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Home » May 2009 Game CommentsMay 2009 » Bardic


Game 34: May 13, 2009
Red Sox4
L: Tim Wakefield (4-2)
21-13, 1 game losing streak
W: Matt Palmer (4-0)
17-15, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: I thought for sure I'd find higher hits for Matt Palmer than the baseball player. There's this computer whiz Matt Palmer, this artist/photographer Matt Palmer, and this musician/composer Matt Palmer. They are all lower in the results than the baseball player Palmer, who emerged from season after season of AAA obscurity to win after win in the bigs. Who is this man?

These Matt Palmers should come clean. They are all the same guy. While the Angels hitters were pummeling Tim Wakefield, Palmer was at his laptop designing an odd t-shirt. As Hunter Jones struggled, he changed it up and brainstormed revolutionary ways to use SheevaPlug. After he finished his nine innings, he cooled down at his Korg for an impromptu jam session. And you thought going toe-to-toe with C.C. Sabathia was impressive.

No one can really go toe-to-toe with the portly pitcher unless they are concave.

Torii Hunter had the sound bite of the evening. When asked about his approach to knuckleballers, the center fielder said, “You don’t need no batting practice, you don’t need no tee. Just come in here naked, ready to go.” Hard to dispute someone who is .390 BA, .432 OBP, .707 slugging with 3 home runs against Wakefield. Make that four, as of the fourth inning.

Jason Bay’s two-run home run in the first inning and Nick Green’s RBI double in the second were the only extra base hits by the visitors in the game. They would have been the sole providers of highlights for Red Sox fans were it not for Daniel Bard’s major league debut.

The game was still in reach at 7-4, so passing the ball from Hunter Jones to Bard was not merely a mop-up situation. Jones left the mound with runners at second and third and no outs in the bottom of the sixth. This is classified as a high leverage situation by the authors of The Book. How would Bard, who has some lingering questions about his makeup because of his erratic minor league career, stand up to the challenge?

Fairly well, given the circumstances. He struck out Mike Napoli on three fastballs, allowed a sacrifice fly off the bat of Juan Rivera, and induced a ground out by Howie Kendrick with a curveball. The scouting reports were right: Bard pitches in the high-90s with an easy movement. While other relievers look as if their arms will come flying out of their sockets along with the ball (Francisco Rodriguez), Bard seemed to be playing catch with George Kottaras as he hurled 98 MPH heat.

It’s too bad Dennis Eckersley wasn’t on the road trip. I can only imagine the words he would use to describe his impressions of the young pitcher. Educated cheese, indeed.

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