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Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Remy’

Truck Day has officially come and gone! That’s the first sign that next season  can’t be too far away.  It’s been a long, cold winter, and the long, cold winter is still going on, but at least we know that things are starting to stir down in Florida.  Nothing gets you excited about the end of winter like equipment heading south for Spring Training!

Papi wants a multi-year deal.  No news there.  That’s what every player wants.  The challenge is that it has to make sense for the team as a whole as well.  This year we will welcome Jerry Remy back into the booth for the season.

In other news, the Bruins beat the Isles, 6-3, and the Panthers, 6-2, before losing to the Habs, 4-1.  We then shut out the Oilers, four-zip, and beat the Canucks, 3-1, and Sens, 7-2, while losing to the Blues in overtime, 3-2, before the Olympic break.

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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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Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially a winning team! For the first time ever in the year 2012, the Boston Red Sox possess a winning record! We are 25-24, and our winning percentage stands at .510! True we are fifth place in a five-team division, but the first thing we had to do was get over that hump.  Now we can concentrate on staying over it and widening that gap between wins and losses.  Anyway, we finally did it! It certainly took us long enough, that’s for sure; this is the longest it’s taken us since 1996.

Yesterday, Bard only lasted five and one-third innings.  I’m telling you, if he’s serious about being a starter, the very first thing he’s going to have to do is get over that five-inning hump.  Who ever heard of an elite starter who can’t get past five innings consistently? Maybe he doesn’t want to be an elite starter; maybe he just wants to be a starter.  But if he has no interest in trying to be an elite starter, I’m pretty sure we have no interest in him starting.

That’s not to say that his outing wasn’t a solid outing.  It was a solid outing.  It was just a short solid outing.  Bard picked up the win, walked two, and struck out four; it was his only appearance this month during which he struck out more than he walked.  He gave up two runs on five hits, but both of those runs were the result of home runs, the first with one out in the fifth and the second to lead off the sixth.  Bard got the first out in the sixth and then was relieved by Hill, who got the second out and walked a batter.  Hill was then relieved by Atchison, who allowed a single and finally ended the inning.

Miller pitched the seventh and allowed a double followed by an RBI single, and then Padilla ended the inning and pitched the eighth as well.  Aceves got the save in the ninth.

Fortunately, the offense kept just busy enough.  We struck first; Papi led off the second with a double, moved to third on a single by Salty, and scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Aviles.  Youk singled to lead off the fourth; one out later, Aviles and Podsednik hit back-to-back singles to load the bases.  Punto lined out, but then Nava crushed a bases-clearing double, and he crushed it on a fastball clocked at one hundred miles per hour.  All but one of the pitches he saw in that at-bat were fastballs, and all of those fastballs were either ninety-eight, ninety-nine, or one hundred miles per hour.  (The only exception was one curveball clocked at eighty.)

We kept it going in the fifth, which Gonzalez led off with a single and scored on a double by Papi.  We broke the trend of leading off productive innings with productive plays in the seventh, which Gonzalez began by grounding out, only to be followed by a solo shot by Papi into the first row of the Monster seats.  Just like Jerry Remy said, he has really come into his own this year with using left field.  And he hit that off of a lefty to boot.

So the final score was 6-3.  Five of our eleven hits were for extra bases.  Podsednik went two for four, and Papi had a monster night.  He went three for four, and all three of his hits were for extra bases: two doubles and the homer.  Sweeney flashed some leather, pulling off a tricky sliding catch in the second and a running catch in the third.  We even made it through a rain delay, actually one of the shortest I’ve seen in a long time at thirty-eight minutes.  Look at us, all winning and whatnot!

A word on Pedroia: it turns out that he tore the adductor muscle in his right thumb.  They’re going to try to put a brace on it and hope that he can play through it, since the alternative is spending a month on the DL.  I just hope they don’t make a mistake.  I obviously want him to play, but I also want him to be healthy and help this team win for a long, long time.

Boston Globe Staff/Yoon S. Byun

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Okay.  Nobody panic.  Just because we slugged our way to victory using only two pitchers does not mean that there is something horribly wrong with the world.

