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Soup of This Day #22: Like a Slow Train Coming

June 26, 2011

The Pav in R3, 2010
The Pav kicks for goal. Did he make it? Did he hell! Oh, and the Dockers won too, edging Geelong in this Round 3, 2010 clash at Subiaco – Photo: Michael Spencer, 2010. Michael Spencer is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This post is about closers. Not just the specialist reliever in baseball. Nope, I’m talkin’ closer in a broader sense. In this context the closer is the guy (or girl) who gets it done. The closer is the penalty taker in football – The one who when it comes time to work out who’s taking that one kick, looks the boss in the eye and says a quiet ‘Yep’, maybe giving a barely noticeable nod too. The closer is the guy in Australian football who you want taking the set shot, 50 out, slight angle, 5 points down and the siren has gone. Closers have ice water in their veins, a supernatural ability to ignore crowds and an attitude that, ‘You know what man? This is the job.’ Lance Armstrong – Closer. Michael Schumacher – Closer. Michael Jeffrey Jordan – Oh you better believe he was a closer. LeBron James – Hey, wait a minute…

For the Freo Dockers, the man you want taking that shot for the past 11 seasons has been Matthew Pavlich. The Pav, captain for the past 4 and a bit seasons, had a relatively quiet season in 2010, dropping down the goal charts as a younger, revved-up crop of tyros tore up the opposition. Nonetheless he was still there, moving further up the park, establishing himself as a midfield anchor point. This season it’s been more of the same from him but it’s not been good enough. The supporting cast just hasn’t been there for him and at times he’s looked like he’s floundering. Until tonight.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Pav is back in town and he is closing.

The Dockers hosted Brisbane and on the surface that’s an easy one to call. Brisbane stink. They lost to Gold Coast and the Suns stink so Brisbane are seriously on the nose. The Dockers ain’t no quality micro brewery drop right now either but they were 4 wins further up the ladder than the Lions and at Subi they should dominate this kind of lesser fodder.

Except this is the Dockers. At quarter time they’d managed 7 scoring shots to 5 yet were down 2.5 (17) to 4.1 (25). Brisbane were making their shots count. Freo had momentum but the Lions were closing. The 2nd quarter went the way these things often did when you don’t close out your chances, with Freo’s grip loosening on the 4 Premiership points. They’d had opportunities early and now the Lions could make them pay. Brisbane logged 7 scoring shots, heading into the break at 7.5 (47) whilst the Dockers got just 4 scoring shots. Enter the Pav.

Of those 4 scoring shots, 2 were his and both were goals, adding to his 1 goal in the first. His right peg kept the Dockers in touch at 5.6 (36) at the long break. Then, in the 3rd quarter, he stepped up again. They call the 3rd, the ‘Premiership Quarter’ because it’s the one where you have to make a move. Matty Pavlich got the move happening tonight. Freo booted 5 majors, 2 of them to Pav, against just 3 for the Lions. Going into the last the Dockers led it 10.8 (68) to the Lions 10.5 (65), with 5.0 (30) of Freo’s score coming from the captain. The man didn’t add to the score thereafter but he didn’t need to as the lads held Brisbane scoreless while running in 2.8 (20) to run out 12.16 (88) to 10.5 (65) winners.

The Pav with 29 disposals and 5 goals was a standout when the match was up for grabs. Greg Broughton also brought game, yielding 32 disposals and 2.1. Biggest Aaron Sandilands back on deck with just the 7 disposals but he helped Freo to a 37 to 27 win in hit-outs. Unfortunately Biggest A went off in the 3rd with a possible recurrence of his toe injury. Luke McPharlin, Michael Barlow and Tendai Mzungu also out, of which McPharlin with a groin injury the biggest worry.

So Freo with a ridiculous injury list and it pretty much just underlines the job Matty Pavlich did tonight. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Sadly that link doesn’t get you to the classic video which feature Danny DeVito as a backup singer – Thanks Sony. Anyhow, the Pav closed is what I’m getting at.

