28 August 2002

A few notes on tonight's Yankees-BoSox game:

1) I got to watch it! This is harder than you would think, but ESPN was kind enough to show it. On television! In some places, if you want to see your favorite team you hafta pay lots of money to a satellite service or buy a whole package of games you don't want to see just to watch the few you do...oh, wait a minute, that's here. Must've been a fluke thing.

2) The boxscore will tell you that Mussina pitched a gem, and he did, but I don't think that from watching him he is out of the Mediocrity Woods yet. His location was not that good, as his curve was rarely over the plate, and he seemed afraid to come inside to righties, probably because his fastball rarely cleared 90 mph. He only gave up 3 hits, but there were a lot of hard liners right at people that could easily have been hits on a lesser defensive team, Soriano's and Jeter's shortcomings in this area notwithstanding.

Moose did throw something, some kind of slider/sinker thing that was about 80 mph and broke like a cheap camera. It reminded me a little of the late Darryl Kile's slider/sinker, which he threw sidearm, as opposed to the rest of his pitches, which were from an over the top delivery. It sorta went against the conventional wisdom of throwing everything from the same arm angle, but it broke so sharply that by the time you realized what he was throwing, there wasn't much you could do with it anyway. Mussina's was great tonight, at least as far as movement, but I don't think he had any idea where it was going. No matter, the Bosox were swinging at everything, perhaps pressing a little after being shut out last night, trying to avoid the first consecutive home shutouts since 1943. Didn't work.

3) A page right out of Bobby Valentine's book: In the third inning, 1-0 Yanks, and Carlos "One if by Land, Two if by Sea, Three if" Baerga on first, no one out and Trot Nixon up, Rey Sanchez up next, and Nixon sac bunts! First of all, what the hell is Nixon doing batting eighth anyway? He's at least as good a hitter as Daubach, Baerga and/or Varitek, and probably better than any of them. He's on a pace for 25 homers and 35 doubles, and hitting in a place where the Pesky Pole is generously described as 302 feet from home plate, and whomever's managing the Red Sox this week has him just give up his at bat? In the third inning, down by only one run, with El Pedro on the mound? Doesn't make any sense. There may be times when it's wise to bunt a guy over, but this sure didn't strike me as one of them. And it's not exactly like he was setting the table for Rey Sanchez to clear, either.

4) I saw something similar on Saturday, at my One Game I Can Actually Still Afford to Attend. In the 8th inning, with a man on first and down by a run, Kevin Mench sacrificed him over, despite the facts that:
A: This was a road game for Texas, so playing for the tie, especially when matching their bullpen for that of the Yankees, is not a good idea, since the Yanks will always get the last at-bats. and
B: Have they actually watched this guy hit? He's slugging over .500 and on a pace for 30 homers and 100 RBI over the course of a full season. What a waste.

Yankee manager Joe McCarthy was once asked if Joe DiMaggio was a good bunter, to which he responded,

"I'll never know."

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