I continue to fall behind but am trying to at least keep up with the season when it comes to blogging.
As far as the important stuff goes here is the latest. Peter Despain is doing well. I have talked a few times with him as he continues to recover from the massive amounts of surgery he’s had in the past few weeks and he sounds like you’d expect a kid to sound, happy and upbeat.
Hats off to Red Sox Nation and anyone that contributed to the WEEI Jimmy Fund telethon,. They raised over 3.7 million dollars this year and created that much more awareness and publicity for the people and the stories.
The highlight of the telethon for me was getting to see Holly on TV this week. She looks as beautiful as you think she would. The infectious smile, after all she’s gone through, was profound to say the least.
I thought it was incredible that every state in the country had someone donating to this ‘local’ charity event. I have heard that Mr Mccourt, the owner of the Dodgers is attempting to duplicate this exact event in LA. I hope the people out there take to it the same way the North East has taken to the Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox.
I don’t think you can overstate the impact this franchise has had on the community since Mr Henry, Mr Werner and Mr Lucchino have taken over control of the team.
As for me, well I am not sure how to explain it, or if I can. I’ve made three starts since coming back and the only win we have, and I have, was in the game I pitched the worst.
I am nowhere near as consistent as I can be, or should be, and I continue to change as much as I can to adjust to the new stuff I have, or don’t have. I’ve watched a lot of pitchers over the last 20 years dominate this game with 88 mph fastballs and good off speed stuff. My main point of concern has been getting hurt by missing location. The first game my split was as horrendous as it has ever been, but I located my fastball decently.
In Baltimore, for what I think was the first time in my career I assessed what I had, realized I wasn’t going to throw it by people and set about using a game plan that had them hitting what we wanted them to. For the most part it worked. I didn’t have anything special stuff or command wise but we executed pretty well all day long.
This last start was different than both the previous two. I’d had enough of getting hurt with my split, the inability to make it do anything consistently had reached a point where I said screw it and completely changed the grip and delivery. As one might expect given the last year and a half it worked pretty much every pitch I used it. It had down action and good movement pretty much all game long. But for the second straight game against Anaheim I made a crucial mistake at the worst possible moment and was beaten by one of the guys in the lineup you don’t expect to beat you with the long ball.
After the insanely abnormal first inning that saw them get a run because the bat and ball decided to travel in the same place, I let the second inning get away from me after being one pitch from keeping it a 1-0 game. The split the Willits grounded up the middle was exactly where I wanted it. Unfortunately at this level you can make what people think are ‘great pitches’ or ‘execute perfectly’ and you are still going to get beat.
I don’t know what to say about Vlad’s HR but it’s a great example. More than one person remarked that the pitch was a ‘great pitch’, but it wasn’t. I had hung a split earlier in the AB and he pulled it for a monstrous foul ball. I went back to it because I knew I could throw the next one better in all aspects. I did, but I wanted it to bounce, it didn’t and even though it was 6-8 inches off the ground he’s one of the few hitters on this planet that can change the score on a pitch like that. The other guy, to me anyway, is Soriano (who did just that on pretty much the same pitch in the 8th inning of game 7 of the 2001 World Series).
When all was said and done the boys came through in a huge way and we ended up with a win and at worst, a split, of the series.
The series did end in a split because Saunders pitched his tail off today. In the past few weeks I think we’ve seen four of the top 7-10 young pitchers in all of baseball in Eric Bedard, Scott Kazmir, Jason Shields and Joe Saunders. After seeing Bedard this spring I was under the impression that this was the year he’d stop flying under the radar but I didn’t expect him to be this dominant this fast. His numbers are staggering, even more so when you consider he’s doing it in one of the most offensive oriented divisions in the game.
Saunders impressed me immensely in the fact that it looked to me like his second start against us he used some stuff he learned from the first game in Anaheim, applied it, and dominated. He was hitting 93-94 pretty consistently today and commanding his fast ball to both sides of the plate.
Kazmir continues to pitch well against us and looks like he’s a little sharper every time I see him. I thought Shields was a stud last year. I hadn’t heard of him until I saw him in person but the fastball change up mix he uses is pretty lethal when he has command. Seems to me that TB is set up nicely for the next few years if they can get some guys to surround those two and a consistent pen behind them to not have to ask too much too soon of either of them.
We are now off on our longest road trip of the season that will see us close out with 3 games in NY. The race is now too close to say any series is do or die or any game is more important than any other. At this point in the season if you can’t play every out, inning and game like it’s your last you are headed for early October tee times.