Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Senators’

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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Papi picked up his seventh Edgar Martinez Outstanding DH Award.  And that’s pretty much it.  When Ben lays low, he really lays low.

In other news, the Bruins picked up big wins against the Sabres, Predators, Sens, and Jets but lost to the Sens and Isles.  The Pats beat the Ravens, 41-7, in that landslide win I was hoping for! And we continued that with a strong showing against the Bills, beating them 34-20.

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Pedroia’s thumb surgery is now done, but it looks like he may have to miss part of Spring Training to recover.  And that’s pretty much it.  No big news on other fronts, so the waiting game continues.

In other news, the Bruins bested the Bolts, three-zip, as well as the Blue Jackets, 3-2.  But we lost to the Sens, 4-2.  The Pats had a bye last week.

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Lester had his first bad start in a while.  It was probably his worst start since last year.  But it was one of those bad starts where a bad start by Lester is a great start for most pitchers on most teams.  It wasn’t a quality start, but comparatively speaking, it would only be considered a bad start if we were to lose.  It’s funny how that works.

The Jays struck first.  Lester began with a groundout on three pitches, a sufficient start indeed.  But then he gave up a walk followed by an RBI double.  Neither team scored in the second, but Lester had a horrible third.  He gave up a single, hit a batter, and issued a walk.  Then Salty tried to lessen the load by picking one off, but it only served to allow a run to score, as the throw was erroneous.  It was an awful, awful play to witness.  Awful.  Two quick outs later, Lester gave up another RBI double.

He had a one-two-three fourth and a two-run-homer fifth; Lester gave up a single to lead it off, got an out, and threw a big mistake of a fastball.  And he had a one-two-three sixth.

All told, Lester lasted six innings.  He gave up six runs on six hits while walking two and striking out five.  So his strikeout count was low and his hit count was high.  He threw one hundred pitches, which is his usual count after at least one inning more.  Basically, he had trouble finding the strike zone.  That didn’t turn into a high walk count; it just turned into a handful of hits and runs and balls.  So it’s like I said.  Great game if you win or if you’re used to a lot worse.  Not-so-great game if you’re Jon Lester.

We were down by four by the fourth, when we finally scored.  And we scored in a big way.  Papi was first up.  He took a ninety-four mile-per-hour four-seam for a strike.  Then he got a ninety-five mile-per-hour four-seam and took the cover off it.  Or at least that’s what it looked like would happen when he unleashed his epic swing on it and buried it in center field.  Then Napoli struck out; you’d think it would have been him who continued the rally.  But it was Carp, who’s been quietly having quite the offensive stretch.  He took an eighty-four mile-per-hour splitter for a ball and then crushed an eighty-nine mile-per-hour slider for the second solo shot of the frame.  His ended up beyond the fence in right center field.

The fifth began with back-to-back singles by Drew and Ellsbury; one out later, Drew scored on a single by Pedroia.  Gomes got in on the power action in the sixth; with a 2-2 count, Gomes got a two-seam he liked and unleashed, sending the ball out to left center.  It was all Papi again in the seventh; after Drew struck out, Ellsbury singled, Nava reached on a force attempt, and Pedroia walked.  Papi then hit a bases-clearing double.  It wasn’t a home run, but the effect was remarkably similar.

At the time, this allowed us to pull ahead, and things were looking good.  But then Tazawa pitched the seventh and didn’t do so well himself.  The first two outs of the inning went well, but then he issued a walk followed by a home run of his own that, at the time, put the Jays back on top.  See, this is exactly what I’m talking about.  How often have I said that relievers should be wary of making mistakes when we’re winning because, at some point, it’s bound to happen when the game is on the line.  Last night, the game was on the line.  The odds of Lester and Tazawa both having mediocre performances during the same game were obviously pretty close to nonexistent, but during such a long season, at some point everything happens.  And it happened yesterday.

Twice.  Hanrahan came back.  But it wasn’t good.  He gave up a single, a successful sac bunt, and another single deflected by Pedroia, which allowed the runner to score.  Meanwhile, we’d been coming up empty since the seventh.  Seven runs should be more than enough to win any game, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the damage done by the pitchers.  We lost, 9-7.  So much for our five-game winning streak.

In other news, the Bruins lost to the Sens, 4-2.

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On day three of the regular season, we picked up right where we left off.  I know it’s only been two games, but what a great start we’re off to! And against the Yankees in New York, no less! There’s definitely something palpably different about this time.  You can feel it and see it when the game starts.  It’s so nice to remember what it feels like to look forward to something.

Buchholz was on the mound and delivered everything he had.  It was a truly masterful start, in some ways even better than Lester’s.  Buchholz pitched a full seven innings and gave up one run on six hits while walking two and striking out four.  The one run was the result of a solo shot hit in the third on the first pitch of the at-bat, obviously a big mistake of a ninety-two mile-per-hour fastball.  Fortunately, that was Buchholz’s only major mistake.

