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Home » May 2010 Game CommentsMay 2010 » Pitch Slapped

Pitch Slapped

As the NESN camera panned over the ruins of Ancienne Stade Fasciste Tom Caron said the sight made him kind of sad. “I’m not sad at all,” commented Dennis Eckersley. “I gave up so many bombs in that place.”

Eckersley is not alone. While Phil Hughes and Chan Ho Park surrendered two homers apiece and Boone Logan one, it was Jonathan Papelbon who relinquished two pivotal clouts in the bottom of the ninth.

Alex Rodriguez tied the game with a blast to center field with one on and one out. Fastball after fastball after fastball, Papelbon still somehow got Robinson Cano out.

With two out, Francisco Cervelli was hit by a pitch. Marcus Thames could have closed his eyes and still won the game because it was obvious that Papelbon was going to throw his questionable heat.

Perhaps being in the ambit of Mariano Rivera made Papelbon think he could throw the same pitch over and over and over again and find success. What Papelbon forgot was that his fastball is straighter than John Hodgman.

What would it take to erase the memory of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s atrocious start? I would have settled for J.D. Drew’s three-run homer in the fifth to bring the Red Sox within a run, or Victor Martinez’s go-ahead, leadoff four-bagger in the sixth, or Kevin Youkilis’s eighth-inning, two-run insurance longball, or Martinez’s other solo shot right after Youkilis’s.

Papelbon had another method to make us forget Matsuzaka’s outing: losing dramatically and infuriatingly in the ninth. This tactic kindly spared Red Sox fans of yet another torturous extra-innings loss. This is what makes Papelbon a fan favorite.

Game 39: May 17, 2010
Red Sox
9H: Daniel Bard (8)
BS, L: Jonathan Papelbon (1, 1-3)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (14)
HR: David Ortiz (7), J.D. Drew (6), Victor Martinez – 2 (5), Kevin Youkilis (6)
11H: Boone Logan (4)
BS: Chan Ho Park (2)
W: Javier Vazquez (2-4)
2B: Francisco Cervelli (3), Mark Teixeira (8), Marcus Thames (4)
HR: Alex Rodriguez (5), Marcus Thames (2)

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