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August 30, 2014

Archer Vice

Chris Archer lasted only four innings. Last night he had just three opportunities to showboat after striking out Red Sox batters. Archer allowed 10 hits and 7 earned runs. In the first inning Archer couldn’t field Mookie Betts’s comebacker, which loaded the bases. It wouldn’t be the worst situation for Archer in this game with the bases jammed.

The Red Sox batted around in both the first and second inning, the first time since the second game of a doubleheader on August 14, 1962. Betts came up with ducks on the pond and sent the ball over the left field fences for his first major league grand slam.

The rookie converted outfielder provided the fireworks rather than any incidents between Archer and David Ortiz. The designated hitter went 1-for-5 and was not hit by a pitch. Archer hit Daniel Nava with a slider in the second inning but it was with a full count, two men on, and two men out. That set the stage for Betts’s blast.

Carlos Rivero was in the minor leagues for nine years before setting foot on a major league field. Unfortunately that field was Tropicana, but to Rivero even the most ramshackle of major league stadiums must seem like Wrigley Field. He pinch hit for Will Middlebrooks in the ninth inning and worked a walk.

U2 sang:

Walk on
Walk on

Home
Hard to know what it is
If you never had one

Soon there’ll be so many September call-ups trying to make the majors their home.

Game 134: August 29, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
59-75
8 W: Anthony Ranaudo (3-0)
2B: Yoenis Cespedes (31)
HR: Mookie Betts (3)
Tampa Bay Rays
65-70
4 L: Chris Archer (8-7)
2B: Kevin Kiermaier (14)
HR: Brandon Guyer (3)

August 28, 2014

Dance Along the Edge

What happened? A good question to ask of this game. Actually, not just this game, but the entire season.

In the middle game of the series the Red Sox had five extra base hits, including three home runs. Even with David Ortiz back in the lineup and where, other than Fenway, he has hit the most home runs in his career (37) Boston’s offense limped out of the series finale with a loss. Ortiz was responsible for one of the two runs the visitors scored: a run on his looping single to right in the sixth. The other run came when Brock Holt scored on a wild pitch to Mike Napoli.

Napoli didn’t replicate his 451-foot bomb. A helpful fan provided a visual aid for the slugger.

The only heights anyone representing the 617 attained were first base coach Arnie Beyeler and Gary Striewski when they did the EdgeWalk. Here’s Beyeler making shaka almost as good as a local like Shane Victorino. He learned it from his time as coach of the West Oahu CaneFires in the now sadly defunct Hawaii Winter League.

Edwin Escobar made his major league debut in the eighth and had a perfect frame. It included inducing a fly ball out off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. Escobar and Heath Hembree came to Boston by way of the Jake Peavy trade. With September call-ups days away many pitchers will be vying for a spot on 2015’s roster. Escobar’s debut was a small but successful step to staying in the show.

Game 133: August 27, 2014
Boston Red Sox
58-75
2 L: Tommy Layne (1-1)
BS: Junichi Tazawa (5)
No extra base hits
WinToronto Blue Jays
67-66
5 W: Marcus Stroman (8-5)
S: Brett Cecil (5)
2B: Edwin Encarnacion (24), Kevin Pillar (4)
HR: Jose Bautista (26), Danny Valencia (3)

The Numbers All Go to Eleven

When Brock Holt strikes out he still scores because he’s Brock Holt.

Holt scored on Dustin Pedroia’s first-inning home run. Pedroia’s moonshot was impressive as it reached the second deck but it wasn’t quite far enough to be the longest four-bagger of the evening.

The umpires got to test their interpretation of rule 7.13 early in the game. Will Middlebrooks arced the ball over Kevin Pillar’s head to the center field wall. Mike Napoli scored easily from second base. Allen Craig tried to follow him but was out at home. The officiating crew took a look at the play to ensure that Josh Thole didn’t block the plate before he had the ball and ruled that he didn’t. I think it’s because whenever Craig gets near any defender he seems to crumple. He must have watched a lot of Arjen Robben during the World Cup.

Napoli got hit in the helmet by R.A. Dickey in the fifth inning. Dickey’s knuckler is considerably slower than the Felix Hernandez change-up that found Xander Bogaerts’s earflap. Like Bogaerts, Napoli stayed in the game.

It was good that he could because he was a pivotal part of the Red Sox’s offensive onslaught in the eleventh inning. His three-run home run made the score 9-4.

