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Home » Monthly Archive » August 2012

August 31, 2012

Drink and Fly

I had taken a plane from San Jose to Boston when this game happened. I wish I could have ridden on this instead.

The offensive highlights for the visitors were few and far between. Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double in the third inning. James Loney clouted his first home run in a Red Sox uniform in the sixth inning. The Red Sox retreated north to Oakland to see if they could salvage some respectability against the surging Athletics.

Game 132: August 30, 2012
Boston Red Sox
L: Jon Lester (8-11)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (31)
HR: James Loney (5)
WinLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim
W: Zack Greinke (12-5)
H: Kevin Jepsen (11)
S: Ernesto Frieri (16)
2B: Albert Pujols (36)

Once in a Blue Moon

Even C.J. Wilson can get a win. The Red Sox were feckless at the plate. They had no extra base hits and went1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Zach Stewart got rocked. I never noticed that the rocks at Angel Stadium at Anaheim made an “A.” In Hawai‘i Creole English when someone makes “A” it means they are making an ass of themselves.

Game 131: August 29, 2012
Boston Red Sox
L: Zach Stewart (1-3)
No extra base hits
WinLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim
W: C.J. Wilson (10-9)
2B: Torii Hunter – 2 (18), Erick Aybar – 2 (24), Kendry Morales (18), Alberto Callaspo (14)
HR: Morales (17), Chris Ianetta (7)

August 30, 2012

Atrocious Aceves

In the seventh Ryan Lavarnway moved so fast cameras couldn’t clearly capture his superhuman speed. The backstop lunged after Torii Hunter’s popped up bunt attempt and snagged it before it touched the infield dirt.

Perhaps blame should not be placed on Alfredo Aceves alone. Bobby Valentine did make the reliever pitch for more than three outs. If Aceves was trying to make a case for himself to be restored as closer he presented stunningly awful evidence. He pitched a perfect eighth but grazed Erick Aybar’s toe with one down in the ninth.

Aybar’s presence on the basepaths seemed to rattle Aceves, who threw to first twice before concentrating on the batter. Alberto Callaspo proceeded to walk on four pitches. Mike Trout broke his bat on a line drive single past a sprawling Dustin Pedroia for the tying run. Callaspo sprinted to third on the hit

Hunter had his vengeance in the ninth. The right fielder lofted the ball to his former territory. It was deep enough so that Jacoby Ellsbury couldn’t possibly make an outfield assist to stop Callaspo from scoring the winning run.

Aceves’s outing was about as messy as this kid.

I love this situation. The child’s mother doesn’t seem to be at the game with the pair and the father is so intensely following the game he doesn’t notice what a mess his kid is making.

Game 130: August 28, 2012
Boston Red Sox
BS, L: Alfredo Aceves (8, 2-9)
2B: Ryan Lavarnway (3)
HR: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (22)
WinLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim
W: Kevin Jepsen (3-2)
2B: Howie Kendrick (23)
HR: Mike Trout (25), Albert Pujols (29)

Dyson Sphere

Daisuke Matsuzaka’s second return to the mound this season was a remarkable rebound: 7 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. While it may be easier to stifle the struggling Royals than the Nationals, who Matsuzaka faced in his season debut, at this point Red Sox Nation will take any competent pitching performance as a positive.

Leadoff hitter Jarred Dyson is your prototypical center fielder: lithe, agile, fast. Due to his speed he seems to take risky routes to fly balls but in the first inning Dyson’s trajectory was as accurate as the Jet Propulsion Lab’s programming of Curiosity rover’s landing.

Dustin Pedroia thought he started the laser show early when smacked the ball on a line to dead center. Dyson dashed under the ball and ran with confidence to the wall. He used the wall’s padding to add to his height and steady his position at his apex. If Mike Trout hadn’t made a spectacular grab of J.J. Hardy’s fly ball Dyson would have made the catch of season by a center fielder.

The snare was so shocking Wally was caught with his head off.

Game 129: August 27, 2012
Kansas City Royals
L: Luke Hochevar (7-12)
2B: Johnny Giavotella (4), Alex Gordon (42)
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-3)
H: Vicente Padilla (22)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (17), Cody Ross (27)
HR: Ellsbury (2)

August 26, 2012

Owner of a Loney Heart

With the Red Sox trailing 4-3 in the fifth Dustin Pedroia touched first as Tony Abreu’s throw pulled Eric Hosmer’s foot off the bag. Boston’s second baseman represented the go-ahead run with Jacoby Ellsbury at second. Dan Bellino called Pedroia out much to the infielder’s chagrin. The home team had just surrendered the lead in the previous inning so even the slightest advantage was worth fighting for.

Bobby Valentine sprang from the dugout and confronted Bellino.

Valentine got the boot.

Not that kind of boot.

