Everybody knows Nomar loves to swing at the first pitch. Say what you want about it, but he is a career .340 hitter when he swings at the first pitch. That is an anomaly. The rest of the team should not follow his lead. Last night, the Sox batters swung at the first pitch 10 at-bats, the result was 2 hits. When taking the first pitch, they ended up 11 for 30 (.366) with 3 walks. The other obvious benefit is to make the pitcher work. Especially against Batista, who has had blister problems and was checked at the mound last night for one. And he is 6’2″, 195 and throws mid-90’s, make the guy work and get to the bullpen.
That being said, last night it probably didn’t matter what they did at the plate. Their pitching and defense was abysmal. Sometimes a team will have games where every hitter is just “on”, regardless of the opposing pitcher. That was Toronto last night. The Sox will take at least two of the next three in Skydome.
The Schilling watch is on. Is he hurt? What was the confrontation with Francona about in the dugout? Why has he been wrapping his ankle? My question is, how smart was it to let him pitch a complete game, throwing 120 pitches, in May (his last outing) with a six run lead (8 run lead in the 9th)? Not very.