Posts Tagged ‘Terry Francona’

We’ll start with the biggest news first, which at this point is not really news.  It’s now officially official.  On Tuesday, the Cubs will host a press conference at which they will announce the hiring of Theo, but not as general manager.  As president of baseball operations.  Look for Theo to make a play for Jed Hoyer of the Padres to rejoin him in Chicago as GM.  Also on Tuesday, we will be promoting Ben Cherington.  Well, it’s the simultaneous ending and beginning of an era.  All three of these guys use basically the same strategy, so I don’t think the change will be that drastic.  As I said, though, hats off to you, Theo.  Thank you for all you’ve done.  You’ll surely be missed.

Lester has confirmed that he was, in fact, one of the three starting pitchers engaged in the beer-drinking, fried chicken-eating, and video-game playing between starts in the clubhouse.  He emphasized that nobody was actually getting drunk, that the team was in the weight room doing conditioning, and that the pitchers’ clubhouse shenanigans or the team’s collective September weight gain had nothing to do with the collapse.  He also agreed with Tito that he was losing his influence and that it was time for a new manager.

Then, Lester, Beckett, Lackey, Tito, and even Larry denied that there was ever drinking in the dugout by anyone during games.  The information that beer-drinking was occurring in the clubhouse during games was obtained from two unidentified club employees who claimed that Beckett would instigate the three leaving the dugout around the sixth inning, going into the clubhouse, filling cups with beer, returning to the dugout with the cups, and watching the rest of the game while drinking beer.  However, when two additional employees were contacted, one said he never saw it but heard complaints about it happening in 2010, and another said he never saw or heard about it.  Lester went further to clarify that the players were not taking advantage of Tito’s lack-of-iron-first style but were rather taking advantage of each other.

Apparently, by the way, Lackey is a favorite teammate of the club.  Who knew? Also, who knew that the Padres may be interested in him, provided that we pay most of his contract?

Tek denies that chemistry was even a problem at all.  He said that, when Tito mentioned this as an issue two days after the season, he was surprised.  He said that guys were on the bench and in the gym sufficiently and that the collapse was due purely to a lack of professional results on the field.

We also have to add a pitching coach to our list of people to hire this offseason.  Curt Young is going back to Oakland.  Buchholz says that the pitchers didn’t work as hard for him as they did for John Farrell.  He also said that he joined in the beer-drinking, to whatever extent it actually occurred.

Congratulations to Papi, this year’s Roberto Clemente Award winner! Very well deserved indeed.  By the way, now he says he wants to stay in Boston.

In other news, the Pats edged the Cowboys, 20-16 on Sunday.  And we get a bye today.  And the Bruins lost to the Canes and Sharks but beat the Leafs.

AP Photo

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Just so you know, this is not going to be a happy post.

First of all, it’s pretty much unofficially official.  Theo is going to take over the Cubs.  It’s a five-year deal, and the only thing left is for the two clubs to agree on compensation since Theo is technically entering the last year of his contract with us.  The deal is currently worth twenty million dollars, which reportedly includes said compensation.  As of late, Theo’s title within the Cubs organization is unclear, but it supposedly is something higher up.

The bottom line is that he’s leaving us, so we’ll have to find a first-base coach, a manager, and a general manager.  Here’s an understatement: this offseason, we’ve got some serious work to do.  With any luck, we won’t actually have to find a general manager and will instead be looking for an assistant general manager; I wouldn’t mind having Ben Cherington take the helm.  That’s where it looks like we’re headed, anyway.  He’s been included in all club dealings so far during the offseason.  He’s been Theo’s right-hand man for years, and the two of them started with Larry Lucchino in San Diego anyway.  It obviously won’t be the same, but it’ll be pretty close.

That is, if you like the job Theo did.  Sure, he made some huge mistakes.  Eric Gagne and Dice-K were the most notable of those; if Jenks doesn’t recover properly he’ll be another, and if Crawford and Lackey don’t turn it around they’ll be a third and fourth.  But I would argue that his good so epically and completely eclipsed his bad that this discussion isn’t even necessary.  His drafting and farming decisions were legendary and include Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youk, and Lester.  He is the youngest general manager to be hired, and he is the youngest general manager ever to win a World Series.  After almost delivering us in 2003, his first season, he lifted us out of the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 and reminded us that we weren’t dreaming in 2007.  His acquisition of Gonzalez was absolutely masterful.  He brought sabermetrics to Boston and made it feel at home here.  He wasn’t just a professional removed from everything; he was a baseball guy and, worth noting, a Red Sox fan.  He’s from Boston, specifically Brookline about two miles from Fenway Park, and that’s something Chicago will never change.  Chicago’s dysfunction as an organization goes well beyond any single position that Theo could possibly fill.  Make no mistake; he won’t simply waltz in there and have them winning World Series left and right.  If he could do that in Chicago, we would have been winning every single World Series title since his takeover of our team, and clearly that didn’t happen.  And if it didn’t happen here, it’s not going to happen there.  But that’s neither here nor there.

