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Home » July 2009 Game CommentsJuly 2009 » Ugly


Game 87: July 11, 2009
L: Gil Meche (4-9)
37-50, 2 game losing streak
WinRed Sox15W: John Smoltz (1-2)
H: Hideki Okajima (17)
H: Daniel Bard (1)
53-34, 2 game winning streak
Highlights: U! G! L! Y! You ain’t got no alibi! You ugly! Hey, hey! You ugly! Last night’s slugfest stood in stark contrast to Friday evening’s pitchers’ duel, but it was a win nonetheless. There were some beautiful moments for the rookies, however. Aaron Bates notched his first big league hit, an RBI ground ball single up the middle in the eighth inning. Daniel Bard was the only effective arm out of the bullpen: the lanky right-hander entered the seventh with two men on and none out courtesy of Hideki Okajima. Bard struck out the first two batters and induced a ground ball out to keep the Royals at bay.

Tony Peña, Jr. demonstrated early in the game why Trey Hillman needs to switch him out for a defensive replacement if the game is winnable. With runners on first and second with one out the shortstop fielded a room service double play ground ball off the bat of Jason Bay smoothly enough. However, Peña’s throw flew wide of Billy Butler’s glove, which allowed Kevin Youkilis to score, advanced David Ortiz to third, and let the inning continue.

Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to left and Jose Guillen must have assumed that the infield had gotten an out on the previous play for he put his head down and started to run off the field. Guillen suddenly realized that was the second out and tried to make his trot seem as if he were building up momentum for a throw to home. Ortiz easily tagged up for the third run of the inning.

Before Jason Varitek mercifully struck out to end the inning Bay had swiped second and advanced to third on Miguel Olivo’s throwing error.

The Red Sox scored three more runs in the second inning with two outs on the board. Gil Meche was tantalizingly close to getting out of the inning unscathed but J.D. Drew doubled to the left-center gap on 0-2 curveball that didn’t break far enough to fool Drew. Dustin Pedroia, who had tripled in the first, smoked a double that bounced to the wall to plate Drew.

Most impressive of all the runs was Youkilis’s second-inning dinger. The shot cleared the wall and dropped into the bed of a pickup truck parked across Lansdowne. That truck then pulled out and is on its way to San Diego, California, a 3,038-mile trip that will shatter Dave Parker’s Charleston to Columbus clout. Youkilis’s eighth inning four-bagger merely cleared the left field wall.

In the fourth with two men out, Meche left the game due to with back spasms. Lest you think Meche was malingering, I checked on WebMD: in pitchers age 30-35 back spasms can spontaneously occur at the sight of the rejuvenated Ortiz taking hacks in the on-deck circle.

Meche missed his chance to be part of two historical events. Ortiz smacked a two-run homer over the Red Sox bullpen off Ron Mahay. It was the designated hitter’s 1,000 hit as a Red Sox player and he is the 30th member of the club to reach this milestone. Then in the sixth Drew argued a call with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor, which was Drew’s first showing of displeasure at an official since his major league debut.

Imagine Dennis “Disco Denny” Eckersley circa 1978, bronzed, shirt unbuttoned with chains on display, hair feathered, tagging along with Reggie Jackson to get into Studio 54. Did he do lines with Andy Warhol, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Jerry Hall? Or maybe his substance of choice was LSD with Timothy Leary? I tend to think the latter as Eckersley mentioned that looking at this game’s scorecard was like acid.

What a mental trip John Smoltz took during the course of this game. He must have hit the showers after his five innings with the score a comfy 9-1 and then came out just time to see part of the visitors’ five-run rally in the sixth. I’ve heard of rookie hazing, but the team seems to be putting Smoltz through some sort of initiation as The New Guy.

“Oh, I guess The New Guy expects us to hold huge leads.” “Yeah, must be nice for The New Guy to join a contending team and get all those runs.” “Ha, just kidding, Smoltzie, we like you. See, we scored 15 runs for you!”

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