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Home » Category Listing » July 2014 Game Comments

August 1, 2014

Fire Sale

Jon Lester and John Farrell talked during batting practice before Wednesday’s game. It wasn’t a secret that Ben Cherington was shopping Lester, it was just a matter of what the southpaw starter would net in return.

Cherington didn’t get quite the haul that Jed Hoyer did in his deal with Billy Beane involving Jeff Samardzija, but getting Yoenis Cespedes in return for Lester and Jonny Gomes isn’t anything to sneeze at. Cespedes has one more year on his contract.

And the Atheletics might be getting damaged goods. Here’s Lester getting beat up by his teammates in the dugout.

Cherington didn’t stop at dealing Lester. John Lackey was sent to the Cardinals for starter Joe Kelly and Allen Craig. Craig is signed through 2018 with a team option. The earliest Kelly is eligible for arbitration is 2016 and for free agency 2018.

The uneasy infield situation was settled at last with Stephen Drew being sent to the Yankees for Kelly Johnson. Xander Bogaerts can get sustained time at shortstop, Will Middlebrooks will play at the hot corner, and Dustin Pedroia can be spelled at second base (as if that last thing would ever happen).

Andrew Miller got relocated to Fenway South with Boston receiving left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez in return.

The Red Sox clubhouse crew certainly earned their pay Thursday with all these moves. Fortunately they had a day to prepare new uniforms, set up lockers, and send off former players’ equipment.

Cherington had an unprecedented day of deals. The players the Red Sox received can make an immediate impact and will be in place for a playoff push in 2015. Putting sentiment aside, Cherington came out ahead.

With all the former Red Sox players in Oakland I’ll actually have a team I can get behind this fall. Go Red Sox West!

Game 108: July 30, 2014
WinToronto Blue Jays
6 W: Mark Buehrle (11-7)
No extra base hits
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Brandon Workman (1-4)
2B: Stephen Drew (6), Mike Napoli (16), Xander Bogaerts – 2 (20), Christian Vazquez (4)

July 30, 2014

And So It Gose

In every game there is a dude
A young batter young and strong
To make new wounds and run so fast
Until a ground out comes along

And so it Gose, and so it Gose
And you’re the only one who knows

Xander Bogaerts clouted a leadoff home run in the ninth inning but the local nine could not overcome the two-run deficit. Perhaps we’ll see more of this in the future.

What we might not see in the future is Jon Lester, John Lackey, or Mike Carp in Red Sox uniforms. Lackey’s departure was devoutly wished for during the miserable seasons of 2011 and 2012. Carp has been a solid platoon player with the occasional clutch hit but not a regular.

But Lester practically grew up before our eyes. Fenway was his playpen and there are more than a few photos of his stellar achievements decorating its walls. We were way more frightened than he ever was of cancer and so relieved when he beat it. He expected to win.

We expected him to stay, and perhaps he may.

Game 107: July 29, 2014
WinToronto Blue Jays
4 W: Marcus Stroman (7-2)
H: Aaron Sanchez (2), Brett Cecil (17)
S: Casey Janssen (17)
2B: Anthony Gose (5), Juan Francisco (13)
HR: Colby Rasmus (14)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Rubby De La Rosa (3-4)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (28), Brock Holt (20)
HR: Xander Bogaerts (8)

He’s Goins to Git You Sucka

Ryan Goins had an incredible night: 4-for-5 with a run scored and four runs batted in. Not bad for a guy that was recalled from the Buffalo Bisons on July 22. The bottom of the order was particularly potent; Munenori Kawasaki was 3-for-4 in the six hole and Josh Thole knocked in two hits. Kawasaki was with the Bisons until June 17 and Thole replaced Henry Blanco on June 7.

The Red Sox pitchers were pummeled by recent Triple-A batters. Clay Buchholz was pulled in the fifth inning and relieved by Felix Doubront. In two-thirds of an inning Doubront gave up six hits, six runs, and two bases on balls. He was traded to the Cubs today for a player to be named later. It seems Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer still have a soft spot for the Venezuelan southpaw.

While the bottom of the order was knocking around Boston’s hurlers with singles and doubles Melky Cabrera launched two multi-run homers. His sixth inning shot off Doubront caused significant damage, but not as much damage as Doubront did to his trade value.

Game 106: July 28, 2014
WinToronto Blue Jays
14 W: R.A. Dickey (9-10)
2B: Ryan Goins (3), Colby Rasmus (13), Munenori Kawasaki (4)
HR: Melky Cabrera – 2 (14)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Clay Buchholz (5-7)
2B: Stephen Drew (5)

July 28, 2014

Hot to Trot

Chris Archer will be lucky if he shows up in David Ortiz’s highlight reel for the designated hitter’s Hall of Fame induction. The young starter was quick to call out Ortiz for his bat flip and home run trot but it slipped his mind that he kissed his bicep after striking out Daniel Nava with the bases loaded.

This particular trot was around 27 seconds and wasn’t even in Ortiz’s top five slowest circuits this season. The three-run homer put the Red Sox ahead to avoid a series sweep.

It’s okay, Mr. Archer. Your well-informed comments on Ortiz really demonstrate that the Rays are an important, well-respected organization.

