Photo by Kelly O'Connor, with permission from sittingstill.net.
So this slutter thing has become the latest craze. My friend Andrew, who is particularly enthused about it, put it best when he said, "That one is for the fans." Judging by teammates' eye-rolling reactions, you have to figure he's right. And fans are running with it. Everyone I know is saying "slutter" at every possible opportunity. Andrew himself said he ran into a friend last night on the road--both were in their cars and met at an intersection, and were having a joking argument through their windows when, as Andrew put it, "the pitch came up."
So there you have it, Jonathan Papelbon. The word "slutter": from your lips in Tampa Bay to random four-way stops across Massachusetts.
Also, I added a new word to my pitching vocabulary in the course of my reading about the slutter yesterday: "pronate", which kind of sounds like a gross bodily function, but in reality it's the word for a pitcher's rotational hand / forearm motion when throwing a breaking pitch.
Still. Say it out loud. Jonathan Papelbon doesn't pronate his slutter. Ha ha, ewww.
Also worth noting: up until now, "pronate" has to have been the one word Josh Beckett knew that I didn't.
To round out the good news, Eric Gagne looked decent last night, though there was one fly ball that gave me (and, it looked like, him) approximately three coronaries before it landed foul. Gagne is supposed to be a GB / popup pitcher...looks like there's still probably work to be done. But at least no one was throwing shit at him.*
Also, last night we were not the Orioles. Let's thank the baseball gods for that.
Now on to the bad news: Daisuke was the unlucky victim of Tim Wakefield Disease once again, but through the first six innings I thought he would probably hold it together anyway, especially when he got through a scoreless fourth after putting two men on. But no. Nope. Right at the last freakin' second he had to give up the homer to Upton to make it 2-1, leaving me shaking my fist.
But really, as always, our pitching is not the problem. Our problem is the 12 LOB last night. You know, I really could rant about this some more, but I feel like I'm starting to sound like a broken record. You all know how I feel about it.
And, of course, the MFY freakin' won last night. Hate. Haaaate.
Also, I apparently need to stop picking favorite players. Last year I loved on Papelbon hard, and look what happened. This year, I fall in love with Eric Gagne and he soils the sheets. This past week, I start getting a little sweet on Dustin Pedroia and he takes a 95+ mph fastball off the elbow.
So. If, like me, you need help to soothe the savage beast this morning, first have some fantastic slutter footage from Texas Gal; she has video of both the pitch itself (which none of our "proper" news outlets could be bothered to do--an historic save and a new pitch and the only recording for posterity available from the actual copyright owners of the footage is a lame audiocast of the Devil Rays' call of the 9th inning from MLB.com. And they wonder why we pirate video?) and Papelbon talking about it with Tina Cervasio.
Also, if you haven't already, definitely check out the feature on the Sox that Tom Verducci wrote for SI this week. Choice quotes:
That grand slam wasn't just the hardest ball he's hit this year," said Boston hitting coach Dave Magadan of the estimated 450-foot blast. "That was the longest ball I've ever seen hit here, including batting practice."
Says Ortiz of Pedroia, "Everybody loves him around here. And his defense? Incredible. I tell him it's because he's so low to the ground. A ground ball can go under his glove and it's still going to hit him in the cup."
* I was actually at this game, but it wasn't till yesterday I even realized the water bottle thing had happened. I remember a security guard tackling a guy near the family section over in left field and the whole crowd hooting and hollering about it, but I didn't know at the time what it was about.