This is about what Theo did for this city in his nine memorable years here.  He brought a new approach to the game and put the pieces in place for us to win.  He established a winning culture here.  He’s a genius and will be sorely, sorely missed.  Here’s to you, Theo.  Here’s to everything you’ve done for us and for the game of baseball.  Here’s to the good, the bad, and the ugly, and here’s to smiling through all of it because, all along, in Theo we trusted.  We know that other fans in other places rooting for other teams will be trusting in you from now on.  But we also know that you can take the general manager out of Boston but you can’t take Boston out of the general manager.  We just hope that the great things you’ll accomplish will not be at our expense.

Secondly, all of the pieces to the devastation puzzle are now coming to light.  It’s an ugly story.  Here goes.

It wasn’t one pitcher responsible for the beer-drinking between starts.  First of all, it wasn’t just drinking beer; it was also ordering in fried chicken and playing video games.  Secondly, it wasn’t just one pitcher; it was three.  Beckett, Lackey, and Lester.  I never thought I’d see Lester on that list, although I should point out that the degree to which he actually participated in these goings-on is highly speculative, and it’s possible that he wasn’t really a mainstay.  Apparently they not only drank beer but ordered fried chicken and played video games, all at the expense of working out, and they were starting to get more players involved.  All I know is that when we needed them to deliver most, they didn’t, which is unusual for them so something must have been going on.  We knew they were health, so that should have tipped us off, but I never thought I’d see the day when such people would actually knowingly put on pounds and thereby sabotage everything the team worked for.  It’s sacrilegious. Pedroia probably couldn’t believe his eyes and must have been seething.

Meanwhile, Tito was losing influence with both old and new guys, he was having health issues, and he was living in a hotel due to marital issues.  He insists that the former wasn’t due to the latter two, but I’m also sure that Beckett, Lackey, and Lester insisted that their very visible extra fat and subsequent tanking wasn’t due to their clubhouse habits either.  I’m actually inclined to believe Tito, though; he’s focused, dedicated, and committed, and we can’t just assume that he doesn’t know how to handle personal issues in his life and balance them with his job.

Then, apparently, the team accused the brass of caring about money more than results when they scheduled the doubleheader in response to Hurricane Irene.  Then the veterans on the team, including Tek, started pulling back on leadership.  Wake exacerbated this problem by calling for a return next year so he could break the all-time wins record; neither the time nor the place when you’re days away from playoff elimination.  And Youk, as you can imagine, was more of a clubhouse pain than usual, which we all knew but didn’t feel because all of these other issues weren’t present before.  At least, if they were, we didn’t know about them to this extent.  Youk was the only player to call Ellsbury out for his time on the DL last year due to his rib injuries.  And it’s obviously admirable and dirt-doggish indeed that he played through his injuries this year, but doing so apparently brought the worst out of him socially in the clubhouse.  And when you’re hanging on by a thread in the standings, that is so not something you need.  Gonzalez, of all people, joined in the pettiness by complaining about the late-season schedule.  I honestly thought he would be much more Pedroia-like than that.

Ellsbury, by the way, is officially the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year.  I can’t think of anyone who would deserve it more.  He earned every last bit of that honor this past year, so hats most definitely off to him.

Add to that the fact that the signing of Crawford was largely a push from Theo over which the brass was divided.  If you ask me, I would have said it was the other way around.  Crawford’s strengths, both in practice and in numbers, aren’t that compatible with sabermetrics, the philosophy used to build the team.  So I thought that we would all find out that it was Theo who was against it, and it was the brass who was pushing him to sign Crawford because of the wow factor of bringing in a star or something.