Valentine’s ejection may have fired up his crew. Cody Ross worked a walk and James Loney singled up the middle to plate the tying run. The Red Sox batters scored in each of the next three innings, culminating in Pedroia’s solo shot in the eighth inning.

Mark Melancon notched his first save of the season. Thankfully Alfredo Aceves was already suspended so there wouldn’t be another tantrum.

Game 128: August 26, 2012
Kansas City Royals
6 L: Will Smith (4-6)
HR: Lorenzo Cain (5)
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Pedro Beato (1-0)
H: Craig Breslow (6)
S: Mark Melancon (1)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (30), Mike Aviles (27)
HR: Pedro Ciriaco (2), Pedroia (12)

Suspended Aggravation

This team couldn’t win an extra innings game at home to save its life. Andrew Miller somehow got his tall frame out of the way of a comebacker off Eric Hosmer’s bat but the Red Sox could not avoid the Royals’ seventh inning comeback. Bobby Valentine relied on Miller longer than he would have liked because Alfredo Aceves was serving a three-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team after the reliever had a tantrum when Andrew Bailey was used as a closer instead of him.

As the Red Sox once again fell in extra innings Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto arrived in Los Angeles. Gonzalez made an immediate impact with a three-run homer in the first inning.

The Dodgers enjoy three-run circuit clouts while the Red Sox weather three-game suspensions. There’s two ways to rebuild a team and in Boston it will be the painful path.

Game 127: August 25, 2012 ∙ 12 innings
WinKansas City Royals
10 W: Francisley Bueno (1-0)
S: Greg Holland (7)
2B: Alex Gordon (41), Billy Butler (19), Eric Hosmer (19)
3B: Mike Moustakas (1)
Boston Red Sox
9 BS: Craig Breslow (1)
L: Junichi Tazawa (0-1)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (29), Jacoby Ellsbury (16)
HR: Mauro Gomez (1), Mike Aviles (13)

August 25, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

The Red Sox won last night but with the recent blockbuster trade the focus isn’t on the present but the future. As is tradition, two players seemed to injure themselves on the field. David Ortiz legged out a double in the third and although he stayed in the game he was scratched from Saturday’s lineup. Jon Lester won his third game in a row but was pulled off the mound in the eighth and departed with a visible limp. It turned out to be leg cramps but the way this season has gone a more serious ailment wouldn’t have been surprising.

Nick Punto got a Twitter account at the behest of his Red Sox teammates but, along with Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez, is no longer in Boston. The Dodgers sent the trio to Los Angeles on a private jet today. Too bad John Lackey didn’t join them.

In return Boston received James Loney and four prospects: infielder Ivan DeJesus, Jr., right-handed pitcher Allen Webster, and two players to be named later, rumored to be Rubby de la Rosa and James Sands.

After Ben Cherington’s press conference Nick Cafardo said that the new general manager has effectively erased Theo Epstein’s legacy with the trade. I think that is an oversimplification, given that it was under Epstein’s tenure that talent such as Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury was identified.

This will be the benchmark of how Cherington evaluates talent and leverages value in trades. At the moment it is too early to tell, but certainly ownership appreciates the massive reduction in payroll.

Maybe Cherington can draft this kid in 2025. Click on the picture for high resolution picture and see the kid’s catch in the lower right.

Game 126: August 24, 2012
Kansas City Royals
3 BS, L: Kelvin Herrera (1, 1-2)
2B: Alex Gordon (40)
HR: Eric Hosmer (12)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Jon Lester (8-10)
H: Vicente Padilla (21), Andrew Miller (13)
S: Andrew Bailey (1)
2B: David Ortiz (26), Dustin Pedroia (28), Pedro Ciriaco (9)

August 24, 2012

Roller Coaster

Like the season this game was a roller coaster. Just look at the win probability chart for the contest from Baseball Reference. The graphic from FanGraphs reverses the teams’ halves so it is condensed mirror image.

Such are my thoughts about the impending trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. I truly thought acquiring Gonzalez would complement David Ortiz much as Manny Ramirez did. I wasn’t as keen on Crawford, thinking that a smart organization like the Rays must be sensing his decline, but in no way did I think he was at the end of his run. Beckett helped win 2007 and called Joba Chamberlain a c*** but seemed to have gone astray when Mike Lowell retired. Nick Punto was signed as a good veteran clubhouse presence, but see how well that worked out this season.

After 2004 I remember grinning along with Ramirez as he said that the team has to turn the page after that success so that they could achieve more. He mimed the action making it all the more memorable. With Theo Epstein at the helm I thought there was a chance at a Belichickean dynasty.

Epstein resigned in 2005 but was wooed back early the following year. It seemed there was some sort of internal power struggle that Epstein won. While 2006 was as injury-ridden as this season the team rebounded to win the World Series in 2007. It was perhaps inevitable that the monumental collapse in 2011 would rend open the wounds that were so carefully mended in 2006.