Truly the game of baseball is elevated to hitherto unseen heights in Tropicana Field. Bill Veeck himself would rise from the grave to witness the extraordinary Christmas in July celebration in St. Petersburg. Rising from the dead? Wait, stop the presses! Time for Zombie Apocalypse Night at the Trop!

Game 105: July 27, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: Allen Webster (1-0)
H: Edward Mujica (1), Andrew Miller (13), Junichi Tazawa (11)
S: Koji Uehara (21)
HR: David Ortiz (25)
Tampa Bay Rays
2 L: Chris Archer (6-6)
2B: Desmond Jennings (26)

July 27, 2014


David Ortiz blasted the ball to right field with two down in the first inning. This fan reached over the wall and made a Brock Holt-like catch. The fine-fielding fan was just a few seats away from a kid with a "hit it here" sign. The umpire ruled fan interference and Ortiz was placed at second base.

The umpires wanted to review the ruling. Multiple camera angles showed the fan reached into the field of play and the call was upheld.

John Farrell decided against challenging a close play at second base in the fourth frame. Yunel Escobar laced the ball into the right field. He reached first at the same time Daniel Nava’s throw arrived in Stephen Drew’s glove. Replays showed that Escobar was out. Kevin Kiermaier drove in Escobar for a run and John Lackey complained about Farrell not challenging the call. Perhaps Peavy won’t be the only Red Sox starter traded this season.

With the trade of Jake Peavy signaling the end of the Red Sox attempt to contend it seems Holt has decided that the he’ll follow the rules of physics like humans do. Here he is being the tail end of a 4-3-2 double play.

In most games being thrown out at home would be the most egregious mistake. But Evan Longoria and Escobar topped that gaffe in the sixth when they let Jonny Gomes’s grounder past by them unaccosted for a single.

Later in the inning Xander Bogaerts assumed he was the last out of the frame. He just assumed that Gomes made an out because it was such an easy out.

Game 104: July 26, 2014
Boston Red Sox
0 L: John Lackey (11-7)
2B: David Ortiz (21)
WinTampa Bay Rays
3 W: Grant Balfour (1-3)
H: Brad Boxburger (11)
S: Jake McGee (11)
HR: Ben Zobrist (8)

July 26, 2014

Give Up the Ghost

Junichi Tazawa surrendered the lead in the seventh inning of last night’s game and Ben Cherington waved the white flag today. Jake Peavy was sent to the San Francisco Giants for a pair of pitching prospects: right-handed Heath Hembree and southpaw Edwin Escobar.

Hembree is ranked as the Giants’ seventh best prospect by Baseball America and Escobar is second on the list. Escobar struggled in the Pacific Coast League, a circuit notorious for inflating hitters’ capabilities and destroying pitchers’ psyches. Escobar is from Venezuela and related to major leaguers Kelvim and Alcides.

It was in San Francisco that Peavy bought a tobacco store Indian statue last year. “The Chief” was a good luck charm for the rest of the season and got a ride in the duck boat that Peavy purchased after the World Series parade. Perhaps “Charlie River” will be re-christened as “McCovey’s Duckie.”

When Peavy was traded to the Red Sox from the White Sox at the trade deadline last year he was immediately embraced by his teammates and fans. He was amazed to have his name be in the same list of the legends who played at Fenway. We know that wins are not the best indicator of a pitcher’s success but seeing Peavy with only one mark in the “W” column was disheartening for all. But we won’t remember him for this year’s failures but last season’s glory.

The Rays wore memorial patches for Don Zimmer. The only way this lightweight expansion team can assume a faux patina of history is to pay tribute to a man that was steeped in baseball lore.

Game 103: July 25, 2014
Boston Red Sox
4 H: Andrew Miller (12)
BS, L: Junichi Tazawa (3, 1-2)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (27), Jackie Bradley Jr. (19)
HR: Shane Victorino (2)
WinTampa Bay Rays
6 W: David Price (11-7)
S: Jake McGee (10)
2B: Sean Rodriguez (9), Evan Longoria (17)
HR: Desmond Jennings (9)

July 25, 2014

He’s a Stroman

Comin’ to ya from a dusty mound
That strike zone, I will pound
And when you get a hit, you’ll only get one
So don’t worry, ’cause you won’t get a run

I’m a Stroman! (Horn riff.)

Great, yet another Blue Jays rookie pitcher that can totally dominate the Red Sox lineup. How many of these guys does Toronto have?

Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter with a bloop single to center in the seventh inning. Victorino along with Brock Holt, Stephen Drew, Christian Vazquez, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. had bases on balls.

To add injury to insult David Ortiz left the game in the ninth with back spasms. He’s back in the lineup tonight but there’s nothing like seeing your best hitter get pulled late in a meaningless game.

I said it. These games only serve to give the younger players experience in the big leagues. With any luck Mookie Betts will make the drive up 95 before the season is done.

Game 102: July 24, 2014
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Rubby De La Rosa (3-3)
No extra base hits
WinToronto Blue Jays
8 W: Marcus Stroman (6-2)
2B: Ryan Goins (2), Melky Cabrera –3 (26)
Jose Bautista (18), Josh Thole (3)
3B: Ryan Goins (1)
HR: Bautista (18)

July 24, 2014

Fledgling Takes Flight

Remember this face. If Aaron Sanchez lives up to his potential he will frustrate Red Sox batters for years to come.

