Dice-K’s mediocre Saturday start…and this week’s readings

June 18th, 2007 → 12:16 pm @ // No Comments

Quick thoughts on this weekend’s Giants series, of which I attended games two and three:

* Saturday was most definitely not Dice-K’s best game of the season; it was, however, an illustration of one of my favorite themes: the need to consider process vs. results. At points he had trouble locating his curve; he went to three balls a number of times; and only threw seven frames of zeros because of a gift-wrapped strike zone. The sixth inning, in particular, was a classic example of what we’ve seen when Matsuzaka struggles: with Bonds up third, he walked a batter and gave up a hard single before K-ing Barry. Another hard hit liner by one of the Flying Molina Brothers was, fortunately, aimed directly at short. After that gift, Dice-K hit Nate Schierholtz — who has now amassed a total of 41 big league at bats — loading the bases. He then proceeded to walk in a run in a 1-0 game…or would have, anyway, if home plate umpire Charlie Reliford had had his eyes checked before the game. That’s not to say I didn’t like what I saw…but this game might have been a blowout had the Sox been playing an AL team.

* Terry Francona finally seems to have realized that you never want to pitch Mike Timlin in any game in which the Sox are winning or losing by less than five runs. (I pray I’m right on this one…)

* Manny’s two home runs were great to see, but even better was the authority with which he was swinging the bat. He was back to the showing off perhaps the most beautiful swing in the game. Historically, when he finds that swing, he doesn’t lose it for a while. Ortiz, on the other hand, still looks like he’s swinging from his heels too much, and he’s also beginning to look over anxious. Yesterday’s two ground-rule doubles were great, don’t get me wrong…but they weren’t the kind of majestic drives we’ve come to expect from Papi.
* JDD continues to miss badly on some pitches, but the balls he is hitting, he’s hit squarely and with authority. All season I’ve been a guy who’s preached patience with Drew; you don’t put up the kind of track record he does and suddenly forget how to play ball. Coco looks much more confident at the plate too, and he continues to play good-to-great center field. (Lugo is a whole other story; he looked desperate and confused.)

* Following Murray Chass’s logic, the fact that the Sox gained a game on the Yankees this weekend means they’ll end the season 35 games up. That, of course, won’t happen. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to think Boston’s lead will stay within the 5-9 game range through September, but it’s also not out of the realm of possibility to think it’s going to get much tighter down the line. Both of these teams are good. New York’s not half as bad as they were playing in May, and Boston’s not the historically great outfit their record indicated. If both teams stay healthy, it’s going to be an interesting — and hopefully fun — summer.


Want to hear me talk about all of this, and more? (And whatever else you want to know?) This is your lucky week: I have a series of readings/signings/q&a’s in Boston this week: tomorrow night (at the Boston Public Library, 6pm), Wednesday lunch hour (12:30, downtown Borders), Thursday night (Winchester’s Bookends, 7 pm), and Friday night (Porter Square Books, 7 pm). Don’t miss out.

Post Categories: Daisuke Matsuzaka & J.D. Drew & Manny Ramirez & Mike Timlin & Oblique references to the Byrds & Yankees

7 Comments → “Dice-K’s mediocre Saturday start…and this week’s readings”

  1. kinshane

    17 years ago

    Mnookster, you’re crazy. No way the Chokees keep playing this kind of ball. I reckon we’ll be ~13 games up come All Star Break time, and the Stankees will go on another spending spree to pick up old folks past their prime, to get within 8 games in September. I’m not saying it will be a walk, but the Spankees happened to hit their high point when the Sox hit their low point in the season.


  2. Bill Pratt

    17 years ago

    “Coco looks much more confident at the plate too”

    Would this be more or less confident than Wily Mo Pena catching a tailing fly ball about to hand cuff him in the 9th inning of a tie game on the road with the bases loaded, two outs, and a full count when he has already struck out three times AND was picked off first base for the third out in the top of the ninth after getting hit by a pitch.

    We must not be watching the same Coco at bats. Watch the next game more closely as he moves BOTH his head and shoulders over the top of the ball while it goes into the catcher’s mitt on boderline pitches. It is as if he is desperate for watching called balls and hoping to just get walked. The complete opposite of a batter with confidence. Unless of course perfectly executing a failed bunt to try and get any kind of a hit is the stuff of a batter with confidence.


  3. CBaker

    17 years ago

    “* Terry Francona finally seems to have realized that you never want to pitch Mike Timlin in any game in which the Sox are winning or losing by less than five runs…”

    Thank you for finally pointing this out. I thought for a while there that I was the only one who cringed when Timlin took the mound.

    Every time he pitches, it seems like he’s throwing BP. Batters seem to get a hold of nearly every pitch and hit it hard. Some times it’s a hit, and some times, if Timlin’s lucky, it’s right at someone (or at least within their range). If he’s even more lucky, the batter misses the ball.

    He’s not healthy, and he isn’t going to get healthy. Why? Because it’s not tendonitis. He’s just getting old.

    I hope I’m wrong.


  4. tinisoli

    17 years ago

    Re: Coco…
    Lots of hitters have funny ways of watching the ball go by. Derek Jeter thrusts his ass backwards and straightens his knees on every other pitch, and it’s not because he doesn’t know where the ball is going.
    If Coco plays stellar CF, steals 35-40 bags, hits .260, and scores a lot, I think we should be satisfied.


  5. tinisoli

    17 years ago

    …And hey, he’s got two homers tonight.


  6. Bill Pratt

    17 years ago

    Is it possible to take credit for traveling the high road and not making a crass remark about someone spending too much time watching Derek Jeter’s ass if you actually mention it?

    There is no contest when getting into the numbers of Coco vs Jeter, not even fair. Bottom line is that the confidence level between these two players own ability while at bat is like night vs. day. As for the 2 home runs last night… that’s just the blog baseball gods giving me a smack down for being negative. You know, make a negative comment that is true then have the individual perform that night with a career box score AND have your team lose. (really holding back – must not – insert comment – on Timlin – phew!).

    Therefore, on a positive note….. Coco’s confidence must be up after the dingers. So lets hope it lasts longer than it does not and he comes close to the numbers you suggest on the way to helping the team win the division.

    That Wily Mo sure can run fast after the ball in the outfield!



    17 years ago

    Seth, you criticized this year’s signing of Timlin from the outset, and you’ve been proven totally right. I thought it was an OK sign because it was relatively cheap and ‘the more the merrier’. But I’ve gotten a bit of an education this year on some of the roster rules. If J. C. Romero hadn’t posted such bad numbers the Sox would have had a difficult decision there. It certainly looks like Timlin is just about done. Quite a career, though. He was with the first Canadian team to win the Series and the first Sox team to win it in 86.

    Interesting take on Dice-K’s performance Saturday. I agree that strike three call was a bit generous but I’ve seen pitches in that location called strikes before. I think the Giants biggest beef was that a virtually identical pitch had been called a ball on the same at-bat.


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