One of the worst elements of baseball is the constant matchup manipulation in the late innings with mediocre pitchers substituting for other mediocre pitchers to face mediocre hitters. This continuation of the LaRussa Doctrine, inspired by such 'great' relievers as Darold Knowles lives on. Meanwhile fans die of old age and new fans disappear with boredom. Or course, it often works, like tonight.
Instant replay in baseball may never come, but plays like tonight's drop of a double play ball deserves replay. "It destroys the flow of the game," the purity of the game. Not as much as the constant substitution of relief pitchers.
Jay Payton grouses because he's not getting enough face time, i.e. at bats. Payton's a valuable guy to have on a team, runs well, and has some pop. Granted he had 28 homers at Colorado in 2003, a feat that didn't even get him resigned at Coors. Reality Check absolutely wants every major league player to want everyday action. Payton's 162 game career projections are 17 homers, OPS .778. Johnny Damon's are 14, OPS .782, and Trot Nixon's are 24 homers .863. Does Payton think he's better than Damon or Nixon and deserve more P.T.? Puh-lease. Oh yeah, he pinch hits for Nixon and grounds into a DP. That may be the definition of irony.
Jason Varitek makes the plate block of a lifetime, stretching across his body to catch Manny Ramirez's throw on the short hop, backhanded, while blocking the plate with his backside leg. Incredible.
Edgar Renteria triples to lead off the eighth and gets stranded at third. What's the chance of that happening? I'd guess that the statistical chance of that happening is less than 10 percent. I can't find that data. Anybody got that? Theo?
The Sox get another runner to third with no out in the ninth, and it's Dirty Water time. Sox win on a Damon roller through the drawn in infield. Guns don't kill teams, statistics do?
Minor Setback. Meanwhile Abe Alvarez and Kason Gabbard get lit up like Christmas trees for the PawSox and Sea Dogs tonight. Whatever. Theo says on WEEI that he's not going to trade the future for rent-a-players. You are truly the man, Master Theo. At least until tomorrow...