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Posts Tagged ‘Hunter Jones’

Okay.  That didn’t exactly go as planned, and that’s putting it lightly.  We knew it had to happen sometime, but it would’ve been fine by me if it didn’t happen for an incredibly long time.  The New York Yankees won the 2009 World Series.  Wow, that was excruciatingly painful to say.  So basically the Angels wounded us and the Yankees finished us off.  Of all the bad things that could possibly have happened to Red Sox Nation this year, it had to be New York coming out on top at the end of the decade.  Suffice it to say that the region of New England and the city of Philadelphia are brothers in grief, but as I said, the region of New England isn’t very happy.  To be fair, the Phillies gave it their all and put up a good fight, forcing a Game Six and whatnot.  But to be completely honest with you, I’m still furious and bitter about the whole thing.  Words can not describe the anger and frustration I experienced.  I’m sure you can relate.  And don’t even get me started on what it felt like to see pictures of the victory parade.  Viscerally painful.

What does this mean for Red Sox Nation? Does it mean we’re back where we started? No.  Absolutely not.  The curse is long gone.  (Speaking of curses, so much for that valiant attempt to hex the new Yankee Stadium with that Ortiz jersey.) So we don’t have to worry about that anymore.  So what does it mean? Well, quite frankly, it means we’ll have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  It doesn’t mean we have something to prove because 2004 and 2007 have already taken care of that.  In its simplest terms, it literally means we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Alex Speier of WEEI ranked the World Series winners of the decade.  He put the 2004 Red Sox at third, the 2007 Red Sox at second, and the 2009 Yankees first.  This is something I’m having a very hard time believing.  The Yankees didn’t win the World Series.  They bought it.  Just like they bought their previous twenty-six World Series wins.  The Phillies were beaten, more than anything else, by the Yankees organization’s abnormally huge wallet.  Their 2009 payroll was $209 million.  That’s a full fifty percent more than the Red Sox, Tigers, and Mets, who were all more or less tied for second this past season.  (So to all the Yankee fans out there who favor the you’re-one-to-talk line, don’t even try it.)

To that end, in response to “Remember Who You Are,” Jeremy pointed out:

CC Sabathia made $3906 per pitch this season.  AJ Burnett made $4391 per pitch.  Mariano Rivera made $12,500 per pitch. I think I’m going to be sick.

Believe me, we share that sentiment.  Those figures are absolutely grotesque.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so disgustingly exorbitant in my baseball life.  This is what ruins the sport.  This is what alienates and disillusions.  It’s just sad and pathetic that New York has to go out and poach their talent in fiscally irresponsible ways.  Signing a pitcher for seven years for that amount of money is completely irresponsible.  The dude could snap his arm tomorrow and never be the same again.  Why would anyone ever sink that much capital into a less-than-stable investment? Similarly, why do you sign a pitcher for five years who’s known to make multiple trips to the DL? I don’t understand what they were thinking.  Burnett is a huge medical liability, not to mention the fact that his consistency isn’t worth his currently salary at all.  One of the reasons they locked Burnett was probably to keep him away from us, and that should never be the basis of any decision, but that’s just what they do.  As far as Mariano is concerned, he is especially not worth it.  For a team so worried about their archrival (remember when they acquired Mike Meyers for the explicit and sole purpose of pitching to David Ortiz?), they’re placing a premium on a closer whose only Achilles’ heel is that same team.  And to pay him that much at his age when other closers just as good and younger are making less should signal the lack of sensibility in their approach to the market.  That organization just does not make sense.  At all.  It’s stupefying.  Every time I read something about Brian Cashman and any Steinbrenner, I feel my powers of common sense drain out.

By the way, Bronx leaders are considering naming the soon-to-be-constructed the East 153rd Street bridge after Derek Jeter.  I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous.  We have the Ted Williams Tunnel because Ted William was the greatest hitter who ever lived, a soldier in combat for the United States in two major wars during the prime of his baseball career, and an avid supporter of the Jimmy Fund.  He was a local, regional, and national hero.  Derek Jeter is a shortstop.  There is a huge difference.

