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Home » April 2010 Game CommentsApril 2010 » Sigh, Young Pitcher

Sigh, Young Pitcher

Much of the Royals’ lineup is an amalgam of other teams’ discards: Scott Podsednik roams the left side the outfield and inexplicably bats second with his 340 OBP; Rick Ankiel patrols center field hoping the massive Crown Vision screen is securely anchored; and Jason Kendall calls the pitches behind the dish. Yet this collection of castoffs denied Tim Wakefield, the oldest pitcher to have ever made a start for the Red Sox, his first win of 2010.

Boston confined all of its damage to a single inning. Kevin Youkilis led off the fourth with a single through the hole and David Ortiz advanced the runner to third with his opposite field double. Adrian Beltre continued to impress by grounding out to second to plate Youkilis and advance Ortiz.

J.D. Drew outdid his teammates with an immense home run to dead center. The ball cleared three walls to land at the base of the Crown Vision, whose distinctive pointed bottom indicated, “Drew hit a massive bomb here.”

Three runs seemed enough for a win because of Red Sox luck, a touch of defense, and Wakefield’s effectiveness.

The Royals had a chance to score in the fourth but for Ankiel squandering his double by getting caught off second on Jose Guillen’s tapper to short. Guillen was destined to notch his team’s first run of the season on Kendall’s fly ball to center. Mike Cameron couldn’t snare the ball with an over the shoulder catch but gamely got it back into play by hitting cutoff man Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia fired a perfect one-hop throw to Victor Martinez’s glove to get the final out and keep the local nine scoreless.

So what if Boston came away empty the bases loaded in the third? The knuckleballer kept the home team scoreless for five innings and lasted seven innings total, longer than all the other Red Sox starters thus far.

Wakefield tallied two outs on a mere six pitches in the bottom of the sixth, but with the floater in play the course of the game can be erratic as the pitch’s trajectory. Billy Butler and Ankiel launched consecutive home runs to shave the visitors’ lead to a single run.

Boston’s lead should have been increased in the seventh when Robinson Tejeda took the mound. The reliever walked three consecutive batters, but leadoff batter Drew was erased when he was caught stealing. Neither Jacoby Ellsbury nor Pedroia mustered hits against Kyle Farnsworth.

With Ortiz no longer available in the eighth due to his sixth inning tantrum, Jeremy Hermida made his Red Sox debut. The platoon player produced, knocking in a single to right. Even if Ortiz had been available, I fear he would have struck out against Juan Cruz just as Youkilis and Martinez did. Home plate Mike Estabrook must have a different strategy to speed up games: ejecting players who fuss about the strike zone. If only these umpires would share with the players and managers their initiatives rather than blasting teams for being “pathetic and embarrassing.” Right, Joe West?

Normally effective reliever Hideki Okajima allowed David DeJesus to lance a leadoff double to left in the eighth. DeJesus was sacrificed bunted to the hot corner and Daniel Bard was brought in to halt the nascent rally. Walking Alberto Callaspo wasn’t ideal but at least set up the double play as long as the defense could keep pinch runner Willie Bloomquist from swiping second. Bard struck out Butler but Bloomquist reached second safely.

While Ankiel’s 4-for-4 evening was impressive, his game-winning hit was a broken bat bloop that simply landed where they weren’t.

The Fox Sports Kansas City broadcast team even beat Remy and Orsillo in the anecdote department. The home broadcast showed a female Red Sox who had accidentally spilled a half a beer on a cameraman last season. She was in the same spot in this game and the camera caught her while taking a call that was obviously from a friend that said they saw her on television. She spilled her beer again. No cameramen were harmed in the filming of this game, unless NESN crew got a glimpse of what Remy was (or was not) wearing behind the desk.

Game 4: April 9, 2010
Red Sox
3H: Hideki Okajima (1)
BS, L: Daniel Bard (2, 0-1)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (2), David Ortiz (1)
HR: J.D. Drew (1)
4W: John Parrish (0-1)
S: Joakim Soria (1)
2B: Rick Ankiel (2), David DeJesus (1), Jason Kendall (1)
HR: Rick Ankiel (1), Billy Butler (1)

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