It's Friday night. What better time than to drink away your stock market losses and vaguely remember which AL East team dominated the first game of a curiously exciting ALCS. The pitchers are Daisuke "Dice-K" Matsuzaka for Bawston and James "Scot" Shields for St. Tampasburg. The talkers are TBS's Chip Caray, Ron Darling and Buck Martinez. The jump, if you choose to accept it, will self-destruct in 10 seconds. * * *Bottom 9th 2
012:05 — New Fanhouse Dugout screenname, and approved by 4chan: DionerFire. Navarro strikes out on the ball in the dirt, meaning Boston demoralizes the plucky Rays in Game 1. All done. Boston remains undefeated in Deadspin livebloggery. Game 2 is tomorrow, but folks, you're on your own on that one. We'll try this again on a night in which the live blog actually fucking updates. Goodnight, funnymen! 12:02 — Cliff Floyd pops a dainty pop. Two out. 11:59 — Carl Crawford was nowhere near anything resembling contact on three swings. One out. 11:56 — Say what you will about Jonathan Papelbon, but his mouth? It turns into a nice, tight sphincter when the pressure's on. No two ways about it. Still the Top 9th 11:53 — There's that one third of an inning we were looking for. 11:52 — David Price needs just 1/3 of an inning, and he can let his team get eaten up by Papelbon. Commercial Break So this Chase credit card commercial. New stereotype. Bald black guys with goatees are either bouncers, Boston Public principals, or in the case of this and many other ads, electronics store floor employees. Top 9th 11:49 — After two effective outs in the ninth, Balfour is yanked by Joe Maddon — not by the ear, unfortunately — and the pinch-pitcher Bottom 8th 2
011:42 — Evan Longoria IS the next Alex Rodriguez, in every way. A double play wrap up this inning into a new little red-colored package. 11:40 — Pitcher version 3.0 will be Justin Masterson, who if you recall did jack nil in Game 4 of the ALDS. And there's only one out still for Evan Longoria. 11:37 — Stupid Chip Caray and his "voice" beating me to thoughts I had. Peña is given Tilde Mindmeld power to swing at a 3-0 pitch, resulting in a shoestring catch in right field. 11:35 — EVERYBODY LOOK DOWN. Hideki Okajima will relieve the no-no-hitter-pitcher. 11:32 — Kevin Youkilis blocks a hot shot down the left field line, but he can't throw out Upton. The MIke Lowell injury is brought up, because there's no way Lowell would have bungled or bobbled the Upton dopple. Iwamura stays on second, and strangely enough the wild pitch doesn't hurt. Cowbell mambo ensues. 11:31 — A wild and crazy pitch makes it to the calm, inviting backstop, and Iwamura trotskies up to second. 11:30 — Aki Aki joy joy. Aki Aki joy joy. Aki Aki joy joy. Aki Aki joy joy. Aki Aki joy joy. Aki Aki joy joy. Aki Aki joy joy joy. A single for Iwamura. Top 8th 11:25 — Exiting the eighth with all those guys on all those bases, Balfour forces Mark Kotsay to just hit that shit straight up and back down into Longoria's glove. Let's keep going. 11:23 — Conversely, Jason Bay gets hit by nothing, and hits nothing. Deux outs. 11:19 — JD Drew steps in and ... whoa, high and in! Bases loaded.
11:17 — Grant Balfour cums on to pitch and feel the noize. Girls, rock your boys. 11:12 — Maybe Youkilis's beard is a tribute to Richard Karn. Does anybody know what time it is? Time for Carl Crawford to misread a line drive which gets by him and Pedroia scores and Ortiz hobbles to third. And here he is, Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor! 11:10 — David Ortiz milks and dekes Howell's pitches and strolls to first. 11:08 — Pedroia steals second by burrowing a hole in the ground, and when Bartlett tried to apply the tag Pedroia's bunny ears went around the glove. Now he's in scoring position. 11:07 — J.P. Howell, who was Jim Backus's greatest character, is Thurston for a quick inning. 11:05 — Hi folks, Joe Maddon here. What we're gonna do here is take this pitcher off the mound RIGHTHERE HEHHEH and replace him with the guy over here [circles] and bring him here [draws sloppy arrow] 11:04 — JINX JINX JI... oh, never mind. Pedroia dings one up the middle. 11:02 — James Shields is turning this into an old fashioned goddamn pitchers duel. He'll continue pitching, and both pitchers will go at least 7+. That's what I like to see. Bottom 7th 1
010:56 — Ew, Gross. A strikeout leaves the inning up to Tampa's favoritest player ever, Jason Bartlett. Any chance Bartlett can drive in a run just by making a good diving stop in the batters box? No? Well, how about a groundout to the position he normally roves? No? Okay then. Inning over. 10:51 — Dioner Navarro's Dugout screenname: IJustDionerArmsTonight. The sac fly isn't fly-y enough, so Crawford has to dawdle around third. 10:49 — Wuh-oh. double double jinx and trouble. Clifford Floyd gaps the ball into left center and Crawford races to third. But hey! No triples! He still has a no-tripler! 10:47 — Carl Crawford steps up, swings, and ... !!!
