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Home » Monthly Archive » April 2013

April 29, 2013

Lackey’s Back

John Lackey returned to baseball on Sunday with a rehab stint against the Triple A Houston Astros. Oh, wait.

As the Red Sox taunted the Astros so did Jerry Remy harass the radio duo with Don Orsillo’s fishing rod. Can you hit this? No? How ’bout this?

Two baseball munchkins converged at the keystone sack in the fifth inning. Dustin Pedroia knocked the ball past Matt Dominguez’s glove. Fernando Martinez gathered the grounder and came up firing. Pedroia slid to the outside of the bag in anticipation of Jose Altuve’s tag. With their arms stretched out like that they are as tall as your average major league baseball player.

Now that the weather is turning it’s time for lobster rolls. If you are okay with not being cool with Crusher, the Maine Red Claws mascot, that is.

Game 25: April 28, 2013
Houston Astros
1 L: Bud Norris (3-3)
2B: Rick Ankiel (3)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: John Lackey (1-1)
2B: Daniel Nava (4), Dustin Pedroia (6), Mike Carp (5), David Ortiz (5)
3B: Stephen Drew (2)

April 28, 2013

Allowed by a Peacock

Despite his name Brad Peacock did not have much to strut about. He lasted 3⅓ innings with a poor line: 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 5 bases on balls, and 3 strikeouts. Will Middlebrooks missed a home run in the second inning by just a few feet. Jonny Gomes demonstrated the distance.

Gomes jumped about that height when he made a lunging grab of Robbie Grossman’s line drive to left in the eighth. I wouldn’t say his defense is stellar but he is better than Kevin Youkilis in left.

I’m not sure if Royal Sorell, the Balloongineer, created these fans’ hats, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The Red Sox batter and mermaid creations look great on television but probably didn’t endear these fans to any spectators behind them.

A picture of Don Orsillo with Vin Scully from many moons ago surfaced. The moss! The manscaping! The lighthearted banter that is enjoyable when your team has the best record in the majors!

Game 24: April 27, 2013
Houston Astros
4 L: Brad Peacock (1-3)
2B: Marwin Gonzalez (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Felix Doubront (3-0)
H: Junichi Tazawa (8)
2B: Will Middlebrooks (4), David Ortiz (4), Daniel Nava (3), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (5)

April 27, 2013

Fast as Molasses

It was 10 PM when Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo noted how slow the pace of this game was. At that point the game was about two-thirds of the way finished, rivaling the duration of matches the against the Yankees. They amused themselves with closeups of Don’s head.

Oh, wait, that is one of the big head signs.

David Ross had a career night (4-of-4 with two four-baggers) and called a game that led to Ryan Dempster’s first win. Call him Maximus Decimus Meridius, catcher of the Shepherd of Scotland, backstop of the Carmine Hose, and loyal servant to the true emperor, John Henry. He does fear spiders, however, so don’t expect him to verbally duel with Varys.

My only explanation for this man wearing a viking helmet is because Erik Bedard uses a Scandinavian spelling of his first name. It does give me the chance to quote Hávamál. From the “Wisdom for Wanderers and Counsel for Guests” in the Elder Edda:

Less good than they say for the sons of men
is the drinking oft of ale:
for the more they drink, the less can they think
and keep a watch o’er their wits.

This fan tried to use Jerry for a love connection. Don’t distract Will Middlebrooks with trivialities now that he is starting to hit again. The third baseman clobbered his sixth home run of the season in the fourth.

The NESN broadcasting team plays a hockey game against the Red Sox employees. Can any of these presumably able bodies help the Celtics? Watching them fall behind the Knicks three games is just humiliating.

Game 23: April 26, 2013
Houston Astros
3 L: Erik Bedard (0-2)
2B: Jose Altuve (5), Matt Dominguez – 2 (6), Jason Castro (7), Chris Carter (2)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Ryan Dempster (1-2)
H: Junichi Tazawa (7), Koji Uehara (7)
2B: Dustin Pedroia – 2 (5),Mike Napoli – 2 (13)
3B: Pedro Ciriaco (1)
HR: David Ross – 2 (3), Will Middlebrooks (6), David Ortiz (2)

April 26, 2013

Houston, We Have Some Problems

I don’t envy Bo Porter’s task of taking the Houston Astros, who were subpar even by National League standards, to the American League. The Astros, who have middling pitching, defense, and hitting, have to compete against the stacked AL West. Their only respite in the division would be games against the Mariners, and even then they may draw Felix Hernandez.

Clay Buchholz, the first pitcher to reach five wins, was not unlike King Felix in his outing. He tallied 10 strikeouts while allowing 6 hits, 2 earned runs, and 2 walks. Opposing him was Philip Humber, who has not lived up to the heights he attained with his perfect game against Seattle. David Ortiz clouted his first home run of the season off Humber, a blast in the third inning that cleared the center field wall. This is his fucking city.

Were I an Astros fan I’d prefer to have an obstructed view to avoid witnessing the ugliness on the field. Even though he doesn’t have the managerial position he deserves Brad Mills probably doesn’t miss Houston much.

