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Home » Monthly Archive » June 2013

June 29, 2013

Wagnerian Opera

Dustin Pedroia’s laser show was only in partial effect early in the game. Rajai Davis pursued a liner off the second baseman’s bat in the third and was able to glove it even while crashing against the scoreboard.

Having had time to calibrate his optical resonator with a pair of singles in the fifth and seventh Pedroia was powered up to deliver his spectacle of light. In the eighth Pedroia sent the ball to center. Colby Rasmus, who was having difficulty in Fenway’s oddly proportioned outfield, failed to snare Pedroia’s fly ball. This resulted in Pedroia’s first triple of the season and the 12th of his career.

Since Koji Uehara took over the closer’s role he has pitched perfectly. Each of his three saves as closer have been 1-2-3 with two strikeouts. The only drawback to this change is that Uehara’s on-field celebration for saves is much more sedate than his revelry for holds and clean innings.

Uehara did the job that Neil Wagner failed to do for the Blue Jays. Wagner survived the bottom of the sixth well enough by only allowing a single to Jose Iglesias. In the seventh Wagner allowed leadoff singles to Shane Victorino and Pedroia, both of whom scored. Although the pair reached home by way of Brett Cecil and Darren Oliver, Wagner laid the groundwork for his team’s collapse.

Game 82: June 28, 2013
Toronto Blue Jays
5 L: Neil Wagner (1-2)
HR: Edwin Encarnacion (23)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 BS: Andrew Bailey (5)
W: Andrew Miller (1-2)
S: Koji Uehara (4)
2B: Stephen Drew (14)
3B: Drew (6), Dustin Pedroia (1)

June 28, 2013

Second Wind

The Red Sox chased Chien-Ming Wang from the game when he had just five outs to his name. He walked David Ortiz and Mike Carp to start the second inning and then surrendered run-scoring singles to Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Jose Bautista made a mess of Stephen Drew’s fly ball and another run scored. Another pair of singles by Jose Iglesias and Jacoby Ellsbury brought the score to 5-0. Wang was fortunate that Shane Victorino grounded into a double play but the respite was brief.

Dustin Pedroia went la luna with Iglesias on base and Red Sox scored all the runs they needed for the win. The only concern was that Jon Lester left the game in the eighth with a limp, but it doesn’t seem like his jammed hip should be a lingering issue.

Game 81: June 27, 2013
Toronto Blue Jays
4 L: Chien-Ming Wang (1-1)
2B: Maicer Izturis (10)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: John Lackey (8-4)
S: Koji Uehara (3)
2B: Stephen Drew (13), Shane Victorino (9), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (19)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (5)

June 26, 2013

Kitanai Mizu

Koji Uehara earned his second save of the season, his first as the official closer for his team. The title of this post is the romanization of the Japanese phrase 汚い水, which in English parlance is “dirty water.”

Fans missed Jerry Remy and Jerry missed sending folks hot dogs. This girl was celebrating her 13th birthday. Her sister didn’t look too thrilled; perhaps she was reacting to Wilin Rosario’s second-inning solo shot, which gave his team the early lead.

Thanks, Mr. Remy!

The Red Sox responded quickly to Rosario’s homer; not 17 seconds quickly, but fast enough. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double that deflected off Carlos Gonzalez and ended up being fielded by Tyler Colvin. Shane Victorino plated Ellsbury with a liner to right and was in turn driven in by David Ortiz’s double off the wall.

John Lackey had an outstanding performance: 7 innings, 8 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, and 12 strikeouts. I like him better than Aaron Hernandez now.

Speaking of Hernandez, there may have been some people in the stands that would have shown him pity.

Game 80: June 26, 2013
Colorado Rockies
3 L: Roy Oswalt (0-2)
2B: Todd Helton (5), Wilin Rosario (10)
HR: Michael Cuddyer – 2 (13)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: John Lackey (5-5)
H: Junichi Tazawa (14)
S: Koji Uehara (2)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (19), David Ortiz (17), Shane Victorino (8)
3B: Stephen Drew (5)

The Return of Remy

More important than sports fans’ recovery from the gut-punch loss by the Bruins was Jerry Remy’s recovery from pneumonia. Me alegra verte de nuevo! We missed his buenos noches and tardes.

Remy wasn’t back one day and fans were already asking for hot dogs.

If it’s hot-dogging he’s looking for, look no further than Jose Iglesias. The infielder went 3-for-5 in the nine-hole and currently sports a line of .434/.484/.575. Iglesias is such a hot hitter that Will Middlebrooks was sent to Pawtucket.

Ryan Dempster is thankful for run support. He trails all Red Sox starters except John Lackey in average runs per start.

