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Posts Tagged ‘Gary Sheffield’

And get it done last night we did! Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your first-place Boston Red Sox! The Braves destroyed the Jays, we destroyed the Mets, and just like that, order was restored.  I’m telling you, it just feels right.  It feels like the universe has suddenly fallen into place.  It feels like we’ve come home.  Just in time to go on the road again for a four-game series against the Twins.  But I’m not worried.  We’re in first place.  Shouldn’t be a problem.

Things were looking pretty bleak into the fifth inning.  We were down, 3-5, and the score felt like it could potentially be a final.  That did not happen.  We scored three more runs in the fifth, two in the sixth, and four in the seventh.  The final was 12-5.  We had twice as many hits as they did and scored more than twice as many runs.  Yeah.  That’s destruction.  In the second inning with men on second and third, Mikey Lowell started everything with a three-run shot into the Green Monster.  It was an 0-1 changeup that wasn’t going anywhere except out of the park.  That’s his eighth of the season.  And that was some smart hitting, because it can be tough to stay with those at the plate.  Lowell had a really great day; he finished five for three with those three RBIs and scored twice.  Youk hit an absolutely ridiculous three-run homer in the seventh.  There was a man on first, a man on second, two men out, a ball and no strikes, and a very pathetic Gary Sheffield just watching it clear the Green Monster completely.  And that’s what happens when you leave a 95 mile-per-hour fastball over the middle when Youk is at the plate.  That was his seventh of the year, and he deserved that one.  Earlier, in the fifth, Youk hit a ball directly over the left field foul pole.  It went out of the park, over Lansdowne Street, and actually hit the Cask ‘N’ Flagon.  Joe West was working third base yesterday and called it a foul ball.  Tito of course came out to argue it was a home run, and for the second day in a row the umpires used instant replay.  The camera angles were inconclusive so they did not reverse the call, and ruled that the ball was indeed foul, although personally I disagree.  The ball was out; it could only have hit the Cask ‘N’ Flagon where it did if it were slightly to the right of the pole and therefore fair.  But putting that aside, what are the odds a ball would fly directly over the foul pole? Ridiculous.  But I still say it was fair.

Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to nineteen games and scored a run.  Pedroia and Bay each batted one in.  Drew had a phenomenal day, going four for five with two runs and an RBI.  It was a double down the right field line to score Youk from third with two outs in the sixth.  And this is just about the time Drew got hot last year.  Everyone remembers his epic June.  Looks like he might be about to have another one.  Kottaras went three for five with a run and an RBI.  And Green got in on the action, going two for five with a run and two RBIs.

I’ve seen better from Wakefield, but I’ve also seen worse, and last night’s outing was luckily closer to the better than the worse.  Six innings, five runs on seven hits, four walks, three K’s, and a solo shot for Ramon Castro in the second.  Delcarmen and Saito pitched perfectly.  So Wake with the win, and Delcarmen with a hold.  By the way, Dlecarmen’s ERA is 0.86.

So there you have it.  The definitive game that put us in our place.  First.  First in the AL East.  It’s got a nice ring to it.  I have full confidence we’ll stay there.  The Blue Jays will have to be content with fighting it out with New York for second.  Meanwhile, it’ll be a rematch of Penny at Liriano in Minnesota.  And as is always the case with Penny’s starts, if he holds it together, keeps his pitch count down, and consistently locates his fastball, we’ll be in a good position to win.  If he doesn’t, we’ll have to go for another slugfest just to dig ourselves out of whatever hole he got us into.  But either is possible.  It’s a four-game series.  Perfect time to cushion ourselves in the standings.

Reuters Photo

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That was Beckett’s best start.   Period.  Easily his best outing of 2009.  Even better than Opening Day.  He pitched a full eight innings, gave up zero earned runs on five hits (the unearned run was his own fault; he messed up a pickoff attempt), walked only one and struck out five.  That’s the Josh Beckett we were waiting for.  That’s the Josh Beckett who went who knows where between Opening Day and his last two starts.  And that’s the Josh Beckett who’s returned.  I think at this point it’s safe to say that, ladies and gentlemen, Josh Beckett has finally arrived! He is back, and he is back with a vengeance.

