|Game 76: June 29, 2009|
|Red Sox||4||W: Jon Lester (7-6)|
S: Jonathan Papelbon (19)
|47-29, 1 game winning streak|
|Orioles||0||L: Jason Berken (1-5)||34-42, 2 game losing streak|
|Highlights: Ramon Ramirez started off the bottom of the ninth sharply with two quick outs but then surrendered a single and a walk. Terry Francona had the foresight to have Papelbon ready at a moment’s notice, a shrewd tactic given Ramirez’s recent shakiness. The Red Sox closer tied Bob Stanley’s franchise record of 132 saves and owes Jason Bay a beer.|
Jason Bay chased down Matt Wieters’s slicing fly ball to left, legs akimbo as he barrel-rolled across the turf. He had to run shallow enough so that Kevin Youkilis and Nick Green had a close-up view of the snowcone snare. I hope Bay feeds the ball to his dog.
In a recent interview Jonathan Papelbon stated that pitching in pinstripes was a possibility. Understandably Papelbon’s comments got some fans up in arms. There is a sliding scale of things people are permitted to place unquestioned faith in without ridicule:
- Age 4: Santa Claus
- Age 55: Sports Heroes
- No limit: God
Dennis Eckersley demonstrated that his Eckisms might be other people’s isms. He co-opted Dave Trembley’s “finger in the socket” trope and tried it out so much that I felt like actually doing it myself. The Hall of Famer is a Beatles fan; wonder if he’s looking forward to Beatles Rock Band as much as I am.
Wieters, the Orioles’ superstar in the making, chased down Mark Kotsay’s pop foul to the rail of the Red Sox dugout in the second inning. The catcher had the ball in his mitt but dropped it as he tipped over the railing; Brad Mills and Jason Varitek saved him from a fall. A tip to the new kid: don’t emulate someone like Doug Mirabelli now that you are in the bigs. Holding onto your mask while you fail to make a stretch catch isn’t All-Star caliber technique. Kotsay singled through the hole on the very next pitch.
Adam Jones, another up and comer, emphatically demonstrated how to use the glove near the wall in the fourth. The center fielder tracked a fly ball all the way to wall, flawlessly timed his leap, and suddenly Youkilis’s one way trip to Souvenir City was diverted.
J.D. Drew fell a double short of the cycle. Drew’s excitement level is inversely proportional to Papelbon’s. The right fielder talked about the game as if he were talking about an oil change.
Jon Lester awkwardly swung at... oh right, we’re finished with designated hitter-less baseball. Lester stymied the Orioles for seven innings, striking out eight and walking none. The local nine were only able to hit singles against all of the Red Sox pitchers.
I seem to say this about every team, but the Orioles have the makings of a contender. Luke Scott, Nick Markakis, Nolan Reimold, and Jones form a promising outfield, Wieters is the youthful infield anchor, and Brian Roberts provides the veteran leadership. The Orioles, like the Red Sox, have a number of arms ready to crack the rotation: Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and Jake Arrieta.
The American League East will be an interesting place for the next few years.