In his major league debut Sanchez got all six hitters he faced out. He punctuated his performance with a strikeout of Stephen Drew. It doesn’t look like Sanchez will recreate Clay Buchholz’s feat of tossing a no-hitter in his second start because the Blue Jays rookie has been shifted into a relief role.

It seems like yesterday that Buchholz, the Red Sox’s pitching phenomenon of seven years ago, made his debut. After battling multiple injuries Buchholz is still trying to recapture his past brilliance. He recovered from a comebacker off Munenori Kawasaki’s bat that glanced off his glove and into his face to pitch for six innings.

But Buchholz couldn’t keep the three-run lead that David Ortiz gave him in the first frame. Ortiz’s home run was a monstrous blast off Roberto Alomar’s name in the Level of Excellence.

As the sun that fuels the Jamaican summer gives way in the evening, Ortiz’s bat can’t plate runs in every at bat. R.A. Dickey struck Ortiz out in the fifth on a foul tip.

The Red Sox have been erratic as the flight of a knuckleball. The euphoria generated by their recent hot streak has dissipated into the somber reality that this is the bridge year that was supposed to happen last year.

Game 101: July 23, 2014
Boston Red Sox
4 L: Clay Buchholz (5-6)
2B: Daniel Nava (8), Xander Bogaerts (18)
HR: David Ortiz (24)
WinToronto Blue Jays
6 W: R.A. Dickey (8-10)
H: Aaron Sanchez (1)
S: Casey Janssen (15)
2B: Jose Bautista (18), Josh Thole (3)
3B: Ryan Goins (1)
HR: Bautista (18)

July 23, 2014

Getting Peeved

This vendor has what the Red Sox needed: balance. One night they win in a rout (7-for-13 with runners in scoring position) and the next evening they go 1-for-9 in such situations.

Jake Peavy had zero margin of error to work with and forced a throw in the third inning. Anthony Gose worked a walk with one man down and then swiped second base with Jose Reyes at the dish. Reyes popped out to Pedroia so Peavy only had to get Melky Cabrera out to end the frame.

Cabrera knocked the ball back at Peavy so hard it ricocheted off of the pitcher to foul territory. Peavy dashed after the ball and tried to force the ball into Mike Napoli’s glove. The ball got by Napoli and Gose scored. Cabrera pushed his luck by trying to get to second base and was tagged by Stephen Drew.

David Ortiz and Drew continued their respective power surges with circuit clouts but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Blue Jays’ late-game outburst. This loss combined with the Rays’ victory against the Cardinals put the Red Sox back in last place. At this point the Red Sox should trade Peavy so that he can maintain some semblance of sanity.

Speaking of crazy, Fenway is hosting a soccer match. Liverpool would be content with a score of three in their game against AS Roma tonight.

Game 100: July 22, 2014
Boston Red Sox
7 L: Jake Peavy (1-9)
2B: David Ortiz (20), David Ross (6)
HR: Ortiz (23), Stephen Drew (4)
WinToronto Blue Jays
3 W: J.A. Happ (8-5)
S: Brett Cecil (4)
2B: Dioner Navarro (14), Melky Cabrera (23), Jose Reyes (21)
HR: Reyes (8), Navarro (7)

July 22, 2014


All our troubles haunted us on every play
Now it looks as if they’ve gone away
Oh, I believe in yesterday

It’s hard to believe what’s on TV
In the stands there is a sad Geddy Lee
Oh, the baseball gods heard our plea

Why Hutchison had to go
We all know, his arm was frayed
We scored a touchdown and we long for yesterday

Baseball was such an easy game to play
And now we hear Jake Peavy loudly say
“Save some runs for me against the Jays”
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Congratulations to David Ortiz for tying and then surpassing Carl Yastrzemski’s home run total. Ortiz’s 453 homers puts him in 36th place.

I also believe in mascots wearing pants. Good job, Ace.

And I believe in Brock Holt playing like a brockstar. Advertisers are really getting their money’s worth when the Red Sox play in front of their signs. Between Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Holt they must have recouped their marketing budget.

Game 99: July 21, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
14 W: John Lackey (11-6)
2B: Mike Napoli (15), Jackie Bradley Jr. (18), Brock Holt (19)
HR: Stephen Drew (3), David Ortiz – 2 (22), Napoli (12)
Toronto Blue Jays
1 L: Drew Hutchison (6-9)
2B: Erik Kratz (3), Juan Francisco (12)

July 20, 2014

Sweep the Leg

The Red Sox wrapped up the series sweep with a leisurely Sunday day game. Jon Lester pitched splendidly and had a six-run lead to work with by the fourth inning.

Lester also had spectacular defense behind him. Lester could have been in trouble late in the eighth inning were it not for his infielders. Lorenzo Cain led off with a four-pitch walk and Omar Infante gave his a ball a ticket to center field. But Stephen Drew stopped the trip short with a diving grab and quickly flipped to Dustin Pedroia. Cain didn’t even try to break up a double play because he was taking a path to try to get to third base.

