Results tagged ‘ Scott Kazmir ’

Opening Week Thoughts

After Josh Beckett’s stellar performance on Opening Day, I was excited to see what the rest of the pitching staff was going to offer. I can’t say that I was thrilled with the three games that followed Josh Beckett’s, but I can say that I’m optimistic for the rest of the season. It is obvious that the Red Sox are still coming together as a whole, and transitioning from the Spring Training atmosphere to the regular season atmosphere. But as Kevin Youkilis pointed out, I’d rather be off to a slow start than have a bad finish. “There are bright things to come”. 

I was very excited for Wednesday’s game because I knew that it was going to be a pitcher’s duel. Those always keep me on the edge of my seat, even if they are a bit nerve racking. It seems to me that Lester and Kazmir serve the same purpose on their respective teams– dominant lefties. Then again, when I was in Tampa last year I did see Kazmir pitch nine straight balls. It was quite a game until around the fifth inning where the Rays exploded for four runs. I bet Carlos Pena’s home run was pretty “deflating” as Jon Lester called it. I’m trying to remember the situation, but maybe he could have put Pena on instead of pitching to him at a 3-1 count. Then there was that really weird play where Jason Bartlett had that suicide safety squeeze or whatever you call it. Poor Lester looked so lost, but at least these looks of confusion are happening at the beginning of the season rather than the middle. 
Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez looked good that game, and Takashi Saito did alright after giving up that home run on the second pitch. As soon as he gave up that home run, I thought back to that game in 2007 where Okajima gave up a home run on his very first pitch. Frustrating for sure, but then he was completely dominant the rest of the season. Perhaps there will be a similar pattern to Saito’s performance this year. The main thing that I noted about Lester though was that he wasn’t really hitting his spots. He would shake off Varitek a lot and after the first two innings, the command just wasn’t really there. If I was a pitcher on the Red Sox, I wouldn’t shake off Varitek too much. He definitely knows what he’s doing. 
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The final game of the series offered another great matchup between Matt Garza and Dice-K Matsuzaka. I swear, Matt Garza looks and acts like a snake. His tongue is always out! Whenever Dice-K pitches, I’m always a nervous wreck. This time, it wasn’t because he walked the bases loaded, he only walked three. His command wasn’t really present and he gave up three home runs.
My incessant hunger became overwhelming as I watched this game, and I needed something to munch on. Eventually, dry roasted peanuts and sunflower seeds became available. Pretty good baseball food. The more nervous I became, the more inclined I was to munch, but for the most part I was able to restrain myself… until Justin Masterson loaded up the bases in the top of the ninth. Luckily, Jacoby Ellsbury squelched my anxiety as he made a beautiful running catch.
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The next night, the Red Sox played the Angels… the first game the Angels would be playing after the tragedy. That game, I wasn’t as compulsively rooting for the Red Sox as I usually do. I was comfortable with watching a good baseball game, and I was comfortable with the fact that the Red Sox lost. There were much bigger things going on that night than winning and losing. I did rush home though, and I was the one driving so it was a lot easier to put the pedal to the metal and run those yellow lights that may have been transitioning into red. I made myself coffee because I tend to have trouble staying awake for the West Coast games, especially in a dark room. 
It must have been hard for Jered Weaver to pitch that night. I didn’t even realize until after the game that Nick Adenhart was supposed to move in with him that Friday. Weaver had 8 strikeouts in 6.2 innings, and as he walked off the mound, he pointed to the sky. That was beyond baseball. 
Brad Penny started the next game (yesterday’s) and even though his command wasn’t totally there, he still looked pretty healthy, which made me happy. I started watching this game in the third inning because I was at my grandparents house and I didn’t really expect the game to be on TV. If Brad Penny was feeling healthy, than that’s pretty good news because he will be great to have on the rotation if he is healthy. His velocity was up there, so for a guy coming off the worst season of his career, I would say that he did pretty well.
The offense finally woke up during this game. After the very first game where almost everyone got a hit, a few people fell off the radar. Kevin Youkilis was basically on fire until yesterday (still hitting .526 though) and Jacoby was just starting to wake up and get on base. Unfortunately, Pedroia and Big Papi haven’t been producing much. Big Papi is definitely due to say the least. Jason Bay came out of the gate swinging so that has made me pretty happy. Especially for a guy who generally has a pretty crappy April. I think that Mike Lowell is starting to wake up too. And where is Jed Lowrie?? He had a monster Spring, and here I am waiting for him to transition. I hope that he and Papi have big days today. 
Jonathan Palebon gave me a heart attack in the bottom of the ninth inning. First the home run to Torii Hunter, and then the bases are loaded. My grandparents are laughing at me as I bury my face in my hands and peek through them. Howard Kendrick hit something like seven foul balls in a row. Papelbon claimed to be “giggling” but I sure wasn’t– not with the bases loaded. My mother came over wondering what was going on since I had promised her that it was one more out five minutes ago. 
“Are you bad luck?” I asked somewhat accusingly as she came over. Last time she was near the vicinity, Papelbon had walked a guy, and we were not walking in the tying run. Luckily, she wasn’t bad luck, and Papelbon miraculously got out of it. I was able to breathe again. 
Last game of the Red Sox vs Angels series coming on in a little while. Can’t wait to watch Beckett pitch again, and I kind of want to see Chris Carter in this game. 

