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Home » Category Listing » September 2010 Game Comments

October 1, 2010

Power Outage

Since Jon Lester fell far short of tallying his 20th win of the season the story of the night was the power outage in the bottom of the sixth. Commonwealth Edison had an outage in the neighborhood, which caused a 21-minute delay in play.

Red Sox would have preferred the lights go out in the bottom half of the fourth. Lester struggled to maintain the 2-2 tie but allowed a double to Alejandro De Aza and bases on balls to Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez to load the bases for Paul Konerko. The Red Sox southpaw was far from lights out: his 95-mile an hour fastball was right down the middle of the plate and bottom of the letters high. It was Konerko’s ninth career grand slam.

Marco Scutaro, Mike Lowell, and Bill Hall provided some power, but only enough to cue the organ. While Lester didn’t reach his milestone of 20 victories, Victor Martinez clouted his 20th home run in the third inning.

The Red Sox didn’t produce a playoff berth but celebrated a bevy of births. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz both welcomed their firstborns, Daisuke Matsuzaka’s wife Tomoyo had their third child, and now Adrian Beltre has flown to Los Angeles to be with his wife Sandra, who has gone into labor.

On Saturday the Red Sox will make up the postponed first game of their last series of the season. The league scheduled the games between Boston and New York probably thinking the match-ups would put the final touches on the playoff picture. The games’ results will be immaterial but at least there will a few celebrations. Mike Lowell’s baseball career will be honored, Johnny Pesky’s 91st birthday will celebrated, and the 50th anniversary of Ted Williams’s final game will be commemorated.

Game 159: September 30, 2010
Red Sox
87-72
2L: Jon Lester (19-9)
2B: Marco Scutaro (38), Mike Lowell (12), Bill Hall (15)
HR: Victor Martinez (20)
WinWhite Sox
86-73
8W: John Danks (15-11)
2B: Alejandro De Aza (2)
HR: Paul Konerko (39), Dayan Viciedo (4)

September 30, 2010

Past Is Not Prologue

The most enjoyable part of this game was David Ortiz tossing water and ice at A.J. Pierzynski when the White Sox backstop drifted towards the opposing dugout to glove Adrian Beltre’s pop foul in the second inning. Coming in second place was Ozzie Guillen teasing Ortiz on the designated hitter’s failed bunt attempt in the same frame by pretending he was furiously propelling a wheelchair.

Instead of the game I turned to WGBH to watch the bottom half of Ken Burns’s “Tenth Inning.” The increasingly apparent use of steroids was discussed, replete with Bob Costas patting himself on the back for being the bellwether amongst the media in exposing the scandal. But we all dug the longball. Fans ignored the progressively more grotesque physiques of the players and focused instead on the gargantuan home runs leaping off the bats of the Mark McGwires, the Sammy Sosas, the Barry Bondses of the world.

Burns also turned a loving look back to 2003 and 2004. I was shocked that I could still be angered by the sight of Grady Little trotting out to the mound to visit Pedro Martinez. Even if Martinez said, “If you take me out of the game right now I will murder you in the clubhouse,” Little should have come back with Martinez in tow and Mike Timlin should have been toeing the rubber. I actually argued with a friend about Pedro’s intentions when he said he could get more outs.

Seven years later! Whose emotions would run high about a game that happened that long ago? Red Sox fans, of course.

The horror of 2003 made the intensity of 2004 all the more exquisite in both agony and ecstasy. There cannot be dark without light, death without life, and 2003 without 2004. All the words in all of humankind’s languages living and extinct have been exhausted in the telling of this tale, and I will never tire of it.

I was surprised that Mike Barnicle and Doris Kearns Goodwin were selected to speak for Red Sox fans. Listening to their recollections was well and good, but I wonder if Tony Massarotti minds Barnicle borrowing Massarotti’s kids for his stories. Instead, my feelings were most stirred by the “thank you, Red Sox” chant at the original Busch Stadium and the sight of three million people lining the streets of Boston.

Burns’s New England-centric tendencies were apparent as the White Sox breaking their 88-year drought was but a footnote in the show. Perhaps it wasn’t provincialism but rather a disdain for the franchise because of the Black Sox scandal of 1919. Whatever the case, when the next team comes back after going down 0-3 against its most hated rival, certainly Burns or one of his ilk will compile an “Eleventh Inning.” This one goes to eleven.

Game 158: September 29, 2010
Red Sox
87-71
2L: Josh Beckett (6-6)
2B: Marco Scutaro (37)
HR: Mike Lowell (5)
WinWhite Sox
85-73
5W: Freddy Garcia (12-6)
H: J.J. Putz (14)
S: Matt Thornton (8)
HR: A.J. Pierzynski (9)

September 29, 2010

Wake Me Up When October Ends

As my memory rests, but never forgets what I lost
Wake me up, when September ends

Summer has come and passed, the innocent can never last
Wake me up, when September ends
— Green Day, “Wake Me Up When September Ends”

Hearing a journeyman like Felipe Lopez talk about how it’s good to come to a team that isn’t going anywhere rather than being a part of a club that is accomplishing something is rather disheartening. The infielder knows that he is a means to an ends: the Red Sox would receive a compensatory pick in the 2011 draft if he signs as a free agent for another team since he is likely a Type B player. He might feel used, but at least there is some use for the player who is reported to be a poor teammate.

Before Daniel Nava awkwardly dove and missed Dayan Viciedo’s liner the Red Sox were mercifully eliminated by the Rays’ and Yankees’ victories. Boston’s ravaged squad can hold its head high as the team that held on the longest; they just need a neck brace to do so.

Rich Hill notched his first career hold last night, and he didn’t back into the accomplishment. He took the mound after Scott Atchison put runners on first and third and didn’t get an out. Hill induced a pop out to Lopez off the bat of pinch-hitting Andruw Jones but then allowed rookie Brent Morel to shoot a single through the hole. The visitors’ lead slimmed to 4-3 and inexorably, inevitably the White Sox scored in the eighth and ninth to record an inconsequential win. Although the victory was meaningless the Southsiders mobbed Viciedo as if they punched their ticket for October.

It wasn’t the best way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ted Williams’s career-closing circuit clout. Perhaps Mike Lowell will do better in his last handful of games as a major leaguer.

