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Home » May 2012 Game CommentsMay 2012 » Cliff’s Edge

Cliff’s Edge

Two disappointing teams that were supposed to be at or near the top of their respective divisions wrapped up their three-game series. Two aces who have underperformed along with their clubs faced off in what most assumed would be a pitchers’ duel.

Mike Aviles had other ideas. The shortstop took Cliff Lee’s third pitch of the game, a cut fastball, high over Juan Pierre’s reach into the left field stands.

The Red Sox had a prototypical National League scoring scenario play out in the second. With one man down Daniel Nava patiently (and amazingly, given the pitcher he was facing) drew a walk. Marlon Byrd sneaked a single through the left side of the infield and Nava got into scoring position. Neither the bunting and hitting practice Bobby Valentine required nor Josh Beckett’s years in the senior circuit helped the hurler get down a proper bunt. Nava was erased from the equation when Beckett’s bunt went right back to Lee. Beckett ran hard to first and beat out what could have been an inning-ending double play. Aviles swatted a turf-scorching ground ball to left field and Byrd scored.

Presenting the argument for the Earl Weaver School of Management in the third was Adrian Gonzalez, Will Middlebrooks, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Gonzalez took a pitch outside to the opposite field and Middlebrooks doubled to center. Saltalamacchia smashed what Hit Tracker says is the third-longest home run in true distance this season. When the 466-foot bomb landed the visitors boasted a 5-0 lead.

Both pitchers had their “pitchers are athletes, too” moments. Beckett dashed from the mound to glove Brian Schneider’s foul pop-up when Saltalamacchia lost it in the sun and the swirling winds. The out proved essential when Lee, the next batter, drove a double to left. In the sixth Beckett knocked the ball off the top of the left-center wall. But it probably would have been a double for a real athlete.

Game 41: May 20, 2012
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Josh Beckett (4-4)
H: Vicente Padilla (8)
2B: Will Middlebrooks (6)
HR: Aviles (8), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (7)
Philadelphia Phillies
L: Cliff Lee (0-2)
2B: Lee (1), Pete Orr (4)

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