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Just to prove the point that we should do more of what we did on Friday to win, we won again when we did essentially the exact same things yesterday.  I love it when being right means the team plays well.

Doubront picked up the win; he pitched six and one-third innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on seven hits.  He walked one and struck out seven.  He threw 101 pitches, sixty-eight of which were strikes.  The similarities between Doubront’s start and Buchholz’s start are readily apparent; Doubront gave up one more run, although it was unearned, on one more hit, and he walked one less.  Doubront also pitched less but struck out the same number of batters.  The striking similarities continue; like Buchholz, Doubront’s only two earned runs were scored via the long ball.  Doubront gave up a solo shot in the third with one out and a solo shot to lead off the fifth.  The unearned run was scored in the fourth, which began with a groundout and a strikeout.  Then he made a fielding error that resulted in a baserunner at first, who move to second and eventually scored on another single before a groundout ended the inning.  So the run may be unearned, but it was also completely his own fault.

Albers finished the seventh and allowed a single to begin the eighth, Miller got the first out of the eighth, and Padilla finished the eighth, but not before he and Sweeney gave up an unearned run; Miller’s baserunner scored on a single he gave up because of a throwing error that Sweeney made.  And then Aceves had a peaceful, three-out save in the ninth.

Again, as on Friday, we went down in order in the first and then got the ball rolling in the second.  And as on Friday, during one of the innings in which we scored, we scored big and took the Jays for four runs.  Papi struck out, Salty walked, Youk struck out, Sweeney singled, and then Middlebrooks singled in Salty, Punto doubled in Sweeney, and Nava singled in Middlebrooks.  Three runs.  Boom.  It’s amazing what small ball can do.

We went down in order again in the third, and then in the fourth, Youk doubled but moved to third on a throwing error and Sweeney walked.  With runners at the corners, Middlebrooks grounded into a double play, but it still scored one.  We went down in order in the fifth and sixth and erased some potential opportunities in the seventh.  After Gonzalez flied out to begin the eighth, the bases were loaded after a single and two walks for Sweeney, who could only muster a groundout that scored one.  Byrd didn’t fare better, lining out to end the inning.

Punto batted in and scored our last run by leading off the ninth with a solo shot to right on a fastball.  It was the third pitch of the at-bat, and all three had been fastballs, all four-seams, all at eighty-seven miles per hour.  He took the first two for balls, but he was all over the third.  Jose Bautista just watched that go.  It was hit well, too.  It ended up in the second deck of seats out there.  And that kind of power is not something you see Punto wield very often, if at all.  He’s only hit one long ball in each of his previous three seasons.  The most long balls he ever hit in a single season in his career was four in 2005.

So, at the end of the day, Doubront and Buchholz had another thing in common: they each picked up wins.  We won, 7-4, which is almost the exact same score as Friday’s 7-2, especially when you consider that only two of those four runs that Toronto scored were earned.  Punto had the only multi-hit game of the night, and it was a big one: three for four with the double and homer, so he was a triple away from the ever-elusive cycle, but the game did end on his throw.  Youk’s double was the only other extra-base hit.

And don’t look now, but we just clawed our way into fourth place and put the Jays in fifth.  Just like I said yesterday, that’s the way to play and that is exactly what we should be doing every time out.

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I can not tell you how refreshing it was to watch a good, old-fashioned slugfest.  It’s been too long since we’ve had one of these.  Seriously.  When was the last time played a ballgame that was actually stress-free? You know, a really good one, where we score all the runs, and the other team scores almost no runs, and the score is completely and hopelessly one-sided, and it’s a totally assured win, and you can give the starters a rest and roll out the B team.  The irony of course is that our entire team at this point is the B team because of all the injuries we’ve had, but still.  That’s a good, old-fashioned slugfest, best when used to ground teams not in contention that are just starting to take off.  Like Toronto, for example.  That was perfect.

Clay Buchholz is the man.  Win-wise, that’s literally true.  This was his thirteenth W, which surpasses Lester for the team lead.  ERA-wise, that’s also literally true.  His ERA is now down to 2.49, the best in the American League.  I’m thinking there’s a Cy Young in his future.

Buchholz tossed eight frames, which gave the bullpen the night off with the exception of Richardson who tossed a scoreless ninth and did not earn a save because, ladies and gentlemen, there was no save to be earned.