Game 157: September 28, 2010
Red Sox
87-70
4H: Rich Hill (1)
BS: Daniel Bard (7)
L: Michael Bowden (0-1)
2B: Adrian Beltre (49), Jed Lowrie (14)
HR: J.D. Drew (21), David Ortiz (32)
WinWhite Sox
84-73
5W: Chris Sale (2-1)
2B: Alejandro De Aza (1), Paul Konerko (30)
HR: Carlos Quentin (26)

September 28, 2010

Pair of Worn Out Sox

In early September the White Sox came to Fenway and swept the Red Sox in a three-game series. The Southsiders had just claimed Manny Ramirez off waivers to help them in their push to clinch the wild card. By the time Ozzie Guillen and his squad departed Boston for Detroit they passed by the Red Sox for the wild card.

Since then both teams have flagged in the race for the postseason. Ramirez wasn’t the catalyst Kenny Williams hoped for. In 66 at bats with the White Sox Ramirez has displayed poor power (one double, one home run, .318 slugging percentage) but has reached base reasonably well (.410 on-base percentage).

Clay Buchholz seems to have selected Tom Brady as his role model. Marry a blond model? Check. Tousled hairstyle? Check. Three championships? Almost there.

Game 156: September 27, 2010
WinRed Sox
87-69
6W: Clay Buchholz (17-7)
2B: Adrian Beltre – 2 (48), David Ortiz (36), Marco Scutaro – 2 (36)
White Sox
83-73
1L: Mark Buehrle (12-13)
No extra base hits.

September 27, 2010

Rest in Pieces

The Yankees guaranteeing themselves a playoff spot this season was inevitable but, like your parents having sex, it’s something that happens but you don’t need to see or hear it. Just please keep it down. Will you guys wait until you get into your bedroom? Appreciate it.

Juan Miranda’s tenth-inning bases loaded walk teased from Hideki Okajima was like amateur porn compared to the Red Sox winning the American League East on September 28, 2007. That night was like Amélie (from the movie, not the Boston Globe) imagining climaxes across the arrondissements of Paris; pockets of Red Sox fans in Baltimore and Boston and beyond were simultaneously experiencing exhilaration.

A scintilla of that exaltation shimmered briefly in the top of the ninth. Ryan Kalish swiped second and third as Bill Hall battled Mariano Rivera. Hall prevailed by shooting a single up the middle to plate Kalish for the tying run.

Inspired by Kalish’s larceny Hall also stole second and third, putting him in position to tag up on pinch hitter Mike Lowell’s sacrifice fly to center for the go-ahead score.

Jonathan Papelbon, who had partnered with Daisuke Matsuzaka three years ago to clinch the division, did not replicate his one-two-three ninth inning of yore. The closer got Derek Jeter to fly out to right but allowed consecutive singles and a walk to Alex Rodriguez to load the bases.

Rodriguez’s base on balls may have been aided by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, but Papelbon could have pitched to the situation rather than let it control him. Ineluctably Robinson Cano tied the game with a grounder past Marco Scutaro that Dustin Pedroia would have knocked down.

The Tenth Inning” premiering tomorrow evening will be infinitely more enjoyable than the tenth inning of the last game of this series.

Game 155: September 26, 2010 ∙ 10 innings
Red Sox
86-69
3BS: Jonathan Papelbon (8)
L: Hideki Okajima (4-4)
2B: Bill Hall (14)
WinYankees
93-63
4H: Kerry Wood (10)
BS: Mariano Rivera (5)
W: Boone Logan (2-0)
HR: Alex Rodriguez (29)

September 26, 2010

Spoiler Alert

Nava, Nova — they’re all the same to Tim McCarver. Never you mind that Daniel Nava is the Red Sox outfielder salvaged from independent league obscurity while Ivan Nova is the late-blooming pitcher who was a Rule 5 draftee returned to the Yankees. McCarver also didn’t know the name of Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, calling him “Frank Rodriguez” then “Felix Rodriguez” until stumbling onto the correct combination.

The belief that Nova was not respected as a pitcher in the Dominican Republic because his surname literally translated means “it doesn’t go” in Spanish has been debunked as an urban legend. He wasn’t held in high regard because he just wasn’t that good. Nova lasted 4⅔ innings with a line of 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, and 2 strikeouts.

Jon Lester carried a perfect game for four innings until he allowed a leadoff walk to Alex Rodriguez in the bottom frame of the fifth. The no-hitter lasted until the sixth when Francisco Cervelli’s liner to left ricocheted off Nava’s arm as the outfielder attempted a heroic diving grab.

Nava made up for the miss later in the inning. The left fielder gathered Derek Jeter’s ground ball single and fired a missile home to nail Austin Kearns. Victor Martinez’s stalwart stance in front of the dish and his flawless tag of Kearns’s thigh kept the home team off the board.

The unusually quiet crowd grew raucous in the eighth on Curtis Granderson’s two-run homer, but those runs only brought the Yankees within four runs. Joba Chamberlain seemed lost on the mound without Kevin Youkilis to throw at. Jed Lowrie and and Ryan Kalish roped mirror-image doubles to left and right respectively off the rotund reliever, extending the lead to five runs in the ninth.

Alex Rodriguez led off the ninth with a solo shot off Hideki Okajima. Despite Okajima’s national heritage, Jon Sterling probably still intoned his signature call: “An A-bomb from A-Rod.” Fitting, as the only sparkling thing about Rodriguez’s personality is his aura of toxic radiation.

And the crowd begins to wander
And they cry to see your face
— Kings of Leon, “Radioactive”
Game 154: September 25, 2010
WinRed Sox
86-68
7W: Jon Lester (19-8)
2B: J.D. Drew (24), Marco Scutaro (34), Jed Lowrie (13), Ryan Kalish (11)
HR: J.D. Drew (20), Victor Martinez (19)
Yankees
92-63
3L: Ivan Nova (1-1)
HR: Curtis Granderson (23), Alex Rodriguez (28)

September 25, 2010

Second Place is the First Loser

That makes the Red Sox second-place loser.

In the bottom of the fifth Curtis Granderson’s grounder took a freak hop and strafed Mike Lowell’s temple, causing the infielder to drop to the turf. The savage mob mocked Lowell, who was drafted by the Yankees in 1995. It will be the Boston who honors Lowell’s retirement with a ceremony at Fenway Park on October 2.

One would think that the breaking of the Yankees’ championship drought and the passing of its führer would mellow Yankee fans, but they were as ginned up as ever. Chants of “Boston sucks,” frenzied organ playing, and bombastic snippets of insipid songs permeated Nouveau Stade Fasciste as the Bronx Bromides clobbered their way back into the game with a season-high six home runs.

The same crowd showing so much animus towards the Red Sox shied away when confronted by an opposing player in the flesh. Adrian Beltre reached into and over a cluster of fans to glove Lance Berkman’s pop-up. The third baseman disrupted the first-row fans pawing their iPads and towered over their feeble reach to nab the first out of the eighth inning.