Seventh Inning No-Hitter Jinx Entertainment No-hitter? How about ... NO SPRINGS!!!
Top 7th 10:42 — Pitching visit of the Roger Dorn variety. And he pops this Variteker out. Rally killed. 10:40 — Whoa canine. Timmy McClellan sure likes the late strike three call, but that's what Jed Lowrie will have to suffer, giving Tampa a big second out. 10:37 — Not so much a base hit that time from Mark Q. Kotsay, because Iwamura had to go and fade back and catch that shallow fly. Speaking of shallow flies, did you hear the one about the mosquito who only dates blondes? 10:35 — While Tampa Bay may not be hitting ANY BASE HITS BECAUSE THERE'S A NO-HITTER IN PLAY, Boston's getting them everywhere. Drew and Bay consecutively find open slots through the infield. Bottom 6th 1
010:30 — Evan Longoria, well, hey, he doesn't strike out. But he still KEEPS THE NO HITTER INTACT BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT MATSUZAKA HAS SO FAR. 10:28 — Peña falls victim to the False Tilde Shift for another out. AND HE STILL HASN'T LET ANYONE GET A BASE HIT. 10:26 — Remember the last pitcher to have a no-hitter through five innings in the ALCS? It was Mike Mussina, TBS reminds. AND IT DIDN'T HAPPEN. JINX JINX JINXITY JINX. Justin Upton pops out. Top 6th 10:23 — Nothing else is happening. 10:21 — There's quite a "Youuuuk" following even in Tampa. Are we sure this isn't a 2007 regular season game? 10:18 — The Red Sox have almost a .500 winning percentage when they don't homer. Which has nothing to do at all with, oh I don't know, their pitchers somehow throwing no-hitters halfway through games while walking the entire cast of Scrubs. Bottom 5th 1
010:14 — Three more outs and ... ah, there we are. "A no-no through five." IT'S AWN. Sidebar: four walks and an error. 10:09 — A semi-jinx from Chip Caray. "The Rays are looking for their first hit" is a safer, more roundabout way of saying "Matsuzaka hasn't allowed a run," but the intent is the same. Top 5th 10:06 — Another run? Jason Bartlett's not having it. The very-good-and-reliable-yet-somehow-team MVP makes an over-the-body catch, suffocating Kotsay at third. 10:04 — An example of how not to get in a run: smash a ground ball right to a drawn-in second baseman. Iwamura knocks it down and keeps Kotsay at third base, getting the second out. 10:01 — With a chance for runs, Lowrie has runners at second and third, and just about everything will get in a run. Unless he hits the catwalk on the pitcher's mound. That's a ground rule single. But he misses that catwalk and instead pulls a sac fly to right field, bringing in Jason Bay. 10:00 — Mark Kotsay doubles on a I-didn't-do-it swing and Jason Bay goes to third after walking. 9:59 — Purple People Sager reports that cowbells are annoying. We agree. Bottom 4th 0
09:55 — Youkilis is under a foul ball, but Lowrie keys in on it DONTCRASH DONTCRASH DONTCRASH phew, they didn't hit each other, and Matsuzaka got through probably his quickest inning of the night. Enjoy it while it lasts. 9:54 — Matsuzaka's strikeout of Carl Crawford and Cliff Floyd put his K total at seven. He'd be dominating this game if it didn't take so goddamn long for him to complete even an easy inning. Top 4th 9:48 — A hefty double play thanks to JayDeeDrew kills the inning. Camera spotlights on a kid rockin' the Travis Lee jersey. I'm sure there's a whole stack of them in a warehouse in Dunedin. 9:47 — Youkilis is just gonna hit himself onto first again, if'n that's okay with everyone. 9:45 — Silly Ortiz. RIGHT INTO THE SHIFT. Exactly as they planned. Now, please stroke your Jafar beard in delight. Commercial Break Know what'd make a better Viagra ad? Enough of these borderline fourtysomething couples who look like their kids just went off to college. I want grandparents about to fuck. There's your commercial. If it can make Harold and Gertrude perform the beast with two backs, it's potent enough for EVERYONE. Bottom 3rd 0
09:42 — Peña walks, and Longoria whiffs. Pattern! 9:41 — God. If Matsuzaka is this boring to watch, imagine the defense behind him. Exactly how do they stay awake? Smelling salts? Some kind of electroshock monitoring? I'm going with Red Bull IVs between innings. 9:36 — Jonny Gomes getting into a fight with Shelley Duncan apparently set the tone for the Rays that getting into trivial fights is a catalyst for a dream season. So if I push over the lady from accounting for borrowing my three-hole punch and not getting it back in a timely manner, I'll finally be in the running for Employee Of The Year? Top 3rd 9:32 — There were so many bingo points scored this inning, a nation barely noticed Shields getting through the inning so quickly. 9:30 — Scheisst. Fish in a barrel. "The fight" is also now bean-counted. 9:29 — The glitteriest Rayhawik in the world makes TBS, and makes another bingo square bite the dust. Bottom 2nd 0
