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Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Rockies’

Victorino’s thumb surgery was successful, and he should be good to go for Spring Training.  Andrew Miller’s looking forward to starting the season without a hitch as well.  We traded Franklin Morales and farm pitcher Chris Martin to the Rockies for infielder Jonathan Herrera.  And we signed Shunsuke Watanabe, a veteran submariner from Japan.

In other news, the B’s shut out the Flames and lost to the Sabres this week.

I’ll be taking a break of about two weeks.  I think we’re all looking forward to seeing the team take shape.

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Welcome back, Jacoby Ellsbury! And just in time, too.  I’m telling you, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.  We’ve played so well without him; imagine what we can do now that he’s back.  He looks comfortable, controlled, and, most importantly, very, very hungry.

Ellsbury hit his seventh pitch, the seventh pitch of the game, for a single.  Then Victorino singled, Pedroia grounded into a force out, Papi doubled in both of the baserunners, Nava lined out, and Papi scored on a single by Salty.  And with two outs in the third, Nava singled and scored on a double by Salty.

Things got powerful in the fourth when Peavy actually doubled, which was so cool, and Ellsbury walked, and Victorino went yard on a full count with one out.  It was a monster of a home run all the way out to left for three runs.  Salty singled to lead off the fifth, and then Drew doubled, and it was Middlebrooks’s turn to turn it on to right field.  For him, it was a slider, the seventh pitch of the at-bat.

And last but not least, the eighth.  Victorino singled, Pedroia flied out, Snyder got hit, and Nava singled to load the bases.  Salty singled in Victorino to score a run and keep the bases loaded.  Drew popped out, and then Middlebrooks was at it again.  He took a fastabll for a strike, fouled off a curveball and another fastball, and got a curveball that missed.  But Middlebrooks picked up on it and made the Rockies pay.  We were already well on our way to burying the Rockies under a mountain of runs (pun intended).  But when that ball ended up beyond the left field fence, the deal was officially sealed.  Four runs.  One grand slam.  Epic.

Unfortunately, it was kind of an off night for Peavy.  I should say it was kind of a mediocre night for Peavy.  With one out in the second, he gave up a solo shot followed by a lineout, a walk, and an RBI double.  Then in the third, he gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases with nobody out.  One strikeout later, he gave up a successful sac fly and an RBI single.  He gave up a walk followed by an RBI double in the fifth.

Peavy’s night was over after the sixth; Tazawa pitched the seventh, Breslow pitched the eighth, and Dempster pitched the ninth.  The final score was 15-5, which is the same score with which we won Game Three of the World Series in 2007 except with five more runs for us.

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So, yeah, this wasn’t exactly our finest hour.  I’m not really okay with losing to a National League team in a slugfest, especially if that National League team is the same National League team that we beat when we slugged our way to World Series victory in 2007.  Anyway, we lost, and it was ugly.

Lackey didn’t waste time putting us in a hole.  His third pitch of the game was hit for a solo shot, and two outs and a double later, he gave up an RBI single.  He gave up another solo shot in the third.  And another one in the fifth.

So we spent most of the game down by four.  We didn’t even score a single run until the seventh, and even that was basically a giveaway from the Rockies.  Salty and Drew grounded out, and then Middlebrooks doubled and scored when Bradley reached on a missed catch, with a little help from a throwing error.  But then Bradley was out at home.

But just when we shrunk the deficit from four to three, it more than doubled.  Britton came on for the seventh, but evidently that wasn’t even remotely close to an improvement.  He gave up a double, a single, and a walk to load the bases with nobody out.  Then he gave up a two-run single.  Following a double steal and another two-run single, Morales came on and finished the inning.  De La Rosa pitched the eighth.

We brought our six-run deficit down to four again when Papi singled to lead off the fifth, and Salty went yard on the third pitch, and third four-seam, of the at-bat.  All the way to right center field.  Too bad it basically didn’t even make a dent.

We lost, 8-3.  It was awful and humiliating and just generally very unpleasant.

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Lackey pitched exceptionally well.  He looked like his old self again.  That’s usually the response whenever he pitches well, but that’s because his old self was just that good and we’ve been waiting not only to see him return to that form for maybe a game or two but rather to return to that form consistently.  To the point where he takes the mound and we know exactly what we’re going to get from him.  And have that be pure goodness.

He gave up only two runs on eight hits while walking zero and striking out a whopping twelve batters in seven innings.  He gave up his first run in the first thanks to two singles, and he gave up his last run in the sixth when he allowed a solo shot to open the inning.  The second and seventh were his only two one-two-three innings because of all those hits, but the fact that he muscled outs out of the Rockies via the K is admirable.  He struck out three in the first, second, and fourth.  He struck out one in the fifth, sixth, and seventh and none in the third.  And he managed to do it all with ninety-eight pitches.