Lester most likely expressed his catcher preference as he has been paired with David Ross this season rather than A.J. Pierzynski. Ross launched his sixth homer of the season in the fourth inning. Pierzynski had four homers in 145 more at bats than Ross. Pierzynski may have Ross beat in zingers directed at umpires. He was ejected on June 4 by Quinn Wolcott for saying, “Give me a new ball. One you can see.”

Toeing the rubber opposite Lester was Dominican-born Royals starter Yordano Ventura. The rookie starter has drawn comparisons to his idol Pedro Martinez. So many young pitchers were dubbed “the next Pedro” but fell far short of their namesake’s mastery. Ventura does not have a change-up on par with Martinez, but who in history did? Ventura has raw power but his fastball seems to lack movement. Until he puts some finish on his heater and perfects his off-speed offering the only thing he will share with Martinez is his diminutive frame.

Game 98: July 20, 2014
Kansas City Royals
0 L: Yordano Ventura (7-8)
2B: Alcides Escobar (25)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Jon Lester (10-5)
2B: Daniel Nava (7), Shane Victorino (6)
HR: David Ross (6)

Gomes Away From Gomes

Jonny Gomes didn’t have the best evening in left field on Saturday. In the fourth he and Brock Holt collided as they attempted to catch Mike Moustakas’s can of corn. It was especially frustrating as Rubby De La Rosa had just induced a double play ball off Billy Butler’s bat.

At the time of the collision Gary Striewski was interviewing Steve Carell. Carell’s reaction was slightly more subdued than his character’s response to a distasteful suggestion.

In the fifth inning Gomes couldn’t find Omar Infante’s fly ball in the dusky sky. Again De La Rosa had two outs under his belt and had to face another batter to get out of the inning. The starter dispatched Eric Hosmer in five pitches.

Mookie Betts’s cup of coffee emptied when Shane Victorino became healthy. The rookie’s call-up gave the Red Sox a shot of energy but that spirit didn’t depart with Betts. Victorino went 1-for-3 in his return to Fenway.

I don’t know which was more impressive: Mike Napoli’s sixth-inning moonshot.

Or Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s display of his powerful arm during warm-ups.

Game 97: July 19, 2014
Kansas City Royals
1 L: David Duffy (5-10)
2B: Omar Infante (12)
3B: Jarrod Dyson (3)
WinBoston Red Sox
2 W: Rubby De La Rosa (3-2)
H: Andrew Miller (11)
S: Koji Uehara (20)
HR: Mike Napoli (11)

July 19, 2014

I’ve Never Seen a Diamond in the Flesh

I am not so sheltered as Lorde so that’s not true, but I haven’t seen a ball hit the ladder in person. One of Omar Infante’s two doubles was the result of a deflection off the ladder. The first-inning extra base hit put Infante in scoring position. Eric Hosmer promptly drove Infante in for the early lead.

The Royals had another lucky ricochet in the third inning. Hosmer tried to field David Ortiz’s pop-up in the infield but was stymied by the twilight sky. Mike Moustakas shadowed Hosmer and was in position to snare the ball.

Alex “it’s pronounced gor-DAHN” Gordon seemed to have a hold on Daniel Nava’s fly ball in the sixth inning but allowed it to slip out of his glove as he slid across the turf. Xander Bogaerts followed Nava with a blast to center field that pulled the local nine to within a run.

But Gordon won’t be fired for his misplay. We can’t say the same for the ball attendant who fielded Hosmer’s grounder down the right field line in the fourth inning. She thought it was foul and scooped the ball up but dropped it like a kid caught with a hand in the cookie jar when she realized it was fair.

Game 96: July 18, 2014
Kansas City Royals
4 B, L: Scott Downs (1, 0-3)
2B: Omar Infante – 2 (11), Eric Hosmer (27)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Clay Buchholz (5-5)
H: Burke Badenhop (6), Andrew Miller (10), Junichi Tazawa (10)
S: Koji Uehara (19)
2B: Stephen Drew (4), David Ortiz (19)
HR: Xander Bogaerts (7), Jonny Gomes (6)

July 13, 2014

Eleven Runs for Number Eleven

Clay Buchholz turned in a 109-pitch complete game shutout while Bo Porter burned through six pitchers. The Astros had only three hits, earned no walks, and were struck out 12 times. Buchholz enjoyed so much run support Jake Peavy must have been hoping for more outings against the vulnerable Houston pitching staff.

Surprisingly Jose Altuve was held hitless. He broke the Astros’ record for hits in the first half of the season and received an award from Bob Watson, the former record holder. He was the second-least enthused award recipient this Sunday. The distinction for most unenthusiastic: Lionel Messi, winner of the Golden Ball award for best player in the 2014 World Cup but on the losing side in the finals featuring Argentina and Germany.

Brock Holt went 5-for-6. He led off the game with a home run into the second deck on a 3-2 offering from Brad Peacock. Steve Lyons charitably characterized Peacock’s fastball as straight as a pencil.

Holt’s mother is very demanding. Here she is crying because of his strikeout in the fifth inning that stranded runners in scoring position.

Actually, Holt’s leadoff homer had her in tears. It had Jamie Erdahl misting up as well.

Come on, folks, there’s no crying in baseball. Unless you’re Nolan Ryan and have to observe this sort of pitching performance.

