Thursday, July 21, 2016

Not a Student of the Game

On July 20, 2016, at Boston's Fenway Park,in what must've seemed like a made for television movie, Gregor Blanco came to bat with the bases loaded as a pinch-hitter and the Giants down 8-7.  This after the Red Sox had jumped out to an 8-0 lead!

In from the bullpen came Matt Barnes, a 6'4" right-hander from the University of Connecticut to see if he could douse the flame of this intense rally. And while the warm-ups are being thrown I'm wondering if Blanco is thinking about ways he could really mess with the reliever. The way I read how the old Negro Leaguers did it. Test the pitcher's fielding prowess by laying a bunt down the first base line (which is generally in the opposite direction of the pitcher's follow through when he throws right-handed). 

But then Gregor Blanco would have to be a Student of the Game to think along these lines and what happened was most definitely worst case scenario. He grounded one to the fortuitous Hanley Ramirez, who was having the game of his life in a pretty notable career mind you, stepped on first base then threw home in time to tag the runner from third (who just so happened to be Brandon Belt). 

Never again would the Giants threaten to take the lead in this game. With players like Brandon Belt and Buster Posey struggling mightily at the plate to drive runners in, along with shortstop Brandon Crawford missing some opportunities, this game seemed unlikely after the Red Sox jumped out to an 8-0 lead.

The strike zone of home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater (not pronounced, sewer-water, but close) was favorable to the Red Sox up until the 4th inning when he seemed to not like the movement of Drew Pomerantz's pitches any longer. And look what happened? Damn near an epic comeback stalled by a player's inability to be a student of the game. 

Kevin J. Marquez