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Home » Category Listing » August 2014 Game Comments

September 1, 2014

Artful Clay

Clay Buchholz returned to his heyday on Sunday. He twirled all nine innings and held the Rays to three hits. Buchholz didn’t allow anyone to reach on base on balls and struck out six. In the seventh inning he made a leaping grab of the ball off of James Loney’s bat to end the frame.

This was the dominance that Buchholz was capable of at his best. Jon Lester has left the door open for a return to the Red Sox but Ben Cherington may not offer him the contract length he feels he deserves. If so, Buchholz seems poised to anchor the rotation for the 2015 if he can reproduce this pitching performance.

Kevin Kiermaier displayed Jackie Bradley, Jr.-like qualities in center field.

The center fielder robbed Daniel Nava of a hit in the sixth inning. The ball seemed destined to slice away from Kiermaier’s glove but he made the last second adjustment to reel it in.

Mookie Betts hasn’t matched Bradley’s defensive prowess in center but he has overshadowed his predecessor’s offensive production. With Dustin Pedroia on the bench with a concussion Betts has moved up into the two-hole. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a run batted in.

Game 136: August 31, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: Clay Buchholz (6-8)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (23), Mookie Betts (5)
Tampa Bay Rays
0 L: Alex Cobb (9-7)
2B: Matt Joyce (23)

August 30, 2014

Archer Vice

Chris Archer lasted only four innings. Last night he had just three opportunities to showboat after striking out Red Sox batters. Archer allowed 10 hits and 7 earned runs. In the first inning Archer couldn’t field Mookie Betts’s comebacker, which loaded the bases. It wouldn’t be the worst situation for Archer in this game with the bases jammed.

The Red Sox batted around in both the first and second inning, the first time since the second game of a doubleheader on August 14, 1962. Betts came up with ducks on the pond and sent the ball over the left field fences for his first major league grand slam.

The rookie converted outfielder provided the fireworks rather than any incidents between Archer and David Ortiz. The designated hitter went 1-for-5 and was not hit by a pitch. Archer hit Daniel Nava with a slider in the second inning but it was with a full count, two men on, and two men out. That set the stage for Betts’s blast.

Carlos Rivero was in the minor leagues for nine years before setting foot on a major league field. Unfortunately that field was Tropicana, but to Rivero even the most ramshackle of major league stadiums must seem like Wrigley Field. He pinch hit for Will Middlebrooks in the ninth inning and worked a walk.

U2 sang:

Walk on
Walk on

Hard to know what it is
If you never had one

Soon there’ll be so many September call-ups trying to make the majors their home.

Game 134: August 29, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Anthony Ranaudo (3-0)
2B: Yoenis Cespedes (31)
HR: Mookie Betts (3)
Tampa Bay Rays
4 L: Chris Archer (8-7)
2B: Kevin Kiermaier (14)
HR: Brandon Guyer (3)

August 28, 2014

Dance Along the Edge

What happened? A good question to ask of this game. Actually, not just this game, but the entire season.

In the middle game of the series the Red Sox had five extra base hits, including three home runs. Even with David Ortiz back in the lineup and where, other than Fenway, he has hit the most home runs in his career (37) Boston’s offense limped out of the series finale with a loss. Ortiz was responsible for one of the two runs the visitors scored: a run on his looping single to right in the sixth. The other run came when Brock Holt scored on a wild pitch to Mike Napoli.

Napoli didn’t replicate his 451-foot bomb. A helpful fan provided a visual aid for the slugger.

The only heights anyone representing the 617 attained were first base coach Arnie Beyeler and Gary Striewski when they did the EdgeWalk. Here’s Beyeler making shaka almost as good as a local like Shane Victorino. He learned it from his time as coach of the West Oahu CaneFires in the now sadly defunct Hawaii Winter League.

Edwin Escobar made his major league debut in the eighth and had a perfect frame. It included inducing a fly ball out off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. Escobar and Heath Hembree came to Boston by way of the Jake Peavy trade. With September call-ups days away many pitchers will be vying for a spot on 2015’s roster. Escobar’s debut was a small but successful step to staying in the show.

Game 133: August 27, 2014
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Tommy Layne (1-1)
BS: Junichi Tazawa (5)
No extra base hits
WinToronto Blue Jays
5 W: Marcus Stroman (8-5)
S: Brett Cecil (5)
2B: Edwin Encarnacion (24), Kevin Pillar (4)
HR: Jose Bautista (26), Danny Valencia (3)

The Numbers All Go to Eleven

When Brock Holt strikes out he still scores because he’s Brock Holt.

Holt scored on Dustin Pedroia’s first-inning home run. Pedroia’s moonshot was impressive as it reached the second deck but it wasn’t quite far enough to be the longest four-bagger of the evening.

The umpires got to test their interpretation of rule 7.13 early in the game. Will Middlebrooks arced the ball over Kevin Pillar’s head to the center field wall. Mike Napoli scored easily from second base. Allen Craig tried to follow him but was out at home. The officiating crew took a look at the play to ensure that Josh Thole didn’t block the plate before he had the ball and ruled that he didn’t. I think it’s because whenever Craig gets near any defender he seems to crumple. He must have watched a lot of Arjen Robben during the World Cup.

Napoli got hit in the helmet by R.A. Dickey in the fifth inning. Dickey’s knuckler is considerably slower than the Felix Hernandez change-up that found Xander Bogaerts’s earflap. Like Bogaerts, Napoli stayed in the game.

It was good that he could because he was a pivotal part of the Red Sox’s offensive onslaught in the eleventh inning. His three-run home run made the score 9-4.

Napoli’s home run found Manny Ramirez territory in left field. It bounced off chairs above Carlos Delgado’s name in the Level of Excellence.

Craig enjoyed his first circuit clout as a Red Sox player, but his didn’t reach the seats. It slipped behind the wall in left field to plate Daniel Nava and push the score to 11-4

At the time the home runs seemed like gilding the lily but Dioner Navarro and Danny Valencia’s doubles in the bottom of the 11th plated three runs. Without Napoli’s homer the local nine would have celebrated a walk-off win and secured a winning record.

Nothing like delivering a debilitating loss to a divisional foe.