Now that the Yankees have, you know, won and all, I think we need to move forward constructively.  An instrumental part of that will be making peace with Jonathan Papelbon.  He may have disappointed us, and he may have humiliated us, and he may have been as porous in his pitching as a slice of Swiss cheese, but at the end of the day he’s still our closer.  And let’s face it: there’s nothing more dangerous than a closer with something to prove.  And I’d say that’s doubly true in Papelbon’s case.  Putting his last appearance aside, he’s a beast.  He’s one of the biggest competitors on the team.  Essentially, he was born to close.  He’s got the power, he’s got the movement, and he’s got the crazy attitude to get the job done.  In the past, when Papelbon got hungry, he went out and he sealed the deal.  And I fully expect him to be back to form this coming season.

Speaking of big competitors, here’s a story that’s been downplayed in light of other impending free agency filings: this coming season is a contract year for Beckett.  After that, he’ll be eligible to become a free agent for the first time in his career.  But if I were you, I wouldn’t expect him to walk away.  Free agency for this year has already begun; notable filings include John Lackey, Matt Holliday, and (you guessed it) Jason Bay.  Other filings included Carlos Delgado, Marlon Byrd, and Adrian Beltre.

Make no mistake: the stove is about to get hot for Theo Epstein.  In fact, he’s already started his move-making.  We acquired right fielder Jeremy Hermida from the Marlins for southpaws Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez.  This could obviously have implications for Rocco Baldelli’s future with us.

We still need a bench coach.  Tito wants to replace from within.  I know technically you’re supposed to take a few years off to transition from player to coach, but Jason Varitek wouldn’t be a bad idea.

So that’s where we’re at.  We have double the pain to conquer now: the experience of an extremely brief October and the surge of the Evil Empire.  Obviously, we’ll get through it.  We always do.  I’m just saying I wish I didn’t have to have this to get through.  It would’ve been so infinitely better if we won the World Series.  And that’s exactly what 2010 is for.

The Bruins aren’t exactly helping our cause.  We were shut out by the Rangers and Devils earlier this week, and being shut out twice in a row isn’t easy.  So that’s bad.  To make matters worse, we lost to the Habs in overtime.  But we ended the week on a high note when we defeated the division-leading Sabres, 4-2.  The problem is that we don’t have a goal-scorer because he’s off playing for the Leafs now.   That’s a problem.  Someone’s going to have to step up and start putting pucks in nets if we’re going to get anywhere this year.

 

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I can’t really be upset about the outcome of last night’s game because it was basically Futures at Fenway Part 2, but without fair competition.  All of our starters, with the exception of Big Papi and Gonzalez, got the night off, but Toronto put in its best.  We sent the entire reserve out there to face who but Roy Halladay, and we got shelled.  Show me someone who’s surprised by this outcome, and I’ll show you someone who has no conception of the disparity between skill levels present in Major League Baseball.  Unless something had gone horribly wrong for Roy Halladay, there’s no way a reserve would have bested him.

This game was absolutely necessary.  It was a stroke of genius, and it spoke to our commitment to winning the World Series.  What’s the best way to ensure that your reserve is the best it can be? Give it playing time.  And what’s the best way to do that? Hand it an entire game against one of the best active pitchers in the game.  They may not have done well, but at least they “did.” At least they played.

Halladay pitched a complete game three-hitter.  Gathright hit two of those three, and Baldelli hit the third with a steal.

Wakefield gave up five runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts over three innings pitched.  Three of those five runs were attained via the long ball.  So something’s still not right with him, which is probably why he started.  In all likelihood, his health will keep him off the playoff roster, which means the season will be over for him soon enough and he’ll have all that time to recuperate fully.  So that’s why he started last night.  Fernando Cabrera gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in an inning and pitched to three batters in the next without recording an out.  Dustin Richardson was able to extricate himself from that jam in just eighteen pitches.  Delcarmen’s struggles continued as he gave up two runs on three hits in an inning, allowing Randy Ruiz to hit his second home run of the night.  Hunter Jones did okay.  Hideki Okajima gave up a solo shot.  And Dusty Brown, catcher, gave up a run on two hits in the ninth inning, with a strikeout to his credit.

So while watching this game, all I had to do was remind myself that bench players and minor leaguers were going up against Roy Halladay, and then I’d sit back, relax, and take it in for what it was: a chance to get a glimpse of what we might be seeing this October from the bench and what we might be seeing from our farm system in the future.  Although with Halladay on the mound, the view was somewhat skewed.  Case in point: the final score.  Unhealthy starter plus unseasoned and struggling relievers plus unseasoned hitters equals a final score of 12-0.  I am proud to say that we didn’t make a single fielding error, which is impressive given all of Fenway’s quirks.