Game 79: June 25, 2013
Colorado Rockies
4 L: Juan Nicasio (4-4)
2B: Nolan Arenado (14), Corey Dickerson (3)
HR: Wilin Rosario (12)
WinBoston Red Sox
11 W: Ryan Dempster (5-8)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (18), Shane Victorino (7), Dustin Pedroia (21), David Ortiz (16), Jose Iglesias (9)
3B: Stephen Drew (4)

June 24, 2013

The Umpire Strikes Back

The Red Sox lost but not in the way you would have expected. Cy Young winner and MVP Justin Verlander didn’t baffle the Boston batters; he had a pedestrian line: 5 innings pitched, 7 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. Nothing worthy of a life-size bobblehead.

Second base umpire Mike DiMuro made a controversial call in the bottom of the eighth. Avisail Garcia flied out to Daniel Nava, who seemingly made the catch but dropped it on the transfer from his glove hand. John Farrell contended that first base umpire Scott Barry had a better view of the play should have made the call and was ejected for sharing his thoughts.

Instead of representing the first out Garcia stood at second as a result of Nava’s “error.” Bryan Holaday knocked a sac bunt to Andrew Miller but the reliever threw high to Dustin Pedroia at first. Miller walked Austin Jackson to load the bases with none out.

Torii Hunter flied out to center to tie the game and Prince Fielder knocked a single up the middle to effectively put the game out of reach. The Red Sox rallied for a run in the bottom of the ninth on Jonny Gomes’s double but Hunter made a tumbling catch of Stephen Drew’s line drive to end the game and the series.

Game 78: June 23, 2013
Boston Red Sox
5 H: Junichi Tazawa (13), Andrew Bailey (5)
BS, L: Andrew Miller (1, 0-2)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (17), Jonny Gomes (7)
WinDetroit Tigers
7 W: Joaquin Benoit (2-0)
2B: Miguel Cabrera (18), Austin Jackson (8)

June 23, 2013

Bummers for Boston

Chances of a Boston sports fan enjoying last night’s Red Sox or Bruins games were… remote.

I clicked back and forth between Fox and NBC searching for some flashes of success. David Ortiz clouted his 16th home run in the first inning and Tom Verducci noted that this made Ortiz the visiting player with the most home runs in Comerica Park.

Zdeno Chara scored the Bruins’ only goal, a slap shot in the second period that was assisted by David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

Both teams not only lost but were hampered by injuries. Patrice Bergeron was sent to the hospital with an undisclosed injury but was cleared to return home with the rest of the team this morning. If the Bruins have to proceed without the center it will be hard to keep calm and Bergeron to the Stanley Cup.

Franklin Morales threw for 2⅓ innings but departed with discomfort in his left pectoral muscle and shoulder. Viable arms in the Red Sox bullpen dwindle as do the hours of sunlight after the summer solstice.

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” How will these teams recover?

Game 77: June 22, 2013
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Allen Webster (0-2)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (16)
HR: David Ortiz (16)
WinDetroit Tigers
10 W: Max Scherzer (11-0)
2B: Victor Martinez (12)
HR: Martinez (6), Omar Infante (5)

In-Shane in the Membrane

Our favorite Maui boy Shane Victorino went 4-for-5 with five runs batted in. He got the team off to a lead with his first-inning solo shot. Victorino’s personal success (he tied his personal record of RBIs in a game) led to the team’s triumph (he accounted for half of the offensive production in the club’s 10-6 win).

To mix things up Victorino tried to throw out Miguel Cabrera on the slugger’s seventh-inning single. You do what you can to get the former MVP out somehow.

Victorino’s performance somewhat masked Jon Lester’s continuing struggles. The southpaw’s line (5⅔ innings, 9 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts) shows that Lester has yet to return to his early-season dominance. Then again, it is difficult for any pitcher to do well against the Tigers’ potent lineup. Cabrera’s three-run homer in the fifth was as surprising as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

Paws, the Tigers mascot, visited the stands. I could have sworn Brandon Inge was at the game, but he’s with the Pirates.

Jenny Dell pitched Red Sox wines produced by a company called Wine by Design. Perhaps it would be more appropriate if it were spelled “whine.”

Game 76: June 21, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
10 W: Jon Lester (7-4)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (15), Stephen Drew (12)
3B: Jose Iglesias (2)
HR: Shane Victorino (3)
Detroit Tigers
6 L: Doug Fister (6-5)
2B: Torii Hunter (19)
HR: Andy Dirks (6), Miguel Cabrera (20)

June 21, 2013

Not My Bailey-wick

After blowing the save last night Andrew Bailey is out as closer. Koji Uehara will replace him for tonight’s game; John Farrell made it a point that this may not be a permanent situation. Uehara gets excited enough for holds, imagine when he saves a game. David Ortiz had better be on the lookout.

