It’s not that our team doesn’t have smarts, it’s just that our team’s smarts are inconsistently used. Mike Lowell is widely regarded as particularly wily, so he knew that keeping Carlos Pena pegged at first with the bottom of the order coming wasn’t a priority.
But Clay Buchholz is the poster child for nervous throws over to first. His pickoffs are like Nomar’s pre-batting tics or Wade’s chicken dinners, except since they happen in-game they may cause mayhem. Pena didn’t even have a lead and Buchholz tossed over to first.
Lowell is wise the the ways of the game but at this point is so inert he has to flip to pitchers on many ground outs to his position. One game he is going to be at first and Wakes is going to be pitching and neither will make it to first in time to stop a Molina from getting an infield single. So Mikey couldn’t get to Clay’s errant throw and it gamboled through foul territory to the Rays bullpen. Carlos galloped all the way from first to third while J.D. and Mikey pawed through the equipment, chairs, and relievers that littered the area.
(Later Amalie Benjamin tweeted that the bench called for the pickoff. Sort of like how a dog owner will apologize to their neighbors when her dog does its business in their yards. But it’s not the dog’s fault, as it’s not Clay’s fault. He was just answering the call of his nature.)
J.D. got very familiar with the Rays bullpen area. Perhaps there something about the mingled scents of chewing tobacco, Bazooka, and Red Bull that compelled him to pursue Matt Joyce’s fly ball so fiercely. Drew deftly maneuvered through the furniture and bodies to snare the second out of the inning but had no chance throw Carlos out at home.
With the game knotted 1-1, Victor acted the big brother bailing out his little sibling when they got into a jam. His fifth homer as a lefty sailed into the right field seats and erased the seventh-inning mishaps.
The spirit of Grady Little stopped whittling wood or making moonshine or whatever it is up to these days to take over Tito Francona’s body in the eighth inning. In Little’s day the mantra was “Timlin in the eighth, Williamson in the ninth.” This has since been supplanted by “Bard in the eighth, Papelbon in the ninth.” This should be Tito’s motto, but instead it was replaced by “Let’s squeeze a few more pitches out of the ace.”
B.J. Upton caught hold of Clay’s hanging curve and the game was tied again. Wisps of Grady’s wisdom still collected in the corners of Tito’s mind like cobwebs. Scott Atchison, not Papelbon, pitched to Dan Johnson, the resistible force against the movable object. Thus the paradox was solved.
Great Plays We Knew We Were Making
I am remiss in mentioning Ryan Kalish’s astounding catch to end the second inning. The shot to center came ringing off of Upton’s bat, off all players. B.J. is not known for his hustle on the field, the antithesis of Kalish.
While B.J. was drafted in the first round of the 2002 draft and was much heralded, Kalish was tapped in the ninth round of the 2006 draft and thus came with somewhat diminished expectations. Perhaps that is what drives Kalish play like a hellion, throwing caution to the wind and his body about the FieldTurf.
Kalish bolted to Upton’s ball on the perfect route and gloved it with his body parallel to the ground. Rather than risking his ribs (Ellsbury take note) Kalish somersaulted sideways but missed a perfect score by a few tenths of a point by not sticking the dismount.
|Game 129: August 27, 2010 ∙ 10 innings|
|2||L: Scott Atchison (2-2)|
|2B: David Ortiz (29)|
HR: Victor Martinez (13)
|3||W: Randy Choate (4-3)|
|HR: B.J. Upton (13), Dan Johnson (2)|