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Home » July 2007 Game CommentsJuly 2007 » Unrealized


Game 85: July 6, 2007
Red Sox 2 L: Julian Tavarez (5-7) 53-32, 1 game losing streak
19-7-3 series record
WinTigers 9 W: Andrew Miller (4-2) 50-34, 3 game winning streak
17-8-3 series record
Highlights: Coco Crisp drove in Julio Lugo with a humpback to center in the third. Doug Mirabelli homered in the ninth. Nobody’s jaw was broken, either last night or the night before in Josh Beckett’s collision with Dioner Navarro, despite what Beckett told reporters.

Bigger loser last night: the Red Sox lineup with its measly five hits? Me doing laundry on a Friday night? Julian Tavarez in his four and two-thirds inning showing with eight earned runs bring his losing streak to three? Let’s be diplomatic and call it a toss-up.

Wily Mo Peña was close to scoring on Jeff Bailey’s fly ball to Curtis Granderson in the third. Winded from running out a triple, even Peña’s galumphing mass of muscle was unable to jar the flawlessly thrown outfield assist from Mike Rabelo’s mitt.

Peña exacted a measure of revenge when he began the assist to hose Rabelo at the plate in the fourth. Cutoff man positioned himself to receive the relay and telegraphed it to Jason Varitek. For his part Varitek blocked the plate with shin guards presented threateningly in the path of the runner.

With Jacoby Ellsbury’s return to Pawtucket, Kevin Youkilis’s ailing quadriceps, and southpaws bookending the series, Bailey got the call to platoon with Eric Hinske at first. Bailey was drafted in the second round in 1997 by the Marlins. He stalled at Double-A for three years beginning in 2001 and drifted between that level and Triple-A for a few more seasons until he plateaued at Pawtucket from 2005.

He is Crash Davis in the flesh, but his celluloid counterpart at least retained the ability to play backstop. After a labrum tear, Bailey was gun shy about throwing across the diamond to catch potential base swipers. He eventually overcame his mental block but his primary position became first base.

The saying goes that there is no such thing as a pitching prospect, but in reality the first base position is a catchall for failed prospects of all stripes. It is the last refuge of potential production, lack of speed, and unfitness of fielding.

Even so, to finally have your break after over a decade of being stepped over was the thrill of a lifetime for Bailey. Especially, as Bailey said, with the Red Sox.

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