Think about how impressive that is.  He gave up an average of about one hit per inning, and more than half of his outs were achieved with the strikeout.  That should add up to a lot of pitches.  But he kept his pitch count below one hundred because seventy-three of his ninety-eight pitches were strikes.  Not only did he not walk anybody but he threw hardly any balls.  That is the definition of efficiency.  He made every pitch count, and on the occasion that he did give up a hit or when he was busy recording outs, it’s not like the batter stood there while Lackey struggled to find the strike zone.  He knew exactly where the strike zone was and never lost sight of it.  His command and control were amazing.

Tazawa pitched the eighth and gave up a solo shot to lead it off for Colorado’s third and final run.  Uehara pitched the ninth and got the save.

In the meantime, we scored enough runs to win.  We didn’t bury Colorado, but we won.  That’s okay.  Winning is nice, and we already buried them once this week.

Ellsbury led off the first with a double and scored on a single by Victorino.  One out later, Victorino scored on a double by Papi, and one out later, Papi scored on a single by Nava.

Victorino and Pedroia led off the third with back-to-back singles, and Papi loaded the bases with a walk.  Napoli singled in Victorino, and Pedroia scored on a sac fly by Nava.  Admittedly, there was obviously a lot more we could have done with that opportunity.  One third of the way into the game, we were finished scoring runs.  But like I said, it was enough.  We won, 5-3.

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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.

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Honestly, it doesn’t get much more infuriating than that.  I’m just going to jump right in because it’s really tough to deal with it all.

Cook pitched decently.  He only lasted five innings, and he gave up three runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out two.  He went one-two-three in the first and second, and gave up a double in the third.  He gave up a solo shot to lead off the fourth followed by a single and then a two-run home run.  Following  two quick outs, he gave up a single, and then a fielding error put another runner on, but the inning ended there.  He allowed a single in the fifth and a double to lead off the sixth, at which point he was replaced by Hill, who was replaced by Aceves after three batters.

Meanwhile, we reduced our deficit from three runs to two; in the bottom of the fourth, Pedroia doubled with one out and scored on a single by Loney.

Aceves came out for the seventh and gave up a single followed by a two-run home run of his own, which made the score 5-1.  Two outs later, he gave up a double and was replaced by Carpenter, who ended the inning.  In the bottom of the seventh, we made another dent in the score.  Ross began the inning by striking out, but then Salty and Nava hit back-to-back doubles.  The Yanks sent out their third pitcher of the inning, and then Salty scored on a groundout by Gomez and Nava scored on a double by Aviles.  5-3.

Carpenter handled the eighth without incident baseball-wise but with incident drama-wise; when Bobby V. came out to the mound and Aceves saw Carpenter coming in, he walked to the other side of the mound to avoid Bobby V. when he left the field.  In terms of the bottom of the inning, we failed to score.  But it was not without further drama.

Ross ended the inning on a called strike; the at-bat featured seven pitches, all but one of them sliders, and the count had been full.  Ross and everyone else who had a pair of decently functioning eyes could see that that last supposed strike was actually a ball because it was low, and he let home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez know it immediately. So Marquez rejected him; it was only the second rejection in Ross’s career.  Several minutes later, Bobby V., who had separated Ross and Marquez, went back out there to have a talk with him that obviously got heated pretty quickly and was ejected for the sixth time this year, which sets the record for the most single-season ejections by any manager we’ve ever had in our long, illustrious history.  And at some point even third base coach Jerry Royster was ejected for some reason, so bench coach Tim Bogar was managing and coaching third at the same time at the end of it all.  The whole situation was just absurd and could have been neatly avoided had Marquez just done his job and saw reality.

Anyway, Miller and Padilla teamed up to shut out the Yanks in the top of the ninth, and the stage was set for another possible walkoff.  Salty’s leadoff at-bat was exactly the kind of at-bat you hope for most in those situations.  The count was full and he got an eighty-three mile-per-hour slide as his sixth pitch.  He’s a big guy, and he unleashed his formidable power on it and sent it out of the park to right field for a solo shot that only he could have powered out of the park.  We were now one run away with nobody out, and between Salty having made it look so easy and our last-minute heroics of the previous night, we were daring to believe that we could potentially pull it off again.

But we didn’t.  Nava flied out, Gomez grounded out, and Aviles reached on a fielding error.  Ellsbury could have put the whole thing away right then and there.  But he grounded out instead.