And when I say tossed, I mean tossed, because it looked like Buchholz was just tossing the ball because it makes him look so easy.  He can throw any one of his pitches in any count for a strike.  As V-Mart said after the game, he could probably even pitch with his eyes closed and still locate.  He had his way with every Jays batter that had the misfortune to step up to the plate and face him.  He allowed only one run on a grand total of five hits.  He walked two.  He struck out four.  He threw 109 pitches, sixty-four for strikes.  He worked his fastball all the way up to ninety-seven miles per hour.  His slider peaked at eighty-five.  Those were nasty pitches.  He threw his highest pitch count per inning in the eighth at twenty-one.  His lowest was ten in the first and third.

In the first inning he allowed a run on a sac fly.  And I certainly hope the Jays enjoyed that because that was the last good thing that would happen to them.

The offense, before I delve into it, helped Buchholz pitch better.  Pitchers have much more freedom to experiment and get creative with hitters when they’re backed by a big lead, so the hitters don’t see something they’d ordinarily see if the lead were smaller.  Plus, it’s so much more relaxing.  The pitcher can just go out there and have some fun.

Alright.  Let’s delve.

Our first run was scored in a way that is one of the most embarrassing for any pitcher: a walk with the bases loaded.  Then the Jays temporarily tied it, with the emphasis most definitely on the word “temporarily.”

In the second, Hall hit the first of many long balls, hooking an offspeed into the left field seats.

In the fourth, he did it again, but with Kalish on base.  It was another offspeed, a cut fastball, which he also hooked into left.  The game was the fourth multi-homer performance of his career, his last one coming on April 4, 2008.  And it all came from the eighth spot in the order, and when you get that kind of punch in the bottom of the order, you lengthen your innings by making it difficult for the pitcher to roll the lineup over.  That’s a luxury we haven’t experienced much this season.  Hall’s next homer will provide his highest season total since his break-out season with the Brewers in 2006, during which he hit thirty-five.  That’s what happens when you give a bench batter some regular playing time.

The fifth was when we broke it open, tagging Toronto for a five-spot.  Drew started the deluge with a home run of his own to right.  He hooked a fastball away very much out of the park; it hit the second deck out there in right.  Drew is a quiet but huge difference-maker; remember his monster June when Papi was out with his wrist issue?

Then followed a brief interlude of guys getting on base so that Beltre could clear them all over again with a three-run shot, also on a cut fastball, right at Richardson in the bullpen as an advanced thank-you gift for his scoreless ninth.

So, I would just like to point out that before this game, Marcum had only given up three homers at home.  We exceeded that total on one night.  The irony of course is that the only American League team who’s hit more home runs than us this season is Toronto.

Continuing our onslaught was who but Bill Hall yet again, who showed he can do it all, from the long ball to the small ball.  He singled in Lowell and finished the night three for five.  He now has four home runs and ten RBIs in ten games against the Jays.

V-Mart put on the finishing touches with an RBI single in the eighth.  And that, my friends, was the ballgame.  V-Mart finished two for five, Beltre finished two for three, and Lowell finished three for four.

All I can say is that we’re coming.  After everything this team has been through and still going through, nobody thought we’d still be in the race, but we’re coming.  The Rays lost.  The Yankees won, but they’re going to lose again, and when they do, we’ll be ready.  Hold on to your hats, and don’t get too comfortable.  Lackey goes for the sweep this afternoon.  We’re coming.

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Again, the theme of eyes on the prize.  We won.  We didn’t win by much, but we won.  And we did some bad things, but obviously we did some good things too.  In fact, the whole game was yet another miniature version of the whole season, with the important exception being that in this game we got a good start.  Actually, it reminded me of Game 1 of the 2004 World Series, where we had the lead several times but allowed the opposition to tie it, although we never fell behind and ultimately won out.  And it was especially important to win the first game of this series, being that Toronto is surging right now.  So despite all the badness that was present in the game, this is good.

We came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and scored three runs in the second inning: RBI doubles for Beltre and Lowrie and an RBI single for Ellsbury.  We scored one more in the third when Lowell sacrificed V-Mart in with the bases loaded.  It would have been nice for him to have done more with that opportunity, but I’ll most definitely take the run.  But the Jays did the same thing in reverse; they scored one in the second and three in the third.

In the fifth, Drew hit a solo shot and continued his great numbers against Romero by depositing his fastball middle-in into the second right field deck.

Meanwhile, Dice-K didn’t deliver his best performance.  He lasted five and two-thirds innings and gave up four runs on six hits, including two home runs, while walking three and striking out seven on 110 pitches, seventy-one of which were strikes.  His two-seam, cutter, slider, and changeup were very much on, but his curveball and four-seam, his two most frequently used pitches, were very much off.  He threw thirty-three pitches when he gave up that three-spot in the third, which was the result of a home run, while needing only five pitches to get through the very next inning.  So this start was a miniature version of his entire season as well.

