Sunday, June 11, 2017

Parrotheads - at Indians (L 3-7, W 5-3 , L 2-4)

                If you’re an Indians fan who went to the game Friday night, kudos to you.  It might be a lost series and it’s probably more enjoyable to see good baseball than a game where your team gets eliminated, but they showed up Friday and deserve a lot of credit.
                In any right, the Tribe were bound to win that game, right? Cleveland sports misery to seeming to be a thing of the past, they couldn’t risk the chance of a loss that night to go with the possible soul crushing defeat of a Final sweep for the Cavs. (My own biased opinion says the Warriors got a frozen envelope to make the Series go 5, but you’re not here for my basketball thoughts).
                Worst part of Friday (we did have fight in us) was Miguel, which is unfortunate for how high on him I was at the start of the year. Little less than five innings of work and two leads given up for our most reliable pitcher at the start of the season. I also sort of wonder if having Petricka pitch for the first time in a while was the right call there- good for a pressure game situation to get him reacclimated, bad for a game we’d like to have where a one run lead gets squandered. Decent hitting and a little better with runners in scoring position, but the outcome not in our favor.
                (I also love the odd modern-day scenario of a game ending on a challenge. Doesn’t happen often but is the most needlessly tense rare situation in baseball today. Goose Gossage would’ve torched the field if he stayed the duration of this one.)
                Next game, much better with runners in scoring position, different outcome this time. I love a home run out of the nurture over nature side of growing up a Sox fan, but there’s something beautiful about runs off of consecutive base hits that I’ve grown to like even more, especially with this lineup. Four early runs all on singles, an insurance run late on a sac fly. Solid night for Holmberg (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that Encarnacion homer, he was roping pitches all series), not so solid night for the bullpen. Kudos to Robertson for nailing the tough two inning save- that curve was a thing of beauty.
                Frustrating to see “just good enough” Q not get the win this time around. Sort of saw the writing on the wall when no runs crossed the plate for us until the sixth. It was good to see a competitive series- all the games felt close- but this one would’ve been a really good one for Q to get to turn things around a little bit more. Thought it’d be a little uglier after nine games on the road, and braced myself for a lost series, so I’m just glad we hung around. Mean time, this road trip is ov-ahh.
                Some quick hits:

-          Encarnacion, good Lord. That foul ball in the rubber game was an inhumanely far distance away. Run out fly balls, hustle, yadda yadda… but, maybe you’re a little exempt if home plate to landing spot off your bat doubles as a cross country course.

-          I think I brought it up in the Red Sox blog, but after a really solid series I hope Rick’s on the phone with them about Frazier. Not out of “I think we’d get a good return”, but it’s the place I see as the best fit for him. Those balls that fall five feet short at Comiskey will be in a better place with the Monster to left and the short porch to right.

-          Draft this week, who you guys got for the Sox pick?

Salt! Salt! Salt!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Devil At My Heels - at Rays (W 4-2, L 1-3, L 5-7)

                I could get used to “good enough for the team to eventually win” Quintana. Lights out Quintana usually means little run support and a loss/no decision (see also: good enough for the team to eventually win Quintana), and bad Quintana usually means he’s mentally spent from the former. A win like that, being slightly better than Archer (at least outcome-wise), can really help his trade value, but at this point I think that’s a little bit trickier.

                At this point, I’m starting to think holding onto Quintana for at least this year may be the better move. I think much of the to do in regards to him struggling at times is partly due to his position on the trading block- even when making millions, knowing you might lose your job soon alters your performance no matter what. It might be more the hometown bias talking, but I don’t think there’s much value in keeping our number one starter on the string until the trade deadline and having that weighing on him for the next two months. Let him be a reliable starter the rest of this year, give him the peace of mind to do so, and check back on our options come the offseason. We have no idea which Shields and Rodon we’re getting when they get back from injury, let’s save Q for our safety net.

                The other two games, just flat. Pelfrey’s back luck streak continues with just three hits of support, welcome to the show Jacob Faria.  Holland fell flat, we can’t bring runners in, we drop the rubber game. That A.L. East, man. Something else this year. As much as I want Cleveland to be different, I think we’re gonna wind up treading water until the home stand at the end of the month. Even at home, Baltimore will be a tough series, and Cleveland and Minnesota will be tough tests when we’re road ragged. Will be a good gauger, but I’d add another loop to the already circled Buehrle game on your calendar. 

