First of all, let me address yesterday’s tragic events. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we hope for the safety and wellbeing of all who were affected by the tragedy at the finish line of the marathon yesterday. Our minds and hearts are with you.
Patriots’ Day is always a fun day for baseball in Boston. Jackie Robinson Day is always a fun day for baseball everywhere. So when they coincide, it’s a great day to celebrate greatness in the game. Thankfully, neither the weather nor the team disappointed.
First there was the incredible start from Dempster, easily his best start so far this year. Seven innings, one run, two hits, two walks, ten strikeouts. In fact, Dempster, really only made one mistake, which resulted in a solo shot with two out in the fourth. That was about it. And he managed to do it with only four pitches: both fastballs plus a deadly slider and a formidable splitter. This was another quick game: three hours and three minutes. Actually, it was yet another pitcher’s duel. Uehara got a hold for his holding of our lead in the eighth, and Bailey, who was extremely lucky, picked up both the blown save and the win. If you ask me, Dempster should have gotten the win on principle, but obviously that’s not how it works.
We scored first. Ellsbury received eight straight fastballs during his first at-bat and tripled on the last one; he scored on a groundout by Victorino. Both teams went down in order in the second and third. Then the solo shot that Dempster relinquished tied it at one in the fourth. But Salty put us back on top with a solo shot to lead off the fifth. It came on the third pitch of his at-bat, a fastball at eighty-nine miles per hour, which promptly ended up beyond the right field fence. I suppose Dempster and his opponent really were matching each other pitch for pitch; Dempster gives up a solo shot, and then we hit one.
Both teams went down in order in the seventh, and the eighth proceeded without incident. All indications pointed to us winning the game by a score of 2-1 until Bailey blew his save. He gave up a single that may as well have been a double thanks to a steal; sure enough, that turned into the tying run when he gave up another single. Fortunately, giving up the tying run is not the same as giving up the winning run. But a porous reliever is still not what you want, especially when this guy was supposed to have been our closer. Now we have two relievers on our staff who are closers by trade and who apparently can’t close.
Bailey was extremely fortunate that Pedroia walked and scored on a double off the Monster by Napoli in the ninth for yet another walkoff victory in just three days; the final score was 3-2, and we officially swept the Rays. Without that quick fix, it is entirely possible that we may have lost the whole contest, and it would have been all Bailey’s fault. That, plus the fact that Dempster’s start was as good as it gets, is why Dempster should have gotten the win.