He ran into trouble in the sixth, walking the first two batters he faced.  With one out to go in the inning, Lewis hit your average ground ball to Scutaro, but unfortunately, Lowrie was slow getting over to second, so Scutaro hesitated before making his throw.  Doubront took care of it by striking out Snider on three pitches.  That’s poise.  Especially from a young guy.

But in the seventh, Bautista hit a solo shot of his own to tie it back up.  Doubront picked up a blown save for that.

The eighth was when we locked it up.  With two out, Lowell hit a solo shot over the left field fence.  It was a sinking fastball, and he basically golfed it out of the park.  And that put us out in front for good, not to mention the fact that Lowell is clearly returning to form very nicely.  Lowrie added one for insurance with an RBI double.  Delcarmen held the fort, Paps made the save, and the final score was 7-5!

Lowrie finished the night two for three; Ellsbury finished the night two for four.

And it just goes to show you that man can not win on long balls alone.  If they could, Toronto would be at the top of the standings by now.  But they’re not.  And we beat them, with both big and small ball.  We took advantage of our opportunities, leaving only five on base as opposed to Toronto’s eight.  So the first bit of good news is that we won.  The second is that the Yankees lost to the Rangers.  And the third is that Pedroia passed all his running drills; he ran the bases a bit yesterday and will run them again today, and he’ll be evaluated on Friday.  If everything checks out, Pedroia will spend the weekend in Pawtucket and start at second on Tuesday.  The only bad news was that the Rays managed to win, but we’re still inching ahead.  Next is Buchholz opposite Marcum.  Let’s win the series.

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Alright.  So.  With the last two games of the Toronto series done, we find the season halfway done as well.  That’s a pretty scary thought.  It seems like only yesterday we were in the dead of winter, itching to get going, and frustrated with our first month.  Now, we’ve finished the first three and are rooting for Papi in the Home Run Derby tonight.  Time flies when you’re having fun!

Our last two games were pretty much opposites of each other.  They perfectly captured our entire first half, actually.  Simply put, we lost on Saturday in a big way and won yesterday in a not-so-big but equally significant way.

Saturday’s final score was 9-5, and unfortunately it definitely wasn’t the first time we’ve lost a day game this season.  Drew walked with the bases loaded in the first, Nava and Papi doubled in three runs in the second, and Scutaro hit an RBI single in the third.  It was extremely frustrating, mostly because he entire game was one huge manifestation of the worst luck ever.  Cameron got called out on strikes in the seventh and was so frustrated he got himself ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg.  It’s just as well; he got plunked on the wrist with a ninety-mile-per-hour fastball in the third.  (Hey, if he had to get plunked, his timing was excellent.  He sat out yesterday’s game but has the break.  He should be back in action when we start the second half.) Tito followed suit.  We struck out a grand total of twelve times, seven looking and five swinging.  Even though we went into the game second-highest in the AL in walks, we only walked twice.  Lackey didn’t help much.  He was absolutely terrible.  He left with two outs in the fifth inning, when Lewis tried to check his swing and ended up batting in two.  He gave up seven runs on eight hits in that brief appearance.  He walked six while pitching to a team that, heading into the game, struck out 663 times.  He struck out only two.  He fired 106 pitches.  He picked up the loss, and very rightly so.  He was extraordinarily hittable and inefficient.  So the top third of the lineup did all the offensive work, the bottom two-thirds spent most of their time hitting balls right to guys, and somehow the Jays hit pitches that were supposed to be some of Lackey’s best of the day.

We somewhat avenged ourselves yesterday afternoon, when we won, 3-2, thanks to a strong showing from Dice-K.  He gave up two runs on six hits in six innings, which for him is apparently a long outing, with no walks as a nice change of pace and five K’s.  He threw eighty-eight pitches, sixty-two of which were strikes, and picked up the win.  Even more impressive was that he barely had a cushion at all; the final score was 3-2, and we scored all of our runs in the sixth inning, all three via the long ball.  McDonald snapped the lack of score by sending a ball way deep into left field with Scutaro on base.  He has certainly proven himself to be one of the most significant members of our lineup during this first half.  Seriously.  We have fourteen guys on the fifteen-day disabled list right now, and without contributions from players like McDonald, I don’t even want to think about what the standings would look like.  Papi then went back-to-back with a homer of his own in preparation for tonight’s theatrics.  One of two things I didn’t appreciate was the fact that the roof of the Rogers Centre broke.  You read right.  It broke, and it only happened halfway, which created some conditions for the hitters and pitchers that were interesting at best and incredibly annoying at least.  McDonald said he’d never played in such conditions before, and Papi claimed he just closed his eyes and swung the bat.  Either way, it worked out.  Then Bard got the old and Paps got the save.  Boom.  Done.  The other thing I didn’t appreciate was that Beltre left in the sixth with a left hamstring issue.  He wanted to stay in the game, but Tito, being ever-cautious when basically our entire team is just finding ways to get itself on the DL, took him out.  He thinks he’ll be able to play in the All-Star Game but isn’t sure yet.  If he does play, that better not impede his ability to come back strong for the second half.