All in all, the team this year turned out to be one big, dysfunctional family on every front.  Nobody, from the players to the brass, was spared.  Everyone who had issues let them loose at exactly the wrong time and in exactly the wrong ways.  Players on whom you depended to carry your team through the stretch in the clubhouse either withdrew or sunk to the level of the players you never thought would sink to that level in the first place.  It seems like it was just an awful atmosphere completely non-conducive to anything positive or constructive.  Obviously you’ve got to consider sources of this information when you read stories about this, but I guess now that we know the end story, we saw the signs all along.  That’s true of Theo’s departure as well.  At the time to us on the outside, all of the signs were too subtle for us to keep putting two and two and two and two together to come with what is clearly a very elaborate set of social circumstances that spiraled out of control and led to our painful and epic downfall.

Organization chemistry, both in the clubhouse and in the front office, is a very difficult thing to fix and cultivate.  It’s organically grown, and you either have it or you don’t.  You can’t force it.  Now Papi is claiming that he’s seriously considering free agency as a way to escape all the drama.  It’s all been meshing so well recently; how, in such a short time, could we become “that team” with all the drama? It’s like a soap opera.  Seriously.

John Henry even drove down to 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday completely on his own because he felt like he had some records to set straight.  He said that Crawford was not signed to boost NESN ratings, although he confirmed that he did oppose it but ultimately approved it because baseball operations were for Theo and Larry to govern.  Henry also implied a confirmation that Theo is going to Chicago while saying that he wishes that Theo would stay.  He said that, during the season, he let the brass know that he was all in favor of picking up Tito’s options and that the only time he thought that that maybe wasn’t such a good idea was when Tito told the brass that he didn’t want to come back.

Significant changes to the organization could potentially be afoot, and that’s either good or bad.  There’s no way to know who’s on the radar or what we should expect.  There’s nothing to do.  No amount of speculation would ever shed any light because this organization keeps everything under wraps, as is appropriate and right even if it is annoying for us fans hanging in the breeze.

The whole situation is crushing.  Make absolutely no mistake whatsoever about that.  It’s crushing.  It’s devastatingly epically crushing in every conceivable sense.  We’ll get through it because we’re Sox fans and we always do, but it’s just so remarkably and epically depressing and crushing.  I can’t even believe that this whole situation is happening.

Ultimately the big question is short and sweet and simple but revealing of the trepidation that’s currently racking all of us.

What’s next?

Also, Scott Williamson is auctioning off his 2004 World Series ring.  Why in the world would you ever do that? That’s completely sacrilegious.

In other news, the Pats summarily disposed of the Jets, 30-21.  Would I have preferred a blowout? Obviously.  But hey, that score is a lot better than the score we put up against them the last time we played them last season, so I’ll take it.  And the Bruins, since beginning their season on October 6, have beaten Philly, Colorado, and Chicago and have been beaten by Tampa Bay and Carolina.

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Just in case there’s someone out there wondering what it feels like to be in this situation, it’s painful.  Let the record show that it is painful.  Excruciating, to be more precise.  Think about it.  There is a very large constituency of baseball fans who have still been watching live action, including Yankee fans.  But you’re not.  All you get to do is watch those fans watch the action while your team is fishing for a new manager and first base coach, hoping it doesn’t have to also fish for a new general manager, and really hoping that the players can get it together before Spring Training.  It’s a depressing, empty, miserable existence for baseball fans with nothing to cheer for in October except another team’s demise, which we will obviously do with gusto for the Evil Empire.  But, man, is the whole thing painful.  A little less painful now that the Tigers have disposed of the Yankees.  But still painful.

Especially since Tito will be a guest analyst for the ALCS on Fox.  Speaking of which, he won’t be going to the Other Sox after all; they hired Robin Ventura, so we’re the only managerless team at the moment.

Adrian Gonzalez has received a very well-deserved nomination for the Hank Aaron Award.

The Buckner ball is up for auction.  Seth Swirsky, who bought the ball from Charlie Sheen, is selling it.  The bidding starts at one million dollars.  At the time, the umpire marked the ball for authentication purposes.  The ball needs to go.

In other news, the Pats appropriately crushed the Raiders, 31-19.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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These are things that Theo has said: he wants to keep Papi and Paps and fix Lackey and Crawford.  And he doesn’t blame Tito for the fact that we have suffered the completely devastating indignity of being the first team ever in the history of Major League Baseball to be eliminated from the playoffs after having held a nine-game lead in September.  He blames himself and a lack of chemistry and conditioning.

Apparently, Tito was concerned as early as the first week or so of September, so he called a team meeting to get everyone back on track.  Since Tito’s assumption of the managerial role for us, these meetings have been gold.  They’ve been a surefire way of airing grievances, getting things out of your system, identifying best and worst practices, and going from there to ensure a long-term strategy for success for the rest of the season, whether we had four months or four weeks left to play.  Theo even came in to address the team; whether it was appropriate for him as general manager to do isn’t the point.  The point is that desperation apparently was realized early, and everyone wanted to do what they could to fix it.

