Saturday, March 31, 2007


There's nothing cool about being no-hit for 7 2/3 innings. Somehow, it might be even worse to scrape together three runs and keep the game close while being held hitless, only to still faulter in the end.
Not the best of days for Shawn Haviland, as Harvard falls to Penn, 6-4. Not the best of days for the lineup, either. And that's all I've got. If you were at the game, you've got more to say than I do. Drop us a note in the comments section. How did Haviland and Perlman look?

Welcome to the Ivy League, Max Perlman

CG (7 inn), 2 ER, 2 K, 4 H, 2 BB. Not a bad debut at all. Impressively, Perlman faced only two batters above the minimum, and induced ten (by my rushed count) ground ball outs, including several double plays.
I'd imagine Shawn Haviland is next.

Game On!

The Ivy season starts at Penn today. Live stats here. GoCrimson preview here. The Daily Penn tells us that Penn fears our speed more than our power.

A pre-Ivy summary:
* Tom Stack-Babich: .326 BA, .465 SLG.
* Brendan Byrne: .326 as well.
* Brad Unger: Yes, it was Eckerd, but he's throwing strikes.
* Matt Rogers: .286, seven steals, two doubles, two triples. Salsgiver II?
* Boomer Eadington: 15 hits and 11 walks in 12 innings, but he's shown an ability to pitch out of trouble. The story of the spring was Eadington and Max Perlman's work against Notre Dame.

And all of this officially matters... none at all. Play ball!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Video coming (hopefully)

Harvard beat Barry today and, perhaps notably, Adam Cole only pitched an inning in relief (shaky relief at that, as his struggles finding the strikezone this March continue). I suspect that we may be looking at a Haviland, Perlman, Unger and perhaps Eadington rotation after all. We'll see this weekend, when Harvard plays its first Ivy games at Penn (Saturday) and Columbia (Sunday). I hope to be at the Columbia games, video camera in tow.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Once again, it's up to the bullpen

Jason Brown is on in relief for Harvard right now, trying to keep Florida International at bay in a 4-4 game. Stack-Babich has two hits and an RBI so far to pace the Crimson.

The bullpen didn't fare so well yesterday, coughing up another 9-7 lead in the ninth against Florida Atlantic. Harvard lost, 10-7.

Other results from earlier this week:

Monday: Harvard 5, Eckerd 1; Central Fla 7, Harvard 3
Sunday: Tampa 11, Harvard 0

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bullpen falters as Harvard falls to N'Western, 10-9

In like a lion, out like ... Rick Ankiel.

Harvard's relief corps, a bright spot for much of March, roared through six more solid innings of work Saturday before its command broke down in the ninth in a 10-9 loss to Northwestern. Jason Brown and Brad Unger combined to face six batters in the decisive final inning, but retired none and plunked two. The second hit batsman forced home the game-winner for the Wildcats, wasting a five-run comeback by the Harvard bats.

The blown save was an untimely hiccup for Harvard's bullpen, which entered today with an overall ERA of 3.12. The relief corps continued to shine even after Northwestern jumped out to a 5-0 run lead through two innings Saturday, giving rookie Boomer Eadington an early shower in his second college start. Jake Bruton, who posted four innings of four-hit ball, and Brown, who pitched a perfect seventh and eighth, gave the Crimson lineup a chance to mount a comeback.

Harvard did, scoring four in the eighth. Three more runs in the ninth gave the Crimson a 9-7 lead. Matt Vance led the attack, with two hits that plated four runs. Andrew Prince and Matt Kramer also knocked in runs to pace the comeback. For the game, Jeff Stoeckel went 3-for-3 and scored three times.

The loss won't help maintain Harvard's rather lofty RPI, but the good news is, Harvard's frantic Florida schedule won't give them time to dwell on it. This is the beauty of March games in Florida versus May games in Hanover. Oh yeah, that remains me: Dartmouth got smoked by this same Northwestern team, 12-2, just hours before Harvard played them Saturday.

Joe Walsh will continue to kick the tires on his roster Sunday against Tampa. Game time is 1 pm. Live stats are here.

