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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Youkilis’

I loathe losing to the Yankees.  I loathe losing in general, but if we absolutely must lose, then can’t we just lose to some other team? Does it really have to be the Yankees? Does beating the Yankees have to be so complicated? We’ve played way better in the past than we played yesterday; I just don’t see why we had to lose to the Yankees.

Lester received one above the bare minimum of run support, the bare minimum obviously being zero.  That’s right; we scored only one run during the entire game.  It was awful.  We had to sit through six innings of shutout agony until we finally got on the board in the seventh, one of only two innings during which we had more than one runner on base.  Pedroia doubled to lead it off, moved to third on a groundout by Papi, and scored on a double by Napoli.

Pedroia and Papi hit back-to-back singles in the ninth, and I guess that would have been our best chance to score, although in previous innings we had runners on second thanks to doubles, specifically Pedroia in the first and Ross in the second.  But at no point did we get a really solid rally going.

The same, very unfortunately, can not be said of the Evil Empire.  Even if Lester had pitched better than he did, without more run support it wouldn’t have mattered.  But I would have appreciated the additional dignity that comes with a loss at least being a well-matched pitcher’s duel.  It was just so obvious that Lester was grinding through this one; he never really seemed at ease.

Lester gave up a walk in the first but turned it into a one-two-three inning thanks to a double play.  He opened the second by issuing a walk and giving up a double.  He then gave up two RBI singles, separated by an out but accounting for two runs between them.  He had a one-two-three third and fourth, the latter consisting solely of groundouts.  He hit his first batter of the fifth, induced a force out, issued a walk, recorded a strikeout, and then who but Kevin Youkilis comes up to bat.  Honestly, I am still trying to get used to it.  Anyway, he batted in a run before the rally was cut short by a fabulously precise throw home by Nava.

His only blemish of the sixth was a walk.  He recorded the first out of the seventh but then gave up two consecutive singles, at which point he was replaced by Miller.  Miller promptly gave up a third single, which scored only one of the inherited runners.  Miller ended the inning with two K’s.  Mortensen had a one-two-three eighth.

And that’s how we ended up losing to the Yanks, 4-1.  All in all, it was a sad performance.

NBC Sports

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I can’t even believe that this day has finally arrived.  Out of the interminable slog that was all of last year, out of the rounds and rounds of speculation that was this offseason, we have finally emerged to welcome baseball back to Boston with open arms! I don’t know about you, but I really feel like I’ve earned this one.  It’s been rough, man.  With the way last season went, I felt like it was winter before the season was even over.  It was a long and cold one.  We’ve done without for way too long.  And then, suddenly, April arrived, and we enjoyed the glorious first opportunity of kicking back, relaxing, and taking in three hours and thirty-seven minutes of pure, unadulterated glory.  Man, it’s good to be back.

Where do I even start? I don’t even know.  It was all so divinely inspired.  I can’t even talk about it.

Lester.  I’ll start with Lester.  Wow.  What can I even say? Pretty much the whole staff got it together at camp, and Lester most definitely did not disappoint.  His start lasted only five innings, but this is so epically not the time to be picky.  Five solid innings on the first day of the season is fine as far as I’m concerned; he’ll pick it up as time goes on.  Besides, those five innings were pretty impressive.  Two runs, five hits.  Two walks.  Seven strikeouts.

There was a four-pitch strikeout of his first batter of the season on four pitches, ending with what was technically a cutter, but at ninety miles per hour with his movement, whether it was a cutter or cut fastball is a question that will probably not be answered anytime soon.  Then there was the seven-pitch strikeout that ended with a cutter, and the six-pitch strikeout that ended the second with a cutter, and the seven-pitch called strike in the third that ended with a cutter.  Lester had himself another seven-pitch strikeout in the fourth, this one ending with a fastball, but like I said, whether it’s really a fastball or a cut fastball is hard to answer.  And irrelevant, since a strike is a strike.  Lester bookended his fifth with strikeouts, the first five pitches ending with a changeup and the second his only one comprising three pitches: a sinker clocked at ninety-one miles per hour, a changeup at eighty-four, and a fastball at ninety-three, which wasn’t even his fastest of the day; he got up to ninety-four.

Ninety-six pitches, about sixty-six percent of which were strikes.  He was on with the cut fastball.  The overwhelming majority of his pitches were cut fastballs, as we’d expect.  And he put that fabulous Lester-esque bite on them, too.  They were moving exactly the way he wanted them to.  And he mixed in some nasty sinkers, changes, and curves in there as well.  He stood up there and he was a master.  I almost felt bad for the hitters until I remembered that we were squaring off against the Evil Empire.  And then I felt better.

Anyway, Lester threw seventeen pitches each in the first two innings, sixteen in the third, and twelve in the fifth.  The fourth was the big one; Lester threw thirty-four pitches.  He loaded the bases that inning and couldn’t completely escape without allowing a two-run single.  Other than that, Lester was solid gold.