Ironically one of the most arrogant and brash fanbases of any team are up in arms over the ostentatious memorial to George Steinbrenner in Monument Park. By Steinbrenner standards it’s actually rather restrained. I appreciate how it pays simultaneous homage to both the Yankee patriarch and Han Solo suspended in carbonite. That’s a double threat cenotaph.

Game 153: September 24, 2010
WinRed Sox
85-68
10W: Josh Beckett (6-5)
H: Daniel Bard (31)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (37)
2B: David Ortiz (35), Darnell McDonald (17)
HR: Jed Lowrie (7), Bill Hall (18)
Yankees
92-62
8L: Andy Pettitte (11-3)
HR: Curtis Granderson (22), Mark Teixeira – 2 (32), Alex Rodriguez – 2 (27), Nick Swisher (28)

September 24, 2010

You Can’t Sweep Us Twice In a Season

When the chips aren’t down, when it doesn’t matter, when the season isn’t on the line, John Lackey will come up big: 7 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 earned run, no walks, 4 strikeouts.

Ryan Kalish’s broken bat single to lead off the fourth triggered a go-ahead rally. The shards flew into the stands but they didn’t seem to hurt anyone seriously. With Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin’s chest getting speared by pieces of a maple bat the serious safety issue is again in the spotlight. The data show that the rate of broken maple bats is down 50 per cent since 2008, but Bud Selig acknowledges that the league needs to do more.

David Ortiz homered into the Red Sox bullpen, a sight more entertaining than Jerry Remy in a tutu. There were more people stuffed into the NESN booth publicizing the Nutcracker than there are players on the disabled list.

In 2009 both of Josh Reddick’s four-baggers came against Baltimore and he hit his first home run of this season off an Oriole. His fifth inning solo shot landed about eight rows deep near the curve in right.

Perhaps to shore up ratings NESN has livened up the broadcast not only with costumed ballerinas but also with in-game interviews. Terry Francona’s sarcasm comes shining through in his banter with Don Orsillo. “He’s awesome,” gushed Francona about Adrian Beltre. The skipper continued, “He’s the opposite of being with you.”

Game 152: September 22, 2010
Orioles
61-91
1L: Kevin Millwood (3-16)
2B: Ty Wigginton (28), Luke Scott (29)
WinRed Sox
84-68
6W: John Lackey (13-11)
2B: Adrian Beltre (46), Ryan Kalish (10)
HR: David Ortiz (31), Josh Reddick (1)

September 22, 2010

Burning Down the House

The story of this game is the story of America.

While the Red Sox were mounting their historic triumph over their arch rivals the Yankees in 2004, 19-year old Clay Buchholz was arrested for the theft of 29 laptops from an intermediate school in Lumberton, Texas. Despite the boy’s spotty past Boston drafted him in the supplemental round in 2005. Three years after his arrrest Buchholz threw a no-hitter against the Orioles.

Just as the idea of America is to accept people from all countries, creeds, and colors and transform them in the crucible of opportunity to create themselves anew, so did baseball for Buchholz.

Not only did the lithe lad attain a mark of personal distinction with his no-hitter, but his team went on to win the World Championship in the 2007 Fall Classic. The Red Sox remain the first team to win more than one championship in this millennium.

Like the curving seam of a baseball America’s tale twists, and yet those undulations stitch together two halves to make a perfect sphere. Buchholz’s story took a downward turn when his team could not score against the lowly Orioles, a Lar in a division of titans.

On this homestand, Buchholz can return to his abode and be consoled by his wife Lindsay. The former model and new mother was named one of People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in 2007.

Ah, baseball! Ah, America!

Game 151: September 21, 2010
WinOrioles
61-90
9W: Brad Bergesen (8-10)
H: Mark Hendrickson (8), Michael Gonzalez (9)
2B: Matt Wieters (21), Adam Jones (23)
3B: Felix Pie (3)
HR: Ty Wigginton (21)
Red Sox
83-68
1L: Scott Atchison (2-3)
2B: Jed Lowrie (12), Ryan Kalish (9), Bill Hall (13)

September 21, 2010

Bucking the Trend

Since assuming the helm of the floundering Orioles organization Buck Showalter has reversed the team’s course. Baltimore is 28-17 since August 3. Over the same period the Red Sox are 23-21, but more than a handful of the losses seemed like they should have been wins.

The opening game of the this series was one of those eminently winnable games. The local nine tied the game twice. Hot-hitting Victor Martinez starched a single in the bottom of the first to plate Darnell McDonald and knot the run tally 1-1.

In the bottom of the sixth the Red Sox had all the fixings for a home-cooked rally: Mike Lowell walked with one out and Jed Lowrie was hit by a pitch to push Lowell into scoring position.

Bill Hall blooped in Lowell with a single to right. Lowell was able to reach home on the single because Nick Markakis clumsily tripped and bobbled the ball. Lowrie reached third on the miscue.

Markakis’s mistake was countered by Lowrie’s baserunning blunder. On Jason Varitek’s strikeout Matt Wieters fired to shortstop Cesar Izturis to tag Hall, who was part of a failed hit and run. Izturis noticed Lowrie breaking for home and threw back to Wieters for the final out of the inning.

What the Red Sox lacked in offense they made up somewhat on the other side of the ball. In the third Hall fielded Luke Scott’s single to left and propelled the ball to Jason Varitek. Brian Roberts was sent from second to score and was greeted by Varitek’s armored bulk. Understandably Roberts tried to slide away from the catcher.

McDonald made running catch for the first out of the top of the fourth, robbing Adam Jones of at least a ground-rule double. The outfielder made a more mundane catch of a Matt Wieters fly ball to end the first, but McDonald ended it with no less of a flourish: handing the ball to the mother of the little girl sitting in the first row just past Pesky’s Pole.

Game 150: September 20, 2010
WinOrioles
60-90
4BS, W: David Hernandez (4, 8-8)
H: Jim Johnson (9)
S: Koji Uehara (10)
2B: Nick Markakis – 2 (43)
Red Sox
83-67
2L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-6)
2B: Victor Martinez (32)

September 20, 2010

Fifth-Inning Fusillade

Twenty-nine year old Mike McCoy is the Blue Jays’ attempt to build a Bill Hall of their own. The utility man has played every outfield position and every infield spot except catcher and first baseman. Results are at times spectacular; his third inning web gem had him sliding on the warning track in left, snaring Yamaico Navarro’s fly ball on the backhand, and turning in time to stop his momentum with his back against the wall perpendicular to the Green Monster.

