Sunday, March 27, 2005

Box Score Punditry, Easter Edition

A few items found while searching for Easter eggs and Salim Stoudamire's shooting touch:

* Maine left twice as many men on base as Harvard Saturday, 14 in all. But it was three runners stranded by the Crimson that were the most damning. Harvard left the bases full in the first inning, settling for just two runs after the inning's first five hitters all reached safely. The turning point was an at bat by reigning Ivy Player of the Week Steffan Wilson. Maine starter Steve Richard had just walked three in a row (two of which forced in runs), but proceeded to get Wilson to strike out looking, Rob Wheeler to strike out swinging, and Morgan Brown to ground to short. Richard either decided to bear down all of a sudden or else maybe got the Crimson to chase some pitches. Either way, he found his groove after that rocky start, facing just one batter more than the minimum over the next five innings.

* Farkes as DH today invites some speculation. The shoulder that kept him out last weekend doesn't seem to be affecting his swing, but is it hurting when he throws? It may be that Walsh is just being careful easing his star infielder back into the lineup. But if this shoulder issue, whatever it is, is keeping Farkes from playing second, the situation moves beyond the 'precautionary' stage and opens up a whole 'nother can of worms, from the issue of what the exact diagnosis is, to how playing time gets divided for Ian Wallace/Brendan Byrne/Griff Jenkins, to what happens with Sky Mann on the days he doesn't catch if the DH spot is taken. Long story short: it would be reassuring to see "FARKES - 2B" against NY Tech Sunday.

* Take Rob Wheeler's bat, Jeff Friedman's wheels, and Mike Dukovich's glove and what do you get? A pretty toolsy, everyday first baseman. In what seems to have emerged as a pattern, Wheeler played first base through the first two turns through the lineup, before being subbed out for the fleet-footed Friedman after singling in the fourth inning. The defensively adept Dukovich--who became famous as a freshman for his limber stretches over at first--entered the game at first the next inning. The combination is a pretty solid one for Harvard--Wheeler (who's hitting .500) and Dukovich (4 BB in 12 plate appearances) are a two-headed OBP machine. And, with all of Wheeler's seven hits this year being singles, Friedman usually finds himself in a running situation when he enters the game. For Joe Walsh, that's called getting the most out of your bench.

* What's wrong with this picture? After kicking the Baseball Beanpot out of Fenway Park last year, then exiling two-thirds of this year's tournament to Lowell, the Red Sox are now seeking the city's permission to open America's favorite ballpark for college hockey games and public skating next winter. This sets up the ridiculous possibility that the Harvard hockey team will get to play more games at Fenway next year than the Harvard baseball team. Anything for an extra buck, I guess.

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