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Home » Category Listing » May 2014 Game Comments

June 1, 2014

In Your Face

Two players had balls smash into their faces under unusual circumstances. One of Rubby De La Rosa’s pitches ricocheted off A.J. Pierzynski’s leg protector right into Roman Ali Solis’s nose. Solis was pulled from the game and Jose Molina struck out for him. That whiff lives on Solis’s ledger, not Molina’s.

In the eighth inning Jackie Bradley, Jr. pursued Kevin Kiermaier’s fly ball to the Green Monster but misjudged the trajectory. The ball hit Bradley in the face and he crumpled to the ground in pain. Kiermaier scrambled for an inside-the-park home run. Bradley displayed his toughness and stayed in the game.

It was a game of firsts. De La Rosa enjoyed his first win in a Red Sox uniform. Brock Holt jolted his first major league home run. Bradley hammered his first circuit clout of the season. A Fox broadcast of a Red Sox game was enjoyable for the first time in a long time thanks to Tim McCarver’s departure. Tom Verducci has a somewhat florid vocal style that didn’t allow for the action on the field to speak for itself.

Not that I closely follow umpire crew rotations but for the first time I can recall a crew chief was replaced in the middle of a series. Jeff Kellogg, who presided over Friday evening’s eventful game, was replaced by Ted Barrett because of Kellogg’s “pre-existing personal matter.” I didn’t find any other details other than Ryan Hannable’s tweet.

Mike Carp was hit by a pitch for the second straight game. Jake Odorizzi’s curveball was obviously errant and without intent so the hot tempers from Friday’s game were not reignited. Instead the Red Sox took care of business on the field for a comfortable 7-1 victory to extend their winning streak to six games.

Game 55: May 31, 2014
Tampa Bay Rays
1 L: Jake Odorizzi (2-5)
2B: Ben Zobrist (8), David DeJesus (12)
HR: Kevin Kiermaier (2)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Rubby De La Rosa (1-0)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (15)
HR: Brock Holt (1), Jackie Bradley Jr. (1)

May 31, 2014


The Red Sox beat the Rays in runs scored (3-2) and people ejected (4-0). So why is it that the Rays came out ahead in batters hit by pitch (3-0)?

Rule 8.02(d) entitled “Intentionally Pitch at the Batter” states:

If, in the umpire’s judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to:

1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or

2. may warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager.

If, in the umpire’s judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially “warned” prior to the game or at any time during the game.

(League Presidents may take additional action under authority provided in Rule 9.05)

Rule 8.02(d) Comment: Team personnel may not come onto the playing surface to argue or dispute a warning issued under Rule 8.02(d). If a manager, coach or player leaves the dugout or his position to dispute a warning, he should be warned to stop. If he continues, he is subject to ejection.

To pitch at a batter’s head is unsportsmanlike and highly dangerous. It should be—and is— condemned by everybody. Umpires should act without hesitation in enforcement of this rule.

Really, Rays? All this fuss over the Fenway booth playing the Barney theme song and other children’s tunes during your batting practice?

By the letter of the law, home plate umpire Dan Bellino was in his rights when he ejected John Farrell in the first inning. But I would question why crew chief Jeff Kellogg didn’t warn both teams prior to the game. Circumstances certainly warranted such a precautionary measure. Had they done so, David Price’s plunking of David Ortiz in the first inning would have resulted in an ejection. According to the rules, the umpires didn’t even need to an issue a warning to expel Price from the game in the bottom of the first. Farrell seemed to come out to argue that Price’s pitch at Ortiz was clearly intentional.

That Price stayed in the game to be able to hit Mike Carp with a pitch in the bottom of the fourth rankled acting manager Torey Lovullo and the team. The benches cleared and Ortiz was particularly livid. When it became clear that Price was going to remain on the mound even after hitting his second batter in the game (note that prior to this contest Price had hit two batters the entire season), Lovullo ripped off his cap and hurled it to the ground. Brian Butterfield took Lovullo’s place as acting manager and Greg Colbrunn took Butterfield’s place as third base coach.

Brandon Workman threw behind Evan Longoria in the sixth inning and was immediately tossed. By rule 8.02(d)2 above Butterfield was dismissed as well. Ever the antagonist, A.J. Pierzynski jawed at Longoria after the pitch.

The Red Sox seemed to break their slump after a brawl in Tampa Bay. Not coincidentally Xander Bogaerts’s bat came back to life. The rookie shortstop plated his fellow newcomer Jackie Bradley, Jr. in the seventh inning with a double that clanged halfway up the left field wall. The score was knotted 2-2 until the game went into extra innings.

Pierzynski not only contributed to Boston’s mind games over Tampa Bay but also launched a triple to the triangle in the tenth inning to plate Jonny Gomes for the winning run. Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers collided in center field chasing down the ball. It seems like Jennings got some fielding advice from B.J. Upton during their time together on the Rays.

Game 54: May 30, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
Tampa Bay Rays
2 L: Juan Carlos Oviedo (1-2)
2B: David DeJesus (11), Yunel Escobar (8)
WinBoston Red Sox
3 W: Andrew Miller (2-4)
2B: A.J. Pierzynski (7), Xander Bogaerts (14)
3B: Pierzynski (1)

May 30, 2014

Down on the Uptons

Have B.J. Upton’s ways rubbed off on his brother Justin since they have been together on the Braves? Justin, the “little” brother, played Fenway’s left field too deep. Even Steve Lyons noticed that anything over his head would hit the wall anyway so Justin should have moved in a bit. This was proven in the eighth inning when Brock Holt’s single dropped in front of the left fielder. Not only did Justin come up short he let the ball get by him, allowing Holt to take second base.

Xander Bogaerts drove in Holt with a soft liner to right-center, bringing the score to 3-2 in favor of the visitors.

Dustin Pedroia reached base when his rookie counterpart Tommy La Stella miscommunicated with Andrelton Simmons. Pedroia’s slow bounder came up the middle and La Stella thought Simmons was going to field it. Instead it got through to La Stella behind the keystone sack. An experienced middle infielder pair would have turned a double play but instead the Red Sox had runners at first and second with none out.

A.J. Pierzynski’s then dropped a single into shallow center. B.J. ran up to field it but it clanked off his glove. Brian Butterfield saw the fumble and sent Bogaerts home to tie the game.

