Posts Tagged ‘Alex Wilson’

Baseball is so unpredictable.  That can be either good or bad.  It can be good when you’re on the positive receiving end of the unpredictability.  It’s not so great, though, when you start the game off thinking you’re still in it, only to spend the entire second half of it being dominated by the competition.

Lester started out on the right foot and fired three shutout innings out of the gate.  But he ran into a little trouble in the fourth.  He gave up two singles to lead it off, and one out later, he gave up a double and then two consecutive walks, the first of which loaded the bases and the second of which resulted in another run.  It was pretty humiliating.

But arguably not as humiliating as squandering a perfectly good tie.  Those two runs put us in a two-run hole because we hadn’t scored yet.  We did, however, have an answer in the top of the fifth.  Iglesias got hit, Holt singled to put runners at the corners, and then Nava singled in Iglesias and Holt scored on a wild pitch.  But Lester returned the lead to Seattle by giving up a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the frame.

Unfortunately, that was nothing compared to what happened in the sixth.  Lester gave up two consecutive singles to lead it off and was replaced by Wilson.  But Wilson gave up a double and Nava made a fielding error that allowed both inherited runners to score.  Two outs later, Wilson gave up a single that allowed his own runner to score.

It only got worse from there.  Wilson issued a walk to lead off the seventh; he helped things along with a wild pitch followed by a double.  De La Torre relieved him and got the inning’s second out but then issued three consecutive scoring plays: a double, a single, and another double.  Three runs scored on De La Torre’s watch.

The Mariners found themselves up by eight runs at that point.  Clearly, if we were going to get ourselves back in this game, we didn’t have a lot of time to do it.

The Mariners made a pitching change in the eighth, and Pedroia singled, Lavarnway flied out, and Napoli and Salty bookended Carp’s groundout with RBI doubles.  But it was way too little, way too late.  In the eighth, thanks to a hit batsman and two walks, Seattle had the bases loaded, and a groundout was all it took to the drive the point home.

Lester had another mediocre start.  He gave up five runs, and the relievers each gave up three.  We lost, 11-4.

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There are few better ways to celebrate the Fourth of July than kicking back, relaxing, and taking in a textbook specimen of the national pastime.  I especially appreciated the victory, because losing would have really put a damper on the festive spirit.  I love baseball on the Fourth of July.  It would have been even better to have seen the national pastime played in America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, but the schedule is the schedule.  It was a great game anyway.

Webster got the nod to start and did a great job.  He gave up two runs on five hits over six innings with four walks and as many strikeouts.  He walked Pedro Ciriaco of all people to lead off the third, and he eventually scored on a sac fly.  He gave up his other run in the fifth thanks to a double-single combination.  And he ended his start on a fantastic one-two-three note.

Just as great as Webster’s start was the collective performance of our relievers, who pitched four shutout innings to hold the Padres at two runs.  Bailey got the seventh and miraculously sent down the three hitters he faced.  Wilson pitched the eighth and got the first out of the ninth before Breslow took over.

In the meantime, we didn’t waste time putting ourselves on top.  Ellsbury singled to lead off the first, and then Victorino and Pedroia hit back-to-back doubles, the latter of which scored two.  With one out in the second, Snyder hit a solo shot to right center field.  Napoli led off the fourth with a single and scored on a double by Iglesias.  Pedroia led off the fifth with a single but got caught stealing second; Napoli doubled and scored on a single by Gomes.  Lavarnway, Iglesias, and Ellsbury led off the sixth with back-to-back-to-back singles.  Two outs later, Iglesias and Ellsbury scored on a single by Papi.  And last but not least, Ellsbury led off the eighth with a solo shot to right.

The final score was 8-2.  And that’s the sweep!

Boston Globe Staff/Matthew J. Lee

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Walkoffs are awesome.  That is a fact.  I am a fan of the walkoff, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen one like this.  I would not want to be on the receiving end of one of these.  No, I would not.  For the Jays, there is no question that this was absolutely and completely humiliating.  It was completely avoidable, and yet it happened anyway and, in retrospect of course, there was nothing they could do about it.  It happens sometimes; that’s the nature of the game.  But I would not want to be Toronto right now.

Napoli and Nava led off the second with back-to-back singles.  Napoli scored on a double by Lavarnway, and he and Nava both scored on a double by Brandon Snyder.

In the fourth, Dempster gave up three singles, a walk, and a groundout that resulted in two runs scoring.

Ellsbury singled and scored on a double by Gomes in the fifth.

Breslow came on for Dempster with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth but got through it.  He gave up a solo shot to lead off the seventh; Wilson and Miller both pitched that inning.  Uehara came on in the ninth and gave up a solo shot that tied the game at four.

The Jays made a pitching change for the bottom of the ninth.  Iglesias grounded out, and then Snyder singled and Ellsbury walked.  Jonathan Diaz came in to pinch-run for Snyder, and the Jays made another pitching change.