Game 132: August 26, 2014 ∙ 11 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
11 W: Junichi Tazawa (3-3)
2B: Will Middlebrooks (8), Daniel Nava (15)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (7), Mike Napoli (16), Allen Craig (8)
Toronto Blue Jays
7 L: Casey Janssen (3-2)
2B: Jose Reyes (29), Adam Lind – 2 (19), Munenori Kawasaki (6), Kevin Pillar (4), Dioner Navarro (16), Danny Valencia (11)
HR: Jose Bautista (25)

August 26, 2014

Don’t Call It a Comeback

I wouldn’t have guessed a lineup without David Ortiz could manage to win a game. The Red Sox designated hitter is day-to-day because of a ball he fouled off his right foot on Sunday. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia made up for Ortiz’s production with a home run each.

Someone that was supposed to provide power, Allen Craig, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. But he does love the island I grew up on, so I can overlook his lack of production. For now.

John Farrell kept Clay Buchholz on the mound one inning too long. Up until the ninth frame Buchholz had allowed two hits; he left the game with two more hits and a walk added to his line. Koji Uehara induced an RBI ground out off Adam Lind’s bat but he then surrendered and two-run double to Edwin Encarnacion.

Sometimes this team just can’t get out of its own way. Pedroia collided with Brock Holt when they both pursued Jose Reyes’s batted ball in the ninth. This was the hit that allowed the Blue Jays to tie the score 3-3 and force the game into extra innings.

But by the 10th Holt recovered enough to single. He stole second and third bases before being driven in by Yoenis Cespedes.

Game 131: August 25, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
WinBoston Red Sox
4 BS, W: Koji Uehara (4, 6-4)
S: Craig Breslow (1)
HR: Mookie Betts (2), Dustin Pedroia (6)
Toronto Blue Jays
3 L: Aaron Sanchez (2-1)
2B: Edwin Encarnacion (23)

August 25, 2014


The Red Sox almost averted a loss yesterday but succumbed when Tommy Layne and Edward Mujica each surrendered a run in the last two innings. At least Boston doubled their scoring in this game compared to the first two contests.

The fans in the stands improved from the prior games, too. This kid’s quick-acting father stopped his child from interfering with the ball in play.

In the first inning Will Middlebrooks singled to right field with the bases loaded and two out. Yoenis Cespedes scored and Allen Craig appeared safe at third base but was called out by Angel Hernandez. Replay showed that Craig got his foot in safely. Middlebrooks and Craig teamed up for another controversial play at third, but this one wasn’t as intriguing as the obstruction call in the World Series.

How hard is it for a guy to avoid a pie to face from a person in a mascot costume with low visibility? If that guy’s name is Gary Striewski’s, it’s pretty difficult.

Wally smashing a pie into Striewski’s face sums up the Red Sox performance in the past two series against AL West teams. The Angels swept Boston and passed Oakland for the division lead and the Mariners did the same to keep pace with the Athletics for the wild card spot.

Sorry, Red Sox West. The Red Sox blew their chance at playing spoiler to help all the former crimson hose players now wearing white shoes.

Game 130: August 24, 2014
WinSeattle Mariners
8 W: Dominic Leone (7-2)
H: Joe Beimel (9), Danny Farquhar (11), Charlie Furbush (16), Tom Wilhelmsen (7)
S: Fernando Rodney (38)
2B: Dustin Ackley (26), Logan Morrison (12), Brad Miller (10)
3B: Ackley (3)
Boston Red Sox
6 L: Allen Webster (3-2)
2B: Yoenis Cespedes (30), Will Middlebrooks (7), Allen Craig (19), Kelly Johnson (10)

August 24, 2014

Fiasco in the Fourth

The Red Sox built an early lead by scoring in each one of the first three innings. Brandon Workman had a disastrous fourth inning that saw the Mariners bat around and score seven runs. After Seattle pulled ahead Boston loaded the bases in the bottom half of the frame but didn’t capitalize on the opportunity.

Brandon Workman was optioned to Pawtucket today and Heath Hembree took his place on the roster. He has lost all of his eight starts since June 27. He is the pitching equivalent of Jackie Bradley, Jr.; a young talent that just can’t consistently be successful in the majors.

This youth displayed his skills in the first inning.

His reaction to interfering with a ball in play was similar to Red Sox fans’ reactions to this homestand as a whole: head in hands in disbelief.

From the “there’s a first time for everything” department comes David Ross’s first ejection ever. Ross took issue with first base umpire Vic Carapazza’s ruling that he went around when he tried to check swing in the eighth inning. He thought he was awarded first base on a walk but then Carapazza gestured at him to take a seat in the dugout. It’s amazing to think that he had never been tossed before because as a catcher he has the potential to rile umpires manning home plate by standing up for his battery mates.

Runsey Castillo watched his first game at Fenway. He won’t be able to play on the team until he gets his work visa. Gordon Edes chronicled how the team courted Castillo in this article.

David Ortiz was hit on the arm with a pitch in the bottom of the sixth and Kelly Johnson hit for him in the ninth. This combined with Xander Bogaerts getting hit in the head, Yoenis Cespedes getting brushed back, and the Mariners batters feeling fairly invincible at the plate prompted a response from the Red Sox. Alex Wilson hit Robinson Cano in the seventh. The benches were warned but there were no other incidents in the game.

Game 129: August 23, 2014
WinSeattle Mariners
7 W: Tom Wilhelmsen (2-2)
2B: Chris Denorfia (11)
HR: Dustin Ackley (9)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Brandon Workman (1-8)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (32), David Ross (7), Mookie Betts (4)

August 23, 2014

Broken Fenway

The Red Sox seemed to have this game all tied up in a bow. Quite fitting as it was Bow Tie Night to benefit the Red Sox Foundation.

To say Koji Uehara had an off night would be an understatement. The Mariners mounted a five-run comeback in the ninth inning. All of the runs came with two outs.

Brock Holt almost put an end to the onslaught by snaring Dustin Ackley’s bloop single. It was an impossibly well-placed ball in shallow left field. Chris Denorfia and Austin Jackson scored to put Seattle ahead 4-3.

Cespedes’s stunning three-run homer was erased. Xander Bogaerts getting hit by a pitch to the earflap was for naught. Mookie Betts’s fourth inning heroics on Robinson Cano’s fly ball were forgotten.