Game 95: July 13, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
11 W: Clay Buchholz (4-5)
2B: Christian Vazquez (3)
3B: Mike Carp (1)
HR: Brock Holt (3)
Houston Astros
0 L: Brad Peacock (3-6)
No extra base hits

Out of Orbit

Are you missing Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy, or Dennis Eckersley as much as I am? Nothing is better than imagining the game with Eckersley’s imaginary commentary.

Brett Oberholtzer is one of the few players whose beard matches his cap color. The sophomore starter lasted 6⅓ innings with just two runs allowed despite surrendering 11 hits. He did this by not allowing any Red Sox hitters to reach on walks and avoiding extra base hits with opponents on base. Dennis Eckersley would have been going nuts about how many times Boston batters let Oberholtzer off the hook. “This guy is throwing salad out there. He’s a lamb and these hitters have to take advantage of him.”

Eckersley also would have been extremely amusing about Mookie Betts’s near-catch of Jason Castro’s home run ball in the third inning. “If I’m on the mound I’m begging for my guy to make that. Look at it, it’s catchable.”

No doubt the Hall of Fame arm would have greatly admired Jake Peavy’s athletic slide to get Marwin Gonzalez out for the final out of the seventh frame. “I would admire it, but I wouldn’t do it. There’s not enough iron in the world for me start rolling around near a base with spikes coming at my moss. No way, no how.”

David Ortiz sent the ball into orbit in the fourth inning. He was subsequently harassed by Orbit before his at bat in the seventh. The mascot made light of the designated hitter but Bo Porter did not take Ortiz lightly. He intentionally walked Ortiz even though the Red Sox had just tied the game 2-2. Mike Napoli ended the frame with a strikeout.

There’s a new way to end a game: upholding the call by official review. Hey, at least it’s not as bad as penalty kicks.

Game 94: July 12, 2014
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Jake Peavy (1-8)
HR: David Ortiz (20)
WinHouston Astros
3 BS, W: Josh Fields (3, 2-4)
H: Tony Sipp (6)
S: Chad Qualls (10)
2B: Jose Altuve – 2 (29)
3B: Jason Castro (2)
HR: Castro (8)

July 12, 2014

Onward Christian Catcher

Rookie catcher Christian Vazquez clouted two doubles, just eight fewer than A.J. Pierzynski did this season. He drove in three runs and scored twice. He did so well that he found himself receiving Edward Mujica in the ninth inning, something that only happens when Boston has a big league or John Farrell has exhausted any other options.

The freckle-faced youth listed his home country Puerto Rico as his favorite place to have a vacation. (Everyone say, “Awww…!”) He hails from Bayamon, which is where Yadier and Jose Molina were born (eldest brother Bengie was born in Rio Piedras). Catching excellence isn’t transmitted by proximity, but if Vazquez continues on the trajectory he set for himself in this game he will be a solid contributor. Perhaps the Red Sox have produced a long-term backstop, one of the more elusive positions to cultivate.

Brock Holt’s family was louder than the Astros crowd. It is clever how they don’t mention how they had found the infant Holt in an alien rocket. The Holts had a lot to cheer for as the leadoff hitter went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a run batted in, and a base on balls. He deigned to display his fallibility in the first inning when he allowed himself to get caught stealing third base. That was to make us mere mortals feel better about our paltry existences.

John Lackey benefitted from massive (for this season) run support but also flashed some leather in the third frame. Marwin Gonzalez tried to bunt to get on base but Lackey dove like Arjen Robben for the ball and flipped it to Mike Carp for the out.

In the seventh Carp found himself on the throwing end of a similar play. Carp stopped Matt Dominguez’s grounder from slipping past him. He tried to flip it to Burke Badenhop but only managed to shuffle it towards the reliever. Badenhop pounced towards it and handled with his throwing hand to secure the final out of the inning.

Game 93: July 11, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: John Lackey (10-6)
2B: Brock Holt (18), Dustin Pedroia (26), Christian Vazquez – 2 (2), David Ortiz (18)
3B: Brock Holt (4), Stephen Drew (1)
Houston Astros
3 L: Scott Feldman (4-6)
2B: Jason Castro (15)
HR: Chris Carter – 2 (19)

July 11, 2014

Magic Carp

Anyone who plays Pokemon will get this title. You know, Magikarp? The useless fish that turns into powerful dragon called Gyarados at level 20? Sorry, “Carp Diem” was taken.

Much like that flailing piscine Pokemon the Red Sox were powerless against Jose Quintana. The 25-year old Colombian starter carried a perfect game into the sixth frame. Stephen Drew led off the inning with a seven-pitch base on balls.

David Ross followed with a walk of his own. Ross now has 9 walks on the season in 114 plate appearances, the same number as A.J. Pierzynski had. Pierzynski enjoyed 274 plate appearances. Just saying.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. broke up the no-hitter and tied the game with a ground ball single to right. Perhaps his defensive success is giving him more confidence at the dish.

Brock Holt’s magic touch from the previous game’s walk-off win didn’t carry into this game. He and Dustin Pedroia grounded out without advancing the runners.

One of David Ortiz’s many blasts to deep center finally landed some place other in a White Sox outfielder’s glove. His shot clanged off the wall, plating Ross and Bradley and gaining a two-run advantage for the local nine.

