Category Listing
Monthly Archive
Baseball Reference
Red Sox Links

Recent Posts
Recent Comments
Essential Empy

Home » Monthly Archive » September 2013

September 29, 2013

Flipping the Bird

The Red Sox relief corps didn’t cut the mustard late in the game. Junichi Tazawa successfully navigated the seventh frame but couldn’t get Matt Wieters and Danny Valencia out in the eighth. Franklin Morales struck out Nick Markakis but surrendered the go-ahead double to Steve Pearce.

Even though the Red Sox clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs with the Seattle’s defeat of Oakland they had battled back to take the lead in the seventh. Both Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava had RBI singles. Neither one of these players were thought to be key in the remaking of this team but in a season of low expectations role players like Gomes and Nava have made the difference between adequacy and excellence.

This Gomes lookalike had his helmet signed.

This season has been so redolent of 2004. Derek Lowe, Pedro Martinez, and Mike Timlin have been color analysts and Tim Wakefield joined Tom Caron at the NESN studios. Another member of that fabled team is part of the Dodgers organization. Bill Mueller, Professional Scout.

Game 161: September 28, 2013
Boston Red Sox
5 H, L: Junichi Tazawa (25, 5-4)
BS: Franklin Morales (1)
2B: Stephen Drew (29), David Ross (5)
WinBaltimore Orioles
6 BS: Josh Stinson (1)
W: Kevin Gausman (3-5)
S: Jim Johnson (49)
2B: Steve Pearce – 2 (7)
HR: Brian Roberts (8)

September 28, 2013

Milestone Makers

The Red Sox have had so much to celebrate they laid off pulling each others’ beards and opted for the more soothing beard rub. This powerful duo slugged home runs off Mike Belfiore, an Orioles bullpen arm that didn’t provide much relief for their beleaguered pitching staff.

Ortiz’s eighth-inning home run was his 30th of the season. This makes seven seasons that he has clouted 30 or more homers (and he hit 28 in 2008 in and 29 in 2011). Even though Baltimore fans have reclaimed Camden Yards to some extent, there were enough Red Sox fans in attendance to cheer the visiting designated hitter’s accomplishment.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and second base umpire Brian O’Nora both thought the catcher homered in the third inning. The ground rule for this part of the field states:

Fly ball hitting the grounds crew shed roof in right field and bouncing back into play: HOME RUN

It seems the umpiring crew determined that Saltalamacchia’s ball didn’t hit the roof when they got a closer look in the review booth. But for the Red Sox this season even when something goes wrong it ends up right. Saltalamacchia’s hit was ruled a double and he now holds the Red Sox record for doubles in a season by a catcher. Then Stephen Drew singled up the middle and plated Gomes and Saltalamacchia, so the runs scored anyway.

Mike Timlin wasn’t sure which of his two World Series rings to bring so he brought both. Ortiz could add a third to his collection while Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, and Dustin Pedroia would have a pair of rings.

Game 160: September 27, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
12 W: Clay Buchholz (12-1)
2B: Mike Napoli (37), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (40)
3B: Stephen Drew (8)
HR: Daniel Nava (12), David Ortiz (30), Jonny Gomes (13)
Baltimore Orioles
3 L: Scott Feldman (12-12)
HR: Adam Jones (33), Chris Davis (53)

September 27, 2013

Rock This Town

The Red Sox pummeled the Rockies with a 15-run barrage spearheaded by Will Middlebrooks. Boston’s third baseman clouted two home runs; a three-run shot in the fifth and a grand slam in the eighth. Middlebrooks’s four-baggers added to the lead that Shane Victorino established in the fourth with a three-run homer of his own.

Victorino must have felt he should make the most of his at bat as Jake Peavy smacked a one-out double to center. “Another example of pitchers being great athletes,” quipped Mike Timlin.

Timlin also got a kick out of Peavy’s Willie Mays Hayes gloves.

Jacoby Ellsbury played for the first time since September 5th, and if he has been letting his beard grow since then he has about five years to go before can hold a candle to Mike Napoli’s shrubbery. Ellsbury went 1-for-2 and he followed Peavy’s double with a base on balls.

In his last home game Todd Helton went 2-for-3 with a solo home run. The Colorado Rockies gave him an American Paint horse named A Tru Bustamove as a retirement gift. Young MC approves of the name.

Not only did the Red Sox do their level best to maintain the best record in the American League but the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. Happy Yankee Elimination Day!

Game 159: September 25, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
15 W: Jake Peavy (12-5)
2B: David Ortiz (38), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39), Jake Peavy (1), Stephen Drew (28)
HR: Shane Victorino (15), Will Middlebrooks – 2 (17)
Colorado Rockies
5 L: Jhoulys Chacin (14-10)
2B: Yorvit Torrealba (8), Nolan Arenado (28), Todd Helton (22)
HR: Helton (17)

September 25, 2013

Rocky Mountain Fly

The Red Sox still have the best record in the American League even though they lost to the Rockies. If only they could have won it for this little girl, who wore her little Red Sox dictator cap, player tee, beard, everything.

She may have gone home disappointed, but she had the opportunity to witness the majesty of John Lackey batting. He didn’t notch a hit but he made contact multiple times. Dennis Eckersley would say he was styling at the plate. Unfortunately Lackey didn’t have his party cheese; he surrendered three gopher balls

Mike Timlin had a total of seven career plate appearances with no hits or walks and four strikeouts. He wasn’t as chatty as Eckersley or Derek Lowe but made succinct observations. “That bat didn’t die a hero’s death,” he said as the splinters of David Ortiz’s shattered bat ground out in the fourth were carried through the dugout.