Dustin Pedroia must love Jose Altuve’s existence. Pedroia is listed at 5'8" and Altuve’s published height is 5'5". Any shorter and they be concocting schemes and plots in King’s Landing.

Game 22: April 25, 2013
Houston Astros
2 L: Philip Humber (0-5)
2B: Chris Carter (1), Marwin Gonzalez (3)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Clay Buchholz (5-0)
2B: Mike Carp (4), Jacoby Ellsbury (6), Will Middlebrooks (3), Mike Napoli (11)
HR: David Ortiz (1)

April 25, 2013

Fair is Foul

If I miss any Red Sox players from recent seasons all I need to do is tune into an Oakland Athletics game. Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, even Bartolo Colon — all played in the shade of the Green Monster and now wear the green and gold.

Lowrie was miffed when his ninth-inning line drive to right was called foul by first base umpire Greg Gibson. The officiating crew was down to three as Jerry Layne left the game in the fourth because of a foul tip off Derek Norris’s bat that injured his finger. Mike Estabrook replaced Layne behind home plate, leaving Gibson and Hunter Wendelstedt to cover the lines and bases. There were no runners on base when Lowrie was at the plate so the umpires weren’t rotated. Lowrie ended up striking out swinging to end the game. I’ll try to remember this call when a call goes against the Red Sox.

Jon Lester was frustrated with Estabrook’s strike zone and had a few comments for him when he left the game in the sixth. Lester had an uncharacteristic line over 5⅔ innings: 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 6 walks, and 5 strikeouts. Despite the baserunners Lester notched his fourth win in as many starts.

While Chris Young hit two home runs and the Red Sox none the local nine hit when it counted. When the lineup goes 6-for-13 when runners are in scoring position the runs will pile up.

The power duo of David Ortiz and Mike Napoli is starting to gel. They may not match other pairs that Ortiz has been a part of but are a respectable combination. In fact, this team is starting to grow on me. A move that boosted both baseball performance and team morale was the demotion of Alfredo Aceves. He had a disastrous outing and then made excuses about it (the weather, the hole in the mound, his teammates lack of success against Colon). The A’s can have their white shoes and Boston’s former players. This team has a soul.

Game 21: April 24, 2013
Oakland Athletics
5 L: Brett Anderson (1-4)
2B: Josh Donaldson (6), Jed Lowrie (9)
HR: Chris Young – 2 (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Jon Lester (4-0)
H: Junichi Tazawa (6), Andrew Miller (2), Koji Uehara (6)
S: Andrew Bailey (5)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (3), David Ortiz (3), Mike Napoli (10), Shane Victorino (2)
3B: Stephen Drew (1)

April 24, 2013

Soggy Slog

Despite the rain the umpires were alert. In the fourth Jerry Layne called Coco Crisp safe. Mike Napoli thought he tagged him and Layne, who was stationed at first base checked in with Hunter Wendelstedt, the home plate umpire. Wendelstedt overruled Layne and Crisp was called out. Both managers came out to argue, John Farrell to support Napoli and then Bob Melvin to dispute the overturned ruling.

Steven Wright made his major league debut. The phrase “less than ideal circumstances” comes to mind, but even that doesn’t encompass the awful conditions Wright faced. The Red Sox were already eight runs down. The temperature was cold, as were Boston’s bats. Wright had to bring out a first baseman’s mitt (the pancake glove as Jim Rice calls it) and a clubhouse attendent carried his arctic gear.

The knuckleballer’s first pitch was a ball to Brandon Moss. But Wright ended the inning by inducing a 4-6-3 double play.

Wright struck out Josh Reddick in the fifth on four pitches. Rain or shine, Major League Baseball authenticators do their duty. This one was on hand to verify Wright’s baseball with a hologram. The manager of the authentication program has a Twitter account but sadly it hasn’t been active lately.

The look on this boy’s face sums up how Red Sox fans felt about this game.

It didn’t end happily but we were happy it ended.

Game 20: April 23, 2013 ∙ 7 innings
WinOakland Athletics
13 W: Bartolo Colon (3-0)
2B: John Jaso (3), Coco Crisp (8), Josh Reddick (4)
HR: Seth Smith (2)
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Alfredo Aceves (1-1)
No extra base hits

April 23, 2013

That’s Amore

I kind of meh-ed the signing of Mike Napoli but I have warmed up to him. He gets me singing the Dean Martin classic tune “That’s Amore” in my head. The first baseman took a 90-MPH to the elbow in the fourth but stayed in the game. He had already driven in his team’s first run with a double in the second.

Napoli blasted the ball into the Monster seats in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded. The local nine’s run total doubled to eight with one swing of the bat. The power outage over the day-night doubleheader with the Royals was over and the pummeling of the Athletics pitchers commenced.

Felix Doubront enjoyed his second victory of the season and showed off his new haircut. There might be something to the makeovers of a few of the Red Sox players; Will Middlebrooks got his hair did and clouted a solo homer in the fourth. Not that Dustin Pedroia need to change his luck on the field, but some maintenance of the pelt on his cheeks is in order.