P.S.: If you didn't check out Friday's Crimson preview by Loren Amor, you don't want to miss your chance to read some rare sound bytes from Crimson assistant coach Gary Donovan. Donovan, Walsh's consigliere since the "vagabond" days at Suffolk University who for years has played the straight-man during Walsh's postgame standup routines with student reporters, must have been manning the phones inside Dillon Thursday when Amor called to chase down some quotes. We need more doses of Donovan. Perhaps he and Walsh can do a podcast together for us later in the year.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring Break Opener: THE Ohio State University 5, Harvard 3

First, a disclaimer: Harvard's impressive victory over Notre Dame two weeks ago offered a window into what this year's Crimson edition is capable of, but always be mindful of the larger purpose of Joe Walsh's "take all comers" approach to non-conference scheduling. It is the 52-ounce bat you swing in the on-deck circle to get ready for the Ivy season. Adjust your expectations accordingly during the coming week's breakneck slate in Florida, and you'll be in much better position to enjoy the ride.

Now that you're in the proper frame of mind, meet the Ohio State Buckeyes (13-3), preseason favorite to win the Big Ten and bona fide aspirant to take in Omaha's many pleasures later this summer. You may remember them from such winning streaks as their last 12 games. It turns out their highly regarded weekend rotation features more than a couple guys whom parts of Columbus consider Greg Oden-in-stirrups. Today, Harvard (2-3) faced three linchpins of that vaunted staff in a single nine-inning game. The box score suggests this was as tough a challenge as you'd think -- but only for the first eight innings. In the ninth -- and here's that silver lining that portends well against the more relevant Red Rolfe foes -- the Crimson torched OSU's sophomore manchild Jake Hale for a three-run, two-out rally. Harvard even got the tying run to the plate before falling, 5-3. More on the near-comeback in a second.

Shawn Haviland started for Harvard and got tagged with the loss, despite showing some pluck against a tough lineup. Kurt Svoboda, as usual, tells the story in good detail here.

These games against elite programs are always interesting for acquainting you with names you'll eventually hear again in the June amateur draft. (Before Craig Hansen was a first round pick for the Red Sox in 2005, he was pitching in the Metrodome against Harvard earlier that spring.) OSU lefthander Cory Luebke might be another of those guys. The Buckeyes ace and Big Ten POY contender was draft-eligible as a sophomore last year on account of being old for his grade. He went in the 22nd rd (due to signability considerations likely), opted to stay in school, and today continued to make his case for a higher-round selection this year with six shutout innings against Harvard, striking out eight. Only Brendan Byrne and Matt Rogers managed hits.

OSU also gave Harvard a two-inning dose of another of its weekend starters, JB Shuck. All he did was keep Harvard hitless in the seventh and eighth.

Then entered 6-foot-7 Hale, the Buckeyes' imposing answer to Jonathan Papelbon in that he has moved from frontline starter as a freshman to lights-out closer as a soph. (Witness the sub-1.00 ERA to go along with four saves.) With no save possibility in order Friday, Hale may have been treating his appearance in a 5-0 game as a live bullpen session. But after a walk to Steffan Wilson and a wall-ball double by an ever-impressive Tom Stack-Babich, torque specialist Andrew Prince socked a three-run blast to right that gave Harvard some life. Byrne then reached on a base hit before Hale induced a groundout to end the game.

With that, Day 1 of the Crimson's spring break gauntlet ended on something of a positive note. As always, we welcome eyewitness accounts in the comments section. Congrats to Prince on his first Harvard homer.