Napoli’s home run found Manny Ramirez territory in left field. It bounced off chairs above Carlos Delgado’s name in the Level of Excellence.

Craig enjoyed his first circuit clout as a Red Sox player, but his didn’t reach the seats. It slipped behind the wall in left field to plate Daniel Nava and push the score to 11-4

At the time the home runs seemed like gilding the lily but Dioner Navarro and Danny Valencia’s doubles in the bottom of the 11th plated three runs. Without Napoli’s homer the local nine would have celebrated a walk-off win and secured a winning record.

Nothing like delivering a debilitating loss to a divisional foe.

Game 132: August 26, 2014 ∙ 11 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
58-74
11 W: Junichi Tazawa (3-3)
2B: Will Middlebrooks (8), Daniel Nava (15)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (7), Mike Napoli (16), Allen Craig (8)
Toronto Blue Jays
66-66
7 L: Casey Janssen (3-2)
2B: Jose Reyes (29), Adam Lind – 2 (19), Munenori Kawasaki (6), Kevin Pillar (4), Dioner Navarro (16), Danny Valencia (11)
HR: Jose Bautista (25)

August 26, 2014

Don’t Call It a Comeback

I wouldn’t have guessed a lineup without David Ortiz could manage to win a game. The Red Sox designated hitter is day-to-day because of a ball he fouled off his right foot on Sunday. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia made up for Ortiz’s production with a home run each.

Someone that was supposed to provide power, Allen Craig, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. But he does love the island I grew up on, so I can overlook his lack of production. For now.

John Farrell kept Clay Buchholz on the mound one inning too long. Up until the ninth frame Buchholz had allowed two hits; he left the game with two more hits and a walk added to his line. Koji Uehara induced an RBI ground out off Adam Lind’s bat but he then surrendered and two-run double to Edwin Encarnacion.

Sometimes this team just can’t get out of its own way. Pedroia collided with Brock Holt when they both pursued Jose Reyes’s batted ball in the ninth. This was the hit that allowed the Blue Jays to tie the score 3-3 and force the game into extra innings.

But by the 10th Holt recovered enough to single. He stole second and third bases before being driven in by Yoenis Cespedes.

Game 131: August 25, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
57-74
4 BS, W: Koji Uehara (4, 6-4)
S: Craig Breslow (1)
HR: Mookie Betts (2), Dustin Pedroia (6)
Toronto Blue Jays
66-65
3 L: Aaron Sanchez (2-1)
2B: Edwin Encarnacion (23)

August 25, 2014

Avoidance

The Red Sox almost averted a loss yesterday but succumbed when Tommy Layne and Edward Mujica each surrendered a run in the last two innings. At least Boston doubled their scoring in this game compared to the first two contests.

The fans in the stands improved from the prior games, too. This kid’s quick-acting father stopped his child from interfering with the ball in play.

In the first inning Will Middlebrooks singled to right field with the bases loaded and two out. Yoenis Cespedes scored and Allen Craig appeared safe at third base but was called out by Angel Hernandez. Replay showed that Craig got his foot in safely. Middlebrooks and Craig teamed up for another controversial play at third, but this one wasn’t as intriguing as the obstruction call in the World Series.

How hard is it for a guy to avoid a pie to face from a person in a mascot costume with low visibility? If that guy’s name is Gary Striewski’s, it’s pretty difficult.

Wally smashing a pie into Striewski’s face sums up the Red Sox performance in the past two series against AL West teams. The Angels swept Boston and passed Oakland for the division lead and the Mariners did the same to keep pace with the Athletics for the wild card spot.

Sorry, Red Sox West. The Red Sox blew their chance at playing spoiler to help all the former crimson hose players now wearing white shoes.

Game 130: August 24, 2014
WinSeattle Mariners
71-58
8 W: Dominic Leone (7-2)
H: Joe Beimel (9), Danny Farquhar (11), Charlie Furbush (16), Tom Wilhelmsen (7)
S: Fernando Rodney (38)
2B: Dustin Ackley (26), Logan Morrison (12), Brad Miller (10)
3B: Ackley (3)
Boston Red Sox
56-74
6 L: Allen Webster (3-2)
2B: Yoenis Cespedes (30), Will Middlebrooks (7), Allen Craig (19), Kelly Johnson (10)

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