Navarro got the better of McCoy in the fifth inning when his grounder slipped by the defender’s glove. The Red Sox shortstop reached third on McCoy’s gaffe and a run scored.

The shaky defense unnerved Shaun Marcum. He threw three consecutive balls to Ryan Kalish and likely would have walked him if Kalish hadn’t gotten under a low and away fastball. J.D. Drew exploited Marcum’s weakness with a two-run jack over the Red Sox bullpen.

While Boston is still mathematically alive, tagging Toronto with their 74th loss has eliminated the Blue Jays from the playoff picture. Jon Lester had four each of hits, walks, and strikeouts over seven innings. His pitching was not dominant but when Lester needed a pivotal out he bore down.

In the third and fifth innings Jose Bautista took the box with the bases loaded and two down. Both times he grounded out to the infield. Bautista was equally ineffective with the bases clean, grounding out to third to end the first and flying out to right to lead off the eighth.

In the battle between the almost-MVP candidate and the near-Cy Young caliber pitcher, Lester prevailed. Such is the lot of AL East also-rans.

Game 149: September 19, 2010
Blue Jays
75-74
0L: Shaun Marcum (12-8)
No extra base hits.
WinRed Sox
83-66
6W: Jon Lester (18-8)
2B: Daniel Nava (13), Bill Hall (12)
HR: Victor Martinez (18), J.D. Drew (19)

September 19, 2010

Decrying Ryan

It’s easy to be sighing about Ryan Kalish. Him boneheadedly getting picked off first base immediately preceded Victor Martinez’s triple off the left field wall. Had Kalish been on base he would have scored the tying run.

The seeds of this loss were planted much earlier in the game, however. Adrian Beltre ill-advisedly fired across the diamond after fielding John McDonald’s grounder. The throwing error allowed Adam Lind to score and McDonald to reach second.

Then Josh Beckett and any other Red Sox infielder failed to cover home plate on Jose Molina’s bunt down the first base line. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia abandoned home plate to field the ball and the defense didn’t rotate behind him. While the infielders were pinned to their bases and Beckett stood idly by McDonald scored from second.

The Red Sox were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Key outs in scoring opportunities included Marco Scutaro’s strikeout with the bases loaded in the second, Saltalamacchia’s rally-killing pop out with two runners on in the sixth, and David Ortiz’s whiff with two runners on in the seventh.

Martinez buffed up his positional resume by turning two nifty plays in the fourth. With the bases loaded he deftly fielded Fred Lewis’s grounder and tossed home for the second out. He then stretched to catch Beltre’s throw on Yunel Escobar’s ground out for the final out of the inning.

Game 148: September 18, 2010
WinBlue Jays
75-73
4W: Ricky Romero (13-9)
H: Jason Frasor (11), David Purcey (3), Shawn Camp (11)
S: Kevin Gregg (33)
2B: Adam Lind – 2 (29)
HR: Jose Bautista (49)
Red Sox
82-66
3L: Josh Beckett (5-5)
2B: Adrian Beltre – 2 (45)
3B: Victor Martinez (1)

September 18, 2010

Winging It

John Lackey invented a new word with his performance in this game: lackeyluster. Terry Francona was slow to pull Lackey in the fifth as the Blue Jays scored runs in bunches. The skipper could have tried to keep the gap manageable, especially since at that point the Orioles were leading the Yankees at Camden Yards. But the visitors’ lead ballooned to four runs with Lackey on the mound and his replacement, Michael Bowden, allowed one more run to score.

Bowden permitted runs to score in both mundane and imaginative ways. In the sixth inning with Fred Lewis at third Bowden bounced a pitch to Jose Bautista off the dirt into the screen behind home for a run to score. That was the safest place for baseballs this season when they are thrown to Bautista; to end the at bat the right fielder blasted his 48th homer of the season over the left field wall. Bautista topped George Bell for the most home runs by a Blue Jay in a season.

The Red Sox rallied in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings. Victor Martinez swatted his second longball of the game to bring his team within four runs. The rookie wrecking crew of Yamaico Navarro and Daniel Nava each drove in a run to narrow the gap to two runs, impressively productive in a late inning, two-out situation.

Martinez couldn’t go to the the well for a third time. With Nava at second, two out, and behind in the count 0-1 the catcher got under a cutter and popped out to short.

Sadly the local nine couldn’t pull together a win in a game where five players and one indelible moment were enshrined in the Red Sox Hall of Fame. The honorees were Eddie Kasko (represented by his sons Michael and Jim Kasko), Tommy Harper, Jimmy Piersall, John Valentin, and Don Zimmer. Tom Brunansky’s American League East title-clinching catch in 1990 was added to the vault of “memorable moments” while Zimmer was added to Most Valuable Rodent wing. Something makes me think Bill Lee, if he did attend, wasn’t there to fete The Gerbil.

Game 147: September 17, 2010
WinBlue Jays
74-73
11W: Brett Cecil (13-7)
S: Kevin Gregg (32)
2B: Lyle Overbay – 2 (34), Adam Lind – 2 (27)
HR: Jose Bautista (48)
Red Sox
82-65
9L: John Lackey (12-11)
2B: Darnell McDonald (16), Adrian Beltre (43), Jed Lowrie (11), Daniel Nava (12)
HR: Victor Martinez – 2 (17)

September 16, 2010

Heads Up

Like Lucy pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown or the Roadrunner outsmarting Wile E. Coyote such is the relationship between between Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre.

After Beltre swatted a game-tying home run to the second deck in left in the fourth inning he held his helmet on as he was congratulated by his team in the dugout. Martinez has accomplices in his torment of Beltre. Bill Hall tried to pry off Beltre’s helmet but the third baseman didn’t succumb to Hall’s maneuver. Eventually, Beltre relaxed his guard.

Seizing the opportunity Martinez sneaked behind Beltre and executed his signature head rub. This time the third baseman was armed and retaliated with a cup of water. The counterattack nearly resulted in a Manny-Youk situation had it not been for Marco Scutaro.

The water didn’t cool down Martinez’s bat. The backstop roped a double down the right field line batting righty. Peackeeper Scutaro and Ryan Kalish scored on the corner shot.

While the Red Sox were sweeping the mediocre Mariners Fenway hosted a pair of unique non-baseball events on September 14. The largest naturalization ceremony in United States history took place in Fenway during the day. Nancy Gertner, a Federal District Court judge, swore in 5,189 people from 151 countries as American citizens. Coverage of the event almost made me wish I wasn’t born in the United States so I could have participated.