A haircut might decrease the creepiness of this Athletics fan somewhat. Send whoever clipped the Red Sox players’ locks over to Oakland’s dugout. A.J. Griffin’s stringy tresses and moustache are approaching funny uncle territory.

Steven Wright was up warming when his team’s lead was 9-3 but John Farrell let Clayton Mortensen stay on the mound for a few too many batters. This fan didn’t get to see the University of Hawai‘i graduate and knuckleballer make his major league debut.

Game 19: April 22, 2013
Oakland Athletics
6 L: A.J. Griffin (2-1)
2B: Josh Donaldson – 2 (5), Josh Reddick (3)
WinBoston Red Sox
9 W: Felix Doubront (2-0)
H: Junichi Tazawa (5)
S: Andrew Bailey (4)
2B: David Ortiz (2), Mike Napoli (8), Jacoby Ellsbury (5), Daniel Nava (2), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (4)
HR: Will Middlebrooks (5), Napoli (4)

April 22, 2013

Webster’s Pictionary

I imagine a game of guess what’s in the picture with rookie Allen Webster. The starting pitcher made his major league debut and while he didn’t win he displayed mid- to upper-90s heat and a menacing change-up.

A muppet eating a girl’s head? A cybergoth? Oh, wait! It’s Wally! A Wally hat? Yes!

Turkey Sandwich! Oh, wait, only guys on the 2011 Rangers know about that. Mike Napoli!

The guy I threw one too many fastballs to. I mean, Kottaras.

The left fielder that almost got punched by Lorenzo Cain. I mean, can you believe those two when they converged on Mike Carp’s fly ball? Do we need to get Dr. Phil in here to work on their communication skills? Then he jacked one off me. Fricking Gordon.

Should I take it as a compliment that Mayor Menino called me Alex Webber?

Game 18: April 21, 2013 ∙ 10 innings
WinKansas City Royals
5 W: Kelvin Herrera (2-2)
S: Greg Holland (5)
2B: Alex Gordon (5)
HR: George Kottaras (1), Gordon (1), Billy Butler (3)
Boston Red Sox
4 H: Junichi Tazawa (4)
BS: Koji Uehara (1)
L: Andrew Miller (0-1)
2B: Mike Carp (3), Jacoby Ellsbury (4), Mike Napoli (8)
HR: Napoli (3)

April 21, 2013

Maple Syrup, Sugar Cain

Three young fans held signs cheering on Boston and the three franchises currently in season. While they didn’t get to enjoy an on-field victory at Fenway, the Bruins beat the Florida Panthers and the games were played in a city at peace.

To match this trio of signs there was nearly a triple play, the sweetest of plays. In the ninth Alex Wilson took the mound and ceded consecutive singles to Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur. Salvador Perez grounded out to Will Middlebrooks who immediately relayed to Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia’s throw was affected by Francoeur’s slide into second. Mike Napoli had to dig out the ball and by that time Perez was just safe.

Vermont’s biggest export is maple syrup and its second seems to be team mascots. Fenway was invaded by mascots from the Green Mountain State. Skip, the derpy woodchuck, represented the Vermont Mountaineers, a collegiate summer baseball team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Rather more menacing was Rally from the University of Vermont Catamounts. He has a Twitter account (not maintained by the university) where he last tweeted, “I’m out having a great time, stopping at all the campus block parties going on. Come out and say hi!” Last but not least was Champ, the Vermont Lake Monster. Shyer than his two compatriots, Fenway fans were lucky to get a glimpse of him.

Jonny Gomes took over in left field from Daniel Nava, who played right instead of Shane Victorino. Gomes doesn’t look as sure in the outfield as Nava but he didn’t play terribly. Gomes’s bats have the names of the Boston terror attacks on them. His bat was silent in the day game, as were those of his teammates.

Only David Ortiz and Napoli tallied runs batted in. Ortiz singled in Nava and Napoli’s ground out plated Dustin Pedroia. The pair of runs wasn’t enough to get Ryan Dempster his first win in a Red Sox uniform.

Lorenzo Cain continued to be the bane of Boston pitchers’ existence. He knocked in a two-run double in the fourth and was driven in turn by Perez. If he keeps this pace he will cause more terrible puns than Matt Cain.

Game 17: April 21, 2013
WinKansas City Royals
4 W: Erwin Santana (2-1)
H: Bruce Chen (2), Aaron Crow (4)
S: Greg Holland (4)
2B: Lorenzo Cain (5)
HR: Alcides Escobar (2)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Ryan Dempster (0-2)
2B: David Ortiz (1)

This is Our Fucking City

David Ortiz returned to Boston and the Red Sox yesterday, just in time for the first game at Fenway since the Boston Marathon bombing. “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say “Red Sox,” it says “Boston.” We want to thank you Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job they did this past week,” said Papi.

After a slight pause Ortiz continued. “This is our fucking city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong. Thank you.” Even FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski didn’t have a problem with Ortiz’s words. “David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston - Julius,” he tweeted.

The Green Monster displayed the “B strong” logo proudly.

