Posts Tagged ‘Jarrod Saltalamacchia’

And now we have home field advantage for the division series.  It’s nice how that works out.  You know, like when we tee off against Baltimore and make sure we’re spending our first Soxtober game in our house.  It’s pretty simple if you ask me, but it was big fun to watch.

First, there was the first inning, which is when we set the tone.  Ellsbury grounded out on the game’s second pitch, which probably provided a momentary false sense of security before Pedroia and Papi hit back-to-back singles, Pedroia scored on a double by Napoli, and everyone came home on a solo shot by Nava.  There was no hesitation; it was his first pitch of the game, a curveball, and he knew exactly where the bat had to go.  And then the ball launched beyond the right field fence.  Boom.  Then Gomes walked and scored on a triple by Drew.

So we scored five runs in the first inning alone.  In hindsight, had we stopped there, we still would have won.  But we were at it again in the third.  After Napoli struck out, Nava and Gomes hit back-to-back singles, Nava scored on what was ruled a double by Salty (being that the game turned out as it did, the outcome of the review, again in hindsight, didn’t really matter much), and Drew cleared the bases with a single.

With two out in the eighth, Bradley and Pedroia worked back to back walks, the Orioles made a pitching change, and Papi promptly welcomed their new arm with a massive home run to left on a fastball, his third of a four-pitch at-bat.  It was that classic Papi swing, and to see him hit that home run so easily was quite a relief.

And last but not least, Gomes unleashed on the first pitch of his at-bat in the ninth.  We really carried that down to the wire.

Buchholz delivered a very high-quality start.  He gave up only three runs on seven hits in seven innings with no walks and four K’s.  He was, yet again, a master.  He just made a few mistakes.  He gave up a single followed by a home run in the third and a solo shot in the sixth.  So, literally, a few mistakes.  Other than that, he just looked more and more comfortable as the game goes on.  That’s the norm for him, and it’s good that he’s finding his groove again.  Seriously, it’s getting hard to notice that he just came back; he looks like he hasn’t skipped a beat.

Breslow pitched the eighth, and Uehara pitched the ninth.  And we won, 12-3.  Oh, and home field advantage.  Did I mention home field advantage?

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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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The second was our big inning.  If by big, I mean three runs.  And I do.  Because we scored three runs.  And it was enough.  Salty doubled, Middlebrooks struck out, and Drew didn’t waste time turning on the power, going yard on his first pitch of the game a cutter clocked at ninety-two miles per hour, which he promptly deposited out of the park.  And then Bradley doubled and scored on a single by Pedroia.

And those were the only three runs we scored in the entire game.  Good thing Lackey was on the ball.

But he wasn’t just on the ball.  He was amazingly epic.  He was insane.  He was ridiculous.

His first walk in the third and his second walk in the sixth were the only blemishes of his performance until he gave up a solo shot with one out in the seventh.

Just take a minute to let that sink in.  That means that those two walks were the only two things standing between him and a bid for a perfect game.  As it was, until that home run, he was well on his way to pitching a no-hitter.  He threw a cutter for a strike to start the at-bat, and then I saw that second cutter leave his hand on the release, and I saw it travel towards the plate, and I just didn’t know what was going to happen.  And then I saw the bat swing through, and I heard that sound.  It was the sound we’re so happy to hear when we’re the ones on the homering end.  But once the ball and the bat collide to make that sound, you know the ball is going out of the park.  And I knew it well before I saw it.  And it was awful, and devastating, and crushing, and unbelievable, even though I saw it play out in my mind before I saw it play out right in front of me.  It was just awful.

I’m proud of Lackey for keeping it together after that.  He didn’t unravel.  He gave up a single in the eighth, and he faced only three in the ninth.

In the end, we won, 3-1.  Lackey went the distance and gave up only one run on just those two hits while walking only two and striking out eight.  I’m proud of Lackey.  But I’m also crushed.  I really thought he had it in the bag.

And by the way, we are now officially in the playoffs.  It is an indisputable scientific fact.  So now it’s fun to look at the standings.  After certain recent seasons, I’ve been kind of wary of doing that, first of all because the standings fluctuate and secondly because, as we painfully know, being in first place at a certain time of the year doesn’t always deliver what it’s supposed to deliver.  But it’s later rather than earlier in September, and ladies and gentlemen, we are going to Soxtober!

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

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Man, that’s crushing.  That’s awful.  This game was so close.  We were neck-and-neck through it.  In the end, we just didn’t come up with enough runs.  I thought we could rally in the bottom of the ninth, tie it up at three, and then maybe win it in extras if we couldn’t get it done in nine.  But it didn’t happen.

We scored first when Pedroia hit a solo shot on the fifth pitch in the bottom of the first.  We made it two-zip in the fourth; Carp led it off with a flyout, but then Salty reached on a fielding error, Drew walked, they both executed a double steal, and between a sac fly by Bogaerts and a fielding error, Salty scored.

Dempster let the Orioles pull within one in the fifth thanks to a walk-groundout combination.  Then he let the Orioles tie it up when he gave up a solo shot to lead off the sixth.  In the end, he gave up two runs on three hits over the course of six innings.  Workman pitched the seventh and gave up two hits in the eighth, Breslow pitched the eighth through three outs, and Uehara pitched the ninth and promptly blew his save.  He gave up a triple, and then the runner scored on a sac fly.  And we lost, 3-2.

Boston Globe Staff/Matthew J. Lee

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We started our series against the Yankees on Friday, and we’ve won it.  That is, the least way we can describe it is having won it.  Because really, we swept it.  It was just one of the most beautiful things to see.  Sweeping the Yankees? Yes, please.

