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Home » May 2009 Game CommentsMay 2009 » Striking


Game 26: May 4, 2009
WinRed Sox6
W: Jon Lester (2-2)
H: Ramon Ramirez (4)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (7)
16-10, 1 game winning streak
L: Phil Hughes (1-1)
13-12, 2 game losing streak
Highlights: Yankee fans longed for the good old days. Back on April 18, 1923, the day the original Yankee Stadium opened, the Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1. In fact, New York club swept the four-game series and went on to win the World Series. The times, they are a-changin’.

Dennis Eckersley has found his new calling. As a color analyst he offers a distinct perspective: that of a Hall of Fame pitcher. As much as I appreciate Jerry Remy’s contributions in the booth, he approaches the game as a workaday ball player while Eckersley brings an elite player’s point of view.

Eckersley comes from much the same era as Remy, an era where there was no interleague play, no 24-hour media coverage, no exorbitant salaries. If you played in the American League, guys in the other league were like aliens existing in an alternate reality. Pitchers played the same game and were on the same teams as hitters, but they were their own species.

Eckersley is such a creature. I don’t doubt he respects the Red Sox organization, perhaps even loves it. But this affection didn’t stop him from marveling over, perhaps almost cheering for, Phil Hughes.

Who can blame him? Hughes is the Yankees’ premiere pitching prospect. His arsenal is varied and advanced for a pitcher, period, let alone a 22-year old hurler. He added a cutter to his repertoire, and Ecklersley noted that Hughes loved it so much that he overused that approach against lefties.

In the first Dustin Pedroia stood at first base thanks to a free pass. Although David Ortiz didn’t break his home run slump, he shot a double into the right field corner to advance Pedroia to third. The Red Sox second baseman notched the first run of the series by scoring on a passed ball.

Ortiz walked in the to lead off the third inning and had the chance to see more of Hughes’s offerings. By the time the fourth inning came around Boston’s designated hitter had taken a complete inventory of the opposing pitcher. The first pitch Ortiz saw ended up in the same area as his previous double, and this time a runner was in scoring position.

In fact, Hughes was lucky that the runner, Jacoby Ellsbury, had hit a ball into the stands on a bounce. Had the ball stayed in play, the Red Sox’s first appearance would not only be remembered for a solid outing by Jon Lester but also for an inside-the-park homer.

Lester’s 10 strikeouts were marred by a fifth-inning power surge by Mark Teixeira and Johnny Damon. The pair launched consecutive homers to right field to pull their team within a run. Hitting home runs to right in the new Yankee Stadium is like making fun of Alex Rodriguez: too easy.

Dave Roberts got geek points in the seventh. He said J.D. Drew “tried to do a little Matrix there” in avoiding a pitch. With Drew on base Jason Bay increased his asking price to a number that I hope John W. Henry will seriously consider offering. Bay’s career may not compare to Manny Ramirez’s, but in re-signing him the Red Sox will have him at his peak.

Some great Eck quotes:

Regarding the Amica strike zone: If it’s in that box I gotta have it.

After the Yankees’ back-to-back homers: Two baboombas and you’re like where did this come from?

Another observation about the Amica pitch zone: I don’t think I could throw a strike in this zone.

Eck to Roberts about what the hitter notices in the batter’s box: Can you feel that catcher setting up inside? Can you smell him?


Are you nuts, with all due respect to Eck., he can not hold a candle to Jerry Remy as a color man. Last nights game against the Yankee's was like being at a funeral. I thought Eck left after the 6th inning. Jerry, please hurry back, the game is horrible w/o you. I will listen to the radio while watching games until Remy comes back. Maybe with time Eck could do the job, but so far the games are terrible w/o Remy.

I didn't hear the second game that Eck did (more on that in my upcoming game post).

I just heard that Jerry Remy is on indefinite leave as he is recovering from cancer surgery. All my best wishes to him and his family.

I like both Eck and Remy, but what I liked to hear from Eck is his pitcher's perspective. I'm not going to say Eck's opinion is worth more because he is a Hall of Famer (see Morgan, Joe), but the observations of an elite player differ from a regular player like Jerry. It was a nice change of pace for me.

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