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Posts Tagged ‘Clay Buchholz’

Everyone knows that revenge is a dish best served cold.  Well, it’s not as cold in St. Louis as it is in Boston, but winning by the same score by which we lost our first loss of the series while on the road will do just fine.  Now the series is even, but we’ve got to keep up the good work.  There can be no mistakes from now on.  Granted, there could be no mistakes from the first game on, but at least we have time to make up for it.

Now that those cautionary remarks are out of the way, we can get down to the business of feeling good about our win! Buchholz pitched an absolute gem.  It was a short gem but a gem nonetheless.  He pitched four innings and gave up one run that was unearned on three hits while walking three and striking out two.  He went one-two-three in the first and pitched around two baserunners in the second.  With one out in the third, he gave up a single, which would turn into the unearned run thanks to Ellsbury, whose deflection and missed catch put the runner in scoring position.  He again pitched around two baserunners in the fourth, and that was it for Buchholz.

Meanwhile, our hitters had gone down one-two-three in the first four innings.  We finally scored in the fifth, when Papi led off with a double and scored on a sac fly by Drew.  But when Doubront came on for the fifth, during which he went one-two-three, we were still down by one.

That changed in the sixth, when we scored our second, third, and fourth runs, what turned out to be our last three runs of the game.  Ellsbury and Nava provided two quick outs, but then Pedroia singled, Papi walked, the Cards made a pitching change, and Gomes received five straight sinkers.  He took the first for a ball, the second for a strike, and the third for a ball.  He fouled off the fourth.  And he homered on the fifth.  He rocketed that ball beyond the fence in left center field.  It was one of those moments where you really feel like you really need a home run and then you just get one, like it’s the easiest and most natural thing in the world.  And, because you need it, it is, but that alone makes it so unlikely.  Anyway, it was awesome, and it won the game for us right there.

Doubront had a one-two-three sixth and got the first two outs of the seventh before giving up a double.  Breslow continues to struggle, entering the game and giving up an RBI single.  After he issued a walk, it was Tazawa’s  turn.  Tazawa ended the inning and turned the ball over to Lackey for the eighth.  Uehara pitched the ninth, obtaining the game’s last out with a pickoff.

So it was Doubront who picked up the win; Breslow, Tazawa, Lackey, and Uehara all held down the fort.  And we won, 4-2.  Which is awesome and spectacular and really great and extremely essential and important.  But I would much prefer not having to come from behind.

In other news, the Pats walked away with the win, defeating the Dolphins, 27-17.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Oh, man.  Wow.  Wow, wow, wow.

We’ve done it again! I can’t believe it! I mean, I can believe it.  I saw it with my own eyes, and I can believe it, but it was absolutely awesome.  This time last year, we were getting ready for a long offseason.

This time this year, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to the World Series! Detroit is officially taken care of, and we are moving on to the world championship.  Oh, man.  It’s so great to be back.  And we’ll be playing the Cardinals.  Rematch? Yes, please.

This was yet another close one.  We were the first to score.  In the fifth.  With two out, Bogaerts doubled and scored on a single by Ellsbury.

Meanwhile, Buchholz wasn’t immaculate, but he was dominant.  It was great.  He maintained his command and control and just mowed right through.  Until the sixth.  He gave up a walk and a single, and then he was replaced by Morales.  His final line read five innings and two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts.  Ordinarly, two runs would be a great result.  But we needed something even better.

Morales then gave up our lead.  He issued another walk to load the bases with nobody out, and then he gave up a single that scored two.  Workman couldn’t have come in at a better time; he induced a double play to end the inning.  The fielding on that play, by the way, was textbook.

Workman induced a flyout to lead off the seventh, but then he gave up two singles and loaded the bases when he made a fielding error.  Then it was Tazawa’s turn; he ended the inning on a groundout.

So the situation was really only stressful for the bottom of the sixth, when we didn’t score, and the top of the seventh, when we were waiting for another chance to score.  And we got it.  And we took advantage of it.  Majorly.

Gomes led it off with a double, Drew struck out, Bogaerts walked, Detroit made a pitching change, and Ellsbury reached on a force attempt thanks to a fielding error to load the bases.

And once again, I have to say, I don’t know.  I don’t know how it works.  It must be the air here.  I think it also had to do with the fact that we were back home.  Being home does that too.  And maybe also the fact that Bill Mueller threw out the first pitch.  And it just happened.  It’s like magic.  It’s the magic of good baseball players playing good baseball.  Or something.  I don’t know.  I really don’t.