All-Star Koji Uehara, who received his jersey in a ceremony prior to this game, inexplicably allowed the South Siders to tie the game in the ninth. He was beat by Alexei Ramirez in a footrace to first to start the stanza. The closer fell behind Paul Konerko but battled back to strike the Rhode Islander out looking. Conor Gillaspie had homered in the prior two games at Fenway and completed the series hat trick with a game-tying shot around Pesky’s Pole.

John Farrell had Daniel Nava pinch-hit for Johnny Gomes in the 10th. Nava worked a walk. Mookie Betts didn’t have the chance for an exciting but risky play as he did in Saturday’s game, but when called upon to bunt over Nava he executed it perfectly.

With first base open Drew was intentionally walked to keep the double play in order. Mike Carp batted in place of Ross and the move was rewarded when Carp laced the ball into left field.

Dayan Viciedo is no Yoenis Cespedes so his throw home was late. I don’t know why Jerry Remy wouldn’t want to ride the blimp. On-field celebrations are awesome and seem even more so from the air.

Game 92: July 10, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
Chicago White Sox
3 L: Ronald Belisario (3-6)
2B: Jose Abreu (20), Alexei Ramirez (15)
HR: Gillaspie (4)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 H: Junichi Tazawa (9)
BS: Koji Uehara (2)
W: Andrew Miller (3-5)
2B: David Ortiz (17)

July 10, 2014

Love for Sale

Who’s prepared to pay the price for a trip to paradise?

Grass- and blood-stained Jonny Gomes is. The green smears are from his diving grab of Alexei Ramirez’s sinking line drive in the fourth inning. In the seventh Gomes was hit in the face by Tyler Flowers’s fly ball but still recovered in time to get Alejandro De Aza out at home.

Love that’s only slightly soiled, love for sale.

It is not coincidence that A.J. PIerzynski’s departure has altered the attitude in the clubhouse. Rob Bradford’s report stated that players went to management about Pierzynski’s lack of engagement with his pitchers. Pierzynski’s approach at the plate was in opposition to the Red Sox philosophy of seeing as many pitches as possible. His impatience at the plate, deteriorated offensive production, and lack of camaraderie are not missed.

Being a catcher requires levels of sacrifice. You submit your body to countless hours crouching, ricochets, and, prior to the rule change, collisions. You spend time with your battery mates learning their strengths and the opposition’s weaknesses. Pierzynski wasn’t up for that commitment any longer.

Old love, new love, every love but true love.

Pierzynski’s replacement Christian Vazquez went 0-for-3 in his major league debut. He joined Shane Victorino as cheerleaders in the dugout as the Red Sox mounted their late-inning comeback.

If you want the thrill of love, I’ve been through the mill of love.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. saw Grady Sizemore take his job after spring training but kept grinding away in Pawtucket. Despite his struggles he didn’t have to travel up and down 95 too often because of Victorino’s injury. Red Sox fans benefitted from this by seeing Fred Lynn reborn on the field in Bradley’s stride, glove, and arm.

The official airline of the Red Sox JetBlue certainly appreciated this camera angle.

Who will buy? Who would like to sample my supply?

Let the poets pipe of love in their childish way. I know every type of love better far than they.

And that love is Brock Holt.

After he drove in the winning run Gary Striewski interviewed him on field and asked, “What can’t you do?” “Obviously, hit Chris Sale,” quipped Holt.

Holt mentioned Mookie Betts having a great game (2-for-3 with 2 runs scored) and Vazquez calling a great game. He ended the conversation with “I love you back, I guess. Yeah!”

Game 91: July 9, 2014
Chicago White Sox
4 BS, L: Javy Guerra (2, 0-1)
2B: Adam Dunn (14), Alejandro De Aza (12), Cole Gillaspie (21), Tyler Flowers (6), Adam Eaton (14)
3B: De Aza (4)
HR: Jose Abreu (28), Gillaspie (3)
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: Koji Uehara (5-2)
2B: Mookie Betts – 2 (2), David Ortiz (16), Jonny Gomes (7), Daniel Nava (6)

July 9, 2014

Child’s Play

Sign this ballgirl up! She made a barehanded play off the wall in the second inning. Before she demonstrated deft hands Mike Napoli erred on Dayan Viciedo’s ground ball. This led to to a run scored and the bases reloading.

Steve Lyons was relegated to the broadcaster’s kiddie table. His pants were on, but so was his microphone.

The White Sox were having fun in the dugout. Moises Sierra didn’t know he had a cup stuck on his head. When he finally discovered the prank he knocked it off his cap.

Sierra then made an exaggerated forlorn expression. Lighten up, Sierra! It’s not like your national football team was decimated in a semifinal match and then had to witness its greatest continental rival advance to the World Cup final. Nor is it like watching your former world champion team descend to last place in its division just one year removed from its former glory.

Game 90: July 8, 2014
WinChicago White Sox
8 W: John Danks (8-6)
H: Ronald Belisario (7)
2B: Jose Abreu – 2 (19), Cole Gillaspie (20), Adam Eaton (13), Gordon Beckham (18), Paul Konerko (6)
3B: Alejandro De Aza (3)
HR: Gillaspie (2)
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Brandon Workamn (1-3)
2B: Brock Holt (17), Dustin Pedroia (25), Mike Napoli (14)
3B: Holt (3)

July 8, 2014

Rock Bottom

Jim Joyce, the first base umpire, concentrated on Mike Napoli’s feet rather than the ball in the glove as Adam Eaton charged down the first base line in the fifth inning. Stephen Drew’s throw pulled Napoli off the bag and Joyce called Eaton safe. The replay showed that the first baseman had the presence of mind to tag Eaton on the shoulder. John Farrell challenged Joyce’s ruling, which was overturned.

