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Posts Tagged ‘Niklas Backstrom’

With our win last night, our streak reaches eleven games, our longest since the twelve-gamer from June 16 to June 29 in 2006.  Hopefully we’ll be able to overtake that in more ways than one; make this streak even longer and, at the very least, make the playoffs this year, something that didn’t happen three years ago.  That was just a bad second half.  I love baseball just as much as anybody, but that was ugly.  I’m telling you, you just couldn’t wait for that to be over.

Last night was a good game.  It was a pitchers’ duel, that’s for sure.  At least for a while.  And this is Wakefield’s third quality start.  I don’t know how it happens, but he seems to be getting better with age.  Every outing for the last three he’s become more consistent.  There’s a trend I’d love to see continue.  He one-hit the Tribe for seven shutout innings with four walks and five K’s.  His ERA is 1.86.  I can’t remember the last time I saw the name “Tim Wakefield” associated with an ERA under 2.00.  I mean he’s fourth in the American League.  And if he keeps pitching like this the only place it has to go is down.  I mean it just keeps dropping.  It’s remarkable.  Which makes it that much more unfortunate that he didn’t get the win.

Delcarmen pitched a perfect eight and Papelbon a not-so-perfect ninth.  A run on three hits and two K’s will raise his ERA to 1.93.  His last few outings haven’t been great.  You might say it’s only one run, but think about that for a second.  Papelbon’s our closer.  If this game had been tied, that one run would’ve been a walkoff for Cleveland.  You can’t have that from your closer, even if you can afford it.  I don’t think this will last, though.  Papelbon has a rough patch or two every season and then it’s smooth sailing.  Delcarmen got the win, and Paps picked up another save.

As far as the offense goes, it was a one-man show.  Jason Bay, folks.  Jason Bay.  A ninth-inning rocket of a home run off Kerry Wood.  One out, two on, and then three in.  And that was the ballgame.  The final score was 3-1.  Bay actually had a great night, finishing at three for four, and every hit was hit hard.  Let’s go through his numbers, shall we? .344 average, .705 slugging percentage, five home runs, nineteen RBIs, twenty walks.  That is insane.  I mean, yes, that is just insane.  Ortiz finished at two for four, and those were the only two multi-hit performances of the game.  In fact, only three other guys got hits at all: Lowell, Bailey, and Green.  That was it.  So in the interest of sportsmanship I’ll tip my hat to Cliff Lee on holding us at bay.  Almost.  Wow, the puns just keep coming and coming.

Ellsbury did not get a hit and actually struck out three times, but he did make an absolutely spectacular catch in the sixth on the run.  Very tough play, but if anyone can do it, he can.

Julio Lugo is back in action for us.  And I’m glad he’s back, because you never want any of your guys to be injured.  But that’s pretty much the only reason why I’m glad he’s back.  Nick Green is great.  Jed Lowrie, once he gets out of his slump, will be great.  I just hope Lugo has it in him to be great.  Mike Dee, our Chief Operating Officer, is leaving to become the CEO of the Miami Dolphins.  I personally don’t understand why anyone would want to make a move like that, but hey.  Red Sox Nation and I thank you for all of your hard work, dedication, and service to our team.  You’ll be missed.  I just hope we have someone waiting in the wings who’s good.  Curt Smith of the Norwich Bulletin called the new Yankee Stadium “The House that Greed Built.” Brilliant.  I love it.

In other news, Timmy Thomas is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy along with the Wild’s Niklas Backstrom and the Blue Jackets’ Steve Mason.  They’re all worthy opponents.  Backstrom basically carried the Wild on his back for most of the season, and you could argue that Mason is the only reason why the Blue Jackets are even in the playoffs at all.  But Timmy Thomas is the best goalie in the entire National Hockey League.  So in the interest of sportsmanship I tip my hat, but it’s a lock.

So onward and forward we go.  If we win tonight we tie our longest winning streak in three years, but I think we have it in us to extend it much longer than that.  Maybe break the all-time record? We’ll see.  One game at a time; Penny at Reyes first.

AP Photo

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