At first I thought the Rockies had a subtle outline of their namesake mountain range on their hats. Then I realized that Tyler Chatwood’s hat has sweat stains.

In Soviet Russia scoreboard watches you.

Game 158: September 24, 2013
Boston Red Sox
3 L: John Lackey (10-13)
2B: Will Middlebrooks (18)
HR: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (14)
WinColorado Rockies
8 W: Tyler Chatwood (8-5)
2B: Michael Cuddyer (31), Jordan Pacheco (15)
HR: Charlie Blackmon (6), Troy Tulowitzki (25), Corey Dickerson (5)

September 24, 2013

Eternal Eight

Carl Michael Yastrzemski was honored on Sunday with a statue near the right field entrance. It is far afield from the territory he covered as a player, but the sculpture rightfully takes its place near Ted Williams and The Teammates. Van Ness Street is becoming Fenway’s Monument Park, a place to mingle with greatness. Antonio Tobias Mendez sculpted Yaz as well as the quartet of Red Sox legends just a few yards away. His portfolio also includes Thurgood Marshall, Mohandas Gandhi, all of the Orioles greats at Camden Yards, and Nolan Ryan. Mendez is the son of Tony Mendez, one of the CIA operatives whose life was chronicled in “Argo.”

The likeness is of Yastrzemski’s last game on October 2, 1983, a 3-1 win against Cleveland. At the ceremony he was surrounded by both his families: his kin and the Red Sox. He seemed somewhat more accustomed to the hoopla generated by his presence; the 30 years since his career ended have mellowed him somewhat. In that trademark Yaz way he was grateful for the accolades but more grateful when the pomp and circumstances was finished.

It was a perfect fall day for families at Fenway. This boy combined two inspirations in one costume, Superman and the 2013 Red Sox. Jackie Bradley, Jr., who is not much older than this kid, bashed a three-run homer in the second inning.

Propelled by the hot air coming out of the broadcast booth thanks to Jeremy Kapstein’s extended visit, David Ortiz powered a solo shot into the visitors’ bullpen in the sixth frame.

Jacoby Catanzaro was diagnosed with an epileptic disorder at age one. Now nine years old, he drew his inspiration to go through his treatments from Jacoby Ellsbury. The two met on Sunday, the younger Jacoby complete with eyeblack. Hopefully Ellsbury can be similarly inspired and make a return in the final push for the best record in the American League as planned.

Game 157: September 24, 2013
Toronto Blue Jays
2 L: R.A. Dickey (13-13)
HR: Kevin Pillar (2)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Felix Doubront (11-6)
H: Franklin Morales (4)
S: Koji Uehara (21)
2B: David Ortiz (37)
HR: Jackie Bradley, Jr. (3), Ortiz (29)

September 22, 2013


Fear the beards.

Fear the beers.

Fear the ears.

Fear calls made unawares.

Fear the sneers.

Fear he who errs.

On a side note, this couldn’t be called a double for Xander Bogaerts? Do officials scorers also get in on rookie hazing? Is Brett Lawrie so loathsome that placing an error on his stats sheet would be just desserts?

Perhaps the answer to that last question is “yes.” Lawrie used Twitter to call out his former high school coach and relatives of his high school classmate because he didn’t as much playing time on the basketball team as said classmate.

Game 156: September 21, 2013
WinToronto Blue Jays
4 W: Mark Buehrle (12-9)
H: Dustin McGowan (6), Sergio Santos (8)
S: Casey Janssen (33)
2B: Adam Lind (26)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Clay Buchholz (11-1)
No extra base hits

September 21, 2013

Fear the Beards (and Beers)

Now that the Red Sox have a favorable playoff berth I can’t help but be annoyed by two missed calls in this game. In the bottom of the fourth Jackie Bradley, Jr. was called out as the first part of a 4-3 double play but the replay showed that Ryan Goins missed the tag.

With the bases loaded in the seventh Mike Napoli knocked the ball to Jose Reyes. The Blue Jays shortstop threw to J.P. Arencibia to get Dustin Pedroia at home but Arencibia’s relay to first drew Mark DeRosa off first base.

Missed calls such as these would certainly but the dampener on a postseason series. If only the proposed instant replay system could be in place for these crucial games rather than in 2014.

The 37,215 fans at Fenway Park knew that they could be sprayed by champagne if they stayed to the the final frame. But an unfortunate attendee was struck in the head by a can of beer punted into the stands by Jonny Gomes.

In addition to winning the American League East with this defeat over the former darlings of media Blue Jays, Jon Lester won his 100th game. In his post-game interview the southpaw choked up a bit when he talked about the milestone. He is the 11th Red Sox pitcher overall and third Boston left-hander to reach this achievement.

By the time Koji Uehara toed the rubber David Ortiz had his goggles at the ready. Ortiz knew that the consistent closer would shutdown Toronto. He got the microphone and addressed he crowd after the game. He thanked the owners and the fans and said that they were going to try to take it all the way.

Has it really been four years since we’ve seen this? With all the collapses, the accusations, the comings and goings since then, it seems much longer.

Shane Victorino brought his postseason experience from Philadelphia. He has been banged up of late but now that the division is secured he can recuperate. I think champagne spray does wonders for aches and pains.