In successful seasons Fenway was the place where the local nine would manufacture wins. This long homestand has been a slog rather than a success. These fans broke Fenway, and the team that plays in it is in similar disrepair.

Game 128: August 22, 2014
WinSeattle Mariners
5 W: Dominic Leone (6-2)
S: Fernando Rodney (37)
2B: Robinson Cano (29), Austin Jackson (29)
Boston Red Sox
3 H: Burke Badenhop (9), Tommy Layne (4)
BS, L: Koji Uehara (3, 5-4)
2B: David Ortiz (25), Daniel Nava (14)
HR: Yoenis Cespedes (21)

August 22, 2014

Cuba Libre

Sure, the Red Sox were swept by the Angels and are suffering through a five-game losing streak. They were nearly no-hit by Matt Shoemaker but for Will Middlebrooks’s double to the left field corner in the seventh inning, Boston’s only hit of the game.

In the sixth inning Mike Scioscia was ejected after he complained about Albert Pujols getting tossed. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher has rabbit ears almost as keen as Robert Griffin III’s to have been able to hear Pujols’s grousing.

This Fletcher is not to be confused with Depeche Mode’s keyboardist and founding member of the same name. The umpire Fletcher certainly enjoyed the silence after ridding of Scioscia.

Yoenis Cespedes made a patented assist in the first inning to end the frame and stop a run from scoring. The Angels played against Oakland a lot, right? They should be aware of Cespedes’s cannon, shouldn’t they?

Cespedes left the game in the third inning because of a medical emergency with one of his family members. Best wishes to Cespedes’s mother.

Other than Middlebrooks’s hit, Scioscia’s ejection, and Cespedes’s assist the only other on-field excitement for the Red Sox was Mookie Betts’s fourth inning defensive gem. The converted outfielder made a Jackie Bradley, Jr.-type catch of Erick Aybar’s fly ball to the warning track.

At the plate Betts is outperforming his predecessor. Betts’s statistics are .241/.293/.352 compared to Bradley’s .216/.288/.290. This spotty production is why the Red Sox acquired Cespedes and added Rusney Castillo to the mix as well.

The Red Sox awarded Castillo with the largest contract ever signed by Cuban player: $72.5 million for seven years. The 27-year old’s deal eclipses the six year, $68 million deal the White Sox gave Jose Abreu in total dollars.

No word if Dave Dombrowski, who kept Detroit in the running for the center fielder’s services, broke any chairs over Ben Cherington’s coup.

Game 127: August 21, 2014
WinLos Angeles Angels
2 W: Matt Shoemaker (12-4)
H: Mike Morin (9)
S: Jason Grilli (12)
2B: Josh Hamilton (19), Erick Aybar (25)
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Rubby De La Rosa (4-5)
2B: Will Middlebrooks (6)

August 21, 2014

Hobbled Halos

Garrett Richards crumpled to the earth attempting to beat Brock Holt to first base. The patellar tendon of Richards’s left knee experienced a catastrophic injury. He will undergo surgery next week that will have him out for six to ninth months.

The Angels have the best record in baseball but the loss of Richards will severely impact their rotation. Mike Scioscia’s team will have to bash rather than baffle their way into and through the playoffs.

Clay Buchholz pitched well until he allowed five runs in the sixth inning. John Farrell let him pitch the seventh frame and he induced a ground out and whiffed two. Granted, it was the bottom of the order, but perhaps it helped to restore more of Buchholz’s confidence.

More disappointingly he turned in the worst ALS ice bucket challenge yet.

David Ortiz singled in the first inning and had a chat with Albert Pujols at first base. Maybe they were throwing shade about Yasiel Puig or Fernando Rodney.

Ortiz clouted his 30th home run of the season in the third inning. He has 30 or more homers in eight seasons, tying him with Ted Williams for the franchise record.

Game 126: August 20, 2014
WinLos Angeles Angels
8 W: Cory Rasmus (3-1)
H: Fernando Salas (6)
2B: Josh Hamilton (18), Kole Calhoun (24)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Clay Buchholz (5-8)
2B: Yoenis Cespedes (28)
HR: David Ortiz (20)

August 20, 2014

Kole Saw

Right fielder Kole Calhoun has carved through the Red Sox pitchers in this series thus far. But his success hasn’t stopped at the plate. In the second inning he seismically shifted the outcome of last night’s game. The Red Sox had two runners on and two out with Brock Holt at the dish. Holt skyed the ball to right field on a path that would surely clear the Angels bullpen wall. Calhoun’s glove interrupted the ball’s flight and instead of the score being 4-0 in Boston’s favor the second inning ended with a slim 1-0 advantage to the local nine.

In the third inning Calhoun tied the game 1-1 by driving in Chris Iannetta.

The Red Sox pulled within a run in the fifth inning when Mike Napoli’s ground out plated Dustin Pedroia. Holt tied the game 3-3 in the next frame with a sacrifice fly to drive in Xander Bogaerts.

Providence-born Iannetta broke the tie in the ninth inning when Koji Uehara uncharacteristically gave up consecutive doubles to Brennan Boesch and the Angels backstop.

Pedroia questioned home plate umpire Tom Woodring in the ninth inning. Yoenis Cespedes had pinch hit for Christian Vazquez and came through with a single. Holt sac bunted him over and it was up to Pedroia to advance Cespedes. Pedroia felt he got a part of Huston Street’s pitch to him but Woodring said the second baseman whiffed.

The Red Sox didn’t help the Red Sox West out in Oakland, but they helped themselves by beating the New York Mets. That stopped a five-game slide. Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes accepted David Ortiz’s ice bucket challenge but no video has been posted yet.

Game 125: August 19, 2014
WinLos Angeles Angels
4 BS: Jason Grilli (5)
W: Joe Smith (5-1)
S: Huston Street (34)
2B: Chris Iannetta – 2 (21), Brennan Boesch (2)
3B: Mike Trout (6)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Koji Uehara (5-3)
2B: Mookie Betts (3)
HR: David Ortiz (29)

August 19, 2014

Law and Disorder

It’s a good thing Steve Horgan was on hand last night to celebrate his bobblehead because there were a few egregious plays on the field.