Other than that, it was mostly smooth sailing.  Three of his seven innings were one-two-three; all but one of the others saw four batters come up.  He faced five in the seventh.  And he rolled out the full extent of his arsenal.  Both fastballs made an appearance, his fastest reaching ninety-four miles per hour.  Naturally, he included plenty of off-speeds: changeups, curveballs, cutters, and splitters.  His splitter and four-seam, the favorite pitch of the night, were particularly effective.  As far as inning pitch counts are concerned, he ranged from only seven in the second to twenty in the seventh and everything in between for a grand total of ninety-four.

Unfortunately, the relief corps was not as solid.  Miller and Aceves combined to pitch the eighth but gave up three runs.  Aceves inherited a runner and put one of his own on base before allowing a home run.  Hanrahan then pitched the ninth and picked up his first save of the season and of his time with us.

The offense was getting pretty busy in the meantime.  Yesterday’s lineup had Ellsbury leading off, Nava batting second, Pedroia batting third, Napoli batting cleanup, Salty batting fifth, Middlebrooks sixth, Victorino seventh, Bradley eighth, and Iglesias ninth.  Some changes, some constants.

Of the nine innings we played, we scored in four.  In the first, Salty singled with two out and two on to bring our first run in.  A single, a hit batsman, and a walk on four pitches by Ellsbury loaded the bases with one out in the second; when Nava got it, Bradley scored.  Salty singled in the third, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Victorino, who stole second base and scored on a single by Bradley, who moved to third on a double by Iglesias.  Both of them scored on a single by Ellsbury to complete a four-run third.  We went down in order in the fourth and fifth and scored our final run in the sixth; Iglesias led it off with a single and was out in a force out by Ellsbury, who moved to third on a double by Nava and scored on a groundout by Pedroia.

Just to give you an idea of how monumental this 7-4 win was, consider the fact that we haven’t opened any season since 1999 with back-to-back wins.  We are officially on our way!

In other news, the Bruins beat the Sens, 4-3.

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I can’t even believe that this day has finally arrived.  Out of the interminable slog that was all of last year, out of the rounds and rounds of speculation that was this offseason, we have finally emerged to welcome baseball back to Boston with open arms! I don’t know about you, but I really feel like I’ve earned this one.  It’s been rough, man.  With the way last season went, I felt like it was winter before the season was even over.  It was a long and cold one.  We’ve done without for way too long.  And then, suddenly, April arrived, and we enjoyed the glorious first opportunity of kicking back, relaxing, and taking in three hours and thirty-seven minutes of pure, unadulterated glory.  Man, it’s good to be back.

Where do I even start? I don’t even know.  It was all so divinely inspired.  I can’t even talk about it.

Lester.  I’ll start with Lester.  Wow.  What can I even say? Pretty much the whole staff got it together at camp, and Lester most definitely did not disappoint.  His start lasted only five innings, but this is so epically not the time to be picky.  Five solid innings on the first day of the season is fine as far as I’m concerned; he’ll pick it up as time goes on.  Besides, those five innings were pretty impressive.  Two runs, five hits.  Two walks.  Seven strikeouts.

There was a four-pitch strikeout of his first batter of the season on four pitches, ending with what was technically a cutter, but at ninety miles per hour with his movement, whether it was a cutter or cut fastball is a question that will probably not be answered anytime soon.  Then there was the seven-pitch strikeout that ended with a cutter, and the six-pitch strikeout that ended the second with a cutter, and the seven-pitch called strike in the third that ended with a cutter.  Lester had himself another seven-pitch strikeout in the fourth, this one ending with a fastball, but like I said, whether it’s really a fastball or a cut fastball is hard to answer.  And irrelevant, since a strike is a strike.  Lester bookended his fifth with strikeouts, the first five pitches ending with a changeup and the second his only one comprising three pitches: a sinker clocked at ninety-one miles per hour, a changeup at eighty-four, and a fastball at ninety-three, which wasn’t even his fastest of the day; he got up to ninety-four.

Ninety-six pitches, about sixty-six percent of which were strikes.  He was on with the cut fastball.  The overwhelming majority of his pitches were cut fastballs, as we’d expect.  And he put that fabulous Lester-esque bite on them, too.  They were moving exactly the way he wanted them to.  And he mixed in some nasty sinkers, changes, and curves in there as well.  He stood up there and he was a master.  I almost felt bad for the hitters until I remembered that we were squaring off against the Evil Empire.  And then I felt better.

Anyway, Lester threw seventeen pitches each in the first two innings, sixteen in the third, and twelve in the fifth.  The fourth was the big one; Lester threw thirty-four pitches.  He loaded the bases that inning and couldn’t completely escape without allowing a two-run single.  Other than that, Lester was solid gold.