Wow.  Remember the good, old days when slugging our way to victory using only two pitchers actually meant that there was something excellently right with the world? We used to expect it, even as recently as last season (before September, anyway).  Now we’re pleasantly surprised by it.  We need to get back to expecting it, and last night was yet another step in the right direction.  Don’t look now, but we’ve got a bit of a winning streak going, and we seem to actually be building on our momentum consistently! Who knew, right?

Doubront set the stage for the win.  He allowed only three runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two in six innings.  He did allow a leadoff homer in the fourth.  He threw 110 pitches, sixty-six for strikes.  (In case you haven’t noticed, there is no room in Bobby V.’s philosophy for pitch counts.  Dice-K must be thrilled.)

He used five pitches, the best of which were the two-seam and the cutter, ironically enough his most and least frequently used pitches, respectively.  His four-seam, changeup, and curveball were all pretty decent and effective.  He was pretty consistent pitch count-wise in most but not all of his innings; he threw between sixteen (the second) and twenty-eight (the first) pitches in each of his innings except the fifth, when he only threw eight.

The value of Doubront’s quality start, which yielded his first win of the year, can not be overstated.  Make no mistake, folks: without a quality start, we could have lost even if the offense had scored ten runs.  I know that because a similar situation has happened to us already.  You need pitching, offense, and defense that’s not only consistently good but consistently better than the other team’s to win ballgames consistently.  It’s highly unlikely that you could possibly hope to get by in the long run with even one of those missing, no matter how stellar the other two would be.  So even though Doubront technically was inefficient, and he technically was inconsistent at times (in other words, he wasn’t even consistently inconsistent), a quality start was a quality start, and he settled down just enough to hand the ball to Tazawa in good shape, who finished off the game.

Speaking of stellar, the offense went through the roof and didn’t waste any time doing it.  Aviles began the game auspiciously enough with a walk.  Then Sweeney struck out, Pedroia singled, Aviles scored on a double by Gonzalez, and Pedroia scored on a single by Papi.

Then the third inning rolled around and with one swing of the bat Youk increased our lead threefold.  Sweeney was hit.  Pedroia lined out, and Gonzalez and Papi worked back-to-back walks.  And then Youk swung through a slider for a strike.  And then he blasted a fastball into the bullpen for none other than a grand slam! I’m telling you, he hit that ball so hard I thought the skin was going to come off of it.  There are two ways that that ball could have been hit, as Jerry Remy explained.  Youk could have done what any other hitter would have done and done what he thought was his best by hitting a grounder.  Or he could have launched it to the opposite field.  Dirt dog and hitter extraordinaire that he is, Youk clearly chose to launch it to the opposite field like it was no big deal.  It was so ridiculously awesome.  It was the first grand slam we’ve seen this year, and it was, as I said, ridiculously awesome.  Did I mention that it was ridiculously awesome?

And as if that weren’t enough, Salty hit a solo shot for back-to-back homers! This one was on a curveball that didn’t curve, the third pitch of the at-bat, which he also launched to right field, just barely around the foul pole.  And the crack of his bat was loud.  Apparently he got a new shipment of bats.  Apparently he should make sure he uses them.  Like, all the time.

We went down in order in the fourth, but Salty made up for that in the fifth, when he homered yet again with Youk on base, this time to left center field, just barely out of the park, on a fastball.  Yet again an opposite field long shot.  Yet again a thunderous crack of the bat.  It was the third multi-homer game of his career.

We went down in order in the sixth, seventh, and eighth and put the finishing touches on the final score in the ninth, when Aviles doubled and scored on a single by Sweeney.

So let’s tally it up, shall we? Sweeney and Salty each collected two hits, and Youk collected three.  In total, half of our hits were for extra bases, and half of those extra-base hits were home runs, the other half being doubles.  We also batted .500 with runners in scoring position.  And there was a fantastic diving catch by Sweeney in the second for the second out of the inning; it was a fantastic recovery from his initial lack of read on the ball.

The final score was 10-3; after Wednesday’s narrow win, this was exactly what we needed to see.  I mean, we crushed.  I wish we could crush like this every game.  Here’s to crushing again tomorrow!

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See, this is good.  This is what we should be doing.  That’s what I call building on momentum.  We won, and then we won again.  So it can’t really be so impossible to win multiple times in a row, can it? I mean, that was awesome.  It was a slugfest, and we left Minnesota in the dust.  The team made it look so easy, like we’ve been playing that way all season so far.  This better not be the latest episode in our grand motif of inconsistency.