As did the home team’s jerseys. For the first time since 1911 the home jerseys had the city’s name on the front rather than the team name.

It was a tense, low-scoring game. The Royals scored first when Jeff Francoeur drove in Lorenzo Cain in the fifth. David Ortiz singled to Cain in the sixth to plate Jacoby Ellsbury to tie the game. Kansas City took the lead right back in the seventh when Cain again scored, this time tripled in by Salvador Perez.

Who else but Daniel Nava to clout a pivotal home run at Fenway? Nava had to top the drama of Neil Diamond singing “Sweet Caroline” live with the crowd in the eighth inning.

Nava’s three-run home run in the eighth gave just enough of a lead so that Cain’s solo home run in the ninth didn’t matter.

Game 16: April 20, 2013
Kansas City Royals
3 H: Aaron Crow (3), Tim Collins (2)
BS, L: Kelvin Herrera (1, 1-2)
2B: Lorenzo Cain – 2 (4), Alex Gordon (4)
3B: Salvador Perez (1)
HR: Cain (1)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Clay Buchholz (4-0)
S: Andrew Bailey (3)
2B: Jonny Gomes (2)
HR: Daniel Nava (4)

April 20, 2013


Before the game a young Cleveland fan named Dylan Fantone gave Dustin Pedroia a sign that said, “From our city to your city: Our hearts and prayers go out to you Boston. Love, Cleveland.” Brian Fantone has raised a fine young man, indeed.

Another Cleveland fan, John Adams, has his own Wikipedia page. Steadfastly he drummed away, even as Jon Lester struck out five, through Zach McAllister’s jams, and as Bryan Shaw surrendered the lead in the seventh.

Even with the tragedies in Boston on his mind Lester pitched well. He lasted seven innings, only allowed a single base on balls, four hits, and two earned runs. The southpaw seems to have rebounded from the issues that plagued him last season.

Mike Napoli supported Lester’s win with an RBI single in the seventh. His profile needs to be updated with “speed demon;” the slugger legged out a triple in the second. He was a bit winded after his jaunt around the bases, particularly in the 81 degree heat.

Alfredo Aceves was somehow not affected by the heat. He even donned a balaclava and took a few warm-up swings.

I would have written this sooner but for the astonishing events that unfolded in Cambridge and Watertown. Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were pursued, resulting in the death of the former and the capture of the latter. They say that hitting a major league pitch is the hardest thing to do in sports. I imagine the hardest thing to do as a law enforcement officer is to stay one’s own desire for vindication and take down a suspect alive. They are the real winners, the real heroes.

Game 15: April 18, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Jon Lester (3-0)
H: Koji Uehara (5)
S: Andrew Bailey (2)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (3)
3B: Mike Napoli (1)
HR: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3)
Cleveland Indians
3 L: Zach McAllister (1-2)
2B: Mark Reynolds (4), Mike Aviles (1), Carlos Santana (5)

April 18, 2013

The Shane Show

Ryan Dempster pitched to his son before the game. The placid scene brought a moment of normalcy back to what has been turbulents times in Boston. The tot is already a better hitter than his father.

While Mike Carp impressed on the offensive side Shane Victorino dazzled with his bat and glove. The Mauian went 3-for-3 with two runs. When Lonnie Chisenhall tried to stretch a single into a double in the third Victorino soundly disabused him of his extra base aspirations with an outfield assist.

Victorino also staunched an incipient rally in the fifth. With the bases loaded and two down Asdrubal Cabrera launched the ball into Victorino’s range. The right fielder snared the ball on his backhand headed towards the fences.

Game 14: April 17, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Alfredo Aceves (1-0)
H: Junichi Tazawa (3), Koji Uehara (4)
S: Andrew Bailey (1)
2B: Mike Carp – 2 (2), Mike Napoli (7)
3B: Carp (1)
Cleveland Indians
3 L: Justin Masterson (3-1)
2B: Drew Stubbs (3), Mark Reynolds (3)
HR: Nick Swisher (2), Jason Giambi (1)

April 17, 2013

Boston Strong

To support their city the Red Sox made a jersey with Boston’s area code and hung it up in the dugout. Throughout the game the Cleveland crew made the visitors feel at home, playing “Sweet Caroline” and “Dirty Water.”

The flag in center field stood at half-mast. The President decreed that flags at the White House and government buildings, military posts, and naval vessels would be half-staff until sundown this Saturday.

Will Middlebrooks etched his support on his shoe. The third baseman went 0-for-4 with a walk, but his teammates more than made up for his lack of hits. Felix Doubront had a seven-run lead to work with after the second inning was mercifully ended by Middlebrooks’s strike out.

Jerry Remy was visibly angry when he spoke about the Boston Marathon bombing in the show opener. Meryl Masterson’s cookies seemed to cheer his mood. Banter between Don Orsillo and Terry Francona also had him chuckling. “That's the only reason I want the Red Sox to hit a home run, so I can have something to go to sleep to,” quipped Francona in the pre-game press conference. Gordon Edes got in a jibe about how he would mute the sound during broadcasts. Francona thought Edes meant he turned down the sound because of Orsillo, but Edes meant ESPN games in which Francona was the color analyst.

