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Home » Monthly Archive » July 2013

July 31, 2013

Plays of Future Past

In the bottom of the second Jose Iglesias knocked the ball off the Green Monster. He tried to leg the hit into a double but Raul Ibanez gathered the ball in time to make the play at second close. Nick Franklin missed the tag, however, and Iglesias made the out interesting by eluding Justin Smoak until he was tagged out at last by his counterpart Brad Miller. He made his last play on the basepaths memorable.

Later in the night we learned that Iglesias was part of a three-team deal.

Red Sox receive:

  • Brayan Villarreal
  • Jake Peavy

Tigers receive:

  • Jose Iglesias

White Sox receive:

  • Avisail Garcia
  • Francelis Montas
  • Cleuluis Rondon
  • J.B. Wendelken

Peavy comes with some health concerns, but what 32-year old pitcher doesn’t. He is a proven starter and didn’t cost as much as Cliff Lee. Brock Wyatt Holt was called up to shore up the infield. There are already hopeful whispers that top Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts might make his major league debut this season. He’s in no rush, however.

The Red Sox feted Joe Morgan for the 25th anniversary of the 1988 season. Although the squad was eventually swept by the Athletics in the ALCS, the regular season featured a turnaround from fourth place at the All-Star break to first place.

There was even a memorable trade deadline deal: Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson were traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Mike Boddicker.

Lou Gorman may have regretted that trade. We’ll see if Ben Cherington’s gambit pays off. If not, he can abuse a bobbledesk.

Game 108: July 30, 2013
Seattle Mariners
2 L: Joe Saunders (9-10)
2B: Nick Franklin (13)
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Brandon Workman (1-1)
2B: Shane Victorino – 2 (15)
HR: Jacoby Ellsbury (5), Dustin Pedroia (7), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (9)

July 30, 2013

Jerry, Just Remember, It’s Not a Lie if You Believe It

Mike O’Malley has enough self-awareness to know how baseball fans regard the interviews interspersed with the game. “Here’s everyone’s favorite part where the actor interrupts the action,” he quipped. The comedy of errors perpetrated by Jerry Meals seemed like something out of one of O’Malley’s sitcoms, but the impact on the American League East standings is more like a crime drama whose plot is ripped from the headlines.

If the story seems terribly familiar it’s because you’ve seen it before. “Umpire Meals: Call ‘might have’ been wrong” said the headline from this article on MLB’s own website dated July 27, 2011.

Perhaps Meals was feeling a bit peaked after 19 innings and wishfully imagined that Michael McKenry’s tag missed Julio Lugo. Perhaps Meals didn’t feel up for extra innings (I mean, jeez, it could go to 19 innings again) and deluded himself into thinking Daniel Nava was out at home in the eighth, thereby avoiding the tie and another multiple-inning slog like he had in Atlanta.

Meals’s call was worse than Nava’s baserunning, and that’s saying something. Nava didn’t play Stephen Drew’s deep double to right halfway between second and third, something that a baserunner should do when there is one out. He could have scored and perhaps Drew could have stretched the double into a triple. Then Drew could have been the one “thrown out” on Brandon Snyder’s fly out to Sam Fuld.

Snyder scored the only run of the game for the Red Sox, a sixth-inning homer off Pesky’s Pole. It didn’t make a terrible sound like Mark Bellhorn’s World Series tater but it still reminded of that stupendous blast.

The game wasn’t the only thing lost. Frank Castillo, who played for the Red Sox in 2001, 2002, and 2004, died in a swimming accident. George “Boomer” Scott passed away, his dreams of coaching or instructing at the major league level unfulfilled. May the Red Sox tally many wins with long, drawn-out pauses between pitches and clout multitudes of taters in their memories.

Game 107: July 29, 2013
WinTampa Bay Rays
2 W: David Price (6-5)
H: Joel Peralta (27)
S: Fernando Rodney (26)
2B: Sean Rodriguez (8), Evan Longoria (24)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Felix Doubront (7-5)
2B: David Ortiz (25), Ryan Lavarnway (5), Stephen Drew (15)
HR: Brandon Snyder (2)

July 28, 2013

Call Me Maybe

“Hey, Ortiz! Why’d you beat up on me, huh? I’m just a poor phone. And you know what else? You suck!”

“Thank you for the call, good sir. I’m afraid I must disagree with your assessment of my baseball abilities.”

“Observe my line for today’s game (4-for-4, 2 runs, 2 runs batted in), reconsider your opinion, and settle yourself so that you may enjoy the nuances of my team pummeling yours.”

Game 106: July 28, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Jon Lester (10-6)
2B: Mike Napoli – 2 (28), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (26)
HR: David Ortiz (20)
Baltimore Orioles
0 L: Jason Hammel (7-8)
No extra base hits

Umpire of the Vanities

Tim Timmons had a rough night behind home plate, rougher than the Baltimore pitchers had on the mound, and that is saying something as they collectively surrendered three home runs. Brooks Baseball’s Strikezone map for Timmons demonstrates a few of the egregious calls he made.

