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Home » May 2009 Game CommentsMay 2009 » Interference


Game 46: May 26, 2009
Red Sox2
L: Jon Lester (3-5)
27-19, 1 game losing streak
W: Nick Blackburn (4-2)
H: Matt Guerrier (6)
S: Joe Nathan (7)
23-24, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: Shouldn’t a batter be charged with a strike if they swing when time is called, like what happened in the eighth with Delmon Young batting against Takashi Saito? Saito had to throw four strikes against Young for the strikeout.

It’s hard to harbor resentment towards Justin Morneau. Clean-cut, good-looking, likable, model clubhouse citizen, 2006 AL MVP, and 2007 Home Run Derby winner. On top of that he is a two-time All-Star and twice earned the Silver Slugger award. Even with all that hardware his swing is free and easy. Jon Lester shouldn’t feel terrible about Morneau taking him deep for that three-run homer in the fifth because the Twins first baseman is one of the premier players in the league. But Lester probably does.

For 4⅓ innings the southpaw held the home team to goose eggs, but as is his wont this season he had that one inning that undid him. The second time the bottom third of the order saw him they were all over his pitches. Brendan Harris, Matt Tolbert, and Nick Punto singled. In the midst of the one-baggers Delmon Young had an extra base hit ripped from his stat line by Jacoby Ellsbury’s remarkable diving catch.

The trajectory of Young’s batted ball had me wondering how far Harris would get before Ellsbury dug out the ball and hurled it back into the infield. That the Red Sox center fielded snared the ball defied logic and physics.

Ellsbury also scored both runs for the Red Sox. He and Dustin Pedroia paired up in the top of the fifth for their signature maneuver: fielder’s choice-SB-RBI double. (Julio Lugo’s leadoff single in this inning was nearly as surprising as Ellsbury’s catch.)

Lugo led off the seventh with a fly ball out to center, so Ellsbury’s and Pedroia’s consecutive singles came with one out. J.D. Drew tapped the ball to Twins second baseman Tolbert, who passed to Punto at short to erase Pedroia. Punto’s relay to first was way off the mark, allowing Ellsbury to score. First base umpire Chris Guccione obstructed Drew’s path and Drew got caught between Morneau and Punto for the final out.

I can only imagine what Dennis Eckersley would be saying about this crew. In Jerry Remy’s absence Dave Roberts has been doing road games, so the probability of live cussing is considerably lessened.

The Red Sox had an odd third out to end the first inning that didn’t require umpire interference. Morneau rapped a grounder up the middle and off Lugo’s glove. Pedroia pursued the ricochet into shallow center and tossed the ball back to Lugo to hose Morneau.

Amongst his accolades Morneau does not have “league leader in steals,” so his attempt to capitalize on the error was questionable. He doesn’t have the wheels that Ellsbury or even David Ortiz.

Papi legged out double to start the second inning but was stranded. He even slid legs-first. Being back in Twins territory has reinstilled the designated hitter’s fundamentals and slap-hitting. Perhaps retracing his steps will bring him back to where he was in his heyday.

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