Game 155: September 20, 2013
Toronto Blue Jays
3 L: Esmil Rodgers (5-8)
2B: Rajai Davis (16)
HR: Adam Lind (23)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Jon Lester (15-8)
S: Koji Uehara (20)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (42), Daniel Nava (29), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (38)

September 20, 2013

Cinch to Clinch

Stephen Drew was on his way to hit for the cycle and John Lackey had a no-hitter going. But this team isn’t about individual accomplishments. Drew’s two-run blast in the second gave Lackey a lead to work with.

Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s double lined to left put him in position to score on Dustin Pedroia’s single to Nick Markakis. It was a great example of the mix of free agents, rookies, and homegrown veterans working together for a pivotal win.

It was fitting that the team that allowed the Red Sox to clinch a playoff berth this season was the same team that eliminated them from the chase in 2011. That one of the players who was so reviled that he became the poster boy for the dysfunction of previous seasons turned his career and reputation around is another poetic parallel. Lackey hurled a complete game two-hitter and perhaps could contest Clay Buchholz as the ace for the postseason.

Game 154: September 19, 2013
Baltimore Orioles
1 L: Chris Tillman (16-7)
HR: Adam Jones (32)
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: John Lackey (10-12)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (41), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (37), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (5)
3B: Stephen Drew (7)
HR: Drew (13)

September 19, 2013

By a Hair

The Red Sox magic number for a playoff spot dwindled to one last night but the team was unable to clinch despite multitudes of fans donning fake beards or sporting their natural facial hair in celebration of this team’s signature look. Not even bedecking statues of legendary Red Sox players helped Boston defeat Baltimore in extra innings.

Starting pitcher Jake Peavy is one of the handful of players that have kept clean-shaven. He blanked the Orioles for four innings but the batters puzzled him out by the fifth frame, when Matt Wieters doubled in the hot-hitting Danny Valencia. Wieters scored on a double off Brian Roberts’s bat that Shane Victorino couldn’t catch up to in the triangle. Baltimore took the lead in the sixth on another Wieters double.

Mike Napoli’s shrubbery doesn’t match the length or extravagance of these fans’ locks, but they didn’t tie the game 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth.

The only thing missing from this man’s ensemble is a baseball in the center of the ringlet.

Napoli won the vote for the most inspirational beard. That probably wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t catch fire this month.

For some reason Stephen Drew wasn’t a selection.

Game 153: September 18, 2013 ∙ 12 innings
WinBaltimore Orioles
5 W: T.J. McFarland (6-4)
S: Jim Johnson (47)
2B: Matt Wieters – 2 (26), Brian Roberts (11)
3B: Danny Valencia (1)
HR: Chris Davis (51)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Franklin Morales (2-2)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (40)
HR: David Ortiz (28), Mike Napoli (23)

September 18, 2013

Koji-to Ergo Sum

Ryan Dempster assumed the role of John Lackey last night, both in a paucity of run support and maintaining a fairly good pitching line (6 innings, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts). He passed out more bases on balls than Lackey would have, but the Baltimore batters that scored off him were no slouches. Manny Machado singled in the first but nothing came of it. J.J. Hardy laced a double in the fifth that put Danny Valencia into scoring position. Chris Davis launched his 51st circuit clout of the season to lead off the sixth, a blast to dead center.

The Red Sox scrimped with two runs the entire game. Dustin Pedroia had Don Orsillo yelling “la luna” in the first.

The other Boston run came as a result of series of gaffes by the Orioles in the fourth frame. Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s batted ball into the right field area where Machado was playing in the shift was ruled an error. Stephen Drew followed with a walk and he and Saltalamacchia were sent on a double steal. The throw got to third before the Red Sox catcher but Machado missed the tag. Then Nate McLouth whiffed on Xander Bogaerts’s floater to left.

Unfortunately the Red Sox lost on an unusual but understandable misplay by Shane Victorino in center. Victorino ran down Nick Markakis’s fly ball to deep center in the sixth that undoubtedly saved a run because Adam Jones was on first. But in the ninth he couldn’t catch up to Valencia’s leadoff missile to center.

Koji Uehara saw his streak of frustrated batters end at 37, a franchise record. The next batter, Matt Wieters, gave Uehara his first loss of the season.

Game 152: September 17, 2013
WinBaltimore Orioles
3 W: Tommy Hunter (6-4)
S: Jim Johnson (46)
2B: J.J. Hardy (26), Manny Machado (51)
3B: Danny Valencia (1)
HR: Chris Davis (51)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Koji Uehara (4-1)
2B: Mike Carp (17)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (9)

September 17, 2013

No More Mo

The Red Sox honored Mariano Rivera with a four gifts on Sunday, his last game at Fenway Park. David Ortiz presented a painting of Rivera at the 2005 Opening Day by Mark Waitkus.

On behalf of the team Dustin Pedroia gifted the “42” used to signify the pitcher on Fenway’s scoreboard. It was signed by the 2013 Red Sox team. Rather embarrassingly Pedroia was introduced as “a future Hall of Famer.” Let’s see him get to his mid-30s healthy and productive before we give him such plaudits.

Koji Uehara gave him the rubber from the visitors’ bullpen. No matter how many times I see one dug out of the ground I am always amazed how large it is.

Lastly the Red Sox ownership donated money to Rivera’s charitable foundation. Even as the gifts were being announced Rivera circulated with the Red Sox team members, thanking them and being genuinely humble.

The Red Sox didn’t outdo the Minnesota Twins’ gift of a rocking chair made out of broken bats, but the organization definitely outdid the Tampa Bay Rays’ sand sculpture.

Rivera gave the Red Sox two gifts in return: a message on the visiting bullpen’s wall and not making a save appearance.

