. The first two strike split of the day and it is in a perfect spot and moves late, should have been a good sign.
Posada leads off the second grounding out to Dustin on a back door slider. Ball came back over the plate more than it was supposed to but no harm, no foul. Cano hits a first pitch fastball away to Mike for the second out and I am close to a quick easy inning if I can get Cabrera. He ends up working the count to 3-2 and I make a bad choice and bad pitch. The only part of the park he can do damage in Fenway is down the right field line, every place else, if he gets a hit, is still salvageable but I go in with another fastball, and it was in enough for what I was after, and he hits a ball down the right field line that puts them up 1-0. Doug hits a two strike split that stayed up in the zone to center for a single on a two strike pitch to further extend the inning. Nieves swings at the first pitch and flies to right to end the inning.
Bobby starts off the third by lining a cutter in that was supposed to be down around his feet but instead was up at his chest. Miscommunication here as Tek wanted it down and I didn’t get it. Derek nullifies the mistake by hitting a slider away to Julio that he and Dustin turn into a great 4-6-3. We work Matsui first pitch curve ball, backdoor, for strike one, then run the count a bit deeper and get him looking at a fastball away for the last out.
Alex leads off the fourth grounding out to
Lugo on a slider. Posada works a deep count and even through the shift manages to get the ball into right field. He’s swinging the bat as well as I have ever seen him. He’s squaring the ball up consistently and on a variety of pitches. This was a backdoor slider that slid back over the plate a bit too much. Cano grounds to second on a first pitch cutter in for the second out. Cabrera continues his best Damon impression by hitting a split that stayed up to right for another single. We end up getting Doug to fly to center to end the inning and keep it 1-1.
During the bottom of the inning Jerry Crawford calls the tarp out as it starts to rain pretty hard. They know it’s not going to last so I am guessing they are trying to avoid us playing in weather that can change the game, if we don’t have to.
We sit for about a half hour and at first it’s not really a bad thing given how humid it was. I don’t know how Mike felt but I threw a bit in the tunnel towards the end of the delay and then I was allowed to warm up until I was ready to start the fifth. Not sure why but I just never got loose.
I was fortunate enough to start the fifth with a clean slate whereas Mike had to com e back out to 2nd and third no outs. We get two out of it and are now up 3-1.
Nieves grounds back to me to start the inning, and Bobby lines another single to left field on a slider away. We get Derek to hit into a 5-4-3 that Mike makes a great feed, and Dustin a great turn on, to end the inning. I was pretty fired up to get out of the inning as fast as we did because nothing felt right.
Regardless of how the sixth went and how I felt I still had more than enough ‘stuff’ to make pitches and get outs. I certainly wasn’t tired. That being said I didn’t. I start the inning by laying a fastball middle, middle and Matsui lines it to right for a single. I had Alex in multiple counts to make a pitch and never did it, ending up walking him on back to back splits, both real good pitches that he managed to lay off of, to put runners on 1st and 2nd. My day ends after an AB that, had I made the pitch, could have turned out vastly different. I get to 2-1 on Posada and throw a split that ‘hangs’ a bit, but is still down in the zone, for strike two. Generally I can follow a split that stays up like that with an even better one at the bottom of the zone, or in the dirt, for the simple fact that usually I can feel the mistake on the previous pitch and make the correction on the next one. This time I didn’t. I threw a split, almost exactly like the previous one, and he didn’t try to do too much, just dropped the head of the bat on the ball and voila! Into our bullpen and a 2 run lead is now a 1 run deficit.
Hard to describe that sinking into the pit of your stomach feeling you get as you watch a ball heading out, but hold some small sliver of hope that it won’t get there.
I could throw a million and one harsh comments and reviews on the outing, but at the end of the day we did what we had to do. Our bullpen clutched up and our offense ground it out.
These games, these series, always seem to be battles of attrition for both teams pitching staffs. Our offenses are so alike in some ways, especially when it comes to running up pitch counts and wearing down bullpens.
You know going in as a starting pitcher that they are going to try and work counts early, so you try to get ahead and force AB’s to get over with quality strikes. If you don’t do that they either drive you out of the game with 100 pitches after 5, or hammer bad pitches in the zone.
All that being said it was a win, and regardless of how, why when and where, that’s all that matters. I’ll continue to grind this thing out and make the changes I have to make but the bottom line is I lack the one thing you have to have from your starters and that’s consistency. Something I’ve always felt I had, I’m now looking for.