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Posts Tagged ‘Dick Williams’

We played a two-game series against the Rays and got swept.

Tuesday’s game began auspiciously with us paying tribute to the 2004 team.  But it didn’t end well.  Buchholz pitched as decently as any of our other starters this year, but in terms of the way he’s been pitching lately, his start was mediocre at best.  He gave up five runs, four earned, on eight hits over six innings while walking two and striking out five.  In the second, he gave up two walks followed by a home run that score three.  And in the sixth, he gave up two straight singles and then another single two batters later that scored two runs, one of which was made possible by Nava’s fielding error, hence the unearned run.  Atchison pitched the seventh and to one batter in the eighth, Miller pitched the rest of the eighth, and Padilla pitched the ninth.

We got on the board in the second; we started the inning with two back-to-back singles followed by a flyout, and Valencia batted in our first run with a single.  We started the third with a strikeout and then hit two back-to-back singles again.  This inning possibly did us in, because if we’d been able to take full advantage of our opportunity there, it’s possible that perhaps we could have won in the end.  But a caught-stealing at third basically put a damper on things.  Pedroia doubled after that, and we scored on a balk.  And that was it.  The final score was 2-5.

On Wednesday, Lester pitched six innings and allowed three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out five.  He was solid for most of it but unraveled at the end.  All three runs were scored via the home run.  He gave up a single in the fifth followed by two consecutive home runs.  Mortensen came on for the seventh and gave up a single, and then Hill came on and gave up another single; three at-bats later, Hill gave up an RBI double.  Melancon finished the seventh and pitched the eighth, and Breslow pitched the ninth.

We had actually scored first; Salty walked and scored on a single by Nava in the second.  And then Pedroia walked to lead off the sixth, stole second, moved to third on a single by Ross, and scored on a sac fly by Loney.  The final score was 2-4.

Wednesday’s game actually began auspiciously as well with us announcing the All-Fenway team comprised of our greats throughout our long and illustrious history, with plenty of old faces and plenty of new.  The starting lineup included Carlton Fisk, Jimmie Foxx, Pedroia, Wade Boggs, Nomar, Ted Williams, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans, Pedro Martinez, Lefty Grove, Jonathan Papelbon, Papi, and Terry Francona.  The first reserves included Jason Varitek, Mo Vaughn, Bobby Doerr, Mike Lowell, Johnny Pesky, Yaz, Dom DiMaggio, Trot Nixon, Roger Clemens, Luis Tiant, Tim Wakefield, Dennis Eckersley, Dick Radatz, and Joe Cronin.  The second reserves included Rich Gedman, George Scott, Jerry Remy, Frank Malzone, Rico Petrocelli, Jim Rice, Reggie Smith, Tony Conigliaro, Babe Ruth, Smoky Joe Wood, Curt Schilling, Bill Lee, Jim Lonborg, and Dick Williams.  And, last but not least, the pinch hitter was Bernie Carbo and the pinch runner was none other than Dave Roberts.

Why before Wednesday’s game? Because Wednesday’s game was our last home game of the year.  It would have been nice to win it.  Instead we will finish the season with our worst record at home since 1965 and our first losing record at home since 1997: 34-47.  Now Fenway will soon be covered with snow, silent in the long, cold winter that lies ahead with only the bitter memory of losing as an aftertaste.

Sports Then And Now

 

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Wow.  Just, wow.  All of Red Sox Nation just went on a power overdose.  That was epic.  It was just epic.

Miller actually didn’t do a bad job.  Besides, considering the circumstances surrounding our rotation lately, even if he did do a bad job we are in no position to complain.

Five innings, three runs on six hits, four walks, no strikeouts.  He made a throwing error.  He allowed ten baserunners.  He threw ninety-seven pitches, so he was extremely inefficient.  It could have been better.  Then again, it could have been worse.  I think the bullpen is just going to have to commit to working overtime on a regular basis from now on.

They did so admirably.  Aceves, Atchison, and Jenks combined to pitch four scoreless innings.

In the beginning, it seemed like, surprisingly enough, Baltimore would give us a run for our money.  By the time the bottom of the third inning rolled around, they were actually leading us by two.  With one swing of the bat, all that changed.  Scutaro walked on four pitches.  Ellsbury walked on seven pitches.  And on a 3-1 count, Pedroia put a fastball over the Monster.  Not off it.  Not to it.  Not in it.  Over it and into the parking lot in Lansdowne Street.  High inside fastball.  That ball stood no chance.

In the fourth, Reddick reached on a missed catch, advanced on a single by Salty, and came around to score on a sac fly by Drew.  In the fifth, Gonzalez hit a solo shot to the bleaches in center.  The swing was enormous.  The blast was equally enormous.  The ball landed right at the 379-foot mark.  It was his first career dinger opposite Baltimore; I’m sure it will be the first of many.  The key to this one was patience.  The pitch was a changeup, and he had its number all the way.  He waited and stayed back and uncorked the perfect swing at exactly the right time.

In the sixth, Scutaro singled and Ellsbury hit a home run into the seats in right.  It was huge.  It kept rising and rising and rising.  At times it looked like it had enough to make it into the upper deck before it dropped down.  It was a slider, so another phenomenal display of hitting acumen.  He crushed it completely.  So between that and his spectacular running catch in the fifth, I’ll forgive him for getting caught trying to go from first to third in the first inning.