“Well, I’m where I belong,” Francona replied after chuckling. Managing is where he belongs. But Cleveland?

Game 13: April 16, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Felix Doubront (1-0)
2B: Mike Napoli – 2 (6)
Cleveland Indians
2 L: Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2)
No extra base hits

April 15, 2013

What It Means to be a Patriot

Remember why we fought for liberty.

Fight for those who are not treated equally.

The pursuit of happiness.

My thoughts and prayers to those who were affected by the bombing in Boston today.

Game 12: April 15, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays
2 L: Joel Peralta (0-1)
HR: Evan Longoria (1)
WinBoston Red Sox
3 H: Koji Uehara (3)
BS, W: Andrew Bailey (1, 1-0)
2B: Stephen Drew (1), Mike Napoli (4)
3B: Jacoby Ellsbury (3)
HR: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2)

April 14, 2013

Almost a No-no

Clay Buchholz was close to consummating his second no-hitter but Kelly Johnson broke it up in the eighth with a liner to right. Once again after flirting with a no-no Buchholz was relegated to the friend zone. He even fixed himself up nice for it by washing his hair in the dugout before taking the mound. So fickle.

Wally knows firsthand the capriciousness of affection. Sixteen years ago he emerged from the left field wall to boos.

But now he is accepted by most fans, and even the occasionally prickly Jerry Remy has embraced him. (Get well soon, Jerry!)

Jose Molina tried to pounce on Shane Victorino’s bunted ball as it spun foul but the ball cavorted along the line and stayed fair. Jacoby Ellsbury was already at first and advanced to second.

Dustin Pedroia followed with a single to right that loaded the bases. Mike Napoli clouted the ball to the deepest part of the triangle to drive in two runs. Napoli advanced to third and Daniel Nava, who was hit by a pitch, followed him to second on Will Middlebrooks’s ground out but Pedroia was out at home. Napoli and Nava then scored on Stephen Drew’s ground out to first when Yunel Escobar uncorked a wild relay.

Middlebrooks’s profile wasn’t was funny as Ryan Dempster’s, but very few things can top “shepherd in Scotland.” It’s good that he enjoys the pressure to win as it is clear that many free agents who have come through Fenway have not.

Game 11: April 14, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays
0 L: Alex Cobb (1-1)
2B: Desmond Jennings (6)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Clay Buchholz (3-0)
2B: Mike Napoli (3), Dustin Pedroia (2)


Now that the other Drew brother plays on the Red Sox we can revive the puns. In the top of the first Desmond Jennings smoked a liner off Will Middlebrooks’s glove. Usually tipped balls make their way to the outfield but the deflection found Stephen Drew’s leather, just like they drew it up. Rimshot.

In the third Jennings exacted his revenge with a single off the wall that no infielder nor outfielder had a chance at. He thought he had a double but the ricochet went right to Daniel Nava. After Jennings Sean Rodriguez lined his shot into the left field corner where it died rather than caromed, giving him a double, an RBI, and his team the lead.

David Price didn’t rehash his second outing of this season, a five-inning affair in which he surrendered eight earned runs. Instead he regained his Cy Young form, lasting six innings with two walks and eight strikeouts. Only David Ross got to him; the catcher’s fifth-inning home run cleared the wall and tied the score 1-1.

The Rays threatened in the ninth when Joel Hanrahan allowed consecutive walks to Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist. Koji Uehara took care of the next three batters in nine pitches. The local nine threatened with two baserunners of their own in the bottom of the frame with a two-out single by Nava and a base on balls by Mike Napoli. Drew’s lineout to center to end the inning wasn’t in the playbook.

In the bonus frame Jacoby Ellsbury singled up the middle. The prospect of having the speedster on the basepaths caused Jose Lobaton to rush his throw to second on Ellsbury’s steal attempt. As the ball dribbled passed second Ellsbury made his way to third.

The laboratory of Joe Maddon’s mind devised the plan to bring Matt Joyce in as the fifth outfielder. That didn’t work with the combination of Ellsbury at third and Shane Victorino at the dish. Victorino sent a nubber to Yunel Escobar, the shortstop who was playing on the right side of the infield.

The flaw behind a fifth infielder is that if Ellsbury runs on contact you’d have to have them playing around the mound to get to the ball in time. But if such a maneuver allows Maddon to keep his appellation of “genius,” so be it. We’ll take the win.

Game 10: April 13, 2013 ∙ 10 innings
Tampa Bay Rays
1 L: Brandon Gomes (0-1)
2B: Sean Rodriguez (1), Jose Molina (2)
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Junichi Tazawa (2-0)
HR: David Ross (1)

April 13, 2013


This series win by the Baltimore Orioles allowed them to make up ground in the AL East standings, going from a losing record to a winning one. The Orioles lost to the Yankees last night and now three teams are tied with five wins (Baltimore, Boston, and New York) and the other two teams in the division have four wins.

It’s early, but the pursuit of the pennant will be hotly contested. That heat didn’t translate to the Red Sox bats. They had no extra base hits and scored a paltry two runs.

