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Posts Tagged ‘Fenway Park’

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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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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There was no perfectly placed, perfectly timed pinch-hit single last night.  Last night, it was just the usual.  There were no special moments and no heroics.  And ultimately we lost because we didn’t play the ordinary game as well as Baltimore played it.  As evenly matched as we were, we were outscored.  And that’s how games are won, or rather, in this case, lost.

Neither team scored in the first, but we were the first to get on the board when Nava led off the second with a double and scored two outs later on a single by Drew.  Lester, however, gave our one-run lead to Baltimore by allowing two runs in the third.  He gave up a double that at least set the runner back at first on a fielder’s choice after the next at-bat.  Then he issued a walk followed by a bases-clearing double.  He made it worse when he gave up a walk followed by an RBI double in the fifth.

Victorino single-handedly brought Baltimore’s lead back down to one by smacking a solo shot toward the Monster to lead off the sixth.  That was huge.  In a low-scoring game, that run counted for a lot.

Lester’s start stopped at six innings; Thornton came on for the seventh, put two on base, and managed not to allow any runs.  Workman pitched the eighth, and he and Breslow shared the ninth.  As for the offense, that second run proved to be our last, and we lost, 3-2.

Boston Globe Staff/Matthew J. Lee

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We pulled out all the stops for this one.  The Monster in particular had a very busy night what with all the long balls coming at it.  That was awesome.  Home runs were not hard to come by, and admittedly they usually result when a pitcher misses his mark, but you need good hitters to spot those mistakes, and we were most definitely on watch.

Doubront cruised through the first two.  In the third he gave up two singles and hit a batter to load the bases, and then he walked in a run and gave up a successful sac fly.

And that inning was literally his only blemish.  He didn’t go the distance, but he looked really sharp.  He didn’t face more than four batters in an inning during the rest of his start.  He gave up just those two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out seven overall during his start.

He was replaced in the seventh by Thornton, and Britton pitched the eighth and ninth.

But we scored more.  In the first, Victorino walked and scored on a sac fly by Papi.  We went down in order in the second, but we were back at it in the third.  Middlebrooks led it off with a single, and after Ellsbury flied out, Victorino unleashed on a four-seam on a 3-1 count.  The ball sailed toward the Monster, and we had ourselves two more runs.  The four was our big frame, though.  We scored five runs in the fourth.  Napoli led it off with another home run on another four-seam toward the Monster yet again.  Then Salty singled, Drew walked, Middlebrooks struck out, Ellsbury singled which led to Drew being thrown out at third, and Victorino got hit, which loaded the bases.  Salty and Ellsbury both scored on a double by Pedroia, Papi walked intentionally, and Gomes doubled in Victorino and Pedroia.

We didn’t even skip a beat and scored three runs in the fifth.  The Orioles picked up two outs in the process, but Drew walked, Ellsbury singled, and then Victorino went yard again on the second pitch of his at-bat, a slider this time.  Also toward the Monster.  I’m sensing a theme.

We took a break in the sixth before Middlebrooks singled, Ellsbury doubled, and both scored on a double by Victorino in the seventh.

And that was a wrap! The final score was 13-2.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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A loss to the Yankees is, without a doubt, my least favorite type of loss.  A slugfest loss to the Yankees is my least favorite type of loss to the Yankees.  I just really, really, really hate losing to the Yankees.  And we didn’t have to, either.  But when your starting pitcher makes that many mistakes, it’s kind of unavoidable in the end.

It was a complete and total disaster.  Doubront gave up his first run in the first thanks to a single-single combination.  In the bottom of the inning, we went down in order.  In the second, he issued a walk and, one out later, a two-run home run.  In the bottom of the inning, we went down in order.  In the third, he gave up a single, and another runner reached on a force attempt thanks to a fielding error by Drew, and then Doubront gave up a three-run home run.  And the only thing that kept us from going down in order in the bottom of the inning was a single by Middlebrooks that led nowhere.

With two out in the fourth, Doubront gave up another run after a triple-single combination.  And in the bottom of the inning, we finally got on the board.  Pedroia singled, and then there was a deflection and a fielding error put him at second, and he scored on a single by Gomes after Papi struck out.

De La Rosa relieved Doubront for the fifth, and he also pitched the sixth; neither team scored during those two innings.  After he hit a batter and induced a lineout in the seventh, he was replaced by Morales, who finished the inning.  In the bottom of the seventh, Pedroia ended up at second thanks to a throwing error and scored on a single by Papi.  Then Gomes grounded out, Drew doubled, Napoli walked, and Drew scored on a single by Salty.  That was probably our most promising point in the game up to that time at which we had the most opportunity to really make a dent in the deficit.  And Carp came up to pinch-hit for Middlebrooks, and he got hit by a pitch.  Except that home plate umpire Bill Welke called him back after he was already on his way to first base, even though Carp was obviously correct.  Then, with a full count, after five pitches, Carp took a slider for what he thought was a ball, since it was a ball.  But again, Welke made a call that was questionable at absolute best when he decided that Carp had struck out.  Carp doesn’t usually lose it, but this time he lost it.  I mean, his batting helmet came off, and he was really getting animated.  And I’m pretty sure that everyone except Welke knew exactly why.  It was because Welke was wrong.

Neither team scored in the eighth, and Britton came on for the ninth.  Before the ninth, we were down by four, and with a solid rally, we could perhaps have scored enough runs to come back.  Instead, Britton made it even worse.  Britton nailed down the inning’s first out with a strikeout but then gave up two consecutive singles.  After another strikeout, he gave up three consecutive singles that scored one run each.

In the bottom of the ninth, Gomes flied out, Drew singled, Napoli doubled, Salty flied out, and Holt, who came in to replace Carp earlier, walked to load the bases.  It was an absolutely golden opportunity.  But, appropriately enough, Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning and the game, and the final score was an insufferably humiliating 10-3.  In front of Fenway’s largest crowd of the season.  To say it was awful would basically be the understatement of understatements.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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