Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Cardiac Kids

I'm not a big basketball fan. I don't watch a whole lot of it until the playoffs come around - and even then, I watch a whole lot less than most basketball fans.

That said, with the exception of the one blow-out win, the Celtics aren't making this easy on their fan-base. Through five playoff games the Celtics and bulls have played four overtime periods following the end of regulation three times. In all but one game the margin of victory has been three points or less. I could be wrong, but I would venture to say that this hasn't ever happened before in a contest between the two and seven seeds in the NBA playoffs.

There's a chance that the results would be different if Kevin Garnett were on the floor, but with the way the Bulls are playing, I'm not convinced that would be true. Maybe one of the other close games swings in the favor of the Celtics, but I don't know that they would have opened up a big lead on Chicago even with the big man in the middle.

Over on the diamond -

So the Sox were handed their first loss in eleven games. Not surprisingly, it came during a Brad Penny start. Penny failed to make it out of the third inning, giving up seven runs (four earned), which has put him on a pace for roughly one earned run per inning worked.

One has to wonder how many more starts Penny will get before he gets yanked from the starting rotation.

The Penny signing I still maintain was a smart signing. For his career he has generally had an ERA between 3.00 and 4.75 and over the course of the previous nine seasons has averaged 10.5 wins per season. That included last year's off year when Penny had an ERA over 6.00 and started fewer than 20 games for the first time in his career.

Additionally, Penny signed a small money contract of $5 million that can earn an additional $3 million in performance bonuses: $500,000 each for 160 innings or 55 games as pitcher, 170-65 and 180-75; $500,000 for 190 innings or 35 games finished, and $1 million for 200 innings or 50 games finished. Right now I would say odds are he won't earn those incentives unless he turns it around soon.

My guess, if he struggles through his next four or five starts, and Daisuke Matsuzaka comes back strong, that Penny will end up on the DL with "arm fatigue" like Matsuzaka did and that Justin Masterson will get a few more turns in the rotation.

Bon Voyage, Ellis Hobbs...

I sincerely wish Ellis Hobbs the best as he moves onto a new career in Philadelphia. Hobbs will be remembered by many, quite unfairly, as being the goat in the Super Bowl against the Giants. At the end of the game, Hobbs - playing with a pulled groin and a badly damaged shoulder - was asked to cover Plaxico Burress on the game deciding play.

Twice earlier in the same drive, however, Asante Samuel screwed the pooch...badly. Samuel had a game-clinching interception go through his hands on one play, and was the cover guy on David Tyree on the helmet catch. Samuel can be seen in certain angles on the play jogging behind Tyree rather than running with him. Had Samuel been where he was supposed to be, it's unlikely that Tyree would have come down with the ball on that third down play.

Good luck Ellis, you played hard for us and your kick returns were things of beauty.

And a final gift for my football fan readers -


Lisa K. said...

"The Penny signing I still maintain was a smart signing."

I couldn't care less about what he costs or didn't cost, frankly. It's just not a smart signing if he can't pitch. You're still expending time and other resources (potentially wins) even if the actual dollar amount isn't all that much, relatively speaking. You get what you pay for, usually (unless you're the Yankees). There's a reason injured guys are cheap.

The Sox were also assuming guys like Lester and Beckett to get the job done so it wouldn't be so hurtful if Penny didn't (and we ALL know what happens when you assume anything). Right now, that isn't the case. Instead of one starter not getting it done, there are three.

In general, I'm almost never in favor of taking on reclamation projects, especially pitchers. They rarely work out, and almost never come back to anything close to what they were before the injury.

Chris Stone said...

great video.

i'm sorry hobbs got traded. even more so than vrabel. i like how he compared Bellichick to the hunchback of notre dame as he left. lol. Hobbs will be missed!

Teresa said...

That video was awesome and a reminder that football season is a'coming. Thank goodness!!

Suldog said...

Big Baby Davis! Woo-Hoo!

Kevin Smith said...

That was quite the game last night. Will have some observations on it tomorrow. I've been busy with several magazines lately as well as my regular deadline for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News. Helluva game by Davis.