Thursday, May 12, 2005

Optimist takes 1-0 lead over the Basselopes in a pitchers non-duel between Jason Schmidt and Johan Santana. Neither pitcher could get out of the 4th as their managers showed that, during the playoffs, the hook comes VERY early.

After two innings, there was no sign of the "carnage" to come, as Schmidt faced the minimum and Santana had only given up a two-out single to stud Adrian Beltre.

The Basselopes struck for two runs in a bizarre third inning. With one out, Raul Ibanez singled, and Ray Durham doubled. Then, Derek Jeter dribbled a ball to short that Jimmy Rollins couldn't field and was generously scored a hit. Schmidt seemed unfazed as he struck out Ben Broussard. But then, he walks J.D. Drew and drills Carlos Delgado in the middle of the back to drive in the second run.

Johan Santanna cruised to a 1-2-3 3rd with two strikeouts, and Jason Schmidt returned to the hill for the 4th inning, still without the control he lost in the third. Schmidt walked the bases full, and Optimist manager Whitey Ford was quick with the hook, bringing in scrub reliever Terry Adams into this situation. Adams nearly got out of it unscathed by getting a lineout from Jeter, but Ben Broussard drove in two runs with a single up the middle.

Staked to a 4-run lead, Johann Santana should have cruised to victory. Instead the Optimist bats and the Basselopes manager got to him in the 4th. Luis Gonzalez opened with a double, and Adrian Beltre hit an infield single that was smothered at second. Mike Lamb struck out, and then Hernandez ripped a run-scoring single between first and second.

And then the inexplicable happened. With one out and a 4-1 lead and runners on first and second, the Basselopes YANKED Johan Santana. Reliever Orber Moreno was greeted with a run-scoring Junior Spivey single and a Rocco Baldelli groundout to close the scoring on the inning.

The final line on Santana? 3.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 4 K's and 3 earned runs. He threw 35 strikes in 54 pitches. His counterpart Jason Schmidt pitched 3.1 innings, giving up 3 hits, 4 walks, a hit batter, and 4 earned runs against 4 K's. Schmidt threw 67 pitches, 36 of which were strikes.

Amazing that in the 4th inning of a playoff game that either manager would yank their pitcher.

The move turned out great for the Optimist, as Terry Adamas, Ramiro Mendoza, and Billy Wagner combined to pitch 4 2/3 of 1-run ball. The Basselopes did not fare so well, as Moreno gave up a run in the fifth, and Tom Gordon gave up three runs in the 7th.

Optimist closer Brad Lidge did his best to make things interesting as he gave up two doubles to bring the score to 7-6, but then he settled in to strike out Javy Lopez and induce a Lew Ford flyout to strand the tying run at second.

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