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Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Sabres’

Papi picked up his seventh Edgar Martinez Outstanding DH Award.  And that’s pretty much it.  When Ben lays low, he really lays low.

In other news, the Bruins picked up big wins against the Sabres, Predators, Sens, and Jets but lost to the Sens and Isles.  The Pats beat the Ravens, 41-7, in that landslide win I was hoping for! And we continued that with a strong showing against the Bills, beating them 34-20.

Sports Illustrated Photo

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Victorino’s thumb surgery was successful, and he should be good to go for Spring Training.  Andrew Miller’s looking forward to starting the season without a hitch as well.  We traded Franklin Morales and farm pitcher Chris Martin to the Rockies for infielder Jonathan Herrera.  And we signed Shunsuke Watanabe, a veteran submariner from Japan.

In other news, the B’s shut out the Flames and lost to the Sabres this week.

I’ll be taking a break of about two weeks.  I think we’re all looking forward to seeing the team take shape.

Getty Images

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Okay.  There’s no need to be scared or read into this.  Just because the last two times we’ve been to the World Series we’ve been able to sweep and get it done in four games doesn’t mean that we’ll lose the World Series just because we lost the second game.  It’s fine.  Honestly, we shouldn’t even have lost this one.  My point is that there is plenty of baseball still to be played.  True, we’re going away now, but that hasn’t stopped us before.  We’ll just have to get past it.

So Lackey did a great job while he was on the mound.  He pitched six and one-third innings and gave up five hits and two walks while striking out six.  He gave up a single in the first, a single in the second, and nothing in the third.  He cracked in the fourth when he gave up a triple to lead it off that turned into a run on a groundout.

That one run was a big deal because we had yet to score.  We went down in order in the first, and Napoli walked to provide our first baserunner in the second.  Ellsbury provided our first hit in the third with a single, and the bottom of the fourth looked promising.  Pedroia doubled and Papi walked, setting up Napoli.  Who then grounded into a double play.

Lackey went one-two-three in the fifth; Salty walked in the bottom of the inning, but that was it.  Lackey gave up a single in the sixth, and in the bottom of the inning, it looked like the game might be ours after all.

I’ve often said that, in a close game, one run feels like ten.  This one was no exception.  Because the longer you go without scoring runs, the more difficult it feels to score them.  After Victorino grounded out, Pedroia walked, and then it was Papi’s turn.  And I was busy thinking how great it would be if he just went yard, just like that, just because we really needed him to.

He took a fastball for a ball, fouled off a second fastball, and then received four straight changeups.  He took the first for a ball, the second for a strike, and the third in the dirt.

And he went yard on the fourth.  Hit that ball into the Monster seats.  Seriously.  Just like that.  Just because we needed him to.

It was huge.  It didn’t tie the game.  It gave us the lead.  In a close one.  In which scoring one run felt like scoring ten.  And as a result of that phenomenon, scoring two runs on one swing felt like a real jump out in front.

Unfortunately, the whole thing unraveled in the seventh.  That can not be overstated.  Literally the whole game was completely undone in the seventh inning alone.  It was one of the worst innings you can possibly imagine to occur during, of all things, the World Series.  Honestly, that kind of bad baseball is not even excusable during the regular season, let alone the postseason, let alone the pinnacle of the entire postseason.

Lackey led off the seventh with a strikeout.  Then he issued a walk and gave up a single, so John went with Breslow.  The Cards managed to execute a double steal, putting both runners in scoring position.  And Breslow walked his first batter to load the bases.

A double play would have ended it all.  But Breslow induced a sac fly.  Technically, that’s not so bad; you take the out in exchange for the run, which in this case would not be winning but rather tying.

But the whole thing went completely and epically awry.  I saw it with my own eyes, and I couldn’t believe it was happening.  I think that that had something to do with the fact that I didn’t really want to believe it was happening.

Not one but two runners scored on the sac fly, indeed providing the Cards with the winning run.  Salty missed the catch, Breslow made an error on the throw, and the whole thing turned into a huge mess as a result.  And then, to top it off, Breslow gave up an RBI single.  Thus, while Lackey was charged with three runs, he was also the victim of a situation in which some of them scored on someone else’s watch.

The final score was established right there.  We lost, 4-2.

Tazawa pitched the last out of the seventh, after which we went down in order.  Workman pitched the eighth, which for us looked like it had some potential.  Ellsbury reached on a fielding error, and Papi singled two outs later.  But Napoli popped out to end it.  Uehara pitched the ninth, after which we went down in order.