If you’re wondering why Tito wasn’t present at the Wild Card celebration, it was because he flew to Virginia for his son Nick’s graduation.

That completes a three-game sweep for Toronto, and now we square off against Cleveland for a four-game set.  This is the final audition for our four playoff starters.  Lester will pitch tonight for the first time since taking Melky Cabrera’s line drive just above the knee, and Beckett will start Saturday after having received a cortisone injection in his back to help with the spasms.  Cleveland isn’t too intimidating, so it’s perfect for getting back in the groove.  Then the regular season ends, schedules are finalized, and the playoffs begin!

In other news, it’s the first day of hockey season today! We open at home against the Washington Capitals at 7:00PM!

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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Well, we have no way of knowing which outcome we would’ve seen from Beckett because Beckett was scratched due to back spasms.  The spasms are in his upper back and are mild, so that’s good.  And he may actually benefit in more ways than one from the extra rest.  So Michael Bowden started, and he showed everyone exactly why he will not amount to being a Major League starter.  He’s a good reliever, and with some more experience he could turn himself into a truly great reliever.  But he’s not a starter.

Starters don’t give up seven runs on seven hits in three innings pitched with a walk, three strikeouts, and one-run and three-run homers.  Well, some starters do.  But it’s usually a fluke, and if it’s not a fluke, they usually don’t stay starters for long.  This is not a fluke for Bowden, who’s had plenty of ugly outings this season.  (I refer you to our 20-11 loss to the Yankees in August.  That’s about as ugly as you could possibly get.) So as soon as Beckett was scratched, we all knew it was going to be a long night.

Hunter Jones made it even longer.  Four runs on five hits in less than two innings pitched with one strikeout and a two-run shot will do it.  Dustin Richardson and Delcarmen each pitched two innings of shutout ball, but it was too little, too late.  The rain started coming down, and they called it after seven.  We lost, 11-5.  But I do have to say that Delcarmen pitched well.  The inning was over in ten pitches, seven of them strikes.

Youk hit two home runs last night, one in the first with one on and two out, and the other in the third with nobody on.  They were both some nice pieces of hitting, though.  Really nice pieces of hitting.  Ortiz hit a solo shot of his own to lead off the sixth.  Pedroia doubled in Gonzalez in the seventh.  And that was all we had time for.  I’d like to think that if we were actually able to finish the game, we would’ve been able to come back.  Or maybe not.  When the bullpen pitches literally an entire game, it’s tough to predict anything.

Lester was cleared to start on Thursday.  Lowell received an injection for his hip and should be back in action by the end of the week.

Tonight it’s Ricky Romero at Clay Buchholz.  One more win and we clinch.

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And dominate we most certainly did not.  Again, Red Sox fans work from nine to five to come home and watch the Red Sox lose, 9-5.  But the loss isn’t important.  The nine runs we gave up and the five runs we scored aren’t important.  Jon Lester is what’s really important.

Lester pitched two and a third innings of very shoddy ball.  One of his worst outings all season.  Five runs on eight hits with three walks, three strikeouts, and a two-run shot by A-Rod.  He was inefficient, he was nervous, and he was ineffective.  At one point, John Farrell and Jason Varitek came out to the mound to talk to him, but what do you say to a guy in that situation? It’s not like he’s pitching like that on purpose.  The postseason’s around the corner, and he’s feeling pressure, like this is his big audition to prove that he can handle being our Number 1 starter.  Obviously, no pitcher of his experience should feel that way at this stage, especially not since he was our Number 1 starter last year.  But it wasn’t just that.  The Yankees were figuring him out.  Suddenly, he was an easy pitcher to hit.  That’s never been the case.  It was easy to see, though, that his timing was off, as evidenced by the fact that the Yankees were running all over the place.  A-Rod stole three bases.  Even Robinson Cano was running, and when Cano is running, you know something’s up.  Never mind the fact that everyone tries to run on Tek; this was just ridiculous.  Lefties are notoriously slow in their delivery, but still.  Seven stolen bases in a single game.  But that’s not important.

