* pLI not available at the time of posting. Work to do tomorrow morning, so I wanted to get this done tonight. I’ll fill it in tomorrow.
Not bad, Chase Wright. Not bad at all. Tonight ended up being an ideal scenario, with the offense striking early and allowing Wright to just throw strikes and let what happens happen. In a close game, who knows what happens. But he was handed ideal circumstances last night, and he took advantage.
Things didn’t look so hit at the beginning, though. After walking both Grady Sizemore and Jason Michaels to open the game, Gator was forced to make his first of what was hopefully not many mound visits. This situation was extra scary, because Travis Hafner was the next man up. He should have been MVP last year, despite his September injury. He’s just a scary, scary man up there, especially with two men on base. And especially when he’s up in the count 2-1. But Wright fooled him with a change, and then induced a grounder that advanced the runners.
Victor Martinez, who would be better off taking a Rascal scooter to first base, hit a run-scoring grounder to Jeter, leaving a runner on third for Ryan Garko, who even Chase Wright could retire. One inning, one run. Not so bad, Chase.
After Damon, Jeter, Alex, Giambi, and Jorge lent him a little hand, Chase went back out for the second. And again, the first two runners reached base, this time via a Casey Blake single and a Jhonny Peralta walk. Three fly balls later, and we’re in the bottom of the frame.
This is where the offense said, “Chase, you’re looking shaky out there. How about we knock this Westbrook character around for a while so you can calm down and finish an inning without letting the first two guys reach base.” We know this was a preconceived plan by the offense, because Doug “Guys hit balls out of the infield?” Mientkiewicz got it started with a tater to right. After an Abreu RBI single, Alex willed himself another home run. Two batters later, Jorge smacked one out, giving Wright an 8-1 lead. Apparently, Melky isn’t one of the cool kids; he made the first and last outs of the inning.