Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Moment of Silence

This Sunday morning, I'd like to begin the day with a moment of silence in honor of the passing away of former Red Sox catcher, John Marzano. John died at home in Philadelphia yesterday when he fell down the stairs after what appears to have been a sudden heart attack. John was 45 years old, and is survived by his wife, two daughters, and two grandchildren.

{Now a moment of silence for John Marzano, 1963-2008, RIP}

Boston has truly been an exciting place for sports fans recently. Red Sox made it to the World Series and won for the second time in 4 years, the Patriots made it to the Superbowl with an undefeated record, but lost a tough game to the Giants, the Bruins beat Montreal last night to force an amazing game 7 in the first round of the NHL playoffs, and the Celtics ended their regular season with the best record in the NBA and begin their playoff hunt tonight against Atlanta. The Bruins are surprising everyone, as they are trying to borrow a page from the come-back Red Sox playbook. Consider that they had not won a single game all season against the Canadiens (the Bruins' version of the Yankees), and were down 3 games to 1 in the best of 7 series. They have now won 2 in a row to even the series at 3 and forced the deciding game 7 on enemy ice. The Bruins have lost ALL 20 series in which they had trailed 3-1, including 2 in Montreal. Will they brush aside history and take an historic win like the 2004 Red Sox did against the Yankees in the ALCS? Tune in tomorrow night and see - should be exciting!

Oh yeah, the Red Sox. They just went and won their 3rd game in a row last night, beating Texas 5-3 behind the torrid bat of Manny Ramirez. The game was a close on all night, and the Sox were down 3-2 heading into the 8th inning and running out of time. But, as the Rangers are well aware, against this team the game is not over until that 27th out is recorded. Last night David Ortiz got into the fun as well. With one out in the 8th, Dustin Pedroia doubled and Ortiz ripped a hard grounder that was just out of the reach of second baseman Ian Kinsler. Pedroia came around to score, tying the game at three. Then Manny came to the plate and absolutely clobbered the second pitch he saw from Texas reliever, Joaquin Benoit, high over the green monster to put the Sox ahead 5-3. The ball was hit so hard, had it not struck the light pole, it looked like it would have landed on the Mass Pike. Manny now has 496 home runs. The way he is hitting, number 500 is only days away.

John Lester did not get the win last night, having left the game with one out in the 7th inning and throwing 106 pitches. He did not have a great night, but he pitched well enough to keep them in the game. What I have liked in these past two outings from Lester is that he just won't give up. He gets into trouble and looks very hittable, but whereas some pitchers just seem to fall apart, John never does. The more trouble he gets into, the harder he bears down and gets determined. He gave up 3 runs, but the runs came one at a time in each of the first three innings. In the third inning, it was looking bleak for Lester. With one out he gave up a single and a double, putting runners at the corners for the second time in two innings. But, rather than implode, he proceeded to strike out the next two batters to snuff out a potential momentum building rally. While it looked like Lester's night was nearly over, he battled all the way into the seventh inning, to put the Sox in position to win the game.

An interesting item of note for me last night was that Jacoby Ellsbury hit his FIRST double of the season. With his speed, I was shocked that it was only his first double.

So, how is our enemy from NY doing you ask? Not so good right now as the Yankees lost their 3rd straight game last night in a 6-0 loss to Baltimore, thanks in part to our old buddy Kevin Millar who contributed with a home run off of rookie pitcher Ian Kennedy. The Yankees' starting pitching has got to be worrying them. They clearly have been counting on their two rookies, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes, to help anchor the rotation, but neither one looks up to the task. Kennedy is 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA. In 2 of his 3 starts he was unable to get past the 3rd inning. Phil Hughes has not fared much better. In 4 starts, he is 0-3 with an 8.82 ERA and in 2 of the starts was gone by the start of the 4th inning. Mike Mussina is looking more and more like he is at the end of his career. He still has some nasty breaking pitches, but needs to truly re-invent himself to be effective. That leaves Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte, who have both done well so far. But, how far can you get with two effective starters?

On another cheerful Yankee note, MLB apparently read my post about Kyle Farnsworth trying to take off Manny's head Thursday night and has suspended Farnsworth for 3 games. Kyle is appealing the decision claiming that the ball slipped, which we all know is garbage. For MLB to decide to suspend Farnsworth, they must also feel pretty confident that there was intent. Farnsworth did not hit Manny, warnings were issued, and no further incident occurred. In that circumstance, it is unusual for MLB to hand down punishment. The fact that they did tells you what really happened.

New enemy, Joe Girardi, was also confused by the penalty and as far as I can tell, he just doesn't get it. He compared that incident to Friday night when the Orioles' Daniel Cabrera hit Hideki Matsui twice, once grazing his hand and the other hitting him in the thigh. Joe even indicated that Cabrera is often a bit wild and his ball rides away on him. Okay Joe, look...Cabrera was wild all night that night. The pitches that hit Matsui were low and riding the inside area of the plate. None of them were shoulder high. In contrast to that, Farnsworth was NOT wild at all Thursday night. He was precisely accurate for the whole outing, other than that one pitch, and that one pitch did not ride in on Manny and hit his hands or thigh - it made a direct line for his ear. Joe wake up.

I never dreamed I'd long for the days of Joe Torre.

(John Marzano photo courtesy of The Baseball Almanac)
(Red Sox photos courtesy of
Yahoo Sports)

No comments: