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Soup of This Day #59: Feel Like I’m Going, Like I’m Going Down Slow.

August 30, 2011

Mark Webber 2010 Malaysian GP 1st Free Practice
Mark Webber at the 2010 Malaysian GP. He’s really quite fast once he gets going – Photo: Morio, 2010. Morio is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This weekend just gone was 1 packed with sport and the last for some time to feature all 3 of this blog’s teams in league matches, an occultation that doesn’t come around again until April 2012.

1st up and the Dockers had a Friday night feature against Premiership favourites Collingwood. Mathematically Freo was still a chance of making the finals, albeit needing a win in this penultimate round and relying on others to stumble. The reality was though that everyone, including the Dockers, knew that the bolt had been shot. This was highlighted by influential skipper Matty Pavlich, who was injured and listed out for 2 weeks, deciding that he’d have elective surgery so that he’d be right ‘for preseason’. Not the finals in 2 weeks, no, preseason, 2012.

So, they’d given up although early on they matched up well and held the Pies to a 1 goal apiece tie. Then the 6th minute rolled around and Freo feebly waved for a lifeguard. It was 6.0 (36) to 2.0 (12) at quarter-time. At least the Dockers were accurate. Not so much in the 2nd quarter when they missed every shot at goal, although to be fair they only had 2 shots so they were hamstrung statistically. Collingwood by contrast banged in a larger sample size of 6.4 (40) and thus led 12.4 (76) to 2.2 (14) at the half. They then added a further 5 goals to 2 in the 3rd and although they lost the last by a goal ran out comfortable 80 point winners, 20.12 (132) to 8.4 (52). For Freo that’s it for 2011 in terms of relevance. They can point to a ridiculous injury list that got a little longer post-Collingwood:

Hayden Ballantyne – hamstring: season, Justin Bollenhagen – ankle: test, Jesse Crichton – knee: season, Matt de Boer – knee: season, Peter Faulks – jaw: season, Nathan Fyfe – shoulder: season, Jonathan Griffin – hip: season, Antoni Grover – soreness: test, Roger Hayden– leg: season, Garrick Ibbotson – shoulder: season, Nick Lower – shoulder: season, Adam McPhee – foot: season, Josh Mellington – elbow: test, Viv Michie – foot: season, Anthony Morabito – knee: season, David Mundy – ankle: season, Matthew Pavlich – hip: season, Jayden Pitt – groin: test, Dylan Roberton – ankle: season, Gavin Roberts – quad: season, Alex Silvagni – concussion: test, Jay van Berlo – groin: season, Michael Walters – knee: season

There are 23 names on this list. That’s exactly half of Freo’s squad of 46 players. 18 of them have been ruled out for the remainder of the season (Although that’s just one more week). 16 of those on that list are arguably 1st team quality and at least 12 are key position players who you would expect to be in Freo’s 1st 22 each week. At least 4 of those wounded are genuine stars. Collingwood by contrast has just 7 injured players, of which only 2 are out for the season. In spite of this substantial handicap there has been an element in the Dockers’ meek capitulation over the past 7 weeks that has been unflattering and worrying. They need to look for more out of the ashes of 2011 than ‘We got hard done by’.

After a substantial summer outlay on squad additions that’s not an excuse that Liverpool fans will accept either. On Saturday night, playing their 3rd game of the EPL season, they were searching for a 1st win at Anfield this campaign. They started well, largely dominating the 1st half. There were danger signs though when they only had a goal to show for their form by halftime. That goal had been scored by new lad Jordan Henderson, one of Kenny Dalglish’s expensive summer additions. He’d had the ball drop to him 12 yards out after another summer arrival Stewart Downing had smacked a pile-driver volley that Bolton’s stopper Jussi Jaaskelainen had only just palmed away. Henderson curled the ball, left-footed into the top right corner and the Reds were 1 up.

Chances abounded for both sides early in the 2nd half although the majority and the best were Liverpudlian. Luis Suarez’ movement was tormenting Bolton’s defence and he fluffed a 1-on-1 with Jaaskelainen. That miss didn’t turn out to be costly though as Martin Skrtel headed home a whipped in Charlie Adam corner to make it 2-0. Just on a minute later and it was 3-0, this time Adam, also a recent arrival, going it alone with a low shot from the corner of the area that nestled into the corner of the net. Bolton pulled 1 back in injury time to make it 3-1, a mere consolation, although Liverpool custodian Pepe Reina went mental at his defence anyway. Nice to see a keeper who considers every goal to be an affront to the natural order of things, regardless of the score at the other end.