  When you leave the game and your team hits the go ahead home run before you get the ice pack on

Friday, June 2, 2017

Mismatching Soxs - vs. Red Sox (W 5-4, L 13-7, L 4-1)

I like going to a full series if I’m able to- aside from the traditional scheduling, it is interesting to follow lineup changes, adjustment to different pitchers, and subtle changes as the teams get more familiar with each other. If I’m doing it, I usually prefer a non-divisional opponent, as that unfamiliarity makes the games more fun and the adjustments more obvious to my non-athlete blogger eye. Family picked up tickets for Memorial Day, friends got group tickets for the Wednesday, and I figured why not round it out even before Sale’s start was announced. For the site’s sake, as well, I also wanted to break up the monotony of the post-series recaps (didn’t do one for the Tigers series, so here goes: sometimes we were the below average team, but more times they were the below average team), so here’s a live-ish blog I kept-ish during the series. Here goes:

                Game 1

-        Bad omen to kick this one off: ticket scanners down. Not quite the Opening Day fiasco last year, but not ideal for the Memorial Day game.  Print out a backup even if it’s mobile entry, kids.

-   Sunglass giveaways, but thirteen and under.  Not in the market for cheap giveaway sunglasses, but I can’t help but think of the guy who now has the job of telling grown adults that they can’t have sunglasses.

-          Lot of military honors in a great pregame ceremony. Not a lot of them going right into the next. Good little cardio workout going between sitting and standing for a good fifteen minutes.

-          That Jose Abreu put out slide. Yikes. Holmberg obviously a little slow to the bag, but that was a dangerous way to get just one out. Always sucks when a dumb mistake ends in the other team getting injured needlessly, and losing Pedey for the series was a huge bummer. I’ve brought up Abreu’s defense plenty and the sentiment holds here.

-          Next play brings in a run: Abreu slides going backwards and has his back to home plate as Betts tags up. Sort of wonder if the better move would have been letting it drop, though any chance to move through the front half of the Red Sox lineup is probably the better move. 1-0 Red Sox.

-      Providence boy Sam Travis back to Chicago in a cool hometown debut. Saw him play there, at Indiana, and now in the big leagues. Had to ask a group of guys in Celtics apparel if they were there when he was- one said that he was and that he had a higher average than him his senior year. Didn’t want to say that .541 would be pretty hard to top, but I’ll wait until his name gets called at the draft to lock in that opinion.

-          It’s awesome when Tim Anderson playing stellar defense. It’s awesome when, all logic of a leadoff hitter be damned, he’s hitting home runs. But there’s no better look for good ol’ TA than throwing his bat back towards the dugout and taking first on a walk. I have weird bucket lists for things, but seeing that happen has to be the weirdest one I’ve crossed off in a while.

-     I’ll likely make a case for Saladino as well when he gets back from the DL. I’ve also already called him a Moncada placeholder on r/whitesox. But Sanchez’s play this year has me a little more convinced on seeing where he’d fit in for the rebuild. The big assumption is that we and no one else in the league consider him to be an everyday player, and his options are pretty limited for where he’d play in the infield (second and short are locked down and I think third’s a bit of a stretch for him). He is, though, turning into the crafty utility guy we’ve wanted him to be, and there could very well be a place for speed on the bags and a timely pinch hit going forward that he could fill. Setting the table for the comeback seventh has me convinced he can play that role well.

-          Live by the long ball, die by the long ball. Melky basically single handedly won this game for us, between the early home run and the go ahead in the seventh. Even if they don’t play a role in this big picture rebuild, it’s great to have vets around for moments like that.

-      Stressful bottom of the ninth- not because of the save situation, but because of the Rock Island train I had to catch to make a cookout. If I’m committing to going to every game in a series, might as well to commit to making sure I stay for the entirety of the games. Couldn’t afford extra innings in this case, and luckily that didn’t happen. Sox take game 1.

Game 2

-      Scene around the Red Sox bullpen already a mob scene when we go check it out a half hour before game time to watch Sale warm up. Only one person throwing shade and making a cut-up jersey joke. Was wearing a “jersey demolished” shirt so you have that to look forward to for a third-rate blog like this in twenty years.

-      They also had a kids walk around the field thing before the game that went into Sale’s warm up. Completely coincidental, but probably a little bit “Don’t like promotions huh? How about we do the only one possible that would affect your particular game prep?”.  Also, the stragglers from the walk the park crew who Chris Sale politely went around to get to and from bullpen didn’t really act like it was Chris Sale who was politely going around them to get to and from the bullpen.

