Posts Tagged ‘Jason McLeod’

Last night was exactly what Girardi didn’t want and exactly what the Red Sox, Terry Francona, the front office, and Red Sox Nation did want.  AJ Burnett was horrible.  I hope the Yankees enjoy four and a half more years of his mediocrity.  His delivery was too fast, he looked like he was in a rush, and to be completely frank it looked like he let go of the ball and had no idea where it was going.  His ball-to-strike ratio was about fifty percent.  He threw more balls than strikes.  And he’s delusional if he thinks he’d ever be able to get away with that in Fenway Park.  He only lasted 2.2 innings, and with New York’s bullpen as bad as it is and Chien-Ming Wang throwing tomorrow, that’s the time to ask if it could possibly get worse.  Oh, wait.  It did.  During that time we scored five runs, three of them earned (thank you, A-Roid and Posada; so much for the Yankees’ errorless streak, which stopped at eighteen).  After that they had to use three pitchers: Brett Tomko, who gave up another run, Jose Veras, who gave up another run, and David Robertson, who was the only one to not allow any runs.

Let’s compare that to our pitching, shall we? Josh Beckett started.  And dominated.  And won.  He one-hit the Yankees through six and no-hit them into the fourth.  To be frank, yes, I was thinking no-hitter.  But then the bid was broken up by Robinson Cano, who hit a line drive on the ground to the left of Youk.  Pedroia ran that down beautifully and caught the ball but couldn’t make the throw.  So you could make the argument that Beckett had back-to-back bids.  Scary.  Two walks, eight strikeouts, no runs.  He’s won all of his last five decisions.  Delcarmen, Ramirez, and Bard held the fort in a similar fashion. Since May 10 and heading into last night, our bullpen had an ERA of 1.84.  I don’t even want to think about how low it is now.  The final score was 7-0.  A shutout in which New York had absolutely no chance.  I love it.  It was fantastic.  One other thing: Boston pitching gave up four walks.  Four.  New York pitching gave up seven.  We’re second in the American League in walks.  Not a good combination for New York.  So that’s pretty much the compare and contrast.  Speaks for itself, no?

As for the offense, we can compare and contrast that too.  It was a shutout, so offense for the Yanks was nonexistant.  We, however, were a different story.  Pedroia went hitless but walked.  Drew hit a nice two-run double.  Youk went two for four, walked, and scored.  Bay hit, walked, and took a pitch in the ribs.  Ouch.  I don’t know how Bay likes his ribs, but I’m sure he doesn’t like them bruised and sore.  Lowell hit, walked twice, scored, and batted in two.  Tek walked and scored.  And now we get to the fun part.  David Ortiz.  Always been a Yankee killer.  And you’d think his slump would affect that.  Not so, my friends, not so.  In his first at-bat of the game, he hit his third home run of the year.  Huge.  Two-run shot with Lowell on base after walking.  And this was the best and most powerfully hit of the three.  It sailed right into the center field bleachers, a few feet from the center field wall.  No “inches from the pole” or “inches from the field.” This was out by a good margin.  The problems causing the slump do not include bat speed.  Ortiz has plenty of bat speed.  He’s just setting up late.  But there was no lateness on that swing.  None whatsoever.  So he’s showing progress.  And against the Yankees.  Awesome.  Nick Green followed that with a home run of his own.  A solo shot in the seventh for our last run of the game.  Youk stole, and Lowell got caught by a mile.

The draft started yesterday, and with their first overall pick the Nationals selected Stephen Strasburg, a right-handed pitcher from San Diego State University.  His fastball reaches 103 miles per hour.  I don’t even want to know what that looks like.  And his breaking ball is very sharp.  Tossed a no-hitter in his last home start and played for the U.S. in the Olympics in Beijing.  Congratulations, kid! You were passed over in high school but went to college, stuck with it, wanted that Number One selection, and got it.  We look forward to seeing you pitch in the Majors, as long as you don’t pitch against us if you’re good.  We drafted twenty-eighth, and we selected Reymond Fuentes, an outfielder from Fernando Callejo High School in Puerto Rico.  He’s mostly played center field, is very quick, and has a very healthy swing.  He’s actually Carlos Beltran’s cousin.  I agree with that; I think Theo and scouting director Jason McLeod chose wisely.  We could use another bat in the lineup, and a solid outfielder is always helpful.  We already know Theo is a baseball genius; I’m sure in some years down the road we’ll see this choice come through.  Before the day was done, we also drafted pitcher Alex Wilson and shortstop-pitcher David Renfoe.  Not bad.

