Saturday, October 6, 2007

ALDS Game 2: Man oh Manny

It was a matter of time. You keep walking David Ortiz, and Manny is going to burn you. Manny Ramirez is what ballplayers call a "Christmas Day Hitter"; he can get into the batter's box on Christmas Day and hit. The strained oblique muscle that took him out of action for the end of August and most of September appears to have cleared up, and the timing of his recovery has punished the Southern California Angels.

Let's talk about the pitching, Daisuke Matsuzaka specifically. He's got a bulldog's tenacity, a la Orel Hershiser. What he doesn't appear to have is Hershiser's control. When he's on, he pounds the strike zone with all his pitches. Otherwise, he's a "power nibbler", as the broadcasting team said last night. If you can't demonstrate mastery of the strike zone, umpires won't give you the corners. Josh Beckett is the perfect example. He was able to stretch the zone in game 1 because he showed that he was locating his pitches. Dice-K fought hard, but he was doing a hire wire act through his entire appearance, and he's shown a lot of that. In a critical situation against a better lineup (read: Cleveland), I'm a little concerned.

Then there's the bullpen. 4 1/3 innings last night. No runs, no hits, 4 K's. That's a shutdown performance, and the way Francona spread out the workload means that nobody's unavailable Sunday in Game 3. Curt Schilling vs. Jered Weaver. 3pm Eastern.


Anonymous said...

Go SOX!!

Micheline said...

You write very well.