Junichi Tazawa had a rough eighth inning. He walked Chris Iannetta to start the frame and then Kole Calhoun doubled. Tazawa gathered himself to strike out Mike Trout in three pitches. John Farrell called for an intentional walk of Albert Pujols to enable the force at every base.

Howie Kendrick obligingly knocked the ball to Tazawa but the pitcher booted it. The reliever hurriedly tossed to Christian Vazquez in an attempt to get Iannetta out but his throw went awry. Calhoun also scored on the misplays. On the bright side for Tazawa, the two errors meant that the runs didn’t go toward his earned run average.

The Red Sox lost the game but Farrell won a challenge later in the eighth. Erick Aybar grounded to Dustin Pedroia who fired home. Vazquez tagged out Pujols easily but Mike Muchlinski missed the call.

Game 124: August 18, 2014
WinLos Angeles Angels
4 W: C.J. Wilson (10-8)
H: Mike Morin (8), Fernando Salas (5), Jason Grilli (8)
S: Kevin Jepsen (1)
2B: Mike Trout (34), Kole Calhoun (23)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Brandon Workman (1-7)
2B: David Ortiz (24)

August 17, 2014

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

The contested neighborhood play that wasn’t in the second inning inspired this parody of the classic song from “Sesame Street.”

Who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood, in your neighborhood
Say! Who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

Well, I play on the field, but not around the diamond. I try to position myself so that I can catch balls that the batter hits high and far away.

I know who you are! You’re an outfielder!

(singing) That’s right! Oh, a left fielder plays the balls off the wall
But this one should be caught and not fall
He also can throw hard and get an out
And when he’s at the dish he can clout

How about this person? Can you give a few hints about you do?

I get to play in the dirt most of the time. When you play in my position you have to be able to move quickly left or right and not let the ball get past you. There are exceptions if you are close to retirement, though.

You definitely are a shortstop!

(singing) Yep! A shortstop plays in the hole
And stops the ball before it gets on a roll
But he has to make sure his foot is on the bag
Or he might make his manager’s day a drag

This looks like a fun job? I wonder what this kindly gentleman does?

Well, I can sure as hell tell you one thing, I can do this job and the job of this guy in black one hundred times better than he does. That black must be symbolic of the black hole that is sucking any sort of sound judgment that attempts to escape its immense gravity.

Hmm, this is a tough one. But I think you just might be a major league manager!

(singing) Damn straight I am! A manager is right all the time
The way this ump calls the game is a crime
When I try to prove a point I get thrown
And now I watch the game alone

Game 123: August 17, 2014
WinHouston Astros
8 W: Collin McHugh (6-9)
HR: Jose Altuve (6), Dexter Fowler (7), Jon Singleton (11)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Joe Kelly (2-3)
2B: Daniel Nava (13)

The World According to Papi

I’m thinking the statue that is eventually erected in honor of David Ortiz should look like this.

Although the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge stance does have its appeal, too.

Ortiz had a spectacular showing in what ended up as a three-run victory against the Astros. Ortiz smacked his 400th home run in a Red Sox uniform in the third inning. He jolted another one in the fifth inning to bring his team within a run of the visitors. For good measure Ortiz drove in two runs in the bottom of the eighth with an opposite-field double.

The Red Sox stormed back after Ortiz’s second four-bagger. Daniel Nava knocked in Yoenis Cespedes with a line drive to left to tie the game 6-6. Jackie Bradley, Jr. made solid contact on a fly ball to deep center field to sacrifice in Mike Napoli for the lead.

Cespedes seemed to be at ease in Fenway but you can tell he is sometimes bewildered by the lack of foul territory in Boston’s lyric bandbox. In the sixth inning Robbie Grossman sent the ball to the left field line and Cespedes nearly overran it. The fielder had to reach back behind him to make the grab and avoid the door under the left field stands. In Oakland he would have had miles more to run down the ball.

Koji Uehara pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. Perhaps it was fatigue or perhaps a state of relaxation because of the large lead but Uehara was not his surgical self. He gave up a two-out home run to Jason Castro and then a single to Jon Singleton. Uehara then hit Jake Marisnick, just his second hit batsman in his entire major league career.

After those rare miscues Uehara induced a ground out to Gonzalez for the third out and the victory.

Game 122: August 16, 2014
Houston Astros
7 L: Josh Fields (2-6)
2B: Gregorio Petit (2)
HR: Chris Carter (29), Jason Castro (12)
WinBoston Red Sox
10 W: Alex Wilson (1-0)
H: Burke Badenhop (8)
2B: Daniel Nava (12), David Ortiz (23)
HR: Ortiz – 2 (28)

August 16, 2014

Petit Mal

In the past three games Edward Mujica earned two holds and a save. He lost his momentum last night in the eighth inning. He relieved Clay Buchholz and was charged with maintaining a 3-2 lead. Mujica allowed consecutive singles to Chris Carter and Dexter Fowler.

Tommy Layne took over and struck out Jason Castro and Jon Singleton. John Farrell didn’t think Layne could handle Matt Dominguez and called on Burke Badenhop. Dominguez sent a tapper to Xander Bogaerts that prompted a chain of improbable events.

Bogaerts had backed up on Dominguez’s ball which caused the play at second to be close. Pat Hoberg ruled Fowler safe.

Petit kept on running towards home on the play. At two points it seemed that Cory Blaser could have ruled that Petit was out of the basepath. It could be argued that Petit wasn’t actively avoiding a tag when he wandered into the grass, but once a defender near him got the ball would the umpire change his ruling?

Farrell challenged both plays and lost, rendering the score 3-3. The local nine lost in extra innings for the 10th time in 16 tries. The Red Sox are 4-5 in extra inning games at Fenway..

On the bright side Buchholz pitched well: 7 innings, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and 9 strikeouts. Yoenis Cespedes enjoyed his first home run at Fenway Park, a line drive that cleared the Green Monster. David Ortiz scored along with him and celebrated at home plate. If they pair up like this more often this offense may return to its former glory.

