Posts Tagged ‘New York Rangers’

There haven’t really been any developments.  Showing interest and finalizing deals are two very different things, and we probably have a long way to go before things start heating up.

In other news, the Bruins bested the Penguins, 4-3, as well as the Rangers, 3-2, and Blue Jackets, 3-1, but lost to the Red Wings, 6-1.  And the Pats edged the Broncos, 34-31, in a real mess that eventually turned into a real awesome victory.  The first half of that game was an epic disaster.  I didn’t even know what team I was watching.  And as a result, I didn’t even know what team I was watching in the second half, either.  It was a situation of polar opposites, and the win was just unbelievable.

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That’s the funny thing about the World Series.  We spend the entirety of a long season trying to win it, and then we do win it, and then it’s over.  And then it’s suddenly back to business as usual, trying to do the things that will make it possible for us to win it again.

We acquired righty Burke Badenhop from the Brewers.  Basically, he’s a workhorse in the bullpen, so he’ll add some nice depth and dependability, especially down the stretch.  So far, we’ve shown interest in Corey Hart and Carlos Beltran, and supposedly we’re keeping an open mind as far as alternative options behind the plate are concerned.  Pedroia won an incredibly well-deserved Heart and Hustle Award.

In other news, the B’s beat the Canes, 4-1, and Rangers, 2-1.  We also lost to the Blues, 3-2, in a shootout but beat the Canes again yesterday, 3-2.  The Pats dropped a nailbiter to the Panthers, 24-20.

Gammons Daily

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Lester had another questionable start.  Sometimes he goes through these phases where he’s really incredibly amazing, and then sometimes he goes through these interruptions where he’s mediocre.  Yesterday’s start was a prime example of the latter.  He gave up four runs on ten hits while walking only one and striking out eight over the course of seven innings.  So that means that he knew how to find the strike zone, but the hitters kept figuring him out.  His inability to efficiently deal with the Tribe led him to throw a total of 124 pitches.

He recorded the game’s first two outs before giving up a single followed by a steal of second and an RBI double.  He issued a walk in the third, allowing the runner to advance on a groundout and giving up another RBI double.  He then gave up another single, followed by a brilliant throw home by Gomes to save a run and gain an out.  But then he hit a batter and gave up an RBI single.

Giving up three runs in a single inning is pretty disappointing, to which Lester himself can attest, seeing as he was visibly angry about it.  But I have to say that one of his best qualities on the field is his composure, which allowed him to bounce back during the second half of his start, rallying to make quite an effort to keep the lid on the Indians.

The sixth inning was by far his best: fifteen pitches, three up, three down, all via strikeouts.  The first two were looking on cutters; the last was swinging on a sinker.  He recorded the first out in the seventh, gave up two consecutive singles, and induced a lineup.  Second base was then stolen, and Lester issued a wild pitch that allowed Mike Aviles of all people to score.

Tazawa pitched an immaculate eighth, and Bailey pitched a decent ninth.

But none of that would have mattered had it not been for our absolutely crucial rally in the eighth.  Until the bottom of the eighth, we were trailing by one.  We scored our first run in the second with two out, when Iglesias singled, moved to second on a balk, and scored on a single by Ciriaco.  Nava led off the fourth with a walk and scored on a double by Iglesias; the Tribe’s fielding error was a nice touch.  With one out in the sixth, Iglesias singled, and then Ciriaco singled as well; it was a ground ball of sorts, but thanks to a throwing error, both Iglesias and Ciriaco ended up in scoring position.  Ellsbury walked intentionally to load the bases, and unfortunately the only scoring play we could muster was a sac fly by Gomes that brought Iglesias home.

At the time, that sac fly tied the game, but like I said, Lester gave up another run in the seventh.  All we needed to do was score two more runs and hold on for the win, but we ended up scoring one more than the entire run total we’d scored to that point in the game.

The bottom of the eighth began with an out.  Then Ciriaco doubled, and Ellsbury struck out.  Carp came in to pinch-hit for Gomes and doubled in Ciriaco to tie the game back up.  Pedroia’s back-to-back double gave us the go-ahead.  The ball bounced off the Monster, and we were on top.  Anything after that, provided that Bailey held the lead in the next half-inning, was icing on the cake.  Then Papi walked intentionally, Napoli walked unintentionally to load the bases, and Nava singled in both Pedroia and Papi.

We ended up winning, 7-4.  We totaled eleven hits, five of which were for extra bases.  All of them were doubles, and two of them belonged to Pedroia, who finished the game two for four with a walk.  Iglesias and Ciriaco each went three for four.  Nava, Papi, and Ellsbury each walked twice, the three of them therefore accounting for almost all of our eight total walks.  Ultimately, it was a great game; you always want to be in a position to win from the beginning, but it’s nice to know that you can’t count us out even when we’re not.

In other news, the Rangers are done.  Finished.  Knocked out.  That didn’t take long at all.  Yesterday the Bruins won, 3-1. Quick work indeed.