David Ortiz was particularly upset in the seventh as the 3-0 count turned into a full count on questionable strike calls. Ortiz went down swinging and didn’t stop swinging once he got into the dugout.

In the sixth inning John Farrell was annoyed when neither Timmons at home nor Laz Diaz at third made a call on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s ground ball. Manny Machado tossed over to second hoping for the force but the outcome of the play wasn’t clear until Mike Winters called Mike Carp out at second.

The confusion carried into the next play. Stephen Drew put a charge into the ball and it seemed to bounce off the top of the right field wall. He and Saltalamacchia rounded the bases wondering what the status of the play was. Nick Markakis relayed the ball back into the infield for a potential play at the plate but it got away from Matt Wieters.

Was it a triple and an error? An inside-the-park home run? A conventional homer? The crew went to the review booth and determined it was home run.

Just seven days after his return from the disabled list Drew busted out with a 3-for-4 performance. With two of his clouts completing the circuit the shortstop now leads all Red Sox middle infielders with seven homers.

There was one bright spot in the officiating. In the third inning Wieters interfered on a pitch that Jacoby Ellsbury managed to leg out a single and Drew advanced to third. Had Farrell not opted to take the play’s outcome Drew would have remained at second. But in this situation the following applied:

Rule 6.08(c) Comment: If catcher’s interference is called with a play in progress the umpire will allow the play to continue because the manager may elect to take the play.

Ryan Dempster pitched well: 5⅓ innings, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. He didn’t want to give up the ball when Farrell went to retrieve him in the sixth, but he got over it quickly. In fact this morning he and Jonny Gomes helped repair the dugout phone.

Game 105: July 27, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Ryan Dempster (6-8)
2B: Mike Carp (14)
HR: Stephen Drew – 2 (7), Shane Victorino (5)
Baltimore Orioles
3 L: Scott Feldman (9-8)
2B: Nate McLouth (22)

July 27, 2013

Baltimore Luchador

Meet Carne Cabeza. He describes himself as the “fat, shirtless, shameless kid in the cape and tights you see at Ravens and Orioles games.” Carne’s team shut out the Red Sox, setting them up well for a series win and helping the Rays take first place. Seems like in recent years Baltimore teams have been Boston’s primary nemeses. Last year the Patriots were defeated by the Ravens in the AFC Championship game and of course there was the Red Sox 2011 collapse that culminated at Camden Yards.

When John Lackey twisted his ankle Red Sox fans’ collective hearts leapt into their throats. With the offense sputtering the squad requires exceptional pitching more than ever, and Lackey had been the rotation’s stopper. But last night Chris Tillman summoned the spirit of Matt Moore and, along with Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson, blanked the Red Sox.

Any reasonably sized portrait of Don Orsillo might as well be a Big Head.

Game 104: July 26, 2013
Boston Red Sox
0 L: John Lackey (7-8)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (23)
WinBaltimore Orioles
6 W: Chris Tillman (13-3)
3B: Nate McLouth (4)
HR: Adam Jones – 2 (22), Manny Machdo (9), J.J. Hardy (18)

July 25, 2013

Price Tag

In this picture David Price looks more like a ghoul from a Vincent Price movie. Totally dominating a team for nine innings must suck out part of one’s soul. Price nearly met Matt Moore’s accomplishment of a complete game shutout, but a single run marred Price’s line.

Mike Napoli’s circuit clout zipped over the Monster with a frightful quickness. A young man recovered the ball and gave two little girls the proof of Prices’s mortality.

I can’t wait until this hurler’s price tag is too large for the Rays to pay. May he be signed by a National League team and erased from any AL East roster. Except maybe ours.

Game 103: July 24, 2013
WinTampa Bay Rays
5 W: David Price (5-5)
No extra base hits
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Felix Doubront (7-4)
2B: Mike Napoli (26)
HR: Napoli (14)

July 24, 2013


key·stone noun /ˈkēˌstōn/

  1. the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place — see arch illustration
  2. something on which associated things depend for support
  3. a species of plant or animal that produces a major impact (as by predation) on its ecosystem and is considered essential to maintaining optimum ecosystem function or structure

That pretty much summarizes why Dustin Pedroia, guardian of the keystone sack, was offered a $110M contract that keeps him in a Boston Red Sox uniform until 2021.

Kyle Farnsworth toed the rubber in the eighth with one out and the bases loaded. The Red Sox doubled their run total from three to six with the Professor on the bump. Mike Napoli arced a double to Sean Rodriguez in left and Jonny Gomes kept the left fielder busy with a single. The Professor did school Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who struck out on three pitches.

With two down Stephen Drew knocked a grounder to right field to plate Napoli. Continuing their surprisingly aggressive baserunning Drew swiped second with Jose Iglesias at the dish. Iglesias sent a bounder off Evan Longoria’s glove, which knocked the ball down to an inconvenient location for both him and Yunel Escobar.

