Wednesday, December 10, 2008
DADDY FAT STACKS
CC signs record pitcher deal.
WHERE'S THE BEEF?
Sabathia starts 0-3; Yankee hopes in slow start already running thin.
CLASH OF THE TITANS
Sabathia pitch whizzes past David Ortiz's head; both players ejected, Yankees win.
OH SAY CAN YOU CC?
Sabathia pitches complete game no-hitter on America's, George Steinbrenner's, birthday.
Sabathia winning streak reaches 5; Yankees take wild card lead.
FATTY FATTY BAT SMACK
Red Sox batter Yankees 12-2; Sabathia lasts just 1.2 IP.
Yankees eliminated from playoff contention as Sabathia loses, 3-2; mere 15-win season leaves New York calling for blood.
SABATHIA IS A FAT FAT OVERPAID FAT FAT FUCK. FAT FAT.
A very special Joel Sherman column.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Yeah, that was a bad loss. Bad enough that the very dependable automated typewriter the Globe secretly replaced Dan Shaughnessy with after the 2004 season broke down:
"Fenway Park is already a morgue. Six feet under. So bad. So bad. So bad. So bad. So bad. So bad. So bad. So bad. @@)(#*)!)($_@#. Crush. Kill. Destroy."*
Tim Wakefield was chucking up lobs early and often, although Manny Delcarmen's return to shite form sealed the deal. But on the bright side, it was our best performance against Andy Sonnanstine yet! That'll come in handy when he comes back later in this series. Right?
(Checks pitching match-ups.)
Oh yeah. Right.
This is not 2007, in that this is not "Win one, go home for two." It's win one, pray that something resembling Josh Beckett shows up, then take your chances in Game 7.
It's bad. So bad. So not good. So bad. Tan mal.
*Quote slightly embellished. Could you tell?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Red of Surviving Grady has the optimism going today. I just don't feel like writing about what I saw, except to maybe say that if Paul Byrd was going to pitch like that if he came into Game 2 in the 5th inning (or even the 11th), I apologize sincerely to Terry Francona for doubting him. (And just wish we had David Aardsma on the roster instead of Dave Ross.)
Lester wasn't bad, just off. Just one awful inning.
Garza wasn't great, but no one hit. If shallow pop flies to center were home runs, David Ortiz would be having the greatest postseason ever.
It's 9:54 in the fucking morning and just talking about this makes me want a drink.
Are you ready to catch Wakefield fever? (Symptoms include a constant movement in the stomach/bowels similar to the movement on the knuckleball, sharp stabbing pains hit deep to left, and anal bleeding. Better call 1-800 54-GIANT.)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Having escaped the first of our possible two two-game backwater mini-series with a split, the result, from a straightforward perspective, is good. From an offensive perspective, even including "Big Game" James Shields' mastery (although, sorry, your nickname is taken), the corpse of Jason Varitek, and the decoy status of the Heavy-Set Patriarch, is good.
The pitching? Goes like this.
Surprisingly fucking awesome: Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Fucking awesome: The bullpen. (Javier Lopez's single pitch appearance being the only bullpen-related run, an inherited one at that.)
Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit:
While Game 1 featured Terry Francona pressing his luck with Daisuke Matsuzaka starting the 8th and getting away with it, Game 2 featured Francona perhaps still more pressing his luck, leaving Beckett in after a very long top of the 5th, having shown no signs of out-making in his previous 4 innings out there. Aside from a 2-seamer similar to good ol' zinger, the arsenal of Josh Beckett was not there. Bad location, not many appearances of the real curveball, 92 mph fastballs down the plate...I don't know what to say here.
I'm too busy listening to the game right now to go on too long, but here's your basic math in the 9=8 dumb math thing.
Very good Matsuzaka plus mediocre Beckett plus excellent Lester = Mediocre Matsuzaka plus excellent Beckett plus very little Lester.
In other words, this could all work out.
But it's 1-0 Tampa now off a walk, a dink hit, some bullshit ball Varitek let get past him that transformed the situation dramatically, and the wouldabeen double play ball that scored a run. And so I must be going.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Cute, Doc. If Curt had had his surgery in January, he would have been available for the ALCS.