Game 121: August 15, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
WinHouston Astros
5 W: Tony Sipp (3-2)
2B: Robbie Grossman (8), Jake Marisnick (3)
HR: Grossman (6)
Boston Red Sox
3 H: Tommy Layne (3)
BS: Burke Badenhop (3)
L: Craig Breslow (2-4)
2B: Mike Napoli (19)
HR: Yoenis Cespedes (20)

August 15, 2014

Hall’s Well That Ends Well

Four Red Sox greats entered the Red Sox Hall of Fame. For a few of them it may have been the precursor to Cooperstown.

I thought Roger Clemens might hear some boos when his name was announced. I think anyone who hasn’t forgiven Clemens for any or all of his multitude of sins sat on their hands instead of being overtly and loudly negative. When he visited the booth he showed his human side by reminiscing about his grandmother. She had been alive to witness many of accomplishments, but not this one.

I don’t know if Pedro Martinez was more brilliant on the mound or with the microphone. He talked about his 17-strikeout game against the Yankees on September 10, 1999, which was commemorated in the Red Sox Hall of Fame. Martinez was mad because Joe Kerrigan got on his case for missing the pitchers’ meeting. The manager told him he had to figure out how to get Derek Jeter out on his own because he missed the meeting.

“What am I going to learn, it’s the Yankees,” laughed Martinez. It reminded me of Allen Iverson’s comments about practice. The mediocre ones need repetitive meetings and mind-numbing practice sessions. The great ones don’t.

Nomar Garciaparra is the last person I thought would have shone as a television personality. But he has been perceptive and personable on ESPN. I still feel there’s a touch of melancholy around him when it comes to Boston. Or perhaps that is me projecting it on him. There is no one more than Garciaparra who deserved to be on the field when the Red Sox won it all in 2004. He said he has only watched two World Series: the one where his college roommate Jay Payton played and 2004. Maybe he has gotten over it, but I haven’t.

There was a moment of levity when Garciaparra said he wanted to give Kevin Kennedy the bat he used for his first hit. “He would have sold it,” remarked Jerry Remy.

Joe Castiglione was the play-by-play announcer for all of these three players’ careers in Boston. Don Orsillo took Castiglione’s class and seemed to have learned a lot, including how to hit an all-time great like Clemens. “I can hit him,” thought Orsillo as he recorded Clemens throwing batting practice to one of Clemens’s K-named sons.

The Red Sox unleashed an offensive torrent in the sixth inning. They batted around and them some. Dustin Pedroia knocked in a ground-rule double in his second at bat of the inning to make the score 8-4. It was worth it for the runs and to see Pedroia standing next to Jose Altuve.

Christian Vazquez plays with such panache. He tagged out Jake Marisnick to end the seventh inning. It was a nice reversal of Mike Napoli’s aggressive baserunning in the fourth inning that saw him out at home to end a potential scoring opportunity.

Game 120: August 14, 2014
Houston Astros
4 L: Scott Feldman (6-9)
2B: Marwin Gonzalez – 2 (8)
HR: Matt Dominguez (14)
WinBoston Red Sox
9 W: Allen Webster (3-1)
2B: Daniel Nava – 2 (11), Brock Holt (22), Dustin Pedroia (31)

August 13, 2014

Red Hot

Going into this game the Red Sox were 23-23 in one-run games. They sprung to an early lead with Brock Holt reaching on a walk, a wild pitch, and scoring on Daniel Nava’s single to center field.

Billy Hamilton thought that his arm was as good as his legs and tried to hose Holt at the plate. His throw missed the cutoff man and wasn’t near home plate, either. Nava advanced to second and reached third on Yoenis Cespedes’s ground out to short. Mike Napoli tapped the ball to Todd Frazier, who had to get around Zack Cozart before throwing home. Nava beat the relay and Napoli was safe at first.

Following Xander Boagerts’s return to batting competence Jackie Bradley, Jr. finally broke his 0-for-35 streak in the second inning. He and Bogaerts singled but were stranded by Dan Butler, Anthony Ranaudo, and Holt.

Ranaudo has had two victories in two games started. In stark contrast Jake Peavy has two wins in 23 starts. Ranaudo may not be so lucky the next time he gives up home runs to a light-hitting middle infielder like Cozart and an opposing pitcher such as Leake in the same inning to surrender the lead.

Fortunately for Ranaudo Napoli came through in the fifth inning with a rarity for the first baseman: an opposite field four-bagger.

The Reds capitalized on Kris Negron’s leadoff triple in the bottom of the fifth. Koji Uehara was unavailable but Burke Badenhop, Junichi Tazawa, and, surprisingly, Edward Mujica held the one-run lead to sweep Cincinnati.

Cincinnati went into this two-game series with a winning record but were reduced to a .500 mark after tangling with Boston. It’s too late for 2014 but not for building the foundation for 2015.

Game 119: August 13, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Anthony Ranaudo (2-0)
H: Burke Badenhop (7), Junichi Tazawa (14)
S: Edward Mujica (3)
2B: Brock Holt (21)
HR: Mike Napoli (15)
Cincinnati Reds
4 L: Mike Leake (9-11)
2B: Todd Frazier (20)
3B: Kris Negron (1)
HR: Skip Schumaker (2), Leake (2)

Cat Latos

So we beat this guy.

Mat Latos’s cat’s name is Cat Latos. As much as I would like to make fun of this, I did note the rifle on the table in the background. So instead I will say the Red Sox were lucky to have prevailed over Broward County Athletics Association All-Star and 2009 All-Star Futures Game participant Latos. The right-handed starter pitched seven innings and held the Boston batters to a single run with one walk and five strikeouts.

Latos was 0-for-2 at the dish but Joe Kelly finagled an opposite-field single off Latos to lead off the third inning.

Kelly advanced to second base on Brock Holt’s sacrifice bunt and then swiped third base with Dustin Pedroia batting. It was Kelly’s first steal and the first steal by a Red Sox pitcher since Bill Landis on September 8, 1969 against Cleveland. The last time a Boston pitcher stole third base was Tom Brewer on July 30, 1959, also against the Tribe. His hair, like his baserunning, is a throwback to pitchers past.

But Kelly didn’t score in that frame. In fact the Red Sox didn’t get on the board until the seventh inning. Daniel Nava led off the stanza with a double and was plated by Xander Bogaerts, who seems to have settled down enough to become productive again.