Game 151: September 15, 2013
New York Yankees
1 L: Ivan Nova (8-5)
No extra base hits
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Clay Buchholz (11-0)
2B: Daniel Nava – 2 (28), Xander Bogaerts (2), Dustin Pedroia (39)
HR: Mike Napoli (22)

September 15, 2013

Sadistic Beard-Pulling

As Red Sox players lined up to yank on Mike Napoli’s beard after he scored the first run of the game Tim McCarver commented that the ritual “looks sadistic to me.” Napoli would get another pull in the fifth when Daniel Nava’s sacrifice fly was fielded by Curtis Granderson, and three other players got their facial hair fete.

The gang reached down to jerk on Dustin Pedroia’s copious growth in the third when he was doubled in by David Ortiz. Ortiz’s well-kept beard would be difficult to grasp but they would have to commit themselves to the task when Jonny Gomes singled him in.

David Ross’s two-tone topiary was tugged in the fourth when Shane Victorino lined a single to Vernon Wells. I’m glad Victorino didn’t score; he’s so beat up from getting hit by pitches, running into walls, and diving to make catches that a vigorous celebration could be his undoing.

Jon Lester looked primed for the playoffs. His line was a sparkling 8 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. Unlike John Lackey, Punch and Judy hitter Brendan Ryan didn’t homer off Lester, thus saving the Fox audience from Matt Vasgersian and McCarver heaping praise on the replacement infielder.

McCarver did retell Ryan’s story about how he was traded to the Yankees. Mariners manager Eric Wedge called him into the his office and Ryan thought Wedge was going to yell at him about fantasy football. It’s like every boss’s job is the same no matter what the industry.

Game 150: September 14, 2013
New York Yankees
1 L: CC Sabathia (13-13)
2B: Curtis Granderson (11)
3B: Granderson (2)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Jon Lester (14-8)
2B: David Ortiz (36), Jonny Gomes (17), Shane Victorino (26)

September 14, 2013

Grand Central Celebration

Jarrod Saltalamacchia shook Fenway Park with his grand slam in the eighth to shatter the 4-4 tie. The backstop drove in Shane Victorino, David Ortiz, and Jonny Gomes with a deep shot over the Red Sox bullpen. Rookie Preston Claiborne can now join Yankee Pitches Traumatized by Red Sox Batters Support Group. Boone Logan is president and Chase Wright is sergeant-at-arms.

John Lackey repaid the lineup by getting his uniform dirty in the third inning. Even Dennis Eckersley said he probably wouldn’t have laid out like Lackey did in pursuit of Curtis Granderson’s bunt bid. Lackey made the play, but he didn’t pitch as well as he usually does (6⅓ innings, 7 hits, 4 earned runs, no walks, 3 strikeouts).

I like to think I saw Lackey ask John Farrell, “Me?” when the skipper came to retrieve him after singles by Brendan Ryan and Chris Stewart. That would be the perfect playing dumb question by a pitcher. But as I replay the scene in my mind, perhaps the camera just caught the tail end of the exasperated question, “Really?” I like Lackey’s spirt, but he seemed to have forgotten that eight- and nine-hole hitters just got to him, and that Ryan had homered off him in the third.

Two Boston batters, Victorino and Ortiz, were hit by pitches but neither seemed to be on purpose. This Friend would disapprove. “Cool thine jets, Visitors!”

Game 149: September 13, 2013
New York Yankees
4 L: Hiroki Kuroda (11-11)
2B: Robinson Cano – 3 (35)
HR: Brendan Ryan (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
8 BS: Craig Breslow (1)
W: Brandon Workman (6-3)
2B: David Ortiz – 2 (35), Stephen Drew – 2 (27), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (26)
HR: Saltalamacchia (13)

September 13, 2013


This crew is ready for Dollar Beard Night next week Wednesday. As splendid as the 2004 season was it was difficult for the Red Sox marketing department capitalize on that magical run (nor did they need to). It would have been fun to give dollar tickets to people who scored low on intelligence tests.

Jake Peavy got hit in the right wrist with a comebacker off Desmond Jennings’s bat. The ball caromed to Xander Bogaerts, who threw to Dustin Pedroia to get Wil Myers at second for the second out. Peavy impatiently waved off John Farrell and the trainers after the incident.

Peavy remained in the game for the last out of the frame but didn’t come back out for the next stanza. Whatever pitching charts and matchup statistics the Rays were using worked well as the Red Sox batters couldn’t unknot the 3-3 tie.

Fernando Rodney had the tiltometer (© Derek Lowe) in full effect. Many thanks to Lowe who provided memorable commentary during this series. He may not have Dennis Eckersley’s lingo or Hall of Fame legacy but he told many dugout tales.

My favorite was when he hid in the clubhouse until 2:00 AM so that he didn’t have to face fans after a blown save. He peeked out to see if the coast was clear and immediately heard someone yell, “We see you in there, Lowe!” He sent clubhouse attendants to check when he could get to his car unscathed.

The Tampa Bay Rays may have won a game but they may still miss the playoffs. Just like the gladiator missed the gong.

Game 148: September 12, 2013
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Rubby De La Rosa (0-1)
2B: Stephen Drew (25)
HR: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (12), David Ortiz (27)
WinTampa Bay Rays
4 BS: Jamey Wright (1)
W: Jake McGee (5-3)
S: Fernando Rodney (34)
2B: James Loney (27), Evan Longoria (35), Wil Myers (14)
3B: Longoria (3)
HR: Desmond Jennings (13)

September 12, 2013

Carp Diem

In Japanese culture, koi symbolize perseverance because they bravely swim up waterfalls to transform into dragons. Thus Mike Carp’s surname is fitting as the former Met has endured despite being relegated as a role player rather than a regular. David Ortiz paid him the ultimate compliment by comparing Carp to himself. Carp became the first Red Sox player to belt a pinch-hit grand slam since Kevin Millar on June 7, 2003.