In the evening, The Town, Ben Affleck’s take on Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, which was a take on Andrew Lau’s and and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs, premiered at the ballpark. The Farrelly Brothers’ Fever Pitch also temporarily took over the field, but the actual viewing wasn’t on premises. Reviews so far do not peg Affleck’s performance or directing as Razzie-worthy, but he may never fully redeem himself from the trio of films that earned him the Golden Raspberry for Worst Actor in 2004: Daredevil, Gigli, and Paycheck.

Game 146: September 15, 2010
WinRed Sox
82-64
5W: Clay Buchholz (16-7)
2B: David Ortiz (34), Ryan Kalish (8), Victor Martinez (31)
3B: Ryan Kalish (1)
HR: Adrian Beltre (28)
Mariners
55-91
1L: David Pauley (2-8)
2B: Jose Lopez (27)
HR: Russell Branyan (25)

Seems Like Old Times

Seems like old times, dinner dates and flowers
Just like old times, staying up for hours
Making dreams come true, doing things we used to do
Seems like old times being here with you
When Annie Hall crooned these lines she and Alvy Singer were nearing the end of their first relationship. Annie was lured away to Los Angeles by music producer Tony Lacey, something that might soon happen with Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez.

Tim Bogar made it seem like the Dale Sveum days by waving home Beltre in the second inning on David Ortiz’s line drive single to left. Sophomore left fielder Michael Saunders hosed Beltre for his eighth assist of the season.

Masking Bogar’s gaffe was erased by Jed Lowrie’s two-run bomb over the scoreboard in left, putting ahead the Red Sox 2-1. The shortstop also rained a solo shot off the home bullpen’s roof in the fourth inning, a four-bagger that marked Lowrie’s first multi-homer game. To add to his switch-hitting and middle infield versatility, Lowrie manned first base from the eighth inning on.

Ortiz called to mind the good old days with his go-ahead homer in the eighth. His post-blast stance, the soaring projectile, the proud swagger around the basepaths: these are things that should be seen in the postseason.

Perhaps next year.

Game 145: September 14, 2010
WinRed Sox
81-64
9W: Rich Hill (1-0)
H: Daniel Bard (30)
2B: Adrian Beltre (42)
HR: Jed Lowrie – 2 (6), David Ortiz (30)
Mariners
55-90
6BS, L: Brandon League (6, 9-7)
2B: Ichiro Suzuki (27), Franklin Gutierrez – 2 (23)

September 14, 2010

Noob Tube

All the runs batted in for the Red Sox were tallied by players who weren’t on the opening day roster. Daniel Nava and Lars Anderson propelled RBI doubles in the second inning, sandwiching Josh Reddick, who grounded out to short and drove in run.

Ryan Kalish, perhaps Boston’s most impressive rookie, powered a two-run homer into the right field stands. No mean feat as Safeco Field is second only to Target Field in home run-depressing tendencies.

Jon Lester, not be outdone by the newcomers, spun a fabulous eight innings of three-hit ball. The starter fell just one short of his season-high mark of 13 strikeouts, which Lester earned against these selfsame Mariners in Seattle.

Something about playing in his home state’s Northwestern air brings out the best in Lester. Then again, he was pitching against the languid Mariners, who Dennis Eckersley appropriately labeled “lambs.”

You still wake up sometimes, don’t you? You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs.

Game 144: September 13, 2010
WinRed Sox
80-64
5W: Jon Lester (17-8)
2B: Jed Lowrie (10), Daniel Nava (11), Lars Anderson (1), David Ortiz (33)
HR: Ryan Kalish (4)
Mariners
55-89
1L: Doug Fister (5-12)
No extra base hits.

September 13, 2010

Bradenia is Now Beckettburg

King Dallas I of Bradenia was dethroned by upstart Josh Beckett the Usurper. While the ouster was hardly impressive (6 innings pitched, 3 earned runs, 5 walks, and 7 strikeouts) it prevented the Red Sox from being swept by a team whose record hovers around .500.

Aiding Beckett in the expropriation was J.D. Drew and Ryan Kalish with two runs batted in apiece. Drew’s sixth inning double brought the encroachers within a run. Not only did Drew’s extra base hit help spark the rebellion but also made up for him getting thrown out at first to end the fourth inning when he casually back-peddled to the bag after making a banana turn.

Fireballer Henry Rodriguez couldn’t blow away Kalish, who pinch hit for Bill Hall and lofted the ball deep enough to left so that Mike Lowell could score from third. Drew charged around the bases with a purpose and scored the go-ahead head run on Kalish’s single.

Home plate Hunter Wendelstedt ejected Daric Barton, after calling the Oakland first baseman out on strikes for the final out of the game. The gesture was as useless as the appendix, a vestigial organ that can only uselessly inhabit the gut or get inflamed.

Which pretty much sums up baseball ejections.

Game 143: September 12, 2010
WinRed Sox
79-64
5W: Josh Beckett (5-4)
H: Scott Atchison (7)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (36)
2B: Adrian Beltre (41), J.D. Drew (23)
Athletics
71-71
3L: Dallas Braden (9-12)
BS: Henry Rodriguez (1)
2B: Jack Cust (17), Mark Ellis (19)
3B: Cliff Pennington (8)

September 12, 2010

Who’s Your Lackey?

A one-run loss that only John Lackey got worked up about, such is the state of Red Sox baseball. The hulking starter must have pilloried Bill Hall for his seventh-inning throwing error on Jack Cust’s grounder to left that allowed Oakland its first run. Never you mind that Lackey had surrendered a leadoff double to Daric Barton to start the inning.

Ryan Kalish warranted at least an exasperated eye-roll and head title from Lackey for his spectacular yet failed diving attempt to snatch Rajai Davis’s fly ball to center field later in the inning. The resulting triple allowed the go-ahead run to score. That Lackey previously allowed Mark Ellis to rope a single to center to drive in the tying run was of no import; obviously Lackey was pitching well enough to win.

I’m afraid to say I’m like Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens leaving the field early when it comes to this team at this point in the season. At Gillette Stadium the pair of Bengals wide receivers were on their way to the locker room before the second quarter ended, leaving Carson Palmer to heave a hail Mary that was caught by Jordan Shipley just three yards short of the end zone.

I’m far from a fashion plate as you can imagine; the closest I’ve come to couture is Isaac Mizrahi’s line at Target, although that partnership might be over given the chain store’s funding of anti-gay Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Despite my lack of knowledge in matters sartorial I enjoyed the coverage of the “From Fenway to the Runway” fundraiser at the Natick Collection more than the game itself.