Escobar was charged with a throwing error when he tried to nail Drew at home. The ball dribbled out of Jose Molina’s grasp while Drew crawled back to home plate to touch the base, which he failed to do on his initial slide.

Game 102: July 23, 2013
Tampa Bay Rays
2 L: Roberto Hernandez (5-11)
2B: Wil Myers (6), Jose Molina (8)
HR: Myers (5), Evan Longoria (21)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Jon Lester (9-6)
H: Matt Thornton (19), Junichi Tazawa (17)
2B: Shane Victorino (13), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (25), Daniel Nava (15), Mike Napoli (25)

July 23, 2013

Pasta Amore

Jerry Remy proudly displayed a portrait of him made entirely in pasta. This wasn’t the only masterpiece we witnessed last night. Matt Moore pitched his first complete game shutout in which he allowed just two singles (David Ortiz and Mike Napoli) and a walk (Napoli). He struck out four batters and used only 109 pitches to shut down the local nine.

Brandon Workman played fairly well in his Fenway debut. Perhaps he was nervous about impressing Boston fans early on in the game; his first inning was his worst with three singles, a sac fly, and a walk. But he did pick off leadoff hitter Desmond Jennings with a whip-quick throw that caught the speedster off-balance.

Luke Scott keeps on finding ways to make himself less appealing. Now complementing his Wolverine facial hair is this rattail.

Off the field Dustin Pedroia inked a seven-year, $100M deal, effectively ensuring that he will end his career as a Red Sox player. The contract includes a no-trade clause, but as we have recently seen that does not mean he may not waive it at some point (sniffle, Paul Pierce).

Now if only there were a homegrown player on the pitching side that demonstrated the grit that Pedroia does. Nolan Ryan would give Clay Buchholz a noogie if he were on the Rangers and not getting his head together to get back to baseball. If someone as reputable as Dr. James Andrews stated that there is no structural damage one would think would be a harbinger for Buchholz’s return, and yet there is no timetable for the starter. That’s not what you want to be hearing about your ace with your divisional rivals gaining ground.

Game 101: July 22, 2013
WinTampa Bay Rays
3 W: Matt Moore (14-3)
No extra base hits
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Brandon Workman (0-1)
No extra base hits

July 22, 2013


I’m not talking about this kid at Saturday’s game. He pulled a fast one by Yankees third base coach Rob Thomson with a decoy Yankee hat. In effect he imitated bandwagon Yankee fans who sprain their ankles jumping off the bandwagon every season the squad doesn’t put up triple-digit wins, switching caps to another team’s because they have a cool logo. I was going to quote the song “Smooth” but then I realized that the tune featured Rob Thomas on vocals, not another Rob Thomson.

The sixth and seventh innings displayed a few of Boston’s weaknesses. While very good, Ryan Dempster is not a starting ace. The relief corps is also very good, but it has been spread thin by injuries and overuse. As spectacular as Jose Iglesias is at short he needs more experience at the hot corner to consistently contribute on the field.

With Mike Napoli in the box, as it is in Westeros, there is no middle ground. You win or you die. Either he’s clubbing three-run homers as he did in the third inning or grounding into infuriating double plays like he did in the eighth with the bases loaded and the score tied 7-7.

The first baseman struck out three times, once leading off an inning and twice with runners in scoring position. But in the eleventh with two men down and his team’s bullpen down to Jose De La Torre with John Farrell perhaps having to work Brandon Workman Napoli homered to dead center on the seventh pitch he saw. After Napoli touched them all he handed his helmet to Jonny Gomes and then commenced with celebration.

A walk-off win in an epic showdown between rivals in July. Is this team beginning to remind you of something? Is an earth-shattering trade in the offing?

Game 100: July 21, 2013 ∙ 11 innings
New York Yankees
7 L: Adam Warren (1-1)
No extra base hits
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Pedro Beato (1-0)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (22)
HR: Mike Napoli – 2 (13), Jonny Gomes (8)

July 21, 2013

Not So Home Free

The Red Sox ran themselves out of this game. In the first inning Daniel Nava was thrown out at home by Vernon Wells on David Ortiz’s opposite field single. In the bottom of the fifth Mike Carp aggressively tried to score from third on a wild pitch to Jose Iglesias. He did score in the seventh on such a play, however. After he made the splits at the keystone sack to double in that frame there was no way he wasn’t going to convert the hit into a run.

At the San Diego Comic-Con zombies were all the rage and the trend as permeated the nation. On the East Coast the Yankees represent reanimated cadavers well with Wells, Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki, and Travis Hafner.

There were zombified fans in the first row behind home plate. Only one fan attempted to distract Chris Stewart from Dustin Pedroia’s foul ball; the others were transfixed with attempting to catch the ball themselves. Stewart made the catch and doubled over the wall but still had time to compose himself and throw out Nava at second base for an improbable double play.