The tenth-inning clout gave the Red Sox a 7-3 lead and prompted multiple beard pulls. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was at the top of the dugout steps to tug at Carp’s whiskers.

Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia waited until Carp thought he was safe and then went for the double yank.

Ryan Dempster had a win in his grasp until Brandon Workman gave up a game-tying home run in the eighth. Dempster hopefully won’t lose hair or sleep over the erasure of the win. Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli shave their pates but sport full beards; perhaps Dempster should join their hair club.

Koji Uehara notched the win instead and added his name to the Red Sox record books. He surpassed Ellis Kinder’s 1952 record of 32 consecutive batters retired. Uehara will look to add to total of 34 hitters.

Game 147: September 11, 2013 ∙ 10 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
7 H: Franklin Morales (3)
BS: Brandon Workman (1)
W: Koji Uehara (4-0)
2B: Shane Victorino (25), Mike Napoli (36), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (4)
HR: Mike Carp (9)
Tampa Bay Rays
3 L: Joel Peralta (2-7)
2B: Evan Longoria – 2 (34), Yunel Escobar (25), David DeJesus (23)
HR: James Loney (12)

September 11, 2013

Priced Out

Jonny Gomes yanked on his beard when he singled in Mike Napoli in the fifth inning.

Napoli had just broken up David Price’s perfect game with a double that Desmond Jennings could have caught but let slip out of his glove when he collided with the wall. Gomes, who has crashed against the rusty nails and metal of the Green Monster and didn’t drop the ball, was unimpressed.

The burgeoning facial hair has been this team’s hallmark. Everyone who sports one gets immediately attains a menacing mien.

Okay, perhaps not everyone.

What Clay Buchholz lacked in facial hair he made up for in pitching. He was limited to 75-80 pitches, but his stuff was good enough to hold the Rays scoreless. He handed it off to the bullpen in the sixth and the trio of Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara kept Tampa Bay off the board. The relief corps did this despite the most uncomfortable bullpen benches in the majors.

Derek Lowe accompanied Don Orsillo in the booth. The former pitcher did pretty well for his first time as a color commentator. He adorably said, “My favorite Red Sox player is whoever wears my old number.” He’s even growing out a beard to feel a part of this team. Patchy beards on Red Sox pitchers seems to be a pattern. They need to contact Brian Wilson for tips.

This fist bump makes me feel like I can start broaching the subject of magic numbers, but then memories of 2011 return.

Game 146: September 10, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Clay Buchholz (10-0)
H: Craig Breslow (13), Junichi Tazawa (24)
S: Koji Uehara (19)
2B: Mike Napoli (35)
Tampa Bay Rays
0 W: David Price (8-8)
2B: Yunel Escobar (24)

September 10, 2013

Wild Pitch Win

Daniel Nava was the recipient of a throw behind in the first inning. The tactic seemed to have worked as Nava had an 0-for-5 showing with four left on base.

Hiroki Kuroda was smart to have taken Nava out of the game. As the Heat Zone shows, Nava is a good bad pitch hitter. I don’t recall if Dennis Eckersley has a slang term for that type of batter, but Don Orsillo’s partner for the game Dan Petry didn’t.

Mariano Rivera marveled at how the short porch helped Will Middlebrooks tie the game in the ninth. The circuit clout helped Middlebrooks earn co-player of the week for the American League. He shared the honor with Mike Napoli.

Brandon Workman was pressed into service in the ninth with the score 3-3. It was a great way to pressure test the rookie, and he came up wanting. After striking out Brett Gardner he allowed Ichiro Suzuki to single. Suzuki swiped second and then advanced to third on Vernon Wells’s fly ball out to right. Workman airmailed his first pitch to Alfonso Soriano and the newly-returned Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t stop the ball from reaching the backstop.

It goes down in the “W” column for the Yankees, but it seems rather pathetic to be so happy about a victory that didn’t put them any closer to a postseason berth.

The greater concern for the Red Sox wasn’t a single disappointing win but the absence of Jacoby Ellsbury from the leadoff spot. While Nava has his talents no one can deny Ellsbury’s pivotal role in the lineup. He has a compression fracture of the navicular bone but John Farrell thinks the center fielder can return before the end of the regular season. Perhaps the low run support is indicative of Jon Lester being the new John Lackey rather than the lack of a superlative leadoff hitter.

Game 145: September 8, 2013
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Brandon Workman (5-3)
2B: David Ortiz – 2 (33), Mike Carp (16)
HR: Will Middlebrooks (15)
WinNew York Yankees
4 H: Shawn Kelly (10)
BS, W: Mariano Rivera (7, 5-2)
2B: Mark Reynolds (13), Robinson Cano (32)

September 8, 2013

Short Circuit

Xander Bogaerts clouted his first home as major leaguer in the top of the fifth. He drove in his fellow rookie Jackie Bradley, Jr., who had reached on an eight-pitch base on balls. Both these players were born in the early 1990s.

This Red Sox team has such great affection between players that they didn’t give Bogaerts the silent treatment on his home run. I hope that Ryan Dempster taught him how to call Yankee Stadium the Toilet, so that Bogaerts could ask in his native tongue Papiemento, “Unda e baño ta?”