Time to turn the page. I only hope this chapter reads more like A.S. Byatt than Ayn Rand.

Game 125: August 23, 2012 ∙ 10 innings
WinLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim
14 BS: Jason Isringhausen (5)
BS, W: Ernesto Frieri (2, 3-0)
2B: Erick Aybar (21), Vernon Wells (8)
HR: Wells (8), Kendry Morales (16)
Boston Red Sox
13 BS: Andrew Bailey (1)
BS, L: Alfredo Aceves (7, 2-8)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (27), Mauro Gomez (4), Pedro Ciriaco (8), Jacoby Ellsbury (15)
HR: Pedroia (11), Mike Aviles (12), Cody Ross (19)

August 23, 2012

Fresh Trout

The Angels’ leadoff hitter and rookie phenomenon Mike Trout only went 1-for-4, but his single in the sixth inning loaded the bases with two down. The steller center fielder can run from home plate to first in 3.53 seconds, fast enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Mickey Mantle. He effortlessly advanced to third on Torii Hunter’s line drive to right.

Trout didn’t steal a base but he did tag up from first in the fifth inning on Hunter’s fly ball to Jacoby Ellsbury. I always wonder why more runners don’t do such a thing, but perhaps one needs Hall of Fame-level speed like Trout. His GIDPs don’t cure the blind but the one he hit into in the third inning drove in his team’s first run.

Dustin Pedroia tried to out-Trout Trout in the first inning by reaching first on a passed ball strikeout and then swiping second. Pedroia was one of the players who didn’t go to Johnny Pesky’s funeral, but he could be given a pass because his wife is nine months pregnant.

Only Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Vicente Padilla attended. That last name is not a mistake.

I’m not angry at the rest of the players for not paying their respects to this Red Sox legend. I feel sorry for them for not availing themselves of the honor of being in the presence of a true lover of baseball, a mensch, a war hero, for one last time. It is their loss.

Game 124: August 22, 2012
WinLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim
7 W: Jered Weaver (16-3)
H: Kevin Jepsen (10)
2B: Albert Pujols (34), Howie Kendrick (20)
3B: Chris Ianetta (1)
HR: Kendrick (7)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Clay Buchholz (11-4)
2B: Ryan Lavarnway (2), Mike Aviles (26), Cody Ross (26)

August 22, 2012

Pesky You Are the Only Only Only

Pesky is the Royal Rooters’ rally cry
Pesky is the guy we always adored
“Pesky!” echoed April through October nights
After serenading Dom, Ted, and Doerr
Pesky was a man with a sparkling smile
Pesky was a man we all love
He doesn’t know the meaning of “don’t fight”
He’s got a bandbox full of love

And sometimes when the game is on the line
Pesky always urged them to play
Along the bench from Jim Ed to Bellhorn
The boys will always sing and sway

Two! Three! Four!

Pesky, “Nuf Ced” McGreevey shouted
We know you didn’t hold the ball
Johnny, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your call
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn’t live without you
Pesky, you are the only only only

The Orioles showed up at the grounds one day
They found Johnny in the dugout
Mike Lowell led the charge into the park
Stormed the offices and led the team to a rout
The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston’s tenth man could not be wrong
Up from “Third Base” to Huntington
They’d sing another victory song

Two! Three! Four!

Pesky, “Nuf Ced” McGreevey shouted
We know you belong in the Hall
Johnny, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar above it all
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn’t live without you
Mr. Red Sox, you are the only only only

Game 123: August 21, 2012
WinLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim
5 W: Erwin Santana (7-10)
H: Jordan Walden (6), Scott Downs (18), Kevin Jepsen (9)
S: Ernesto Frieri (15)
2B: Albert Pujols (33)
HR: Mark Trumbo (30)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Aaron Cook (3-7)
2B: Cody Ross (25), Scott Podsednik (5)
HR: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (21)

August 21, 2012

The Axeman Cometh

Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure was fired yesterday. Randy Niemann will replace McClure for the rest of the season, but it is unlikely that members of the coaching staff feel comfortable in their positions. This ouster could be a harbinger of the housecleaning to come.

The timing of the dismissal seemed somewhat appropriate with Josh Beckett losing four of his last six outings, the other two being an injury-shortened showing on July 31 and the other an eight-run drubbing on August 8 that wasn’t a loss thanks to Will Middlebrooks tying the game with a three-run homer.

But in this game Beckett wasn’t spectacularly awful, it’s just that Boston’s offense was woeful against Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. They managed a mere five hits against the duo and did not work a single walk. Adrian Gonzalez lofted a solo shot into the right field stands in the seventh, but he was outshone by Ichiro Suzuki’s pair of circuit clouts.

I commiserated with some Red Sox fans in Fire Brand of the American League’s live chat Sunday. Misery loves company.