Which leads us into a 4 day, 3 game Red Sox recap in which the Red Sox are not closing. Witness Tuesday’s Game 2 of an Interleague matchup at Fenway against the Padres where they trounced ’em 13 to 7 on the hit count.

And lost 5 to 4, in the process stranding enough runners to make a whole new series of Survivor.

I don’t like that show.

Maybe Alfred Aceves doesn’t either cos he made sure to get enough of the Padres home that they weren’t left out there plotting how to get an immunity idol (I gooogled Survivor to get that line). It was not a great outing from him, with 99 pitches across 5 giving up 4 runs. Even so the Sox had tied things up by the 6th, thanks to an RBI double from Youk (1st), a RBI triple from Reddick (3rd), an RBI double from Reddick (4th) and a RBI single from Gonzalez (again) (6th). San Diego though had one more up their sleeve and Wheeler was tagged with it – On a not-so-sour note the winning run came from an Anthony Rizzo double. Nice that a Red Sox prospect traded to San Diego is making out ok. It would be nicer still if it could be against anybody else. The Yankees, maybe? I’m just sayin’ is all.

So on to the series decider on Wednesday and again Boston with a hit count of 10 to 7.

Which they turned into a 5 to 1 loss. Yep.

Lackey. I want to like the guy. I really do. I want him to do well. Yeah he’s paid mucho dinero but the guy has had it rough and I reckon no amount of money compensates you for the crap he and his wife have had over the past 12 months. It’s just that he’s making Dice-K look consistent right now. Sure there were a bunch of rain delays. Tough to come out of those warm but the other guy has that too.

And the other guy didn’t hit 2 batters in the 4th, including 1 that force-walked in a run. Sigh. Hitting batters is bad John. It really is. Actually, you know what? Apparently the Sox have hit 45 batters this season, 11 more than the 2nd best effort in the majors. Maybe cut that crap down a little. I’m looking at you too Lester, Beckett, Aceves.

All in all 4 runs came out of the 4th and that was enough to rain on the Red Sox parade. Lackey’s taciturn, abrupt and just plain stupid post-game crap didn’t help none either.

There followed a day off and a chance to get back to basics, re-focus for a trip to Pittsburgh. This time the Red Sox were matched by the Pirates 9 to 9 on hits. Sadly the piratical hits yielded 3 runs as opposed to the 1 that Boston tossed up. Jon Lester gave up the 3 runs across 6 in an outing that didn’t look that bad – The Pirates just closed when they needed to. This will get marked down as 1 that got away.

So Boston have dropped 3 in a row now. Again with the streak crap, winning and losing in packages rather than single outings. To help explain this I’ve compiled a helpful graphic:

The elephant is Big Mo. He’s left Boston. He’s hitching a ride to Chicago to play for the Nats against the White Sox. It doesn’t end well for the White Sox.

On an aside, the last time I posted a picture of an elephant, who I dubbed Big Mo, I had a positive hit from someone searching for a car crushing company in Missouri (Mo). In case this happens again Greg Freeman Auto Salvage Center looks like they might be worth a call. Mostly because they’re on Blackcat Road in Joplin and that just sounds cool. Or go to Africa in your vehicle of choice and piss an elephant off. Doesn’t seem to take much.

If anyone can lure an elephant safely back on board the Red Sox slow train coming it’s Gods favourite knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. He’s got the start tommorow morning at PNC Park. Close it Wake. Close it good n proper.

Mark Webber is second on the grid for tomorrow’s European GP in Valencia. The street circuit is picturesque and not easy to pass on – Apparently just the 1 pass was made throughout the entire 2010 edition. If Webber can just hold 2nd off the line, by no means a certainty for a man who routinely screws up the start, then he looks good for a podium finish.

Which brings us to the close of this post. See what I did there?

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