At which time, having not even pitched so much as a minor league rehab start, we would throw him into the heat of action, as surely as Steve Nebraska threw his famed 81-pitch perfecto in his first major league start, Game 1 of the World Series.
Furthermore, Curt Schilling had no idea he was in poor health when he signed his easy $8 million in spite of comments he's made saying he "broke" his shoulder midway through last year and never fully recovered. None at all.
I believe that. (I also believe whoever on the Sox staff performed Curt's physical better be the trainer for a Cape Cod League team. Perhaps it was Dr. Craig Morgan?)
The bigger point here, doc, is that as my man Billy Preston put it, nothing for nothing leaves nothing. You gotta have something, if you wanna talk this shit.
A pitcher available just in time the American League Championship Series without any regular season starts is useful only to the most desperate of teams, usually the kind that don't make it that far.
And planning a player's season around his team making it to the ALCS is just stupid.
And attempting to get $8 million worth out of a pitcher in one, possibly two playoff series is genuinely impossible. The Red Sox needed some return on their value. They went for broke. It didn't work out. Surgery probably wouldn't have either.
Doc Morgan is proud of his work on Curt's shoulder, and that's great. He's so proud of his work that he's deeply disappointed Curt can't show it off in 2008; for that matter, he might not show it off in 2009. That's silly.
Schilling had it right the first time. And now, because he got it wrong the second time (Curt: "This city, this team. This is where we want to retire, raise our kids, and walk away.") we're fairly likely to see a dreadful half-season incarnation of the third time, probably not in Boston. The third time, in sports retirements, is rarely the charm.
Sometimes it's better to cut your losses than get booed off the stage. I'm clutching the cane just in case.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Dear John Lackey,
First of all, I feel your sadness. And so, I play this for you:
GROW THE FUCK UP. Are the Red Sox a better team than the Angels, definitively? No one can make such an assessment. Over these four games? Yes. Absolutely. No doubt.
Was it so tragic that "[Sunday] night they scored three runs on a pop fly that was called a hit, which was a joke." Depends. You know whose fault that was? YOUR TEAM. If any of them had at least made a move towards the ball and dropped it, they could have called it an error. Which would have been fair. And still scored three runs.
In other words, this comment constitutes throwing your defense under the bus. Which is your m.o. judging from the faces you made as Aybar let a Bay single go under his glove, and Figgins fucked up a throw to second. I bet your infield just loves playing behind you when you show them up.
What about how, "[Monday] night they scored on a broken-bat ground ball and a fly ball that anywhere else in America is an out, and he's fist-pumping on second base like he did something great." Well, there's two points here.
The broken-bat ground ball out: with runners on first-and-third, a ground ball out can score a run. That's baseball. I agree with you that it is unfair that it didn't score via blistering single delivered straight for your ear hole, John. That would have been more fair, scored a run, and left you bleeding. From your ear hole.
The "fly ball that anywhere else in America is an out." Well, let's see.
--In Citizens Bank Park, PNC Park, Yankee Stadium, and many other fairly small parks: It's an out. Out of the park. Dustin Pedroia was robbed of two bases and one RBI here, and the Red Sox were robbed of a 3-0 lead, by your logic. Cue the violin.
--In Williamsport, PA: A super homerun. Orange slices for everyone as they beat Curacao! (Hey, you said anywhere in America, John. I'm staying true to your word.
--In Anaheim: A double unless ol' man Anderson is playing deep. Maybe even so. He kinda clocked this one. And in Anaheim in August, it's a home run.
--Most importantly, in Boston, when hit on October 6, 2008: A motherfucking double. That's the park. It's been that way for 61 fucking years, when the Monster was built. You think it's unfair? Go cry with Bob Feller and Pat Darcy, since Fisk's home run wouldn't have been a fair ball in, um, Petco Park.
The game is the game is the game, and for hitting a solidly hit double unplayable in Fenway Park, Dustin Pedroia has the God-given right to pump his fist. Your team employs a dickhole who celebrates every save like he just won the Powerball. What are you talking about, John Lackey?
These are the grapes I am eating right now. They are sweet and delicious, let me tell you. But don't take my word for it. Keep believing they're sour. You dumb, self-centered, arrogant fuck.
Look forward to facing you in 2009,
ALDS Wrap-Up: Jon Lester is the new ace, Rally Monkey is the new dead, Anaheim Angels are the new Chicago Cubs.
