Orioles’ pitcher Tommy Hunter didn’t have a great outing last night. But unlike some guys, he was not content to either hide from the media or to hide behind cliches about “not making my pitches.”
Nope, he had a pretty specific opinion of one of the pitches he left out over the plate for A.J. Pierzynski:
“Well, the one today was just a horsesh*t pitch in a horsesh*t spot. It was just horsesh*t. I don’t know how else to say it. It was a ball right down the middle of the plate that any big league hitter would be able to do that. I’m not taking anything away from Pierzynski. He put a good swing on it. Good for him. Tip your cap. But it was horsesh*t on my part.”
Some things in baseball change a lot. But then some things don’t. Guys have been calling stuff “horse sh**” in the game forever, even though you don’t often hear that term spoken by civilians. I’m kind of glad they still do, because it’s a great term.
But it’s a vexing one for me as a writer. Every fiber of my being wants to make it two words rather than a compound, but when I consulted Twitter on the matter the majority sentiment was that it should be one word (two if referring to actual equine feces as opposed to using it in the adjective form). The strongest dissenter was Old Hoss Radbourn, who has good reasons for making it two words, but he does the same thing to “base ball” and that’s troubling for me.
Oh well. I’ll let you guys decide. Henceforth, is it “horsesh*t” or “horse sh*t?” I will let the majority of the readership rule. Because, after all, I write this horsesh*t for you guys.
World Series Game 1 was billed as a battle of aces, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw against Chris Sale of the Red Sox. Between them, they have 14 All-Star Game nominations. Kershaw has won three Cy Young Awards. Sale could his first Cy Young Award this year. Among his 10 seasons with at least 110 innings pitched, Kershaw has never posted a sub-2.92 ERA. Sale has been at 2.90 or below in each of the last two seasons. The two have combined for over 4,000 career strikeouts and both have averaged better than a strikeout per inning over their careers.
And yet Tuesday’s Game 1 was anything but a pitcher’s duel between Kershaw and Sale. Though a couple of fielding mistakes weren’t of any help to Kershaw in the first inning, Red Sox batters were squaring him up good. Of the five balls put in play in the first inning, three had exit velocities of 100 MPH or higher. Of the 12 total balls put in play against him overall, five reached triple digits in exit velo.
Kershaw gave up a pair of runs in the first, another run in the third on a J.D. Martinez double to straightaway center field, and another two in the fifth. Kershaw led off the fifth by walking Mookie Betts, then giving up a single to Andrew Benintendi, ending his night. Ryan Madson relieved Kershaw and proceeded to allow both inherited runners to score. All told, Kershaw yielded five runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts on 79 pitches in four-plus innings.
Sale, meanwhile, was on the hook for individual runs in the second, third, and fifth. Dodger hitters weren’t squaring him up quite as well as the Red Sox batters squared up Kershaw, but Sale was still more hittable than usual. Of the eight balls put in play against him, four were at least 90 MPH in exit velo. One of the runs was a no-doubt solo home run to Matt Kemp in the second. The Dodgers chased Sale in the fifth when he issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier. Matt Barnes relieved him allowed the inherited runner to score. Overall, Sale threw 91 pitches in four-plus innings, serving up three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
The game is now, as has been generally the case throughout this postseason, a battle of the bullpens.