Farrell then rolled out five relievers.  Uehara, Miller, Bailey, Tazawa, and Hanrahan combined to shut out the Yanks for the rest of the game.  All told, the Yanks were limited to six hits.

Alright, here we go.  Offense.  Let’s get down to it, because our hitters were as hot as our pitchers.  The starters stayed in for the whole nine, and they were great.  Great patience and eyes all around.  Great baserunning, too.  Ellsbury led off, followed by Victorino, Pedroia, Napoli in cleanup, Middlebrooks, Salty, Gomes, Bradley, and Iglesias.  Look for Farrell to change the lineup around pretty frequently, but this one worked out just fine.  Iglesias went three for five, Ellsbury went three for six, Gomes went two for four, and Pedroia and Victorino both went two for six.  Salty doubled, and Ellsbury tripled, and that was it for extra-base hits.  This was Bradley’s debut in the big show, and he certainly made the most of it.  Of our four total walks, Bradley accounted for three, not to mention his obvious speed on the basepaths as well as his run-saving, inning-ending, outstanding haul in left in the third.

Pedroia singled in the first, but we didn’t score.  Our big inning was the second.  Middlebrooks grounded out, and then Salty walked in five pitches, Gomes singled, and Bradley walked to load the bases.  Then Iglesias singled on the first pitch of his at-bat, bringing home one and reloading the bases.  Then Ellsbury grounded into a force out, causing Gomes to be out at home.  But then Victorino and Pedroia hit back-to-back singles, bringing in three before Napoli flied out to end it.

We went down in order in the third and put two on but didn’t deliver in the fourth.  A double and two walks, one intentional, loaded the bases again with two out in the fifth, but we didn’t deliver on that either.  Ellsbury tripled to lead off the sixth, but still nothing.  Then, in the seventh, Middlebrooks and Salty fought hard for back-to-back walks on eight pitches each.  Middlebrooks moved to third on a flyout by Gomes and scored on a groundout by Bradley.  We went down in order again in the eighth but closed it out with a bang in the ninth.  Middlebrooks was called out on strikes before Salty walked, Gomes singled, and Bradley walked to load the bases.  Iglesias struck out and then Ellsbury and Victorino singled back-to-back to bring in three.  Gomes accounted for the second of those runs, rocketing home all the way from second base.  The dugout and everyone else went appropriately insane.

And that, my friends, is the story of how we cleaned the field with the Yanks, 8-2, on their soil.  To me, this is much bigger than just winning the first game of the season.  We’ve had just abysmal starts out of the gate for the last two seasons.  This game means a lot to the team, and it means a lot to us.  We’re a new team now, and it shows.  There’s nothing like a more-than-auspicious start to the year to provide a good feeling about what’s to come.  Let’s get it!

I’ll say one last thing.  Seeing Kevin Youkilis in an enemy uniform was downright bizarre and torturous.  It’s a shame.  It’s a real shame.  And I guess that’s that.

In other news, the B’s lost to and beat the Leafs and lost to the Habs in a shootout; it was painful, but at least we get a point out of it.  We beat the Sens, lost to the Leafs, and beat the Sabres.

Getty Images

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This week was momentous.  This time of year usually is.  Because this week, my friends, we celebrated Truck Day! On Tuesday, all of our equipment rolled out for the long drive down to Fort Myers.  Spring Training has officially unofficially started! Man, it’s been a long winter.  It still is a long winter.  And we have a long way to go, but we’re getting there.  It’s February already, and since Truck Day has come and gone, Pitcher and Catchers is our next milestone, followed of course by the officially official start of Spring Training and then the season! We’re well on our way.  It may be freezing outside, and there may be snow in the air or on the ground, but we know that in Florida there is baseball to be played.  I can almost taste it, especially since Farrell is already talking about lineups; expect Ellsbury to bat first this year.

Pedro Martinez is back in Boston, in the front office this time; he’s a special assistant to Ben, and he’s basically going to advise the pitching staff.  Kalish had successful surgery on his right shoulder, but we re-signed Sweeney just in case.  We signed Lyle Overbay to a minor-league deal.  Terry Francona won the Judge Emil Fuchs Award, presented by the Boston Baseball Writers, for his service to the game.

Gary Tuck, our bullpen coach, decided to retire and has been replaced by Dana Levangie.  Remember him? Levangie was our bullpen coach for eight years, the last of which was 2004.  After that, he was an advance scout.  And now he’s back where he started.  Tuck was going to be the last man standing from last year’s staff, and he surely was a fantastic bullpen coach.  He expected nothing but the best from pitchers and catchers; he made our staff great, and he will be sorely missed.  Levangie has big shoes to fill, but seems like the logical choice.

Congratulations to the Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund, who celebrate sixty years of partnership this season.  This will be the inauguration of a suite available all season long for Jimmy Fund patients and their families.  A Jimmy Fund Chorus will also perform at the park.  This is one of those occasions when you feel really proud to support this organization.

