For some baseball fans, the baseball season is officially upon us at the arrival of spring training and the annual trip to the desert. For others, it's the opening day hoopla and first pitch pageantry. Some fans are more visceral, like the smell of freshly cut grass or the sound of a leather glove popping during a backyard game of catch.
This was a tough one, but at least it was an exciting one, I suppose(or to some, ulcer inducing).
The starting pitchers tonight really showed up to play. Tyler Chatwood, the young Angels upstart, was damn good from the beginning. He got into minor jams in each of the first four innings, giving up hits and some walks(a lot of the time, due to a horrible strike zone...but a bit on that later), but Chatwood and the Angels defense would step up each time and get out of the side unscathed. Chatwood pitched six innings and gave up on 2 runs, both off a Jacoby Ellsbury single with runners at first and third in the sixth inning. I think 2 runs allowed by Chatwood, against this Boston team, is really something to hang his hat on. He didn't get the win, but I think he looked great and will hopefully be able to learn and grow from this nailbiter.
Josh Beckett was the better pitcher tonight, though. Most of the Angels left on base tonight were from walks, and the only time Beckett was really in trouble was the seventh, when Bobby Abreu walked, and Torii Hunter came up and sent a pitch deep over hedges in center field. It seemed like the Angels might've cracked Josh Beckett, but he would end up getting out of that inning, as well as managing to stay in for another scoreless half inning in the eighth.
The Angels ended up weathering a few storms(here's where the ulcers came in) thanks to Hasanori Takahashi and Fernando Rodney doing their best to get Red Sox on base...just to make things interesting, I guess. TrAdition. To their credit, they also got out of their respective jams, but in close contests such as this one, I'd prefer to have uneventful relief pitching appearances.
It was in the 11th, Rich Thompson in pitching, when the Angels just couldn't hold the Red Sox back any longer(I will add, though, that he had just come in the previous inning and marvelously struck out the side. It was beautiful). With two men on, Rich Thompson hung a pitch to Adrian Gonzalez that resulted in a double, and gave the Chowderheads the one run lead. After that, some more Red Sox got on, Dustin Pedroia scored on a sac fly, the game was 4-2, done. Fin. And I was exasperated.
But I was also fuming. I was angry at the HORRIBLE strike zone the home plate umpire had. I don't know how this game was as close as it was. I guess that is just a testament to the Angels pitching. I am angry at Erick Aybar for DOING THE STUPIDEST PLAY OF THE SEASON SO FAR!!! Why was he looking back at the ball on what should've been a double? Why was he running anyway? Why the heck wasn't Pedroia out after running a mile out of the baseline to avoid a Maicer Izturis tag?!?!? WHY?!?!
I hate the Red Sox. I hate them so much.