-       Got upgraded seats, going from the upper deck behind home plate to about a dozen rows back down first base line. (For legality sake, let’s say it was through the Ballpark App…) Was basically a sea of red with a few Palehose shirts mixed here and there. Ironically, watching Boston play seemed exactly like being in Red Sox fan directed Argo.

-       The true story of the night was the Red Sox fans in front of us. Buddy and I cheered the Betts leadoff K for whoever won that Plinko promo- basically thing lands on a player, if they strikeout the whole row gets a t shirt or a Beggar’s slice that’s still frozen solid or whatever. Couple goes on the offensive right away- all good fun before the fight threats start. I’ve heard Fenway tales past of security guards breaking up a fight then making them bro hug it out after as punishment- that particular one ended in peace and cheers from the crowd, but I don’t want to find out if that’d work here as well.

-          All three Sox outs in the first go down via strikeouts. I, uh, don’t think this is just another game for Sale.

-          More trouble in the 2nd- Red Sox take a big four run league, White Sox cut it down to one right away. We’re cheering but keeping it to ourselves as the threats spread to the section over. I’m used to the east coast swagger but the Doomsday Clock’s pretty close to midnight now.

-       Speaking of close to midnight, that’s where this game’s headed: 90 minutes in and we’re barely through two. I’ve grown a beard that goes down to my knees and my buddy has to head to the concourse after a family member submits a missing persons report.

-        Unrelated to the game but “beer colder than my ex-wife on a winter morning” vendor is the best employee in the White Sox organization.

-     Guy next to threat lady gets a little uncomfortable. Counting on him to have my back despite being her allegiance team wise.

-     Deven Marrero, batting below the Mendoza and first name spelled wrong on his birth certificate, hits his second home run of the night. Red Sox take a four run lead. Doomsday Girl periscopes our misery, not knowing you can’t hurt what’s been dead inside for years.

-       HOT TODDY!!! Things officially interesting now. We’re also approaching the two hour mark on this game, even if we lose Major League Baseball may strip the record of this game to say they don’t have a pace of the game problem.

-        I bring up Jerry Remy to the fans in front of us. This was their password as it turns out and the hands on the Doomsday clock move away from midnight.

-        JBJ hits a three run shot, and I’m not sure how much firepower we have left in us. We look up what the longest nine inning game in MLB history was. I’d say we were rooting for history at this point to tell our kids, but they’ve actually been born and raised at the ballpark during this game. (4 and a half hours in Colorado, if you were curious)

-          Lot of fans taking off due to the time, lot of upgrades for those sticking around. That app’s really working hard tonight.

-         Bogaerts homers to put the game out of reach. My grandkids call wondering why I don’t spend enough time with them.

-          Moreland homers to put it way out of reach. My buddy takes off. I definitely debate going as well, but climate change has run its course by now and everything around the ballpark is underwater.

-          Anderson pops up to end it. Game manages to become official just before the end of days. Even series.

Game 3

-          Buddy from last night and a couple others go as a group to this one. It has been fifty years between the starts of these games and it was an emotional reunion.

-          Between the visiting Boston fans and the sad/odd new trend of Cubs apparel at White Sox games, it was a big series for non-White Sox team apparel. Oddest one of the three days: Calgary Flames home t shirt.

-          Bleacher seats, no moving needed. All is right with the world.

-          Pomeranz and Pelfrey: the pitching duel we all saw coming going into the series.

-       There’s no bigger pro to poor attendance than the big dice roll game coming to an abrupt end for a section that doesn’t have people in the first few rows. Take or leave moving to better seats and short lines for everything, I can deal with the first stage tanking if it means a full season of row 5 trying to heave a giant die onto the field with all the strength they can muster.

-      Much better pace than the night before. The eternal struggle of the pace of game debate: you can have high scoring and a longer game, or low scoring and a better game. Usually can’t have both.

-    Sandoval unrecognizable from far away in his first start back. Stephen King probably intervened for the sake of his team and sent that gypsy from “Thinner” to his house. Gives the Red Sox the lead in the sixth.

-       Clutch two out double from Vazquez gives Boston a lot of breathing room. That bullpen we had was fun for a month.

-      Craig Kimbrel. Christ on a bike. We send out Narvaez in the hopes of any left handed batter getting us through. Can see strike three from the right field bleachers. We lose the series.

Wish we could’ve hung around more against a good team. Central opponents on the road trip should even that out I hope. 

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3