Harvard meets another Big Ten entry, Northwestern, later today. Get your live stats here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Doryoku is Japanese for "Bulldog"

Next time the pitch-count police starts calling Joe Walsh all sorts of names over the way he deploys his stud pitchers, maybe they should call him this:


In SI's baseball preview issue (on newsstands now), Tom Verducci's excellent cover story on Daisuke Matsuzaka predicts that the Red Sox import may introduce America to a new and improved philosophy on how to develop pitchers. The thinking is, Dice-K -- with his ho-hum regimen that includes 300-pitch bullpens and twice-a-week long-toss sessions -- might do for U.S. pitching coaches what Toyota has done for U.S. auto manufacturers. In the article, former Met skipper Bobby Valentine vouches for the Japanese approach, whose essence is captured by the Japanese word doryoku, meaning "unflagging effort." Valentine, who's managed in Japan the last three seasons, says he now believes the U.S. system is too risk-averse when it comes to injury and coddles its pitchers too much.

Betcha didn't realize that Deuce was simply channeling Far East philosophilies all those times he left Ben Crockett in to throw a complete game. Doryoku, it turns out, is Japanese for "bulldog."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Weekend 2: Cancelled

Bummer. Would've been awful sweet to take it to Notre Dame again on the actual St. Patrick's Day, but such are the dangers of being a northeast school--even your road games in sunny climates are at risk in March.

But we do have a little rain delay theater for you. First, this read about Ben Crockett '02, who has caught on with the Red Sox, albeit not in the way some of us once hoped. Injuries are injuries, but in the minds of many, it'll always be a Saturday afternoon in Cambridge and he'll always be dealing at O'Donnell, with batter after batter reaching for that ridiculous curve. Anyway, enjoy that read.

More: One of the commenters who was at last week's games offered some additional reads on the team from last weekend via e-mail (, and I include a few here.
[Andrew] Prince looks like the Mo Vaughn of the Ivy league right now. He has basically the same swing, getting no weight transfer. However there is some serious torque going on with a relatively compact swing. He could hit a lot of hard liners or tower fly balls.

Jake Bruton had pretty good numbers in long relief. Fastball riding in on righties with a 12-6 curve ball also slightly backing up. He could have found his role there.

[Brad] Unger [fresh off basketball season] seems to be building up arm strength but falls behind on a lot of hitters as can be seen in the play by play. He can't use the changeup effectively when he is always behind in the count and with runners on base.

[Justin] Roth can swing the bat.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Weekend 1: Firsthand Observations

Thanks to everyone who checked in with observations from last weekend's games. We're happy to grant anonymity whenever we can (which is pretty much all the time), and with me no longer being in Cambridge, we're going to depend on SoBB readers as our eyes more than ever.

We've got some comments, first this one on the overall state of the team. Highlights:
Having seen all 4 games, I came away from the weekend feeling very good about this club. Overall, they hit the ball hard throughout. There were many "atem" ball shots that didn't show up in the hit column, but that registered strongly on the field and in the stands. Vance, Rogers, Wilson (when they pitched to him), Stack-Babich, Kramer and Stoeckel were solid throughout. Byrne made a living as a walk machine and along with Douglas, Casey and Prince, also added key hits. The Roth HR was a no brainer at the crack of the bat.

Defensively, Harvard was up and down. Solid in the victories and looking rusty and tired in both losses. I suspect the inconsistency was related to not playing at game speed since last fall. Practice only goes so far. I would say that the middle infield and outfield play was excellent. The speed of Rogers and Vance and the arm displayed by Stack-Babich in right bode well for the upcoming season.

And this on the frosh arms, one of whom was named Ivy Rookie of the Week on Tuesday:
The freshmen shutout of Notre Dame has created an understandable buzz in Florida and Cambridge. With the addition of Perlman and Eadington to a starting rotation that includes last year's Ivy League Pitcher of the year and rookie of the year, Joe W. has a right to be pumped up! ..and don't forget the solid saturday performance turned in by the freshman from Washington, Ian Bolliger.
Another SoBB reader e-mailed with a little more about the freshmen:
Perlman was lights out against ND. Good fastball in the high 80’s. He did not show a pattern. He would thrown either fast, change or curve first pitch with command of all three. He routinely got ahead 0-2 on hitters. Then he tried to nibble a bit but he seems to know how to pitch.
Eadington looked a little wild up n the zone but he was dealing. He had to have been consistently in the 90s with a plus curve. I did not see too many changeups but he got a few hitters on them as a show me pitch. If he develops that along with the other two, he will be a force. He also made a huge play that seemingly went unnoticed when he forced out a ND runner on a bunt situation at third. Two on, none out, ND batter lays down a bunt and he big guy got to the ball and flipped to third for a big out.
Perl and Boomer will almost certainly be weekend guys. Unger and Cole may be battling out for the other spot.