With that said, I don’t think I can adequately express how furious I am with our closer.  Seriously.  I don’t think it’s within my power to do so.  We’re leading, 2-1, into the ninth inning.  Paps comes in to close it out, to be his usual lights-out self and get a win for Beckett and a save for himself.  Right? Not so much.  That’s what he was supposed to do, but instead he decided it would be fun to let Omir Santos hit a two-run shot; Gary Sheffield was already on first base.  But it wasn’t that simple.  The ball hit the top of the Monster, that ledge above the red metal grate, and bounced back onto the field.  Santos actually stopped at second, while Sheffield stopped at third.  Crew chief Joe West actually had to use the new instant replay to review it.  So he went into this room behind our dugout, with a monitor and a telephone connected with Major League Baseball Advanced Media Headquarters in New York.  He looked at three different angles and reversed the call.  Two-run shot.  So we lost, 3-2.  Paps gets a blown save and the loss.  And rightly so.  But if you told me this was how the game would end, I wouldn’t have been able to stop laughing or take you seriously.  Jonathan Papelbon? Give up a game-winning homer in the ninth? Impossible.  He’d just struck out two guys, there were two outs in the inning, there was no way.  Just no way.  But apparently not.  Apparently it’s possible, and apparently it happens.  I mean, what are the odds.  Really.  What are the odds Paps would rack up a blown save and a loss via the long ball in the ninth inning.  All in a single game.  I’m pretty sure that just does not happen.  Well.  Until last night.  And Jonathan Papelbon was feeling it; he’s one of the biggest competitors on the team, and that’s what you want from your closer, and after the call was reversed he just hung his head.  Ouch.

Youk batted in both of our runs.  Ellsbury again extended his hitting streak, batting .298 now so still right on that cusp.  He also stole third.  Successfully.  And when you watch Ellsbury work on the basepaths, it’s textbook.  He is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best, base-stealer in Major League Baseball right now.  His technique alone is just top-notch.  Pedroia went two for four with a run and a steal of second and is quietly batting a nice .327.  I’m telling you, very quietly he’s just been hot lately.  And he loves Interleague too.  Last night was his seventh consecutive multi-hit Interleague game.  That ties our club record, set by Troy O’Leary in 1998, and he’s one short of the Major League record of eight, set by A-Rod in 1998.  Man, I’d love to see him break that one.  Pedroia started the season with a .400 average in Interleague play.  That’s the best all-time for at least a hundred at-bats.  And after these two games with the Mets, that .400 average is now .406, and we all know who comes to mind when you mention .406.

So that was one infuriating loss that should’ve been a win.  Luckily, Toronto lost again, so we’re still only half a game back.  Unluckily, we’re now tied with the Yankees for second place, and the Rays shortened their deficit to three and a half games out of first.  So we’ve got some work to do.  It’s only a half-game lead they’ve got; we should be able to overtake that overnight.  Tonight would be nice.  We’re throwing Wakefield against Tim Redding.  Ordinarily, that would be a pretty even matchup but if Wake pitches anything like he has been over the course of the season, it’ll be like throwing an ace up there, and hopefully the Mets will have no chance.  Which is what should’ve happened these past two nights, and in a way it did except for some weird twists of fate.  Whatever.  Let’s just get it done tonight.

A Nation of One

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Our offense has nothing to be ashamed of.  Nothing.  We knew going into last night that Johan Santana would be challenging, in a good way; every once and a while, it’s good for a batter to face a worthy opponent just to keep you on your toes.  And Johan Santana is a worthy opponent up to our lineup’s level.  He now has an ERA of 1.50 in nine starts this year.  It’s true that he usually doesn’t do well with us; he’s now only 5-4 against us overall and 2-3 in Fenway Park, but with a start to a season like that, you can’t afford to assume he won’t have it together.  In fact, one could say he didn’t; he gave up three runs which, according to his numbers, is more than usual.  And it’s the best of both worlds.  We have nothing to be ashamed of because we know those numbers are genuine, being that he was an American League pitcher through 2007 and therefore was trained to deal with more offensive pressure.  And we have nothing to worry about, because he’s in the National League now and everyone knows the Mets aren’t going to make the playoffs, and if they do, they won’t get very far.

Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to seventeen games.  Seventeen games! And after last night his average is .299.  One more hit and he’ll be up and over.  Pedroia went two for four.  Ortiz and Youk, our leading hitter with runners in scoring position who bats over .400 in that situation, both struck out three times.  Bay went hitless but walked.  Drew and Lowell both went one for four, but each scored a run.  Lugo not only went 0 for 4 (surprise, surprise), but he came up twice with one out in runners and scoring position and failed to make any constructive contact, and he failed to turn a double play which turned what should’ve been a one-run fourth into a three-run fourth for the Mets.  So essentially he’s back to his old self, and I don’t mean that in a good way.  (On a more postivie note, Jed Lowrie says his wrist feels great, and he even took some ground balls yesterday.) But Varitek went two for four with a run and two RBIs.  We lost the game, 5-3, and the third run was unearned.  So the captain taking the reins last night.  We went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.

Pedroia made a fielding error.  It was one of the strangest things I’ve seen so far this season.  Pedroia making a fielding error? Does that happen? I mean obviously there’s a reason why his fielding percentage is .988 and not 1.000.  But still.  A fielding error? That’s something  I couldn’t have believed unless I’d seen it.  And I did see it, and it was still weird.

So our offense was covered.  And our pitching, in a way, was covered as well.  But less.  On one hand, it was Dice-K’s first Major League start since coming off the DL for fatigue and strain, so it wasn’t going to be a long outing.  He pitched only five innings.  Good.  He walked only two and struck out four.  Fine.  He allowed four runs on five hits, including a leadoff solo shot for Gary Sheffield in the second (of all the Mets to hit one out, it had to be Sheffield?).  That’s not so great.  So on the other hand, he should’ve been able to contain the Mets lineup much more.  They’re the Mets.  And they’re a National League team.  But we’ll cut him slack because he had an ERA close to 1.00 in his rehab starts with Pawtucket, and we’ll give him a chance to settle in.

Masterson pitched the next three innings and gave up a run on three hits.  But that’s understandable as well.  It’s his first long shift as a reliever since returning to the bullpen.  The difference between a starter and a reliever is that a starter pitches most of the game and is expected to give up a run or two, which isn’t a big deal because you’ve got more innings to come.  A reliever doesn’t have that luxury.  So Masterson has to reacclimate himself to his role as a reliever after starting for so long.  (By the way, if you ask me, I still say it’s a waste to keep him out there.) Bard was perfect.

Quite the interesting broadcast from Eck, who used an expletive by accident on the air last night in the bottom of the fifth.  He was talking about Youk getting hit in the right elbow with a pitch.  Youk stared down Santana and said it, and in describing the play Eck repeated it.  Meanwhile, Don started cracking up and could barely call the at-bat by Jason Bay.  It was hilarious.  Only on NESN.  And as far as the hit-by-pitch was concerned, it was pretty clear that Santana wasn’t trying to start anything, so it’s all good.

So all in all, I can’t complain about the outcome of last night.  No, I mean literally.  I’m annoyed at the loss and want to chalk it up to something but I can’t because there’s a reasonable reason for everything, and all those reasons just sort of came together at once to produce a loss, which really was only by two runs.  Even Lugo shouldn’t be to blame, because we should be prepared to account for his incompetence.  Luckily, Toronto also lost, so we’re still only half a game back.  And that’ll change tonight, because tonight it’ll be Mike Pelfrey at Beckett.  And if Beckett’s start is even remotely close to what his last start was, we’ll be in great shape.  Last night we had an AL-level pitcher opposing a pitcher returning from the DL.  It was an anomaly.  Tonight will be different.  I still love Interleague.

Masslive.com

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