La Stella’s inexperience showed in the final frame as well. Perhaps he was shocked that the normally shutdown closer Craig Kimbrel surrendered walks to Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Holt in the bottom of the ninth. Bogaerts starched a shot at Chris Johnson at the hot corner. Johnson tried to start the double play but La Stella couldn’t gather the relay throw. Bradley dashed home for the go-ahead run.

The suck transplant from the Red Sox to the Braves was complete. Now we just need to transfer the Braves’ winning record to the only remaining professional baseball team in Boston.

Game 53: May 29, 2014
Atlanta Braves
3 BS: David Carpenter (2)
L: Craig Kimbrel (0-1)
2B: Freddie Freeman (15)
HR: Jason Heyward (5)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Koji Uehara (1-1)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (13), David Ross (3), Brock Holt (5)

May 29, 2014

Missing the Idiots

How angry would you be about the Red Sox’s recent losing streak had 2004 not happened? This is one of the many things we can now take in stride thanks to that odds-defying team from a decade ago.

Manny Ramirez acknowledged his poor behavior and apologized in person to traveling secretary Jack McCormick, with whom Ramirez had a physical altercation in 2008. His turnaround seems to have convinced the Cubs front office, who hired him as a player-coach for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. Ramirez exited from his door in left field to much applause, a 180-degree reversal from when he all but forced the Red Sox to trade him with his awful behavior, on field and off.

Thanks to Ramirez, no one raises an eyebrow when a left fielder has a bit of a nosh between batters.

While Kevin Millar joked about how everyone got fat, there was one player whose weight had declined. Curt Schilling looked somewhat gaunt and pale in the wake of cancer treatment but he was healthy enough to participate in the celebration.

Pedro Martinez graced the booth with his wit and wisdom. Perhaps he can fit in a few shifts as color analyst when he isn’t busy with his pitching instructor responsibilities. Steve Lyons is a novelty drink to quaff sloppily whereas Martinez is a fine wine to savor lovingly.

Dave Roberts and Bill Mueller couldn’t make the ceremony in person but recorded a fantastic conversation where they relived “The Steal.” There’s nothing like two true ballplayers talking about the game, practically finishing each other’s sentences.

Notable absences include Nomar Garciaparra, Mark Bellhorn, and Doug Mirabelli. The Red Sox recreated a reversal of Ramirez cutting off Johnny Damon for Ramirez’s first pitch, but they couldn’t give Mirabelli another police escort to Fenway?

After the marvelous festivities the current Red Sox team secured the victory for squad’s first three-game winning streak. Under the leadership of John Farrell they are not the idiots of yesteryear, not even the bearded brothers of last season, but perhaps this stretch of success will help them define and find themselves.

Game 52: May 28, 2014
Atlanta Braves
0 L: Gavin Floyd (0-2)
2B: Freddie Freeman (14), Justin Upton (12)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: John Lackey (6-3)
H: Chris Capuano (4)
2B: Xander Bogaerts (12), Jackie Bradley Jr. (12)

May 28, 2014

Aaron Harangued

Steve Lyons reminds me of that uncle that tells the same stories and hackneyed jokes at every family gathering. Granted the anecdotes were amusing… the first time you heard them. Lyons shoots for Bob Uecker but misses the target, not unlike 50 Cent’s first pitch at Citi Field.

The Red Sox finally won a series after four straight series losses. John Farrell was aggressive in his game plan. Trailing 2-1 in the fourth he sent Grady Sizemore to steal third base with one out and David Ross at the dish. Fredi Gonzalez challenged the safe call by John Tumpane but the call stood. Ross shot a single to the left-center gap to tie the game 2-2.

The Braves responded in the fifth with Freddie Freman’s leadoff triple. Justin Upton followed with a walk and Chris Johnson dropped a single between Jonny Gomes and Dustin Pedroia. But on Johnson’s bloop single Gomes deked Upton into thinking he was going to catch the ball. Upton’s hesitation allowed Gomes to throw the left fielder out at second.

Anthony Varvaro and Luis Avilan conspired to wipe away Aaron Harang’s chance at his fifth win in the seventh inning. Varvaro allowed singles to Xander Bogaerts and Pedroia.

Avilan fared worse. David Ortiz drove in Xander Bogaerts with an opposite field single that was just fair to tie the game. Gomes singled near the right field line with partial thanks to Freeman’s sliding attempt to catch the ball. Sizemore’s single shattered his bat and sent shards of wood and the ball directly at Avilan. Pedroia scored the go-ahead run. Jackie Bradley, Jr. took the intentional base on balls to Ross personally and sent a two-run single to left field to increase his team’s lead.

Despite the win Ortiz expressed his frustration over his eighth-inning ground out. But he was key to a much-needed victory.

Game 51: May 27, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Jon Lester (5-6)
H: Craig Breslow (1), Junichi Tazawa (4), Andrew Miller (3)
S: Koji Uehara (11)
2B: Grady Sizemore (9), Dustin Pedroia (18)
Atlanta Braves
3 H, L: Anthony Varvaro (3, 1-1)
BS: Luis Avilan
2B: B.J. Upton (11)
3B: Freddie Freeman (1)
HR: Jason Heyward (4)

May 26, 2014

Brave New World

The division-leading Atlanta Braves succumbed to the Red Sox on their home turf. Turner Field won’t house the Braves for very much longer. The team will leave the venue when their lease expires in 2016. The club is following the money trail outside of Atlanta and Fulton County into the tony outlying neighborhoods in Cobb County.

Atlanta was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthplace and thanks to him the area is no longer segregated by law. But in fact the disparity between mostly white Cobb and predominantly black Fulton counties are still demarcated by race and class. Ray Henry’s article sums up the situation succinctly:

To support its argument for leaving, the Braves released a map based on ticket sales data that showed its fans were clustered in an arc north of downtown Atlanta that ran through the suburbs. That information also shows fans tended to purchase single-game tickets at the highest rates in places that were several times as rich as neighborhoods closest to the stadium and much whiter. Of the communities with the ten highest sales rates, all but one were north of the current stadium and had median household incomes ranging from roughly $61,000 to $100,000. Those communities ranged from 58 to 85 percent white, according to counts by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The national pastime used to be at home everywhere from cities’ interstices to rural pastures. Jackie Robinson didn’t break the color barrier so that only certain kids could cross the street or hop on a bus crosstown to go to see a game.