I didn’t include Mariano Rivera on the Yankee zombie list because he truly is the epitome of class in his last season in the majors. He didn’t flee to join a divisional opponent in his twilight years. And if he did happen to join another team and win a championship I don’t think he would get up on a mounted policeman’s steed.

Before the game Rivera had a gathering with long-time Fenway employees and Red Sox fans, like 46-year employees Ken Greenwood and John Basmanian and brothers J. P. and Paul Norden from Stoneham who both lost legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. He received a standing ovation when he took the mound in the final frame. Undoubtedly the Fenway faithful were devoutly rooting for a blown save after paying their respects, but Carp’s one-out single was for naught. Rivera tallied his 639th career save.

Game 99: July 20, 2013
WinNew York Yankees
5 W: Hiroki Kuroda (9-6)
H: David Robertson (23)
S: Mariano Rivera (31)
2B: Eduardo Nunez – 2 (6), Lyle Overbay – 2 (21)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: John Lackey (7-7)
2B: Mike Carp (13)

July 20, 2013

Defensive Difference

In a low-scoring game often the difference is in the defense. Two Red Sox infielders made particularly scintillating plays, which made up for Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s erratic throw that allowed Brett Gardner to score in the fourth.

Brandon Snyder kept Ichiro Suzuki off the basepaths in front of Gardner with a spectacular catch. Seeing that Johnny Gomes and Jose Iglesias wouldn’t be able to catch up to Suzuki’s pop fly, he dashed after it and fully extended to make the snare.

Dustin Pedroia stopped Lyle Overbay from adding to his remarkable rejuvenation in the seventh. Initially the grounder got out of Pedroia’s control and creeped up second baseman’s arm. Living up to his Gold Glove credentials Pedroia kept with the ball, swooping after it to stop the leadoff batter from getting on base. He also ended the game by snatching Eduardo Nunez’s grounder for the final out.

This sums up the Yankees’ season. Gardner is my nomination for the Paul O’Neill Whiny Yankee Award.

Game 98: July 19, 2013
New York Yankees
2 L: Andy Pettitte (7-7)
2B: Lyle Overbay (19), Chris Stewart (3), Robinson Cano (19)
HR: Josh Donaldson (16)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Felix Doubront (7-3)
H: Junichi Tazawa (16), Craig Breslow (7)
S: Koji Uehara (9)
2B: David Ortiz – 2 (24), Jonny Gomes (12)
HR: Jacoby Ellsbury (4), Gomes (7)

July 19, 2013


Brandon Workman made his first major league start and pitched serviceably: 6⅓ innings pitched, 2 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. In fact, he had a no-hitter until Coco Crisp led off the seventh with an infield single that Dustin Pedroia desperately pounced on and relayed to first to no avail. Unfortunately for Workman the other hit he relinquished was a home run off Josh Donaldson’s bat with Crisp on base to knot the game 2-2.

Bartolo Colon has rejuvenated himself to an All-Star echelon once again, but his name was found in records at Biogenesis, which is the Atlantic coast’s incarnation of BALCO. Obviously weight loss isn’t one of the benefits of Biogenesis’s services. The Athletics have opened the upper deck of Oracle Arena when Colon pitches because he can be seen from that height. Also, additional space was needed to house Larry Ellison’s ego.

In addition to a governor of Red Sox Nation California has an Emperor. Rick Mello grew up in New England but now calls the Golden State home, or rather, his dominion. I wonder what Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, would have thought of this new sovereign?

Game 97: July 14, 2013 ∙ 11 innings
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Matt Thornton (0-4)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (25), Jonny Gomes (11), Mike Carp (12)
WinOakland Athletics
3 W: Ryan Cook (2-2)
HR: Josh Donaldson (16)

July 14, 2013

Reeling and Writhing

A.J. Griffin taught the Red Sox their lessons in reeling and writhing: 8 innings pitched, 6 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts. They also had classes in Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision. (With thanks to Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.)

Boston lost last night but the real losers, in my opinion, were Americans. George Zimmerman was found not guilty. Baseball is a fine distraction, but this travesty is difficult to ignore.

Game 96: July 13, 2013
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Jon Lester (8-6)
2B: Mike Napoli (24)
WinOakland Athletics
3 W: A.J. Griffin (8-6)
S: Grant Balfour (25)
HR: Derek Norris (5)

July 13, 2013

Brock and Roll

The Athletics need to work on their defense. Mike Napoli led off the second with a single to Josh Donaldson, but Donaldson’s throw allowed Napoli to take second.

Jarrod Parker hit Daniel Nava with a fastball that ricocheted off the hitter and knocked C.B. Bucknor out of the game. Bill Miller (not Bill Mueller; pause for a pleasant moment of nostalgia) replaced Bucknor at home. Parker induced fly ball outs off the bats of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jose Iglesias and seemed poised to get out of the inning, but then Brock Holt entered the batters’ box.