Third base umpire Alfonso Marquez had occasion to flash his fashionable socks as Phil Coke made his habitual sprint to the mound. The reliever probably expended more energy on the run than he did on the three strikes he threw to Jacoby Ellsbury to end the top half of the seventh inning.

Game 75: June 20, 2013
Boston Red Sox
3 H: Koji Uehara (13)
BS, L: Andrew Bailey (4, 3-1)
2B: Ryan Lavarnway (2), Shane Victorino (6)
3B: Jose Iglesias (1)
HR: David Ortiz (15)
WinDetroit Tigers
4 W: Drew Smyly (3-0)
2B: Omar Infante (12), Miguel Cabrera (17)
HR: Jhonny Peralta (7)

June 20, 2013

Pair of Losses

No, not these guys.

Both the Bruins and the Red Sox lost last night. Neither of the Hub clubs held the lead in their respective games. The Red Sox tied the game 2-2 in the fourth on Jonny Gomes’s single that Evan Longoria couldn’t unglove (deglove?) in time but didn’t score again.

In contrast the Bruins tied the Blackhawks three times before finally succumbing in overtime. My company sponsored health screenings but actually all I need is to be able to survive the Stanley Cup finals to know if my heart can take the strain.

Ryan Dempster (6 innings pitched, 8 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts) turned in his eighth loss. As a long-time Cubs pitcher and hockey fan Dempster became a fan of the Blackhawks, but now that he pitches for the Red Sox he claims neutrality.

Sad about the losses? Here’s a balloon hat to cheer you up.

Game 74: June 19, 2013
WinTampa Bay Rays
6 W: Jeremy Hellickson (5-3)
2B: James Loney (17), Wil Myers (1)
HR: Desmond Jennings (9)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Ryan Dempster (4-8)
2B: David Ortiz (15), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (18)

June 19, 2013

Baileyed Out

Felix Doubront had a dazzling eight innings of three-hit baseball with no walks and six strikeouts. He passed the baton to Andrew Bailey, who promptly surrendered a solo shot to Kelly Johnson to tie the game 1-1. As Jeor Mormont said to Samwell Tarly, “That was your job. Your only job.”

Bailey definitely owes Doubront a clean save so he can get the W and Red Sox fans a scoreless save conversion. There’s just too much stress in the Boston sports scene with the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals and Aaron Hernandez under scrutiny in a homicide investigation.

Fortunately for the Red Sox and Bailey Jonny Gomes entered the batter’s box with vengeance in his eyes and lightning in his bat. He came up with the team that was then known as the Devil Rays. The only time his home field had crowds of any note were when the Red Sox or Yankees were in town.

How sweet it must have been for him to power the two-run homer over the Monster to win the game against his former team. With pure exuberance Gomes rounded third and punted his helmet.

The couple from Kentucky who were the fans of the game witnessed a truly magical moment. The gentleman was a Red Sox fan because the team used to have their Double-A and Triple-A teams in Louisville. He saw players like Carlton Fisk, Jim Lonborg, and Dwight Evans as minor leaguers and followed them into their major league careers. Even though the Red Sox haven’t had a minor league presence in Kentucky since the 70s he has remained a fan.

Game 73: June 18, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays
1 L: Joel Peralta (1-3)
HR: Kelly Johnson (11)
WinBoston Red Sox
3 BS, W: Andrew Bailey (3, 3-0)
2B: Stephen Drew (11), David Ortiz (14)
HR: Daniel Nava (10), Jonny Gomes (5)

Rain Delay, Go Away

Come again when there’s not two games to play.

Alfredo Aceves arrived late to Fenway but arrived in time to make the start. It was close enough that Franklin Morales was sent to the bullpen to get warmed up to replace Aceves if need be. It wasn’t an attitude issue with Aceves but rather Boston traffic. Aceves ended up securing the first game of the doubleheader with a respectable line: 5 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks, and 2 strikeouts.

The Long Brothers were early enough for the ceremonial first pitch. These Tennessee siblings participated in a triathlon together because Conner wanted to connect with his younger brother Cayden. Cayden has spastic cerebral palsy and can neither talk nor walk.

The rain delay was so long this kid went through puberty.

Koji Uehara’s glove is embossed with his silhouette. Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango? Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright’ning me!