It didn’t take very long for Yoenis Cespedes to feel comfortable in a Red Sox uniform. His turn at bat came up in the eighth inning with his team trailing 2-1. Holt led off with a single but was stranded by Pedroia and David Ortiz.

Jonathan Broxton buzzed Cespedes with heater high and tight. Broxton would have to go 435 feet to straightaway center to get a good look at Cespedes’s response.

Koji Uehara slammed the door in the ninth and the Red Sox notched a series-opening win by a slim 3-2 margin.

Game 118: August 12, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: Tommy Layne (1-0)
H: Edward Mujica (3)
S: Koji Uehara (26)
2B: Daniel Nava (9)
HR: Yoenis Cespedes (19)
Cincinnati Reds
2 BS, L: Jonathan Broxton (5, 4-1)
2B: Devin Mesoraco (20)

August 11, 2014

Yoenis Together

Two weary teams took the field for an afternoon game after a 19-inning marathon. They were scoreless until the eighth inning. Yoenis Cespedes sent Joe Smith’s side-arm offering over the left field fences for a three-run homer. It is hopefully the first of many home runs for Cespedes in a Red Sox uniform.

David Ortiz hugged the outfielder after the shot. If Cespedes’s scores helped avoid another extra-innings affair he deserved that embrace and more. How fitting it is that the surname “Céspedes” comes from the Spanish word for peat or turf, “cesped.”

Dan Butler made his major league debut. He didn’t get a hit but he did work a walk and was on the receiving end of one of Rubby De La Rosa’s better outings this season. Someone needs to tell the new guy that beards are so last season.

Mike Trout countered in the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run. But the home team found themselves in a fine kettle of fish with a revivified Edward Mujica and dominant Koji Uehara on the mound.

Game 117: August 10, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4)
H: Edward Mujica (2)
S: Koji Uehara (25)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (30)
HR: Yoenis Cespedes (18)
Los Angeles Angels
1 L: Joe Smith (4-1)
2B: Kole Calhoun (20)
HR: Mike Trout (27)

August 10, 2014

Two for the Price of One

Even though the probability of the Red Sox making the playoffs is zero according to Baseball Prospectus’s projections John Farrell managed the game as if it meant something. And that in itself means something.

For the first six innings it looked as if Garrett Richards was going to no-hit the Red Sox. In the seventh inning Dustin Pedroia finally got a hold of a fastball and sent it up the middle for a single. Pitching from the stretch drastically altered Richards’s effectiveness. David Ortiz doubled in Pedroia to put the visitors within a run of the Angels.

Yoenis Cespedes roped a single to left that advanced Ortiz to third base. Mike Napoli seemed to ground into an easy out but for Erick Aybar fumbling the ball. Ortiz tied the game on the miscue.

Perhaps it was better for Richards to have lost his no-hitter on a clean hit rather than infield foibles, but he and Mike Scioscia probably weren’t thrilled with losing the lead thanks to errors. Howie Kendrick bobbled Daniel Nava’s grounder and the bases were loaded with none out. Xander Bogaerts skyed the ball to center and Cespedes tagged up from third to give his team the lead.

And then nothing happened on the offensive side for seven innings. Many of the Angels’ attempts were scuttled by the brilliant defense of Jackie Bradley, Jr., who took over in center in the eight inning.

Here he is robbing Kendrick of extra bases in the ninth, much to Edward Mujica’s delight. He dashed in from center and ended up making the play closer to where Brock Holt was.

Aybar led the fifteenth frame off with a single. With a man on and one out C.J. Cron blooped the ball to the no-man’s land between short and center. It seemed to be a sure single as Bogaerts couldn’t get out far enough to catch it. But Bradley charged hard from center to make the grab.

It seems that the Angels have finally ditched the Rally Monkey. What they came up with as a replacement wasn’t terribly inspiring but it seemed to motivate Albert Pujols.

Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy had to use two scorecards for this baseball marathon. The final notation was a home run to right for Pujols in the 19th. Farrell, ever the competitor, challenged the circuit clout. The officials in MLB headquarters rubbed the sleep out of their eyes and confirmed the call.

Heath Hembree, an acquisition from the Jake Peavy trade, made an impressive Red Sox debut: 4 innings pitched, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks, and no runs. He was optioned back to Pawtucket so that Farrell could refresh the bullpen but Hembree became a part of Angels Stadium history. At six hours and 31 minutes it was the longest game in the facility’s history, and he was a key part of why it lasted as long as it did.

Game 116: August 9, 2014 ∙ 19 innings
Boston Red Sox
4 BS: Junichi Tazawa (4)
L: Brandon Workman (1-6)
2B: David Ortiz (22)
WinLos Angeles Angels
5 W: Matt Shoemaker (10-4)
2B: Kole Calhoun (19), Albert Pujols (30), Chris Iannetta (18), Josh Hamilton (16)
3B: Erick Aybar (4)
HR: Mike Trout (26), Pujols (22)

August 9, 2014

Playing the Spoiler

The Red Sox indirectly helped former teammates Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes by defeating the second-place Angels 4-2 in their series opener. Jered Weaver lasted six innings but seemed like he could be chased from the game much earlier. Meanwhile Allen Webster gutted out 6⅔ innings and gave up only two runs against a solid lineup.

Yoenis Cespedes was obviously most familiar with the Angels and their stadium but had a bit of a mishap on Chris Iannetta’s liner to left field in the third inning. He over-pursued the ball into the corner allowing Efren Navarro to score. Cespedes had doubled in two runs in the top half of the frame so it could be argued that he was a net positive force in the game.

Josh Hamilton also had some issues in left field but still managed to rob Xander Bogaerts of a base hit. The divot he created reminded me a little of Manny Ramirez’s World Series Game 1 clod but Hamilton made the play.

Cespedes and Hamilton need only to look over to center field to see grace and power in the outfield. Mike Trout didn’t make a highlight reel-quality grab in this game but Jackie Bradley, Jr. had mouths agape in the ninth inning. Howie Kendrick thought he had at least a double but Bradley jetted after the liner, snared it, and held it even has the outfielder crashed against the center field fence.

If only there were a way to award a center fielder with a co-save. Bradley certainly earned it along with Koji Uehara.

