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August 21, 2014

Hobbled Halos

Garrett Richards crumpled to the earth attempting to beat Brock Holt to first base. The patellar tendon of Richards’s left knee experienced a catastrophic injury. He will undergo surgery next week that will have him out for six to ninth months.

The Angels have the best record in baseball but the loss of Richards will severely impact their rotation. Mike Scioscia’s team will have to bash rather than baffle their way into and through the playoffs.

Clay Buchholz pitched well until he allowed five runs in the sixth inning. John Farrell let him pitch the seventh frame and he induced a ground out and whiffed two. Granted, it was the bottom of the order, but perhaps it helped to restore more of Buchholz’s confidence.

More disappointingly he turned in the worst ALS ice bucket challenge yet.

David Ortiz singled in the first inning and had a chat with Albert Pujols at first base. Maybe they were throwing shade about Yasiel Puig or Fernando Rodney.

Ortiz clouted his 30th home run of the season in the third inning. He has 30 or more homers in eight seasons, tying him with Ted Williams for the franchise record.

Game 126: August 20, 2014
WinLos Angeles Angels
8 W: Cory Rasmus (3-1)
H: Fernando Salas (6)
2B: Josh Hamilton (18), Kole Calhoun (24)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Clay Buchholz (5-8)
2B: Yoenis Cespedes (28)
HR: David Ortiz (20)

August 20, 2014

Kole Saw

Right fielder Kole Calhoun has carved through the Red Sox pitchers in this series thus far. But his success hasn’t stopped at the plate. In the second inning he seismically shifted the outcome of last night’s game. The Red Sox had two runners on and two out with Brock Holt at the dish. Holt skyed the ball to right field on a path that would surely clear the Angels bullpen wall. Calhoun’s glove interrupted the ball’s flight and instead of the score being 4-0 in Boston’s favor the second inning ended with a slim 1-0 advantage to the local nine.

In the third inning Calhoun tied the game 1-1 by driving in Chris Iannetta.

The Red Sox pulled within a run in the fifth inning when Mike Napoli’s ground out plated Dustin Pedroia. Holt tied the game 3-3 in the next frame with a sacrifice fly to drive in Xander Bogaerts.

Providence-born Iannetta broke the tie in the ninth inning when Koji Uehara uncharacteristically gave up consecutive doubles to Brennan Boesch and the Angels backstop.

Pedroia questioned home plate umpire Tom Woodring in the ninth inning. Yoenis Cespedes had pinch hit for Christian Vazquez and came through with a single. Holt sac bunted him over and it was up to Pedroia to advance Cespedes. Pedroia felt he got a part of Huston Street’s pitch to him but Woodring said the second baseman whiffed.

The Red Sox didn’t help the Red Sox West out in Oakland, but they helped themselves by beating the New York Mets. That stopped a five-game slide. Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes accepted David Ortiz’s ice bucket challenge but no video has been posted yet.

Game 125: August 19, 2014
WinLos Angeles Angels
4 BS: Jason Grilli (5)
W: Joe Smith (5-1)
S: Huston Street (34)
2B: Chris Iannetta – 2 (21), Brennan Boesch (2)
3B: Mike Trout (6)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Koji Uehara (5-3)
2B: Mookie Betts (3)
HR: David Ortiz (29)

August 19, 2014

Law and Disorder

It’s a good thing Steve Horgan was on hand last night to celebrate his bobblehead because there were a few egregious plays on the field.

Junichi Tazawa had a rough eighth inning. He walked Chris Iannetta to start the frame and then Kole Calhoun doubled. Tazawa gathered himself to strike out Mike Trout in three pitches. John Farrell called for an intentional walk of Albert Pujols to enable the force at every base.

Howie Kendrick obligingly knocked the ball to Tazawa but the pitcher booted it. The reliever hurriedly tossed to Christian Vazquez in an attempt to get Iannetta out but his throw went awry. Calhoun also scored on the misplays. On the bright side for Tazawa, the two errors meant that the runs didn’t go toward his earned run average.