Lester’s seventy-eighth pitch was a line drive by Melky Cabrera that came straight back to him.  It hit him on the side of the knee, just above the bone, inches away from his kneecap.  Lester went down, and he stayed down, and you could literally see his pain.  Red Sox Nation held its breath as one as the fate of the World Series rested on the knee of Jon Lester.  He finally made his exit, walking off the field on his own, and was taken for x-rays immediately.  The x-rays were negative.  It’s just a contusion.  He’s listed as day-to-day put plans to make his next start on Thursday.  Red Sox Nation sighed in relief as one as the dream was kept alive.

And that’s what was important.  Right now, the division would be absolutely fantastic, but it would be more valuable to us in the long run if the starters rested and the bullpen got its work in so that we’re raring to go when the playoffs start.  And if Jon Lester were injured, the entire timbre of the playoffs would have changed.  Our expectations of how deep we would go would have changed.  All you need is your ace writhing on the ground in agony to make you realize just how valuable he is to your club.  But thankfully, and when I say thankfully I mean thankfully, he’s okay.

So the bullpen was in for a long night.  Hunter Jones, Michael Bowden, Delcarmen, and Ramirez each had shifts.  Between them, they pitched 5.2 innings, gave up four runs on six hits, walked six, and struck out five.  Not the greatest.  Not at all the greatest.

Heading into the fourth inning, all we wanted was at least a hit off Joba Chamberlain to get us started.  It came in the fourth in spectacular fashion; a home run by Victor Martinez with two out in the inning.  That was quite a hit.  He finished the night two for four.  Youk also went two for four with an RBI.  Drew went two for three with a double.  And Big Papi hit quite the two-run shot with two out in the sixth; he would finish the night with three RBIs.  Pedroia stole.

Tek went 0 for 4 and struck out twice.  He’s currently batting .208 and only .124 since August 1.  He has a neck injury that’s been bothering him since June.  He just had a bad night, period.

Guess who finally convinced Billy Wagner to come to Boston? His wife, Sarah.  Smart woman.  Very unlike one Leigh Teixeira.

Okay, so we’re six and a half games behind the Yankees.  That’s fine.  Lester is okay and will be ready to go, and that’s all that matters.  We’ll get to the playoffs, have our way with the opposition, make it to the World Series, win the World Series, and enjoy the Rolling Rally.  It’s all good.  Although a win today would be just what the doctor ordered.  Speaking of orders, it’ll be a tall one; Dice-K at Sabathia won’t be easy.  But it’s doable.  The key is that, because the bullpen worked overtime last night, Dice-K will have to go deep.  Which is also doable.  Should be an interesting game.  And hey, we could still clinch on Yankee soil, which means their attendants will play bartender for us as we celebrate.  That’s always a plus

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That’s better.  Much better.  See, this is how games with Kansas City are supposed to result.  What should have been a sweep will now be a series split if we’re lucky, but at least they can’t sweep us.  That would have been terrible.  Beckett pitched last night.  Luke Hochevar had no chance.

V-Mart caught Beckett for the second time, and I have to say it went pretty well.  Not the best, but it went well.  Beckett pitched six, gave up two runs on twelve hits, walked one, and struck out seven.  The twelve hits is what concerns me, and I think a number like that does reflect, at least a little bit, the catcher’s role in the game.  Somebody is calling those pitches.  The pitcher can shake him off, but not for every call, and I still don’t know if I’m one hundred percent sure that V-Mart’s bat is worth it.  Knowing Beckett, when he gets into playoff mode, there’s very little chance that we’ll actually need those few extra runs.

On the other hand, Beckett did only relinquish two runs, so who knows? Between now and the start of the playoffs, maybe they’ll really work it out.  Here’s the breakdown of the twelve hits.  Two were infield.  Six were grounders through holes.  One was a pop-up that dropped.  One was lined softly.  And two were really hard-hit: Yuniesky Betancourt’s triple and Billy Butler’s single in the fourth.  So we’re mostly talking about soft contacts that got lucky, and those decrease with time and experience.

With yesterday’s game, Beckett further passed the two-hundred-inning mark for the third time in four seasons.  This season alone, he’s pitched just over 207 innings, surpassing his personal best of 204 in 2006, his first year here.

Okajima, Wagner, and Papelbon were solid.  Between the three of them, three shutout innings with two walks and three strikesouts.  This was Paps’s first outing since September 18, and it looks like the extra rest was just what the doctor ordered.

