Posts Tagged ‘Mo Vaughn’

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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So Aceves started, and it actually wasn’t that bad.  He only lasted five innings and in that time threw eighty-six pitches and hit two batters, one of which was really ugly; in the second, he hit Marlon Byrd just under the left eye.  Byrd walked off the field but was hospitalized and remained so overnight.  But he allowed only one run on three hits while walking two and striking out two.  And fifty-six of his pitches were strikes.  In terms of pitch count, he actually did better than Carlos Zambrano, who needed 122 pitches for five and two-thirds innings, and he’s a consistent starter.  Considering that Aceves really hasn’t been a consistent starter ever, his outing was actually pretty good.  It was his first start since making only one start in 2009.  So really not bad.  Not bad at all.  Quite admirable, actually.

Aceves allowed his only run in the third between two walks, a steal, and a double.  We recovered it in the fourth and put ourselves ahead on one swing.  Youk led off the inning with a single, extending his hitting streak to nine games, and Papi crushed his three hundredth home run in a Boston uniform.  It was a ninety-three-mile-per-hour fastball that ended up in the first row of the Monster seats.  And just like that, we were ahead, 2-1.  (I should mention that Youk was hit by a pitch in the fifth and that, after that, home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez warned both benches.  That was the seventy-second time he was hit in his career, which broke a franchise record previously held by Mo Vaughn.)

Wheeler, fresh off the DL, replaced Aceves for the sixth.  He had a one-two-three inning in the sixth and secured the first out in the seventh before Hill came on to finish it off.  Meanwhile, we added to our lead in the sixth when Crawford singled, moved to second on a walk by Tek, and scored on a single by Ellsbury.

So by the time the eighth inning rolled around, we were up by two, which was pretty impressive considering that Aceves was our starter, although I was surprised we didn’t do more with Zambrano.  Indeed, we left eleven on base and went one for ten with runners in scoring position.  We only went down in order twice, once in the third and once in the ninth, so we had opportunities.  We just didn’t use them.  And it came back to haunt us big time.

Bard was unavailable, so Albers came on for the eighth inning, and that right there was basically when everything fell apart.

Let me paint a picture for you.  Coming into this game, we had a chance not only to start Interleague off right and win the series but also to extend our winning streak to eight games and finally vault ourselves into first place after being in fifth just two weeks ago.  The Rays had already lost yesterday, so it was sure-fire.  All we needed to do was secure six outs and we would erase the abysmal start to our season.  That’s what this game meant.  That’s what this game could have accomplished.

So enter Albers.  He gave up two consecutive singles followed by a ten-pitch walk.  So the bases were loaded with nobody out.  Then he walked in a run on his twenty-eighth pitch of the inning.  He allowed two more when he gave up a double.  At that point the Cubs were ahead by one, so it was already pretty bad that our reliever just put us back in a hole.  But it would have been merciful if it had stopped there.  Alfonso Soriano hit an epically routine popup to shallow left field.  Lowrie went out to catch it.  He caught it.  Then he dropped it, so another run scored.

Albers was duly removed after that.  He threw thirty-one pitches and failed to record an out.  His ERA jumped from 1.56 all the way up to 4.15.  Less than one inning, and he inflated his ERA by 2.59.  That difference by itself would be an ERA he’d be lucky to have right now.  He took a blown save as well as the loss.

He was removed in favor of Franklin Morales, who ironically was just as bad.  He allowed another run by giving up a double to Jeff Baker on his first pitch of the game.  At that point the Cubs had twice as many runs as we did, but a three-run deficit is still manageable.  But again, it would have been merciful even if it had stopped there.  In an all-too-brief flash of brilliance, Morales struck out Koyie Hill on three pitches but went right back to his old form after that when he allowed a walk.  Then it got even more ugly, if that were possible.  Darwin Barney flied out to Drew, who fired the ball back into the infield.  Salty caught the ball but the Cubs were a mess.  Soriano, who’d been on third, and Baker, who’d been on second, were both running.  So they were both doubled up.  Salty threw to third to start the rundown at the plate, but his throw went just over Youk’s glove.  Soriano scored easily.  Crawford came in and corralled the ball and fired to Morales, who had moved next to home plate, but it was off target.  Baker scored as well.  And just to add insult to injury, Morales allowed another double, which brought in another run.

The only other member of the bullpen available after Albers was used was Paps.  Tito didn’t go to Paps.  He went to Morales.  He’s the manager of the team and he made that decision.  Obviously Morales would have to make his debut at some point, but it wasn’t a situation where we were leading by ten runs or something.  Even in Interleague, it was a close game.  He probably didn’t go to Paps because he figured that, if we managed to tie the game after Albers came out, all he’d have for the extra innings was Morales and nobody behind him.  And Paps is the one you really want in those situations.  So, again, he had no choice, really.  But it was ugly.  It  was ugly, ugly, ugly, and we have a lot of work to do to make up for it today.