I can’t think of another time when Joyce missed a call at first. Can you? Wait, I have a vague recollection now that I think about it.

Boston Gibbs, a six-year old boy from New York named after the Red Sox, got to visit Fenway as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He and his family traveled to Boston by limousine. When asked how the ride and visit was he replied succinctly: “Good.”

“Good” is not a word to describe the Red Sox current play. We aren’t so bad as to make an entire country cry (I’m looking your way, Brazil), but for Red Sox Nation this season is quite the comedown from 2013. Only Jackie Bradley, Jr. and A.J. Pierzynski tallied hits, both singles.

What time do you go to the dentist? Tooth-hurty.

Game 89: July 7, 2014
WinWhite Sox
4 W: Scott Carroll (3-4)
2B: Adam Dunn (13)
HR: Dunn (13), Dayan Viciedo (11)
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Clay Buchholz (3-4)
No extra base hits

July 7, 2014

Lasting Impression

With this loss and the Rays’ victory over the Tigers the Red Sox fell to last place in the AL East. Orioles starter Kevin Gausman was impressive over 5⅓ innings: 4 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, mid to high 90s heat, and a 10 MPH difference between his fastball and his change-up. He looks as if he has yet to get his learner’s permit but he’s 23 years old.

Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s mission seemed to be to frustrate Manny Machado. In the seventh inning Bradley caught Caleb Joseph’s can of corn with momentum and fired to home plate. Machado tried to tag up from third base but was out.

The Red Sox looked like their 2013 selves in the bottom of the seventh. Perhaps they were motivated by Brian Butterfield’s ejection. He was trying to get Hunter Wendelstedt’s attention because Butterfield thought Ryan Webb was not coming to a set position prior to pitching. Instead of hearing Butterfield out the umpire ejected the third base coach. The local nine tied the game with a rare offensive onslaught.

Koji Uehara surrendered an unusual walk in the ninth inning with two out, made even more unusual because J.J. Hardy worked it. Machado almost made Uehara pay with a fly ball to the warning track in center field but Bradley made a stunning grab to preserve the 6-6 tie.

The game lasted 12 innings. There was very little for the Fenway faithful to enjoy. The Orioles pulled ahead in the top of the 12th when David Lough led off with a triple and Hardy drove him in. The only baserunner the Red Sox mustered, David Ortiz, was thrown out in the bottom of the 12th when he tried to stretch a single to the left field corner into a double.

Speaking of doubles, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli made a cute couple when they converted on Jonathan Schoop’s pop-up.

Game 88: July 6, 2014 ∙ 12 innings
WinBaltimore Orioles
7 H: T.J. McFarland (4)
BS: Tommy Hunter (4)
W: Brad Brach (4-0)
S: Zach Britton (14)
2B: Nelson Cruz (17)
3B: David Lough (2)
Boston Red Sox
6 L: Edward Mujica (2-4)
2B: David Ortiz (15)
HR: David Ross (5)

July 6, 2014

Cruz Control

It’s Nelson Cruz’s world, we just live in it. The slugging left fielder went 5-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. He tried for a triple in the eighth inning to complete the cycle but was hosed at third by the combination of Daniel Nava and Stephen Drew.

John Lackey had a subpar outing: 5⅓ innings, 10 hits, 5 earned runs, a walk, and 11 strikeouts. Clearly Lackey didn’t have his best stuff, but that didn’t stop him from throwing shade at Cruz. “I’m not even going to comment on him. I’ve got nothing to say about him,” he said. “There are things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.” Cruz’s 50-game suspension resulting from his involvement in Biogenesis did not taint him in voters’ eyes; the outfielder was voted to his third All-Star game.

Speaking of subpar, Harold Reynolds was practically giddy with each hit by the Orioles. And since they had 16 hits, there was a lot of giggling interspersed with what I assume was supposed to be in-game analysis. Sad to say that the Fire Harold Reynolds blog isn’t as active as it should be. It is time for a revival.

Game 87: July 5, 2014
WinBaltimore Orioles
7 W: Brad Brach (3-0)
H: Tommy Hunter (2), Brian Matusz (11), Darren O’Day (13)
S: Zach Britton (13)
2B: Nelson Cruz – 2 (16), Nick Markakis (18), Manny Machado (8)
HR: Nick Hundley (3), Cruz (27)
Boston Red Sox
4 L: John Lackey (9-6)
BS: Burke Badenhop (2)
2B: Brock Holt (16), David Ortiz (14)
HR: Stephen Drew (2)

Herrera the Hero

Jon Lester started the day game of the doubleheader. He pitched masterfully: 8 innings, 5 hits, no earned runs, no walks, and 7 strikeouts. But because of Xander Bogaerts’s two-run error in the third inning and the Red Sox’s tepid offense Lester wasn’t in line for the win. Thankfully MLB managers’ judgment is not swayed by win-loss records for pitchers alone and Lester was selected to his third All-Star roster. So far he’s the only Boston player headed for Minneapolis.