There haven’t been any drama queens or diva wives to replace Michelle Damon and Shonda Schilling, but Lindsay Buchholz, former “Deal or No Deal” model, has promise. She had an official site before she got hitched but it hasn’t been updated since 2006. She’s probably too preoccupied being a loving wife and mother to the couple’s newborn. The team really is no longer a band of idiots but a bland of brothers.

Game 142: September 11, 2010
Red Sox
78-64
3L: John Lackey (12-10)
2B: Ryan Kalish (7), Jed Lowrie (9), Darnell McDonald (15), Victor Martinez (30), Adrian Beltre (40)
HR: Marco Scutaro (11)
WinAthletics
71-70
4W: Brett Anderson (5-6)
H: Craig Breslow (14)
S: Andrew Bailey (23)
2B: Jeremy Hermida (9), Daric Barton (31)
3B: Rajai Davis (3)

September 11, 2010

Welcome to Oaksterdam

The Red Sox seemed to take advantage of the readily available medical cannabis in Oakland, scattering a mere three hits against Trevor Cahill. The visiting bats were so listless even Craig Breslow didn’t allow a hit.

From the second Coco Crisp robbed counterpart Ryan Kalish of a home run to start the game the momentum was entirely in Oakland’s favor. The marquee match-up of Clay Buchholz against Cahill, starters who were respectively first and third in ERA going into the game, turned out to be a one-sided affair. Buchholz officially pitched one inning but saw four batters in the second inning, yielding a line of 5 hits, 5 earned runs, 4 balls, and 1 strikeout.

Even though Cahill shutout the Red Sox to the tune of 7 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 walks, and 4 whiffs, he remains third in earned run average after Felix Hernandez and Buchholz.

The Coliseum is just 11 minutes away from Oaksterdam University. Founded in 2007, the Oakland branch features “large 100 person classroom, full horticulture lab, and a large administrative staff to attend to students.” Oddly, the Student Union across the street doesn’t serve food.

Players traveling with the team but not playing could avail themselves to the Basic 101 Weekend Classic Course. Sessions include “The Science of Cannabis” and “Federal Vs State Law.” Nothing in the syllabus about how better to enjoy your favorite team as it futilely toils through the rest of the season, however.

Game 141: September 10, 2010
Red Sox
78-63
0L: Clay Buchholz (17-5)
2B: Josh Reddick (3)
WinAthletics
70-70
5W: Trevor Cahill (16-6)
2B: Kurt Suzuki (16), Jack Cust (16)

September 10, 2010

Putting Out the Welcome Matt

Seeing Matt Garza seethe as he relinquished the lead on Victor Martinez’s leadoff homer in the fifth is one of those small pleasures Red Sox fans will take enjoyment in now that their team is all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Chad Qualls didn’t replicate the shutdown stuff that he displayed on August 28 in that pivotal series in the Trop. Ryan Kalish smashed an RBI double off the left field wall for a lead that the local nine would not surrender.

A barrage of scoring followed, runs that would have been nice in those close losses against the Rays and the White Sox. Marco Scutaro, who continued to play despite a partially torn rotator cuff, provided much of the offense’s punch. The shortstop led off the sixth with a double to the base of the wall and homered in the seventh with Lars Anderson on base.

Lars Anderson notched his first hit, a single to right field that Bill Hall spoiled somewhat by getting tagged out after running too far past second base. Ron Johnson recovered the ball from Matt Joyce and made sure it was safely stowed in the dugout. Tim Wakefield, the team’s calligrapher, probably inscribed Anderson’s baseball for him to commemorate the event.

Wakefield signed with the Pirates on June 3, 1988. Anderson was less than a year old, having been born on September 25, 1987.

I tend to mistype Wakefield’s name as “Time Wakefield.” The knuckleballer was once timeless, but 2010 might be the year his time finally runs out. If it is the end of an era, at least he might depart more prosperous: multiple bonuses kicked in with his five-inning outing.

Eric Patterson, the lead runner, and Martinez, the following runner, illustrated rule 7.03 in the bottom of the sixth:

(a) Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless Rule 7.03(b) applies.
(b) If a runner is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner and two runners are touching a base to which the following runner is forced, the following runner is entitled to the base and the preceding runner shall be out when tagged or when a fielder possesses the ball and touches the base to which such preceding runner is forced.
Game 140: September 8, 2010
Rays
84-55
5L: Matt Garza (14-8)
2B: Matt Joyce (13), Jason Bartlett (23)
HR: B.J. Upton (16)
WinRed Sox
78-62
11W: Tim Wakefield (4-10)
H: Scott Atchison (6)
2B: Ryan Kalish (6), Marco Scutaro (33), Josh Reddick (2)
HR: Adrian Beltre (27), Marco Scutaro – 2 (10), David Ortiz (29), Victor Martinez (15)

September 8, 2010

Game Over, Man!

Shall we play a game?

The movies quotations I made probably wouldn’t be recognized by 15 players on the 25-man roster; they weren’t cognizant when Aliens and WarGames were originally released. Which is fine, because it’s the far future where the Red Sox organization’s hopes lay rather than in October 2010.

Lars Anderson still doesn’t have a major league hit but reached base on a walk in the eighth inning. He scored his first run as a Red Sox player on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s double to left, which happened to be the catcher’s first RBI as a Red Sox player. If you let your mind wander forward a few years you can almost imagine them pairing up just like that but in a meaningful late summer contest.

Perhaps Mike Lowell will be sending in signs as a bench coach by that time. That would surely be a more welcome sight them him hobbling around first base attempting to stop batted balls and errant throws that are within his fall-down range.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will be participating in a wacky Japanese game show where one has to throw a ball over a five-sided shape 17 inches at its base. While wearing a penguin suit and trying to catch niboshi (dried baby sardines) with his mouth.

Dustin Richardson (no outs, 3 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks) and Robert Manuel (1 innings pitched, 3 hits, 3 earned runs, but no walks) will be asking you if you want fries with that.

Game 139: September 7, 2010
WinRays
84-54
14W: David Price (17-6)
2B: Carl Crawford – 3 (30), John Jaso (16)
HR: Ben Zobrist (9), Jason Bartlett (4), Evan Longoria (21), Dan Johnson (3), B.J. Upton (15)
Red Sox
77-62
5L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5)
2B: Victor Martinez (29), Jed Lowrie (8)
HR: Darnell McDonald (9)

September 7, 2010

Not-So Phantom Power

I thought the band name “Phantom Power” might refer to Jacoby Ellsbury but it’s actually an audio engineering concept that is beyond my humble ken. This article by Eddie Ciletti explains phantom power for those who are curious.