Phew. I was jumping up and down when Jed Lowrie's hit went through, yes, but ultimately, were you celebrating this victory, or were you deeply, deeply relieved?
This wasn't exactly a "Eh, we can lose this one and get 'em the next game" situation, even if Buck Martinez thought this attitude was somehow responsible for a somewhat silent 3rd inning Fenway crowd. (Buck Martinez may have been a better manager than an announcer. I wish I was kidding.)
No, this was a, "We'd really better fucking win now, or we're taking our chances with our 3rd best starter, in Anaheim, having lost two heartbreakers in a row." This was Game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals, where the wounded Chicago Bulls wouldn't have even been able to suit up Scottie Pippen in Game 7. This was everything.
And wow, did it get harrowing. Game 3 was a huge factor in Game 4, because had Papelbon not pitched two innings, there is no way he wouldn't have come in with two on and two out in the 8th, for a four-out save. Instead, Torii Hunter came up big after Masterson crossed up Varitek on a wild pitch I still believe is officially a passed ball. Was Masterson bad last night? Er...kinda; I'd be more willing to give the benefit of the doubt had he not also almost put on the game-winning run with the leadoff double in the 9th. I still have faith in him all the same.
But let's focus on the positive.
Lester was magnificent. The shortest synopsis of this series I can give is: Lackey was very good, Lester was fucking brilliant.
Bay, as he put it himself, was better lucky than good on an end-of-the-bat double, but he was both lucky and good this series.
These shirts are stupid, but so is Papelbon, in just the right way.
We're going to miss Mike Lowell, but he was clearly a shadow of himself. As the two excellent plays Mark Kotsay made in Game 4 show (one a scramble forward that Youk wouldn't have had the speed to make, the other a classic over the shoulder catch), it might be a nice thing to have a center fielder playing first base. As for Youk, I've got no problem with a third baseman playing third base.
Relief pitchers dousing Boston police detective William Dunn. Why? Fuck the police.
Dustin, please, stop. You're hurting Daisuke.
John Henry is a pimp.
We may well have just beat the best team in either league this year, we may not have. It doesn't really matter now. Tampa Bay's legitimacy is unquestionable, as is the AL East's in 2008. They took one flag. Let's take the one that counts.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Another year, another series with Anaheim, a very different set of expectations, the very same result. Substitute a dominant performance from Josh Beckett for a stellar, slowly-building sort of start from Jon Lester, take a 2-run home run from David Ortiz and make it a vital, game-changing 2-run homer by Jason Bay, and the results aren't too different.
2007: Sox win 4-0, Lackey loses.
2008: Sox win 4-1, Lackey loses, bitches on about it.
It was a taut game where Lester started very shakily, but really found his footing and an absolutely wicked, downright spiteful curveball, as the innings went on. Even the run was unearned.
Justin Masterson's appearance in the 8th wasn't as shaky as it seemed--there was one solid single, one bloop made an out by a diving catch by an apparently-October-loving Jacoby Ellsbury (3-5, 2B, RBI), and one bloop over Youkilis' head made an out by Vlad Guerrero's dumb-assedness. Or forgetfulness that he wasn't fucking with Jason Giambi, or any other throw-averse first baseman. He was fucking with a bad motherfucker third baseman. And so he was out by three country miles. Thanks, Vlad.
A few insurance runs made this one go down easily in the 9th, and now we can give ourselves a hand while not going and sucking each others' dicks just yet.
(Well, maybe, maybe not. The 45 King's 2 a.m. text ["GAY FOR LESTER"] was merely the most overtly homoerotic Sox love message I received. I replied, "Gay for Bay." It's a special time of year.)
But I love Matsuzaka as my house money pitcher much more than as a pitcher of need. The Angels are a good but deeply mortal team with 100 wins fattened largely on the least competitive division in baseball. This could be fun.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Baseball Prospectus picks us. Far and away. Health don't fail us now.
It's actually good I'm going to be out on an anniversary date rather than waiting for this game to start, because the wait is going to be awhile. Yet another reason why not winning the AL East hurts: 10 p.m. starts to start this series. Work productivity in New England from the hours of 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. is about to go dramatically down. Just what this economy needs.
