Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Game Report: Long Beach @ Reno (8/21/2007)

All I can say is "wow". Last night was easily one of the best Sox games of the year. It had more drama that we see in most major league games and, for the faithful who stayed until the end, a great finish...well, that and the first ever dizzy bat race between Slugger and Nugget!

The game was going along fine. The score was tight (3-2 Reno) and the Sox looked great on the defensive end of the ball. Through 8-2/3 innings, the Sox had no errors and starter Nick Moran allowed those two runs on a half dozen hits while amassing 10 strike outs! Of course, though, in true baseball fashion, you can't keep a good team down and first place Long Beach proved that when Gabe Mayorga hit a game tying homerun with 2 outs in the top of the ninth.

Mayorga was the last person you'd expect that from as he was hitting .249 with just three jacks over 211 at bats. But miracles are so much a part of baseball that you really can't use that word anymore. So congrats to a young man who got to have one of those at bats we all dream of.

The Sox hung tough and finally won on some good small ball when Done singled, stole second and then scored on a Sam Walker single. And, in addition to this being the first walk off win of the season for the Sox (according to Ben Deach on last night's broadcast) it also came after the Armada intentionally walked Chuck Sindlinger to get to Walker. Tell me that is not sweet revenge.

So a great game with a great result. The only negative I saw happened with Juan Senreiso. On one play he was on second when the next batter grounded to the pitcher. Juan, already starting towards 3B, just dropped into a jog as he figured he was out. Then the pitcher threw the ball away and Juan scrambled to get to third and/or potentially score. Then, a couple of pitches later, he got picked off third. First a complete lack of hustle and then getting picked off third in a tight game with the #1 team in the league. I am sure Les had a nice chat with Senreiso so I doubt we'll see that again. It just bugged me to see that lack of hustle. And it bugs me at every level. My favorite MLB guys are Ichiro and Griffey Jr. Ichiro sets the standard for hustle and Grif usually does too. However this year, Kenny hit a ball he figure was gone so he just watched it as he walked to first...and then it bounced off the wall so all he could get was a single. I am not going to say I was a good as Grif or even Senreiso but I can tell you that one thing I learned was you always run the play out because that is just how the game is played. It is something I have instilled in my children and it only takes a Griffey or Senreiso incident as I described above to point out why. But even good players make mistakes and the season is long. That is why mental toughness is such a part of baseball that many people take for granted.

Anyway, enough of the soapbox.

Announced attendance was 989.

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