Okay.  There’s something else that needs to be said, and I’m only going to say it once and then be done with it, because it’s that excruciating.  Kevin Youkilis is now a Yankee.  Like his predecessor, Johnny Damon, he has enlisted in the Evil Empire.  He has committed himself to the aiding and abetting of New York’s success.  Baseball is a complicated business these days; it’s a rare and happy find to discover a player whose sentimental connection with a particular team is strong.  In Boston, we’ve had a long tradition of such sentimental connections, and we still expect that from our players; we give them everything we’ve got, and we like to see the same in return.  So when one of our own, a homegrown farm boy no less, goes to the dark side, it’s extremely difficult to accept.  It was difficult to accept Damon doing it, and it’s no less difficult now.  We salute Youk and everything he has done for this team and this city.  He was a potent combination of hitting and fielding, volatility and versatility.  He had his good moments, and he had his bad moments, but he has left a legacy here of a stellar player.  I already made the tribute when he left, and we all know how awesome he was.  All I’m saying now is that it hurts.  It hurts, and it’s devastating, and we have to go through that pain all over again of seeing one of our own turn away from us.  That’s all I’m saying.

In other news, the Ravens won the Super Bowl, 34-31.  What a game.  It looked like the 49ers didn’t have a chance for most of it, and then it looked like the Ravens would be hard-pressed to keep them down after the power went out.  But alas, they pulled through.  At least now we get to say that it took a Super Bowl champion to defeat us this year.  The Bruins, for their part, have been doing quite well.  Since the shortened season’s first game, the Bruins have beaten the Jets by a score of 2-1, the Isles by a score of 4-2, the Canes by a score of 5-3, the Devils by a score of 2-1, the Leafs by a score of one-zip, and the Habs by a narrow yet satisfying score of 2-1.  We lost to the Rangers, 4-3, in sudden death and to the Sabres by the brutal score of 7-4.

Boston Globe Staff

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Still nothing to write home about yet.  Arnie Beyeler, who’s been managing the PawSox, is our new first base coach.  Greg Colbrunn, formerly of the Evil Empire, is our new hitting coach.  Victor Rodriguez, our former minor league coordinator, is our new assistant hitting coach.

As far as players are concerned, we’ve non-tendered Ryan Sweeney, Rich Hill, and Scott Atchison.  We traded Zach Stewart, who we got from the Other Sox for Kevin Youkilis, to the Pirates for a player to be named later.  Last but not least, although we claim that we’re still working on resigning Cody Ross, we worked out a two-year deal worth ten million dollars for Johnny Gomes pending a physical.

In other news, the Pats beat the Colts, 59-24, and the Jets, 49-19.

http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/users9/sector7g/anaheimstadium/red-sox-dugout--large-msg-113960937012-2.jpg

Buzznet

 

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Zach Stewart was called up and given the start.  I don’t think this is a start he’ll want to remember.  I know it’s a start I don’t want to remember.  It didn’t go well.  A newcomer gets called up and all he wants to do is impress and impress and impress, and then when he doesn’t and instead he falls hard and fast, you can’t help feeling bad for the man but so much worse for the team and for you, who’s saddled with a loss as a result.

He never really had much of a chance in this one, unfortunately.  From the beginning you could tell that he was having an off night in a big way.  Most of his pitches stayed up in the zone, and the opposing hitters had no problem picking them out.

In the first inning alone, he gave up a single, an RBI double, an RBI single that advanced the runner even further thanks to a throwing error by Pedroia, and a two-run home run.  He gave up a double to lead off the second, which turned into a run on another RBI single.  He gave up his second leadoff double of the night in the third and, two outs later, gave up two consecutive RBI doubles followed by his second two-run home run of the night.

Yeah.  It was ugly.  He gave up nine runs on ten hits while walking none and striking out two over three innings.  He is our first pitcher to give up nine earned runs on ten hits since Howard Ehmke did it in 1923.  And he’s our first pitcher to allow nine runs in his first game with us.  Because thankfully he was relieved by Tazawa after that.  He took an extremely well-deserved loss, and that was the end of that.  The final score ended up being 10-3, and he gave up all but one of those runs in the first three innings.  Four runs in the first, one in the second, and four more in the third.  Wow.  That’s basically the exact opposite of the way you want a callup start to go.

Tazawa gave up the Angels’ tenth run in the fifth, when he gave up a walk and a single that was followed by a double play that brought the run in.  Then Miller pitched around a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, and Aceves pitched the seventh and eighth.

We scored our first run in the second, when Gomez and Aviles opened the inning with back-to-back singles; Gomez scored on a sac fly by Podsednik one out later.  We scored our remaining two runs in the fifth; Podsednik and Ciriaco opened the inning with back-to-back singles, Ellsbury grounded into a force out that eliminated Ciriaco, Ellsbury stole second base and Podsedik scored on a throwing error, and then Ellsbury scored on a single by Pedroia.

We hardly threatened after that.  We had two runners on in the eighth, and that was basically it for our big effort to overcome a seven-run deficit and score runs.

By the way, in case you forgot, Stewart came over from the Other Sox when we traded Kevin Youkilis.  So that’s what we get.

Chris Carlson

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