And now, the 9 in the final score of 9-2.  It was absolutely fantastic; a complete and total onslaught of all that is the Kansas City Royals.  The best part? This wasn’t us one-upping them, or two-upping them, or three-upping them.  No.  This was dominance.  We seven-upped the Royals, sent a message, and exacted revenge for the first two losses, especially for that five-run first with our six-run fifth.  Maybe I’m getting a little carried away, but it was still really fun to watch.

Ellsbury tripled in two runs.  Pedroia went two for three with two runs and an RBI, and he is having himself quite the September.  Since September 7, he’s batted .357 with four doubles, three home runs, ten runs, and seven RBIs to go with a .419 on-base percentage.  During that stretch, he’s also had a fourteen-game hitting streak and six multi-hit games.  He usually does well in September, batting .290 in the month in his career, so it looks like he’s right on schedule.  By the way, he’s fourth in the Majors and second in the American League in runs scored.  Bay batted in two and walked twice.  Big Papi went two for four with four (count ’em: four!) RBIs! Three of which came on an extremely Papi-esque swing for the fences that ended up putting the ball somewhere beyond the left center field fence.  Drew went two for three with two walks.  And Gonzalez went two for five with a double.

Wakefield will start Tuesday after extended rest.  Nick Green won’t come with us to the Bronx but will rather stay in Boston with a back issue.  Hunter Jones was called up.

One more in Kansas City, and then it’s off to the Bronx.  I’m really psyched for this weekend.  I think we can make some major progress here, and not just in terms of the division.  In terms of the playoffs.  If we play a strong series against the Yanks this weekend, we’ll be more confident in October and have more momentum.  Either way, should a Sox-Yanks ALCS matchup result, we’ll be ready.  But we have to get through tonight first.  It’ll be Buchholz at Anthony Lerew, so it should go well.

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Ballplayers don’t come cheap, but the acquisition of Paul Byrd was just about the lowest-risk investment the front office could’ve possibly made.  He kept himself in shape during the offseason, and we signed him to a minor league contract.  If anything had gone wrong, we had flexibility and we had options, like trading for someone younger and better, and at least it wouldn’t have gone wrong at the Major League level, where right now that would have been extraordinarily inconvenient.  And trust me, things could’ve gone very wrong.  He could’ve injured himself early.  He could’ve pitched consistently horribly.  But as it happens, everything went right.

During his first outing in almost a year, Paul Byrd pitched six shutout innings of three-hit ball with three walks and a strikeouts.  He starts 2009 with an ERA of 0.00 and an undefeated record of 1-0.  And he did it all with just eighty-three pitches, the vast majority of which fit a mixture of cutters, sliders, and changeups, with a fastball here and there.  Pretty impressive for a non-knuckleballer who’s thirty-nine years old and hasn’t thrown a Major League pitch since the end of last season.

Delcarmen pitched the seventh.  Wagner pitched the eighth, and after striking out the side, the inning was over.  Not bad.  An auspicious start to Wagner’s Boston career.  Let’s hope it continues in that direction; for an example of the other direction, I refer you to Eric Gagne.  Saito pitched the ninth.

We had a nice spread yesterday.  We scored one run in each of the first four innings and three more in the seventh, making the final score a very decisive 7-0 to complete a sweep with the Jays.  Pedroia and V-Mart both doubled.  Youk went two for three with a double and three RBIs.  Gonzalez went three for two with an RBI of his own.  Baldelli went yard on Halladay to lead off the second with an RBI of his own (Bay had the day off).  And then two of our runs were unearned (the Jays can thank Shawn Camp for making the throwing error that scored both).  And that was pretty much the ballgame!

Wake will receive a cortisone shot today and could be back in action in a week.  And finally, today is the last day of August! And we all know what that means: September callups.  The first set will join the roster tomorrow, and the next on September 7 after Pawtucket’s season is over.  George Kottaras, Jed Lowrie, Junichi Tazawa, Brian Anderson, Josh Reddick, Jeff Bailey, Michael Bowden, and Hunter Jones will probably be on that list.  Especially Lowrie.  Being that he’s technically our starter, when his wrist is healthy, which is where Alex Gonzalez comes in.