I don’t know about you, but I was getting ready to settle in for a long night.  It just felt like one of those times when it was pretty unlikely for any late-inning heroics.

And, in fact, I was right.  There weren’t any.  There was just a late-inning mistake.

Adam Lind was out with a back injury, so Josh Thole, a catcher, had to step in at first.  Victorino stepped up to the plate and hit a ground ball.  But since the Jays’ first baseman was unused to playing first, the ball went off his glove, and Diaz scored from second base.

And so it was a 5-4 walkoff.  No heroics.  Just paying attention with the opposition made mistakes.

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Our winning streak stops at four.  I don’t know about you, but I miss the earlier days of the season when all we had to do to win was basically just show up.  Now it just seems like winning doesn’t come as easily, like we’re kind of uncomfortable.  We can’t put together a lengthy winning streak of note, and it’s harder to chalk our losses up to the nature of the game.  It’s true that you can’t necessarily win them all, but it’s also true that you shouldn’t have to lose just because the rotation or the bullpen or the hitters failed in some way.  And of course it never helps when fielding is involved.

Doubront gave up a walk and then an RBI single in the first, and he gave up a solo shot to lead off the sixth.  Wilson replaced him one walk and one flyout into the seventh.  Wilson took care of the rest of the seventh just fine.

So as you can see, Doubront was not the problem.  He gave up two runs on five hits over the course of six and one-third innings.  He walked three, struck out six, and did just fine.  He looked fairly comfortable, and he put us in a position to win.

Unfortunately, we scored as many runs as Doubront gave up: two.  Both of which we scored in the seventh.  The Jays had made a pitching change.  Salty and Iglesias hit back-to-back singles.  Salty moved to third on a throwing error but was out at home on a fielder’s choice by Jonathan Diaz.  The Jays made another pitching change and Ellsbury singled to load the bases.  And then Victorino singled in both Iglesias and Diaz.

Admittedly, that is not the strongest response that one would hope for in a bases-loaded situation.  But thanks to both Doubront and Wilson, that modest response ended up tying the game at two.

So the fact that we lost can’t be pinned on the offense alone.  It would have been nice to score more runs, obviously.  But is it not the job of the relief corps to be able to handle these kinds of situations?

Tazawa gave up a single followed by a two-run home run in the eighth.  And Breslow gave up a single that turned into a run on another single in the ninth, followed by a run that scored on a fielding error.

And so we ended up losing, 6-2.  The relief corps let the Jays get back on top, and we didn’t counter with any damage.

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That was an excellent use of the off day function.  Rest, recuperate, and regroup.  And, more importantly, make it count.  It’s always a shame when you have an off day and then take the field with nothing to show for it because you had to roll out the full pitching staff or you had to play extra innings or you didn’t hit or pitch that well and just lost. But yesterday’s game was an excellent example of a post-off day performance.  We rest so we play better.  And look what happened.  We rested.  And then we played better.

You’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a downside in last night’s performance.  Let’s start with pitching.  Dempster turned in an admirable performance: two runs on six hits, two walks, four strikeouts, and six innings.  He gave up a solo shot with one out in the second and an RBI single in the fourth.  His other innings were solid.  He had his fair share of one-two-three frames mixed in, and he kept the jams to a minimum.  All in all, I’d say it was a quality start, and not just because his final line says so.

Wilson came on for the seventh and gave up two unearned runs; that wasn’t so great.  He gave up a single, and then Victorino made a fielding error that caused a run to score and a runner to get on base.  Two strikeouts later, Breslow gave up a single that allowed that runner to score.  But he did fine in the eighth, and Beato turned in a decent effort in the ninth.

Now let’s get to the fun stuff.  Not that the pitching wasn’t fun.  It was fun.  But in order to be on par with the mammoth hitting performance that we turned in last night, our starter would have had to throw at least a no-hitter.  The Rockies managed to get eleven hits off of us, and you might think that that’s a lot.  Actually, it is, and I guess that’s kind of a downside that you could find in this game.  But even that total was no match for us.  We racked up a season-high twenty hits in total.  And of the eight innings during which we sent batters to the plate, we only failed to score in two.  Similarly, only two members of our lineup failed to turn in a multi-hit performance, but no one failed to turn in at least one hit.  In fact, only Salty reached base only once due to the fact that he singled but didn’t walk.  Ellsbury, Pedroia, Nava, and Iglesias all went three for five.  Victorino and Drew went two for five.  Napoli went two for four.  And Papi went only one for two but walked three times.

First there was the first.  Ellsbury doubled on the Rockies’ second pitch of the game, moved to third on a sac bunt by Victorino, and scored on a single by Pedroia.  Then Papi and Napoli worked back-to-back walks, and Pedroia scored on a single by Nava.