Game 72: June 18, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays
1 L: Chris Archer (1-3)
2B: Luke Scott (5), Ben Zobrist (18), Matt Joyce (12)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Alfredo Aceves (4-1)
H: Junichi Tazawa
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (14)
3B: Ellsbury (7), Shane Victorino (1)

June 16, 2013

Troubled Double

Even though Manny Machado didn’t need help with adding to his league-leading doubles total Jeff Nelson gave him an assist in the first inning. Machado’s liner didn’t cross over third base and it landed a few inches foul.

Nelson was the home plate umpire in Saturday’s game, in which he ruled that Dustin Pedroia foul tipped a ball when the bat and ball didn’t actually make contact. This miscall didn’t result in runs on the board.

Shane Victorino’s glove was specially embroidered to celebrate Father’s Day. He spent part of the day watching Chris Davis’s third-inning home run sail over him and wondering if it was ever going to land.

This father and son duo boasted matching moss. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

Game 71: June 15, 2013
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Jon Lester (6-5)
2B: Mike Carp (10)
HR: Will Middlebrooks (9)
WinBaltimore Orioles
6 W: Miguel Gonzalez (5-2)
H: Brian Matusz (10), Tommy Hunter (8)
S: Jim Johnson (25)
2B: Manny Machado (32), Adam Jones – 2 (21), Nick Markakis – 2 (15), Chris Davis (22)
HR: Davis (23)

Ill-Gotten Gains

Is there anything as riveting as a David Ortiz triple? It is equal parts terror, amusement, and amazement. Fear clenches the heart for he might injure himself rounding the bases. Mirth plays at the corners of the mouth at the sight of a large man barreling on the basepaths. And lastly wonderment at Papi’s arrival at the hot corner.

Dustin Pedroia led off the fourth inning with a single that shouldn’t have been. The second baseman admitted that he whiffed on Freddy Garcia’s 2-2 curveball but convinced home plate umpire Jeff Nelson that he tipped the ball. Pedroia sent the next pitch into centerfield. Mike Carp later homered to tie the game 2-2.

Jonny Gomes singled after Carp’s homer. Stephen Drew lined to ball to right, testing Nick Markakis’s arm. Gomes beat the throw home to score the go-ahead run. In the sixth Gomes would add an insurance run with a solo shot to dead center.

Gomes’s homer and Pedroia’s RBI in the fifth proved crucial to the Red Sox’s victory. Andrew Bailey toed the rubber for the save but not without surrendering a two-run homer to Matt Wieters. J.J. Hardy followed with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Alexi Casilla.

On Ryan Flaherty’s fly ball to right Casilla continued to run. Shane Victorino gloved the can of corn easily, but Casilla claimed that he thought the ball touched turf for a hit. His mistake resulted in a game-ending double play.

Game 70: June 15, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: John Lackey (4-5)
H: Koji Uehara (12)
S: Andrew Bailey (8)
2B: Stephen Drew (10)
3B: David Ortiz (2)
HR: Mike Carp (8), Jonny Gomes (4)
Baltimore Orioles
4 L: Freddy Garcia (3-4)
2B: Manny Machado (31)
HR: Matt Wieters (9)

June 15, 2013

Cheese Masters

Daniel Nava didn’t have a great game at the plate, but the same could be said for the entire lineup save Jose Iglesias. The Red Sox only managed three hits in the game; two were Iglesias’s and Shane Victorino knocked in a single.

Nava made a spectacular sliding catch of Nate McLouth’s slicing liner in the seventh to end the inning. Don’t forget to vote for Nava for the All-Star game.

Dennis Eckersley talked about how the change from Chris Tillman to Darren O’Day must have impacted the hitters. “It’s making that gas look like it has hair on it.” Somehow the Orioles pitchers, who currently have the highest ERA in the American League, transformed themselves into cheese masters.

Game 69: June 14, 2013
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Ryan Dempster (4-7)
2B: Jose Iglesias (8)
WinBaltimore Orioles
2 W: Chris Tillman (7-2)
H: Darren O’Day (11), Tommy Hunter (7)
S: Jim Johnson (24)
2B: Manny Machado – 2 (30)
HR: Chris Davis (22)

June 14, 2013

Donuts to Dollars

When he was first called up Kevin Gausman was greeted with a locker full of powdered donuts. At Louisiana State University Gausman was known for eating donuts between innings. Gausman will have to lug his treats to Norfolk as he was optioned after this 13-inning affair.

The Red Sox played well enough in all aspects of the game to win. Dustin Pedroia perhaps somewhat overstepped his defensive responsibilities by chasing down Matt Wieters’s pop-up in foul territory.

But that is better than letting the ball drop for a double by assuming it’s foul. Will Middlebrooks notched a nifty double due to the Orioles’ defensive indecisiveness.