Victorino stepped up to the plate.  He took a curveball for a strike and fouled off another one.  And then he got another one.  They were all the same pitch around the same speed.  But that third one, he read like a book.  Really.  He powered up big time and sent that ball all the way out toward the Monster.  Four runs on one swing.  It was absolutely epic.  Epic, epic, epic.  With that grand slam, we got ourselves a three-run lead.

Breslow pitched a one-two-three eighth, and Uehara owned the ninth as usual.  Cue mob.  Uehara basically summed it up.  5-2.

Alright.  It’s not over yet.  We’ve still got plenty of work to do.  I’ve been hungry, and I’m ready.  I like being American League Champions, but I’m ready for the Cards and the World Series.  Let’s go get it.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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What we did not need for Game Two was a repeat performance of Game One.  What it looked like we were going to get was a Game Two performance even worse than our performance in Game One.  But what we got was something completely unexpected in all of its familiar glory.

We were no-hit through six innings.  And if Victorino hadn’t gotten hit, and if Ellsbury and Papi hadn’t walked, we would have had no baserunners at all.

The same can not be said of the Tigers, who were busy capitalizing on Buchholz’s mistakes.  Admittedly, there weren’t that many.  But when your offense is completely turned off, one run against you can feel like ten.

Buchholz went one-two-three in the first.  After striking out his first batter of the second, he gave up a single, a double, and an RBI single.  He went one-two-three in the third and contended with two baserunners in the fourth after he recorded the first two outs and then hit a batter, issued a wild pitch, and dealt with Drew’s fielding error.  Then he went one-two-three in the fifth and gave up more runs in the sixth.  He gave up a solo shot with one out, and then he gave up another run thanks to two consecutive doubles, and then after securing the inning’s second out he gave up a two-run home run.  Plenty of mistakes.

He gave up a single after that and was replaced by Workman, who issued a walk and induced a groundout.  Two outs into the seventh, Doubront came in and ended it and pitched a fine eighth.

Fortunately, we finally got on the board in the seventh when Victorino singled and scored on a double by Pedroia with two out.  So we broke both the no-hitter and the shutout bid.  But we didn’t follow that with a rally.  Instead, we went down in order in the seventh.  Drew opened the eighth with a groundout, and then Middlebrooks doubled, Ellsbury walked, Victorino struck out, and we were all bracing ourselves for some very unpleasant flashbacks.

Then Pedroia singled to load the bases, and then I don’t know.  I really don’t know.  I don’t know what it is.  It could be everything aligning perfectly at exactly the right moment.  It could be the ideal combination of a number of factors.  Or it could simply just be something in the air.  It’s just really hard to figure out.  But somehow we just have this thing.  I can’t explain it.  It’s just a thing that we do that happens at a certain time of year.  And I guess there are just some people who can tap into that, and then things just happen and it’s perfect.

So when David Ortiz stepped up to the plate, I started bracing myself for flashbacks of a different sort.  I didn’t even have time to feel it in the air.  It just happened.  It happened faster than any of us could recall the same kind of thing having happened in the past.  It was just David Ortiz at home, standing at the plate, connecting with the ball.  Simple.  Just like that.

And he worked the magic.  It was an eighty-six mile-per-hour changeup.  It was the first pitch thrown by Detroit’s latest reliever.  And it ended up beyond the right field fence into the bullpen.

With one swing of the bat all the way in the eighth inning, David Ortiz tied the game and paved the way for us to tie the series.  David Ortiz hit a grand slam.

And then Uehara pitched the ninth.  And then Gomes singled, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Salty.  It was a walkoff.  Just like old times.  We won, 6-5.

In other news, the Pats eked out a win against the Saints, 30-27.

Boston Globe Staff/Stan Grossfeld

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Okay.  It’s no big deal.  I mean, it better not turn into a big deal.  Just because the Rays managed to stave off elimination doesn’t mean that this whole thing is going to be a disaster.  Granted, I really would have liked to wrap this up already, but the extra playing time can’t hurt.  Still, I want to get this done.

This was just a close game all around.  We scored first; Ellsbury led off the game with a single and came home when Pedroia batted into a force out.  Then both teams went one-two-three in the second and third, and both teams had opportunities to score in the fourth, of which they did not take advantage.  Ellsbury doubled in the fifth and scored on a wild pitch to make it two-zip.

Buchholz gave up his first run in the bottom of the fifth; en route to securing the inning’s first two outs, he gave up a single and a double, and then he made a mistake that resulted in a three-run home run.  In total, Buchholz gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings while walking three and striking out five.  So that was really the only blemish of his performance, and it tied the game at three.

