Monday, October 7, 2013

Quirky Fenway

Well, that went just about as well as two games can go, right?

I think my favorite part of the whole weekend was Joe Maddon’s post game comments where he said that the Red Sox took advantage of Fenway’s quirks better than the Rays did. That’s why they won. I could see where he’d be frustrated, though. After all, his home ballpark doesn’t have any quirks whatsoever.

Oh, wait. That’s right.

But, to be fair, the Trop doesn’t have the same quirks that Fenway does. For instance, I was watching one of the games this weekend. The left fielder was drifting back for a flyball, when suddenly the grass under his feet turned into a dirt strip. This quirk made him turn around to watch the ball bounce off a wall, and scoot right by him. Once, it resulted in a triple! What a freak feature of the park.

There was this other weird one. At least a couple times David Ortiz hit a flyball to right field. Myers ran back to catch the ball. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, this wall popped up. Myers had to stop running, and the ball went over the wall. Ortiz was able to run all the way around the bases uncontested. What’s going on with that?

Then there was the best one. Again with Myers. He’s drifting back to catch a ball hit by Ortiz. (Wow, that Ortiz guy is lucky. He must know where all the quirks are, and hit the ball towards them.) Myers is camped out under the ball ready to make the catch, when suddenly out of the corner of his eye he sees another Rays player. This quirk makes Myers think this other player can catch the ball so he ducks out of the way. The ball bounces past him and over the wall. Ortiz actually ends up at second on the play. What other park would have these random people on the field dressed in Rays uniforms? It’s really unfair to the visiting team to allow these things to happen.

Maddon was right in that none of the quirks seemed to help the Rays either. I saw this one play where a Rays batter hit a ball that scooted along the ground. Instead of hitting a rock and bouncing over the fielder’s head, the ball went right into the glove. Sometimes, this even resulted in two outs on one play!

All this puts the Sox in a very good position. Maddon is calling the Sox lucky. David Price is busy bragging about how many strikeouts he had in a Little League game. Molina’s saying that nobody wants to be in their terrible position. (Of course, he’s ignoring all the teams that didn’t even make the playoffs. I’d say there’re at least 20 teams who would be thrilled to be in his position.)  They’re a far cry from the team that won all those elimination games in a row. They look completely outmatched.

And Clay Buchholz goes tonight.

That was the beauty of the Sox rotation, right? There’s a depth there that not many teams can match. When your number three starter has a sub-two ERA, things are looking very good for you. You have to assume that runs will be at a premium for the Rays. That’s not what you want when you’re fighting for your playoff life. Especially with your ace out of the next two games.

This will be a big top of the first inning. If the Sox can scratch one across early, it could go a long way towards getting in the heads of the Rays. Imagine going to the bottom of the first down 1-0 and Clay on the hill. Or even just a few momentum grabbing plays.

Something off the catwalks would be perfect.

Then the Sox could out-Trop the Rays too.

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