photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Curtis Granderson, however, embraced the ovoid holiday spirit. Before the game he was going around the periphery of the field with a big bag, handing out plastic eggs with candy inside to the fans sitting near the wall. Chalk that one up as Reason to Love Curtis Granderson Number 18765.
Sheesh. Thank cats (thank Pudge?) that ended up being a win. Poor Bondo goes out there and pitches his tail off, even when he quite obviously doesn’t have his best stuff, and the offense gave him…. a large egg. A big, fat, rotten egg. An egg lovingly laid by BRANDON BLOODY DUCKWORTH FOR CAT’S SAKES.
But it’s OK. It is OK because Pudge came through at the very end and we were thus spared complete and utter embarrassment under the fountains. Bondo was spared the terrible Nate Robertsonish fate of pitching a perfectly serviceable, (SCRAPPY, even) game, and getting no run support. It’s sad that the win goes to Fernando Rodney… personally speaking, I would take a win AWAY from Fernando for past sins, but scoring does not work in so vindictively logical a fashion. At least Bondo didn’t get the loss.
Worrying thing about Bondo, though: he seemed to get scared at points. I know, I know, our very own wooden Jeremy Bonderman, scared? Surely not. And yet I’d swear that I saw it.
In all fairness, it’s possible that this was Pudge’s fault for calling certain pitches, but… let me tell you what I mean.
Teahen’s homer in the first came off of a fastball that was down and inside. Bondo shortly thereafter nearly took off Grudzielanek’s head with a ball that was high and inside. I’m sure this rattled Grudzie a lot more than it rattled Bondo, but Bondo didn’t seem too happy about it.
The next time Teahen came up to bat, Bondo went away from him on six of the seven pitches he saw in the at-bat. Teahen singled in a run. I don’t want to say that Bondo was pitching scared, but… the next time Teahen came up, he was intentionally walked. I don’t WANT to say that Bondo was pitching scared, because Jeremy Bonderman is a freakin’ superhero and his heart is made of hardy tempered steel, and his balls are made of finest mahogany, and Jeremy Bonderman does not DO scared. But I think he was pitching overly-cautious, and I don’t like that. And if Pudge was directing him to do so, I don’t like that either.
I understand that he might not want to come inside a lot on a day when he felt his control wasn’t the best. He almost took out Grudzie, he almost took out La Rue, and he sent Pudge flying a lot (and Pudge, without the reliable Vance Wilson to back him up, cannot afford to get injured [I can’t believe I just typed that about Vance Wilson]). And he DID grab hold of his woody spheres and get out of some sticky situations over the course of the game. But… I just wish he hadn’t looked so tentative when it came to Teahen. Sigh.
Maybe I’m paranoid. Maybe Teahen is coming into his own as one of the most legitimately feared sluggers in the American League and I’m just not ready for it yet. Hrmph.
Pudge. Oh, Pudge. Insert any number of vaguely sacreligious (‘tho not for me) “He is Risen” jokes and puns here.
What a hit. What. A. Hit. That game was so depressing to watch; not really in an emo wah-wah-woe-is-my-soul, everything-is-darkness-and-anguish kind of way, but more in a literal sense. You literally felt PRESSED UPON by the lack of offense, as though each and every wasted at-bat weighed upon your shoulders. You probably slumped down on the couch more and more as the game went on. That sort of thing.
Then Pudge hit that blast, that gloriously uplifting monster of an unexpected shot, and wow! Sat up right quick, eh? I surely did.
His howl as he rounded the bases was all the weight of that depressing game being released into the Kansas City air. And it was MAGNIFICENT.
And Rod Allen’s overjoyed cry of “WHOOOOOO-EEEEEEEEE!” was the perfect accompaniment to the moment.
Off to Baltimore now, and we’ll get our first look at Chad Durbin. Should be interesting. And by “interesting” I of course mean “Kenny please get better SOON”.