Stephen Drew led off the frame with a walk but Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Jacoby Ellsbury struck out. Shane Victorino lined a single to right and Drew advanced to third on the hit. Dustin Pedroia dipped down low to rope a single to right, plating Drew.

Mike Napoli followed with a single to left to score Victorino. Spot starter Alfredo Aceves pitched well enough to win but Clayton Mortensen, Andrew Miller, and Koji Uehara collectively allowed the Orioles’ go-ahead run to score in the seventh. Manny Machado was in the mix, a young player at the hot corner poised to join Evan Longoria and Will Middlebrooks in the pantheon of third base threats of the AL East.

Falling from the heights of glory at that position: Alex Rodriguez. Not only have his skills diminished but the treatments that he took to regain those skills are likely to be exposed soon as it came to light he attempted to purchase documents from the defunct anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. Or perhaps he is embarrassed by how much botox and collagen injections he got to maintain his good looks.

Game 9: April 11, 2013
WinBaltimore Orioles
3 W: Brian Matusz (1-0)
H: Pedro Strop (1), Darren O’Day (2)
S: Jim Johnson (4)
2B: Manny Machado (2), Adam Jones (5)
HR: Chris Davis (6)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Clayton Mortensen (0-1)
No extra base hits

April 11, 2013

A Photoessay of Futility

Ryan Dempster is hilarious. Scotland, where the men are men and the sheep are nervous.

The rain delay came at the end of the sixth, pretty much perfectly setting up the bullpen.

The ghost of Earl Weaver yelled at the Orioles, “Pitching, defense, and the three-run home run!” Jim Johnson and Manny Machado heard him. Nate McLouth, not so much.

Joel Hanrahan blew his first save opportunity at Fenway.

Fenway’s sellout streak officially ended. I could put a lot of airquotes around words in that preceding sentence.

Game 8: April 10, 2013
WinBaltimore Orioles
8 W: Darren O’Day (1-0)
S: Jim Johnson (3)
2B: J.J. Hardy (3)
HR: Nick Markakis (1), Chris Davis (5), Manny Machado (1)
Boston Red Sox
5 H: Junichi Tazawa (2), Andrew Bailey (4)
BS, L: Joel Hanrahan (1, 0-1)
2B: Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 2 (3)
3B: Jacoby Ellsbury (2)
HR: Daniel Nava (3), Saltalamacchia (1)

April 8, 2013

Satellite Nava-gation

Daniel Nava shattered the taut atmosphere of a seven-inning pitchers’ duel with his three-run homer. It cleared the left field wall and President Obama was ready to send NASA to capture it in the moon’s gravity to study it until he was advised it was just a baseball, not an asteroid. Fortunately Buzz Aldrin was on hand to help discern the orbiting object’s true nature.

Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli were on base when Nava’s baseball reached escape velocity, providing enough of a lead for Clay Buchholz, Andrew Bailey, and Joel Hanrahan. The closer surrendered a solo home run to Adam Jones in the ninth. Had it been 2012 the Orioles would have clawed back into the game on a series of bloops and bleeders. The game would have gone on for 5 more innings, depleted the bullpen, and ended in a horrific fashion. Think 16-hopper off the bat of pinch-hitting Alexi Casilla to plate Steve Pearce and Jackie Bradley, Jr. striking out with the bases loaded to end the game, destroying his confidence for the rest of the season.

But this is 2013. The team is reinvigorated, the coaching staff is energized, heck, even the statues are coming to life.

The Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox are celebrating 60 years of partnership. Players (like Jerry Remy and Lou Merloni), patients, and hospital staffers from each decade took part of the ceremonial first pitch in celebration of the game but moreover for life.

Don Orsillo spiffed himself up with a rose and pocket square. Linda Pizzuti helped him arrange the handkerchief properly. I don’t have the faintest idea of how to go about this; it seems like a combination of origami and napkin folding.

Aldrin wasn’t the only celebrity in the stands. Mike Barnacle and Mike O’Malley took in the game.

Game 7: April 8, 2013
Baltimore Orioles
1 L: Wei-Yin Chen (0-1)
2B: J.J. Hardy (3)
HR: Adam Jones (1)
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: Clay Buchholz (2-0)
H: Andrew Bailey (3)
S: Joel Hanrahan (3)
2B: Mike Napoli (2)
HR: Daniel Nava (2)

April 7, 2013

Will and Ace

R.A. Dickey and Dave Bush (insert cheap joke using their surnames) got tired of seeing baseballs becoming souvenirs today. The Red Sox hammered six home runs and Will Middlebrooks was responsible for half of them. When he homered in the first and doubled in the third I started rooting for a cycle, but instead Middlebrooks went bridge two more times. The third baseman also turned a dazzling barehanded play on Maicer Izturis’s grounder, clutching it as it flew off the artificial surface and flinging it across the diamond in time to end the fourth inning.