Friday’s game was a game of bookends, so to speak.  We won, 8-4, because we scored four runs in the first and four runs in the eighth and no runs in between.  In the first, Pedroia singled, Victorino flied out, Papi doubled, Pedroia scored on a groundout by Carp, Papi scored on a single by Nava, Salty walked, and Nava and Salty both scored on a double by Drew.  But the eighth, I have to say, was my favorite.  Victorino singled, Papi got hit, and Gomes walked to load the bases.  Nava struck out.  And then it was Salty’s turn.  He took a changeup for a strike.  And then he got a fastball that looked really good.  For him.  Not for the pitcher.  The pitcher didn’t stand a chance.  Salty uncorked a massive swing on that ball and sent it beyond the right field fence for a grand slam.  It was epic.  And it came against the Yankees.  That’s about as good as it gets.

Meanwhile, Lackey gave up four runs on seven hits in six and one-third innings.  He gave up no walks and struck out three.  Lackey gave up a solo shot to lead off the third.  Then he gave up one run on a double-sac fly combination in the sixth.  He had the bases loaded with two out in the seventh thanks to two singles and a walk, and he gave up a two-run double that obviously could have been much worse.  Workman got the last out of the seventh, Tazawa pitched the eighth, and Uehara pitched the ninth.

Saturday’s win was more modest, but it was a win nonetheless.  5-1 is a pretty satisfying score.  And Lester was, without a doubt, the star of the show.  He pitched a full eight innings of one-run ball and gave up only three hits and two walks while striking out five.  He threw 116 pitches, eighty of which were strikes.  He went one-two-three in his first three innings and gave up his only run in the fourth because he gave up a triple to lead it off, and it turned into a run on a groundout.  So even in the inning during which the one blemish of his performance occurred, he still managed to derive an out from it.  He ended up facing five in the fourth due to a walk, and he faced four in the fifth and sixth.  He went one-two-three in the seventh and issued another walk in the eighth.  Yeah.  Master.  Morales pitched the ninth.

So it was really, really nice that we gave him run support.  Napoli led off the second with a single and scored on a groundout by Middlebrooks.  Pedroia led off the third with a single and scored on a double by Papi, who scored on a single by Gomes.  Ross led off the fourth with a single and scored on a single by Victorino.  And Napoli led off the fifth with a walk and scored on a sac fly by Nava.  Clearly the leadoff was very good for us.

And last but not least, we won yesterday by a score of 9-2.  In a way, it was a fitting way to contribute to the roast of Mariano Rivera, which, if I may say so, was hilarious and seemed to be taken in the correct stride by all.  The Yanks probably thought they had Buchholz when they were the first to score.  It was only one run in the first, but scoring in the first inning can do a lot to boost your confidence.  But it was one of those earned unearned runs; Buchholz issued a walk and then himself made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and then the runner scored on a groundout.  So it was Buchholz who made his own fielding error, so it’s kind of funny to call that unearned.  All told, he gave up just the one run on two hits in six innings, walking four and striking out three.  Thornton pitched the seventh, Breslow pitched the eighth, and Webster pitched the ninth, during which he gave up a run thanks to a walk-single combination that, in the grand scheme of things, really didn’t matter at all.

Fortunately, we too scored in the first inning.  But we scored more.  Pedroia grounded out, and then Nava doubled and scored on a single by Papi, who moved to second on a wild pitch.  And then Napoli lit up the place with a two-run shot all the way to deep, deep center field.  And we added insurance in one of the coolest ways possible in the fourth.  Napoli walked to lead off but was out in a force by Salty.  Salty moved to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout by Drew, and then Bogaerts walked.  So we had runners at the corners.  And then it was Bradley’s turn to bat.  And suddenly, cool as ice, Salty just slides on into home.  Yes.  That’s right.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia stole home.  It was epically awesome.  It was so polished and clean, like he does it all the time.  I’m telling you, he timed it perfectly, and there was nothing the Yanks could do about it.  It was absolutely perfect.  He nailed it right on.  Wow.  It was awesome.  And we weren’t even done.  In the fifth, after Pedroia walked, Nava doubled, and Papi walked intentionally, Carp got hit by a pitch, and with nowhere to go, Pedroia just had to score.  In the sixth, Bogaerts doubled and Pedroia walked, and each scored on a single, the first by Nava and the second by Papi.  In the seventh, Bogaerts singled, Bradley got hit, and both scored on a single by Pedroia.

In other news, the Pats are really starting the regular season off right, having secured another win, albeit a close one, against the Jets, 13-10.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Isn’t it sad when that one reliever ruins it for the rest of us? We were behind, then we fought our way back, then we were behind again.  It’s always awful to lose, but to lose after you’ve given yourself a chance is even worse.

Peavy was solid yet again! He gave up three runs.  He went one-two-three in the first, and then he gave up his first run in the second on a triple-single combination.  In the third, there was a walk-double combination.  And then there was a solo shot in the fourth that could have scored two runs had Salty not caught a runner stealing second that Peavy had put on base initially with a walk.  Despite two consecutive walks to lead off the fifth, he escaped that inning unscathed.

So we had to catch up.  And catch up we did.  Salty homered with one out in the fourth on the sixth pitch of his at-bat, and Papi led off the sixth with a homer on the third pitch of his at-bat.  Then Napoli grounded out, Salty walked, and the Rays made a pitching change.  After Gomes struck out, Salty stole second and scored on a double by Drew to tie it up.

Britton came on for the seventh.  He got the first out of the eighth, and then De La Rosa came on and ruined it.  He gave up a double before securing the inning’s second out.  And that double turned into a run on another double.  And then Thornton relieved him.  We had an opportunity we didn’t take in the ninth, and we lost, 4-3.

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