Holt carved the ball into the opposite field to drive in Napoli and Nava. Yoenis Cespedes gathered the ball, missed the cutoff man, and threw so high John Jaso had to jump to catch it. Jaso tried to get Holt out at second but missed his target, too. By the time the Oakland defense had the ball under control Holt stood at third.

The Athletics tied the game with Jaso’s RBI single in the fifth and Jed Lowrie’s solo home run in the sixth. Dustin Pedroia broke the tie with a two-run line drive single to left in the eighth, just in time to get John Lackey a well-deserved win. Pedroia was pivotal to this victory as his dazzling double play ended the fifth inning.

Brian Butterfield’s blossoms were brought from Seattle to Oakland. When it’s time to haze the rookies I would suggest a sunflower hood and dress.

Game 95: July 12, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: John Lackey (7-6)
H: Andrew Bailey (8)
S: Koji Uehara (8)
3B: Mike Napoli (2)
Oakland Athletics
2 L: Sean Doolittle (3-3)
2B: Seth Smith (20)
HR: Jed Lowrie (7)

July 11, 2013

Butterfields of Gold

This is Brian James Butterfield. Mike Napoli bought him a bucket of flowers and Butterfield tended to them in the dugout. He’s sad because this is the team’s last game in Seattle and he must bid his blossoms farewell.

This is Brock Wyatt Holt. Just typing that made me pregnant. If you read his name after you just shaved you now have 5 o’clock shadow. Old Hoss Radbourn considered making his moniker more manly to outdo Holt’s handle.

Steven Wright earned his first major league win. He took over for Ryan Dempster in the fourth and put in a yeoman’s effort across 5⅔ innings: 3 hits, no earned runs (although he allowed an inherited runner score), 2 bases on balls, and 3 strikeouts.

Koji Uehara lost the fan voting for the All-Star game but notched his seventh save and secured a series win. Who needs to celebrate with American League players you spend the whole season trying to defeat when you can high five your own guys?

Game 94: July 11, 2013 ∙ 10 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
11 W: Steven Wright (1-0)
S: Koji Uehara (7)
2B: Ryan Lavarnway (4)
HR: Jacoby Ellsbury (3)
Seattle Mariners
4 L: Tom Wilhelmsen (0-3)
2B: Brad Miller (5)
HR: Kyle Seager (14)

Designated Spitter

David Ortiz didn’t swing at the first four pitches he saw out of Aaron Harang’s hand. He just hung back, working the count to 3-1. Harang would have to throw a strike, and Papi was ready for it.

The ball found the left-center gap and bounced to the wall before Raul Ibanez could retrieve. Ortiz stood at the keystone sack, the sole proprietor of the record for most hits by a designated hitter with 1,689. He surpassed Harold Baines and added to his other accomplishments as designated hitter: most runs scored, doubles, home runs, extra-base hits, and RBIs.

Let’s not forget another one of his distinguishing characteristics: most memorable pre-at bat ritual. Nomar Garciaparra relinquished this title when he retired.

And also best orator since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Congratulations, Papi! Perhaps you’ll be the first designated hitter in the Hall of Fame. Edgar Martinez has not been enshrined and some make the argument that he has a better case than Ortiz’s.

Game 93: July 10, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
11 W: Felix Doubront (6-3)
2B: David Ortiz (22), Jacoby Ellsbury (21)
HR: Ortiz (19)
Seattle Mariners
4 L: Aaron Harang (4-8)
2B: Michael Saunders (10), Jason Bay (6), Dustin Ackley (7), Kendry Morales (22), Justin Smoak (12)
HR: Brendan Ryan (3)

July 10, 2013

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Hisashi Iwakuma’s family name uses two characters: 岩隈. The first means rock or crag and the second means corner, nook, recess, shadow, or shade. He did have a rocky outing that would make any starter want to hide in a corner: 3 innings pitched, 8 hits, 6 earned runs, 3 strikeouts, and 3 home runs. But hey, no bases on balls!

Allen Webster faired poorly, too: 2⅓ innings, 6 hits, 7 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, and 2 homers. Who knew that in spacious Safeco teams could put up double digits in runs in consecutive games? Bringing in the fences certainly helped with production in this series.

Prior to the game Shane Victorino stumped for Koji Uehara. Vote if you haven’t yet. Uehara has dropped to fourth place despite logging his sixth save with a perfect ninth inning performance.

Eric Wedge, your beard is weird. Your ’stache is trash. Your bullpen is an oozing wen.

Game 92: July 9, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
11 W: Craig Breslow (3-2)
H: Andrew Bailey (7)
S: Koji Uehara (6)
2B: David Ortiz – 2 (21), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (24)
HR: Ortiz (18), Dustin Pedroia (6), Mike Napoli (11), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (2), Shane Victorino (4)
Seattle Mariners
8 L: Blake Beavan (0-2)
2B: Brad Miller – 2 (4)
3B Michael Saunders (2)
HR: Kendry Morales – 2 (13)

July 9, 2013

King in the Northwest!