A moment of silence for the Minnesota Twins; if there were justice, the head-to-head tiebreaker would determine home field for the 163rd game rather than a fucking coin flip, but then again, the Twins had a chance to get their own justice. Against the Royals. Thus, they had to enter the blackout. (Dumbest fan stunt ever, by the way. What could be more intimidating than a crowd...that doesn't appear to be there?! Worked wonders for the Georgia Bulldogs last Saturday too.)
The Twins are a young team with good pitching, and a likeable team too; I'm sorry to see them go even if I think they're the more likely unlikely run of the two AL Central teams. A Chicago-Chicago World Series isn't happening, but the mere possibility of it is a heavy one. My parents live in Chicago. I don't want them to be around when Chicago '68 II: Ozzie Strikes Back! starts.
I almost care about the NL playoffs this year. The Cubs could be somewhat real.
Maybe I don't. The Cubs are the 2004 Cardinals redux: good to go down in 5 in the World Series unless the White Sox make it.
I don't know what to expect tonight. Lackey gives up home runs by the bunch this year, so I think he'll give up two tonight; the outcome of the game hinges on if there are runners on when they are hit.
Let's go get it.
Friday, September 26, 2008
They didn't invent them, but they make them (in)famous in America, giving lazy fans everywhere an alternative to using their precious palms and fingers and voices to make noise.
Males above the age of 11 who use these are akin to men of the same demographic who still bring a glove to the game. (Women are still allowed free reign in both categories, so long as they aren't wearing pink hats/jerseys.)
If you aren't the drum guy at Jacobs Field (or maybe, maybe, maybe cowbell guy), make noise the old-fashioned way, please. It's a slippery slope downward to megaphones, noisemakers, firecrackers and party favors.
4) Fake rocks in a stadium.
Is this a Par 3 or Par 2? Where's the pirate hole? Where's the goddamn windmill?
5) Los Angeles of Anaheim of California of...
You know the worst thing about Arte Moreno's idiotic gambit to jump through the city of Anaheim's legal loopholes while grabbing up the L.A. market? (Besides the fact that it serves as a reminder of what the Angels gave up oh so many name changes ago?)
The worst thing is, it's worked. The Angels are L.A's team. (For the moment.) Never overestimate the intelligence of Southern California.
On the plus side, Arte dropped beer prices.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
1) This movie.
2) The third order standings at Baseball Prospectus (click to here and look below if you want an explanation but it's basically the most sophisticated Expected Wins/Losses in the game) go as follows across the Leagues:
Team W L
Red Sox 99.2 56.8
Rays 93.7 61.3
Cubs 90.6 64.4
Blue Jays 88.1 67.9
Yankees 87.1 68.9
Mets 85.1 70.9
Chi Sox 85.0 70.0
Dodgers 84.5 71.5
Angels 81.9 75.2
In other words, we're going against the weakest team in the AL. Kinda. Sorta puts the strength of the AL East in perspective too, when 4 of the division's 8 teams are in the top 8 in the majors. The AL West, you'll notice, is the only AL league without a team in the top 8. Angels were 11th, just .3 expected wins against the Indians.
So let's celebrate a little, bitches. Get Devern Hansack ready for a start. Build J.D. Drew an exoskeleton and get him some at-bats. It's coasting time.
Monday, September 22, 2008
As an umpire, you probably know these things. All the same, let's review.
This is home plate.
This is not home plate, although it is within the strike zone you granted Rafael Betancourt in the bottom of the 7th. The pitch you said Josh Beckett was ball four for a walk earlier in the game was much more borderline, and was not in South Boston.
(Josh Beckett's pitches do not go into South Boston. They support busing and hate that bitch Louisa Day Hicks.)
In conclusion, if Derek Lowe was still on the Red Sox, this is the sign he would give you:
You're a dick and you have a record of it, too. Suck it dry.
Yours in Christ,
I was going to write something on the closing of Yankee Stadium, the most lucrative nostalgia stunt I can recall in recent baseball history, but Paul Lukas said everything I wanted to say and more.
And Deadspin collected all the Bronx charm of it all beautifully. ("Fucking Eskimos!")
So all I really have to add is my favorite Yankee Stadium story.
