I noticed a subtlety in Jerry Crasnick’s write-up of last night’s absolutely inSANE game between the Red Sox and Rays—Game 2, in which the Rays tied the series 1-1 after pulling off a walk-off win in the 11th against Mike Timlin. (Why does Terry Francona bring in Timlin in extra innings anymore?? As soon as he comes in, I just know the game is over. I just know it. And the frat guys who live upstairs know it. And the waitress at Kelly’s Diner on the corner knows it. That guy from Sullivan Tire knows it. Mayor Menino knows it. My dog knows it. And, in fact, I suspect Mike Timlin knows it. Because all across New England, EVERYONE KNOWS THE GAME IS OVER WHEN MIKE TIMLIN COMES IN. I know he’s a lovely human being, and I know Terry Francona wants to show faith in his players, but come on. He’s shot. It’s over. Hand the ball to someone else. ANYONE ELSE. Even Paul Byrd! Even Tim Wakefield! At least with Wake, you have a 50-50 chance the pitch could float in for a strike.)

Writes Crasnick:

J.D. Drew, who had been plunked on his throwing shoulder by a 95 mph Grant Balfour fastball in the series opener, uncorked a weak throw up the third base line, and Perez scored easily to send the Rays into a celebratory frenzy.

“As soon as I drew my arm back to throw and follow through, I got that good charley horse from where I got drilled in the shoulder last night,” Drew said. “I didn’t have the best grip on the ball, so it kind of sailed a little bit to the right. I knew I had to be perfect. And when I released it, I knew it wasn’t.”

Drew normally has an enviable throwing arm, but the ball bounced twice on its way in. Still, Drew’s explanation can’t help but contrast starkly with this quote from Josh Beckett:

Beckett obliged reporters and answered questions at his locker after the game, but he was cryptic and tight-lipped about his performance and his health status. While the oblique injury appears to have transformed him from John Smoltz version 2.0 to Mr. Rocked-tober, he’s not about to use health problems as an excuse. And he still sounds like a guy who plans to pitch when his turn in the rotation comes around again in Game 6.

“I’m fine,” Beckett said at least four times during a two-minute interview. “It’s just frustrating when your team scores eight runs and you can’t win the [bleeping] game.”

I dunno, JD. Beckett’s badassery sounds pretty, well, badass, compared to your “explanation.” And Dustin MVPedroia played last October with a cracked hamate and we didn’t even know about it until later. And yet you’re blaming your weak-ass two-hopper on an HBP? That’s a thing that makes me go “hmm.”

But here, in the Boston Globe, is this conflicting report: “Drew didn’t make any excuses and didn’t lean on a recurring back problem or the throwing shoulder that got drilled by Grant Balfour in Game 1.”


5 Responses to “J.D. Drew and the Subtle Difference Between an Explanation and an Excuse”

  1. Chase Utley gets hit by a pitch roughly every other at bat. He’s playing with an injured hip. But it will be a cold day in hell before you ever, EVER, hear him use an injury as an excuse. He would literally die before using injury as an excuse.

  2. Beckett shat the bed last night, big time. here I am trying to explain to coworkers last week why I just don’t trust his stuff is “ace-like” anymore, and why I’d rather see Dice-K and Lester go Games 6 and 7 than Beckett, who are all “beckett’s the MAN!” correction: Beckett WAS the man… a year ago. different year, different Beckett. I’ve thought Beckett was done for the season since the early-September outing I went to in which he got taken out mercifully in the 2nd after allowing 6 runs or something ridiculous like that. allowing 8 runs is just no excuse. I think we just got lucky last night that Kazmir is also an ace in diminished form right now.

    I think as long as Dice-K and Lester win their outings, we’re golden for the WS. I see us taking 2 out of 3 at Fenway and heading back to the funky funky Trop.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    From: Chase Utley
    To: All Phillies Fans Everywhere
    Re: My inexcusable performance last night

    Dear Phillies Fans Everywhere,
    I know that my 0-for-5, 17-error performance last night was, quite simply, inexcusable. Unfortunately, and I know this is quite out of character for me to offer an explanation–an EXPLANATION, not an EXCUSE, mind you–but I think you deserve to know. I had actually passed away in a freak accident two hours before gametime. So, because I no longer possessed a physical body, that made it incredibly difficult for me to catch/hit the ball. Nonetheless, that is no excuse for a performance that was inexcusable. I take full responsibility. It will never happen again.

    Best regards and most sincere apologies,

    Chase C. Utley

  4. Dan Swartzendruber says:

    I was not happy to see Beckett come out for the 5th (to put it mildly). When he coughed up the 3rd lead of the night (making it 8-5?) I turned off the TV. Saved me from the elation of watching us come back and then seeing… TIMLIN!!!!!! Aughhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My girlfriend stayed up to watch the whole thing, and I told her “You should have turned it off when Timlin came in!” She agreed :( What infuriated me the most about his outing was not that he lost for us, but he did it by walking the first two guys! Grrrrr…….

  5. Sarah Green says:

    I hope this doesn’t reveal me to be a huge fraud, but I turned off the game after the heart of the Sox order—Pedroia, Ortiz, Youk—went down in order in the 10th. (At least, I think it was the 10th.) At that point, Timlin was only a matter of “when,” not “if”—and the BF and I have a new puppy. If you don’t sleep when the puppy sleeps, you don’t sleep at all. I made my choice, and I have no regrets.

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