But then came the seventh.  If you thought you’d seen power up to this point, you were about to think again.  We put up a three-spot in the seventh.  But not just any three-spot.  Papi, Reddick, and Salty went back-to-back-to-back.  Three consecutive home runs for the first time since August 13, 2010 against the Rangers in Arlington.  A rocket of a straight shot to center field, a towering lob over the bullpen in right field, and a wallop to the Monster seats in left field.  Fastball, fastball, fastball.  Full count, full count, 0-2.  Huge, huge, and huge.  Three home runs on ten pitches alone.  I felt like I was watching replays.  That’s always the effect that going back-to-back has.  The best part is remembering that it’s not a replay.  It’s a completely separate play and an additional run and a progression of the opposing pitcher from bad to worse.  It was epically epic.

And that’s how, despite the fact that entering the game we were thirteen and twenty-five after the opponent scores first, we used the long ball to bury the Orioles, 10-4.  Let me put this in perspective.  The team collected thirteen hits.  Of those, eight were for extra bases.  Of those, six were home runs.  So almost half of our total hits were home runs.  We’ve won seven of our last eight games.  And, oh, by the way, we are now in sole possession of first place for the first time since June 24.  This game was legendary.

Last but of course certainly not least, I’d like to extend condolences to the family and friends of Dick Williams.  He was a legendary manager, figured prominently several postseasons including our Impossible Dream, and is one of only two managers to win ninety games in a single season with four different teams and to deliver three teams to the World Series.  He managed for twenty-one seasons.  He was a real character.  And he will be missed.  Dick Williams, we salute you.

Getty Images, AP Photos, Compilation by Boston Dirt Dogs

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We’re coming back, that’s for sure. We beat the Yankees, 9-2 last night. Actually, with a final score like that, “beat” isn’t the write word. More like “shredded,” or “trounced,” or the ever-popular “completely drowned in quality lefty pitching and offensive production.”

The last time Lester pitched against New York, he went the distance for a nine-inning shutout in the Bronx, and he almost did the same thing yesterday. The two runs the Yankees scored came in the fifth inning by Jeter and Abreu and were pretty cheap. In fact, the second run had nothing to do with New York. Lester issued a walk with the bases loaded. All told, he pitched seven frames and allowed nine hits. That walk was his only walk, and he struck out eight. He was the first lefty to start against the Yankees in Fenway since David Wells did it in 2005. Delcarmen and Timlin closed it out. So Lester improves to 9-3 with an ERA of 3.17.

As for the offense, we’ve got plenty to talk about there. I’ll start off by saying that David Ortiz, Big Papi, the game’s best designated hitter, recorded his first Major League homer since coming off the DL. It was a two-run shot that landed a couple rows behind the right field wall. Bobby Abreu had no chance. Ortiz later collected another RBI, Manny and Lowell each collected two, and Tek and Dusty each collected one. Three of our starters went two for four last night. Manny had a great night, going three for five, as did a surprisingly and suddenly hot Jacoby Ellsbury, who went three for four. I hope it sticks. We need his bat in there. But Jacoby didn’t steal any bases. It was Drew with the theft, his third of the year.

I don’t usually do this, but I’d like to dedicate some space to the performance, or lack thereof, of Sidney Ponson. He allowed seven runs on ten hits over four innings pitched, walking one and striking out one. This is why the Yankees’ suddenly good performance won’t last. You can go on as many winning streaks as you want, but unless you can find a consistent rhythm for getting men on base and then bringing them home while also having someone on the mound with whom you can trust a lead, you won’t get anywhere. Last season, the Yankees got hot after the All-Star break as well. They had their fair share of winning streaks and hot hitters. But in the end it came to naught in large part because the ability to sustain that level of play wasn’t completely there.

Basically, yesterday’s game was a prime example of what the Red Sox need to do to win games in a three-way race for first. They need to throw well while also getting runs together, and they need the bullpen to hold their leads. And look what happens when they do. The team win big, and with some conveniently timed losses by the Rays, the Sox’ll be able to leave everyone in the dust.

In other news, Manny says he’ll approve any trade the Red Sox front office wants to make, and he’s implied that he’s done with Boston at the end of this season. Let’s face facts here. We’re not trading him. There isn’t enough time to trade him, and find a replacement, and have that replacement get used to the ballpark and the city, and use that replacement effectively to get us a World Series title. Nobody will want to pay him $100 million, and nobody can pay him $100 million, so I don’t know where he thinks he’s going to go at the end of the season. I don’t think he realizes how good he’s got it. Sure, he might be able to scrape together more money from a different team, but I don’t know of any team that’ll work as hard as the Red Sox do at defending his antics. In a different clubhouse, a move like the one he pulled on Friday and he’d be out of there before he can say “I’m tired of them, they’re tired of me.”

Dick Williams, manager of the Impossible Dream team, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as was Larry Whiteside, journalist with The Boston Globe for thirty-one years, who posthumously received the Spink Award for 2008.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate fellow Red Sox blogger Matt Levine, author of Dirty Watah, on having a part of one of his posts broadcast during the game yesterday on ESPN. Keep up the good work!

MLB.com Photo

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