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Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’

That was not exactly the series start that I had in mind.  Not even remotely.  That was one of the closest games I’ve ever seen in October.  Uncomfortably close.  And, because we lost, crushingly close.  Seriously.  Our offense was completely silenced to an embarrassing, unacceptable, and baffling degree.

Lester delivered a great start.  Really, our whole pitching staff pulled it together and delivered the best start they could deliver under these conditions, namely, no run support whatsoever.  Lester pitched six and one-third innings and gave up six hits, one walk, and one run.  He struck out four.

He faced the minimum in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings.  He gave up two singles in the first and his one run in the sixth.  He induced a groundout to start it off and then issued a walk, hit a batter, recorded a force out, and then gave up an RBI single.  The runner had been able to move to third on the force out, so at least we got an out out of it.  I always say that if you have to give up a run, you may as well try your best to get something out of the situation as well.  He was lifted after he induced a lineout and hit a batter in the seventh.

Tazawa pitched the last two outs of the seventh, Breslow pitched the eighth, and Uehara pitched the ninth.

Meanwhile, and this is the really painful part, not only were we completely shut out, but we were also almost no-hit.  That’s right.  We managed only one hit all night.  That hit belonged to Nava.

We had two on in the first thanks to a wild pitch and a walk.  We walked twice in the second.  We went down in order in the third, fourth, and fifth.  We walked three times in the sixth and had the bases loaded with two out.  We went down in order in the seventh and eighth.  And Nava broke up the no-hitter in the ninth when he singled with one out.

If Bogaerts had come up with the right type of hit after that, we could have walked away winners.  All he managed was a popout on a full count.

Needless to say, when Nava recorded that hit, I was immensely relieved.  It’s bad enough to lose.  It’s worse to lose in the playoffs and even worse to lose the first game of the ALCS, especially if it’s at home, which is your prime opportunity to get wins in.  And it’s worse to provide no run support whatsoever, although we can at least feel good about the fact that our pitchers did a ridiculously awesome job of keeping us in the game the whole time.  I mean, it’s not easy to hold the opposition to only one run for an entire game.  Then again, it’s even harder to hold the opposition to no runs for an entire game, which is what Detroit managed to accomplish.

But let the record show that we were not no-hit.  No, we most definitely were not.  We didn’t get our hit until the ninth inning, but we got it in the end.  This was the first time a postseason no-hitter was destroyed in the ninth inning since 1947 when the Brooklyn Dodgers did it against the Yanks.  Unlike us, however, the Dodgers ended up winning that game.  Anyway, between the fact that we thwarted their bid and the fact that we ourselves held them to only one run, we can retain our dignity with our heads held high.  It should also be noted that it wasn’t just one pitcher working against us; the Tigers trotted out a good number.

We did walk six times.  But we went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.  With a final score like 1-0, it could have been anyone’s game.  Unfortunately, Lester happened to crack first.  It’s obviously true that it could have been possible for him not to crack first or not to crack at all.  But it’s hard to do much better than that.

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Last night was epic.  Epic.  I have to say that for a while it looked close and it kept me on the edge of my seat.  And then suddenly it was wide open.  The guys said, “I’ve had just about enough of this,” and we went from 2-1 Tribe to 13-3 us.  We scored once in the first and twelve times in the sixth inning before Cleveland recorded an out.  Twelve.  Without an out.  Twelve runs in a single inning with nobody out.  You look at the linescore and you see that big twelve up there, and we scored all of those runs with nobody out.  I mean I know it happened because I saw it with my own eyes, but that’s a little insane.  I mean it was awesome.  Epic.  Beautiful.  And it’s tough to do.  Scoring all of those runs takes time, and you would think Cleveland would some how be able to piece together an out somewhere.  Nope.

Ironically, who but Julio Lugo started that mother of all rallies with a single.  Then Pedroia walked.  Then Jason Bay hit a double to plate Lugo, tying the game.  Jeremy Sowers loaded the bases, walking Mikey Lowell intentionally to get to Baldelli.  Big mistake.  In his first hit since coming off the DL, Rocco Baldelli stroked a two-run single up the middle! Welcome back, dude! But it gets better.  Drew walked.  Then they pulled Sowers, who gave up seven runs on five hits.  Masa Kobayashi came on, and Jeff Bailey greeted him with a two-run double.  Then Nick Green hit an infield single to re-load the bases.  Kottaras got in on the action by also stroking a two-run single.  Then Lugo, miraculously, reached base again on an infield single.  Then Pedroia hit an RBI single.  And just like that Kobayashi’s night was over, after giving up five runs on five hits.  Matt Herges came on.  And Jason Bay proceeded to hit a huge three-run home run into right center for his eighth homer of the year.  And that just shows you that he has power to all fields, because trust me, hitting the ball there in Fenway takes power.  So the bases were empty for Lowell, who proved to be the first out of the inning when he grounded to short.  And that, my friends, was the sixth.

It was like a dream.  The bases were loaded so many times, and there were so many hits with the bases loaded, and so many runs scored.  That sets a new American League record and ties a modern-day Major League record for most runs scored in a single inning without an out recorded.  They now share it with the Brooklyn Dodgers, who did the same in the eighth against the Phillies on May 24, 1953.  And this is a season high for us through several years; our twelve runs were the most we scored in a single inning since we scored fourteen in the first against the Marlins on June 27, 2003 to win, 25-8.  Mikey Lowell can tell you more about that:

I remember telling Trot when he got to third, if Johnny Damon got his third hit in the first inning, I was going to walk off the field.  After he got his hit, Trot scored and he looked back, and I kind of had to swallow my pride.  It’s better being on this side.

Can’t say I wouldn’t agree.  Wow.

So that’s pretty much all of the offense right there.  The only batters who didn’t have a hit all night were Lowell and Drew, and they still managed to reach base on walks.  So everyone reached base at least once, and everyone scored at least one run.  No steals, no errors.  Only two left on base.  We went nine for eleven with runners in scoring position.  Yeah.  Like a dream.  And part of what made it so unreal was that Julio Lugo did very well, going three for five in the lead-off spot.  Maybe the lead-off spot is the answer; maybe he just bats really well from there.  Or maybe last night was a fluke for him, which seems like the more probable explanation.  Either way, it was convenient because he wasn’t in the field.  Papi was out with a stiff neck so Lugo was DHing.  Whatever.  The whole thing was just unbelievably awesome.

And our pitching was spectacular.  Another five-star start from Wakefield.  He pitched six innings, gave up only two runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts, inflating his ERA slightly to 2.92.  Delcarmen and Saito were both perfect, but Lopez gave up a run in between.  I don’t know what changed between last year and this year; last year he was so consistently solid, and this year he’s just not.  But I hope he figures it out and fixes it.

On behalf of Red Sox Nation, I’d like to express my condolences to the DiMaggio family for the loss of Dom DiMaggio today.  Dom was a good man, a great player, and a Teammate, right there beside Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, and Ted Williams.  One of the masters.  We’ll remember you, buddy.  We’ll definitely remember you.

So now we move to within one game of Toronto and we go into tonight’s game with the Rays with a huge amount of momentum.  And we’re at home for this one.  Shields at Penny.  If Penny holds it together, breaking his pattern of good start alternating with bad start, that would be great.  If he doesn’t, that wouldn’t be great, but at least we know we can score all the runs we need!

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