Friday, July 18, 2003


In cartoons, you see it all the time. A character blithely walks out over a cliff without any sort of support, only to fall when it's pointed out to him that gravity suggests they really shouldn't be there.

Last winter, the Red Sox hired Voros McCracken to develop statistics and research for them. Voros's most famous work is something called Defense-Independant Pitching Statistics (DIPS), which to oversimplify, says that pitchers have very little control over what happens to balls in play, and the surest path to success is to strike out a lot of people while avoiding walks or home runs. These are things most pitchers want to do anyway, but this was the first time balls in plays were minimized so much, with numbers to back it up. Considering that Lowe's success last season flies in the face of DIPS, having the guy who developed the system on staff and showing Lowe his work might be the equivelent of the Roadrunner pointing down while Wile E. Coyote stands out over open air. The best thing to do would be to shore up the infield defense behind him, but it takes a miracle to get Freddy Sanchez into a game.

Lowe really had nothing last night. In four innings, he didn't get much in the way of ground ball outs, what important outs he did get seemed to come via the K, and a few defensive miscues hurt him bad. The bullpen was mostly solid, aside from that blast mite-y Casey gave up, so at least something good can be said of the pitching. Still, it seemed to take a lot more effort than it should have - Lowe threw about 80-90 pitches in his four innings, but most telling was Chad Fox throwing 30 pitches in the top of the seventh, while Halladay had thrown something like 60 pitches in the first six. Of course, he was just having a good game - the flaw in the whole take-and-rake strategy is that when a guy like Halladay shows up and throws strikes, a hitter can be down 0-2 quickly, without much to show for it.

Despite all that, I had a fine time indeed at the ballpark. I called my brother to see if he wanted to use my spare ticket, but he had to work late. I suspect he wouldn't have minded too much when he saw where I was seated - not being a big fan of heights, being in the last row of those steep right-field roof box sections might not have appealed to him. Fortunately, I was able to unload the ticket for $20 before the game, and the guy apparently just wanted to get in because he didn't sit next to me (which is fine, because he looked kind of sketchy). I probably could have gotten more, what with the game being a sellout, but it was a single ticket, twenty minutes before game time. Besides, I have a fear that if I sell a $37 ticket for $38, I watch the game from jail. Just because the vermin scalp tickets pretty openly in front of the gate doesn't mean you can't get picked up for selling an individual ticket, right?

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