The Red Sox lost the game but Farrell won a challenge later in the eighth. Erick Aybar grounded to Dustin Pedroia who fired home. Vazquez tagged out Pujols easily but Mike Muchlinski missed the call.

Game 124: August 18, 2014
WinLos Angeles Angels
4 W: C.J. Wilson (10-8)
H: Mike Morin (8), Fernando Salas (5), Jason Grilli (8)
S: Kevin Jepsen (1)
2B: Mike Trout (34), Kole Calhoun (23)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Brandon Workman (1-7)
2B: David Ortiz (24)

August 17, 2014

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

The contested neighborhood play that wasn’t in the second inning inspired this parody of the classic song from “Sesame Street.”

Who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood, in your neighborhood
Say! Who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

Well, I play on the field, but not around the diamond. I try to position myself so that I can catch balls that the batter hits high and far away.

I know who you are! You’re an outfielder!

(singing) That’s right! Oh, a left fielder plays the balls off the wall
But this one should be caught and not fall
He also can throw hard and get an out
And when he’s at the dish he can clout

How about this person? Can you give a few hints about you do?

I get to play in the dirt most of the time. When you play in my position you have to be able to move quickly left or right and not let the ball get past you. There are exceptions if you are close to retirement, though.

You definitely are a shortstop!

(singing) Yep! A shortstop plays in the hole
And stops the ball before it gets on a roll
But he has to make sure his foot is on the bag
Or he might make his manager’s day a drag

This looks like a fun job? I wonder what this kindly gentleman does?

Well, I can sure as hell tell you one thing, I can do this job and the job of this guy in black one hundred times better than he does. That black must be symbolic of the black hole that is sucking any sort of sound judgment that attempts to escape its immense gravity.

Hmm, this is a tough one. But I think you just might be a major league manager!

(singing) Damn straight I am! A manager is right all the time
The way this ump calls the game is a crime
When I try to prove a point I get thrown
And now I watch the game alone

Game 123: August 17, 2014
WinHouston Astros
8 W: Collin McHugh (6-9)
HR: Jose Altuve (6), Dexter Fowler (7), Jon Singleton (11)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Joe Kelly (2-3)
2B: Daniel Nava (13)

The World According to Papi

I’m thinking the statue that is eventually erected in honor of David Ortiz should look like this.

Although the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge stance does have its appeal, too.

Ortiz had a spectacular showing in what ended up as a three-run victory against the Astros. Ortiz smacked his 400th home run in a Red Sox uniform in the third inning. He jolted another one in the fifth inning to bring his team within a run of the visitors. For good measure Ortiz drove in two runs in the bottom of the eighth with an opposite-field double.

The Red Sox stormed back after Ortiz’s second four-bagger. Daniel Nava knocked in Yoenis Cespedes with a line drive to left to tie the game 6-6. Jackie Bradley, Jr. made solid contact on a fly ball to deep center field to sacrifice in Mike Napoli for the lead.

Cespedes seemed to be at ease in Fenway but you can tell he is sometimes bewildered by the lack of foul territory in Boston’s lyric bandbox. In the sixth inning Robbie Grossman sent the ball to the left field line and Cespedes nearly overran it. The fielder had to reach back behind him to make the grab and avoid the door under the left field stands. In Oakland he would have had miles more to run down the ball.

Koji Uehara pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. Perhaps it was fatigue or perhaps a state of relaxation because of the large lead but Uehara was not his surgical self. He gave up a two-out home run to Jason Castro and then a single to Jon Singleton. Uehara then hit Jake Marisnick, just his second hit batsman in his entire major league career.

After those rare miscues Uehara induced a ground out to Gonzalez for the third out and the victory.

Game 122: August 16, 2014
Houston Astros
7 L: Josh Fields (2-6)
2B: Gregorio Petit (2)
HR: Chris Carter (29), Jason Castro (12)
WinBoston Red Sox
10 W: Alex Wilson (1-0)
H: Burke Badenhop (8)
2B: Daniel Nava (12), David Ortiz (23)
HR: Ortiz – 2 (28)

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