Tonight the first 5,000 fans at Safeco will get this nifty t-shirt designed by Eric Wahlquist. All hail the King in the Northwest!

Felix Hernandez deserved the plaudits of the crowd last night. The King’s Court tallied six strikeouts, but the Red Sox managed six hits as well. The visiting batters just couldn’t string together the hits to get a runner across home plate.

Jon Lester seemed to be back on track after winning two of his last three starts but he allowed one of the weaker offenses get the best of him in the fourth and fifth innings.

Daniel Nava is many things but a center fielder he is not. He played the position slightly better than J.B. Shuck plays left. The Red Sox made quick moves to shore up the outfield and bullpen: Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Brandon Workman were summoned to Seattle. To make room for the pair Alex Wilson was placed on the disabled list with a sprained thumb and Jose De La Torre was optioned to Pawtucket.

The Mariners should better observe the sacred laws of hospitality. Another rout like that and they will join the late Walder Frey in the annals of infamy.

Game 91: July 8, 2013
Boston Red Sox
4 L: Jon Lester (8-5)
2B: Mike Napoli (23), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (23)
WinSeattle Mariners
11 W: Felix Hernandez (9-4)
2B: Kendry Morales (21), Justin Smoak – 2 (11), Michael Saunders – 2 (9), Nick Franklin (10)
HR: Raul Ibanez (22)

July 8, 2013

Liners, Divings, and Drives

Ernesto Frieri is the star of the Angels’ bullpen. Frieri’s big bite comes from his four-seam heater clocked in the mid-90s. The closer’s repertoire contrasted sharply with Jered Weaver’s offerings, which consist primarily of a fastball that has declined in average speed from 90 MPH in 2010 to 86.5 MPH this season.

Weaver’s declining skills didn’t help the Red Sox batters score runs, however. The Red Sox were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Jacoby Ellsbury’s leadoff double in the first frame was the only extra base hit of the game for the visitors. As always J.B. Shuck misplayed Ellsbury’s fly ball. Daniel Nava followed with a single but Weaver induced a line out off Dustin Pedroia’s bat and struck out David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to end the early threat.

I can only imagine the expressions John Lackey would make if Shuck played behind him. In this game Lackey had only himself to blame as two runs he relinquished were solo home runs. In the seventh he even shared a moment of levity with Napoli, who failed to glove Lackey’s underhand toss and nearly failed to complete Alberto Callaspo’s ground out. Pedroia loaned Napoli his sunglasses for the rest of inning as the first baseman occupied the only spot of sunlight on the field. Sadly for Napoli his performance in the lineup has not been a bright spot.

Essential parts of Boston’s bullpen continue to fail. Andrew Miller will be sidelined the rest of the season with a foot injury requiring surgery. At least it is early enough to remedy with a trade, but there is always the risk of overpaying for a reliever that will flame out.

Game 90: July 7, 2013
Boston Red Sox
0 L: John Lackey (6-6)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (20)
WinLos Angeles Angels
3 W: Jered Weaver (3-4)
H: Dane De La Rosa (8), Scott Downs (17)
S: Ernesto Frieri (22)
2B: Josh Hamilton (17)
3B: Erick Aybar (3)
HR: Mike Trout (15), Hank Conger (6)

July 7, 2013

Hamilton Heyday

This should have been the lasting image of Josh Hamilton: pitiably stumbling after the ball only to fall down and then dropping it again when trying to pick it up. How fitting it was that the antithesis of “the Natural,” Daniel Nava, hit that ball.

Hamilton had it all and nearly threw it away while Nava had nothing and took whatever was thrown at him.

Nava went 4-for-6 with 2 runs and an RBI. Hamilton was only 2-for-6 but it was his two hits that made the difference.

With a comfortable lead of 7-3 John Farrell decided to save his best arms in the bullpen and let Alex Wilson take the mound in the ninth. After all, Andrew Bailey had just successfully stifled the Angels lineup for 1⅔ innings, Wilson should have been up to the task.

Wilson tallied two outs but allowed two singles and hit Mike Trout to load the bases. Koji Uehara took over and surrendered a bloop single to Albert Pujols single to shallow center to narrow the lead to 7-5.

Then Hamilton lined to right, plating Trout and probably lessening Uehara’s voter base to make the All-Star roster along with teammates Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, and Dustin Pedroia. Vote for him anyway by clicking here.

On Howie Kendrick’s grounder Brandon Snyder inexplicably threw to second instead of first. His throw went over Pedroia’s head and the Angels scored the tying run.

The local nine triumphed in the eleventh inning when Hamilton lofted a two-run shot into the right field stands. If the loss in extra innings were not insult enough, add two injuries: Shane Victorino isn’t in tonight’s lineup and Andrew Miller left the game in the seventh with an ailing foot.

