Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee Brewers’

Sometimes you have to lay down the law.  Sometimes you have to go up there and bring everything you’ve got.  Sometimes you have to look at yourself in the mirror and realize where you were supposed to be all along.  Sometimes you have to destroy every ounce of confidence the opposition had.

Last night was definitely one of those times.  Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially tied for first place! And we did it on their turf! How about that? Say hello to the long-anticipated Rays fade.  Their time has come; our time is now.  All we have to do is take it.

It was a slugfest.  I felt like I was watching last year’s Rays.  You know, the ones with absolutely no pitching to speak of that only existed to give other teams a boost in the standings? The final score was 13-5.  I kid you not.  With all our road issues this year, and with all our troubles against the Rays, we won, and we won big.  Until last night we hadn’t won a single game in the Trop this year.  It was fantastic.  Definitely one of the highlights of the season.  A good, old-fashioned Boston beat-down.

Dice-K went his usual five innings, but they were a good five innings.  One run on three hits with two walks and seven K’s.  The run was a product of his only mistake to Iwamura in the third, who hit a solo shot out.  Other than that, Dice-K was gold.  It did take 101 pitches for him to reach that point, but who’s complaining? If that’s what it takes for him to protect a lead and if the relief can hold on to it, who are we to judge? And the relief, for the most part, did hold on to it.  Only Chris Smith wasn’t perfect; in two innings he allowed four runs on four hits, two of which were home runs.  But Timlin and Pauley held the fort through the eighth and ninth.  And that, my friends, was the ballgame.

But wait; it gets better.  The offense excelled like nobody’s business.  Scott Kazmir made his exit after three innings.  The spread was four RBIs for Ortiz, three for Youk, two for Tek, and one each for Lowell, Bay, Pedroia, and Ellsbury.  But it should be mentioned here that the way most of these runs were batted in was the long ball.  We hit six (count ’em: six!) home runs in that game.  Six.  That’s unbelievable.  Ortiz went two for four with a three-run shot.  Youk went two for four with a two-run shot.  Tek hit a two-run shot.  Lowell hit a solo shot.  Bay hit a solo shot.  And Ellsbury went two for five with a solo shot.  No outs, one out, two outs, it didn’t matter what the situation was.  If there was a baseball it was out of the park.  I felt like I was drowning in offensive production.

Rare moments of ineptitude featured Ellsbury recording a CS and getting picked off.  Yes, in the same game.  No, seriously.  I know; it threw me for a loop, too.

So all in all we flexed our offensive muscles, we embarrassed a division rival on their home turf, we tied for first place, and we let our A team take a load off in the second half and get ready for tomorrow while the B team enjoyed some playing time with a sizeable lead.  It was a great game and lots of fun to watch.

In other news, Mikey Lowell’s hip is more seriously injured than we thought.  Turns out he’s got a partially torn labrum in his right hip and he’s been playing in pain for two months.  But he says he’s staying in there anyway.  That, my friends, is a dirt dog.  The Brewers fired Ned Yost and hired Dale Sveum as manager.  Yesterday was Mike Timlin’s 1050th appearance, which breaks Kent Tekulve’s record for most appearances by a right-handed reliever.  And unlike his 1000th appearance, I am happy to report that this one actually went well.

The fate of this glorious opportunity falls in the capable hands of Josh Beckett, who’ll be starting tonight opposite Andy Sonnanstine.  I’m so psyched.  Folks, this could be it.

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Either Halladay’s still got it, or we’ve lost it.  Considering that Halladay won a Cy Young five years ago, I’ll go with the former.  We lost, 4-1, giving Paul Byrd a loss for his debut in Red Sox letters.  Not a very auspicious start to his Red Sox career, but I guess he’ll have to take it.  The good news? Four runs on ten hits through about seven innings pitched isn’t that bad.  The bad news? Three of those runs came from homers.  That’s a little scary.  But for his first start in a new city with a new team, not bad.  Definitely not that bad.  Lopez took care of the rest.