For a first place team the Braves played sloppily, which is something Red Sox fans will immediately recognize. In his zeal to get stretch a single into a double Jason Heyward slid past second base. The overshot allowed Dustin Pedroia to tag the lanky outfielder. It also demonstrated that Pedroia is about as tall as Heyward’s legs are long.

We can only hope that the Red Sox snapping their losing streak will spark the adoption of Ryan Lavarnway’s mustache style. Certainly the barbershop quartets that Red Sox players have created has contributed positively to team morale. At the next homestand Jonny Gomes will surely debut “(You're the Flower of My Heart,) Sweet Adeline” as his at bat music.

Game 50: May 26, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Edward Mujica (2-1)
H: Junichi Tazawa (3), Andrew Miller (2)
S: Koji Uehara (10)
2B: Brock Holt (4)
3B: Grady Sizemore (2)
HR: David Ortiz (12)
Atlanta Braves
6 L: Ian Thomas (1-2)
2B: Justin Upton – 2 (11), B.J. Upton (9)


This batboy had a mischievous air about him.

Oh wait, that’s Dustin Pedroia. He finally shaved his scrubby facial hair in an effort to reverse his and his team’s fortunes. The second baseman went 1-for-5 with four men left on base.

Perhaps the manscaping rubbed off on Jonny Gomes. The platoon player tied the game 3-3 in the top of the seventh with a two-run homer into the left field seats.

Craig Breslow couldn’t rein in the Rays in the bottom of the seventh. Sean Rodriguez slammed a three-run shot into the stands off the southpaw and the scoring didn’t stop there. James Loney and Brandon Guyer scored on Yunel Escobar’s line drive double to Gomes.

Escobar advanced to third on defensive indifference, a terrible breach of baseball etiquette in a sport where scratching one’s scrotum and excessive expectoration is commonplace. “Five runs up,” A.J. Pierzynski scornfully commented to Jose Molina. David Ross chirped from the Red Sox dugout and Escobar took exception.

Gomes charged from left field to take Escobar out and the brawl was on. Gomes and Escobar were ejected for their parts in the melee.

It wasn’t quite the fracas that Coco Crisp and James Shields sparked in 2008, but it good to see a spark of ardor in this squad. If only that passion translated into play on the field. The Red Sox dropped their 10th straight game, the franchise’s longest losing streak since 1994. In the strike-shortened season Boston had an 11-game skid that contributed to Butch Hobson losing his job.

Get fired up or get fired.

Game 49: May 25, 2014
Boston Red Sox
5 L: Craig Breslow (2-1)
2B: Grady Sizemore – 2 (8), A.J. Pierzynski – 2 (6), Xander Bogaerts (11)
HR: Jonny Gomes (5)
WinTampa Bay Rays
8 BS, W: Joel Peralta (3, 2-3)
S: Grant Balfour (9)
2B: David DeJesus (10), Yunel Escobar (7)
HR: Evan Longoria (5), Sean Rodriguez (6)

May 25, 2014

Fifteen Ways to Lose Your Lover

It’s hard to place a finger on who or what is so unlikable about this team, but A.J. Pierzynski is as good a place to start as any. The catcher blew a kiss to the crowd and celebrated after his three-run homer in the first inning. With the various ailments plaguing the Red Sox Pierzynski was slotted in as the designated hitter in yesterday’s game. He acted as if he were Big Papi after his homer.

It seemed like the necessary shakeup in the lineup prompted an offensive outburst. Boston scored five runs in the first inning against no less than the Rays’ ace David Price. But Jake Peavy couldn’t keep the Rays at bay and the game stood at a 5-5 tie for nine innings.

When the Red Sox got runners on base in the 12th, 13th, and 14th innings there didn’t seem to be any excitement on the bench. The atmosphere was more like anxiety. James Loney led off the 15th with a single and was replaced on the basepaths by Cole Figueroa, who won Friday’s game for Tampa Bay.

Brandon Guyer bunted Figueroa over on what should have been a sacrifice bunt. Instead the miscommunication between Andrew Miller and Brock Holt allowed Guyer to reach first.

Desmond Jennings tried to bunt at first but then swung away on the 1-2 pitch. He tapped it gently to Miller who inexplicably threw to second base, where neither Jonathan Herrera nor Dustin Pedroia were waiting. Figueroa scored on the miscue.

What new and exciting way will the Red Sox lose next time? Tune in tomorrow – same non-bat time, non-bat channel.

Game 48: May 24, 2014 ∙ 15 innings
Boston Red Sox
5 L: Andrew Miller (1-4)
HR: A.J. Pierzynski (4)
WinTampa Bay Rays
6 W: Cesar Ramos (2-3)
2B: Brandon Guyer – 2 (3), Logan Forsythe (6)

Alas and Alack

John Lackey was upset when John Farrell pulled him out of Friday’s game in the eighth inning after David DeJesus sent a single up the middle.

Farrell proceeded to use Junichi Tazawa for a single hitter, Evan Longoria, and then replaced the reliever with Andrew Miller.

Desperate men take desperate measures and Farrell needed a win. A.J. Pierzynski led off the ninth with a single and then called for Shane Victorino to bunt Pierzynski over. Victorino came up lame on the play and Pierzynski was forced out at second anyway. Jonny Gomes replaced Victorino at first and was stranded there as Grady Sizemore popped out to Longoria and pinch-hitter Mike Carp grounded out.

Miller stayed in the game in the ninth and induced James Loney to pop out to short. Desmond Jennings didn’t swing at any at Miller’s offerings and walked on six pitches. Farrell swapped Miller for Burke Badenhop and Joe Maddon countered by pinch-hitting greenhorn Cole Figueroa for Sean Rodriguez. The Rays rookie came through with a gapper to right-center.

With this eighth straight loss the Red Sox’s winning percentage dipped to .426 and the Rays improved to .429.

Game 47: May 23, 2014
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Andrew Miller (1-3)
2B: Brock Holt (3)
WinTampa Bay Rays
1 W: Juan Carlos Oviedo (1-0)
2B: Cole Figueroa (1)

May 22, 2014

Early Decision

All the scoring was finished by the second inning. Even Jon Lester, the opening day starter, has fallen into a familiar losing pattern: give up the lead early and depart after a handful of innings from having expended so many pitches.

The only folks happy about this afternoon’s game were the Toronto Blue Jays (who took sole possession of first place in the American League East), their fan Geddy Lee, and this guy (who caught Xander Bogaerts’s second inning home run ball).

With this loss the Boston squad has been swept in two consecutive series and extended their losing streak to seven games.

