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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Laffey’

Beckett’s outing was okay.  Not bad, not great.  He allowed two runs in the first and two in the second before settling down to pitch three shutout frames.  He allowed seven hits over those five innings with three walks and five strikeouts, and he threw 98 pitches.  So his runs, hits, and walks were up while his strikeout count was down and his pitch count showed inefficiency.  But I still don’t worry about him.  This whole situation with these last few games is very strange.  We win the Wild Card on someone else’s loss, we give the starters all sorts of rest, and we wait.  I feel like that has to take some sort of toll on the psyche of a competitive workhorse like Beckett.  Not to mention the fact that his timing was out of whack because of the extended rest.  But putting that aside, the reason why I’m thrilled with his performance is his health.  The fact that he settled down and got through it means he’ll be in good shape by the time postseason play begins.

Byrd allowed two runs on three hits in the next three innings, which is why he’s not on the postseason roster.  Richardson did fine.

Aside from Beckett, pitching is so not the point here, though.  The offense is the point, and with a final score of 11-6, there was a lot of it.  But before we talk about that, some words on the lineup.  This is one of the most interesting and creative lineups I’ve seen this season.  Pedroia led off, followed by Bay, followed by V-Mart and Youk, and then Ortiz, Lowrie, Kotchman, Anderson, and Gathright.  Ellsbury got the day off, Lowell has a sore right thumb, and Drew has a left shoulder issue.

So, without further ado.  With a full count, Pedroia led off the ballgame with a home run.  High inside fastball, meet the head of the bat, and the ball clears the Monster completely.  And then came the monumental second inning.

When I say monumental, I mean monumental.  There’s really no other way to describe scoring seven runs in a single frame in the manner in which we scored them.  It all started when Anderson singled in Ortiz, which moved Kotchman to second and Lowrie to third.  Aaron Laffey balked, so Lowrie scored, Anderson moved to second, and Kotchman moved to third.  Pedroia was intentionally walked to load the bases.  Then Bay singled in Kotchman, and everyone moved up to load the bases again.

Then Victor Martinez stepped into the batter’s box.  He worked a three and one count, perfect for hitting.  He hit a ball over center field that looked like it might have just enough to get it out.  And it did.  Into the bullpen.  Four runs with one swing of the bat, and all of a sudden we were leading 8-4 on the back of Victor Martinez’s first-ever Major League career grand slam! Against his former team! And all because Andy Marte couldn’t catch that popup in front of our dugout.  That’s what I call making him pay.

Anderson hit a towering home run to Lansdowne Street in the third to score himself and Kotchman, and Dusty Brown hit a home run of his own in the bottom of the eighth to tack on the final run.  Almost cleared the Monster.  The ball made it into the last row and was barely contained inside the park.  Not bad for a first career long ball.

Gonzalez’s x-rays came back negative.  Baldelli will have an MRI tomorrow.  John Farrell officially requested to be removed from consideration for Cleveland’s managerial position.  Speaking of open managerial positions, JP Ricciardi was fired yesterday.  And Manny Delcarmen, after enduring a car accident yesterday, is fine.  He was driving in the left lane and the driver in the middle lost control and swerved into Delcarmen’s car, which veered to the left and hit the wall.  He was taken to Mass General, but other than a sore back, he’s good to go.

Well, the end is in sight.  This afternoon, we play our last game of the regular season.  I have to say, it’s been one interesting run.  Lots of ups, lots of downs, lots of ins and outs and heres and theres, but we’ve come to a good place, I think.  Buchholz gets the nod against Tomo Ohka, so this’ll be his final tune-up before the playoffs.  But I still can’t believe the regular season is already over.  It seems like Opening Day was rained out just yesterday, doesn’t it? Time flies when you’re having fun though, and the fun continues even after we put this one away.

In other news, the Bruins played an absolutely fantastic game last night.  Last night’s game was everything we wanted Opening Night to be and more.  The final score was 7-2, and it was most definitely a team effort.  It was the first time we had seven different goal scorers since the lockout.  And there were plenty of fights to go around as well.  An all-around well-played game.  Lots of tape-to-tape passing (Patrice Bergeron’s picture is next to the definition of “stick position” in the hockey dictionary), obviously lots of scoring (two of the goals were netted just seconds apart) and fighting (Sean Thornton threw at least ten punches before the referees got involved), and of course lots of saving (I have come to the conclusion that Tim Thomas is an acrobat).  We play next on Thursday in Anaheim.

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Dice-K turned in a nice tune-up last night.  Six innings, two runs on five hits, three walks, seven strikeouts, and that’s not bad for a fourth postseason starter.  I was disappointed that he threw 104 pitches in only six innings; usually a total like that should be getting you well into the seventh.  But he’s made great progress and, with a solid relief corps, we’ll be okay.  Wagner, Ramirez, Bard, and Saito combined for three shutout innings.  It took Ramirez two hits and twenty-four pitches to turn in an inning of work, so my guess is Tito probably won’t be going to him first and foremost in October.

6-2 was the final score.  RBIs for Pedroia, Bay, and V-Mart; Youk had two.  Ellsbury doubled, stole, and got caught.  He has sixty-nine steals on the season and will probably end up with at least seventy before it’s over.  He’s only been caught twelve times.  Sixty-nine SBs and twelve CSs.  You can’t get much better than that.  V-Mart went two for four.  Youk doubled and made a fielding error.  No, seriously.  Bay went two for four with a double.  Tek doubled.  No, seriously.  Baldelli made a nice sliding catch in the second to put away Travis Hafner.