Game 89: July 6, 2013 ∙ 11 innings
Boston Red Sox
7 H: Andrew Bailey (6)
BS: Koji Uehara (3)
L: Craig Breslow (2-2)
2B: Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 2 (22), Daniel Nava – 2 (14)
3B: Shane Victorino (2)
WinLos Angeles Angels
9 W: Dane De La Rosa (4-1)
2B: Mike Trout (27), Chris Iannetta (9), J.B. Shuck (11)
3B: J.B. Shuck (2)
HR: Howie Kendrick (11), Trout (14), Josh Hamilton (12)

July 6, 2013

Bad Angles in the Outfield

Mike Scioscia may have his outfielders shagging fly balls and fielding balls on the bounce in earnest during batting practice today. Last night two players flubbed playable balls that led to Red Sox runs.

In the second Jarrod Saltalmacchia floated a liner to left with two down and Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava at second and first respectively. Had J.B. Shuck played the ball properly he could have caught the final out. At worst a single run would have scored if he didn’t let the ball by him, but the left fielder failed to gather the ball after the bounce and two runs scored. Saltalamacchia reached second on the error.

Shane Victorino led off the seventh with a liner to center. C.J. Wilson secured the next two outs neatly enough: Dustin Pedroia flied out on two pitches and Mike Napoli whiffed on the fifth pitch he saw. Wilson would have exited the inning unscathed had Josh Hamilton properly played Jonny Gomes’s fly ball. Victorino scored from first to give his team a 3-2 lead and also chased Wilson from the mound.

Mike Scioscia, the master of over-managing, for some reason didn’t intentionally walk pinch-hitting David Ortiz in the eighth with Daniel Nava on second. Granted, there weren’t any outs, but surely Scioscia would have preferred Saltalamacchia against Dane De La Rosa instead of Ortiz.

Meanwhile, Scott Boras plotted in the shadows, thinking of his rap diss of Jay-Z. He has taken a cue from his sports agent rival by wearing his own logo wear.

Game 88: July 5, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Felix Doubront (5-3)
H: Craig Breslow (6), Junichi Tazawa (15)
2B: Daniel Nava (12)
HR: David Ortiz (17), Mike Napoli (10)
Los Angeles Angels
2 L: C.J. Wilson (8-6)
2B: Mike Trout (26), Alberto Callaspo (11)
3B: J.B. Shuck (2)
HR: Howie Kendrick (10)

July 5, 2013

Webster’s Win

The Red Sox scored in every inning except the third and seventh. The copious run support allowed Allen Webster to tally his first major league victory. Webster had a chance at a win against the Royals in April but Andrew Miller lost the lead in the eighth inning and in June he was the pitcher of record against Toronto but Andrew Bailey surrendered the game-tying home run in the seventh. He now has one more win than Josh Beckett this season.

Shane Victorino went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He sported a crimson glove in celebration in Independence Day.

The Red Sox dedicated a black seat in honor of the more than 92,000 unaccounted soldiers.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command is located on Oahu and is responsible for the global search, recovery, and laboratory operations to identify unaccounted-for Americans. The Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) was created so that there was a single office managing POW/MIA issues. Their motto is “Keeping the Promise.”

Game 87: July 4, 2013
San Diego Padres
2 L: Eric Stults (6-7)
2B: Will Venable (7), Jesus Guzman (9), Logan Forsythe (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Allen Webster (1-2)
2B: Shane Victorino (12), Dustin Pedroia (24), Jose Iglesias (11), Mike Napoli (22), Jonny Gomes (10), David Ortiz (19)
HR: Brandon Snyder (1), Jacoby Ellsbury (2)

July 4, 2013

Gomeric Epic

Chase Headley called time late and Jon Lester, as is his wont, let the pitch fly. The ball hit Headley’s foot, causing the third baseman to limp about for a few minutes. Headley’s pain couldn’t have been that bad as he ended up singling off the left field wall. Then Headley advanced and Carlos Quentin scored on Kyle Blanks’s single, giving the visitors the early lead.

Home plate umpire Doug Eddings warned both dugouts when Edinson Volquez hit Jose Iglesias with a pitch to start the third inning. Volquez and both teams’ managers were perplexed by the warning. Iglesias is the number nine hitter, the first batter in the inning, and the game is 1-0; all these factors point to this being an unintended plunking. Here is Don Orsillo reenacting Jerry Remy’s bewilderment.

The Red Sox threatened to take the lead repeatedly. They had men on base in every frame except the fifth and seventh. They loaded the bases in the third. It took Jonny Gomes’s pinch-hit home run to break the 1-1 tie.

While fans scrambled in the Monster seats scrambled to recover the souvenir Gomes rounded the bases to meet the roiling mob at home plate. There was no helmet punt this time; instead it held securely with not three but four points of contact.