Neither team scored again until the eighth.  The sixth had been Buchholz’s last inning; Breslow and Tazawa pitched the seventh, and Morales and Workman pitched the eighth, during which the Rays edged ahead by one run.  This should not have been the case, because we had plenty of opportunities ourselves to score, but Morales opened the inning with a walk that turned into a run two singles and a popout later on a groundout.

Things were looking up in the ninth, when Pedroia managed to tie the game at four; Middlebrooks led off the inning with a walk, and Bogaerts came in to pinch-run.  Bogaerts scored when Pedroia grounded out, which at the time was critically important.

I thought we would hold out and settle it in extras.  Instead, Uehara came on for the ninth, and with the Rays two strikes away from playoff elimination, they came back to win it with a walkoff solo shot.  It was absolutely awful.  It was really crushing.  I mean, we were so close.  We were so close to putting them away, or at least to setting the stage for us putting them away.  The Rays are still down to elimination, but it was just really awful to see them come back like that.  The final score was 5-4.

In other news, the Pats dropped one to the Bengals, 13-6.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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And now we have home field advantage for the division series.  It’s nice how that works out.  You know, like when we tee off against Baltimore and make sure we’re spending our first Soxtober game in our house.  It’s pretty simple if you ask me, but it was big fun to watch.

First, there was the first inning, which is when we set the tone.  Ellsbury grounded out on the game’s second pitch, which probably provided a momentary false sense of security before Pedroia and Papi hit back-to-back singles, Pedroia scored on a double by Napoli, and everyone came home on a solo shot by Nava.  There was no hesitation; it was his first pitch of the game, a curveball, and he knew exactly where the bat had to go.  And then the ball launched beyond the right field fence.  Boom.  Then Gomes walked and scored on a triple by Drew.

So we scored five runs in the first inning alone.  In hindsight, had we stopped there, we still would have won.  But we were at it again in the third.  After Napoli struck out, Nava and Gomes hit back-to-back singles, Nava scored on what was ruled a double by Salty (being that the game turned out as it did, the outcome of the review, again in hindsight, didn’t really matter much), and Drew cleared the bases with a single.

With two out in the eighth, Bradley and Pedroia worked back to back walks, the Orioles made a pitching change, and Papi promptly welcomed their new arm with a massive home run to left on a fastball, his third of a four-pitch at-bat.  It was that classic Papi swing, and to see him hit that home run so easily was quite a relief.

And last but not least, Gomes unleashed on the first pitch of his at-bat in the ninth.  We really carried that down to the wire.

Buchholz delivered a very high-quality start.  He gave up only three runs on seven hits in seven innings with no walks and four K’s.  He was, yet again, a master.  He just made a few mistakes.  He gave up a single followed by a home run in the third and a solo shot in the sixth.  So, literally, a few mistakes.  Other than that, he just looked more and more comfortable as the game goes on.  That’s the norm for him, and it’s good that he’s finding his groove again.  Seriously, it’s getting hard to notice that he just came back; he looks like he hasn’t skipped a beat.

Breslow pitched the eighth, and Uehara pitched the ninth.  And we won, 12-3.  Oh, and home field advantage.  Did I mention home field advantage?

AP Photo

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It is what it is.  Sometimes pitchers don’t get the run support they need, and sometimes they do.  Sometimes hitters don’t get the pitching support they need, and sometimes they do.  It’s the nature of the game.  I want to keep our momentum going right into Soxtober, but I guess it really is true when they say you can’t actually win them all.

Buchholz looked solid as he cruised through the first third of the game, facing the minimum in each of the first three innings.  But we lost the game because he got into trouble in the fourth.  He gave up a single, and after inducing a lineout, he gave up another single followed by an RBI double, a single, an RBI single, and an RBI throwing error, if you could call it that, as Buchholz tried to pick off the runner.

Despite giving up a single and a walk in the fifth, he escaped unscathed.  He gave up a walk in the sixth and that was it.  All in all, it was a great start when he wasn’t busy giving up all kinds of runs in many different ways.

Britton came on for the seventh.  Dempster actually came out for the eighth and almost had an eventful inning but ultimately pulled it together.  Thornton came on for the ninth and made the situation worse by giving up another run on a walk-double combination.

Unfortunately, this was just one of those nights where we couldn’t come up with enough run support.  We had scoring opportunities here and there, but we didn’t score our first run until the sixth, and then we didn’t score enough.

Drew singled to lead off the sixth and scored on a single by Gomes.  With one out in the seventh, Bogaerts reached on a fielding error, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout by Ross.

I was hoping that the two ones on the scoreboard would turn into three ones, and then the game would be tied, but it didn’t happen.  We lost, 4-2.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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We started our series against the Yankees on Friday, and we’ve won it.  That is, the least way we can describe it is having won it.  Because really, we swept it.  It was just one of the most beautiful things to see.  Sweeping the Yankees? Yes, please.