Game 122: August 19, 2012
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Josh Beckett (5-11)
HR: Adrian Gonzalez (15)
WinNew York Yankees
4 W: Hiroki Kuroda (12-8)
S: Rafael Soriano (31)
2B: Derek Jeter – 2 (26), Curtis Granderson (14)
HR: Ichiro Suzuki – 2 (7)

August 19, 2012

Boola Boola

In the bottom of the eighth Bobby Valentine summoned Craig Breslow to face Robinson Cano with one out and Nick Swisher leering at first base. Ryan Lavarnway, a Yale graduate like Breslow, was behind home throwing down signs for the southpaw, making them the first Bulldog battery since 1883. On September 15, 1883, Jack Jones pitched to Al Hubbard for the Philadelphia Athletics. Cano grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

For a while it seemed that long since Jon Lester tallied a win as he was without a victory in July. But August has been kind to Lester: his two starts thus far have been quality starts and wins.

Perhaps he took inspiration from Pedro Ciriaco, who seems made to play against the Yankees. The infielder went 4-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, not to mention the part he played in the double play that erased Swisher and Cano.

Not only was this an unusual game in that the Red Sox beat the Yankees but I found myself agreeing with Tim McCarver twice. He stated that he thought Stephen Strasburg shouldn’t be shut down and that Melky Cabrera shouldn’t be eligible for the batting title, which he currently leads, because of his violation of the banned substances policy.

A truly odd turn of events, indeed.

Game 121: August 18, 2012
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Jon Lester (7-10)
H: Andrew Bailey (1), Craig Breslow (5)
S: Alfredo Aceves (25)
2B: Nick Punto (6), Dustin Pedroia (26), Pedro Ciriaco (7)
HR: Adrian Gonzalez (14)
New York Yankees
1 L: David Phelps (3-4)
2B: Curtis Granderson (13)
HR: Granderson (32)

August 18, 2012

The Muddy Chicken Laser Show

Dustin Pedroia celebrated his 29th birthday with a three-run blast to left field to give his team a one-run lead in the third. It was Pedroia’s 10th home run this season, making it five years in a row that he has reached double-digit homers. But the Yankees batters proved too formidable and their relievers too wily for the lead to last.

Coincidentally Derek Jeter clouted his 10th home run this season in this game. As the Red Sox work through this low point in their franchise’s history it is telling to compare the transition between Joe Torre and Joe Girardi to that of Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine. Girardi’s first year had the Yankees finished out of the playoffs in third place in the AL East. They rebounded the very next season to win their 27th world championship.

As easy as it is dislike Jeter, he truly is an anchor to this team. Sometimes it’s an anchor pulling down run production, but I digress. How Jeter captained his team through its highs and lows is admirable. Rather than pining after his father figure Pedroia would have done better to emulate his rival’s example of leadership.

Game 120: August 17, 2012
Boston Red Sox
4 L: Franklin Morales (3-4)
2B: Carl Crawford (10)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (10)
WinNew York Yankees
6 W: Phil Hughes (12-10)
H: David Robertson (17)
S: Rafael Soriano (30)
HR: Nick Swisher – 2 (18), Curtis Granderson (31), Russell Martin (13), Derek Jeter (10)

Immaculate Inning

In the sixth inning Clay Buchholz threw nine pitches and all were strikes. It was the 47th time this has happened in the major leagues and Buchholz was the 44th pitcher to accomplish this amazing feat. John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino were suitably impressed.

They seem a bit peeved. Perhaps Adrian Gonzalez put them over their text message limit.

Buchholz joined Pedro Martinez as the only Red Sox pitchers to have an immaculate inning. Buchholz’s instance seems more impressive in comparison to Martinez’s as it came in the last third of the game against the fourth, fifth, and sixth hitters Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis. Martinez struck out Ichiro Suzuki, Mark McLemore, and Ruben Sierra in the first inning on May 18, 2002. That team featured an infield of Shea Hillenbrand, Jose Offerman, and Rey Sanchez with Grady Little at the helm. They ended the season 93-69 but were edged out by the Anaheim Angels for the wild card.

I would have never thought that I would like that team more than this season’s version.

Game 119: August 16, 2012
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Clay Buchholz (11-3)
S: Alfredo Aceves (24)
2B: Carl Crawford (9), Cody Ross (24), Dustin Pedroia (25), Scott Podsednik (4), Adrian Gonzalez (37)
Jacoby Ellsbury (14)
Baltimore Orioles
3 L: Luis Ayala (4-4)
2B: Adam Jones (29), Manny Machado (2), Nate McLouth (6)
HR: Mark Reynolds (12)

August 16, 2012

Ejection Junction, What’s Your Function?

