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Home » June 2011 Game CommentsJune 2011 » Lucky Number Seven

Lucky Number Seven

Seven-hole hitter Carl Crawford lined a single to former Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp in the seventh inning with two down, the count full, the bases loaded, and the score 6-5 in Oakland’s favor. Crawford’s hit wasn’t scorched and its lack of speed along with Crisp’s weak arm allowed even slow-running Adrian Gonzalez to score and Kevin Youkilis to break the tie a few seconds later.

Perhaps Terry Francona’s vision of Crawford as a leadoff hitter has at last finally dissipated. The splits for this season so far indicate:

  • 1st: 33 plate appearances, .094 BA, .121 OBP, .125 SLG
  • 6th: 30 plate appearances, .379 BA, .400 OBP, .793 SLG
  • 7th: 38 plate appearances, .286 BA, .324 OBP, .400 SLG
  • 8th: 103 plate appearances, .242 BA, .272 OBP, .343 SLG

Sabermetricians will theorize about batting lineup optimization and Markov chains and field managers will obsess over handedness but in the end the player in the box is a person who doesn’t fit into formulae. Whatever makes Crawford comfortable in donning the number 13 might be the same thing that he thinks slows his reaction time or dulls his senses when he bats leadoff.

Clay Buchholz paid tribute to rotation Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will be undergoing Tommy John surgery, by surrendering four runs in the first inning. Buchholz picked a good time to have his worst outing of the season as the Red Sox offense chipped away at the early lead by abusing the ironically named Josh Outman. Athletics manager Bob Geren pulled Outman with two outs in the third and the local nine completed their comeback against Joey Devine (another inappropriate name) and Brian Fuentes.

Working alongside Gonzalez seems to have helped David Ortiz take the ball the other way: both of the designated hitter’s hits were to the opposite field. Jed Lowrie, batting from his dominant right-hand side, knocked in a go-ahead run in the third off Outman. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his fifth homer of the season in the eighth to provide insurance for Jonathan Papelbon.

The only thing Josh Willingham knows about Fenway’s left field is how to hit balls there for doubles. A career National Leaguer who had never played at Fenway before, he showed his unfamiliarity with the left field’s quirks. He backed up all the way to the wall on Ortiz’s second-inning double, forcing shortstop Cliff Pennington to dash to shallow left to field the carom.

Willingham might want to attend a lecture on physics by Jacoby Ellsbury. The center fielder displayed an impeccable understanding of trajectory on Mark Ellis’s fly ball in the top of the fourth and snared the fly ball right before it hit the wall; the only clang came when Ellsbury’s gloved hand hit the Monster.

Longtime farmhand Tommy Hottovy made his major league debut, inducing a ground out off the bat of David DeJesus with Crisp at first and two men out. He was drafted the same year as Dustin Pedroia, the epic year of 2004.

Don Orsillo, who survived a paddle boat capsizing on the scale of the Titanic, lived on to wear a chic tie striped in shades of purple and lavender.

Game 57: June 3, 2011
Oakland Athletics
H: Craig Breslow (4)
H, L: Joey Devine (3, 0-1)
BS: Brian Fuentes (3)
2B: Josh Willingham – 2 (10)
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Bobby Jenks (2-2)
H: Daniel Bard (10)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (11)
2B: Kevin Youkilis (15), David Ortiz (14), Adrian Gonzalez (18)
HR: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (5)

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