09:26 — Oh, and Matsuzaka gets through the inning 1-2-3. But much slower and much, I guess, craftier. 9:25 — Buck Martinez brings the useful commentary. Jason Varitek lost a ball in the whitey white lights, and Martinez talked about when he was catching, how his dugout yelled a number based on which way the ball went. See, that's actually interesting. Please replace Tim McCarver for the World Series. 9:23 — Mets fans, did you feel tightness in that that stigmata scar tissue as soon as they mentioned Victor Zambrano and Scott Kazmir? 9:22 — Oh, now they announce the umpires. I had so many beefs with the men in black, and I had to swear at nameless entities. It's gotta be a sweet gig to umpire in the outfields. Every once in a while, one makes a fair or foul call, and beyond that it's just getting batteries and discarded chicken bones thrown at you from the stands. Top 2nd 9:14 — Quickinningquickinning Jasonbaymarkkotsayandjedlowriegodowninorder. Bottom 1st 0
09:08 — Called it. Floyd grounds out. I win nothing. 9:07 — Oh, so Carl Crawford was the guy who walked? I guess Iwamura's the leadoff guy. Shows ya how much I know about this team when I haven't watched them in two years. 9:07 — Moreover, Matsuzaka stole my idea. They're loaded with outs of two. Watch Cliff Floyd ground out. 9:05 — TBS stole my idea for a stat. BACK OFF, CHIP. [hastily whittles pointy stick] 9:03 — Evan Longoria takes a good long look at strike three, and no sir, he doesn't like it. Okay, kids, this is slightly ridonk. With runners in scoring position, Matsuzaka's OPS-against dips down to .573. Why not just walk the bases? Batters are 0-for-14 against him with three guys standing on bases. 9:00 — Carlos "Bizarro Tilde" Peña? You can walk too. Matsuzaka appears to thrive when there are runners on base. (?!?) Sure enough, his OPS-against is about 40 points lower (.623) with dudes on base as opposed to the bases wiped clean (.661). 8:57 — Upton's fly ball was at least 50 feet short of a home run. But he "just missed" a home run. Please adjust your squares accordingly. 8:54 —
Carl CrawfordAkinori Iwamura's walk is upgraded to a stolen base. It's okay, Carl Aki. They can't throw you out. Top 1st 8:50 — And the first break of the game goes to Tampa after JD Drew strikes out to end the inning. Tropicana Field officials begin furiously building a catwalk in the right field corner. 8:48 — Opposite field doubles that bounce into the stands are all the rage this fall. (That and denim capris.) Kevin Youkilis smashes one that lands deep down the right field line but it sneaks into the bleachers and Pedroia will have to unhustle back to third base. 8:45 — David Ortiz flies to center, but Pedroia tries to test B.J. Upton's arm on tagging from first to second. Upton, who didn't study, just filled out "C" on the rest of the Scantron sheet and fortunately got enough correct on the standardized test, forcing Pedroia to retreat back to first. 8:42 — Some people walk to first on four pitches. But in this case, Pedroia drew a heartjog. 8:41 — Jacoby Ellsbury strikes out on four pitches, and Dustin Pedroia responds by stepping up to the plate with a bat as tall as he is. 8:38 — Joe Maddon's candid interview also shows that managers are not above mohawking one's hair a little. 8:37 — Lineup announcement time. ♫ Oontz, oontz, oontz, oontz 8:36 — TBS yet again proves the usefulness of blimp footage outside a domed stadium. 8:33 — Craig Sager is Violet Beauregarde in "Sager And The Amazing Technicolor Sideline Reporter." (In theatres this fall.) Also: catwalks. Marky post.
Pre-Game Babble More bad news, this time for Tampa Bay fans. Now that Philadelphia is 4-0 in Deadspin live blogs, thereby forcing this site's editor into making my every other game they do this series, I had the company secretary look at the Gawker Media microfiche to get more insight into the ALCS. It turns out that Boston is 3-0 when I'm watching them while live-typing. Since this is the definitive stat that controls the cosmic forces around the League Championship Serieseses, we might as well succumb to the notion that Tampa Bay will probably lose this series and return to the cellar for the next 10 seasons. Or it could also be contingent on the badassness of its perps featured on The Smoking Gun. Results are pending at this time. Speaking of useless trends, if anyone who is not a Red Sox fan isn't rooting for Tampa Bay in this series, please speak up. I have a stereotype to spread. Well, that and bingo-age.