Fortunately Pepe doesn’t keep for Arsenal or Spurs. On Sunday Man U hosted Arsenal who were looking to bounce back from a home loss to Liverpool the previous week while Man City were away to top 4 hopefuls Spurs. City won 5-1 and Man U won 8-2.

By the time those baseball-like scores had come around in the EPL the Red Sox were done for the weekend, with all 3 matchups with the A’s scheduled for a 24hr window, with 1 on the Friday night and then a double header from 12:00pm Saturday in an attempt to clear Hurricane Irene.

For Game 1, Wake’s 200th win was on the line.

Again.

For the 6th time it didn’t happen although it started brightly with Gonzalez (again) putting Boston 1 up in the 1st via an RBI single. The A’s pegged that back and then got the lead in the 2nd, 2-1. In the 4th Wake imploded for 6 runs and at 8-1 he was pulled for Scott Atchison. Back-to-back solo blasts from Pedroia and Ortiz gave some hope of a Bostonian rally in the bottom of the 4th and a Scutaro grounder RBI to make it 8-4 in the 5th added to the illusion. The dream was eroded in the 7th by an A’s run and then blown away in the 8th by another 4. There was time for 2 more in the 9th as Darnell McDonald turned in his bat for a relief role (He was better than Albers) and 1 for the Sox via a Reddick RBI double. It finished 15-5 to the A’s and mercifully the Yankees were done 12-5 by the O’s.

A good night for vowels then.

So on to the Saturday double-header and a Jon Lester start at high noon. Pedroia got it rolling with a RBI single in the 1st that was cancelled out in the 2nd by an A’s solo blast. Lester limited the damage though and a Varitek 2 run long shot, coupled with an Ellsbury RBI double gave the Sox a 4-1 lead in the 2nd. The A’s pulled 1 back, top of the 3rd but Big Papi hit a 2 run double and Crawf knocked out a sac fly to score another and after 3 it was 7-2. Scutaro made it 8-2 after 4 and Tek made it 9-2 after 5. About the only thing that could stop the Sox at this point was the rain and there was a 45min delay, shortly followed by a 2hr 15min 2nd delay. Because it was the 1st game of a double it couldn’t be called so they came back and although the A’s pegged 1 run in the 9th it finished a win for the Sox and Jon Lester (14 and 6).

Game 3 and the 2nd of the day had the hard working but unlucky Erik Bedard on the mound. He was good through 4 shutout innings until a rain delay. In that time the Sox had spotted him 3 runs of cover, via a 2 run blast from Big Papi and a Salty ground out. An hour later and Aceves came out to continue the shutout while Salty popped up a RBI double to make it 4-0. Racing the ‘cane, the Sox got it closed out with Aceves (9 and 1) taking the win from Bedard, who at least deserves ensemble billing.

All in all a nice day’s work from the guys. With the Yankees out of action they moved to 82 wins, 4 clear of the Yankees for a 2 game lead. The New Yorkers pulled back 0.5 of those by taking 2 of 3 against the O’s on Sunday/Monday. The 2 heavyweights now match up for a 3 game stand at Fenway starting tomorrow with Lackey vs Sabathia.

Some motorsport briefs: Mark Webber started 3rd, @#$%ed up the start as per usual, dropping to 8th and then clawed his way back to 2nd in the Belgian GP. His fighting drive included a seriously ballsy 170mph overtake of Fernando Alonso on the outside at Eau Rouge. Casey Stoner, racing the US MotoGP on the Indianapolis track was less ballsy and more clinical and maybe because of that got the win. He now leads the championship by 44 with 6 to run.

Last, and Honey-Boy Edwards, the last of a generation that birthed the blues, has died aged 96. A noted Chicago bluesman in his own right Honey-Boy was there when Robert Johnson downed the poisoned whiskey that killed him. In 1997 he told the Chicago Tribune:

‘The blues is nothing but a story… The verses which are sung in the blues is a true story, what people are doing… what they all went through. It’s not just a song, see?’

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