The Red Sox face the last place Tampa Bay Rays next. Just two games in the loss column separate these two teams. Will the Red Sox keep ahead of the slowest swimmer or get caught by the Rays?

Will I have to learn how to spell “Samardzija” without looking it up? Ben Cherington might look to discuss acquiring the standout starter from former colleagues Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to shore up the rotation. We learned how to spell “Mientkiewicz” in 2004 so this Serbian surname shouldn’t be so much of a challenge.

Game 46: May 22, 2014
WinToronto Blue Jays
7 W: Mark Buehrle (8-1)
2B: Anthony Gose (3), Brett Lawrie (7)
HR: Melky Cabrera (8), Jose Bautista (12)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Jon Lester (4-6)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (17), Brock Holt (2)
HR: Xander Bogaerts (3)

Edwin Again

Edwin Encarnacion had another two-home run evening. Both his circuit clouts were hit off Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox starter lasted only 4⅔ innings while surrendering nine hits and four earned runs.

If only getting a win were as easy as pressing a buttons, turning a few knobs, and toggling a few switches. Then again NESN has the most difficult job this season: making Red Sox games enjoyable.

Stephen Drew estimates that it will take around 10 days to be ready for the Red Sox. Xander Bogaerts is preparing to cede his spot at shortstop to Drew and has been practicing at third base. Perhaps the addition of Drew along with Bogaerts’s resurgence will be the additional pistons the Red Sox offensive engine needs to win games where the starter yields the lead early.

A few statistics summing up Boston’s inability to win:

  • 5-10 in series openers
  • 5-19 when opponents score first
  • 1-19 when trailing after eight innings

This edition of the Red Sox seem to lack the resilience to recover from hardship. After a rough early few innings they can’t seem salvage the game. It’s hard to give them a chance because they don’t make their own chances.

Game 45: May 21, 2014
WinToronto Blue Jays
6 W: Drew Hutchison (3-3)
H: Aaron Loup (8), Brett Cecil (11), Steve Delabar (11)
S: Casey Janssen (5)
3B: Adam Lind (1)
HR: Edwin Encarnacion – 2 (13)
Boston Red Sox
4 L: Clay Buchholz (2-4)
2B: Mike Carp – 2 (5), Xander Bogaerts – 2 (10)
HR: Shane Victorino (1)

May 21, 2014

Gomes Sweet Gomes

The Fenway crowd saw a few things up close and personal that they might not have been expecting. They saw the Red Sox batters knock in timely hits in the fourth inning, sparking a two-run rally on a trio of doubles by Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Dustin Pedroia.

Jonny Gomes followed up with a two-run homer in the sixth inning. The umpiring crew couldn’t believe a Boston player had a hit with a man on base so they reviewed it. Indeed Gomes had homered to the ledge on the Green Monster.

Gomes was amongst the veteran players who wanted Stephen Drew back on the Red Sox. “When you get in the playoffs, you create a special bond as players. It becomes like a brotherhood,” said Gomes. “Then you win the World Series and you share so much. It’s not really like getting this All-Star-caliber shortstop back. It’s just kind of like one of our brothers is back, which is pretty cool.” Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks are part of that brotherhood but the younger siblings just weren’t contributing as expected. Drew will shore up the left side of the diamond and perhaps ease the pressure off Bogaerts.

Or perhaps it is just the pressure Bogaerts needs to challenge himself to achieve the potential that we believe he possesses.

A solid defense can keep runs off the board. With one out David Ortiz and Mike Napoli worked bases on balls and Gomes loaded the bases with an infield single. Bogaerts laced the ball seemingly out of Brett Lawrie’s reach but the Blue Jays third baseman reached it. Ortiz was caught off third base to end the bases-loaded threat.

Game 44: May 20, 2014
WinToronto Blue Jays
7 W: J.A. Happ (3-1)
H: Dustin McGowan (1), Rob Rasmussen (1), Steve Delabar (10), Aaron Loup (7)
S: Casey Janssen (4)
2B: Melky Cabrera – 2 (12), Jose Reyes (12), Dioner Navarro (5)
HR: Edwin Encarnacion – 2 (11), Erik Kratz (3), Cabrera (7)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Felix Doubront (2-4)
2B: Brock Holt (1), Jackie Bradley Jr. (11), Dustin Pedroia (16)
HR: Jonny Gomes (4)

May 19, 2014

Ship of Rules

Brad Ausmus, manager of the Tigers, 18-year veteran of the MLB, and Ivy Leaguer, learned something new in the seventh inning. According to 6.05(h), a batter is out when:

After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a second time in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runners may advance. If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball is alive and in play. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 6.03, and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball

The italicized part was added in 2010 so perhaps Ausmus hadn’t noticed this clarification. Dustin Pedroia knew the rule and hung around the dish, hoping to get the better of Al Alburquerque. But Pedroia ended up popping out to his counterpart Ian Kinsler to lead off the seventh inning.

Ruben Lipszyc, a visitor from Ruben’s Baseball, e-mailed me about the interference call on Shane Victorino in Saturday night’s game. Ruben is an umpire and he said that the call on Victorino in Saturday night’s game looked right to him. It was incumbent on the runner to get out of the fielder’s way and he didn’t.

This is what a struggling offense will do to a team’s record.

Mookie Betts, the Red Sox prospect who reached base 66 games in a row, played his first game in center field yesterday. Are the Red Sox attempting to acclimate Betts to center field with an eye towards having the Portland Sea Dog shore up the major league team this season? Betts already talks like a big leaguer: “I know that the Red Sox know how to run their system, and I trust in whatever they do. If I play second base, I play second base. If not, I’m ready to move whenever they are.”

If only building a team were as easy as building Fenway with Lego.

Game 43: May 18, 2014
WinDetroit Tigers
6 W: Anibal Sanchez (1-2)
H: Robbie Ray (1), Evan Reed (4)
2B: Miguel Cabrera (13), J.D. Martinez (4), Ian Kinsler (11), Austin Jackson (10)
HR: Victor Martinez (10), Torii Hunter (5)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Jake Peavy (1-2)
No extra base hits

May 18, 2014

Running Interference

Shane Victorino dashed down the first base line as Rick Porcello pursued the ball. Just as the ball went foul Victorino seemed to have stepped over it. John Farrell was confused by Clint Fagen’s eighth inning call. “He was called out for runner interference. To me, in my view, he was already past the ball. And still Clint felt he interfered with the play and called him out.”