For now, at least, we can celebrate this one.  The final score was 11-2.  We posted eighteen hits to their six; eight of our eighteen hits were for extra bases.  Two of those were home runs, and six of them were doubles.  And we went six for sixteen with runners in scoring position.

Aviles started things off in the first with a double with two strikes; not a bad way to battle back and start the game.  Then Sweeney singled him in.  After Pedroia grounded out, Gonzalez and Papi hit back-to-back singles which resulted in another run.  Then Youk singled, making that three in a row, and Gonzalez scored on Ross’s groundout.

Beckett didn’t seem like he was going to uphold his end of the bargain; he loaded the bases in a hurry in the bottom of the first while securing only one run.  Then he proceeded to walk in a run on ten pitches to Joe Mauer.  That’s three consecutive bases on balls.  I have to tell you, at that moment I got really scared that it was going to be a repeat of our performance against the Yankees when we dropped our eight run lead, except this time the blame would fall squarely on Beckett.  Beckett’s exchange with home plate umpire Adrian Johnson probably didn’t help the situation at all.  There were angry stares, and then Beckett said words, and then Johnson said words, and then Bobby V. had to intervene.  It clearly could have been a lot worse.

Fortunately, that fear turned out to be moot.  Beckett’s very next inning was one-two-three, and we went back to scoring; Gonzalez led off the third with a walk, and then Papi tore a homer to right on a cutter.  It was so fierce that Jerry Remy said that he couldn’t even see the ball when he was going out.  Papi knew it as soon as the ball connected with the bat that there was no way it was staying inside the park.

Beckett got into a bit of a jam in the third when he had runners on second and third with one out, but he secured a lineout followed by a flyout to end it made possible by a very Ellsbury-esque diving and sliding catch by Byrd.  Not a bad way to begin his time in Boston, especially since he started out on the play with the absolute wrong read on the ball.

Aviles led off the fourth with a solo shot to left on a full-count fastball right down the pipe that he just crushed.  It was a fair ball by inches, literally.  Then Sweeney doubled and scored on a single by Gonzalez.

Beckett had a one-two-three fourth.  Byrd led off the bottom of the inning with a single.  Shoppach struck out swinging, and then Aviles hit an RBI double.  Then Sweeney struck out swinging, and Pedroia and Gonzalez hit back-to-back RBI doubles.

Beckett allowed his last run of the night in the fifth on a pair of doubles.  Both teams went down in order in the next two innings.  Then, in the eighth, a single and two five-pitch walks loaded the bases for McDonald, who score two by grounding into a force out.

So that was basically it.  Papi, Youk, Byrd, and Sweeney each had two hits, one of which for Sweeney was a double.  Papi’s twenty-eight hits so far this month are the most in the ball club since Joe Cronin hit thirty in April 1937.  Aviles went four for five with two doubles and a home run – those four hits being a new career high – and Gonzalez was a perfect three for three at the plate with one double.  Beckett pitched up the win and allowed only two runs on five hits while walking three and striking out five in six innings.  He threw exactly one hundred pitches; his best pitches for strikes were his changeup, cutter, and four-seam, and he also threw in a few two-seams and curveballs.  He threw thirty-seven pitches in the first inning, which is a higher inning total than even Dice-K would throw (I’ve used that comparison a lot, but firstly, if I shouldn’t use this comparison then he should pitch better, and secondly, thirty-seven pitches is really exorbitant), but he obviously settled down considerably after that first inning.  Indeed, his first inning was essentially his one bad inning, but as we know he escaped with the minimal damage of only one run.  Atchison pitched in the seventh and eighth, and Albers pitched the ninth.

Well, I’m obviously thrilled with the win, but I wonder if it’ll actually take us somewhere this time.  What are the chances we play like that again today?