Indescribable Feeling

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We had all waited a really long time, and I’m not sure about you guys, but in general I hate waiting. Baseball was worth the wait. Spring Training was the longest it had even been, but we waited. I didn’t realize how deprived I was. I guess the withdrawal symptoms simply subside after a while. But as soon as Fenway Park appeared on my television I let out a squeal, my eyes teared up, and a shot of adrenaline ran through me. I wish I could put what I was feeling into words, but I can’t. I think that we need to come up with a word that describes the feelings that baseball evokes in us, because I’m getting pretty frustrated without one. 

Feeling this way, it was tough watching the game on FSN rather than NESN. I didn’t get to watch the pre-game ceremonies, nor did I get to watch the reserves coming through the stands. 
I saw the starting lineup come through the stands, and I really liked the fact that they actually came through the stands. It made the baseball players seem more tangible even as baseball itself becomes less and less tangible. They all looked so happy to be there, but at the same time, they knew that they would be there since day one of Spring Training. I wanted to see the look on Chris Carter’s face, my project. He didn’t know that he was going to be there, so that must have been unreal for him. 
I had almost gone over to my friend’s house to watch the game, but I declined knowing that 
a) She doesn’t like baseball, and I didn’t want to force her to sit through a game for three hours. I can’t concentrate on converting people on Opening Day for obvious reasons.
 
b) I don’t really need my friends to see the way I am during a baseball game. They already think I’m obsessed, I don’t need them to think I’m crazy too. I was actually on the phone with one of them during Jason Bay’s first at-bat, and I was talking to them a bit absentmindedly. 
“THAT WAS NOT A STRIKE!” I suddenly called out (the ump had called it a ball, but a bit too slowly for my taste). My friend proceeded to laugh.
“Elizabeth, is anyone at your house?” she asked.
“No…” I replied
“So, you’re talking to yourself?”
“I’m talking to the umpire, Mindy!”
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When I watch baseball, I tend to be under the impression that I am the umpire, and that my calls are the right calls. I try and find ways of calling defensive interferences on the other team on routine groundouts, every Red Sox pitch is a strike. Don’t worry, when I’m watching other games, I can be completely objective. And I’m working on my “I-totally-control-every-aspect-of-the-game”. 
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Josh Beckett made me really happy [insert that non-existent word here]. I loved his first pitch strikes, and I loved his ability to work quickly through most of his innings. Ten strikeouts in seven innings. Do I have to say anything other than dominance? He helped the Red Sox show the Rays who’s boss. And speaking objectively as possible, I think that he had the best start out of all the pitchers on Opening Day. 
Overall, I was very happy with the Red Sox performance that day. Almost everyone in the lineup had a hit except for our dear leadoff man, Jacoby Ellsbury. I’m not TOO worried though. It’s not like he struck out every single time. He did get SOME wood on the ball, but it only went as far as Akinori Iwamura. I loved seeing Pedroia’s home run, but I was especially happy with Jason Varitek’s home run. As they were introducing the lineup, I loved hearing “and behind the plate, our captain, Jason Varitek”. 
After Papelbon wrapped that game up, I finally obliged and went to my friend’s house. 
“Elizabeth, you haven’t been out of your house for days!” she told me. It’s hard to handle the truth sometimes. 
“Andrea, Monday night, yesterday and today were all very sacred days!” 
“You’ve done nothing but watch baseball for the past two days! COME OVER!”. Well… the Marlins WERE leading the Nationals 8-0, so I didn’t feel that bad. 
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I did give them a fair warning at the end of February though. Like Jane, I do schedule everything around my team. And according to my friend, I’m planning my life around them. But she meant that in a good way because after all, I am planning to become a sports writer. 
So just because the Red Sox showed the Rays who’s boss yesterday, it doesn’t mean that tonight is going to be easy. I mean, we’ve got Lester vs Kazmir tonight, and Rocco will be making his first start in center field with the Red Sox. 

Playing in Puddles

Everyone was really excited for Game 5; Cole Hamels, and Scott Kazmir were pitching, and it was a potential clinching game (in Philadelphia nonetheless). Kazmir got racked in the first inning, pegging Chase Utley in the ribs. Has anyone noticed how close he stands to the box, and how he actually steps into the box? No wonder he’s the single batter who has gotten hit by pitches the most. KInd of like how Jason Bartlett totally leaned into a pitch in Game 7 of the ALCS. Then, Shane Victorino comes up and hits a two run single. Cole Hamels is pitching well, until the Rays start stringing some runs together, and finally one came off of a hit by Evan Longoria. It took long enough.

