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Home » August 2009 Game CommentsAugust 2009 » Mistakes


Game 124: August 24, 2009
White Sox
L: Jose Contreras (5-12)
63-62, 2 game losing streak
WinRed Sox12
W: Ramon Ramirez (7-3)
H: Hideki Okajima (22)
H: Daniel Bard (7)
71-53, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: Contreras made an error in the bottom of the third, an error bigger than “Sox Appeal,” “Pocket Money,” and the dance sequence opening the NESN pregame show for Friday’s match-up against the Yankees.

Paul Konerko stooped to field David Ortiz’s grounder but for some reason Jose Contreras thought he should chase down the ball. Perhaps he wanted to make amends for hitting Kevin Youkilis with a pitch to jam the bases. The pitcher ended up straddling the first base line without the ball in his glove. Ortiz scampered across the bag safe, Alex Gonzalez scored, and the bases reloaded. Konerko’s exasperation matched that of Jose Oquendo, the third base coach of the Cardinals who attempted to direct Jeff Suppan’s baserunning.

Jason Bay walked on five pitches, pushing across another run and bringing his team within a run. Instead of pitching to Mike Lowell, Contreras might have been better off throwing the ball into the crowd. Lowell wouldn’t get past second base even if the starter hurled the sphere into the netting and then climbed up himself to retrieve it. Contreras half-heartedly attempted that strategy; the wild pitch skipped away from A.J. Pierzynski and allowed Youkilis to tie the game. But Pierzynski insisted on pitching to Lowell.

Lowell’s home run cleared the wall and crashed onto Lansdowne Street. I wonder if Ozzie Guillen’s Venezuelan curses are intelligible to Spanish speakers from Cuba?

Paul “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick visited the booth in the fourth. Between the Yankees rout and the incessant NESN promos it’s a wonder Jerry Remy still wants to be an analyst for these broadcasts. For a few seasons Remy was the king of self-promotion but has since toned it down. Probably because there’s less time for NESN plugs when Remy is hawking his scorecards and t-shirts.

J.D. Drew, like Lowell, hit his 16th home run of 2009. His seventh-inning bomb sailed into the visitors’ bullpen and increased Boston’s lead to three runs.

Clay Buchholz didn’t go the required innings for the decision. He surrendered a three-run four-bagger to Konerko, making the game an uncomfortably close 9-7. But Ramon Ramirez, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon bailed out their young starter with 4⅓ innings pitched with just a single run allowed.

Papelbon changed his tune about Billy Wagner faster than a Girl Talk remix. On August 22 in a WEEI interview he said, “What has he done? Has he pitched this year? Is he ready to pitch or is he not? I think our bullpen is good where we’re at right now. Don’t get me wrong. But I guess you could always make it better. It’s kind of like the [Eric] Gagne thing, I guess.” But today he clarified his position: “Were excited to have him, and hopefully he’ll help us win a championship.”

The Red Sox needed another southpaw option out of the bullpen and are fortunate to acquire someone with Wagner’s track record. If he abides by the Red Sox plan (unlike Gagne), Wagner will shore up the inconsistent relief corps and will net Type A compensation when his contract expires.

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