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Home » September 2008 Game CommentsSeptember 2008 » Mathematical


Game 158: September 24, 2008
Indians 4 L: Rafael Perez (4-4) 79-79, 2 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 5 W: David Aardsma (4-2)
S: Manny Delcarmen (2)
93-65, 2 game winning streak
Highlights: J.D. Drew returned to action for the first time since August 17. He went 1-for-2; he grounded into a fielder’s choice and led off the third with an infield single. The epidural did its work as the left fielder looked sharp at the plate and smooth running the bases.

Before the game I was talking to a friend who was worried that Paul Byrd was facing his former teammates. Familiarity breeds contempt, and possibly also insight into how best to hit Byrd’s predictable offerings.

I wasn’t as concerned. I pointed out that he didn’t hear that he was tipping his pitches from guys in his clubhouse or even from an Indians coach but rather from someone from an opposing team.

The lack of data about on one’s own players stunned me. I recall that Jerry Remy mentioned that the Rays have a staff member who scouts their own team. This scout observes the team as a competitor would and points out Tampa Bay players’ weaknesses and proclivities. I wonder if it something so simple as a specialized scout that has made the difference between a struggling team rife with talent to a playoff club poised to win a championship.

Dustin Pedroia started the the Red Sox hit parade early; his one-out double clanged off the left field wall and sparked an inning that would yield four runs and have the team bat around the order. Fausto Carmona has not yet recovered from Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS. The very sight of J.D. Drew in the on-deck circle had him pitching erratically to Kevin Youkilis; just four of five pitches to the corner infielder were strikes.

Unlike Joba Chamberlain, he can handle bugs. It’s just Boston batters and the unceasing green of Fenway Park that perturbs him.

Former first overall pick from 2002 Bryan Bullington came into the game with little expectations; he was only picked by the Pirates ahead of the likes of Prince Fielder, Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, and B.J. Upton because he wouldn’t demand a huge bonus.

With something to prove, Bullington hurled a remarkable five innings of shutout ball while striking out six and allowing just two hits. Meanwhile Cleveland plucked away at Byrd’s lead. When the fifth inning opened, Cleveland smacked three consecutive singles, capped by Victor Martinez’s game-tying rope to center. With two men on and none out, the disappointing Travis Hafner grounded into a double play and the streaky Ben Francisco grounded out to third.

The Red Sox had no response until the bottom of the eighth. Jeff Bailey eluded Grady Sizemore’s Gold Glove in center to triple with one out. Mark Kotsay followed up with a double down the right field line for what would be the game-winning score.

With Mike Lowell still out and Drew getting limited at bats, it was heartening to see the role players make a mark on the season. Although it is a longshot, the division title is not a mathematical impossibility, and Tampa Bay did lose to Detroit today....

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