Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wishing Upon a Star Pitcher; Sox Really Win 5-1

One of the White Sox announcers- since they're so obnoxious I won't do them the honor of distinguishing them- said, after the Red Sox broke the game open in the 9th, that this game had "turned into one of those nights you wish hadn't happened."

That's false, of course, if the second person pronoun is referring to me. But I wasn't about to let this instance of moral relativism or grammatical ambiguity vanquish the joy of this aesthetically pleasing victory.

Monday's finale of the 4 game series with Chicago had a purity, a good ol' solid baseball game-ness to it. One pitcher- Danks- took a no-hitter into the 7th, expertly moving his fastball in and out, working his slider in on righties, and keeping the changeup away. The other- Beckett- dotted fastballs around the corners of the strike zone without filling in the area, striking out 8 in 8 innings, walking none, and allowing just one extra base hit (a double.) Lest such a game be too picturesque, butts played a key role; Ellsbury's getting hit by a pitch on the butt broke up a perfect game in the top of the 6th, and Crisp fell on his whilst snagging a potential RBI double to end the bottom-pun is there, whether intended or not is immaterial- of the 6th, holding the Sox deficit at just 1-0.

Close, well pitched games tend to turn on a single sequence; after a cutter down and away that Drew missed, the next pitch was a fastball in the same spot, and Drew shot it into the gap in leftcenter for a 2 run double, putting the Sox up 2-1 in the 7th. There's often a point in aesthetically pleasing games where the competitive element creeps back in and this was it; the appreciation of an opponents' game, even while we're losing, is broken by the 'fuck yeah' of a 2 run go ahead double. This tends not to happen in art museums, and is just another reason why baseball is better than everything. Take that, art.

Part of baseball's betterness involves the contingency and luck, the element of absent design that must be admitted on pain of reality. Up 2-1 in the 8th, Cabrera's liner couldn't have been closer to the left field foul line, just missing a lead off double which would have put the tying run into scoring position. Instead, he flew out to left. The kind of thing that one- one- might wish never happened. But one- me- doesn't.

And Jed Lowrie continued to show why the concept of Lugo should no longer be instantiated. With 2 out in the 7th, Drew on second and Lowrie down in the count 0-2, the kid calmly took a changeup away, the pitch (and location) that Danks had masterfully used for the bulk of his K's that evening. Lowrie took another, and then another, running the count full; Lowrie was able to flip the pressure from him to the pitcher, (can pressure be flipped?) who was now responsible to make the perfect pitch, rather than Lowrie having to hit whatever he got. Danks didn't, and Lowrie earned the walk. In his next AB in the 9th, Lowrie turned on an inside fastball on a 2-0 count, driving a 2 run double to left, turning a 2-1 nail biter into a 4-1 nail filer, breaking open the game, revealing it's juicy series-splitting insides.

This had turned into one of those nights you wish hadn't happened, I guess, if you are Julio Lugo. Which you are probably not. But if you are, well, sorry.


Barry said...

No Dank(s) nugs for Lugo. Take that, art!

Soxlosophy said...

yay, barry's back.

but i'm such an old square fuddy duddy, it took me a bit of staring at to get the joke.

Rooster said...

Don't you know Lugo would have grounded out with bases loaded in that situation? Way to go Lowrie!

Soxlosophy said...

definitely, rooster. though in this day and age we can't put too much stock in RBI, Lugo in 261 AB has only 22 rbi. Lowrie, in 114 AB, has 24 RBI.

And Lugo sports a .685 OPS, to Lowrie's .765