Jacoby Ellsbury benefitted from catcher’s interference in the tenth. With Wieters’s 6'5" frame it isn’t surprising that his arms find their way into the path of the batter’s swing.

Frustratingly the Red Sox dropped the opening game against a divisional opponent in extra innings. Like the Bruins-Blackhawks, the Boston-Baltimore baseball teams echoes each other’s strengths and spirit. Extra innings and overtime periods for everyone!

Game 68: June 13, 2013 ∙ 13 innings
Boston Red Sox
4 L: Alex Wilson (1-1)
2B: Mike Napoli (21), Will Middlebrooks (13)
HR: David Ortiz (14), Mike Carp (7)
WinBaltimore Orioles
5 W: T.J. McFarland (1-0)
2B: Ryan Flaherty (6), Danny Valencia (5), Chris Dickerson (4)
HR: Valencia (4)

June 13, 2013

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Joe Maddon wanted to Meat Loaf the Red Sox but Alfredo Aceves along with Boston’s formidable bullpen foiled the skipper’s plans. Only Evan Longoria’s sixth-inning four-bagger marred the row of zeroes tallied by the Red Sox twirlers. Aceves could hunker down in his towels and enjoy the opening game of the Stanley Cup finals.

Dustin Pedroia’s facial hair has outdone many a Bruins’ beards. In addition to the fun “facts” below (5'9"… sure), he doesn’t like flying. His favorite road city is Seattle. He loves Boston’s atmosphere but dislikes its narrow streets. His favorite food is Mexican and he’s allergic to strawberries. If it weren’t for baseball he’d be an NBA official, as noted below, but he also said president. Just picture 5'9" Pedroia jawing with LeBron James, delivering the State of the Union Address, or, even better, taking part in the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Everything would need a 30-second delay.

The Bruins lost in the third overtime in what turned out to be the fifth-longest match in Stanley Cup final history. If my reaction was taped I’d need a delay myself.

Vote Daniel Nava for the All-Star team! You’ll have to write him in, but he’s earned it.

Game 67: June 12, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Alfredo Aceves (3-1)
H: Junichi Tazawa (10), Craig Breslow (3), Koji Uehara (11)
S: Andrew Bailey (7)
HR: Daniel Nava (9)
Tampa Bay Rays
1 L: Chris Archer (1-2)
2B: Matt Joyce (10), Kelly Johnson (7)
HR: Evan Longoria (13)

June 12, 2013

The Gong Show

Jon Lester deserved the gong: 4⅔ innings pitched, 8 hits, 7 earned runs, 7 walks, 3 strikeouts. Lester was unhappy with Chris Guccione’s strike zone but Brooks Baseball shows that there wasn’t anything outrageously off with the umpire’s judgment.

Desmond Jennings’s two home runs were ample evidence of why the Rays let Carl Crawford walk. Evan Longoria had a circuit clout of his own in the fourth with two out and none on. Matt Joyce went bridge in the fifth with nary a retaliatory pitch by any Boston hurler, even though Dustin Pedroia got hit by Roberto Hernandez (formerly known as Fausto Carmona) to begin the eighth inning. There are many more games between these two teams, however, and revenge is a dish best served cold.

One bright spot was Jose Iglesias, who is batting .449/.494/.577 and turned in a 2-for-4 showing with a run scored. What a luxury to have someone hitting that well being slotted ninth. Another bonus is that his defensive prowess up the middle translates to the hot corner. In the bottom of the seventh he pounced on Ryan Roberts’s stinger, gathered it up quickly, and fired it across the diamond for the first out of the frame.

Game 66: June 11, 2013
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Jon Lester (6-3)
No extra base hits
WinTampa Bay Rays
8 W: Roberto Hernandez (4-6)
HR: Desmond Jennings – 2 (8), Evan Longoria (12), Matt Joyce (12)

June 11, 2013


Donnybrook, ruckus, fracas — call it what it will, but it’s not actual fighting. One can’t call a brawl in baseball a fight, particularly when the hockey playoffs are happening. This hubbub happened in the sixth when John Lackey plunked Matt Joyce with two out and nobody on with the Red Sox leading 6-4. Joyce had hit a home run to leadoff the home half of the first.

Joyce didn’t take his base but mouthed off instead. Jarrod Saltalamacchia protected his pitcher and the mutual shoving cleared the benches. I agree with Joe Maddon that Joyce was hit on purpose but I don’t agree that it was bush league. It’s baseball.

What does Raymond think of frays and fourteen-inning forays?

The Red Sox pulled out a victory despite blown saves by Junichi Tazawa and Andrew Bailey. Pivotal to the win was Saltalamacchia’s play on both sides of the plate. He turned a key 5-2-3 double play in the tenth to hold the score at 8-8. The backstop also drove in an insurance run in the 14th.

