Tito And The Time-bomb

Posted on June 6, 2011

Tito and the time-bombLast nights Red Sox game between the fifth and eight and innings was a little glimpse into crazy. Not crazy in that Francona left him in, but the reason behind why he had to leave him in. Terry Francona the manger of the Boston Red Sox in genuinely afraid of his pitcher John Lackey’s mental state right now. Lets take a look at this closely so as not to miss any sense of how crazy John Lackey is right now.

5th Inning Top, 2 outs – John Lackey steps up the plate with Reddick on base. Reddick got his second single of the game but only the third hit given up by the Mofrock wonder-boy Worley. Lackey proceeds to smash the ball to the deepest part of the field. A sheer anger swing from the heals. He wielded that bat like a revolting migrant worker swings a sickle in protest. “If these ass-whole teammates of mine won’t do their jobs then I will” kind of swing. The result is run scoring double that ties that game at one a piece. He is pitching better then he has in over a month, and he is already steaming, a slow simmer for John, but the bubbles are coming. His teammates are jovial in the dugout in the hope that maybe this will put ole John into a good mood and maybe, just maybe, he will brood a little less. A step in the right direction, something good is actually happening to him. Francona knows at this moment that he may have to let John go a little extra in this one even if he thinks better of it, he can’t risk the Johnsplosion.

6th Inning Bottom, 1 out – Lackey walks Chase Utley, who proceeds to steal second on the worst play by a catcher in recent memory. Salty does not even realize that Utley is running until he has the ball in his hand and is about to make the casual throw back to Lackey. A total lapse by a catcher, very alarming, and not unnoticed by the mercury rising hurler. Lackey is known for his physical displays of disappoint when one of his fielders muffs a play or just can’t reach one of the many tattooed grounders into the hole. Nothing is his fault, there is always a finger to point. He gets out of the inning unscathed and this even buoys him up a little more as getting out of jams has been the exception and not the rule this year.

7th Inning Top, 2 outs – Salty has gotten a walk and is now on second base after a fielders choice. He remains there after a Scutaro fly out to right. During this at bat we are shown Lackey in the on-deck circle? This is a tie ball game, in the seventh inning, a man on second and two outs and Tito decides to stick with his Pitcher to bat? A Pitcher with rumored elbow trouble, a pitcher who took cortisone shots during his recent DL stint, a pitcher with a 7.36 ERA? Why Terry? Why would he do this? Fear. “He will absolutely meltdown right here and now if I take him out of this game with a pinch hitter. He might even take a swing at me”. What else could it have been. So Lackey grounds out, inning over, and onto the bottom of the seventh we go, all tied at one run each.

7th Inning Bottom, 0 outs – Further evidence of the trembling Terry is that the first batter for the Phillies is Raul Ibanez. Now stepping up to the plate with a career 21 for 57 record against Lackey and two of those hits earlier in this game. Why is this happening, any manger would stop this right now, saber-metrics or not, this is just plain….yes, their it is again…. crazy. “Do I want John straddling me in my hotel bed tonight, his big chubby fingers wrapped around my throat? Or I could just let him pitch to this guy and lets see what happens…yup that sound good”. Dinger, Phillies lead 2-1. Lackey meanwhile makes a whip around motion and glares at Salty saying “nice call, you shit”, even though Lackey had shaken him off on the fateful pitch. Home Run right out of the gate in the seventh. “I can’t go out there right now, I gotta let him cool down or my face might meet his knee as he hands me the ball”. Tito lets him stay in.

8th Inning Bottom 0 outs – Still 2-1 and Terry is trying really hard to get John the win. After another anemic offensive turn by the Red Sox hitters the smoke is starting to show. First hitter for the Phillies, Jimmy Rollins, singles to right field. At this point Terry is pounding the Maalox, but stays put. Shaking, while starting to think of what to say when the inevitable walk to the mound begins. Morales, gets up in the pen to start warming up…Lackey does not even notice. His insane brain packed with narcissistic visions of grandeur does not allow him to even think that anyone would have the balls to cross him and disrespect him like that. Not now, not in this game. Lackey gets a double play grounder to feed again his insatiable ego’s appetite. Then Chase Utley causes Terry to cough a little throw up into his mouth as he Triple’s off the top of the wall sending the Gonzalez experiment gingerly against it, in a “God I hope I don’t get injured” effort that clearly shows that Adrian either does not care about Lackey’s loose screws, or he has a lack of intelligent fear of him. Terry sucks in a deep breath, puffs up his chest like armor and heads out of the dugout, like a man heading to the gallows. At this moment Lackey see’s Terry coming and immediately whips his head around again. This time his fireball eyes are directed to the bullpen where he now notices that a pitcher has been getting ready. The f-bombs begin before Terry is even half way out there. Terry now has his hands performing the international symbol for “calm down”, with his classic puppy dog look as he chokes out “Aw cheez big guy, you were great tonight”. All the while the commentators are saying little more then “I don’t think he wants to come out”. Ya think? He drop a few more “bullshits” and slams the ball into Terry’s frail hand and perform’s his well patented and masterful storm walk across the diamond and down the steps.

Wrap-up – Lackey proceeds to stay and watch so he can witness the inferior player that has taken his place. He is watching and waiting for the run explosion so he can glare at Francona some more. He sidles up next to some rookie player I can’t even name and starts ranting his case. The veterans are well aware of this move and clearly start fake conversations with anyone they can so as not to have to engage with pure crazy. Leave it to the rookie, it’s part of the hazing ritual. Spend five minutes with John after just being yanked. I think it’s number 6 on the list right next to – try and tell a joke to J.D. Drew. The Sox pitching holds up, but the bats remain silent and they go on to lose 2-1. The only run knocked in by Lackey himself. Who wants first question at the press conference?

Terry clearly can’t manage this way. The Johnsplosion just has to happen so this team team can stop the eggshell walking and get on with this season. This was just a glimpse remember, a small and somewhat subtle hint of things to come…bad things.

News & Notes

- I lost the bet below as Gonzalez did not score. As just about everything I said about the Beckett game was right, I got just about everything wrong in this one. Worley was awesome, Papi was a no show, and runs were not produced at all.

- Sox won in the day game today 5-2 to salvage something in Philly. Tek and Elsbury played well but is Josh Reddick starting to give you that tingly feeling as well?

Stats:

50/50Bets:Record Overall = 62-60-2
Win Percentage = 50.81%

Best Bets = 15-7
Best Best Win Percentage = 68.18%

Kitty Total = $610.00

Sportsbook
Profit/Loss = – ($531.43)

Long Odds Bets:
Record = 1-24
Money Invested = $510.00
Winnings = $300.00

Categories: sports-commentary


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