Major League Rule 7.09(i) states, “It is interference by a batter or a runner when --”

He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball, provided that if two or more fielders attempt to field a batted ball, and the runner comes in contact with one or more of them, the umpire shall determine which fielder is entitled to the benefit of this rule, and shall not declare the runner out for coming in contact with a fielder other than the one the umpire determines to be entitled to field such a ball;
Rule 7.09(i) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called. “Obstruction” by a fielder attempting to field a ball should be called only in very flagrant and violent cases because the rules give him the right of way, but of course such “right of way” is not a license to, for example, intentionally trip a runner even though fielding the ball. If the catcher is fielding the ball and the first baseman or pitcher obstructs a runner going to first base “obstruction” shall be called and the base runner awarded first base.

So Fagen pretty much ignored the italicized comment to that rule. Replays showed that Victorino didn’t touch the ball. Had he done so, 7.09(k) would have applied:

A fair ball touches him on fair territory before touching a fielder. If a fair ball goes through, or by, an infielder, and touches a runner immediately back of him, or touches the runner after having been deflected by a fielder, the umpire shall not declare the runner out for being touched by a batted ball. In making such decision the umpire must be convinced that the ball passed through, or by, the fielder, and that no other infielder had the chance to make a play on the ball. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the runner deliberately and intentionally kicks such a batted ball on which the infielder has missed a play, then the runner shall be called out for interference.

Perhaps Fagen was exacting a measure of revenge for Edward Mujica almost nailing Hunter Wendelstedt in the sixth inning.

If umpires ran the game like boxing referees the match would have been called in the sixth. For two straight rounds the Detroit batters sent doubles into all parts of the outfield like a heavyweight fighter raining down jabs and crosses on his foe.

Game 42: May 17, 2014
WinDetroit Tigers
6 W: Rick Porcello (7-1)
2B: Ian Kinsler (10), Torii Hunter (9), Austin Jackson (9), Alex Avila (7), Rajai Davis (5), Miguel Cabrera (12)
HR: Cabrera (7)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: John Lackey (5-3)
HR: Xander Bogaerts (2)

May 17, 2014

Charismatic Megafauna

Environmentalists often use handsome animals like the tiger as marketing materials for their cause. Academics call such creatures charismatic megafauna and observe how this idealization of animals skews public policy.. When climate activists used polar bears to educate people about the disappearing ice caps they shaped public opinion from despising to adoring these bears.

As apex predators tigers have no natural enemies. The Lions haven’t been relevant in years and their old stadium stands in ruins. The Red Wings have had recent success but they were beaten by the Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. Whether or not Stan Van Gundy can revitalize the Pistons remains to be seen. So the Tigers are at the top of the food chain in Detroit, and perhaps in the American League.

Time’s passing since the 2013 ALCS has not cooled the Tigers’ passion. Max Scherzer pitched six innings of shutout ball and would have gone longer were it not for a 47-minute rain delay. The Red Sox managed just three hits while the Tigers had twice that number. Neither offense was effective but Torii Hunter’s first-inning single to center to plate Ian Kinsler from second base came at the right time.

The Tigers looked more like former World Champions than the Red Sox.

Boston’s ball club looks like Mike Napoli’s glove. Functional but fraying, they hover around .500. Will Middlebrooks was placed on the 15-day disabled list today and replaced by Brock Holt. A new glove, a new face, and perhaps the Red Sox will get back on pace.

Game 41: May 16, 2014
WinDetroit Tigers
1 W: Max Scherzer (6-1)
H: Evan Reed (3), Ian Krol (8), Joba Chamberlain (8)
S: Joe Nathan (11)
2B: Victor Martinez (9)
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Jon Lester (4-5)
No extra base hits

May 16, 2014

Duensing Cap

Will Middlebrooks was 0-for-3 when he stepped into the batter’s box in the ninth inning with two down and the bases loaded. He hadn’t tallied a hit since May 10 and a base on balls since May 7. Middlebrooks broke his cold streak with a sharply rapped ground ball to right field to tie the game 3-3.

The Red Sox celebration was short-lived. Kurt Suzuki doubled with one out and Aaron Hicks singled the catcher in. For the second time in three days Andrew Miller gave up the game-winning hit. At least this time he didn’t allow Chris Parmelee to homer; that honor went to Clay Buchholz in the second inning.

Buchholz was opposed by Phil Hughes. It was interesting to compare the two former uber-pitching prospects for the Red Sox and Yankees. Because of his fragility and inconsistency Buchholz has been moved to the end of the rotation and Hughes didn’t re-sign with the Yankees after his injury-ridden career in the Bronx. It could have been worse for this pair: they could have been managed by Dusty Baker.

Hughes was a Red Sox fan as a child. I wonder if he has a stash of Red Sox gear that he takes out now and again. Another athlete has been wearing Red Sox swag quite publicly. Paul Pierce had been donning a Red Sox cap to practice and some conjectured that this is a sign that he would entertain a return to Boston. Almost anything would be more entertaining than last season’s 25-57 Celtics.

Game 40: May 15, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
Boston Red Sox
3 L: Andrew Miller (1-2)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (15)
WinMinnesota Twins
4 H: Jared Burton (5), Casey Fien (6)
BS: Glen Perkins (2)
W: Brian Duensing (1-1)
2B: Eduardo Escobar (11), Kurt Suzuki (8)
HR: Chris Parmelee (2)

May 15, 2014

Time for a Correia Change

Ron Gardenhire may find himself Gardenfired if he keeps on telling his pitchers to pitch to David Ortiz. The designated hitter had another two-home run evening, putting him in sole possession of third place in career home runs in a Red Sox uniform. He is 68 home runs behind Carl Yazstremski and 137 fewer than Ted Williams. I wonder where his statue will be placed?

Kevin Correia was pummeled by the Red Sox lineup for five runs over four innings. The relief corps surrendered another four runs. Michael Tonkin in particular had a rough time in the ninth. With the bases loaded and two down A.J. Pierzynski laced the ball the left field line and drove in two runs.

It was nice to have those two additional runs with Edward Mujica finishing off the frame. Mujica allowed Trevor Plouffe to homer into the left-center seats. But the five-run lead proved to great to overcome.

The Bruins also couldn’t overcome the Canadiens’ early lead. They fell short 3-1 in the series finale. They just didn’t have the Game 7 magic that powered them through their 2011 playoff run.

