You watch me play, I look away

Lead us to another victory, Justin. Taken by Kelly O’Connor/ in 2008 and used with permission.

I’m a big fan of rainy days. As long as they don’t interfere with my baseball, I really enjoy them. When I woke up this morning, the sky was gray and there was rain coming down. All that did was add to my happiness in greeting this day.

Wednesday is one of my off-days from my real job. I get to stay home and watch NESN, ESPN and MLBN and prepare for the next Sox game. I usually end up out of the house for a bit, just to get some fresh air and remember there’s a world outside four walls. So it’s usually a good day for me, anyway, but having it fall the day after the Sox take both games in a short series in the Bronx? This Wednesday just might be my favorite of all.

Beckett looked both shaky and dominant at various times last night. He gave up 10 hits in 6 innings last night, but only allowed 3 runs while striking out five. It wasn’t beautiful, but I’ll take it. Josh also gets props for having the sense to not hit Derek Jeter (or any other Yankee he faced) after Joba showed his immature, punkish colors yet AGAIN by hitting Jason Bay in the top of the fifth. Bay’s crime? Owning the Yankees pitchers. Another home run last night (first inning off of Joba) seemed to be more than Chamberlain could take. I can’t ever recall Jim Rice advocating hitting a player in retaliation. During last night’s post-game show he suggested that the next time the two teams meet that the Yankees captain would be hearing chin music – were it up to Rice. That’s how obviously intentional the HBP was. No matter. The Sox got their revenge where it counted – on the scoreboard. 5-0 against the Yankees so far. Not too shabby a way to start the season.

I have at least one friend who isn’t the Yankees hater* most Red Sox fans are. I tell you that to set up sharing with you part of an email she sent me last night (in response to my being “cranky” about Bay getting hit):

4/24 HBP: Varitek (by Chamberlain), Green, N (by Albaladejo), Teixeira (by Lopez, J).
4/25 HBP: Youkilis (by Burnett), Green, N (by Veras).
4/26 HBP: Bay (by Melancon).
5/4 HBP: Jeter (by Papelbon), Drew (by Aceves, A).
5/5 HBP: Bay (by Chamberlain), Bailey (by Albaladejo).
So they lead us 8-2 in HBP…

Neither of us pretends that all of those HBP were intentional. But, for me, they do seem a bit telling. Especially Bay’s last night. As Ted, another of my friends, wondered to me this morning: “How can a pitcher have enough control to strike out 12 men yet hit a guy in the middle of the back?”. The answer being that he DID have control and that’s why Bay got hit square between the numbers and not in the head. There aren’t enough words in the English dictionary to describe how strongly I dislike Joba.

But on to happier thoughts and better pitching!!! Okajima and Saito finished off the last three innings by not putting any men on base and striking out three between them. I’ll admit to being concerned about Oki coming in last night but he snuffed out my worries quite handily.

Speaking of pitching, Daisuke pitched almost 3 innings in Pawtucket last night. He struck out five and gave up no runs on two hits. (Mind you, he’s still our Daisuke: walking three batters in a row before getting his three outs.) He thinks he’s ready to come back. I hope he’s right. Thankfully, he’ll get another start or two with the PawSox before that decision really has to be made. The PawSox, incidentally, beat the Toledo Mudhens 4-0 with TTR faves Charlie Zink getting the win and Rocco Baldelli knocking in the first run with a sacrifice fly.

Saw a clip of David Aardsma on MLBN and thought it was good enough to share. With the bases loaded in a tie game the ninth in Seattle, Aardsma struck out Ian Kinsler. The Mariners still ended up losing in ten but not because of Aardsma. Even though, for most of his stay in Boston, I referred to Aardsma as “The guy who took Kyle Snyder’s job”, I always liked him and it’s nice to see him do well.

Speaking of Kyle, his Buffalo Bisons lost another game and had another game rained out yesterday. (God either doesn’t like the Bisons or he likes them so much that he keeps raining on their games so they don’t have to play.) In the International League/North, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are in first place with an impressive 20-5 record. The PawSox are in third place (a game behind second-place Syracuse) with a record of 14-10. The Bisons are in last place in all of the International League with a record of 4-19. You realize, this only endears the team to me more, don’t you? They’re 4-19 and they still go out there every day and try to win (okay, every day it hasn’t poured on them). It has to be tough to trudge out there with everyone expecting you to lose. How can I NOT root for this team? The rainouts have worked in Kyle’s favor. He’s in the Bisons’ bullpen, but because of rotation issues caused by postponed games, Kyle will start his second game with Buffalo tonight. (Another true double-header is scheduled to being at 5:35pm.) PV’s are being sent Kyle’s way. Kick some ass, Kyle. Show them what you have!

I watched the game in its entirety last night. Then I watched the one-hour version NESN showed at 8am. At 2pm, NESN will show a two-hour edition of last night’s game (I’m hoping this one includes Chamberlain hitting Bay because hearing Eck go off on Joba is a must-listen!). I honestly can’t get enough of this game. Let’s hope the good feelings (and good pitching) spill into tonight’s game.

Justin Masterson up against Carl Pavano…the live blog begins at 7:00pm!

*That isn’t to say she’s a Yankees fan. She’s just much more rational about them than I, or most Sox fans, tend to be.

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