I have some bad news, though.  Gonzalez was plunked on the right wrist with a fastball in the eighth and had to leave.  He’ll go for x-rays today.  Baldelli strained his left hip flexor while running out a grounder in the fourth and had to leave.  Make no mistake: we can not afford to lose Gonzalez.  Not now.  Somehow, he’s gotten his hitting together in 2006, and we need him in there.  Especially when you consider the alternatives; Jed Lowrie and Nick Green both have health issues already.  As for Baldelli, we need him to be available during starts by lefties.  So this is not good.

John Farrell has stated publicly that is completely focused on and committed to the Red Sox.  He won’t be becoming the Tribe’s manager when he has a World Series win on the line.

Two more games and then we’re done.  Aaron Laffey and Josh Beckett will match up tonight.  This is an important start because this is Beckett’s first start since receiving cortisone in his back.  So much like Lester, we’ll need to make sure he’s good to go.

In other news, the Bruins take on the Hurricanes tonight at home.  Let’s get it right this time.

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And another sweep it is! Ladies and gentlemen, we remain undefeated against the New York Yankees! 5-0.  Wow.  That’s something.  That’s awesome, is what it is.  Let’s keep that up, because we sure could use the wins, and we don’t like the Yankees, so why not? I’ll tell you, when I watch us get win after win after win against the Yankees it feels great.  It feels just, and it feels right.  And there’s also some relief mixed in, knowing you can get it done even if some injuries come to pass. Youk was out last night with side tenderness, Ellsbury left after the third with a tight hamstring, and Paps was unavailable because of his thirty-two-pitch save on Monday.  And we still won.  And it wasn’t that close of a final score, either.  7-3.  I like it.

Okay.  Beckett.  I was hoping this would finally be a properly Beckett-esque outing.  It ended up being about half a Beckett-esque outing.  Really, when you think about it, the only start during which Beckett’s been himself was Opening Day.  On Opening Day he was bringing.  Now he’s struggling in start after start.  But last night did provide some hope.  Six innings, three runs on ten hits, a walk, and five K’s.  I should say the three runs came on a Damon homer in the third.  So Damon had back-to-back nights, courtesy of a 93 mile-per-hour mistake.  As I said, last year the problem for Beckett was home runs.  I’m noticing that this year he’s having a bit of an issue with that but also with walks.  Last year he didn’t walk anybody.  So ultimately which is better? The obvious answer is the Beckett of ’07, who allowed neither.  Beckett’s most recent victory before last night was April 18 against the Orioles when he gave up four runs, three of them earned, so that wasn’t Beckett being Beckett either.  And one more word about this new park the Yankees have.  They’ve hit at least one home run in every home game they’ve had this year.  That has to stop.

Anyway, that was it for the Yankees.  After that home run it was close; the score was 4-3 for a while, but Okajima, who got a hold, and Saito held the fort.

As far as our offense, it was all Pedroia, Ortiz, and Bay.  Pedroia went three for four with a walk and two runs.  So he was perfect at the plate and scored twice.  It’s the beginning of May, I know, but this is the 2009 American League Most Valuable Player right here.  I mean just look at the kid.  He’s ridiculous.  Not to mention the fact that his fielding is top-notch; he has a .991 fielding percentage.  He’s got AL MVP written all over him.  Again.  Ortiz walked with the bases loaded (I love Yankees pitching, I really do), and Bay clobbered a three-run moonshot into the left field stands in the first inning.  I mean that ball was smoked.  Joba Chamberlain had no chance.  And that was a horrible inning for him, too.  Bailey, our seventh batter, was the first he managed to get ahead of in the count.  Lowell’s bat was pretty quiet last night, but his glove wasn’t; a very nice catch over his shoulder in the third.  Surgery? What surgery?

And I have to talk about the eighth inning, because that was just a great example of why we’re so good.  An error by Ramiro Pena allowed Bay to reach base, and then he stole second.  Then the Yanks intentionally walked Drew to get to Bailey, who reached base on a hit-by-pitch.  So we loaded the bases without a hit.  That’s the way you do it.  That’s the way you capitalize and make another team pay for their mistakes.  We ended up sending seven batters to the plate, and two runs later Okajima was back from a nice, long rest.  Incidentally, Ellsbury and Green also stole second last night.

Bailey got an error in the fourth at first.  He was charging a ball and it skipped off his glove.  That’s our eighteenth error of the season.  We are currently twenty-first in the Major Leagues with a fielding percentage of .982.  That has to improve.  One way to do that is to keep Julio Lugo out of the lineup, but aside from that it has to improve.

A word about Joba Chamberlain.  Joba Chamberlain is neither a good pitcher nor a good man.  He hit Bay in the upper back with a pretty hard pitch in the fifth inning.  This after having pitched up and in to Youkilis twice in a row last year.  That’s not good.  I mean you just don’t do that.  You pitch cleanly, or you don’t pitch at all.  But pitching into a guy’s numbers is not a good idea.  That’s low.  That’s beyond Red Sox-Yankees, because you just don’t do that, period.  Bay gave him a look on his way to first, and rightly so.  I mean it was a stupid move; the Red Sox dugout is already not on speaking terms with Chamberlain, so to speak.  David Ortiz even warned him before the last series not to take shots at anyone.  So that’s not mature at all.  I don’t know what the kid’s problem is, but he needs to handle it.  And let’s not even talk about his DUI conviction.

But it’s all good.  We’re out of New York and done with them for a while, and we left on a high note.  Starting the season series undefeated makes the message pretty clear.  Anyway, on to bigger and better things, like Cleveland.  Pavano at Masterson tonight, followed by Laffey at Wakefield tomorrow, and then we’ve got another series with the Rays.  As far as the standings are concerned, the Yankees are soundly in third, and we’re still a game out.  Let’s change that tonight.

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