There’s a “high energy contradance band” based on Boston called Phantom Power founded by Lissa Schneckenburger and Bruce Rosen, but this isn’t NESN’s house band. Another candidate is the indie band on MySpace that goes by the same name that counts Seo Taiji, David Bowie, and Green Day amongst their influences. It was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia and has a male lead singer so it is out of the running. I did find clips of Megan’s band on Tom Guilmette’s page, so click through and enjoy.

The reason we got to hear about the band was that Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy had to fill the airwaves with chatter because of blowout in the home team’s favor, something that hasn’t happened in all too long a time.

What I thought might be the storyline of the evening, the major league debuts of Lars Anderson and Robert Coello, turned out to be a disappointing footnote. Anderson went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and Coello allowed three hits, three earned runs, and two walks in one-third of an inning pitched. The jokers of the clubhouse could have sent either of the greenhorns to go congratulate Adrian Beltre with a head-rubbing after his first-inning solo homer, but Mike Cameron and Victor Martinez delight in the prank so much they took it upon themselves to do so.

One rookie who has gotten used to the rigors of the big league is Ryan Kalish. The outfielder put the game out of reach in the fourth with the second grand slam of his MLB career. Two of his three home runs have come with the bases loaded; Lou Gehrig’s career mark of 23 is in peril given Kalish’s torrid pace.

Game 138: September 6, 2010
Rays
83-54
5L: Jeff Niemann (10-6)
No extra base hits.
WinRed Sox
77-61
12W: Jon Lester (16-8)
2B: David Ortiz (32)
HR: David Ortiz (28), Adrian Beltre (26), Ryan Kalish (3)

September 6, 2010

Ninth Circle

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
— Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia
In Alighieri’s Divine Comedy the ninth circle of hell is inhabited by traitors, those who betrayed others with whom they shared a relationship. There are four rounds within the circle of treachery, corresponding well to the four runs the White Sox scored in the ninth inning.

Round one is named after Cain and houses those who betray their relatives. Jonathan Papelbon doesn’t play with his twin brothers Josh or Jeremy, but the baseball season is so long that teammates often consider themselves as close as brothers. Papelbon allowed Alex Rios to reach on a base on balls. Rios stole second and scored on Carlos Quentin’s double to shallow center.

Antenor, a Trojan, betrayed his city to the Greeks by opening the gates of the city. His house was spared by the invasion because it was marked by a panther’s skin. Therefore ring two is called “Atenora,” a frozen waste where those breached the trust of homeland or political party are tortured. Ryan Kalish, whose parents are from Massachusetts, laid out for Ramon Castro’s bloop to center but instead it evaded him and the tying run came across the plate.

It’s appropriate that the ninth circle of hell was a gelid emptiness of sufferers encased in ice to varying degrees dependent upon the extent of their sins. All of Fenway was numbed by the spectacle before them. Papelbon walked free-swinging Alexei Ramirez after the score was knotted 5-5 and Dustin Richardson took the mound. The rookie southpaw walked the bases loaded and Terry Francona went to the well again by tapping Robert Manuel.

When Manuel couldn’t find the plate the White Sox bode their time in the box. Gordon Beckham’s base on balls pushed the go-ahead run across the plate and sent the crowd into fits. Manuel might find himself in Ptolomaea, the third ring in which those who betray their guests are punished. Ptolemy invited Simon Maccabaeus and his sons Mattathias and Judas to a banquet and then killed them.

The center of hell is surrounded by the fourth and final ring, Judecca, named after Judas Iscariot. The betrayers of their benefactors are completely confined in ice, contorted. Perhaps Manuel belongs here, as he walked yet another White Sox player, Juan Pierre, for an insurance run. That’s not exactly earning one’s paycheck. But neither did the final three Red Sox batters, none of whom reached base in the bottom of the ninth.

Game 137: September 5, 2010
WinWhite Sox
76-60
7W: Scott Linebrink (3-1)
S: Matt Thornton (6)
2B: Omar Vizquel (10), Carlos Quentin – 2 (24), Alex Rios (26), Mark Kotsay (16)
Red Sox
76-61
5BS: Daniel Bard (6)
H: Hideki Okajima (11)
BS, L: Jonathan Papelbon (7, 5-6)
2B: David Ortiz (31), Adrian Beltre (39)
HR: Victor Martinez (14)

September 5, 2010

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Yankee although he is, Yogi Berra can turn a memorable epigram. It would be fitting that the epitome of Yankeeness synopsizes Boston’s 2010 season, a season so luckless that we should not have worked up an iota of ire about it. But we did, because they had persevered, and even excelled. They performed beyond any reasonable expectations we could have about a club so afflicted, so we believed. This is what it feels like to be a fan of the Pirates or the Royals, except for them the onset is much earlier in the season.

Marco Scutaro will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to diagnose the shoulder pain he has been playing through for the past month. He was the only player to have driven in any runs in the day-night doubleheader, so of course it is he who finally succumbs to an ailment.

I’m no tobacco-chewing, sunflower-seed spitting, and crotch-scratching former MLBer, but I called John Lackey’s plunking of Carlos Quentin in the fourth inning. Lackey didn’t appreciate Quentin’s triple to the triangle and may have been retaliating on behalf of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who got bowled over by Quentin on a play at the plate. Then again, we are talking about Lackey, who shows up his defense on nearly every close play and catch. Lackey was probably trying to throw at Saltalamacchia.

This season September doesn’t mean stretch run but showcase. Robert Coello, an independent league find in the vein of Daniel Nava but on the pitching side, was called up today.

Who else could be having a cup of coffee with Coello? Mike Lowell’s fractured rib and hobbled hip hopes for Lars Anderson.

Game 136: September 4, 2010
WinWhite Sox
75-60
3W: Gavin Floyd (10-11)
H: Scott Linebrink (3), Chris Sale (2)
S: Bobby Jenks (27)
2B: Carlos Quentin (22)
3B: Carlos Quentin (2)
Red Sox
76-60
1L: John Lackey (12-9)
2B: Bill Hall (11)

Sorry Seems to Be the Easiest Word

Manny Ramirez dominated the headlines not because of what he did on the field (a decent 2-for-4 showing but no extra base hits or runs batted in) but because of what he said. Ramirez apologized for his behavior in 2008. “Everything was my fault, but you have to be a real man to realize when you do wrong,” he told reporters. “It was my fault, right. I already passed that stage. I’m happy. I’m on a new team.”