This is interesting. What about Adam Cole, last year's Ivy ROY? We saw those walks in the boxscore...
He was throwing gas early with a good breaking ball but just lost control, command and composure. Duq batters were not even close to hitting him. One infield hit was all they got. Very similar to last year but he either does not seem to know how overpowering he is or simply has command issues with his pitches. He throws so many pitches it is tough to watch.
Seems to me that Cole's start this weekend bears watching as much as anybody's.
Meanwhile, we got an undoubtedly angry Notre Dame team again this weekend. I believe there will be free audio at ND's site, you just have to go through a registration process.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Harvard loses to Tampa

Roth homers in a loss. The official story is here, and the Crimson has this story about the weekend.

Can anybody who was there give us some details on what happened this weekend, particularly about the Notre Dame game and Perlman and Eadington? Let us know in the comments.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

And a Happy St. Patrick's Day to You!

Harvard beat Notre Dame today, 4-0. Freshmen pitchers Eric Eadington and Max Perlman combined for a five hit shutout.

Eadington: 4 1/3 innings, 3 hits, 6 walks, 3ks.
Perlman: 4 2/3 innings, 2 hits, 2 walks.

Welcome to Harvard, fellas. I'm sure Jon Lehman and the gang at the Crimson will have some good stuff on this tomorrow, but Kurt Svoboda gets us going with some nice detail in the official report:
The pitchers, making their collegiate debuts, used different styles to get the result but both were effective against a Fighting Irish team that exploded offensively in a win over Duquesne earlier in the day.

Eadington, a lefty, started the game and scattered three hits before being removed in the fifth inning as his pitch count moved into the low 90’s. Eadington fell behind often as he walked six batters and hit another, but he consistently worked out of trouble including the first and third innings in which he left the bases loaded.

Perlman came on in the fifth and used a strong fastball with a variety of off-speed pitches to get ahead of the ND hitters. He scattered just two singles to pick up the victory.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Duquesne 6, Harvard 4

1-1 after one day of the 2007 season. Biggest thing to come out of today: Tom Stack-Babich - 3-for-7 with two walks and two doubles. Stack-Babich had six extra base hits all of last season. Count this a very encouraging start.

Cole, like Haviland, was a bit wild today, and no one should worry about either, at least not purely based on the boxscore.

Notre Dame tomorrow at 3:15. Looking at who's pitched so far, I'm guessing Max Perlman will make his debut against the Irish, whom we're apparently also going to play on Monday. Looks like there may be audio available from the Fighting Irish website, although it may cost you.


Harvard is 1-0 after winning its 2007 debut, 4-3 over Quinnipiac in extra innings. Tom Stack-Babich, batting fifth, went 2-for-4 with a double and drove home the game winner, and what a huge event a Tom Stack-Babich (re?)surgence would be for the team this year.
Shawn Haviland, from the boxscore, looks like he was awfully wild in his debut, but no one should worry. Nice to see Brad Unger jumping right in after the conclusion of the 2006-07 Harvard men's basketball season. Interestingly, Andrew Princeton batted cleanup as the DH, and Matt Kramer started at first while Drew Casey caught--I'm all for this, I just want to see Kramer's bat in the lineup someplace. Matt Rogers, as the New Salsgiver, played left, batted second and stole two bases.
Another game tonight. I'd expect Adam Cole, but really, who knows.

2007 Season Debut: Harvard vs. Quinnipiac, Harvard vs. Duquesne

It all starts at 2:45 pm. Live stats are available here. If anyone happens to find a working online radio broadcast, let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sorry for the lack of posts

My laptop broke. It is somewhere in Georgia, being fixed. My only other machine is at work, and I tend to do work there. More when my laptop comes back.