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Home » June 2009 Game CommentsJune 2009 » Swimmingly


Game 64: June 16, 2009
L: Chris Volstad (4-7)
32-34, 1 game losing streak
WinRed Sox8
W: Tim Wakefield (9-3)
39-25, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: Do I need to plunk down big iron if I want to try Meryl Masterson’s cookies? Don’t confuse these treats with the cookies Volstad was serving up. The rookie hurler lasted just 3⅔ innings and surrendered 9 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, and 1 home run.

David Ortiz crushed the ball in the fourth, deposited it into the visitors’ bullpen, after missing one by just a few feet in the second inning. The sold out crowd chanted his nickname but there was no curtain call this time. With his fifth homer of the season Ortiz preferred to stay in the dugout; he most likely with the hopes that such shots will be commonplace and not require any additional fanfare.

Tim Wakefield dispatched the first three batters with a mere nine pitches, striking out two of them in six. The Marlins had many things working against them: their inexperience in hitting the knuckleball, their free-swinging approach in the box (the Marlins lead the majors in strikeouts), and their excitement over playing in front of a sold-out crowd (the Marlins have about half the attendance of the Red Sox).

The former Devil Ray Jorge Cantu led off the second and took advantage of his prior knowledge of the knuckler. From the four-hole as the designated hitter he doubled to left field. Jeremy Hermida followed up with a base on balls to get Wakefield into an early jam. Wakefield doesn’t get unnerved with runners in scoring position. He went about his business and induced a ground ball double play off the bat of Dan Uggla and got Cody Ross to pop out.

Uggla brought the ugliness from the top of the inning into the bottom of the frame. Jacoby Ellsbury knocked a two-out single off his glove and both he and Hanley Ramirez couldn’t stop Nick Green’s center cut chopper. Uggla even tried to barehand the ball, but rather than help control the inside game he simply changed the trajectory of the ball and confused his shortstop. In the game there were two men who could score from second on that play, Ellsbury and Emilio Bonifacio.

Bonifacio flashed his speed in the third, running out an infield single to Mike Lowell, who had barehanded the ball to try and turn the out. Like Ellsbury he swiped second and then scored on a single. The score wouldn’t be tied for long.

J.D. Drew singled to left and was driven in by Jason Bay’s single to the left field corner. Chris Coghlan manned that part of the field and made it clear that left field isn’t his natural position by fumbling around for the ball as it ping-ponged in the crook. Drew motored home for the tie-breaking run but Bay got caught on the base paths.

National League teams play Fenway badly, particularly around the left field wall. Nearly every “Baseball Blooper” reel shown on the Jumbotron at Fenway features Lastings Milledge’s dreadful outing with the Mets. The poor play isn’t limited to tracking fly balls but also reading the defense while on the basepaths. Marlins shortstop Ramirez attempted to stretch a single into a double but was hosed by a well-aimed dart by Bay.

Dennis Eckersley called Ramirez’s play silly and rightly so. With the score 8-2, the single run Ramirez represented wasn’t worth the risk of giving up an out. Perhaps he was trying to show off in front of his former team’s fans.

Catchers are a crafty lot. They have those secret signals with their pitchers and the semophores with the infielders when there are runners on base. George Kottaras, despite being a rookie, demonstrated that guile. In the top of the fifth Kottaras knocked out Ross Gload’s batted ball fair and then tagged out the batter out. Later that inning Terry Francona and Kottaras laughed about it when the catcher was waiting for his turn at bat.

The sign on the Red Sox bullpen’s latrine door says it all: Death Zone, skulls and crossbones, No Prisoners. Manny Delcarmen, Takashi Saito, and Daniel Bard shutdown the visitors for the last three innings.

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