Game 39: May 14, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
9 W: Felix Doubront (2-3)
2B: David Ortiz (8), Grady Sizemore (6), Mike Napoli (9), Xander Bogaerts (8), A.J. Pierzynski (4)
HR: Ortiz – 2 (11)
Minnesota Twins
4 L: Kevin Correia (1-5)
2B: Trevor Plouffe (16), Eduardo Escobar (10)
HR: Plouffe (2)

May 14, 2014


David Ortiz had a career night against his former team. He blasted two home runs in his first two at bats and added a pair of RBI singles. Ortiz’s second home run tied him with Jim Rice for homers in a Red Sox uniform at 382.

The designated hitter’s outstanding showing was not enough to get the Red Sox out of the hole Jake Peavy dug although the Red Sox knotted the score in the seventh inning. The starter surrendered five runs in the second inning and had to hand the ball off to the bullpen in the fifth inning with one down and one on base. Chris Capuano, Craig Breslow, and Junichi Tazawa held the 6-6 tie.

Most frustratingly it wasn’t the Twins’ power hitters (such as they are) who clouted home runs in this game but Eduardo Nunez and Chris Parmelee. Nunez is the Twins’ designated hitter and bats seventh. He homered with Parmelee on base as part of Peavy’s early inning meltdown. With two down and Kurt Suzuki on base Parmelee sent the ball into Target Field’s right field shelf for a walk-off win. Those were the first home runs of the season for Nunez and Parmelee.

Just when the Red Sox fought to a winning record they fell back to .500 ball.

Game 38: May 13, 2014
Boston Red Sox
6 L: Andrew Miller (1-1)
3B: Xander Bogaerts (1), Shane Victorino (1)
HR: David Ortiz – 2 (9)
WinMinnesota Twins
8 H: Michael Tonkin (3)
BS: Matt Guerrier (1)
W: Glen Perkins (1-0)
2B: Brian Dozier (3), Trevor Plouffe (15)
HR: Eduardo Nunez (1), Chris Parmelee (1)

May 11, 2014

Catching Up

Robbie Ross’s name sounds like a plucky sidekick to a Stan Lee superhero. John Lackey’s, in contrast, is the moniker of a thug’s throwaway stooge. But it was Lackey who prevailed on Mother’s Day, and the Red Sox could finally say they have a winning record. Now they are two games behind the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles with lots of time to catch up.

Celebrate the most important woman in your life and all the things she has told you. “Put on your jacket or you’ll catch cold.” “I caught you red-handed eating all the crust off the pumpkin pie.” “Stop playing around in the toy aisle and catch up.”

“You are going to catch hell from Dad when he sees what you did with his tools.” “Wake me up when The Real Housewives of Atlanta starts; I need to catch 40 winks.” “I’m all caught up in my reading! Finished Twilight and now it’s The Hunger Games trilogy!”

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone. I got my mom a three-tiered pastry stand instead of a book because she doesn’t listen to my reading recommendations anyway.

Game 37: May 11, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
5 W: John Lackey (5-2)
H: Andrew Miller (1)
S: Koji Uehara (9)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (14), Mike Napoli (8), Jackie Bradley Jr. (10)
HR: Pedroia (2)
Texas Rangers
2 L: Martin Perez (1-4)
2B: Mitch Moreland (6)
3B: Alex Rios (3)

Rougned & Martin’s Laugh-In

Jon Lester sat nine batters in order until the fourth frame. Shin-Soo Choo doubled over Jackie Bradley, Jr., who misread the ball off the bat. Elvis Andrus grounded out to second base to advance Choo and Adrian Beltre walked on four pitches. With runners at the corners Prince Fielder powered the ball to left field, which allowed Choo to tag up and score the Rangers’ first run of the game.

A flag troop rushed out onto the grassy hill in center. There is no element of football the Rangers fail to incorporate at Global Life Park. Who knew a sacrifice fly that rendered the score 6-1 deserved an end zone celebration.

This guy was a tad late for May 4th but just in time to see Choo’s 1-for-4, three-strikeout showing. The force was not strong in Choobacca yesterday.

It was strong in Shane Victorino. From the two-hole Victorino went 3-for-4 with a run scored. His single in the second inning could have driven in both Will Middlebrooks and Bradley but only the third baseman arrived home safely. Bradley’s slide was not ideally placed, perhaps because David Ortiz’s directions weren’t clear or in time. Ortiz made up for it with a solo shot in the third inning.

Bradley did score on Victorino’s short fly ball to shallow right in the fourth inning, and was closely followed by Dustin Pedroia. Early in the season Lester wasn’t getting the run support required to tally victories but the return of Victorino and Middlebrooks solidified the lineup. Middlebrooks was hit by a pitch in the hand in the eighth inning and scratched from Sunday’s game, so John Farrell will have to tinker with the lineup to compensate for the loss of a key piece. It took a lot of effort to get to a .500 record, so Farrell has his work cut out for him.

Game 36: May 10, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
8 W: Jon Lester (4-4)
2B: David Ortiz (7)
HR: Ortiz (7)
Texas Rangers
3 L: Martin Perez (4-3)
2B: Shin-Soo Choo (7), Elvis Andrus (9)
3B: Alex Rios (3)

May 10, 2014

Twirling Darvish

The first time Yu Darvis came within an out of a perfect game was last year on April 1. It was quite the April Fools’ Day for him, holding the Astros hitless until Marwin Gonzalez sent a single up the middle. In that game his teammates had no defensive miscues.

Rougned Odor had a pivotal game himself. He knocked in his first hit in the major leagues, a line shot to right. Mike Napoli received the ball from Shane Victorino and gave it to Odor as a souvenir.

Odor also had his first schlemiel moment in the seventh inning. He was in the shift against David Ortiz and backed up to catch the batter’s short fly ball. The rookie was caught between diving and pulling off of the catch with Alex Rios lurking nearby. Rios was charged with the error, oddly enough. Darvish the schlimazel had his perfect game broken up.

With two down in the ninth Darvish was victimized by Ortiz again. Again Ortiz defied the shift with a grounder that slipped by Elvis Andrus and Odor before it skipped to Rios.

It was nice of Darvish to give Texas fans a few hours to pretend they found baseball interesting when most of them were probably following the NFL draft on their phones.