Tim McCarver was disgusted by the Red Sox players’ beard-pulling. He commented on Boston’s scruffy appearance and how it contrasted with the Yankees’ clean-shaven look. I like comparing 87-57 to 75-67.

On the other side of the ball the Yankees started Derek Jeter at shortstop and had him batting in the two hole. The Yankee captain could barely field his position and his .190/.288/.254 certainly does not warrant a slot so high in the lineup. He had a CT scan of his left ankle but the results were negative. Just like the results on the field.

It used to be Red Sox fans that envied the young talents that the Tampa Bay Rays cultivated. How we looked at Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings must be how Yankee fans gaze upon Bogaerts and Bradley.

John Lackey got more run support in this game than he had in his previous five starts. Lackey’s line was far from clean: 5⅔ innings, 7 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts. He wasn’t helped by Matt Thornton’s inability to get Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano out, but many pitchers have that shortcoming. Thornton induced a fly ball out off Curtis Granderson’s bat, but not after two earned runs had been tacked on to Lackey’s totals.

Drake Britton’s appearance in the eighth also sparked a rally. J.R. Murphy led off with a single and Brett Gardner walked, allowing Mark Reynolds to drive them both in with a scorcher down the left field line.

John Farrell probably wanted to avoid using two of most trusted (and therefore overused) arms, but his bend but not break strategy didn’t accommodate a 13-9 margin. Junichi Tazawa took over from Britton in the eighth and passed the baton to Craig Breslow with two outs remaining in the ninth.

Game 144: September 7, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
13 W: John Lackey (9-12)
H: Junichi Tazawa (23)
2B: David Ortiz (31), Xander Bogaerts (1), Ryan Lavarnway (7), Shane Victorino (24), Dustin Pedroia (38)
HR: Mike Napoli – 2 (21), Jonny Gomes (12), Bogaerts (1)
New York Yankees
9 L: David Huff (2-1)
2B: Eduardo Nunez (14), Ichiro Suzuki (15), Brett Gardner (32), Mark Reynolds (12)

September 7, 2013

Biting the Big Apple

These sign contest winners summarize Red Sox fans’ feelings about defeating the Bronx Bombers (who have been bombing in an entirely different sense) on their home field. In the second time in as many nights the Yankees snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The local nine went into the seventh frame with an 8-3 lead. Phil Hughes was tapped to hold Andy Pettitte’s lead but the Red Sox loaded the bases against him. With ducks on the pond and one out Dustin Pedroia clubbed the ball to Alex Rodriguez. Mark Reynolds couldn’t pick Rodriguez’s throw out of the dirt and David Ross scored.

With the score 8-4 David Ortiz worked the count full against Boone Logan but was called out by home plate umpire Joe West. Ortiz and West had a slight difference of opinion on the matter of the called strike.

Mike Napoli clouted the game-tying grand slam that was inches away from being either being caught by Ichiro Suzuki or ricocheting around the field in play. It’s a shame the Yankee Stadium public address system doesn’t play the Westminster Quarters for visitors’ four-baggers.

The Red Sox dugout was full of smiles and facial hair. The clubhouse atmosphere is free of the vitriol of last season. Winning is the main catalyst for the change in chemistry, but the retooling of the lineup and the reinvigoration of the rotation enabled the winning.

Who would have thought the poster boy for this season’s success would be John Lackey. Lackey hopes that the Red Sox batters saved some those runs for his Saturday start.

So does Koji Uehara, who could do with some rest before the postseason. He is perfect through his last 9 innings, sitting 27 batters consecutively.

Game 143: September 6, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
12 W: Brandon Workman (5-2)
2B: Mike Napoli (34), Dustin Pedroia (37)
HR: Will Middlebrooks (14), Mike Napoli (19), Shane Victorino (14)
New York Yankees
8 BS: Boone Logan (3)
L: Preston Claiborne (0-2)
2B: Robinson Cano (33)
3B: Eduardo Nunez (4)
HR: Alfonso Soriano (30)

September 6, 2013

The Improbable Dream

Jake Peavy had a mishap pursuing Brett Gardner’s bunted ball in the third. He probably should have let Ryan Lavarnway try to field it, but Peavy is the kind of player that wants to contribute as much as possible.

Because of this spirit John Farrell tends to leave Peavy in situations that usually would have him gesturing to the bullpen. Farrell stuck with Peavy in the seventh and didn’t call on a reliever until the starter had allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base.

Perhaps Farrell was trying to rest his taxed bullpen. Junichi Tazawa had done so well in his set-up role and there were so many injuries that he was one of Farrell’s favorites. But last night he and Matt Thornton allowed all their inherited runners to score. Peavy was erased from the decision when the Yankees took the lead, 8-7.

It was a comeback so detestable that even replaying Alex Rodriguez’s stumble on his fourth-inning double didn’t inspire a smile.

Unlike Tazawa, David Robertson pitched a perfect frame in the eighth. Mariano Rivera was one out away from adding another treasured memory to Mariano Rivera’s retirement tour scrapbook in the ninth. He dispatched David Ortiz and Daniel Nava and got to a full count against Mike Napoli.

The hirsute hitter dropped a single into right-center. Quintin Berry pinch ran for Napoli and swiped second as Stephen Drew watched a cutter out of Rivera’s hand. Austin Romine threw badly across the diamond and Berry scrambled to third. Drew got enough of Rivera’s second pitch to bloop it into shallow right, enough for Berry to practice his Dave Roberts impersonation.