Friday’s game was a game of bookends, so to speak.  We won, 8-4, because we scored four runs in the first and four runs in the eighth and no runs in between.  In the first, Pedroia singled, Victorino flied out, Papi doubled, Pedroia scored on a groundout by Carp, Papi scored on a single by Nava, Salty walked, and Nava and Salty both scored on a double by Drew.  But the eighth, I have to say, was my favorite.  Victorino singled, Papi got hit, and Gomes walked to load the bases.  Nava struck out.  And then it was Salty’s turn.  He took a changeup for a strike.  And then he got a fastball that looked really good.  For him.  Not for the pitcher.  The pitcher didn’t stand a chance.  Salty uncorked a massive swing on that ball and sent it beyond the right field fence for a grand slam.  It was epic.  And it came against the Yankees.  That’s about as good as it gets.

Meanwhile, Lackey gave up four runs on seven hits in six and one-third innings.  He gave up no walks and struck out three.  Lackey gave up a solo shot to lead off the third.  Then he gave up one run on a double-sac fly combination in the sixth.  He had the bases loaded with two out in the seventh thanks to two singles and a walk, and he gave up a two-run double that obviously could have been much worse.  Workman got the last out of the seventh, Tazawa pitched the eighth, and Uehara pitched the ninth.

Saturday’s win was more modest, but it was a win nonetheless.  5-1 is a pretty satisfying score.  And Lester was, without a doubt, the star of the show.  He pitched a full eight innings of one-run ball and gave up only three hits and two walks while striking out five.  He threw 116 pitches, eighty of which were strikes.  He went one-two-three in his first three innings and gave up his only run in the fourth because he gave up a triple to lead it off, and it turned into a run on a groundout.  So even in the inning during which the one blemish of his performance occurred, he still managed to derive an out from it.  He ended up facing five in the fourth due to a walk, and he faced four in the fifth and sixth.  He went one-two-three in the seventh and issued another walk in the eighth.  Yeah.  Master.  Morales pitched the ninth.

So it was really, really nice that we gave him run support.  Napoli led off the second with a single and scored on a groundout by Middlebrooks.  Pedroia led off the third with a single and scored on a double by Papi, who scored on a single by Gomes.  Ross led off the fourth with a single and scored on a single by Victorino.  And Napoli led off the fifth with a walk and scored on a sac fly by Nava.  Clearly the leadoff was very good for us.

And last but not least, we won yesterday by a score of 9-2.  In a way, it was a fitting way to contribute to the roast of Mariano Rivera, which, if I may say so, was hilarious and seemed to be taken in the correct stride by all.  The Yanks probably thought they had Buchholz when they were the first to score.  It was only one run in the first, but scoring in the first inning can do a lot to boost your confidence.  But it was one of those earned unearned runs; Buchholz issued a walk and then himself made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and then the runner scored on a groundout.  So it was Buchholz who made his own fielding error, so it’s kind of funny to call that unearned.  All told, he gave up just the one run on two hits in six innings, walking four and striking out three.  Thornton pitched the seventh, Breslow pitched the eighth, and Webster pitched the ninth, during which he gave up a run thanks to a walk-single combination that, in the grand scheme of things, really didn’t matter at all.

Fortunately, we too scored in the first inning.  But we scored more.  Pedroia grounded out, and then Nava doubled and scored on a single by Papi, who moved to second on a wild pitch.  And then Napoli lit up the place with a two-run shot all the way to deep, deep center field.  And we added insurance in one of the coolest ways possible in the fourth.  Napoli walked to lead off but was out in a force by Salty.  Salty moved to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout by Drew, and then Bogaerts walked.  So we had runners at the corners.  And then it was Bradley’s turn to bat.  And suddenly, cool as ice, Salty just slides on into home.  Yes.  That’s right.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia stole home.  It was epically awesome.  It was so polished and clean, like he does it all the time.  I’m telling you, he timed it perfectly, and there was nothing the Yanks could do about it.  It was absolutely perfect.  He nailed it right on.  Wow.  It was awesome.  And we weren’t even done.  In the fifth, after Pedroia walked, Nava doubled, and Papi walked intentionally, Carp got hit by a pitch, and with nowhere to go, Pedroia just had to score.  In the sixth, Bogaerts doubled and Pedroia walked, and each scored on a single, the first by Nava and the second by Papi.  In the seventh, Bogaerts singled, Bradley got hit, and both scored on a single by Pedroia.

In other news, the Pats are really starting the regular season off right, having secured another win, albeit a close one, against the Jets, 13-10.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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