It's game 2 of the 2001 ALDS, and me and two friends managed, with surprising ease, to get three tickets to see the Yankees take on the A's; the party consists of:
--My friend Cameron, who would be a die-hard A's fan if it were legal to be die-hard about anything in the state of California, and who proudly wears a 2001 Wild Card Champions (an oxymoron if ever was one) into The Stadium. Cameron is a large man, bearded, with tremendous mushroomed hair, a beautiful full-blown Hebro.
--Matthew, not really a baseball fan, and thus there mainly for the spectacle and havoc to come.
--Myself, Red Sox fan/antagonist, clad in an unfitted A's cap I'd been given years back by a family friend, plastic backing of which just broke on me yesterday. (Omen?)
The seats we so easily acquired, I might have mentioned, were right field bleacher seats. Cameron and I knew very well we were risking our necks and lives, but he loves the A's, and I hate the Yankees. And after the game at last started, after a bizarre delay (even then, in the wake of you know what) to listen to President Bush give vague and jingoistic answers to questions in a rare press conference, the game begins, as does our unwanted attention.
When the Red Sox are in town, there are plenty of Sox fans in the Stadium stands.
When the Orioles, Blue Jays, or another nearby team are in town, there are pockets of their fans.
Even when the Angels are in town (post-2002), there are fans.
But there are rarely any A's fans in Yankee Stadium, and that night, we had to be the only ones.
Through a taut and thrilling pitching duel between Tim Hudson and Andy Pettite, the fans around us hardly seemed to watch the game. At least if they couldn't awkwardly position themselves to watch the game and wave their fingers at us which chanting that one magic word:
"AAASSSSHOLE! AAAASSSHOLE! AAASSSSHOLE!"
I was at once mildly terrified to be this alone in a sea of assholery and a bit amused, especially when most of the section was turned against us and thus didn't get to see the capper on the game, Ron Gant's 9th inning solo home run, the second and final run of the game. Matthew, clad in no man's gear, grinned ear to ear, contemplating the fiasco of our exit to come. And Cameron was probably too into the game to fully understand what he was in the middle of and would soon become the focal point of.
Because some time before the Gant home run, maybe around the 5th, the crowd seized upon my friend's unruly hair, and seized upon a moment of collective genius. Their invention was a chant.
On our way walk-running out of the Stadium, I didn't hear the very first call of "Take off your hat!" from a truly Bronxian voice, unfair as that ritual is. ("My" team won: therefore, I "win" the right to wear it wherever I please, Sal.) So an anonymous hand tried to rip it off my head, and took my neck back aways with his reach. But I saved my hat and my neck, and the three of us got the fuck back to New Haven. But not before one guy, running faster than us, caught up with me. He had no shit to talk though.
He just said, "Ay, I jus'wanted to let you know, my brother Tom is sorry. He didn't mean it."
I left the old yard with genuine affection for it that day. The new one is such a reach of greed, it's a major reason my friend Patrick, forever a lover of Mattingly, no longer roots for the team.
Rest in peace, Yankee Stadium (II). You were no longer a thing of beauty, but you were what remained of the tarnished Yankee soul.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
You're awesome. Great win. Hope you take the ChiSox out, because they are dickholes. In this guy's model. (Except for good ol' Orlando Cabrera, of course.) Better still, good win for us. Sweep the Rays, and if we somehow meet you in the first round, I swear it will at least go 4.
Get ready for Anaheim, people: unless this peppy little Little League team played themselves out in (AGAIN!) coming back from losing the first game in a Red Sox series to winning the series, we ain't taking no flag. What a miserable performance, although biggest demerits go to Wakefield, who had absolutely nothing, and Lopez, whose decision to field a weak dribbler from the side eventually allowed two more runs to score in a game already getting away from the Sox in the 3rd.
Who does Francona go with as his #4 starter in the playoffs? Count my vote for the weak-throwing guy who tips his pitches over the veteran who happened to throw one excellent 8 inning shutout start lodged between two turds. At this point, I'd rather see the shake than another knuckleball for the rest of the season; seriously. I'd almost rather see the Harlem shake for that matter.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Last night I was pissed about...last night, but in the light of day, fuck it.
Fuck that we can't hit Andy Sonnanstine. (So long as he's given strike three on curveballs that dance around the plate while never actually breaking the strike zone....I want laser sensors that actually detect a pitch going over the plate if not robotic umpires, stat.)