Game 115: August 8, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Allen Webster (2-1)
H: Tommy Layne (2), Junichi Tazawa (13)
S: Koji Uehara (24)
2B: Christian Vazquez (5), Yoenis Cespedes (27)
HR: Mike Napoli (14)
Los Angeles Angels
2 L: Jered Weaver (12-7)
2B: Chris Iannetta (17), Albert Pujols (29), David Freese (15)

August 8, 2014

Jolting Wong

Kolten Wong was born in Hilo, Hawai‘i. Residents of the city evacuated prior to the arrival of Tropical Storm Iselle and may have to do the same if Hurricane Julio follows a similar path. Hopefully they heard about Wong’s heroics while they huddled down to wait out the storms.

Perhaps Wong took some consolation from doing so well against the Red Sox in this game. He was the reason the Cardinals lost Game 4 of the 2013 World Series and became part of baseball history. When he was picked off by Koji Uehara for the final out it was the first time a game had ended in such a way in the Fall Classic.

My friends and relatives on Maui have been keeping me up to date about the hurricane situation in the Pacific. Some stores began price gouging on bottled water; customers took photos of signs stating $30 for a case of the precious commodity. In 2011 Hawai‘i legislators passed a statute prohibiting such activity:

209-9 Rental or sale of essential commodities during a state disaster; prohibition against price increases. (a) Whenever the governor declares a state disaster for the entire State or any portion thereof, or when the State, or any portion thereof, is the subject of a severe weather warning:
(1) There shall be prohibited any increase in the selling price of any commodity, whether at the retail or wholesale level, in the area that is the subject of the disaster declaration or the severe weather warning

It’s disheartening that such a law even needed to be drawn up but there must be safeguards from greedy people attempting to profit from a potential disaster. The stores that have been doing this can be reported to the Office of Consumer Protection. Buyers can be restituted if the sellers are found to have violated the price caps instituted by the state.

Game 114: August 7, 2014
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Brandon Workman (1-5)
2B: Will Middlebrooks (5), Xander Bogaerts (22)
WinSt. Louis Cardinals
5 W: Adam Wainwright (14-6)
H: Kevin Siegrist (14)
S: Pat Neshek (3)
2B: Jhonny Peralta (27)
HR: Kolten Wong – 2 (9)

August 7, 2014

Forever Friends

Best friends Jim Kelly and Shelby Miller opposed each other on the mound last night. As buddies are wont to do they had a wager about who could get a hit off the other. Perhaps Kelly was playing some mind games when he allowed Miller to walk on four pitches with two out in the second inning.

In the third inning Kelly sent a bounding ball past Miller into Jhonny Peralta’s glove. Peralta’s throw reached Mike Adams almost simultaneously as Kelly’s foot touched the sack.

Gary Cederstrom called Kelly out but the replay showed that Kelly had indeed managed a hit off his best friend. The bet was a hundred doll hairs, not a hundred dollars, Kelly quipped.

Almost as rare as a pitcher getting a hit is an umpire calling a runner out for running inside the first base line. This happened to Oscar Taveras in the fourth inning and the incident had Mike Matheny out of the dugout to argue. I’ve seen far more flagrant violations that weren’t called so I don’t blame Matheny for disputing Cederstrom’s judgment.

Allen Craig injured himself trying to beat out a ball to first in his Red Sox debut and was placed on the disabled list. He wouldn’t be introduced to his former team in this series but had a chance at being acknowledged by Cardinals fans when he brought out the lineup card. He received a standing ovation.

It’s easy to make fun of St. Louis fans for their earnestness, and I’m sure I have done so, but other cities could take a page out of these fans’ playbook. I’m looking your way, Philadelphia.

Game 113: August 6, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Junichi Tazawa (2-3)
S: Koji Uehara (23)
2B: Mike Napoli – 2 (18), Xander Bogaerts (21)
St. Louis Cardinals
1 L: Trevor Rosenthal (1-6)
2B: Matt Carpenter (26)

August 6, 2014

I Know Why the Caged Bird Swings

A.J. Pierzynski did his usual ground out on the first pitch in the second inning but eventually mustered two hits. His two-out single to left field in the eighth inning enabled the Cardinals to take the lead 3-2. As Pierzynski went home on John Jay’s single he glared into the Red Sox dugout.

Two former Red Sox starters hung out together. Cardinals fans weren’t too enthralled by the John Lackey acquisition. They warmed to him rather quickly when he pitched seven strong innings and notched a tight 3-2 win against the division-leading Brewers on August 3.

Justin Masterson seems much more in line with the Cardinals Way. He also pitched in a winning effort against the Brewers in his senior circuit debut but allowed five runs over six innings pitched. They are probably having a laugh about having to hit but also getting to face their counterparts when on the mound.

Of all the traded starters Jake Peavy seems to have landed in the best situation with the Giants: pitchers’ park, no designated hitter, and second in the division. Jon Lester can enjoy the spacious foul territory and outfield fences of the Coliseum but doesn’t get the benefit of pitching to pitchers.

Yoenis Cespedes seems to be coping well with having being dealt to a cellar-dwelling team. He went 3-for-4 in the clean-up spot. In the second inning he blooped the ball just out of reach of Kolten Wong, who made an extraordinary effort to get to the landing spot. The ball bounced into foul territory and one of baseball’s best fans reached over the wall to get it as Cespedes dashed to third base. The umpires seemed to toy with the idea of sending Cespedes to second base on fan interference but ultimately allowed the outfielder to stay at third base.

One umpire, Mark Ripperger, had his judgment questioned. Mike Napoli argued a called strike in the seventh inning but wasn’t ejected. Matt Holliday vociferously objected to Ripperger’s zone in the bottom of the same inning and was tossed.

I guess Pierzynski and Lackey are rubbing off on their new teammates.

Game 112: August 5, 2014
Boston Red Sox
2 BS: Tommy Layne (1)
L: Junichi Tazawa (1-3)
3B: Yoenis Cespedes (4)
WinSt. Louis Cardinals
3 W: Pat Neshek (5-0)
S: Trevor Rosenthal (35)
2B: Matt Carpenter (25), Matt Holliday (26)

August 4, 2014

Bucking Up

This game had most of the hallmarks of a classic Yankees-Red Sox clash: drawn-out at bats, lead changes, and multiple home runs. What it didn’t have was dramatic tension. Neither of these teams are close to contending for a playoff spot, although New York has a better chance of salvaging its season than Boston.