It was a game of surprise contributions. Stephen Drew hammered a two-run homer in the second inning, his first of the season.

That Jonny Gomes led off the ninth inning of the tie game with a single was not a surprise. Nor was David Ross’s sacrifice bunt to advance Gomes. But when John Farrell sent Jonathan Herrera as a pinch-hitter for Jackie Bradley, Jr. I was alarmed. Granted, Farrell doesn’t have a lot of options off the bench, but Herrera seemed to be a dark horse. He enthralled us all with a clutch single to win the series opener.

I noticed something about the infield I hadn’t seen before. At Fenway the basepath extends past the dirt beyond first and third. Does any other field have this configuration?

Game 86: July 5, 2014
Baltimore Orioles
2 L: T.J. McFarland (1-2)
No extra base hits
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: Koji Uehara (4-2)
2B: Jackie Bradley Jr. (16)
HR: Stephen Drew (1)

July 5, 2014


The Red Sox were swept by the Cubs. Two days after the North Side Nines’ triumphant march through Fenway Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein traded away Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics for a bevy of prospects: Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, pitcher Dan Straily, and a player to be named later.

That doesn’t bode well for the Red Sox’s near-term future. Will Ben Cherington make any trades that send a fan favorite to another city?

Surely David Ortiz wouldn’t be shipped out of Boston. In the third inning the designated hitter enjoyed his 1,000th extra base hit with a ground-rule double he clubbed to right field.

Mookie Betts certainly wouldn’t be part of any trade rumors. The blue chip prospect notched his first hit in Fenway, a fifth-inning circuit clout that ended up in the Monster seats. The home run ball was retrieved by Chris Large, a Tennessee native that grew up a few miles from Betts was raised and who played against the rising Red Sox star in high school.

Betts didn’t get the silent treatment in the dugout. There’s been so little positivity in the Red Sox dugout that they couldn’t deny Betts nor themselves the joy of seeing one of their number succeed. The veteran players are highly supportive of the up-and-coming players. Before the game Shane Victorino helped Betts with fielding tips. Who better to learn from than a multiple Gold Glove-winning outfielder?

Another player not likely on the trading block is Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman’s glove was compromised in the sixth inning, but not by a scorcher off the opposition’s bat. Felix Doubront, who relieved the unusually ineffective Brandon Workman in the fifth, fielded Chris Coghlan’s bunt attempt and fired it to Pedroia, who was covering first base. It was quite the spectacle, but it didn’t compete with one that Jerry Remy produced.

Remy’s tooth dislodged and a storm of giggles ensued.

“Good thing it’s an off day tomorrow,” said Remy. The Red Sox players probably thought the same so that they could recover from yet another series sweep. Cherington could have used the time to cook up a deal to strengthen the franchise’s future, but it seems that Epstein and Hoyer beat him and many others to the punch.

Game 85: July 2, 2014
WinChicago Cubs
16 W: Carlos Villanueva (4-5)
H: James Russell (4)
2B: Mike Olt (4), Darwin Barney (9), Luis Valbuena (29), Chris Coghlan (4), Justin Ruggiano (9)
3B: Barney (1)
HR: Ruggiano (3), Olt (11), Welington Castillo (6), Nate Schierholtz (5)
Boston Red Sox
9 L: Brandon Workman (1-2)
2B: David Ortiz – 2 (13), Mike Napoli (13), Dustin Pedroia (24)
HR: Mookie Betts (1)

July 2, 2014

Last Ditch Effort

John Farrell challenged first base umpire Jerry Meals’s call that Dustin Pedroia was the final out of the game. Replays showed that it was as close as a tie between the runner and catch as possible. Pedroia was confirmed to be out, ending another disappointing outing by the Red Sox on their homefield.

Koji Uehara took the mound for the ninth with the score 1-1 but wasn’t his automatic self. Former Red Sox farmhand Anthony Rizzo scorched a single to center and advanced to third base on Starlin Castro’s frozen rope to left field. Luis Valbuena lofted a fly ball to Mookie Betts in right field and the rookie’s arm wasn’t equal to the task. Rizzo scored the go-ahead, and ultimately winning, run.

Betts has an expensive preference in automobiles. The last Maybach rolled off assembly lines, or more precisely was gently swaddled by manufacturers with kid gloves, in December 2012. Each car was bespoke to its customer’s wishes and could cost $1,000,000 or more. Betts could have ordered one with a grill for his steaks or a high-end audio system to play some Ludacris.

There was some criticism of David Ortiz for walking to first before the ball reached Welington Castillo’s glove. It was the seventh inning with Pedroia on first base and two outs. Ortiz of all people knows the signs of being pitched around and just decided to get to first sooner rather than later.

Wally and Clark tried out their moves with female fans in the stands. Wally was more successful because Clark’s lack of pants is quite frankly disconcerting. Insert pun about bear and bare here.

Game 84: July 1, 2014
WinChicago Cubs
2 W: Pedro Strop (1-3)
S: Hector Rondon (11)
2B: Justin Ruggiano (8), Starlin Castro (25)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Koji Uehara (3-2)
2B: Jackie Bradley Jr. (15)

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