Jarrod Saltalamacchia took Adam Jones head on in the bottom of the sixth and held onto the ball. The catcher is “a heavy human,” tweeted Jones after the encounter. The effort proved to be in vain when the next batter, Mark Reynolds, skimmed the ball along the left field wall and drove in two runs.

In the eighth inning home plate umpire Mike Everitt tossed Adrian Gonzalez out of the game after the first baseman chirped one too many times about being quick pitched by Pedro Strop. Bobby Valentine emerged from the bullpen to argue the ejection and Everitt dismissed the field manager as well. Valentine didn’t try to sneak back into the dugout in a disguise. Perhaps he followed his slugger to make sure he didn’t send another text to John Henry.

Game 118: August 15, 2012
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Aaron Cook (3-6)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (14)
WinBaltimore Orioles
5 W: Miguel Gonzalez (5-2)
H: J.C. Romero (2), Luis Ayala (8), Pedro Strop (20)
S: Jim Johnson (35)
2B: Matt Wieters (20), Mark Reynolds (22)

August 15, 2012


The Baltimore Orioles honored the late Johnny Pesky with a moment of silence prior to the series opener. On the right sleeve of the Red Sox players, underneath the logo for Fenway’s 100th anniversary, there is a black band of remembrance for the beloved shortstop. On my commute to work on I-93 North two electronic bulletin boards displayed the number six in the unmistakable style of Red Sox home jersey numbers.

Yes, Mr. Red Sox is missed, especially as recent clubhouse controversies resurfaced in the form of an article by Jeff Passan. No reason to rehash the details here, because they aren’t important. The game is important. Pesky would be the first to say, “Play ball!”

Prior this game Bobby Valentine took a moment to kiss Dustin Pedroia. It didn’t seem to be a peck of affection but a gesture of accusation. “I know it was you, Pedroia. You broke my heart.”

Game 117: August 14, 2012
Boston Red Sox
L: Josh Beckett (5-10)
2B: Pedro Ciriaco (6), Cody Ross (23), Dustin Pedroia (24)
3B: Pedroia (3)
WinBaltimore Orioles
7 W: Wei-Yin Chen (11-7)
HR: Omar Quintanilla (4), Mark Reynolds – 2 (11)

August 13, 2012

In Memoriam: John Michael Paveskovich

Better known as Johnny Pesky. Read Mark Feeney’s obituary in the Boston Globe and Bill Nowlin’s SABR article on the beloved shortstop. Not just a baseball player but an adoring husband and father and World War II veteran of the Navy. His number six was the first and only number retired by the Red Sox of someone who was not enshrined in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.

He will be greatly missed.

It’s In the Bag

The Red Sox scored a whopping 14 runs, hopefully not with the aid of banned substances. It would be tempting for the players to resort to artificial means given this season’s woes, but Don and Jerry would be the first to tell them that quick way isn’t the best way.

It’s been so long since the Red Sox were on the giving end of a laugher that NESN audiences haven’t enjoyed Remy and Orsillo’s silly side. For every run Boston batters tallied there were at least five items in Don’s man bag. Contents include:

  • Binoculars
  • Emergency first aid kit
  • Beef jerky
  • Umbrella
  • Pen bag: pens, eye black, backup contact lenses
  • Medicine: pills for all ailments
  • CSI flashlight
  • Bag of candy
  • Hairbrush
  • Halls throat lozenges
  • Baseball
  • Umpire manual
  • MLB rulebook
  • Toiletries: hairspray, lotion
  • Stain remover
  • Fan mail
  • Scorecards (used)
  • Nasal spray
  • Asthma medication
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Phiten bracelet
  • Bigelow green tea (Terry Francona’s favorite tea)

But there’s something Orsillo should look into adding to his stash.

Game 116: August 12, 2012
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Jon Lester (6-10)
2B: Carl Crawford – 3 (8), Dustin Pedroia (23), Jacoby Ellsbury (13), Adrian Gonzalez (36), Mike Aviles (25)
HR: Gonzalez (13)
Cleveland Indians
L: Corey Kluber (0-1)
2B: Ezequiel Carrera (1)

August 12, 2012

Don’t Walk

Lately much of the Red Sox offensive woes has been blamed on the lack of walks. Jeremy Lundblad of ESPN compiled the following alarming franchise statistics:

  • Plate appearances per walk: 13.52, worst since 1931
  • Plate appearances per strikeout: 5.18, worst ever
  • Strikeouts per walk: 2.61, worst ever
  • OBP: .325, worst since 1992

In this game the Red Sox drew no bases on balls. The only two runs were scored in the fourth. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the frame with a double and Carl Crawford reached first safely on what was to have been a sacrifice bunt. Dustin Pedroia tapped a grounder to Brent Lillibridge but instead of going for a double play Lillibridge tried to go home with the ball. Adrian Gonzalez doubled off the left field wall and all three runners tried to reach home.