This is exactly the type of game the Red Sox from 2012 would have lost. The 2013 edition Red Sox prevailed despite running on fumes. Maddon’s vitriol will only add fuel to Boston’s fire.

Game 65: June 10, 2013 ∙ 14 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
10 H: Craig Breslow (2), Andrew Miller (5)
BS: Junichi Tazawa (3), Andrew Bailey (2)
W: Franklin Morales (2-0)
2B: Shane Victorino (5), Daniel Nava (11), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (17)
Tampa Bay Rays
5 L: Cesar Ramos (1-2)
2B: Ben Zobrist – 2 (16), Yunel Escobar (11)
HR: Matt Joyce (11), Evan Longoria (11), James Loney (8), Jose Lobaton (3)

June 10, 2013

Get a Whiff of This

Alberto Callaspo represented Ryan Dempster’s 2,000th career strikeout. Callaspo whiffed on a 1-2 splitter to lead off the sixth. Although Dempster notched just his fourth win of the season his transition to the American League has been more successful than the opposing pitcher, Joe Blanton. Blanton started in the AL, but in the notoriously pitcher-friendly “Technology Company du Jour” Coliseum.

Congratulations, Ryan, even though you are Canadian and, even worse, a Chicago Blackhawks fan.

What is a blackhawk, anyway? I don’t like made-up animals as mascots. I’m looking at you, Batavia Muckdogs, Mobile BayBears, and New Britain Rock Cats.

The name “blackhawk” doesn’t refer to an animal but to the military division the original owner, Frederic McLaughlin, served. The division was in turn named after a Sauk chief. While not as offensive as similarly named teams in Cleveland, Atlanta, and Washington D.C., it wouldn’t hurt to change the team name or logo of Chicago’s hockey team. Why not honor the actual man? Probably because he sided with the British in the War of 1812.

Game 64: June 9, 2013
Los Angeles Angels
5 L: Joe Blanton (1-10)
2B: J.B. Shuck (7), Mike Trout – 2 (20)
HR: Albert Pujols (10), Alberto Callaspo (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
10 W: Ryan Dempster (4-6)
2B: Jose Iglesias (7)
3B: Jacoby Ellsbury (6)
HR: David Ortiz (13), Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 2 (8), Mike Carp (6)

June 9, 2013

Say Hey Shane

Shane Victorino returned to the lineup and made an immediate impact. He took C.J. Wilson’s second offering into left field. Jonny Gomes followed with a double off the wall that had Victorino sprinting home. Victorino got up limping after his dash around the bases. It wasn’t quite on par with Gregory Campbell playing with a broken leg, but Victorino stayed in the game.

Fortunately the center fielder remained to prowl the outfield. Howie Kendrick’s fly ball in the fourth inning seemed destined to kick around the triangle but Victorino chased it down and made an outstanding over-the-shoulder snare for the first out of the frame.

Another recently ailing player, Clay Buchholz, made a triumphant return. The ace went 6⅔ innings with 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts and improved his record to 9-0. He leads the American League in wins and earned run average but is 14th in strikeouts, so a pitching Triple Crown (like so many of these crowns) is unlikely this season.

In the fourth Buchholz found himself tumbling after Alberto Callaspo’s chopper. He missed the ball with his glove but his somersault brought him towards first base where he reached up just in time to tag Callaspo’s knee. The incident caused his neck to tighten up but he gutted out the discomfort until the seventh stanza.

David Ortiz clobbered Jerome Williams’s 0-1 cutter in the sixth. This home run didn’t sneak around Pesky’s Pole or just clear the left field wall but rather landed 15 or 20 rows up.

Game 63: June 8, 2013
Los Angeles Angels
2 L: C.J. Wilson (4-5)
2B: Hank Conger (4), Josh Hamilton (10)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Clay Buchholz (9-0)
2B: Jonny Gomes (6), Dustin Pedroia (20), David Ortiz (13)
HR: Ortiz (12)

Nicks of Time

There were two Nicks of note taking part of this game. Nicholas Kimmel, a man who forewent a baseball scholarship to enlist in the Marines, threw out the first pitch. Kimmel lost both legs and his left arm in an explosion in his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The other Nick was Cafardo, who replaced Jerry Remy in the booth. For a color analyst Cafardo is a great sports columnist.

This game was tedious for the most part, but Boston rallied in the ninth. The three-run flurry prompted Mike Scioscia to bring in his closer, rendering Ernesto Frieri unavailable for the night game.