A little more than ten years after the day Jason Varitek fought with Alex Rodriguez there were no such fireworks on the field. The closest a player came to getting injured was self-imposed: Junichi Tazawa landed awkwardly in the seventh inning when pitching to Brian McCann and took a tumble. Only Tazawa’s ego was bruised, unlike Rodriguez’s face a decade ago.

Clay Buchholz’s health and technique seems to have followed Tiger Woods’s downward trajectory. How such talented athletes could fall so far is unfathomable.

Dan Shulman and John Kruk called the game from the Green Monster but the new vantage point didn’t add anything to Kruk’s contributions. Mostly he talked about how afraid he was of heights.

Game action (such as it was) was spliced with Shulman and Kruk’s visit to various spots in Fenway. They should have done this during the park’s 100th anniversary season two years ago.

It was great to see the traces of Ted Williams’s home and away home run counts. But these days so many people go behind the wall and scrawl their names on those historic walls. It’s like writing lyrics to a Justin Bieber song on the Rosetta Stone.

Game 111: August 3, 2014
WinNew York Yankees
8 W: Esmil Rogers (1-0)
H: Dellin Betances (17)
S: David Robertson (29)
2B: Brett Gardner (16), Brian McCann (13), Stephen Drew (8), Carlos Beltran (19), Chase Headley (15)
HR: Gardner (15)
Boston Red Sox
7 L: Craig Breslow (2-3)
HR: Dustin Pedroia (5), David Ortiz (26)

August 3, 2014

Team Building

If Yoenis Cespedes will be playing left field longterm someone needs to sit down with him and show him where Manny Ramirez and Jonny Gomes positioned themselves. Ramirez might have played a bit too shallow; Cespedes could probably cheat closer to the wall with his superior fielding speed.

But if he sets up in right field, which would showcase his cannon arm, he’d need a workshop with Shane Victorino. Victorino would have to figure out if he would undergo season-ending back surgery, however, before rejoining the team.

Cespedes lined a single to left field in his first at bat as a Red Sox player. In the fifth inning he came up with one down, two men on base, and the score 5-3 in the Yankees’ favor. A home run would have put his new team ahead but Cespedes flied out to Jacoby Ellsbury.

Joe Kelly found out about being sent to Boston along with Allen Craig for John Lackey via Twitter. Kelly had been chatting with A.J. Pierzynski about it; I guess the catcher isn’t ignoring his teammates and looking at his phone in the clubhouse now that he’s on a contending team.

Speaking of Pierzynski, this game lasted four minutes short of four hours. Now that Pierzynski isn’t grounding or popping out on the first pitch Yankees-Red Sox contests have returned to the long, drawn-out affairs to which we are accustomed.

In the seventh Stephen Drew, a real shortstop and ersatz second baseman, thought Francisco Cervelli had struck out and moseyed off second base. Christian Vazquez noticed how far Drew was from the keystone sack and fired the ball to Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia missed the initial tag but got Drew when his slide took him away from the base.

Derek Jeter, who still plays shortstop even with the acquisition of Drew, was doubled off first base in the first inning. Ellsbury lofted a fly ball to shallow center that Jeter assumed was going to drop. Jackie Bradley, Jr. snared it and relayed to Mike Napoli for a nifty twin killing. I guess Jeter is too used to seeing his bloopers turn into hits and assumes it happens for everyone.

Game 110: August 2, 2014
WinNew York Yankees
6 W: Shawn Kelley (2-3)
H: Adam Warren (16), Dellin Betances (16)
S: David Robertson (28)
2B: Derek Jeter (12), Carlos Beltran (18), Stephen Drew (7)
HR: Mark Teixeira (19)
Boston Red Sox
4 L: Allen Webster (1-1)
HR: Mike Napoli (13)

August 2, 2014

New Hire Orientation

Human Resources Representative: Welcome, welcome to the Red Sox organization! What you see before you is the New Hire packet with everything you need: identification card, a sheet with frequently-used phone numbers, an organizational chart, our Employee Handbook, and a map of the building. Are any of you familiar with this structure, the Fenway Park?

Craig: I was here for a couple of times last October.

Human Resources Representative: Oh, good, good! Maybe you can buddy up with the newer folks just in case they get lost. Now, do any of you have any questions before I take you through the Employee Handbook?

Ranaudo: Is there any sort of personal grooming policy?

Human Resources Representative: Other than the specific rules about which uniform to wear, which means these god-awful red jerseys on Fridays… oh goodness, you didn’t hear me say that about those uniforms. We’re not like those Yankees, oh no. Stephen Drew had to shave what little stubble he had when he went over to the visitors’ clubhouse.

Ranaudo: Sweet!

Human Resources Representative: Indeed! We also have a mentoring program where we pair you up with a long-established teammate with similar interests. For example our new right fielder (I believe someone told him he would be in right, not left) will be guided by our very own David Ortiz!

Layne: There’s not a lot of longtime pitchers left.

Human Resources Representative: Well, we do have access to special assistant Pedro Martinez. He’s a fun fellow, and apparently he was rather good back when he was playing. Have you seen him yet, I can point him out?

Wilson: I’m pretty sure we can figure out who he is.

Human Resources Representative: Fantastic! Any other questions?

Craig: Is there any sort of employee recognition program?

Human Resources Representative: I am so glad you brought that up! When someone makes an outstanding play he gets a free Fenway Frank with as many toppings as he wants!

Craig: What is considered an outstanding play?

Human Resources Representative: That catch Mookie made last night in the eighth? That got Mookie two hot dogs with all the fixings!

Game 109: August 1, 2014
New York Yankees
3 L: Chris Capuano (1-2)
2B: Mark Teixeira (8)
HR: Carlos Beltran (13), Derek Jeter (3)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Anthony Ranaudo (1-0)
H: Tommy Layne (1), Junichi Tazawa (12)
S: Koji Uehara (22)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (29), Allen Craig (18), Will Middlebrooks (4)
3B: Brock Holt (5)

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