As far as the offense goes, it was a shutout until the bottom of the ninth, when Dustin Pedroia the Destroyah crushed a home run off Halladay himself.  That was Dusty’s only hit and his eleventh long ball of the season.  It’s funny: of everyone in our starting lineup last night, Bay was the only one with limited at-bats against Halladay.  He’d been 0 for 3 against him, and those chances came during Interleague.  But he was also the only member of the line-up with a multi-hit night.  He went two for three.

This loss adds only half a game to our deficit behind the Rays, and we’re still leading in the Wild Card standings, 1.5 games ahead of the Brewers and the other Sox.  I have to say this season’s had some weird vibes.  Guys were injured right out of the gate, then key starters started to slump, then more injuries, then some distractions, and now couple of new guys.  The rhythm just hadn’t been there for a while.  But I feel like it’s there now.  Terry Francona told Jerry Remy a few nights ago that he felt that now we have a team.  I have to agree.  There’s just something about it.  Who knows? Maybe at this time of year, when you start to feel fall ball coming on, we’ll take it up a notch.

We’re starting Beckett tomorrow, and if this start is anything like his last two we’re in good shape. We need him to come through.  Consistently.  There are those who say that he is our answer.  I don’t know if he’s the whole answer, but he’s definitely a big part of it.  His twenty wins last year not only propelled us to the top of the league but helped us stay there.  He’d walk on the mound and it would be a guaranteed win, especially in October.  If Beckett is back, we can survive without Manny Ramirez.  A pitching staff that includes Beckett, Lester, and Dice-K can own and let the offense do its thing.  And to give the offense some breathing room, we need Beckett now.

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Looks like we’ve got a lot to be happy about. The Sox swept the Brew Crew today after winning both games of yesterday’s double-header, during which Craig Hansen found his footing. Score one for the future of Red Sox pitching! Today’s game was a full-out slugfest, complete with four home runs for Boston: one each for Pedroia the Destroyah and Youk and two for Big Papi. Even Lugo was on his game; not one error today. I know; that threw me for a loop, too.

The only questionable performer of the day was Josh Beckett. Wait; did I just say that? He got the win, but he allowed four home runs in the process. He’s only had one other four-home run game, which occurred in 2006 against the Blue Jays, back when he had an excuse for not performing up to the name of Josh Beckett. Then, he was making adjustments to the American League. Now, he’s pitching like he’s just another pitcher. What happened? I’m telling you. It’s getting to the point where Red Sox Nation is slightly more comfortable with a start by Dice-K. Sure, he walks batters like Gino Castignoli buries Ortiz jerseys, but at least he doesn’t have home run issues. Last year, Beckett allowed a total of seventeen home runs. For the whole season. This year, after today’s game, he’s already allowed nine. At this rate, he’s closer to allowing his total for ’06, a whopping thirty-six home runs. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still going deep into his games, he’s only issued eleven walks, and he’s been throwing strikes. But as of now, when he allows a hit, it’s more likely to be a home run than it has been in a while. And that’s inflating his WHIP and his ERA. Not to mention the fact that it’s not fun for the offense, which has to work harder, or for Beckett himself, who at this point isn’t the dominant pitcher he was a year ago, or for us, who can’t quite figure out what’s up.

I never thought anyone would be able to say that about Josh Beckett. He’s such an ace. He’s a hard worker with a powerful arm who loves the challenge of Boston baseball. It’s too strange. Beckett was born to pitch. And he’s pitching. But it’s just not the same.

But, we’re back in first place where we belong, and hopefully this time we’ll stay there. The Yankees, to my delight, are still in last place. Five games out. All that has to happen now for everything to be right with the universe is for us to grow our first place lead and for Tampa Bay to remember they’re Tampa Bay and stop playing good ball.

And what is up with TBS? The commentator says “no lead is safe in Fenway Park.” Man, do you hear yourself? This is Fenway. America’s Most Beloved Ballpark. You know, the big green one? On Yawkey Way? Home of the defending champion Boston Red Sox? I’ve never heard that statement from any other commentator. I could be wrong, but if I recall correctly the Red Sox can and do hold onto leads at home more often than not. So, basically, the commentator is wrong. And that is why TBS will never get the World Series.

David Ortiz, 5/18/2008

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