Game 62: June 8, 2013
WinLos Angeles Angels
9 W: Tommy Hanson (3-2)
H: Michael Kohn (3)
S: Ernesto Frieri (14)
2B: Josh Hamilton (10), Mike Trout – 2 (18), Alberto Callaspo (9), Mark Trumbo (16)
HR: Jeff Baker (7), Adrian Beltre (13)
Boston Red Sox
5 L: Felix Doubront (4-3)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (19), Stephen Drew (9)
HR: Mike Carp (5)

June 8, 2013

Walk It Off

I was so apathetic about this season. Updates about Red Sox firings, hirings, and signings would materialize on my Twitter feed that I shrugged off. (Except for my fellow Maui islander Shane Victorino.) I told more than one person that I was more looking forward to Season 3 of “Game of Thrones” than the 2013 edition of the Red Sox.

But then Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz returned to their former selves. The lineup consistently produced. The bullpen had some setbacks but regrouped. They won. And they won our hearts back.

Jonny Gomes was one of those acquisitions I glanced over without a second thought. I recall him from his former teams as being a bat that you had to put in the lineup but a glove you had to hide on the field. He’ll take odd routes, as he did in the fourth on Jurickson Profar’s fly to left in the fourth inning, but by brute determination get his glove to converge with the ball before it intersects with the wall or turf. He might even be getting a feel for the wall, judging how he played Lance Berkman’s hit off the Monster that he fired to Dustin Pedroia for an assist in the third.

Gomes led off the ninth with a double to the corner between left and center field walls. If he were a bit more Boston strong he would have represented the winning run.

But for some reason Ron Washington decided to intentionally walk Pedroia to get David Ortiz. Mr. Washington, David Ortiz. Mr. Ortiz, you may already know your bat. Mr. Ortiz’s bat, meet the baseball pitched by Michael Kirkman. Mr. Baseball, meet the visitors’ bullpen. Oh, you’ve met the bullpen before? Ortiz’s bat introduced you already?

Whenever these guys get together, it’s a party.

Perhaps someone should acquaint Washington with Ortiz. After all, he is “famous as f**k.”

Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley hilariously dressed in nearly identical suits. Eck delivered financial advice to the audience: “Iron overall is money. Beans is sort of making fun of it, that you have so much money it’s like beans.”

Game 61: June 6, 2013
Texas Rangers
3 H: Robbie Ross (9)
BS: Jason Frasor (1)
L: Michael Kirkman (0-2)
2B: A.J. Pierzynski – 2 (6), David Murphy (9)
HR: Jeff Baker (7), Adrian Beltre (13)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Andrew Bailey (2-0)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (18), Jacoby Ellsbury – 2 (13), Jonny Gomes (5)
HR: David Ortiz (11)

June 6, 2013

Grin and Bear It

This time around the Red Sox and Bruins didn’t synchronize wins. The Bruins battled through two overtimes until Patrice Bergeron tipped the puck in at the 15:19 mark. Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand were credited with assists on the game-winner.

Second base umpire Sam Holbrook called Stephen Drew out when he should have been safe in the first play of the third inning. After that missed call Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley Jr. made outs, but perhaps they would have changed their approach if Drew were on second and he would have scored.

Dustin Pedroia tied the game 1-1 in the sixth. The circuit clout caromed off the bottom of the light stanchion. Don Orsillo hadn’t been able to use “la luna” because of the dubious nature of Pedroia’s most recent home run, which ricocheted off Josh Willingham’s glove. But this one was a no-doubter.

Eckism of the the evening: “boiling,” meaning fat. Eck said this bird was boiling because of the sunflower seeds.

Game 60: June 5, 2013
WinTexas Rangers
3 W: Neal Cotts (1-0)
H: Robbie Ross (8), Tanner Scheppers (10)
S: Joe Nathan (18)
2B: Mitch Moreland – 2 (16), Nelson Cruz (9), Elvis Andrus (7)
HR: Adrian Beltre (12)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Craig Breslow (2-1)
2B: Mike Carp (9), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (16)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (4)

June 5, 2013

Grimm’s Scary Tale

Once upon a time there was a blowout in Boston.

It was a very special blowout peppered with Dennis Eckersley’s color vernacular. He calls big tires “meats” and rims “Ansens.” Turns out “Ansens” were not just rims but wheels developed by Louis Senter, a hot rodder.

The Red Sox scored in every single inning except the one that David Murphy pitched. Murphy, who was the first round draft pick for the Red Sox in 2003, was forced to take the mound because of the horrific pitching by Justin Grimm, Michael Kirkman, Joseph Ortiz, and Ross Wolf. Jason Frasor was the only other Ranger who toed the rubber to be somewhat successful: Mike Carp lofted a sacrifice fly off of him for a run but he struck out Dustin Pedroia.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first major league homer in the second inning. The no-doubter cleared the visitors’ bullpen, landing in the aisle between the fence and the center field bleachers. May it be the first of many.