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I loathe being on the losing end of lopsided slugfests.  They take long, and there’s no silver lining; the pitchers don’t pitch well, and the hitters don’t hit well.  They’re full of what coaches would call learning opportunities, and they’d be right.  Lopsided slugfests are full of examples of exactly what not to do.

Nava doubled in the first.  Napoli singled and Salty walked in the second.  Nava walked in the sixth.  Nava singled and Lavarnway, in for Papi, doubled in the eighth.

Our one moment of offensive glory occurred in the third.  Ellsbury singled, Nava walked, Pedroia single, Ellsbury tried to score but was thrown out at home, and finally, Papi homered.  If only Ellsbury had been patient.  It was the first pitch of the at-bat, a ninety-two mile-per-hour fastball.  The ball ended up beyond the right field fence.  It was awesome.  It would have been even better had it been a grand slam, but we took what we could get.  Last night, we were in no position to be greedy.  It’s nice that a mistake was made and we were able to even score at all.  I can see why Ellsbury wanted to try to make it home; there was no way to know that Papi would have hit a home run.  Indeed, even if it had been a grand slam, if all else remained equal, then it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

Meanwhile, our entire pitching staff was one enormously epic fail.  We would have needed to score an exorbitant amount of runs to compensate for the load of damage that they allowed.  But no pitcher should ever be so bad that he has to count on the hitters scoring that many runs.  It was so humiliating.

Dempster gave up a single in the first; it was all downhill from there.  He gave up a single and issued a walk in the second.  He got the inning’s first two outs and then gave up a double that was deflected by Pedroia; one run scored.  He got the first out of the third and then gave up a single and issued two consecutive walks to load the bases.  He gave up a single that scored two runs, issued another walk to re-load the bases, and got the inning’s second out via a force out that scored another run.

So that was Dempster’s outing.  Mortensen came out for the fourth.  He gave up a double, issued a popout, and gave up an RBI single.  He gave up another run thanks to a single-single combination in the fifth.  Thanks to two walks and a single, he loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth; Wilson came on and promptly gave up a single that scored one run.  Napoli dropped a popup in foul territory, and then Wilson gave up a two-run double, induced a popout, and gave up a two-run triple and a one-run single.

Breslow came on for the seventh and, thankfully, did not give up any runs.  Same for Tazawa in the eighth and Miller in the ninth.  So those last three were the only ones who didn’t let runs score on their watches.  We lost, 12-3.

In other news, the Rangers picked up their first win of the series, beating us, 4-3, in sudden death.

Boston Herald Staff/Matt Stone

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That was close.  That was way too close for comfort.  We were no-hit through seven innings.  I mean, we walked a few times.  But we were no hit through seven full innings.  It was awful.  It was awfully, awfully awful.  If Big Papi didn’t start the rally that never was in the seventh, who knows what would have happened? I don’t even want to think about it.

This was, by far, Doubront’s best start of the year.  It was certainly one of the best starts he’s had in recent memory.  Unfortunately, it was Doubront who caved first.  With two out in the fifth, he gave up a single followed by a two-run home run.  It was the first pitch of the at-bat: a fastball that missed.  He then gave up a double but then ended the inning, luckily.

He gave up two runs on five hits while walking only two and striking out three.  That home run was a sign of a bad pitch; it was one mistake.  Sure, he pitched only six innings, and we usually think of a stellar start as lasting at least seven.  But he only threw eighty-five pitches in total; at that rate, he could have easily tossed the seventh and perhaps even come out for the eighth.

As for us, we didn’t really have much in the way of opportunities until the seventh.  And that was when we had the opportunity.  Pedroia popped up to lead it off, but then Papi, Napoli, and Nava hit back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases.  But Middlebrooks and Drew provided the last two outs of the frame.

Wilson pitched the bottom of the seventh and held the fort.  We did manage to cut the deficit in half in the eighth; Salty walked, Ellsbury singled, Carp flied out, and a home run would have put us on top.  Instead, a wild pitch moved the runners along, and it was a fielding error that allowed Pedroia to reach and Salty scored.  (I particularly enjoyed the fact that the ball rolled through the shortstop’s legs.) Papi grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Wilson allowed the Other Sox to restore their earlier lead; with two out, he gave up a run via a single-double combination.  After issuing a walk, Miller came on and ended the inning.  We went down in the ninth and lost, 3-1.

In other news, the Bruins are now up three-zip on the series, having taken last night’s game, 3-1.

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When was the last time you experienced a three-hour rain delay? You could fit an entire baseball game into that period of time.  Wow.  That’s what I call a delay.  But it was a great game, and I’m glad we got to see it through to the end.  Not that we had anything to lose if we hadn’t been able to do so.  We won after nine, and we would have won after seven-plus.

Middlebrooks scored the game’s first run when he went yard in the second.  He got a slider and then three straight changeups; the last one ended up, like Saturday’s home runs, beyond the fence in right center field.  Quite the powerful and positive note to start on.

