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Home » August 2009 Game CommentsAugust 2009 » Pivotal


Game 114: August 13, 2009
W: Justin Verlander (13-6)
S: Fernando Rodney (24)
60-54, 1 game winning streak
Red Sox0
L: Clay Buchholz (1-3)
65-49, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: “Verlander” supposedly means “dweller by or on the pasture land” but after yesterday I suspect it might mean “showoff.” He flashed triple-digit stuff in the eighth inning against Jason Bay. Only seven men reached base: 4 hits, 1 walk, and 2 hit by pitches. Chris Woodward was twice Verlander’s victim, but his plunkings caused no strife. The Red Sox were just happy someone got on base somehow.

Clay Buchholz pitched better than John Smoltz ever did this season, going 7 innings with 5 hits, 1 earned (homer by Ryan Raburn), 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts. Why did they wait so long to end the Smoltz Experiment? His five losses could have been wins for Buchholz, a huge swing given the 6½ game gap between the Red Sox and the Yankees.

The getaway game time gave Theo Epstein time to work the phones to shore up the shortstop spot. While Alex Gonzalez’s bat won’t help bridge that half-dozen game chasm, he will fill the defensive hole at short. Nick Green’s cannon can make the bang-bang play at first but just as easily he can blow the game with his inconsistency. The Red Sox traded Kris Negron to the Reds for Gonzalez, who had better not bring back the spirit of 2006 with him. What a terrible year that was.

They are at the fulcrum of the season, where they will either go full tilt towards contention or fade into oblivion. Buchholz’s consecutive quality starts gives me hope for the former.

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