Alfonso Soriano was so envious of Berry’s quickness he tried to replicate the speedster’s thefts in the bottom of the ninth. Soriano was the victim of a 1-5-4 rundown with Curtis Granderson in the box. Granderson struck out right after the gaffe.

Not to be outdone by Berry, Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the tenth and stole the keystone sack with Shane Victorino at the dish. Victorino again proved his value to Boston with a clutch RBI single to right. If Romine hadn’t dropped Ichiro Suzuki’s throw there might be one more game used as proof that the Yankees were reinvigorated since Rodriguez’s plunking.

But with Ellsbury’s successful slide the Red Sox helped to keep the Yankees away from the postseason.

Game 142: September 5, 2013 ∙ 10 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
9 BS: Junichi Tazawa (8)
W: Craig Breslow (5-2)
S: Koji Uehara (18)
2B: Jacoby Ellsbury (31), Daniel Nava (26)
HR: Will Middlebrooks (13), Shane Victorino (13)
New York Yankees
8 H: David Robertson (32)
BS: Mariano Rivera (6)
L: Joba Chamberlain (2-1)
2B: Robinson Cano (30), Alex Rodriguez – 2 (5), Curtis Granderson (9)

September 5, 2013

Dos Mil

David Ortiz’s 2,000 career hit was bookended by home runs. The double was laced to dead center and one-hopped Fenway’s center field wall. It drove in newcomer Quintin Berry and increased the local nine’s lead to 11-4.

Perhaps there would have been more majesty in a home run marking the milestone, but there is poetry in this hit. Ortiz sent it straight and true to center and his path ended at the middle of the basepaths. Through many seasons of triumph and turmoil Big Papi has been a steadying force. At the beginning of his career he was second fiddle to Manny Ramirez, who had more pop.

But when Ramirez outwore his welcome Ortiz became the ceaselessly cheerful face of the franchise. He became a star, but unlike others he didn’t think himself greater than the whole.

Some say designated hitters aren’t athletes. Here is evidence (as if you needed it) that pitchers are far from the most physically gifted specimens on the field. Ryan Dempster scampered after Don Kelly’s bleeder and nearly bloodied himself gathering it and firing it across the infield.

Koji Uehara tried to catch Daniel Nava’s two-run homer in the sixth. Between trying to shag his team’s circuit clouts during the game and his enthusiastic post-game celebrations I fear a Bill Grammatica-like injury for the Red Sox closer.

I’m not sure if Boston “going bridge” eight times was as shocking as Stephen Drew’s smile. He must have been in on Dempster’s latest prank: have the team score double digits while he walked around the dugout and commenting loudly near John Lackey about all the awesome run support.

I’m hoping for more distance between the Red Sox and the Rays if only to give John Farrell an ironclad reason to rest Shane Victorino. When he’s not trying to beat Don Baylor’s hit by pitch record he’s running into the fences, charging around the bases, and leaping into the stands.

During the rout Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley displayed their extensively edited scorecards. It made me think about Jerry Remy. I hope this game, this season has given him joy.

Game 141: September 4, 2013
Detroit Tigers
4 L: Rick Porcello (11-8)
2B: Omar Infante (20)
HR: Prince Fielder (22)
WinBoston Red Sox
20 W: Ryan Dempster (8-9)
2B: Mike Napoli (33), David Ortiz (30), Stephen Drew (24), Will Middlebrooks (17)
HR: Drew (12), Jacoby Ellsbury (8), Ortiz – 2 (26), Middlebrooks (12), Daniel Nava (11), Ryan Lavarnway (1), Napoli (18)

September 4, 2013

Statement Game

It seemed like Jon Lester was out to prove something. Perhaps it was that he could win a game with very little run support (take that, Lackey). Or that he could go toe-to-toe with a Cy Young candidate and stop him from notching his 20th victory (I’m looking at you, Max Scherzer, and I have eyes the same color). Maybe even show people that they needn’t pine for a number one starter because they have one in the rotation (Clay is injured; I beat cancer).

Scherzer held the Red Sox scoreless until the fifth inning when Will Middlebrooks’s gutshot single plated Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew. The Tigers ace pitched so well Shane Victorino figured he might as well switch to the left side in the seventh to see if he could get a hit from the other side of the plate. Victorino popped out to the catcher with two runners on to end the frame.

Both teams were desperate for runs. In the third Tom Brookens sent Brayan Pena home on Jose Iglesias’s frozen rope to center. David Ross easily tagged Pena out, staunching the score that would have been the difference between a loss and extra innings.

These two gentlemen fighting over Drew’s ground-rule double showed more manners than the infamous pizza thrower. For some reason this boorish fan got screen time. I think NESN can choose its sideline interviewees better than that.

The Red Sox beat one of the best teams in the majors, we should be making love, not war. Ryan Dempster and Ross have the right idea.

Game 140: September 3, 2013
Detroit Tigers
1 L: Max Scherzer (19-2)
2B: Austin Jackson (24), Jose Iglesias (15)
3B: Andy Dirks (2)
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Jon Lester (13-8)
H: Brandon Workman (1), Craig Breslow (12), Junichi Tazawa (22)
S: Koji Uehara (17)
2B: Stephen Drew (23)

September 3, 2013

You’re a Goodman

The Red Sox were inches away scoring a run. Dustin Pedroia missed a home run in the bottom of the eighth, settling for a double. It was one of the few bright spots in Boston’s scoreless outing. Doug Fister, Phil Coke, Bruce Rondon (a chunky fellow who should be nicknamed Round One), and Jose Veras blanked the Red Sox, an unusual occurrence for the team with the second-most runs in the majors. The team with the most? The Detroit Tigers, of course.

