After languishing away the first 4 games of the 2013 season with a feeble .125 batting average, Alex Rodriguez was taken aside by Hairy Manager Ockey and reminded that he is the reigning Davis League MVP and that, like Spider-Man, he must remember that “with great power comes great responsibility.” AROD responded in the recent 2 game series against the Love Gods in which he went 5-8 with 2 bombs and 6 RBI’s to lead the Hairys to their 2nd consecutive series sweep and move them into a tie for 1st with the Obese Expired Cattle.
Also key to the Hairys’ victories was the strong starting pitching they continue to get from the back end of their rotation. After Ockey’s ace and #2 got roughed up by the Cows, he has gotten 4 consecutive strong performances from unheralded starters Lee, Blanton, and now Sheets and Patterson. In Game 1, it was Sheets vs. Tim Hudson of the Gods. Sheets was masterful, going 6.1 shutout innings, allowing only 4 hits and no walks while K’ing 4. Brilliant. Hudson, on the other hand, got roughed up right off the bat (LITERALLY). The Hairys scored in each of the first 3 innings. They started off playing classic small-ball as Helton singled to lead-off, was bunted over by Ichiro, moved to 3rd on a Clark flyball, and scored on a clutch 2-out single by AROD. Bay singled to put 2 men on, and then Carl Crawford doubled to bring in AROD for a 2-0 Hairy lead. The Hairys did it again in the 2nd as Hernandez singled to lead off, was bunted over by Freel, moved to 3rd on a Helton grounder, and scored on another clutch 2-out single. This time by Ichiro. In the 3rd, AROD decided he was tired of this small-ball crap and launched his first bomb of the year off Hudson – a Fisk-esque Green Monster shot down the line. Sheets got some huge defensive help as the Gods tried to rally – After Lee doubled in the 4th, Jason Bay cut him down trying to advance to 3rd on a fly-out for an inning ending double play. And in the 5th, Ramon Hernandez sniffed out an Utley steal attempt and called for the pitch-out to get him. Good thing, too, because Hudson settled in after giving up the homer to AROD. He retired the next 8 batters in order until AROD singled again in the 6th. The Hairys got a cheap insurance run in the 7th thanks to Freel’s speed. He singled, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a grounder, and scored on a passed ball for a 5-0 Hairy lead. Ockey was smelling a shut-out, but apparantly forgot to tell his relievers. Sweeney doubled in the 8th (this guy is SICK, by the way – check his league leading AVG) and then pinch-hitting Sheff launched a towering bomb off of Howry (the 2nd bomb he has given up facing 11 batters – yikes) to make it 5-2. Hudson would finish the game in what turned out to be a solid complete game performance.
In Game 2, it was Hairy Patterson vs. God Duke. Again, the Hairys got off to an early start. Nick Johnson got a hit in his 4th straight AB as he singled with 1 out and beat the throw home to score on an AROD double. That is all Duke would give up, but unfortunately his control was an issue – he walked 4 and had to really work to get his outs – Bowman was forced to take him out in the 4th as his pitch-count was already in the 90’s at that point(!) Patterson, on the other hand, was dealing. He got the first 7 Gods in order, striking out the side in the 2nd. The Gods still managed to manufacture a run in the 3rd to tie the game, though, as Valentin drew a walk, was bunted over, and scored on a Lofton single. Lofton moved all the way to 3rd thanks to Moises Alou air-mailing his throw home to somewhere in the Chesapeke Bay. The Hariys blew a golden opportunity in the 4th as they loaded the bases with 1 out, but could not convert as Escobar was brought in to relieve Duke and K’d Ichiro and induced a grounder from pinch-hitting Helton to get out of the jam.
Things finally unravelled for Patterson in the 5th. With 2 out, he gave up a single to Valentin, double to Figgins and walked Lofton. He was obviously cooked, but with only 70 pitches thrown, Ockey refused to believe it and stubbornly left him in there believing he could just get the one out. Mike Sweeney made him pay dearly as he took a low fastball and golfed it over the Monster for a ball-crushing grand salami. Ockey was ready to conced defeat at this point after making such a bad managing decision, but his team would not let him lose. Maholm, Small, Shakelford and Reyes came on for some masterful relief to keep the Gods at 5 runs. They allowed only 1 hit after taking over for Patterson in the 6th. With the Hairys bully holding it down, it was AROD time in the 7th. Ichiro singled and stole 2nd and then Tony Clark drew a 2-out walk. Then AROD blasted a no-doubter off Schoeneweis to the deepest part of Fenway to bring the Hariys back to within 1 at 5-4. Things kept rolling in the 8th off God Miller as Hernandez beat out an infield single and Ensberg got a clutch double to put men at 2nd and 3rd with one out. Pinch hitter Crawford hit a grounder and Ockey, desperate to tie the game, sent Hernandez home. That dude is slow, though, and got nailed easily. Ensberg advanced to 3rd, however and Crawford quickly nabbed 2nd to put himself in scoring position. Then it was Ichiro who came through huge as he singled to bring in Ensberg and the lightning quick Crawford for a 6-5 victory.
Ockey was thrilled, but felt for Bowman who just could NOT get any offense out of his stars. Lee struck out 3x in Game 2 and he, Vlad and Cabrera are batting a combined .167. Obviously this will not last and when these guys match Sweeney’s example, the Gods will be blowing up Davis League and not even thinking twice about it.