Dickey tallied his second loss in as many starts. The knuckleballer as struggled thus far in the junior circuit and whatever he had as a Cy Young caliber pitcher has escaped him, as his knuckleballs escaped Henry Blanco. Red Sox fans’ long love affair with Tim Wakefield makes us acutely aware that a knuckleballer can turn it around quicker than a flutter of a butterfly’s wing.

Middlebrooks summed it up in his postgame interview with the ailing Jenny Dell: “Three homers, two streakers, and seven paper airplanes.” My summary: Two series wins against AL East teams early in the season will shore up Boston’s record before the dog days of summer.

Game 6: April 7, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
13 W: Jon Lester (2-0)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (2), Mike Napoli (1), Will Middlebrooks (2), Jose Iglesias (2)
HR: Middlebrooks – 3 (4), Daniel Nava (1), Ellsbury (1), Napoli (2)
Toronto Blue Jays
0 L: R.A. Dickey (0-2)
No extra base hits

The Day I Felt Sorry for Lackey

After the sordid scrutiny of his private life by the media I may have felt a twinge of pity. When he had to have Tommy John surgery and missed the entirety of the 2012 season I resented seeing his seemingly surly face in the dugout. But by all accounts John Lackey worked hard to return to the game, saying and doing all the right things to be a standup teammate.

So when he clutched his pitching arm after uncorking a wild pitch to Jose Reyes, I felt sorry for Lackey. The Canadian fans thought that Lackey was throwing at Reyes and booed him, but even after they realized it was an injury they continued to jeer. Even if it were animus directed at John Farrell, they could have realized the nuances of pitching injuries in baseball and realized this could be Lackey’s last major league memory.

Jerry Remy seemed a bit put out that his partner Don Orsillo was two-timing him with the opposition’s color analyst Buck Martinez. Martinez and Orsillo had plans for dinner at a fancy restaurant (7:30, way too late for Remy). Orsillo claimed that he was going because Martinez would be paying, but the silver-haired broadcaster disabused that notion.

The Toronto Blue Jays don’t have a winning record but it is clear why some pundits are predicting that they will reign supreme in the AL East. I am already tired of Reyes and wouldn’t have blamed Lackey or any other pitcher for trying to knock him down. When Jose Bautista returns this lineup will be even more lethal. Winning this series (and future series) against this team could be the difference between a wild card spot and playoff futility.

Game 5: April 6, 2013
Boston Red Sox
0 L: John Lackey (0-1)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (1)
WinToronto Blue Jays
5 W: J.A. Happ (1-0)
H: Steve Delabar (1)
2B: J.P. Arencibia (3)
HR: Arencibia (3), Colby Rasmus (2)

April 6, 2013

Upbeat Uehara

Koji Uehara’s family name means above the plain; 上 is “above” and 原 is plain, field, or prarie. Kōji (it’s a long “o” sound) is broken down as 浩, meaning broadminded, magnanimous, great, and prosperous and 治 seems to mean treatment. It should mean “effusive dugout presence” because this guy doesn’t hold back when he celebrates a successful outing with his teammates. His exuberance contrasts with the low-key demeanor of fellow countryman Hideki Okajima or even US-born relievers. Maybe he's the relief pitcher version of Dustin Pedroia.

John Farrell was booed at every opportunity. At one point he had something thrown at him, a surprising incident in ever-polite Canada. And who knew Geddy Lee could throw so far?

Farrell needed a pair of these, and so does everyone who wants to stop hearing about Bobby Valentine, who just won’t stop talking about the raw deal he thought he got in Boston.

These kids below aren’t illustrating the actual size of Valentine’s ego. As far as Red Sox promotions go, the shirt on the kid on the left says it all. It definitely wasn’t a Bonifiasco.

Game 4: April 5, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
6 H: Koji Uehara (2), Andrew Bailey (2)
BS, W: Junichi Tazawa (1, 1-0)
S: Joel Hanrahan (1)
2B: Pedro Ciriaco (1), Will Middlebrooks (1), Dustin Pedroia (1)
HR: Mike Napoli (1), Middlebrooks (1)
Toronto Blue Jays
4 L: Esmil Rogers (0-1)
2B: Jose Reyes – 2 (2), Colby Rasmus (1), J.P. Arencibia (2), Rajai Davis (1)
3B: Melky Cabrera (1)
HR: Mark DeRosa (1), Reyes (1)

You Are Reckless

With runners at first and second and two down in the first Shane Victorino. There was adventure and excitement when Andy Pettitte uncorked a wild pitch to Jonny Gomes. Victorino tried to score when he noticed Pettitte didn’t cover home plate but lost to Francisco Cervelli in the race to the plate.

An early run may have put the pressure on the home team but instead the Red Sox didn’t score until the seventh inning. Jackie Bradley, Jr. notched his first extra base hit, a gapper that plated Will Middlebrooks. But Bradley also was the last out of the game, getting called out on strikes with runners at the corners and Mariano Rivera on the hill. In a face-off between a rookie and a future Hall of Famer, guess who gets the call?

Jerry Remy mentioned that Kevin Youkilis said that after losing the series no media came to his locker. Perhaps it’s because he’s not a true Yankee yet.