Pedroia was tagged out by Lillibridge before he got to the plate, killing Boston’s momentum. Ellsbury also committed a baserunning gaffe in the sixth by trying to stretch a double into a triple. The center fielder committed the cardinal baseball sin of making the first out at third.

Game 115: August 11, 2012
Boston Red Sox
L: Franklin Morales (3-3)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury – 2 (12), Adrian Gonzalez (35)
WinCleveland Indians
W: Zach McAllister (5-4)
S: Chris Perez (31)
2B: Brent Lillibridge (3), Carlos Santana (21)
HR: Lillibridge (1)

August 11, 2012

Clay Came to Play

Clay Buchholz gritted out nine innings in a tight game with a exemplary line: 2 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, and six strikeouts. He did so well this guy gave him a big hand.

John Lackey probably upped the two Bud Lights he downs for losses to three. All would have been forgiven if Lackey used a FanFist in Red Sox colors.

If Will Middlebrooks had a FanFist he might have avoided breaking his right wrist. He took Esmil Rogers’s 96-MPH fastball on the wrist in the ninth inning and will likely miss the rest of the season as a result. Them’s the breaks.

Game 114: August 10, 2012
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Clay Buchholz (10-3)
HR: Cody Ross (18)
Cleveland Indians
L: Chris Seddon (0-1)
2B: Asdrubal Cabrera (26)
HR: Jason Donald (1)


Red Sox baserunning was a mockery of the game. Pedro Ciriaco led off the inning promisingly enough with a double lined to right. The extra base hit knocked Ubaldo Jimenez out of the game, leaving Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford to face southpaw Tony Sipp.

Sipp struck out Ellsbury on four pitches. Crawford knocked a ground ball to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Ciriaco took too large of a lead off the keystone sack and then failed to keep Cleveland’s infielders in the rundown long enough. Cabrera tagged out Ciriaco and then fired to second to get the sliding Crawford.

In this game the best accomplishment by someone from the Boston area was this sign. While caricatures usually embellish its subjects’ flaws, this artist tactfully rendered Don and Jerry’s hairlines. The creator also evoked the Red Sox typeface without aping it exactly, avoiding any infringement.

Game 113: August 9, 2012
Boston Red Sox
L: Felix Doubront (10-6)
2B: Pedro Ciriaco (5)
HR: Adrian Gonzalez (12)
WinCleveland Indians
W: Ubaldo Jimenez (9-11)
H: Tony Sipp (12), Vinnie Pestano (23)
S: Chris Perez (30)
2B: Michael Brantley (34), Asdrubal Cabrera (25)
HR: Jason Donald (1)

August 9, 2012

I Got a Bad Feeling About This

Darth Vader visited Fenway. Your argument is invalid.

The Red Sox are teaming up with LucasFilms to make a terrible prequel to future classics. It’s called The 2012 Red Sox Season, coming to theaters near you. Yes, amazingly it is not straight to DVD.

Actually, the movie mogul’s company and the sports magnate’s baseball franchise are pairing up for this year’s Futures at Fenway games. All I can picture is the slaughter at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. As long as Will Middlebrooks, who hit a three-run homer in two straight games, survives the Red Sox have a chance for future greatness.

Game 112: August 8, 2012
WinTexas Rangers
W: Alexi Ogando (2-0)
S: Joe Nathan (23)
3B: Josh Hamilton (2)
HR: Mitch Moreland (12), Josh Hamilton (30), Geovany Soto (7), Nelson Cruz (18)
Boston Red Sox
L: Clayton Mortensen (1-1)
2B: Adrian Gonzalez – 3 (34), Pedro Ciriaco (4), Kelly Shoppach (12), Cody Ross (22)
3B: Carl Crawford (2)
HR: Ross (17), Will Middlebrooks (15)

Sign ’Em Up!

Instead of starting Nick Punto at third Bobby Valentine should have wrangled Ben Cherington to sign Shawn Thornton or Tuukka Rask. Their batting practice cuts looked respectable. Jerry Remy noted that most hockey players like the ball low and have a dip in their swing.

Remy was pleasantly surprised and suitably impressed by Rask’s even swing.

If Dustin Pedroia were a hockey player he’d get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. After an unfavorable check swing call from first base umpire Paul Nauert Pedroia hurled invectives from the dugout.

Pedroia was ejected after Craig Breslow hit David Murphy with a pitch. Like how some players won’t let go of Terry Francona’s memory Pedroia wouldn’t forget how Nauert slighted him.

Game 111: August 7, 2012
WinTexas Rangers
W: Ryan Dempster (6-5)
H: Robbie Ross (6), Mike Adams (20)
S: Joe Nathan (22)
2B: David Murphy (19)
Boston Red Sox
L: Jon Lester (5-10)
2B: Carl Crawford (5), Cody Ross – 2 (21), Adrian Gonzalez (31)
HR: Will Middlebrooks (14)

August 7, 2012

The Trouble with Doubles

The Red Sox overcame their recent wretched performance against the worst team in the AL Central and defeated the best team in the AL West. For reals, stop staring at me as if I were crazy.

