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Posts Tagged ‘Dom DiMaggio’

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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If Justin Masterson sought revenge, he found it.  Yes, sir; he found it.  The final score was 11-0 and most definitely not in our favor.  Masterson, in a complete role reversal with Buchholz, pitched a two-hit, complete game shutout.  How’s that for revenge.

Trust me, though; that’s not the norm for him.  Theo got the better end of the deal in that trade.  He sure was nasty on the mound last night, but I think that has a whole lot to do with the fact that he played with this team and knows the core of this lineup very well.  Naturally he’ll pitch well against us.  But that wasn’t the norm for him.  This was just one game.  In this one game, he may have maintained velocity throughout, practiced speed and location variation, thrown sliders under the hands, handled the lefties, and turned on his sinker and two-seam.  But he by no means does any of that routinely.  He’s two and twelve since the trade.  He’s two and five on the season with a 4.74 ERA (lowered by last night’s performance from five and change), slightly higher than the league average and nowhere near the league leader.  His WHIP is 1.64.  Meanwhile, V-Mart is two points shy of batting .300, slightly lower than the league leader, with eight homers, twenty-nine runs, and thirty RBIs.  We may have lost last night, but I call that a good trade.

As far as the loss itself is concerned, you may think from the score that Buchholz had a complete fail.  That wasn’t the case.  Buchholz did not by any means have a complete fail.  Buchholz was mediocre – he had command issues early in the game – but he still, as a very good pitcher is wont to do, pitched well enough on his off night to win under other circumstances, like when the offense is actually productive.  He pitched seven innings, gave up three runs on three hits, walked four, and struck out one but took the loss.  He fired 109 pitches, twenty-seven of which came in the first.  He settled down after that, needing only seven pitches for the second, following that with ten to twenty pitches in each of his next four frames, and finishing with a game low of six in the seventh.

In his first four innings, only his fastball was working for strikes; he’d throw an offspeed but it would be down, the batter wouldn’t chase, and he’d have to go back to his fastball.  Seeing that his offspeed stuff just wasn’t happening, he relied on his fastball more and more, started missing location, and then came the walks.  He said after the game that, had he not walked anyone, the game might still be going on.  He’s probably right.  So his outing was unusual for him in that he spent the night as a fastball pitcher.  He did top out at ninety-five miles per hour, but his usual speed variation just wasn’t there.  He used roughly all parts of the strike zone when he did throw strikes, and he used all parts of the strike zone boundaries when he threw balls.

So last night was definitely not his best work, but if that’s what an off night for him looks like, I’ll most definitely take it.  That would be a pitcher’s best night on some other teams.  We just have higher standards in Boston.  But my point is that he wasn’t the one who dropped the ball.  The bullpen did.

Bonser gave up four runs on two hits and two walks without recording an out.  Nelson gave up a grand slam; four runs on five hits, three walks, and one swing.  Eight runs in a single inning.  It was awful.  I absolutely can not stand bullpen meltdowns.  If a starter melts down, it’s his own mess and his own responsibility.  If a bullpen melts down, it takes everything the starter and the offense has put together and squanders it.  It’s like taking something someone has worked on really hard and just throwing it away when they were counting on you to protect it.   Think about it.  The game could have been a respectable 3-0 loss.  But no.  For Bonser, that wasn’t the first step he wanted to take on his road back to the Majors after shoulder surgery.  He says his shoulder felt fine; he was just “over-amped.” Whatever it was, he was terrible.

The offense.  This is going to be easy.  Too easy.  V-Mart singled.  Drew singled.  Youk walked.  Hermida, in his return to the lineup, walked.  Done.  Nobody got past first base.

Also, some unfortunate slump updates.  So far Pedroia is 0 for 11 in the series, and he’s 17 for 101, an average of .168, in his last twenty-five games.  Papi is 1 for his last 23.  Neither one of these slumps is cause for concern.  Both are too good to remain in them long; that’s been proven.

Delcarmen is feeling better and ready to go.  Papelbon will remain unavailable until at least tomorrow.

Yesterday, the organization unveiled a bronze statue of The Teammates a few yards from the statue of Ted Williams.  The statue, sculpted by Antonio Tobias Mendez, is based on David Halberstam’s book of that title about the road trip that Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, and Dom DiMaggio took to visit Williams on his deathbed.  This is a great tribute to lifelong friendship between these guys but also to the Red Sox organization, an organization that breeds such friendship between all its players.  Nicely done.

It was good to see an old friend, but it wasn’t good to lose to an old friend.  Especially, as I said, via the infamous bullpen implosion.  That was not supposed to be part of the plan.  However, as always, we’ll bounce back.  Tonight we have Lester at Talbot to finish off this series and hopefully win it rather than split it, and on Friday we return to Interleague for series with the Phillies, D-Backs, Dodgers, Rockies, and Giants.  That’s plenty of games against National League teams, so plenty of opportunities for wins.  I’ll be taking a break of about ten days.  We’re in a great place right now.  Who knows? In ten days, we could find ourselves in first place!

Reuters Photo

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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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