According to Theo, some players were better conditioned than others, and this inconsistency manifested itself on the field.  Regarding the chemistry issue, during the seasons when we went the deepest into the postseason (that would be 2003, 2004, and 2007), the team was apparently tighter, more familial, and more brotherly than it was this year.  There wasn’t as much back-having and protection-securing in the field.  Was it a problem when Lackey got visibly annoyed in public when a play wasn’t made behind him? Did Crawford’s handling of his gigantic slump affect the team behind closed doors? Was the clubhouse annoyed when Papi went after that scorekeeper for one RBI? Has Paps been going on and on about the fact that he wants a raise? Are all of the reports of prima donna behavior, like drinking beer between starts, true? And was it really Beckett of all people? I don’t know, and there’s no way anyone outside the room would know.  What I do know is that these issues probably weren’t the only incidence of their type over the course of a 162-game season and that, when you’re spending that much time on planes, clubhouses, dugouts, and other tight spaces for that amount of time, brothers tend to get on each others’ nerves.  However, at the end of the day, brothers are still supposed to be brothers, and they’re still supposed to act like brothers.  It’s a problem when they don’t.

Now here’s what Theo didn’t say, and this is huge.  Of all the outcomes of this complete and total fail of a season, I never thought that this would be one of them.  We had to find out from Ken Rosenthal on FOXSports.com that this may have been Tito’s last season as our manager.  It turns out that he was right.  It was a mutual thing; Tito doesn’t want to continue managing the team, and the team doesn’t want to pick up his option for next season either.

What can I say? He is, without question, one of the best managers this club has ever had in its long and illustrious history.  We failed to win a World Series in eighty-six years because we were cursed and because we were managed badly.  All of a sudden, Tito came in and we won two in less than five years, our first in his first season with us.  And in both of them, he brought us back from the brink of elimination.  He’s the first manager in history to win his first six World Series contests.

But it’s not just about that.  It’s also his ability to be a good manager and to mediate forces in the clubhouse.  He has a calming effect on even the most flamboyant personalities, and he handles the environment with a degree of respect, fairness, humor, and adaptation that is a truly rare combination indeed.

We didn’t make the playoffs in 2010 because of injuries.  We didn’t make the playoffs this year for reasons completely different that are highly speculative and have yet to be determined definitively.  It’s completely unclear, as Theo said, that our collapse this September was Tito’s fault.  He managed Michael Jordan to Manny Ramirez to everyone in between; I have implicit faith in his ability to maintain a positive and constructive clubhouse dynamic, and I have no reason to believe that the collapse occurred because he failed to do what was necessary.  According to Tito, he did what was necessary; he was the one who reached out and called that meeting.  It just wasn’t working.  He wasn’t able to get through to these guys like he was able to get through to teams past.  It’s not like he wasn’t trying.  It’s just like the conditioning issue: you can tell a guy fifty times an hour to get himself into the weight room and work out, but at the end of the day, he’s the one who decides whether he gets himself into the weight room.  There is only so much that a manager can do to stem the tide of slackening conditioning regimens and negative evolution of clubhouse chemistry.

Obviously we weren’t going to hear about any of this, or the fact that he felt that support was lacking from ownership, until now.  Regarding that last point, you can either believe that or interpret it to mean that it wasn’t a mutual decision and that it was the team who decided that it didn’t have enough support from Tito.  Maybe Tito wasn’t enough of a numbers or data man, and that didn’t satisfy the brass.  It’s not like anyone was going to start letting these things slip into the media in the middle of the season, and it’s not like we’ll know the whole truth of it, either.  According to Jerry Remy, for those on the inside, it was pretty easy to see where this was going.

Since 2011 is Tito’s last season with us, it’s extremely unfortunate that that’s how he’ll go out.  He’ll finish with a record in Boston of 744 and 552.  That’s a winning percentage of .574.  He broke the Curse of the Bambino and led us to two World Series championships in which we were all but finished before we got there but, once we did, dominated completely.  He’s been serious, and he’s been funny.  He’s been human, and he’s been superhuman.  He essentially made us the team of the decade, and he did so with a level of class and understanding of the game that this town hasn’t seen in a long time.  For every managerial mistake he’s made, I’ve seen at least five manifestations of remarkable managerial acumen that everyone who’s ever won Manager of the Year would be hard-pressed to exhibit.  Speaking of which, I don’t care what anyone says; Tito was the 2010 American League Manager of the Year in my book.