My question is this. So, a baseball game is official after 5 1/3 innings right? So, if the Phillies had still led 2-1 after the bottom of the sixth, well, would they have won? What a cheap and sucky win that would’ve been! I would’ve been so annoyed. So now, game 5 is going to continue with the Phillies coming up in the bottom of the sixth. The Rays got SO lucky because now Cole Hamels isn’t going to be pitching anymore. I wonder if the teams are going to continue to their next starters, or just use the bullpen. According to Selig, he would’ve just kept the game in a rain delay until it was appropriate to resume play. I like that idea, and I think everyone should too. No one wants to win a World Series due to a rain delay. If it had gone less than official game standards, by the rules, it would’ve started over. So this is the first time in history that a World Series game has ever been suspended, that’s pretty sick. I can’t wait until I find out what’s going to happen with the rotations and what not. I’m sure the Fox announcers will address this topic until it dies. 
On another note, the Sox picked up Virgil Velazquez on irrevocable waivers issued by the Tigers. He’s had somewhat of a rocky start of his career, and he didn’t see any playing time with the Tigers this past season. So, hopefully, the Sox will see what he can do in Spring Training, and then proceed to put him in the bullpen (most likely)
-Elizabeth

World Series (Games 3 and 4… Game 5), Red Sox offseason

So unfortunately, I was unable to see Game 3, but I heard it was pretty epic. Crazy ninth inning or something for the Phillies? I still have to watch the recap, and I’m behind on everything else too. Then there was Game 4, which got to be a crazy blowout game from what I heard. Ryan Howard, the sleeping giant, has awoken and helped boost the Phillies to victory in a 10-2 game. The Phillies now lead the series 3-1 and their chances are looking pretty strong. I’m sure Matt Garza at least pitched decently in Game 3, since it was a pretty close game after all. Originally, I thought that in order for the Phillies to win, Cole Hamels would have to win both his starts. But even Jamie Moyer did well. I truly enjoy watching Cole Hamels pitch, he is pretty attractive. The Rays are now in a must win situation, and they’re sending out Scott Kazmir to pitch Game 5. Now, I don’t think that anyone should chalk up a win just because Cole Hamels is pitching. That’s kind of what happened to Jon Lester, remember? So, I think that everyone just needs to relax. 

Dustin Pedroia got named to the Sporting-News All-Star team. The only Red Sox member to do so. Among others are Grady Sizemore, Joe Mauer, Josh Hamilton (I think, though, I’m not sure), Cliff Lee (SP), and Francisco Rodriguez. Kevin Youkilis and Aramis Ramirez won the Hank Aaron Award. There’s no big news about trades yet, same free agents as before, same prospects, etc. Keep your eyes out for Michael Bowden, Lars Anderson, and of course Clay Buchholz (who is regaining his confidence in the AFL) to appear in ’09 Spring Training at City of Palms Park. 
I’m excited for Game 5, who do you think is going to win? Can the Rays push it back to the Trop?

Cole Hamels Once Threw a Curveball so well, that the batter’s children struck out

I should be getting twenty sites for my research project (due tomorrow) for debate, but I realized that this is more important to me. Before we get started, I think we should all just take a minute to note how lame I can be: Today in home room, we were handed this blue sheet, and we’re supposed to fill out our after school activities. Guess what I put? BLOGGING. 

So Game 1 was yesterday, it was a pretty tight game throughout. Was anyone else thinking during the national anthem *God this is *****, and I totally thought the Backstreet Boys broke up*. Kazmir had a shaky first inning, giving up a home run to Chase Utley. He settled down nicely though after that, and pitched a great game. There’s a reason why Cole Hamels is pretty much the ace of the Phillies staff. His breaking ball, his curveball, his pitching in general! Did anyone else notice that he’s good looking, I just love watching him pitch. He got so lucky with that balk too. It really came down to the opinion of the umpire. It was 50/50. Phillies did a good job striking out BJ Upton with the bases loaded. The Rays came fighting back though, scoring two, but Philly scored once more, to make it 3-2. Brad Lidge, who has had a perfect season, came in and got the save. The Rays looked a little nervous, but I think that they’ll adjust. Tonight it’s James Shields vs. Brett Myers. Hopefully, Shields will actually be able to get some run support this time. I wasn’t really rooting for anyone last night, it was nice just watching. 
On another note, the Sox re-signed basically their entire coaching staff, except for first base coach Alicea. I’m glad that they decided to keep almost everyone. 
Can the Rays even up the series like they did in the ALCS?
-Elizabeth
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