With one out in the next frame, Victorino walked, moved to third on a single by Gomes, and scored on a force attempt by Pedroia.  That was a gift.  That ball was a double play waiting to happen, but an exceptionally aberrant throw put it in the outfield.  With one out in the fifth, Pedroia, Papi, and Napoli hit back-to-back-to-back singles, scoring another run.  Nava actually made it back-to-back-to-back-to-back, but no further runs scored, and Middlebrooks and Salty provided two quick outs, Salty grounding out on only one pitch.

We scored the game’s last two runs in the ninth, the only inning during which we scored more than one run.  With one out, Gomes walked, and then Pedroia went yard on a fastball, the third one of that at-bat and the fourth pitch overall.  This time, the ball went beyond the fence in left field; I guess it’s good to have some variety.  Either way, it was two runs on one swing.

Lackey had himself a great start in the meantime.  His first four innings were literally perfect; he didn’t give up any hits or issue any walks.  But his third pitch of the fifth was hit for a double, and then he hit a batter, got a strikeout, and a run scored on a force out.  But at least we got an out out of it.  The inning then ended on a groundout.  He then threw a perfect sixth.  So it was just the fifth that was problematic, and even the fifth wasn’t that problematic, if you think about it.  He only allowed one run, and it wasn’t even earned, because the only reason why the runner advanced to first on the force out was because Ciriaco made a throwing error.  In the end, that double was his only hit.  And he pitched through six rather than five, so it was definitely a quality start, and I’d say it’s a start we can be proud of.

In total, Lackey threw eighty-four pitches and probably would have pitched even longer had it not been for the rain delay.  He ended up striking out five and, of course, didn’t walk anyone.

Miller pitched a perfect seventh, and Uehara gave up a double, a walk, and a single to load the bases with two out but pitched himself out of it, ending the eighth unscathed.  Tazawa pitched an almost-perfect ninth, giving up a single but no runs.

The final score was 5-1.  It turns out that none of our runs were scored with nobody out, but I’m glad we’ve shown that we can handle the pressure.  By the way, we just swept.

In other news, we find ourselves up in the series, two-zip; the B’s took the second game from the Rangers, 5-2!

Boston Herald Staff

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We played a great game on Wednesday.  It was a slugfest, no doubt about it.  It felt really good to swing and win so easily, and it was a nice reminder of how potent we are when we’re on our game.  Our slump has been awful, and slumps that bad can potentially end overnight, but more often than not, they take a little bit of time to get a groove going.  They certainly take a lot of nailbiters.  We were losing for most of last night’s contest.  Most of the game felt like many of our recent ones.  But we waited it out, and it paid off.  Basically, it’s all an issue of confidence.

We went down in order in the first, second, and third.  Victorino doubled and scored on a single by Papi in the fourth.  Middlebrooks walked in the fifth, Pedroia singled in the sixth, and Napoli walked to lead off the seventh. Before the first inning was even over, I could tell that it was going to be a long night for Doubront.  When the game was over and the final line was in, he’d walked six.  Six.  That’s a season high, but forget about that.  No pitcher should ever walk that many batters in a single game.  It’s like giving out free hits.

Anyway, Doubront allowed a single and two walks, loading the bases with two out.  Fortunately, he managed to end the inning with a strikeout.  But the rest of his outing was a real grind.  He threw a bad fastball in the second that was hit for a solo shot in the second.  He gave up a walk and a single in the third but again escaped the jam unscathed.  He had a one-two-three fourth, his best inning of the night, but walked two in the fifth, again escaping.  He walked the first batter he faced in the sixth on four pitches and was then replaced by Mortensen.

Mortensen induced a force out and issued two walks that loaded the bases.  Between the walks, Salty passed a ball.  And when Mortensen gave up a single, the runner who reached on the force out, scored.  He was lucky that he gave up just the one run.  Miller came on after that and gave up a single that scored another run.  So two runs scored in the inning; Doubront was credited with the first, and Mortensen was credited with the second.

Breslow came on for the seventh and made it look easy.  Both teams went down in order in the eighth.

And then there was one.  Inning, that is.  Pedroia and Papi walked back-to-back to lead off the ninth.  Drew struck out, and we were thinking that maybe we really were the same team we were before Wednesday’s game when we were losing left and right.  But then Nava walked to load the bases, and Middlebrooks did something awesome.  He was down 0-2 but the pitcher just couldn’t close the deal.  He took a one-hundred mile-per-hour fastball for a ball and then got a changeup.  He stayed patient and read it like a book.

He didn’t hit a grand slam.  He doubled to left, but it was enough.  It cleared the bases.  It was one swing.  It wasn’t a home run.  But it put us on top.  And then Salty walked and Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning.

Breslow gave up two singles in the bottom of the ninth, but he bounced back, knuckled down, and prevented further damage.

In the end, the night was ours.  4-3.  We had been down to our final strike.  Look who just won two in a row.

In other news, the Bruins started out on the right foot against the Rangers, picking up the first game, 3-2, in sudden death.

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