Game 86: July 3, 2013
San Diego Padres
1 L: Luke Gregerson (4-4)
2B: Carlos Quentin (14), Yasmani Grandal (8)
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Koji Uehara (2-0)
2B: Shane Victorino (11), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (20), Mike Carp (11), Dustin Pedroia (23)
HR: Jonny Gomes (6)

July 3, 2013

Liking Lackey

Didn’t think it was possible, did you? The more wins John Lackey tallies the less I dislike him. He hasn’t pitched well enough to be worth the $15 million he makes, but he stepped up to fill the void while Clay Buchholz recovered.

Dave Roberts returned to Fenway as the Padres’ first base coach. He survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which was detected early because he had to take a physical to join San Diego’s coaching staff. He had been on the fence between returning to baseball and becoming a television analyst but Bud Black convinced him to have a second career in baseball coaching.

The Celtics traded up three spots to draft Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk. The 7' center visited Fenway before the game and towered over everyone. Olynyk was drafted by a franchise in flux, but the picture became a bit clearer today. The Celtics hired Brad Stevens, formerly of Butler, as head coach. Stevens is a proponent of advanced basketball statistics and is younger than Kevin Garnett. Perhaps he’ll bring Drew Cannon along with him.

Brandon Snyder supported Lackey’s excellent showing with his three-run double in the fourth. The peripatetic infielder stepped in where Will Middlebrooks had been flailing. With one down and the bases loaded Snyder missed a home run by a foot or so. The shot caromed high off the deepest part of the left field wall. It was enough to clear the bases but not enough for Snyder to reach third safely.

One thing to watch is an improvement in baserunning. Dustin Pedroia worked a two-out walk in the first only to be thrown out at home on David Ortiz’s double to down the right field line. Pedroia also was thrown out in the fifth on a strike ’em out throw ’em out double play initiated by Mike Napoli’s whiff.

Game 85: July 2, 2013
San Diego Padres
1 L: Robbie Erlin (1-1)
2B: Jesus Guzman (8), Kyle Blanks (12), Nick Hundley (13)
HR: Guzman (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: John Lackey (6-5)
S: Koji Uehara (5)
2B: David Ortiz (18), Brandon Snyder (2), Jonny Gomes (9)

July 1, 2013

Koji-to Ergo Sum

Koji Uehara’s perfect run as closer came to an abrupt end with the crack of the ball off Jose Bautista’s bat. The ninth-inning shot tied the game 4-4. For Toronto, a win in this game was the difference between a winning and losing record. For Boston, a victory would ensure a series win instead of a split and would keep pace with the surging Orioles.

After he lost the lead Uehara allowed a single up the middle to Edwin Encarnacion. Uehara sat the next two batters so that the home team had a chance to end the game in regulation.

Jose Iglesias eagerly swung at the first pitch he saw and uneventfully grounded out to Josh Thole for the first out. Thole was playing first in place of Adam Lind, who left in the fourth inning with an injured back. Brandon Snyder roped a single to right and Jacoby Ellsbury walked on five pitches.

With the go-ahead run in scoring position John Farrell had Jonathan Diaz pinch run for Snyder. John Gibbons pulled Juan Perez in favor of Casey Janssen. Janssen induced a grounder off Shane Victorino’s bat that should have been at least one out.

Instead the ball was bumbled by Thole. As the ball dribbled into right field not even Bautista’s arm could get it back home in time to throw out Diaz.

Game 84: June 30, 2013
Toronto Blue Jays
4 L: Juan Perez (1-1)
HR: Jose Reyes (2), Jose Bautista (19)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 H: Craig Breslow (5), Alex Wilson (1), Andrew Miller (6)
BS, W: Koji Uehara (2, 1-0)

2B: Ryan Lavarnway (3), Brandon Snyder (1), Jonny Gomes (8)

All Ways Jose

Embedded Red Sox Darren Oliver helped out his former team in the seventh by allowing singles to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jose Iglesias. Oliver couldn’t make it so obvious so he threw Saltalamacchia out at home on Jonathan Diaz’s safety squeeze.

Perhaps suspecting Oliver’s turncoat status John Gibbons pulled Oliver in favor of Steve Delabar. Perhaps Oliver enlisted Delabar to his cause; the right-handed reliever surrendered consecutive singles to Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, the second of which tallied the only two runs Boston would score.

Pedroia congratulated Victorino for not running into a wall today. When Victorino isn’t tilting at fences he is trying to knock the ball out of the catcher’s mitt. Victorino was thrown out by who else but Jose Bautista.

The right fielder clouted two home runs in the game. They were his 200th and 201st four-baggers. It seems wearing R.A. Dickey’s pants changed his luck as he had hoped.

Game 83: June 29, 2013
WinToronto Blue Jays
6 H: Darren Oliver (5)
BS, W: Steve Delabar (3, 5-1)
2B: Rajai Davis (5)
3B: Adam Lind (1)
HR: Jose Bautista – 2 (18)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Junichi Tazawa (4-3)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (22), Shane Victorino (10)

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