Game 35: May 9, 2014
Boston Red Sox
0 L: Clay Buchholz (2-3)
No extra base hits
WinTexas Rangers
8 W: Yu Darvish (3-1)
2B: Adrian Beltre (6), Elvis Andrus (8)
HR: Leonys Martin (2)

May 8, 2014

Sweet and Breslow

Baseball players can combine the elegance of a prima ballerina and the power of a kung fu warrior in a single play. Mike Napoli pirouetted to change course after he gathered Roger Bernadina’s batted ball and then fired down the baseline to double off Ryan Ludwick. Even Dustin Pedroia, purveyor of highlight reel-caliber twin killings himself, acknowledged Napoli’s defensive gem.

Baseball players can also drop a catch, a routine catch they have made a thousand times, for no reason at all. Or trip and fall on an uneventful trot between first and second base. To be charitable to Brandon Phillips, perhaps he was distracted by the sight of A.J. Pierzynski sprawling on the basepath.

Cincinnati secured an early lead in the third inning. Chris Heisey led off the frame with a line drive double off the left field wall. In NL fashion Zack Cozart sacrificed Heisey to second with a bunt to Will Middlebrooks. Skip Schumaker defied senior circuit conventions, his own limitations, and gravity with a two-run shot into the visitors’ bullpen.

The Red Sox rallied in the sixth with David Ortiz’s line drive single arced to right to plate Jonathan Herrera and Mike Napoli’s double to the opposite field to score Ortiz. Jake Peavy couldn’t get an out in the seventh and left Chris Capuano in a bases-loaded jam. Pedroia and Herrera communicated in the mouth language of middle infielders with runners at all stations.

Capuano allowed a run on Bernadina’s ground out to second and was replaced by Burke Badenhop. Badenhop induced two ground ball outs and handed the baton off to Craig Breslow. Schumaker’s leadoff walk wasn’t actually as good as a home run because it was followed by Joey Votto grounding into a 4-6-3 double play. Phillips flied out to right to end the top half of the eighth. Breslow was in line for his second win in as many evenings if Boston scored and Koji Uehara could shut down the Reds in the ninth.

Like Homer Bailey, J.J. Hoover doesn’t have the ideal moniker for a pitcher. The reliever gave up the tying run to Pierzynski and the go-ahead score to Middlebrooks.

Uehara returned to form with a dominating three-strikeout frame. The Red Sox at last attained a non-losing record. Next stop: Winning Recordville.

Game 34: May 7, 2014
Cincinnati Reds
3 H: Manny Parra (3)
BS, L: J.J. Hoover (3, 1-4)
2B: Chris Heisey (3), Todd Frazier (10)
HR: Skip Schumaker (1)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Craig Breslow (2-0)
S: Koji Uehara (8)
2B: Mike Napoli (7), A.J. Pierzynski (3)

May 7, 2014

Walk-off Number One

The Reds were well-prepared to face their rarely-seen Boston opponents. Bryan Price, who replaced Dusty Baker, had colorful spray charts at his disposal. The charts helped Price somewhat, but it was the Red Sox’s dismal 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position that really kept the Reds in the game.

In the tight game the Red Sox defense was peerless. Dustin Pedroia turned a glove-to-glove 4-6-3 double play on Skip Schumaker’s batted ball to silence the stirrings of a sixth-inning rally.

The Red Sox were winning going into the eighth. Junichi Tazawa replaced Burke Badenhop and easily induced a pop out off Chris Heisey’s bat. Joey Votto walked even though Tazawa got ahead of the slugger 0-2 and Brandon Phillips followed with a double that scuttled into the left field corner. Todd Frazier singled in Votto and Juan Nieves paid Tazawa a visit. The pause in the action didn’t quell the visitors’ rally; Ryan Ludwick lofted the ball deep enough to right to plate Phillips to tie the game.

Shane Victorino was key to maintaining the tie. In the ninth inning Koji Uehara had another shaky (for him) outing. With a runner on second and one out Tucker Barnhart (who must have swiped his name from an unproduced screenplay about baseball in the dead-ball era) flied out to the warning track in right. Reds fans in the area got a close up view of Victorino’s pivotal catch.

No outfielder could reach the fly ball Grady Sizemore smacked against the farthest part of the left field wall in the 12th stanza. David Ortiz had singled through the shift (take that, spray chart soothsayers) to lead off the frame and scored as Sizemore touched first.

Sizemore celebrated with his teammates rather than advance to second base. The win was more important than the extra base hit. Forget 1975. Forget 2013. This was a statement game for both Sizemore and this year’s edition of the Olde Towne Team

Game 33: May 6, 2014 ∙ 12 innings
Cincinnati Reds
3 L: Logan Ondrusek (0-2)
2B: Ryan Ludwick (5), Brandon Phillips (7)
WinBoston Red Sox
4 H: Burke Badenhop (2)
BS: Junichi Tazawa (2)
W: Craig Breslow (1-0)
2B: Dustin Pedroia – 2 (13), David Ortiz (6)

May 5, 2014

Mirrored Beards

John Lackey has a bone to pick with you, Oakland Athletics.

Yes, you, you Left Coast hipsters.

It’s not enough that you guys have five former Red Sox players on your roster: Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, and last but not least Nick Punto. You see, he noticed that a number of you are sporting luxuriant beards.

Derek Norris could be Mike Napoli’s long lost brother. Lost because it’s difficult to find human features in the foliage that engulfs Norris’s visage.

On the pitcher’s mound, Sean Doolittle’s facial hair echoed Mike Carp’s in color but surpassed it in volume. The reliever also had a little of David Ross’ two-tone action going on.

Eric Sogard wore spectacles that seemed to be stolen from a Wes Anderson film. Unlike his fellows he tamed his hirsuteness. The glasses along with the neatly shorn beard made me wonder why he was playing second when I have been waiting for my skinny vanilla latte for, oh, three hours now.

Wally’s dad tried to get on the bushy bandwagon but could only muster a mustache.

So, Faux Sox — you may be on the top of the American League heap in May, but you guys have a ways to go before you can engrave Band of Bearded Brothers in a World Series Champion ring.

Game 32: May 4, 2014 ∙ 10 innings
WinOakland Athletics
3 W: Jim Johnson (3-2)
2B: Brandon Moss (2), Yoenis Cespedes (9), Jed Lowrie (10)
Boston Red Sox
2 L: Chris Capuano (1-1)
2B: Grady Sizemore (5)
HR: A.J. Pierzynski (3)

May 4, 2014

No One Left Behind

Jon Lester had a personal best 15 strikeouts in his eight innings of work. He was one hit, two walks, and three outs short of perfect game. Craig Gentry’s single in the third inning wouldn’t have been a hit if it didn’t luckily fall in between Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley, Jr., who usually plays center but was shifted to right field with Grady Sizemore in the game and Shane Victorino getting the day off.