So we take game one of the three-game set, tying us with New York in first place.  Wakefield is pitching tonight and has the advantage of the contrast between Beckett’s fastball and his knuckleball.  He’s pitching against Wang, as I said, who’ll be making his second start since coming off the DL.  Needless to say, I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say we’re looking forward to this one.  Joe Girardi went on record on Mondays saying that this series, despite being early in the season, is crucial and that the Yankees have to take at least two out of three to prove to us that they’re better.  Yeah, right.  Since last year, we’ve won seven straight against the Yankees.  And that streak isn’t going to end with Chien-Ming Wang.

Surviving Grady

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Jon Lester was this close to throwing a perfect game.  He carried the bid into the seventh inning.  The seventh inning! Six-plus literally perfect innings! I don’t even want to think about how hard it is for a pitcher to throw something like that.  It’s ridiculous.  It’s absolutely insane.  And it was Lester! Yeah, he’s back.  I think by now that’s the understatement of the century.  If the kid can throw six-plus perfect innings, he’s so back it’s not even funny.  I mean he was on.  He was so on it was scary.  Batter up, batter down.  Plain and simple.  Perfection.  But then with one out in the seventh, Michael Young doubled to left center, and that was the end of it.  It was devastating.  Like I always say, at least it was clean.  But at the time you don’t think about that.  At the time you’re just really, really, really frustrated and disappointed.  But it just goes to show you that a perfect game for Lester isn’t a pipe dream.  The kid just pitched a no-hitter, and he went for perfection last night.  It was a serious possibility.  And even after the bid was broken, the result most definitely wasn’t too shabby.  A complete game (a big thank-you from the bullpen), a run on two hits, two walks, and a new career high of eleven strikeouts.  Eleven.  Did I mention he’s back?

And so was the offense.  We won, 8-1.  It was awesome.  Plenty of everything: runs, RBIs, walks, hits, homers; you name it, we did it.  Let’s start with Lowell, who hit, walked, scored, and plated one via the long ball, but not without some commiseration on the part of the umpires.  The ball hit the upper part of that ledge on the Green Monster a few feet from the foul pole in left field, and Jeff Kellogg initially ruled that the ball stayed inside the park.  But we’ve been down this road before, and the call for that scenario is always that it’s out.  The umpires used instant replay, and sure enough the call was reversed to give Lowell his ninth of the year in the second inning, a solo shot that proved to be what started it all, because after that the slugfest continued.  Pedroia went two for five with two runs, and two RBIs.  Ellsbury walked.  Youk had a hit and an RBI.  Bay had a hit and two RBIs.  Tek and Baldelli both hit, walked, and scored.  Green scored.  And let’s end with Big Papi, who hit home run number two! Sixth inning, nobody on, nobody out, high changeup, and it hits the Pesky Pole.  Nicely done.

James Wright, president of Dartmouth College, threw out the first pitch last night.  He’s retiring after eleven years of the presidency and forty years of service to the college, so that was a nice touch.  Smoltz tossed six innings with the PawSox.  It was his fourth rehab start, but his first with the PawSox and his longest so far.  The PawSox won, 2-1, and he threw 51 of 74 pitches for strikes.  Not bad.  And this week is draft week.  I’m psyched.  True, we’re far from a first pick, but that’s the price you pay when you’re good.  And knowing Theo and Jason McLeod, our scouting director, they’ll still be able to work wonders.

Wow.  So we had no-no bids by Wake and Beckett and now a perfect game bid by Lester.  You’d think Dice-K would be next in line, followed by Penny at the rate our starting rotation is going.  Congratulations to Wake, Beckett, and Lester for more-than-solid efforts and for almost getting it done.  To be completely honest, eventually they probably will.  And when that happens, believe me, we’ll have some things to talk about.  Meanwhile, we’re back in first place by half a game, and Dice-K is pitching opposite Vicente Padilla this afternoon.  Hopefully, the Rangers will have been thoroughly demoralized by Lester’s performance and Dice-K’s job will be that much easier.

AP Photo

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