Twelve batters were sent up in that frame alone.  That’s the entire lineup plus another third of it.  An eight-run eighth inning.  Only five of those runs were earned.  Of course Morales had a one-two-three ninth inning.  That was a total disaster.  It was one of the ugliest losses I’d ever seen.  It was thoroughly disgusting, and I can’t believe it came at the hands of the Cubs, of all teams.  Talk about your one ruinous bad inning.  That was the mother of ruinous bad innings.  No repetition of our 1918 glory, not even with the throwback uniforms.  No pitching.  No fielding.  No winning.  No first place, no winning streak, no sweep.  We lost, 9-3.

In other news, the Bruins lost to the Lightning, 5-3.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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He’s 5’9″, weighs 180, and is 25 years old. He bats right and throws right. He made his Major League debut on August 22, 2006 and began his Major League career with the 2007 season. On April 21, 2007, 45 games into that Major League career, his batting average was .181, and he’d recorded one single in 28 at-bats. He was benched during a Yankee game. Before the next game, he stood at his locker and told everyone to chill out because as soon as he got a hit he’d take off. He proceeded to bat .415 in May, good for earning Rookie of the Month. In the nineteen months that followed, he won a World Series ring, American League Rookie of the Year, and during this month a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and the American League Most Valuable Player, arguably the most prestigious honor in baseball.

Ladies and gentlemen, Dustin Pedroia the Destroyah.

He batted over .300 in a month eight times; batted at least .305 in June, July, and August; and finished 2008 with a .326 batting average, narrowly missing the batting title by a mere four points. He hit 17 home runs, recorded 83 RBIs, and converted 20 out of 21 steal attempts. In 157 games at second base, he made only six errors and maintained a fielding percentage of .992. He’s the third player to win the MVP after winning ROY, following Cal Ripken, Jr. and Ryan Howard. He’s the first Red Sox player to win MVP since Mo Vaughn won it in 1995. He garnered 16 of 28 first-place votes, 6 second-place votes, 4-third place votes, and 1-fourth place vote, earning a total of 317 points. All I have to say to Evan Grant is “What now?!” (For those of you who haven’t heard this story yet, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News didn’t include Dustin Pedroia the Destroyah in his top ten. To say that that was an error in judgment would be the understatement of the century.)

Congratulations, Dusty. You earned it, and no one deserved it more than you. I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we always knew you had it in you. You showed everybody, that’s for sure. You’ve done a lot for this team and this city, and we can’t tell you how much we appreciate it. And as for me, I’m feeling pretty good about the future of second base in Boston right about now. Stellar work; keep it up. No doubt you’ll be in Boston for years to come.

Youk came in third in the AL MVP voting. He was another strong candidate, and to be honest I was a little surprised he wasn’t runner-up. But Dustin won in a landslide, and like I said I don’t think anybody deserved it more than him.

Someone who won’t be in Boston next season is Coco Crisp, who was traded to the Royals for lefty reliever Ramon Ramirez. This trade happened rather quickly, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Theo’s been saying for a while that he wouldn’t hesitate to trade Crisp, and it’s easy to see why. Although Coco Crisp’s defense is impeccable, his offense was lacking, to say the least. And now we’ve got Jacoby, who’s younger, faster, comparable defensively, and more prolific offensively. True, this past season wasn’t his best, but we know what he’s capable of. And even if we assume that Jacoby and Crisp are equal offensively, Jacoby has more going for him. So it’s a win-win: we needed relievers, and Jacoby and Crisp both get to start full time. As far as Ramirez goes, he pitched in 71 games in 2008, pitching roughly one inning per game and one strikeout per inning, and posted a 2.64 ERA. So all in all if we look at this objectively it’s a pretty good deal.

We’ve officially made contact with AJ Burnett’s agent. So have the Yankees, but their negotiations with Burnett have stumbled on the hurdle of his demand for a five-year deal. I know I say this all the time, but that’s because it’s true: we could really use this guy. I say if we have the opportunity to sign him, we should go for it.

In other news, the Pats exacted their revenge on the Dolphins in Florida and won, 48-28.  The Bruins are on a major hot streak. We just served the Habs another defeat, 3-2 in overtime, officially putting us on a winning streak against them and a four-game winning streak overall. Ladies and gentlemen, this could be the year a Stanley Cup finally comes to Boston! On a side note, in Friday’s game against the Panthers Milan Lucic dropped the gloves again and gave Nick Boynton a complete and total beat-down after Lucic had scored two goals and checked him very nicely into the boards. I’m telling you, Lucic is just dominating.

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