Game 3: April 4, 2013
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Ryan Dempster (0-1)
2B: Jackie Bradley, Jr. (1), Jonny Gomes (1)
WinNew York Yankees
4 W: Andy Pettitte (1-0)
S: Mariano Rivera (1)
2B: Eduardo Nunez (1), Kevin Youkilis (2)
HR: Brett Gardner (1), Francisco Cervelli (1)

April 4, 2013

He’s a Business, Man

Robinson Cano jumped Scott Boras’s ship (or should I say luxury cruise liner) in favor of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports venture, an agency partnered with CAA. Cano’s new agent has had more hits this season than Cano. Roc Nation also represents Shakira, so I expect to see Cano as a guest mentor on “The Voice” at some point.

Jay-Z also manages Rihanna. Could he introduce her to Cano so she can leave Chris Brown already?

Disappointingly, the Yankees have someone named after Jackie Robinson but the Red Sox do not. Jackie Bradley, Jr. is named after Jackie Wilson. Bradley had his first major league hit in the third inning, a grounder to center plating Shane Victorino.

Bradley’s family braved the cold to cheer their son on.

Like Cano, Junior has made the big time. He and Victorino went shopping in New York City and chilled with the Donald.

Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner took TARDIS back to 2005: both of them homered in this game. It wasn’t enough to defeat the visitors. Hiroki Kuroda was knocked out of the game by our favorite Mauian after just an inning and a third. The Red Sox also chased replacement pitcher Cody Eppley out of the game after just 1⅓ innings.

I can’t really say much more about this after Jerry Remy. “Somebody just thought they found your head in Boston but it was the Hatch Shell.”

Until David Ortiz comes back we’ll have to be satisfied with his big head. Dustin Pedroia’s replica is taller than he is in real life.

Game 2: April 3, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Clay Buchholz (1-0)
S: Joel Hanrahan (1)
2B: Jose Iglesias (1), Daniel Nava (1)
New York Yankees
4 L: Hiroki Kuroda (0-1)
HR: Travis Hafner (1), Vernon Wells (1)

April 1, 2013


There are some fresh faces on the roster. How better to acquaint oneself with the scrutiny of the Boston sports media than a season opener against the New York Yankees? While the Bronx’s lineup resembled the RailRiders, the Red Sox batters squared off against the formidable CC Sabathia.

Shane Victorino was born and raised on the same island I grew up on. Maui no ka ’oi! (Maui is da bes!) He went 2-for-6 and added to Jose Iglesias’s two RBIs with two of his own in the second inning. I do wonder if he will get on base consistently enough to stay in the two-hole, but he managed hits off both a lefty and a righty.

Mike Napoli had a rough go of it with an 0-for-5 line and two strikeouts. As such he is the Joey Fatone of the ensemble. Wrong “band”? Oh well, they all blend together.

Jonny Gomes notched two hits from the seven-hole. It is less than ideal to have a designated hitter so far down the lineup, but until David Ortiz mends Gomes will have to shoulder the load. I have to think Kevin Youkilis looked over at Gomes’s beard with nostalgic yearning.

Last but not least Jackie Bradley, Jr. made his major league debut. He didn’t get a hit but tallied three base on balls. He impressively worked a walk off Sabathia in the second inning after falling behind 0-2. On the field he put away Lyle Overbay’s soaring fly ball, battling wind, sun, and Yankee fans’ taunts.

They’re back. Jon Lester’s back. I’m back.

Game 1: April 1, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Jon Lester (1-0)
H: Koji Uehara (1), Andrew Miller (1), Andrew Bailey (1), Junichi Tazawa (1)
2B: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1)
3B: Jacoby Ellsbury (1)
New York Yankees
L: CC Sabathia (0-1)
2B: Kevin Youkilis (1)


I had this game open on a tab in browser since last October. MLB’s annoying autoplay feature made it so whenever the page loaded I would hear Michael Kay throwing it to Meredith Marakovits for the Yankees’ celebration.

Even that wasn’t enough to make me put fingers to keyboard to attempt to summarize this game, a microcosm of the disappointment of this season. Thankfully the Yankees were ineffective in the postseason, outlasting the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 in the ALDS before getting swept by the Tigers in the ALCS.

This was Bobby Valentine’s last game as Red Sox skipper.

At one point I thought that Valentine’s experience in Japan and ability to speak the language would help Daisuke Matsuzaka attain his former levels of success. Now neither have jobs in the majors, although Matsuzaka may find his way to the big leagues and be reunited with his former manager, Terry Francona.

The Indians, along with the rest of the world, made a “Harlem Shake” video. This offseason the Red Sox did their best to shake off 2012’s woes with extensive shifts off and on the field. It will take more than a meme to bring meaning back to this team.

Game 162: October 3, 2012
Boston Red Sox
L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-7)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (39), Pedro Ciriaco (15), Daniel Nava (21)
WinNew York Yankees
W: Hiroki Kuroda (16-11)
2B: Russell Martin (18), Alex Rodriguez (17), Ichiro Suzuki (28)
HR: Curtis Granderson – 2 (43), Robinson Cano – 2 (33)

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