Fuck that the Rays celebrate wins like a buncha little leaguers.
Fuck it that this lil' minimally talented douchenozzle jumped up and down in pain on a pitch that actually hit his bat. Guess what it was called?
Fuck it all. You can't win many games when you can only score one unearned run. This will be a mightier lineup with Bay and (perhaps?) Drew rather than the all-"scrappy" team of Ellsbury, Crisp, and Kotsay, who I'm already tired of and kinda missing Bobby Kielty, or even Brandon Moss.
Fuck it, cause we've got Beckett, and he is back. Eight innings, 95 pitches, 7 strikeouts, 3 hits. Second straight very good/excellent start against a top AL team.
I don't know if we're taking this series, because I don't know which Wakefield will show up. But I have an oddly good feeling about our overall perspective with our rotation in the playoffs, two top-notch starters coming righty-lefty (Beckett-Lester), one usually excellent five-six inning pitcher (Matsuzaka), and a crafty veteran who is baffling when on (Wakefield). I feel pretty good about this team, still.
Taking the series would be nice, though.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Look really closely at that image. Closer. Closer. See a little spec in one of those catwalks in the middle of this of this fucking awful 18 year old former hockey stadium? That's where Jason Bay hit his shot to begin the 7-run onslaught in the 4th inning that ended Scott Kazmir's terrible start, effectively ending the game and the Rays' divisional lead. Apparently the first of its C-Ring kind. (Nine years into Tropicana Field: The Baseball Years I still can't believe I'm talking about catwalks and baseball. This place and most of the thinking behind granting Tampa Bay a franchise into such a vacuum can suck a C-Ring (NSFW).)
Anyway. We're tied. Ladies and gentlemen, Sox and Rays we are unmoored from the chains of [#] GB, and are floating in space, respectively 12 and 14 games from season's end. Some say it doesn't much matter how this end and it just matters we prove we can beat up on Tampa wherever the game may be. I disagree. All I really want's a divisional crown to take the pain away.
Okay, right, I root for a team that has taken 2 of the last 4 World Series. Pain isn't really my power. All I really want's a divisional crown because I want a divisional crown and would rather let the Rays take their turn with the Angels first, damnit. The first round of the playoffs is the scariest one to survive, and the White Sox are the best possible matchup for the Red Sox in what would be a short, sharp shock of a series, while Rays-Angels seems like the definition of a 5-game series.
That and there's just something about pennants. There's no dishonor in taking the wild card, and we all know how far one can go off it, sometimes even for both Series opponents. But Wild Cards don't look right on a flag. You can't brag about second place as surely as you don't win friends with salad.
Beckett looked great last time out, and Sonnanstine is an old Irish term for "pushing one's luck. Grab that lead and let's start to hoist that rag, boys.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I love this picture. Reasons:
a) The contrast between Pedroia and Lyle Overbay, who looks 9' 8", 300 lbs, reminds you again that Dustin would have no right to be a professional [any sport other than baseball] player. I love this game.
b) The contrast between the infuriated Overbay, called out at 2nd (incorrectly), and Pedroia, who put on the "tag" and knew he wasn't out, smiling. It's an imperfect game. Gotta take joy in when you get away with one.
c) The mischevious grin. Reminds me of this dude.
One excellent Wakefield start was a no-doubter, but between the comeback game in the nightcap to the semi-disasterous Papelbon save where the "play" was the difference between tying runs on 2nd and 3rd, no outs, and runner on 3rd, one out, the other two wins were very much questionable outs. We played our way out of one this series, got away with another, and those wins are the stuff winning teams are made of.
Now, 1 game out from a still-struggling Tampa Bay (albeit, one going home), we have a bizarro repetition of last week. Yet, six games with Tampa and Toronto, this time on the road. It's going to be a tough week full of familiar matchups, starting with the pitch count takers' nightmare (Matsuzaka-Kazmir) and the mismatch-that-rarely-is (Beckett-Sonnastine), and it might not mean much as far as making the playoffs matters, actually. But as far as proving this team playoff ready, this is everything.
Oh, that and taking the AL East again and thus earning the right to concuss the already bloodied-up AL Central winner to be.
Let's go get it.