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Sunday, April 03, 2005

O Holy Day

Okay, the 2005 baseball season is officially under way with the first game in Yankee Stadium, Yanks and Red Sox. The incredible Randy Johnson vs. the incorrigible David Wells. I was thinking about liveblogging the game, but Baseball Musings has that covered.

I was looking forward to Jason Giambi's first at-bat. Giambi is going to hold my interest this year; I think he'll be a great test case for how a player can perform post-steroids. He turned on an inside fastball from Wells and ripped it by Kevin Millar at first base into right field for a single. Seemed to me that he got on top of the ball. It was just a little too high and a little too inside for him to be able to extend on with an uppercut swing. Not much can be told from one at-bat, but I'll say this: Giambi does not look much smaller to me, and from the swing he put on that pitch from Wells it didn't look to me like he's lost much bat speed, if any.

Now it's the bottom of the third inning and things are getting interesting. The Yanks have scored two off Wells to raise the score to 2-1. Renteria booted a ball, and now Matsui's on 2nd and Posada's at 1st, with Giambi at the plate and 2 outs. Wells gets ahead 0-2 on him, then throws inside. Giambi doesn't move back, kind of looked like he stuck his right elbow out further. Anyway, it's a hit-by-pitch to load the bases. And now Wells is behind the aging Bernie Williams 2-0. 2-1, now, on a foul ball. Now 2-2 on a curve that Williams swung over, and Wells balks! All runners advance one base, making the score 4-1. The 2-2 pitch is another curveball that Williams took a weak wave at. Strike 3.

Looks like the Sox have a hell of hill to climb in this one now. Johnson with a three-run lead is not something any team wants to face, because this sort of thing is what you get from him: in the top of the fourth, David Ortiz strikes out, Millar flies out weakly to short, Varitek gets fooled by a pitch but gets lucky when it heads down the third base line where a fan touches it. Interference gives Varitek 2nd base, but it doesn't matter because Payton grounds out weakly to short. It's very hard to get an aggressive swing against the Big Unit.

This is baseball.

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