Shane Victorino followed Pedroia’s lead and displayed his red socks with pride.

As did Mike Napoli.

Thankfully no one thought to mimic Don Orsillo’s fashion statement. People thought Warren Sapp gave such a tearful speech during his Hall of Fame induction because of his deeply felt emotions, but actually it was because he had to wear a similar yellow jacket.

Someone that doesn’t change her team colors with the ever-evolving fashion trends is Viola Goodman. Jenny Dell interviewed Goodman, who celebrated her 101st birthday at Fenway Park. It was only her second time at the lyric little bandbox even though it was opened just five months before she was born.

Game 139: September 2, 2013
WinDetroit Tigers
3 W: Doug Fister (12-7)
H: Phil Coke (3), Bruce Rondon (4)
S: Jose Veras (21)
2B: Austin Jackson (23), Jose Iglesias (14), Prince Fielder (30)
3B: Andy Dirks (2)
Boston Red Sox
0 L: John Lackey (8-12)
2B: Daniel Nava – 2 (25), Dustin Pedroia (36)

September 2, 2013

Workman’s Comp

Felix Doubront left the with just 3⅔ innings under his belt. The southpaw pitched well until the fourth where he got into trouble with the middle of the White Sox order; Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko singled and Avisail Garcia walked to load the bases. When Chicago scored four runs and the nine-hole hitter Tyler Flowers singled John Farrell finally pulled the starter.

Brandon Workman took over and earned a win with just 1⅓ innings toeing the rubber. Farrell mixed the order of his relievers with Junichi Tazawa taking over for Franklin Morales with a runner on and one out in the seventh. Craig Breslow pitched in the eighth and surrendered a solo home run to Flowers.

Dustin Pedroia’s togs provided visual reinforcement of his team’s name. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk, so perhaps the second baseman will go with his new look to support his superstitions.

As part of September roster expansion the Red Sox added Quintin Berry, Rubby De La Rosa, Ryan Lavarnway, and Brandon Snyder. To make room on the roster Daniel Bard was designated for assignment. It is amazing to see the formerly heralded reliever fall so far from the ranks of the elite. He had to prove he was a starter after failing in the role in the minors and the dysfunctional Red Sox management allowed him to play the pitching dilettante. Now he may not have a job in the majors again, let alone start.

Robin Ventura, Kenny Williams, and Rick Hahn must hope that the miscommunication between Alejandro De Aza and Avisail Garcia is not indicative of team dissension. For the second time this series the two outfielders nearly collided on what would be a routine play for most teams.

Ventura came out to argue Paul Nauert’s call at third that Conor Gillaspie dropped Pedroia’s stinger. Gillaspie seemed to have dropped the ball in an attempt to double up Jacoby Ellsbury at third, not on the initial catch. Ventura began the conversation amicably enough but after a certain point it was clear he hoped to get thrown out of the game. Crew chief Dana DeMuth bestowed him the honor but the tossing did not propel the White Sox to victory.

Game 138: September 1, 2013
Chicago White Sox
6 L: Andrew Rienzo (1-1)
2B: Dayan Vicieco (9)
HR: Tyler Flowers (10)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Brandon Workman (4-2)
H: Franklin Morales (2), Junichi Tazawa (21), Craig Breslow (11)
S: Koji Uehara (16)
2B: David Ortiz (29)
HR: Stephen Drew (11)

September 1, 2013

Sox Success

Jake Peavy doesn’t have the same opportunities as position players to get his uniform dirty, so he does the best he can with the rosin bag. The starter went seven innings with five hits, two earned runs, one base on balls, and four strikeouts. It was the first time he faced one of his former teams. He didn’t seem any more fired up than usual, although it may not be humanly possible for someone to get more impassioned than Peavy on a night he starts.

David Ross has worked his way back from concussions and even from the eight-hole the backstop has contributed. He went 2-for-3 and could have gone 3-for-3 had Conor Gillaspie not robbed him of an extra base hit in the bottom of the fifth. The Red Sox players have taken to growing out their facial hair, and Ross’s beard is weird.

We shouldn’t judge people by their appearance, however. If we did Don Orsillo would be hosting “Family Feud” or portraying Harry Dunne.

Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes are neck and neck in beard length. Napoli seems to have turned it around since being dropped in the order and was a productive 2-for-4 in the five slot and 1-for-1 in photobomb opportunities.

He really needs to be taught not to slide head-first. On this close play in the third frame he managed to double with two down and was doubled in by Gomes. One situation where a runner should try to slide that way is when a defender is attempting to tag high. Napoli could have tried to dive for the first base sack in the eighth when he was tagged by Paul Konerko to complete a double play.

Xander Bogaerts had his best game in the majors so far: 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, and a run batted in. He grounded into a double play in the seventh after watching Ross walk on four straight balls, but he also worked a walk in the second after falling behind 0-2. He may warrant a higher position in the batting order and a lower number than 72 soon.

Game 137: August 31, 2013
Chicago White Sox
2 L: John Danks (4-11)
No extra base hits
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Jake Peavy (11-5)
S: Koji Uehara (15)
2B: David Ross (4), Mike Napoli (32), Jonny Gomes (16), Jacoby Ellsbury (30)

« Top « Home » Category ListingMonthly Archive


RSS Feed



  • Visitors to EE since November 2004
  • Boston Phoenix Best of ’06
    Phoenix Best
  • Blog contents, images, and design
    © 2004-2015 by Joanna J.M. Hicks.
    All Rights Reserved.
    Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.