Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rays-Sox, Game 2


Definitely a game of inches - if Dioner Navarro gets his glove an inch higher on Wheeler's wild pitch or throws to the plate an inch to the left, the game never hits extra innings. If the Rays land any of those screamers down the line on the fair side of things, the game doesn't make it to the 11th. And in the end, Fernando Perez does exactly what they have him on the roster to do, which is run like hell at every opportunity, and zip home just ahead of a slightly off-target JD Drew throw.

Of course, being a Phillies fan, I'll take every opportunity to say the words "JD Drew" and "off-target" I can, but that's neither here nor there. A perfect throw might have nailed Perez, but damn, he can fly. I watched him all summer in Durham (Note: Mandatory mention of the fact that he's a Columbia grad here*) and while he's got the Juan Pierre slappy thing down cold, he's also got a bit of pop, and a better sense of when to run. I don't think he'll ever be a star, but he's certainly fun to watch.

Other thoughts:

Timlin? Done. Yeah, he got jobbed on one call, but that wasn't the only call that was missed all night, not by a long shot. Conversely, the first base umpiring was pretty damn good on some very tough plays.

Cowbells? Annoying. Hilda Chester did it better sixty years ago.

I'm mildly surprised that they don't play "Baby Got Back" when JP Howell goes into his windup. Pitchers generally don't display their badonkadonk quite so...prominently

I'd like to thank whoever stopped running the Frank Caliendo commercials. I have to confess, I don't even know who the guy is supposed to be impersonating half the time. I remember Rich Little, and you, Frank Caliendo, are no Rich Little.

The announcers came *this* close to calling out BJ Upton for jaking it on Coco Crisp's second double of the night, probably reserving the full-blown pronouncement for post-game analysis if the gaffe had cost Tampa Bay the game. It looked like Upton, who plays a very shallow center field, misjudged the ball's carry off the bat, and wound up a couple of steps short of catching it on the edge of the warning track. Now, I've seen Upton turn it off and on for years, but he was definitely "on" tonight. Chalk that one up to a bad read, not a lack of effort.

3 innings plus for Dan Wheeler? Wow. This says that either Wheeler's a lot more rubber-armed than most of us think, or that Joe Maddon is willing to use someone else to close in Game 3. Even with extra time off, that's a lot more than Wheeler's used to throwing at one shot, and I wouldn't bank on him being terribly effective for Game 3.

David Price looked sharp once he got over his first-batter jitters. This series may be his Joba-like introduction to the national stage.

And for the record, damn, that was a long game. 13 stranded runners for the Red Sox, 13 know, the Phillies and Dodgers didn't take nearly this long to have their slugfest.
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