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Happy one hundredth birthday, Fenway Park! It really his America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, and for good reason.  No other ballpark is this old or – let’s face it – this totally awesome.  When you watch a game there, you really have this overwhelming sense of the history that’s gone down, and you wonder what the walls would say if they could talk.  That park saw everything.  For hundred years, most of them culminating in postseason disappointment so profoundly gut-wrenching that your first instinct would be to think that somebody had to have planned it that way, this park bore witness to the lives and times of the players who played, the managers who managed, and the fans who supported, day in and day out, no matter how good or bad it got.  Standing like a sentinel right in the middle of Boston, it has seen everything that’s happened, both in and out of baseball, in that city in the last hundred years.  Think about that for a minute.  If the walls could talk, what would they say? In addition to the regular lot, this park has seen Major League baseball players, minor league baseball players, National League baseball players, college baseball players, high school baseball players, football players, hockey players, basketball players, soccer players, boxers, musicians, soldiers, fans from every walk of life, wins, losses, World Series, no-hitters, a five-hundred-foot home run, more than ten thousand home runs total, the tallest wall in any ballpark in the United States, the first foul ball screen ever used, the only in-play ladder in Major League Baseball, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s last political speech, and so much more.

This park is alive with character.  Every part of the park has a story: the Green Monster that now stands in place of Duffy’s Cliff, the Pesky Pole, the Fisk Pole, the retired numbers, Willamsburg, the bullpens.  Everything.  It’s small, and the seats don’t have cushions, and you can’t order gourmet food behind home plate.  But seriously, who wants to go to a baseball game just to feel like you’re watching the game on television or at a restaurant? No, you want to feel the park and to live the experience.  We’ve got the best fans in all of sport, I’d say, and we’ve got the best venue to match.

If April 20, 1912 was the day that Red Sox Nation and Fenway Park got married, then April 20, 2012 was the day that Red Sox Nation and Fenway Park renewed their vows.  I can’t even bear the thought that several years ago we almost lost Fenway Park forever, and I can bear the thought even less that there weren’t more people interested in saving it.  It’s truly a gem of a ballpark, and it’s one of every Red Sox fan’s favorite places in the whole world.

But what would a family affair be without a little token drama? Apparently all living uniformed personnel were invited, but apparently Theo wasn’t invited until Thursday and declined to go.  Curt Schilling, who has made no secret of his criticism of Bobby V., declined an invitation due to a commitment to his business.  It was speculated that Tito wouldn’t be there, but after all he was.  It’s really a shame that all this drama has to get in the way of such a great day in the history of what’s brought all these diverse people together.  I know it’s corny, but why can’t we all just get along, just for one day? Obviously we weren’t there for any of the drama, so we can’t really know how bad or not-so-bad it was, but anyway it would have been nice to have these individuals, who’ve been so crucial to bringing about what is (“is,” and hopefully not “was”) arguably a golden age in our club’s history.

Anyway, here are the details.  There was an introduction that basically said that the constant throughout history is baseball, and the constant throughout baseball is Fenway, and the constant throughout us disparate fans is this team.  Then John Williams conducted the Boston Pops in playing “Fanfare for Fenway,” his new composition.  There was the national anthem.  There was the flyover, which always gets me.  Then there was a steady stream of past players in their uniforms; they all congregated in the parts of the field that they played.  Most of the who’s-who as well as the unknowns of Red Sox history was there, those that could barely walk and those who recently retired.  It was really just beautiful to see generations of players represented before generations of fans.  You could acutely feel that you were witnessing history not only by bearing witness to the occasion but also by remembering that each and every one of those players had borne witness to Red Sox Nation.  (Incidentally, the whole procession received continuous applause and a standing ovation.  Terry Francona’s applause and name-chanting was deafeningly thunderous, as it should have been.  Nomar, Pedro, Yaz, and Pesky also received substantial thunder.  And also Wake, Tek, Bobby Doerr, Jerry Remy, Jim Rice, Kevin Millar, and a host of others too numerous to name.) Then there was a toast with grape juice, supplied at every seat for every fan of every age, led by Pedro and Millar, which as you can imagine was highly, highly entertaining and completely brought you back to 2004.  It was literally the largest toast in one venue, as in a new world record.  But hey, that’s the strength of Red Sox Nation for you.

The first pitch was thrown from the row of seats behind the first base dugout by the mayor of Boston, just like it was one hundred years ago.  This year, Thomas Menino was joined by Caroline Kennedy and Thomas Fitzgerald, two descendants of 1912 Boston’s Mayor John Fitzgerald.

