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October 13, 2004

The Good, The Bad, and The Sturtze.
by sj

Game One Recap

You certainly don’t see that everyday. A win is a win, especially in the postseason, but what would have been a statement win, became a “thank God they didn’t blow it” win. In game one, a lot of good things happened, but a lot of flaws were exposed.

Good: Matsui’s Bat.

The first double was impressive only in that “he got that pitch in the air?” kind of way. The second and third doubles were crushed. He is becoming a feared hitter in a lineup full of feared hitters. After the game, Sheff said Hideki has “the best plate coverage on the team.”

Bad: Matsui’s Glove.

What in the hell? The first one was hard, but he didn’t take a great angle on a pretty hard hit ball, and it hit the edge of his glove. It could have been made, but it wasn’t a terrible mistake. At that point in the game, all it really did was screw up Moose’s line. The Ortiz triple (triple!) absolutely should have been caught, no exceptions. He overran it and it hit his glove, again. Not just his hit his glove, hit inside the creamy the center of his glove, a major league outfielder must catch that ball, no exceptions.

Good: Moose.

He was fantastic, the knuckle curve was biting, his fastball was live, and his control was outstanding. He looked, for a while, like the Moose on the hill in Cleveland in 1997.

Bad: Umpiring

Unacceptable. The strike zone was inconsistent all night, it made no sense. The Yanks got the benefit of the doubt on most of the calls. From the gift strike to Mueller on 1-0, to the gift ball call to Sheffield in the ninth, the Yanks can’t expect those all series. Questec will probably have some data to show Randy Marsh tonight.

Good: Sheffield

He had some big hits, and scored a couple runs. He has never had big postseasons before, in fact, he had something of a Bonds pre-2002 reputation. That is fading now.

Bad: Varitek woke up.

He had been historically bad Yankee Stadium lately. He looked lost at the plate all season in the Bronx. Even though it was Sturtze, it was still a homer.

Bad: Jorge Posada

I love Jorge, but he always wears down in the postseason, and he is 4-21 this postseason. With Pedro going tomorrow, expect another collar.

Bad: Sturtze

I think Sturtze has been adequate in his spot starter mop-up role this year. For some reason, Crazy Joe has upped that role to third man out of the bullpen. Call it the major league equivalent of the Peter Principle. Sturtze can throw hard but he rarely locates his pitches well. Even at 96 mph, missing over the plate means hard hit balls. I know Quantrill has been bad, but when everything in Sturtze’s history would indicate he is not the best option at Joe’s disposal.

Good: Mo

It is hard to overstate how difficult today was for Rivera. He didn’t just bury two relatives; he buried two relatives, on another continent. Then he got on a plane and flew to NYC, and got 4 outs in a game he should have never had to pitch in. This was much more than an ordinary save.

Good: Bernie

He isn’t dead.

Good: Enweakque Wilson

Didn’t play, and that is never a bad thing.

Good: A Win.

Winning in the postseason is always huge. But even more, it was a win against Schilling. I know Schilling is banged up, but he was brought to Boston to win this game, Game One at Yankee Stadium. I am sure extended negotiations this winter, Theo or Henry brought up this very start, winning this game would have been very big for them. The Sox loss means the Sox must get four wins with three starts left from Pedro and Schilling.

It could have gone better, but we’ll take it.