It doesn’t get much better than that, folks.  A shutout, a sweep, a very clear display of our offensive prowess.  Last night’s contest had it all.  Just to keep tabs, last night extended our Wild Card lead to three and a half games, even though our rank in the division remains static.  (The Yankees won yesterday; again, I don’t know how I feel about that.)  We’re on the road now for a series with Tampa Bay, and Lester will take the hill opposite Andy Sonnanstine on Tuesday.  I never liked Tropicana Field; it’s an indoor ballpark with lots of strange angles which complicates the game in a way that’s very unnecessary.  But hey, the more comfortable we get playing there, the easier it’ll be each time.  Hopefully that’ll be the case this time around.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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How do we know which Wakefield is the real Wakefield? The Wakefield who, up until yesterday, was pretty much lights out, looking younger with every pitch, giving the opposition a run for its money, keeping his ERA under 3.00? Or the Wakefield of yesterday, who pitched a little under five innings and in that time gave up seven runs on eleven hits with three walks and two strikes to put his ERA over 4.00? Did he have a really good start to the season only to have it come to an end in usual-Wakefield fashion? Or is last night the anomaly and he’s seriously going to pitch that well all season long? It’s hard to tell.  Wakefield is one of the most unpredictable pitchers in the short term that I’ve ever seen.  Start to start, you don’t know if he’ll make a bid for a no-hitter or if he’ll hand the other team a slugfest on a silver platter.  So the only thing we can do is wait it out and see what happens.  Usually, when we look back on the season, we see that overall Wakefield gives us quality innings when we need them and usually puts us in some sort of position to win.  And that’s what he’s here for.  But the better that position we’re in, the more likely we are to win, so we have a reason to be miffed when he allows seven runs.

Hunter Jones, by the way, allowed the eighth.  He only finished up the eighth inning.  Then who but Daniel Bard made his Major League debut and pitched the sixth and seventh, and Angel Stadium is not an easy place to debut.  A hit, a walk, and a strike.  No runs.  He’s twenty-three years old.  He was our minor league pitcher of the year last year.  He has a slider and a changeup.  And he has an unhittable fastball.  Unhittable.  Literally.  The kid comfortably throws between 94 and 98 miles per hour but can throw 100 on a great day.  He struck out his first Major League batter on three straight fastballs, the last of which was 98.  This, my friends, is our future.  And let me tell you: our future is bright.  Daniel Bard, ladies and gentlemen.  Saito pitched a good eighth inning.

We lost the game, 8-4.  Wakefield took the loss.  We had an early four-run lead.  Jason Bay hit his tenth homer of the year with a man on and two out in the first inning.  He smoked that ball all the way into the right field stands.  It’s beautiful to watch him hit home runs.  He’s got such a sure swing, he’s discriminating at the plate, which we know because he draws all those walks (with twenty-eight, he’s second in the Majors behind Marco Scutaro’s thirty-one), and that’s a great combination.  So you know that when he launches one, he launches one, and chances are it’ll be out.  Bay is also second in the Majors in RBIs with thirty-seven, seventh in the Majors in home runs, and fifth in runs scored (Pedroia is eighth).  He has a batting average of .319 and an OPS of 1.120.  That’s ridiculous.  I mean that’s a monstrous start to the season.  I talk about MVPs all the time; if he keeps this up, he will most definitely be the AL MVP.  I mean, just look at those numbers! And it’s not just the offense.  He has a fielding percentage of one.  One.  No errors, even with the Green Monster in left field, and we all know how difficult it is to play it.  He has a range factor of 2.23, which isn’t bad, and a zone rating of 11.459.  Basically, if he continues at this rate, he’ll be locking up all sorts of awards and personal bests.  Can’t wait.

Ellsbury and Green also batted in RBIs.  Ellsbury was caught stealing.  And unfortunately that was it.  We were held to just five hits.  We were one for three with runners in scoring position.  So not only did we not bat around in that situation, but we hardly ever had that situation to bat around in.  Drew, Lowell, and Lugo failed to reach base at all last night.

So yeah.  Not necessarily our best work.  Not in the least.  But it could’ve been much worse, and there were high points.  But we lost.  We’re still a game behind Toronto, and you would think that by now Toronto would sink back into oblivion with us taking over.  Apparently neither they nor us got that memo.  But it’ll happen soon enough.  We have Penny at Santana tonight, and we’re looking for another good start from him so we can take the series.  Taking this series would be awesome, mostly because of the problems we had against the Angels last year.  But it’s a new season and in many ways we’re a better team.  It’s time to act like it.

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