Seriously, Boston totally demolished the Rangers. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, and Adrian Gonzalez hit a combined eight doubles, with seven of them coming off rookie sensation Yu Darvish.

Fine, don’t believe me. I guess you won’t believe that Aaron Cook kept one of the most potent offenses in the majors to a single run and struck out Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli while doing so.

Game 110: August 6, 2012
Texas Rangers
L: Yu Darvish (11-8)
2B: Michael Young (18), Nelson Cruz – 2 (29)
HR: Adrian Beltre (19)
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Aaron Cook (3-5)
2B: Dustin Pedroia – 3 (22), Jacoby Ellsbury – 2 (10), Carl Crawford – 2 (4), Adrian Gonzalez (30)

August 5, 2012

Franklin and Bashing

Franklin Morales returned to the starting rotation and reversed the Red Sox’s slide with a quality start: 6 innings, 1 earned run, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Morales became slightly unhinged in the fifth when he walked Alexi Casilla to start the inning and became fixated with trying to pick him off. Casilla swiped second, advanced to third on a ground out, and scored on a sacrifice fly authored by Ben Revere. (I wonder how Revere feels being heckled by the folks in the bleachers? Has he ever heard his name pronounced non-rhotically in chorus?)

The Red Sox scored in dribs and drabs in the third with Jacoby Ellsbury’s double bookended with singles for two runs. Adrian Gonzalez added another two runs in the fifth with his four-bagger into the Monster seats with Carl Crawford on first. Crawford celebrated his 31st birthday with 3-for-5 showing.

Perhaps the Red Sox winning bodes well for the Curiosity rover’s landing on the red planet of Mars tonight.

Game 109: August 5, 2012
Minnesota Twins
L: Nick Blackburn (4-7)
2B: Jamey Carroll (14)
HR: Josh Willingham (28), Ryan Doumit (11)
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Franklin Morales (3-2)
H: Mark Melancon (2)
S: Alfredo Aceves (23)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (8), Ryan Kalish (3)
HR: Adrian Gonzalez (11)

Mauer Mauling

Despite his questionable decisions Bobby Valentine exclaimed to the Comcast SportsNet camera, “It’s not true, I’m not trying to get fired, folks! It’s not true! It’s all made up by him!” By “him” Valentine meant Dan Shaughnessy. Even a relatively new manager is aware of Shaughnessy’s reputation.

Valentine had the smarts and the guts to bring in Alfredo Aceves with the bases loaded and none out in the eighth with the score 2-1. Justin Morneau, the first batter Aceves faced, laced the ball to right for a sacrifice fly to tie the game. But the closer battled back to get two outs without further damage.

That Pedro Ciriaco hit his first major league home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth as a pinch hitter was more luck than managerial acumen. Ciriaco didn’t get the silent treatment; in fact, the Fenway crowd called him out of the dugout for a curtain call. The Red Sox tacked on another run with Cody Ross’s grounder to right, which plated Dustin Pedroia.

Where Valentine could be faulted is not pulling Aceves when the Twins started smacking the ball around the ninth. Alexi Casilla doubled with one out and scored on Jamey Carroll’s single. Aceves induced a fly ball out off Denard Span’s bat but Ben Revere singled with a scorcher up the middle. When Aceves pitched wildly to Joe Mauer both runners advanced into scoring position. Valentine could have intentionally walked Mauer and brought Craig Breslow to face Morneau, or brought in Breslow to face Mauer.

At least Remy and Orsillo entertained. There was a shot of the sun setting in the third.
Remy: You know which direction we were looking in, right?
Don: The west. The sun sets in the west.
Remy: Very good!
Don: You didn’t think I knew that, did you?

Game 108: August 4, 2012
WinMinnesota Twins
W: Alex Burnett (4-3)
S: Jared Burton (5)
2B: Darren Mastroianni (3), Alexi Casilla (12)
HR: Joe Mauer (7)
Boston Red Sox
BS, L: Alfredo Aceves (6, 2-7)
2B: Carl Crawford (2)
HR: Mike Aviles (11), Pedro Ciriaco (1)

August 4, 2012

Couldn’t Pitch

Jacoby Ellsbury made a stunning snare of Josh Willingham’s fly ball to center to end the first. The center fielder got a good jump and ran the correct route to intercept the ball on the run and avoid a slide into the bullpen wall, a feat he recently survived.

Brian Duensing faltered in the home half of the third and the Red Sox scored on three consecutive singles to tie the game 1-1. Justin Morneau dropped Carl Crawford’s foul pop-up with two down and two out. Crawford took the very next pitch into the Red Sox bullpen, a shot that seemed to break the game open.