A real man wouldn’t shove an elderly man. So what about Pedro Martinez playing matador to the charging Don Zimmer you might ask. That doesn’t count; Zimmer is an elderly gerbil.

A real man wouldn’t inject himself with female fertility hormone as part of a steroid regime.

A real man wouldn’t wait two years to admit that he was wrong. How genuine is his contrition in light of the fact that he is a free agent next season and has to buff up his tarnished reputation?

The only success the Red Sox had was in the execution of the “fake to third” ploy. Of all players Omar Vizquel was lured off of third base when Clay Buchholz feinted a throw in his direction. Buchholz fired to Jed Lowrie who then heaved the ball home to Victor Martinez. Vizquel didn’t score and was the final out of the third inning.

The next victim was Alexei Ramirez in the ninth. Tim Wakefield made a move towards A.J. Pierzynski at the hot corner but then pivoted to first. Mike Lowell received the ball and played catch with Lowrie and Marco Scutaro to tag out the uncontroversial Ramirez.

Coincidentally Scutaro drove in the home team’s only run of the game in the fifth. The Red Sox squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the second and stranded nine runners as a team. Hurricane Earl wasn’t New England’s only letdown of the weekend.

Game 135: September 4, 2010
WinWhite Sox
74-60
3W: John Danks (13-9)
H: Sergio Santos (14)
S: Bobby Jenks (26)
2B: Andruw Jones – 2 (11), Paul Konerko (27), Gordon Beckham (25)
Red Sox
76-59
1L: Clay Buchholz (15-6)
2B: Mike Lowell (11)

September 4, 2010

Why Are They On First?

When watching Mike Lowell and Ty Wigginton play first base the immortal Abbott and Costello question is transmuted to “why?” In a position where one doesn’t need to be particularly agile this pair stands out as distinctly inelegant. Wigginton has the footwork of a punch-drunk heavyweight in the 12th round and the glove of nuclear power plant worker. Lowell is much better at receiving relays from the other infielders but has the range of barnacle. “Lowell flips to the pitcher covering first” is becoming as overused as “past a diving Jeter.”

For all of Wigginton’s missed catches none were as bad as NESN failing to get back to the game in time for Adrian Beltre’s leadoff home run to kick off the second inning. Red Sox ratings are down 36 per cent from last season and slipshod game production won’t help keep audience loyalty. Neither will the constant stream of in-game advertisements. The only reason I can abide by New York Life’s blurbs is that they signify that a good guy got into scoring position.

Beltre sparked an offensive barrage. His team batted around in the second, banging in five runs to give Daisuke Matsuzaka a sizable lead to work with.

Matsuzaka carried a no-hitter into the fourth. With one down Nick Markakis scorched a double down the third base line, but the extra base hit didn’t mar the starter’s confidence. Matsuzaka shut down the Orioles until the sixth inning, in which he startlingly transformed into Josh Beckett.

The Orioles knocked in three hits before Matsuzaka tallied an out. The pitcher helped his own cause, as the cliche goes, knocking down Wigginton’s liner and flipping to Lowell. But even on that out Baltimore plated a run to render the score 5-2. Matt Wieters capped off the rally with a double that missed clearing the fences by a few inches, notching two more runs.

I dislike the movie, but Scott Atchison is the Forrest Gump of pitchers – you never know what you’re going to get. Atchison relieved Matsuzaka with two out and a man on second and struck out Nolan Reimold to end the threat. Hideki Okajima even managed to get the one batter he faced out, inducing a pop out to Beltre in foul territory to end the eighth. Does the team actually have middle relievers not named Daniel Bard that can be relied upon?

Jonathan Papelbon allowed the first two batters he faced to single and had to pitch with two men in scoring position after Corey Patterson’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners. Buck Showalter may have the expertise of years in the game and the respect of his players, but he just doesn’t have many offensive bullets to fire. To end the series Cesar Izturis and Josh Bell struck out swinging at fastballs away.

Game 134: September 2, 2010
WinRed Sox
76-58
6W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-4)
H: Scott Atchison (5), Hideki Okajima (10)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (35)
2B: Ryan Kalish (5)
HR: Adrian Beltre (25)
Orioles
49-85
4L: Brad Bergesen (6-10)
2B: Nick Markakis (41), Matt Wieters – 2 (18), Brian Roberts (11)

September 2, 2010

Marco! Scutaro!

He doesn’t have calm eyes or a signature throw, but he’s no Lugo, either. His name will infest your brain with the chorus “Sussudio,” but he has filled the role of leadoff hitter in Jacoby Ellsbury’s absence admirably.

Scu, scu, Scutaro! Whoa oh!

The Red Sox shortstop tied the game in the seventh with a two-run homer off Mark Hendrickson. For a relief pitcher, Hendrickson is a pretty good professional basketball player. The towering reliever sparked an inferno – after the home run he walked J.D. Drew. Buck Showalter pulled Hendrickson in favor of Alfredo Simon who gave up an RBI double to Victor Martinez.

Adrian Beltre didn’t cotton well to having David Ortiz intentionally walked ahead of him and lofted a shot that landed into the first row of the left field stands. The three-run shot padded the lead and Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon paired to protect it.

Who can blame any Orioles pitcher for being terrible? They are shadowed by an odd female fan who mimics their every move as they warm up in their bullpen. One of Showalter’s first moves should have been filing a restraining order against her, but despite the oversight he has turned around the flagging organization. Thanks, Peter Angelos, for finally caring about your team. The American League East just isn’t competitive enough and now the perennial cellar-dwellers might be crawling back into competence.

Angelos had to do something to combat the ever-encroaching Washington Nationals. While franchise jewel Stephen Strasburg is on the shelf the rest of the season and slated for Tommy John surgery, Natstown fans do have Nyjer Morgan’s tomfoolery to enjoy.

Morgan makes Matt Garza look like an Eagle Scout and Delonte West appear to be a well-balanced individual. Speaking of, West will get another shot with the Celtics. Hopefully West knows that this doesn’t mean a literal shot from a gun.

Game 133: September 1, 2010
WinRed Sox
75-58
9W: Jon Lester (15-8)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (34)
2B: David Ortiz (30), Ryan Kalish (4), Victor Martinez (28)
HR: J.D. Drew (18), Marco Scutaro (8), Adrian Beltre (24)
Orioles
49-84
6BS, L: Mark Hendrickson (2, 1-5)
2B: Adam Jones (20), Felix Pie – 2 (12)

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