Nelson Cruz gave up his body in the fifth on Carp’s blast into home team’s pen. The score was already 10-2 but the right fielder made a tremendous effort to avoid the additional score.

Murphy couldn’t help but grin when he struck out Carp in the eighth. He and Grimm had the same number of whiffs.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Game 59: June 4, 2013
Texas Rangers
5 L: Justin Grimm (5-4)
2B: A.J. Pierzynski (4)
HR: Jeff Baker (6), Nelson Cruz (14), Mitch Moreland (12)
WinBoston Red Sox
17 W: Ryan Dempster (3-6)
2B: David Ortiz (12), Jose Iglesias (6), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (15), Stephen Drew – 2 (8), Daniel Nava – 2 (10), Dustin Pedroia (17)
3B: Ortiz (1)
HR: Jackie Bradley Jr. (1), Drew (5), Mike Carp (4), Saltalamacchia (6)

June 3, 2013

The Rains of Bronx-amere

And who are you, the proud Yank said,
that I must swing so low?
Only a bat of a different stroke,
that’s all the truth I know.
With a stroke of gold or a stroke of lead,
Big Papi still has pop,
And his eyes are keen and sharp, my lord,
as keen and sharp as yours.
And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
that lord of Bronx-amere,
But now the rains weep o’er his Stade,
with no one there to hear.
Yes now the rains weep o’er his Stade,
and not a soul to hear.

One more episode and a year to recover, my sweet summer children. Perhaps the Red Sox will help with the healing this season rather than harm, as they did in 2011 and 2012.

Game 58: June 2, 2013 ∙ 6 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: Clay Buchholz (8-0)
HR: Jose Iglesias (1), David Ortiz (10)
New York Yankees
0 L: Hiroki Kuroda (6-4)
No extra base hits

June 2, 2013


Bernardo LaPallo is 111 years old. In his living memory are visits to Hilltop Park where he cheered for the New York Highlanders. He remembers when Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees and the house that he built. LaPallo recalled, “I shook his hand and he said, ‘My greatest admirer, my youngest admirer.’”

Sadly for LaPallo his age mirrored the final score, 11-1. Mike Napoli was responsible for four of the runs with his third-inning grand slam. Daniel Nava also drove in four runs. He clouted a three-run four-bagger in the eighth to put his team up 8-1, a hit that will likely get him a ball in the ribs tonight. His RBI ground out in the ninth probably won’t help his case, even though it was up to the Yankees to stop letting their opponents get on base.

Felix Doubront and Phil Hughes are like mirror images of each other, inconsistent pitchers who win or lose based on keeping their heads straight with runners on base. In this particular outing Doubront avoided giving up extra base hits and allowing hits with runners on: 6 innings pitched, 6 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts. Hughes was not so lucky: 4⅓ innings pitched, 7 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts.

The Red Sox and Bruins games had excellent moments of synchronicity. In the fourth inning Brett Gardner struck out on a foul tip as the Bruins exited the first period 1-0 thanks to a goal by David Krejci. When Krejci scored his second goal Jose Iglesias made a nifty play on Vernon Wells’s grounder to end the eighth.

Stephen Drew homered in the ninth as Nathan Horton put the match away. I am getting very good at working the “Last” button on my remote.

Game 57: June 1, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
11 W: Felix Doubront (4-2)
2B: Jackie Bradley Jr. – 2 (3), Mike Carp (8), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (14)
HR: Mike Napoli (9), Daniel Nava (8), Stephen Drew (4)
New York Yankees
1 L: Phil Hughes (2-4)
No extra base hits

June 1, 2013

Better Slip You an Ambien

CC Sabathia just had to regain his form (such that it is) in this series opener. The Yankees had been on a five-game schneid, during which they were swept by the Mets.

If bath salt attacks haven’t convinced you of the zombie attacks, the revitalization of Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki, and Vernon Wells should. What is dead may never die, but rises again, irritatinger and annoyinger.

It was nice of the Phillies to give Jacoby Ellsbury the actual base that broke the franchise record of stolen bases in a game. They didn’t throw it at him with some batteries.

Game 56: May 31, 2013
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Jon Lester (6-2)
2B: Dustin Pedroia – 2 (16), David Ross (2), Mike Napoli (20)
WinNew York Yankees
4 W: CC Sabathia (5-4)
H: David Robertson (11)
S: Mariano Rivera (19)
2B: Vernon Wells (7)

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