Two outs into the second, Victorino, Pedroia, and Papi hit back-to-back-to-back doubles, with Napoli following that with a single.  Three runs scored.

With one out in the fourth, Iglesias, Ellsbury, Victorino, and Pedroia hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles, at one point with a little help from a fielding error, and brought in two runs in the process.

Nava led off the fourth with a single but was out on a strikeout-plus-caught-stealing double play.  Drew’s reviewed triple stood, though, and he scored on a double by Iglesias.

We took quite a break in the fifth and sixth; spanning those two innings, a walk by Papi accounted for our only baserunner.  But we were back at it in the seventh, which Iglesias and Ellsbury led off with back-to-back singles; both scored, Iglesias on a sac fly by Pedroia and Ellsbury on a single by Napoli.

And last but not least, Salty and Drew led off the eighth with back-to-back singles, and Salty scored on a groundout by Victorino.

So, there you have it.  Nine innings, twenty hits, and an 11-4 victory.  Against the Rockies.  Why does this feel so familiar?

In other news, that’s the end of that.  I can’t believe it.  I saw the whole thing with my own eyes and I still can’t believe it.  There was a time when we were in the lead.  There was a time when it seemed so certain that the Stanley Cup was going to return to Boston, where it belongs.  And then suddenly, two goals in seventeen seconds in the third period, and we walk away the proud owners of crushing devastation instead.  It hurts.  It really, really, really hurts.  It just seemed like we had this in the bag.  I guess we were wrong.  At least we made it this far, and at least we put up a great fight, and at least we didn’t make it easy, and at least we were better than everyone else besides, but it hurts.  I’m glad we made it to the final, but the higher you climb, the harder you fall, and it’s pretty tough to sustain yourself during the offseason with a conference championship alone.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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It was fun while it lasted.  You can’t win them all, but it sure would be nice to string some together.

Allen Webster got the start and had quite the rocky first inning.  He gave up two singles and a walk followed by a strikeout.  Then he gave up a grand slam.  I don’t know what’s worse: walking in a run or making a massive mistake in the worst possible situation.  Either way, the Tigers scored four runs on one swing.  He settled down after that; even the run he gave up in the fifth thanks to a single-single combination wouldn’t have been so bad had it not compounded the fact that we were already losing.

He was replaced one out into the sixth by Morales.  But Morales also proceeded to have an initial breakdown.  He issued a walk, and then an RBI double, and then an RBI single.  And like Webster, he also settled down after that.

Until the seventh.  That was when he issued a walk, admittedly followed by two strikeouts, but then also allowed a home run.  He was replaced by Alex Wilson, who ended the seventh fine but then loaded the bases with a walk and two singles in the ninth.  At least he got a double play out of it, but also allowed a run.  Honestly, if you have to allow a run in a bases-loaded situation, that is most definitely the way to do it.

Ellsbury and Victorino singled to start the game.  Ellsbury scored on Pedroia’s double play, and then Papi hit a massive solo shot on a fastball that ended up beyond the right field fence.  It was a great display of scoring runs humbly and not-so-humbly.  But by the time the ninth inning started, we were already down by eight.  The best we did was shrink that deficit down to seven.  Papi singled but was out in a fielder’s choice; it was Carp who scored on a single by Salty.  So we lost, 10-3.

In other news, the Bruins find themselves in a bad position.  We lost last night, 3-1, and now we’re one game behind in the series.  Obviously, to put it extremely mildly, this is not good.  We need to win.  Now.  We need to wrap this up and get the cup back.

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I say this every single time the relief corps loses games for us.  Granted, all else being equal, we still would have lost because Dempster gave up one more run than we scored by the time he left, but still.  The relief corps did just as much damage as he did, which is basically the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to do.  I mean, they’re called relievers for a reason.  They are supposed to provide relief.  They are not supposed to make the situation even worse.

Dempster put us in a hole before we even sent a batter to the plate.  With one out in the first, he gave up a solo shot.  He then gave up two consecutive singles, made worse by a missed catch by Iglesias, and allowed another run thanks to a sac fly.  He later gave up a third run thanks to a single-single combination.  All told, he lasted six innings.

Even with his mediocrity, we would have been better off.  The relief corps matched his damage in the seventh.  En route to securing the inning’s first two outs, Breslow gave up two singles, one run, and one double.  He was replaced by Wilson, who allowed two runs on another double.

Morales pitched the eighth, and Beato pitched the ninth.

Papi doubled to lead off the second and scored on a single by Gomes.  We more or less repeated that performance in the fourth, except that it was Salty who doubled then.

At the time, those runs tied the game at two.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t do any better than that, and we ended up losing, 6-2.

In other news, the Blackhawks managed to pull even with a 6-5 sudden-death win.

Boston Globe Staff/Yoon S. Byun

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