Posts Tagged ‘Chad Fairchild’

Think about all the losses we’ve had to endure of the course of the season and especially lately.  Think about the losing streaks we’ve had and the absolutely abysmal month of August we’ve finished.  Think about how this entire year has turned out for us.  Think about the embarrassment and the humiliation and the pain and the devastation and the despair that have been our baseball lives since the end of Spring Training.

Aside from clinching a playoff spot at the expense of the Yankees, there is only one thing that’s sure to provide some degree of an antidote to all of that: preventing the Yankees from clinching a playoff spot.  And how do we do that? By beating them when we’re playing them and rooting hard for their other opponents to beat them when we’re not.  So it should be obvious why last night was so awesome.

Lester did not pitch well at all.  He gave up three runs on five hits, but he left after five and one-third innings.  Why? Because he struck out five and walked seven.  No starting pitcher should ever walk more batters than he strikes out, unless of course he doesn’t strike out anybody but he walks one or something like that.  The point is that he had no command.  He lost control of the strike zone and couldn’t find it, so he couldn’t seal the deal.  He kept getting behind hitters and throwing a lot of pitches and getting tired and generally not being effective.  Lester had already thrown 102 pitches at the time of his departure, and only fifty-five of those were strikes.  And it didn’t help that home plate umpire Chad Fairchild’s definition of the strike zone was not consistent.  So as you can see, he was really laboring  through his start, and it’s a wonder that the Yanks didn’t make him pay even more.

Lester’s first at-bat ended in a walk, which turned into a run one double and two ground-outs later.  He then walked two more batters before ending the inning.  Lester gave up a double and no walks in the second and fifth.  He gave up two walks to lead off the third and one walk to lead off the fourth.  He gave up a walk and a single to lead off the sixth; they were followed by a sac bunt and then a double that brought in two runs.

Tazawa then came on in relief and finished the sixth as well as the seventh.  Breslow pitched the eighth, and Bailey pitched the ninth.  As it turns out, Lester’s three runs were the only runs that the Yankees would score.

We had two runners on in the first and did nothing with either of them, and we went down in order in the second.  But Ciriaco doubled to lead off the third, moved to third on a groundout by Aviles, and scored on a single by Ellsbury.  Podsednik then popped out, and Ellsbury stole second base and scored on a single by Pedroia.  We went down in order in the fourth and fifth before Pedroia went deep in the sixth on a sinker.  It was the third pitch he saw in the at-bat; the first two were sliders around eighty-four miles per hour; the sinker was clocked at ninety-three, but he read it all he way.  So with a 2-0 count the ball sailed right out to the Green Monster where it belonged.  It was precise, it was powerful, and it was the tying run.

We had a fantastic opportunity to break the tie in the seventh.  Kalish singled, Ciriaco hit what was supposed to be a sac bunt but turned into a single thanks to a fielding error, Aviles struck out, and Ellsbury singled to load the bases for Nava.  But Nava grounded into a force out, and Pedroia popped out.  And we went down in order in the eighth.

Then came the ninth, the one inning during which, in these situations, you try to convince yourself that you won’t score because if you don’t your hopes will shoot way up.  Kalish popped out, and it seemed like the inning would proceed as usual: with us not scoring, which meant extras.

But then everything changed.  Ten pitches later, we won, 4-3.  Ciriaco, Aviles, and Ellsbury had hit three straight singles; Ciriaco had scored the winning run, and Ellsbury had batted him in.  It was a small-ball, manufactured walkoff.

So, in sum, we beat the Evil Empire in a walkoff at home.  It was awesome because it set the Yanks back in the standings, we got to celebrate at home right in front of them and thereby bask in our own glory while they lost, and lastly it just so happens that it was Ellsbury’s birthday yesterday, so he got to celebrate with a big win.  We also just really needed this because such happiness has been hard to come by baseball-wise this year.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we haven’t been this happy and psyched in way too long a time.  And I think the team’s been missing that feeling as well.  So we needed this win.  Especially against the Yanks.  We’ve been at our lowest point for a while now, and when we needed most to see that mob in our uniform forming at home plate, the team gave it to us.  And that is definitely something worth celebrating.

AP Photo

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