So here’s to you, Tito.  You gave us your all, all the time.  That’s not easy here, and we appreciate everything you’ve done to make this team a success.  And we hope you’ve had as much of a complete and total blast here as we have with you at the helm.  You acquired our instinctive faith, trust, and support, and we’re glad we were able to benefit from your talent.  Tito, it’s been most phenomenal.  And you will most certainly be missed.

All rumors point to the Other Sox.  Incidentally, this is something I better not hear anyone say: Tito intends to take a job with the Cubs and, oh, look, a few weeks later, so does Theo.  And I don’t even want to think about what it’s going to be like seeing him in the visitor’s dugout at Fenway or the home dugout somewhere else.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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I knew there was a reason why I absolutely abhor playing Toronto in September.  The reason is that they always manage to have our number in September.  Yesterday they had our number in more ways than one.  If you think of how badly the game could have gone, it actually went a thousand times worse.

We lost, 1-0.  I’m not kidding.  I didn’t even know that was possible.  The Jays hit a walkoff in the eleventh inning.  It was a solo shot off Wheeler, who for some bizarre reason felt compelled to leave a fastball over the middle of the plate.  And that was that.  Were there earlier opportunities to score? Obviously.  Did we take advantage of them? Obviously not.  We left ten on base and went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, almost the same as Toronto.  Reddick and Scutaro posted the game’s only multi-hit performances; each had two hits.  Of the team’s six hits, four were for extra bases, all of them doubles.

Let’s work backwards through the pitching staff; believe it or not, the loss wasn’t even the worst part of the game.  Paps pitched a scoreless inning, Bard pitched a scoreless one and two-thirds innings, Aceves pitched a scoreless three and two-thirds innings, and then there was Beckett.

Beckett, as you can see, was awesome.  He walked only one, struck out six, and gave up no runs on three hits.  But he only lasted three and two-thirds innings.  The reason why is the ultimate badness.

He’s injured.  With two out and a man on first, Beckett left the game with a right ankle issue.  He actually hobbled off the mound.  The strange part is that nothing happened.  A ball didn’t hit him, and he didn’t do anything during his delivery.  It just sort of occurred.  Was it precautionary to remove him from the game? It’s tough to say.  Giving a pitcher a few extra days off here and there and letting him take his time when he’s recovering from something is one thing; I don’t think Tito would actually remove a starter in the middle of a game unless it were serious unless he felt that, if he didn’t remove him, it would become serious.  Either way, if he’s seriously injured, this is bad news of the most towering proportions.

We are now in second place by two and a half games, the largest margin by which we’ve been in second since July 2.  But you have to hand it to the relief corps for a stellar effort in which everyone, especially Bard and Paps, were escaping jams left and right.  Honestly, I don’t even care.  I just want Beckett to get healthy.

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This is going to be a long post.  A long post means one of two things: either we were so terrible that an especially enormous rant is necessary, or we had a slugfest and I need the time and space to talk about all the runs we scored.  It’s the latter.  It’s most definitely the latter.

Let’s start with Lackey, who picked up the win.  His line was very similar to Bedard’s on Monday.  Lackey gave up four runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out five.  He gave up a solo shot with two out in the fifth.  He threw 106 pitches, sixty-four of which were strikes; for him, that’s pretty economical.

Not coincidentally, he gave up his first three runs in the inning during which he threw the most pitches: twenty-sixth in the third.  Three straight singles, a bases-loaded walk, and two sac flies.  The home run was on a cutter.  His best pitches were his least and most frequently thrown: his fastball and his cutter, respectively.  His slider and curveball were obviously decent enough.  He used only seven pitches in the fifth, fifteen in the sixth, and eleven in the seventh before he was pulled with two out in the inning in favor of Morales.  Morales secured that one out, and then Aceves pitched a scoreless eighth.  Wheeler allowed a solo shot in the ninth, which was not an epic disaster because, like I said, we were slugging.

Here’s the fun part.

It started with Ellsbury, who singled on the second pitch of the game.  He stole second and moved to third on a sac bunt by Scutaro.  Tito was clearly happy about his health:

He’s back about six seconds, and he’s standing on third.

Then Gonzalez stepped up, both literally and figuratively, and blasted one out of the park.  It was a slider that he put in the second deck in right field.  He came into the game with an eighty-four-at-bat power drought and had hit only one home run in his last 155 at-bats going all the way back to July 8.  Not any more.  And he just looked more confident and more at ease at the plate.  He looked more Adrian Gonzalez-like.  And he was just getting started.