So we lost, 5-4.  But no one can say we didn’t put up a fight.  Because we did, both literally and figuratively.  We manufactured our own runs and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps in the face of a deficit and dared to call a ball, a ball.  We just kept going at it all night long, but we came up just short in the end.  It’s just so infuriating.  I mean, I have to think that we’ve lost this way to plenty of other teams this year since clearly we’re in the business of losing every way to every other team this year, but to do it against the Yankees is particularly brutal.  We were almost there; we just needed one more run to tie it, and we could take care of them in extras.  And we couldn’t get it done.  It’s the story of our 2012 baseball lives.

On a more cheerful note, we have next year’s schedule, so assuming that we’re optimistic, it’s a reminder of something to look forward to.  The season starts for us on April 1 in the Bronx; we follow Opening Day with a day off and then conclude the three-game series.  We then head off to Toronto for three games, and then we head home for our home opener against Baltimore, which is followed by another day off.  We then finish our series with Baltimore and play the Rays before spending three games in Cleveland and going back home to face the Royals, A’s, and newly-AL Astros.  Then we have a day off and we go back to Toronto and then to Arlington, our first full series of May.  The Twins and Jays comprise another homestand, followed by a day off and another road trip against the Rays, Twins, and Other Sox.  Then back home we’ve got the Tribe and the Phillies, followed by a series at Philadelphia and then the Bronx, followed by a day off.  That takes us to June, our first full series of which is at home against the Rangers and then the Angels.  Then we head off to Toronto and Baltimore before another day off and coming home to face the Rays.  Then we head off to Detriot before another day off and another homestand featuring the Rockies, the Jays, a day off, and the Padres in July.  Then it’s off to the West Coast for the Angels, Mariners, and A’s before the All-Star break.  When play resumes, we host the Yanks and Rays before a trip to Baltimore and a day off.  The west then comes to us as we host the Mariners and D-Backs at home, which brings us to August.  We then travel to Houston and Kansas City before taking a day off and traveling to Toronto.  We host the Yanks at home after that, followed by a trip to San Francisco, a day off, a trip to Los Angeles for the Blue Sox, another day off, and then a homestand featuring the Orioles, Other Sox, and Tigers, which brings us to September.  We go to the Bronx after that, take a day off, go to Tampa Bay, and return home for the Yanks, a day off, the Orioles, the Jays, and another day off.  Then we go to Colorado for two games, take a day off, and go to Baltimore for the last series of the season.  So we’ve got at least three days off every month except one: May, our most packed month, when we only have one day off.  But it’s a good schedule.  It’s interesting that Interleague is sort of spread out this year instead of being clustered in June.  It’s often a tough schedule, and we have to play some worthy opponents, but if all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to hold our own next year.

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The big news this week is that we’ve traded Scutaro to the Rockies for Clayton Mortensen.  Make no mistake about this deal, folks.  This deal was not for Mortensen.  This deal was to dispose of Scutaro’s six million dollars in order to free up salary for a starter, possibly Roy Oswalt.  So don’t think of it as a neat exchange; think of it as exchanging Scutaro for a to-be-determined pitcher, and Mortensen just happens to be there.  Mortensen, a righty, as pitched in only twenty-four Major League games, thirteen of which were starts.  He is four and eight with a 5.12 ERA but had problems with his command, which yielded a high walk ratio.  With the Rockies, he posted a 3.86 ERA in sixteen appearances, performing better in relief than in a starter’s role.  He’ll come to camp and fight for a spot just like all the other pitchers.  Meanwhile, I’m more concerned with which veteran superstar we’re going to get.

We’ve signed Bard to a one year deal and Ellsbury to a one-year deal worth upwards of eight million dollars.  First of all, if we signed Crawford, who by the way just had wrist surgery, to as large a contract in terms of years as we did, Ellsbury deserves exponentially more than one year.  Has he not proven that he’s worth it? I mean, if we’re going to play the long-contract game, we should at least play it responsibly.  It’s ridiculous that we signed Crawford for as long as we did, and we only talked to Ellsbury about one year.  Although he did get a nice raise; he’ll make twice as much this coming year as he has in his entire career to date, and he’s worth every penny and probably more.  We’ve signed Morales to a one-year deal, and we’ve signed Vicente Padilla to a minor league deal, but according to Ben, he’ll come to camp as a starter.  But don’t worry because it’s all good.  Bobby V. spoke to Dice-K and saw a “good look in his eye,” so naturally all of our problems are immediately solved.

Orlando Cabrera has decided to retire.  We’ll never forget what he did for us in 2004.

In other news, the B’s beat the Panthers in a shootout.  We lost to the Bolts, beat the Devils, and lost to the Rangers in sudden death.

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