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Home » April 2010 Game CommentsApril 2010 » Fountains of Pain

Fountains of Pain

Kauffman Stadium is an aesthetic delight: the upper deck is an elegant crescent, the stadium lights are a dainty diadem, and the outfield fountains mirror its home city’s sobriquet: the City of Fountains.

It was all the more stunning with Red Sox batters launching home runs into its stands. Five fans now have horsehide souvenirs, two of them particularly rare as they were hit off Zack Greinke.

For the first time this season Terry Francona retooled the lineup, figuring that hardly anyone has success against Greinke so he might as well start anyone. Victor Martinez slotted in as designated hitter, Mike Lowell manned the hot corner, Jeremy Hermida fielded left, Jacoby Ellsbury slid over to center, and Jason Varitek took over as backstop.

The newly active players seized the opportunity and ran with it. For Hermida and Varitek that meant running all the way to home plate — twice for the catcher. Lowell wasn’t as productive at the plate (1-for-4) but played his position well. The Red Sox bench players would likely be starters in other cities. Conventional wisdom says that a deep bench is a luxury, but for a team in the American League East whose ultimate goal is to win the World Series outstanding backup players are a necessity. The question is, how long can Francona placate the personalities on his team?

Josh Beckett improved upon his opening night showing significantly: 7 innings pitched, 9 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 base on balls, and 4 strikeouts. David DeJesus’s comebacker in the seventh glanced off the back of his head as it screamed to center field, but Beckett stayed on the mound and secured the last out of the inning. He seemed more upset by Chris Getz scoring on the play than nearly having his cranium crushed. If there is anyone that deserves a four-year, $68 million contract extension it is Beckett.

I’m all for a great comeback story, but count me in the officially sick of Rick Ankiel camp. As the Boston bench players displayed, nobody plays harder than a man fighting for a job. Every Ankiel at bat and path to a fly ball is meant to show St. Louis that they made a mistake in jettisoning him. The center fielder gave his team the early lead in the first, robbed Martinez of extra bases in the fourth, and arced a double to right that J.D. Drew gloved but couldn’t grasp in the bottom of the fourth. While I respect Mike Cameron, I wonder why Theo Epstein didn’t go after Ankiel instead.

Game 5: April 10, 2010
WinRed Sox
8W: Josh Beckett (1-0)
H: Hideki Okajima (2)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (3)
HR: Jeremy Hermida (1), Dustin Pedroia (2), Jason Varitek – 2 (2), Kevin Youkilis (1)
3L: Zack Greinke (0-1)
2B: Rick Ankiel (3), Alberto Callaspo (1), Jose Guillen (2), Scott Podsednik (1)

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