Sunday, May 6, 2007

De La Hoya-Mayweather, Chien-Ming Wang and a Royal collapse

I left to go see the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight in the 7th inning, right after David Riske mowed down the Tigers. I knew it was entirely possible I had just watched the final inning with the Royals in the lead, but I didn't think the collapse would be so all-encompassing: as Bob Dutton writes, "physical mistakes, mental mistakes and some simple bad luck."

Physical mistake: Third baseman Esteban German opened the way to Detroit’s three-run eighth inning by throwing high after fielding Placido Polanco’s slow chopper on a dead run.

The result was an infield single, but a good throw gets the out.

Mental mistake: German’s misplay came one inning after Emil Brown broke slow from the plate after hitting a leadoff drive off the center-field wall. Brown didn’t get to full speed until he neared first base and, as a result, was thrown out at second.

“A little hesitation (out of the box),” Brown admitted. “Just a bad play on my part.”

The Royals got two walks later in the inning but failed to score, which meant they failed to extend a 5-4 lead going into the eighth. The momentum swing was almost palpable.

Bad luck: Reliever Brandon Duckworth, after Polanco reached in the eighth, slipped while delivering a pitch to Marcus Thames. The result was a two-base wild pitch.

Let's look elsewhere for baseball news.

I'm on the record as saying Hawk Harrelson and Darrin Jackson were the reason Mark Buehrle was able to throw a no-hitter on April 18, so it follows that the fault for Chien-Ming Wang's blown perfect game yesterday falls squarely on Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

In the fifth inning, McCarver said: "The last time one of these has been pitched in this stadium -- a perfect game, that is -- July 18, 1999, by David Cone. There have been three perfect games pitched at Yankee Stadium, and Wang has been perfect through four and two-thirds."

Why did he have to tease us with "one of these," then blow his cover in the very next breath?

Buck wasn't shy about pointing out Wang was "perfect through five," either. So let it be noted: the kid -- one of Time's 100 Most Influential People -- was jinxed from the fifth inning on.

POSTSCRIPT: Don't let the split-decision fool you; Mayweather baited De La Hoya to press matters, and when the Golden Boy did, the Pretty Boy simply absorbed the punches he felt he could (with a smile), block the ones he couldn't and land assassin-precise counter-punches with relative ease. Come the late rounds, when De La Hoya got tired like everyone thought he would, Mayweather simply dominated. Not a great boxing match, but a good one if for no reason other than the masterful performance of an athlete in his absolute prime.

No comments:

Post a Comment