Farrell then rolled out five relievers.  Uehara, Miller, Bailey, Tazawa, and Hanrahan combined to shut out the Yanks for the rest of the game.  All told, the Yanks were limited to six hits.

Alright, here we go.  Offense.  Let’s get down to it, because our hitters were as hot as our pitchers.  The starters stayed in for the whole nine, and they were great.  Great patience and eyes all around.  Great baserunning, too.  Ellsbury led off, followed by Victorino, Pedroia, Napoli in cleanup, Middlebrooks, Salty, Gomes, Bradley, and Iglesias.  Look for Farrell to change the lineup around pretty frequently, but this one worked out just fine.  Iglesias went three for five, Ellsbury went three for six, Gomes went two for four, and Pedroia and Victorino both went two for six.  Salty doubled, and Ellsbury tripled, and that was it for extra-base hits.  This was Bradley’s debut in the big show, and he certainly made the most of it.  Of our four total walks, Bradley accounted for three, not to mention his obvious speed on the basepaths as well as his run-saving, inning-ending, outstanding haul in left in the third.

Pedroia singled in the first, but we didn’t score.  Our big inning was the second.  Middlebrooks grounded out, and then Salty walked in five pitches, Gomes singled, and Bradley walked to load the bases.  Then Iglesias singled on the first pitch of his at-bat, bringing home one and reloading the bases.  Then Ellsbury grounded into a force out, causing Gomes to be out at home.  But then Victorino and Pedroia hit back-to-back singles, bringing in three before Napoli flied out to end it.

We went down in order in the third and put two on but didn’t deliver in the fourth.  A double and two walks, one intentional, loaded the bases again with two out in the fifth, but we didn’t deliver on that either.  Ellsbury tripled to lead off the sixth, but still nothing.  Then, in the seventh, Middlebrooks and Salty fought hard for back-to-back walks on eight pitches each.  Middlebrooks moved to third on a flyout by Gomes and scored on a groundout by Bradley.  We went down in order again in the eighth but closed it out with a bang in the ninth.  Middlebrooks was called out on strikes before Salty walked, Gomes singled, and Bradley walked to load the bases.  Iglesias struck out and then Ellsbury and Victorino singled back-to-back to bring in three.  Gomes accounted for the second of those runs, rocketing home all the way from second base.  The dugout and everyone else went appropriately insane.

And that, my friends, is the story of how we cleaned the field with the Yanks, 8-2, on their soil.  To me, this is much bigger than just winning the first game of the season.  We’ve had just abysmal starts out of the gate for the last two seasons.  This game means a lot to the team, and it means a lot to us.  We’re a new team now, and it shows.  There’s nothing like a more-than-auspicious start to the year to provide a good feeling about what’s to come.  Let’s get it!

I’ll say one last thing.  Seeing Kevin Youkilis in an enemy uniform was downright bizarre and torturous.  It’s a shame.  It’s a real shame.  And I guess that’s that.

In other news, the B’s lost to and beat the Leafs and lost to the Habs in a shootout; it was painful, but at least we get a point out of it.  We beat the Sens, lost to the Leafs, and beat the Sabres.

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The good signs continue.  We’re battling some soreness and whatnot, but the performance is good.  Victorino’s got some extra-base hits, and the pitchers continue to make a strong showing.  Drew left camp to see a concussion specialist; he resumed baseball activities, but the timetable for his full return is unclear.  Papi made his return to the batting cages.  Congratulations to the Dominican Republic; Team DR won the World Baseball Classic.  And last but most certainly not least, we and the Yanks have decided to dedicate Opening Day by honoring the community and memory of Newtown, Connecticut.  It’s going to be a beautiful ceremony, and the two teams are really doing the right thing.

We lost to the Pirates on Monday, 4-3.  Buchholz ruled the day; in five innings, he made one mistake in the form of a solo shot while walking two and striking out four.  Carpenter took the blown save and the loss; he gave up two runs.  Nava went two for three, and Victorino tripled.  On Tuesday, we lost to Baltimore, 8-7.  Dempster went five innings, giving up three runs on six hits.  Tazawa turned in a scoreless inning, and Bard gave up three runs on two hits.  Middlebrooks went two for three with a double, and Victorino doubled as well.  Unfortunately the Yanks shut us out on Wednesday; better in Spring Training than in the regular season.  Doubront pitched four and one-third innings and gave up four runs on seven hits.  Bailey finished the rest of the inning.  Hanrahan and Mortensen each pitched a scoreless frame.  We beat the Phillies yesterday, 6-1.  Lackey looked pretty sharp; he tossed five innings and gave up only one run on four hits while walking none and striking out one.  Bailey pitched a scoreless frame and picked up the win.  Pedroia went two for two with a double; Middlebrooks doubled, and Victorino tripled.

In other news, the B’s lost to the Jets and beat the Sens.

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