But Felix Doubront quavered in the fifth. He walked two batters, allowed three singles, and the Twins tied the game 5-5. The Red Sox squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the eighth and the game limped into extra innings. Rookie Darin Mastroianni led off the tenth with a double that dropped with Ellsbury and Cody Ross both attempting to run down the ball. Brian Dozier amusingly popped out to Will Middlebrooks on a bunt attempt but Jamey Carroll lined the ball over Dustin Pedroia’s glove and plated Mastroianni.

Game 107: August 3, 2012 ∙ 10 innings
WinMinnesota Twins
W: Jeff Gray (6-1)
S: Jared Burton (4)
2B: Justin Morneau – 2 (22), Jamey Carroll (13), Darren Mastroianni (2)
Boston Red Sox
L: Vicente Padilla (4-1)
2B: Carl Crawford (1), Cody Ross (19), Ryan Lavarnway (1)
HR: Crawford (3)

Couldn’t Hit

Only Adrian Gonzalez could muster hits against the Minnesota twirlers. The Boston lineup had only four walks in nine innings. Jon Lester’s quality start went to waste as the bats went cold.

As cold as the temperature in the Red Sox organization. Bobby Valentine was involved in a dustup with ownership because he said, “Nice inning, kid” to Will Middlebrooks after the third baseman committed two errors. Tom Werner should have just stopped Valentine in a hallway after the manager’s WEEI interview and commented, “Nice interview, buddy.”

Game 106: August 2, 2012
WinMinnesota Twins
W: Sam Deduno (3-0)
H: Casey Fien (3)
S: Glen Perkins (6)
2B: Denard Span (28), Brian Dozier (10), Justin Morneau (20), Ryan Doumit (21)
HR: Dozier (5)
Boston Red Sox
L: Jon Lester (5-9)
2B: Adrian Gonzalez (29)

August 2, 2012

Aaron’s Cookies

These fans’ bucket list went unfinished as the Red Sox dropped the last game of this series to the Tigers. Aaron Cook was hit hard by Detroit’s batters in the fifth, with sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder capping off the five-run onslaught with consecutive circuit clouts. Fielder demonstrated full recovery from getting hit with a pickoff in the fourth inning. He had writhed about as if mortally wounded but his dramatic gyrations were more soccer than serious.

NESN is looking for a producer for a day in a rather interesting contest. The winner may score “any of the following unique NESN experiences: one inning in the NESN broadcast booth with Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy; one inning in the 3rd base photographer’s well with Jenny Dell; one inning with a NESN cameraman; one inning in the NESN broadcast truck; and other ballpark experiences as determined by NESN.” But can they pick songs with Peter Grenier?

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise winning series, but at least Jacoby Ellsbury (1-for-4 with a double and a walk) and Carl Crawford (1-for-5 with a home run) are starting to show power at the top of the lineup. Ellsbury made a spectacular diving catch of a Delmon Young fly ball to end the fourth that had him crashing his back into the bullpen wall. I fully expected another trip to the disabled list for Ellsbury but he got up unscathed.

Game 105: August 1, 2012
WinDetroit Tigers
W: Rick Porcello (8-6)
H: Phil Coke (17), Octavio Dotel (8), Joaquin Benoit (23)
S: Jose Valverde (21)
2B: Prince Fielder (22)
HR: Miguel Cabrera (26), Fielder (17), Delmon Young (12)
Boston Red Sox
L: Aaron Cook (2-5)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (7)
HR: Carl Crawford (2)

August 1, 2012

Weather With You

I’m glad this guy hit a home run, because no one else did in this game.

When it rained the runs poured in for the local nine. In a storm of singles four runs scored off of reigning Cy Young award winner and MVP Justin Verlander. The Tigers ace at least received grudging respect from the Fenway crowd, unlike another hurler.

Josh Beckett left the game in the third inning after loading the bases and walking in what would be Detroit’s only run. He departed to a chorus of boos, the fans apparently unaware that he left because of back spasms and that might have been the source of his poor performance. Wait, they weren’t booing, they were saying “boooooooo-ack spasms.”

In the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and two out the grounds crew “took the tahp off the tahp,” or removed the covering of the tarp, for those who are rhotic speakers. Jim Leyland didn’t criticize the umpires’ decision but the Tigers organization filed a complaint. Who can blame them since they are a handful of games behind the White Sox in the AL Central and every game matters.

But maybe Jerry Layne, Vic Carapazza, Larry Vanover, and Angel Campos really wanted to watch the new Fab Five.

Game 104: July 31, 2012 ∙ 5⅔ innings
Detroit Tigers
L: Justin Verlander (11-7)
No extra base hits
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Clayton Mortensen (1-0)
S: Franklin Morales (1)
No extra base hits

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