Lester is in his walk year. Perhaps sometime this season Ben Cherington will announce an extension for the southpaw. The price may have gone up, but the southpaw will be more affordable than Max Scherzer.

Unlike so many games this season the Red Sox leapt ahead early. Tommy Milone allowed the first three batters he faced to load the bases and didn’t get an out until he enticed Mike Napoli to whiff on a 3-1 fastball. Jonny Gomes noted that Milone was starting off the sluggers in the order with curveballs and got a hold of the first pitch he saw and sent it into the Monster seats.

Across town the Bruins pulled off a monster comeback by scoring four goals in eight minutes to wage a 5-3 victory against the Canadiens, which equalized the series 1-1. Carey Price struggled in the final minutes of the contest and may have had his confidence shaken a la Roberto Luongo.

One concern for the Red Sox is the bullpen. Koji Uehara isn’t replicating his 2013 dominance, but that is a difficult feat to request. He has been allowing hard hits and has even surrendered bases on balls but hasn’t blown a save opportunity yet. This makes it all the more critical that Edward Mujica and Junichi Tazawa, who have the potential to close themselves, become more reliable on the mound.

Game 31: May 3, 2014
Oakland Athletics
3 L: Tommy Milone (0-3)
2B: Nick Punto (2), Jed Lowrie (9)
WinBoston Red Sox
6 W: Jon Lester (3-4)
S: Koji Uehara (7)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (11)
HR: Jonny Gomes (3), David Ortiz (6), David Ross (2)

May 3, 2014

Centennial Man

Ryan Cook toed the rubber in the sixth inning, inheriting the undesirable scenario that Dan Otero left him. The bases were loaded but Cook only had to get two outs. The way the Red Sox had been hitting with runners in scoring position a double play was a likely outcome.

Dustin Pedroia stepped into the batter’s box. He let one slider slip by and fouled another off. He sent the third pitch to the top of the Green Monster. Bob Melvin challenged the call but for once replay worked in Boston’s favor. Pedroia had clouted his first home run of the season, the second grand slam of his career, and his 100th homer.

It is fascinating to watch Jackie Bradley, Jr. adapt to Fenway Park’s center field. He seems to get better reads than Jacoby Ellsbury and is usually in position to make spectacular catches. It is just the last second adjustments where Bradley needs fine tuning. In the third he nearly robbed John Jason of a triple but ended up colliding with the garage door.

Bradley seemed to learn from his earlier misplay and snatched Yoenis Cespedes’s batted ball before it reached the center field wall. Unlike Ellsbury, Bradley can hit the cutoff man when he is standing in the infield. Pedroia fielded Bradley’s throw and relayed to Mike Napoli for a nifty 8-4-3 double play to end the eighth.

How this series between the Red Sox and Athletics plays out will be an indicator of the quality of both teams. Is Boston an underperforming team rife with talent that just needs to get its bearings? Is Oakland a lucky squad cashing in on an early hot streak that will fade as the season wears on? A win in the series opener with Clay Buchholz, the most questionable arm of the rotation, leading the way may be a foretoken of better days ahead.

Game 30: May 2, 2014
Oakland Athletics
1 L: Dan Straily (1-2)
2B: Yoenis Cespedes (8)
3B: John Jaso (1)
WinBoston Red Sox
7 W: Clay Buchholz (2-2)
2B: Grady Sizemore (4), Jackie Bradley Jr. (9), Dustin Pedroia (10), David Ortiz (5)
HR: Pedroia (1)

May 2, 2014

Coming Up Empty

Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts’s collision allowing Evan Longoria to reach second base to start the sixth inning summed up the Boston squad’s current situation. It is a team with talented parts that haven’t quite synchronized with each other yet.

Poetically that gaffe was followed up by a two-run home run off the bat of Sean Rodriguez that brought his team within a run of the home club. The Red Sox held that 5-4 leading going into the eighth inning but Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara both uncharacteristically surrendered the tying and go-ahead runs.

Across town the Bruins forced the opening game of their series against the Canadiens into double overtime. As Tazawa and Uehara came up short against a despised rival so did Tuuka Rask. P.K. Subban scored twice on the Bruins netminder, including the Canadiens’ winning goal in the 4-3 nail-biter. “I was [expletive] tonight -- when you suck, you suck,” said Rask.

It wasn’t how the two Boston teams played yesterday but what happened in the aftermath. Racial epithets directed at Subban littered Twitter after the Bruins’ loss. We all should put on this mask of shame.

Game 29: May 1, 2014
WinTampa Bay Rays
6 W: Jake McGee (2-0)
S: Grant Balfour (6)
2B: Sean Rodriguez – 2 (3), Yunel Escobar (5)
HR: Desmond Jennings (2), Rodriguez (4), Escobar (2)
Boston Red Sox
5 H: Burke Badenhop (1)
BS: Junichi Tazawa (1)
L: Koji Uehara (0-1)
2B: Shane Victorino – 2 (5), Xander Bogaerts (7)

May 1, 2014

Picture Worth a Thousand Curse Words

C.B. Bucknor was hit by David Ross’s foul ball. His pained expression would repeated on the faces of Red Sox fans as the game wore on and the local nine were unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Collectively the Red Sox were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 men.

Dustin Pedroia seemingly tied the game in the seventh but Toby Basner called him out at home. Basner isn’t listed in a 2014 crew nor is does he have a biography page on the MLB’s official site. He was called up to umpire in the big leagues in 2012.

John Farrell challenged Basner’s call and after it was reviewed at MLB headquarters the call stood. Brian Butterfield was so incensed he tossed his helmet in disgust and was ejected.

I propose that Pedroia have another bobblehead day that portrays him barely safe at home and an umpire signaling him out.

Josh Reddick will have to come back and complete his collection.

Game 28: May 1, 2014
WinTampa Bay Rays
2 W: Brandon Gomes (2-1)
H: Jake McGee (2), Joel Peralta (3)
S: Grant Balfour (5)
2B: Desmond Jennings (8)
HR: David DeJesus (2)
Boston Red Sox
1 L: Jake Peavy (1-1)
2B: David Ortiz (4)

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