Two consecutive singles and a strikeout opened the second.  Salty brought in one with a double, Ellsbury was intentionally walked, and a sac fly by Scutaro brought in another.

A groundout opened the third, followed by two consecutive singles.  Crawford brought in one with a sac fly, and Lavarnway brought in another with a double.

Heading into the bottom of the third, the Rangers were in a six-run hole.  That was when they scored their three runs.  In the long run, those three runs barely even made a dent.

Gonzalez came roaring back in the fourth with another home run.  It was the third pitch of the at-bat; all three were cutters.  It ended up in the seats in left center field.  It barely got out.  But out is out.

As if his offensive production weren’t enough proof that he’s healthy, Ellsbury made one of his signature running, leaping catches for the first out in the inning.  Coming off the bat, you were thinking that that ball was going to land in the gap, which is why you knew that somehow Ellsbury was going to find some way to haul it in.  Lackey even tipped his cap, a very nice gesture indeed.

We didn’t score at all until the eighth, when we added on four more.  A flyout, a single, a double, a groundout, a double – the ball bounced off the top of the padding on the wall in left; Tito thought it was a homer but the call withstood review – that brought in two, a hard-earned intentional walk to Gonzalez, and a double that brought in two more.

All nine starters collected at least one hit en route to the 11-5 crush.  Lowrie, Lavarnway, and Salty all went two for five.  But it was Gonzalez who stole the show.  He went three for four with a walk, three runs, and three RBIs.  He hit home run numbers nineteen and twenty for the twelfth multi-homer game of his career; the two home runs traveled a grand total of 806 feet.  He is now batting .346 with ninety-seven RBIs.  So Ellsbury’s back, Gonzalez seems to be back, and Papi will be back today.  It’s all just coming back together.

AP Photo

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It’s going to be another short post.  A short post means one of two things: either we won by a slim margin, or we lost by a slim margin.  Last night, I guess you could say we lost by a slim margin, although we didn’t really do anything to create any sort of a margin either way.

We got shut out.  The entire team managed four hits.  None of them were for extra bases.  Gonzalez, Pedroia, Crawford, and Lowrie each singled.  Gonzalez and Pedroia each walked once, and Lavarnway walked twice.  We went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.

Meanwhile, Bedard continues to improve with every start.  He gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings while walking one and striking out four.  But, as usual, that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The first run was the result of a walk, single, and single progression in the third.  That last single should never have happened.  With one out in the inning, Ian Kinsler hit a fly ball right at Reddick.  He dropped to his knees and made essentially a basket catch in his glove.  The catch was clean.  You can watch any replay of your choice, and you will see that it was blatantly obvious that the catch was clean.  I mean, if the catch was not clean, why would Reddick fire to first base? But for some bizarre reason that I can’t even begin to fathom, first base umpire Doug Eddings ruled that it was a trap, not a catch, and awarded Kinsler first base.  Eddings was wrong.  There are no two ways about it.  He was just flat-out wrong.  I don’t know what play Eddings was looking at, but he couldn’t have been looking at Reddick’s because that was a clean, spotless catch.  And that supposed single moved the runner to scoring position, and one single later, Texas was up by one.  Tito came out to argue, of course, but it didn’t help.

The rest of the runs were a result of a single, single, strikeout, and home run progression in the sixth on a two-seam with two out.  That one pitch ruined everything.  Take away the umpire’s completely false ruling, and make that pitch a little bit better, and for all we know we could have ended up winning in extras or something.

Overall, Bedard’s two-seam was much worse strikes-wise than his four-seam; his changeup was excellent, and his curveball wasn’t too far behind.  He threw 108 pitches, sixty-nine of which were strikes.  His highest count was twenty-eight in the sixth; he brought that down to twelve in the fourth and his lowest at only seven in the fifth.  He took the loss.  Albers and Morales combined for two scoreless relief innings.

We’re 0-4 in Arlington this year and two and eleven in Arlington since the start of the ’09 season.  Clearly, the playoff implications of that are not good.  We can take heart in the fact that, by the time October rolls around, we’ll have Youk, Ellsbury, and Papi back.  Honestly, those numbers look bad, but as far as the playoffs are concerned, I’m not worried.  It’s a whole different ballgame (pun intended).  I’m just really frustrated about Reddick’s catch.  That was ridiculous.

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