I have to say, the throwback uniforms were a real treat.  How fortuitous that the schedule allowed us to play the exact same team, too.  I have to admit, even though the score a hundred years ago was 7-6 in eleven innings, I was hoping for a big more of a thrashing, as close as a close game would have been to the original may have been.  Ultimately, a win to preserve the history would have been very much appreciated and appropriate.

Sadly, a win was not to be.  Buchholz allowed home run after home run after home run.  Now that he and Beckett have both allowed five home runs in one game this season, the 2012 club becomes one of only three teams in Major League history to carry two starters who have given up five home runs each in one game in one season.  (Incidentally, one of the other two was the 2009 club, and Buchholz and Beckett were both at fault then too.) He gave up six runs, five earned (you can thank Pedroia for dropping a routine popup, a rare sight indeed), on nine hits, five of which were home runs.  All of the home runs were solo shots, and three of them led off innings.  He only allowed one other extra-base hit, a double.  He lasted six innings, walked two, and struck out two.

Buchholz used four pitches: a four-seam, a cutter, a curveball, and a changeup.  His four-seam got up to ninety-five miles per hour and was his most abundant and effective pitch; he threw it for strikes more than eighty percent of the time.  The others were thrown for strikes less than sixty percent of the time, which is unfortunate since the majority of his pitches category-wise were off-speeds.

Atchison pitched the seventh, Thomas and Tazawa teamed up for the eighth, and Tazawa pitched the ninth.

We got on the board in the second when Papi homered to the Green Monster.  The ball, a fastball, bounced off of the very top of the wall and was ruled a double before it came under review and was rightly overturned.  In the fifth, a pair of doubles by Ross and Aviles scored another run.  That was all we managed.  Don’t even think for  second that you weren’t thinking that the stage may have been set for something truly epic: a recreation of the original final score.  Our final score ended up being 6-2, but just imagine if we could have somehow scored four more runs to tie it, gone to the eleventh inning, and then scored one more run?

It seemed like every single one of our rallies was killed before it got started.  Aviles and Papi each had two hits for the only multi-hit performances of the day.  In addition to the home run and those two doubles, we hit two more, and that was it for extra bases.  Not one member of our lineup walked.  Repko made a decidedly Ellsbury-esque catch.  I hope Bobby V. paid attention to the “We Want Tito” chant in the ninth; we have the lowest team ERA in the Majors and are now on a four-game losing streak overall and a four-game home losing streak for the first time since 2010 with a record of four and nine.

At any rate, one hundred years of Fenway Park have come and gone, so here’s to the next hundred.  Here’s to a happy birthday to America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.  Fenway Park, all that you’ve seen and all that you mean, we forever salute you!

In other news, the Bruins lost to the Caps, 2-1.

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

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Ben called back Sveum for a second-round interview, but we didn’t make Sveum an offer, and the Cubs picked him up.  We may be interviewing Bobby Valentine next, and I’m not sure I like that.  Actually, scratch that.  I don’t like that.  I don’t like that at all.  Valentine is the antithesis of what we need right now, and the fact that he’s even being considered reflects some serious misdirection and scrambling on the part of our front office, something we haven’t seen in years.  I have full confidence in Ben, but at the moment he looks like he has absolutely no idea what in the world he’s doing, and that may be because he legitimately is lost at this point or because Larry is lost.  Either way, it’s not yielding good results.  It’s yielding a public image of an organization that is in complete and utter chaos.  Whether or not that’s actually true, I do not like that.

Speaking of managers, Tito will stay out after all next season.  I guess Jerry Remy was right.

Ben has had good talks with Papi’s camp.  Supposedly we’ve made contact with Francisco Cordero, and there has been mutual interest expressed in having Heath Bell pitch for us.  Supposedly we may be interested in Roy Oswalt.

Thankfully, Don Orsillo signed a contract extension with NESN.  Thankfully, Heidi Watney has not.  Watney is leaving for Time Warner Cable in California, who now have the Lakers.  She’ll be a sideline reporter for those telecasts.

In other news, the Pats sunk the Jets, 37-16.  The B’s barely beat the Devils and Blue Jackets but laid it on thick in our crushing assault on the Isles for an eight-game winning streak.

Getty Images

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