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Home » April 2014 Game CommentsApril 2014 » Boston Stronger

Boston Stronger

On the eve of Patriots’ Day the Red Sox held a ceremony for the Boston Marathon. Families of the victims, survivors, and first responders gathered while a bagpipe orchestra played. Canvases from 50 states paying tribute to the marathon ringed the field.

By the afternoon one Boston team was celebrating. The Bruins won the second game of the first round of the playoffs against Detroit 4-1. Justin Florek, Reilly Smith, Milan Lucic, and Zdeno Chara scored goals while Jarome Iginla and Torey Krug had two assists each. In a reversal of David against Goliath, Brendan Smith tried to start a fight with Chara at the end of the first period. Referees intervened, not wanting to see more red on the Detroit player’s uniform.

If the Red Sox were to be victorious they would have to overcome an early deficit. Jake Peavy was roughed up in the first inning to the tune of a Nelson Cruz home run, a free pass to Chris Davis, consecutive singles to Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, and a sac fly for J.J. Hardy. Baltimore scored runs in the fifth and sixth. Jones’s line drive RBI single to Jonny Gomes in left field knocked Peavy out of the game.

No one more than Gomes illustrates the connection between the Red Sox and the community. It was fitting that his three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth breathed life back into Fenway Park.

Another life line was extended to the local nine in a surprising way. The season thus far has frustrated John Farrell’s attempts to make sense of the new rules and replay system. But his squad benefitted from the transfer rule.

In Official Rules: 2.00 Definition of Terms, the following defines a catch:

A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.

In the seventh Brock Holt came in hard at Ryan Flaherty at second base. Grady Sizemore had tapped the ball to Zach Britton, who pivoted and fired to Flaherty. Paul Schrieber ruled that Flaherty didn’t hold the ball long enough. Holt was safe at second when Flaherty dropped the ball on the transfer, and Sizemore was safe at first.

Middle infielders used to have the benefit of the neighborhood play where they didn’t have to stay on the keystone sack to get the first out of a double play. Now they have to prove “secure possession,” holding “the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.” Buck Showalter came out to discuss the ruling but didn’t challenge the call. The Red Sox tied the game in the seventh inning with an RBI single off David Ortiz’s bat and Jonathan Schoop’s throwing error.

Pedroia was determined to break the tie when his turn came up in the ninth inning. He missed a home run by inches. A few enthusiastic fans in the Monster seats reached into the field of play and he had to be satisfied with a ground-rule double.

Along with Farrell’s failed challenges another recurring theme is close-up views of Napoli in agony. Here he is seconds before a pitch ricocheted off his left kneecap. The first baseman writhed in pain for a few moments but, Napoli being Napoli, he recovered quickly. After running up and down the first base line a few times to test his knee he stayed in the game.

Mike Carp pinch hit for Gomes after Napoli’s at bat. With the bases loaded he made solid contact, sending a liner to shallow left field. David Lough caught the ball but failed to throw it in the general vicinity of Wieters. Pedroia resembled Jeff Suppan on the basepaths for a second but finally dashed home for the winning run.

Boston strong, indeed.

Game 19: April 20, 2014
Baltimore Orioles
5 H: Zach Britton (2)
BS: Evan Meek (1)
L: Brian Matusz (1-1)
2B: David Lough (1), Ryan Flaherty (3), Adam Jones (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Edward Mujica (1-1)
2B: Jonny Gomes (2), Dustin Pedroia (6)
HR: Gomes (2)

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