So at one point the game looked like it would be really good.  Then it was really, really bad.  All because of one play that was supposed to be routine but that instead cost us Game Two.  We need to pull it together.  Not only were those errors completely inappropriate for the World Series, but we also didn’t even have enough hits or runs to absorb that damage.  At the same time, I saw too many swing-and-misses and too many stare-at-strikes.  All of that needs to change immediately.  If we’re going to get this done, we need to take the proper steps.

In other news, hockey is back in Boston as the Bruins began their new season this month.  So far, we’ve beaten the Lightning, Red Wings, Panthers, Lightning again, Sabres, and Sharks, and we’ve lost to the Avalanche and Red Wings.

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

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We played the last game of our series on the road, and I’m looking forward to the team coming home.  They’re needed here.

We were the first to get on the board.  Napoli led off the second with a triple and scored on a single by Nava.  But then the Tribe tied the game at one in the bottom of the frame after Lester gave up a double that became a run on a groundout, ironically brought in by Mike Aviles.

We pulled back ahead in the fourth; Salty smacked a solo shot with two out in the fourth.  He took a curveball for a ball, then a swinging strike, then a ball.  Then he fouled off two two-seams and took another curveball for a ball.  Then he got all of a ninety-two mile-per-hour four-seam and sent it healthily over the right field fence.  It was awesome.  It was all power, all swing long.

We added insurance in the fifth.  With one out, Ellsbury doubled and scored on a single by Pedroia.  The Indians pulled within one run when Aviles doubled and scored on a groundout.  Neither team scored in the sixth.  And then we basically ended the game in the seventh.

Ellsbury led off the inning with a single.  That was when the Indians made a pitching change, which was one of the poorer decisions they made last night.  Victorino reached on a fielding error.  Pedroia flied out, which moved Ellsbury to third, and he scored on a single by Napoli.  Nava hit a sac fly that scored Victorino.  And Napoli scored on a single by Carp.

So as you can see, Lester had quite the fine night.  Seven innings, two runs, four hits, one walk, five K’s.  115 pitches, seventy-two of which were strikes.  Great cut fastball, and great off-speed pitches as well.  Lower strikeout total than usual, but outs are outs no matter how they’re recorded.  By the way, his ERA is still under two.  Miller came on in relief and gave up a walk and a single.  Coming in with two inherited runners, Uehara let one score thanks to a double.  And then Bailey picked up the save.

So the final score was 6-3, not 6-2.  Fortunately, that run didn’t matter, and we won anyway, completing the sweep.

In other news, the Sabres beat the Bruins, 3-2, in a shootout, so we still get a point.

AP Photo

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We thank the baseball community for its support during this somber and difficult time.  On Tuesday, “Sweet Caroline” serenaded baseball fans throughout the country as teams played it during their games in solidarity.  We appreciate the salute.

We got off to a great start.  Ellsbury, the game’s first batter, singled in the game’s first at-bat.  Then Victorino got hit, and Pedroia singled to load the bases.  So, to review, we had the bases loaded with nobody out in the first inning.  The first third of our lineup successfully got on base.  Then Napoli stepped up to the plate and singled in two runs.  And Nava stepped up to the plate and singled in one more.  Unfortunately, we followed that epically solid rally with three straight outs.  But we had three runs on the board before the Tribe even took the field, and things looked good when they went down in order in the bottom of the frame.

Neither team scored until the fifth, when we were back at it.  Middlebrooks and Salty provided two quick outs, but Drew walked on five pitches and scored on a triple by Carp.  We added yet another run in the following frame.  Victorino led off with a single.  Pedroia struck out, Napoli doubled, and Nava singled in Victorino.

Until that point, Aceves was doing extremely well.  He had just pitched five shutout innings.  But he imploded in the sixth.  He allowed a walk and two consecutive home runs for a grand total of three runs.  If we hadn’t added on those two insurance runs, Aceves’s complete and total fail would have tied the game.  Aceves didn’t even record a single out that inning.  It was absolutely awful.  In the blink of an eye, he lost all command and control, and he just couldn’t find the strike zone at all.  Fortunately, John made the switch to Tazawa just in time; Tazawa sent down the Indians in order after that.  Just in time indeed.

In the end, the game finished similarly to how it began.  Ellsbury singled to lead off the eighth, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a fantastic combination of a sac bunt by Victorino and a throwing error.

Uehara pitched a great eighth, Bailey pitched a great ninth, and we won, 6-3!

In other news, the Bruins beat the Sabres, 2-1.

AP Photo

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