So we’re still three games behind the Rays and five behind the Yankees, but I don’t think any of us would’ve believed that we’d end the first half in such a solid position if you asked us in April.  We enter the break fifty-one and thirty-seven.  So we can at least be happy about that, and we can also be happy about an entire second half of baseball to be played! We start the second half against the Rangers.  Wake will open the series, followed by Buchholz, Lackey, Lester, and Dice-K.  I like the idea of Wake pitching on eight days of rest.  And that’s pretty much a wrap of the first half.  Wow.  Time really does fly.  See you on the other side.

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Whoa.  I don’t even know what that was.  I think that was our lineup trying to make up for our lack of offense during the Rays series in a single night.  Whatever it was, it definitely worked.  Although if you ask me, I would’ve liked to have borrowed some of the runs from last night and used them against the Rays.  We definitely had enough runs to go around.

Last night’s game as absolutely fantastic.  It was an absolute rout of a team that stood absolutely no chance.  It was a decisive, dominant defeat that absolutely snapped our four-game losing streak.  You don’t get much more absolute than that.

We continue to be undefeated at the Rogers Centre this year and have won thirteen of our last nineteen contests there.  We have a grand total of eighty-nine wins there, more than any other visitor.  Can we say Fenway North?

The final score was a whopping 14-3.  That was our second-highest game run total this year, our highest being seventeen against the Angels on May 3.  (Buchholz picked up that win.) It featured a three-run second, a seven-run third, a three-run fourth, and a one-run sixth.  Four of those runs were unearned, but in the final score a run is a run, and it just goes to show you that Toronto’s pitching as well as its defense were terrible.

Cameron started us off with an RBI single, which Hall promptly followed with a two-run home run hit deep out to center, his seventh of the season.  Romero fed him a steady diet of up and away, and he finally got just enough bat on one to line it out to the opposite field.  But that was nothing compared to what we were about to unleash on Romero in the third.

Simply put, he got rocked.  Hard.  Here we go.

Youk hit a sac fly to start things off.  Then McDonald scored when Drew hit into a fielder’s choice.  Then Romero left with the bases loaded.  It’s the second straight start in which he’s been unable to get past the third.  Something I readily noticed: his changeup was horrible.  Then Cameron walked with the bases loaded.  Then Hall hit a sac fly.  Then Scutaro hit a two-RBI single, followed by an RBI single by McDonald.

So that was the seven-run third, which gave us a ten-run lead, but we weren’t about to stop there.  The three-run fourth was still to come.  If the third showed the power of small ball, the fourth was about to show pure power, period.

Youk and Beltre belted back-to-back jacks.  That was the third time this season they did that.  Youk’s ball cleared that left field wall in a hurry.  I’d like to see Nick Swisher do that! (Actually, I wouldn’t, but you know what I mean.) I can’t believe that Youk lost the Final Vote to Nick Swisher.  Nick Swisher! I don’t even understand how that’s possible! Of all the people on the list to lose to, it had to be Nick Swisher? Whatever.  Youk is over it, so I guess we should move on as well.

Anyway, then Drew grounded out, and Cameron added another jack.  His ball landed in left as well.  Three home runs is a lot for one inning.  It’s even a lot for one game, and we finished the game with four! The last time we hit at least three jacks in one frame was the fifth on May 20, 2009, when Tek, Papi, Bay, and Lowell all went deep against the Jays, appropriately enough, at Fenway.  I’m telling you, I watched those home runs and I thought they were showing replays.  That’s what it looks like when you watch jack after jack.  It was so awesome.

So all four home runs were lined out, lasers as Pedroia would say.  Hall finished the night three for four with the home run and two doubles as well, batting in a game-high four runs.  It was his first time hitting in Rogers Centre with the roof open; it’s amazing how much of a hitter’s park it becomes when it’s open.  Youk’s home run was his only hit, and we’ll take it.  Beltre finished two for three.  Cameron finished three for four; he’s had six hits in his last two games.  And Drew has also quietly been on a tear in his last six.

And last but most certainly not least, Jon Lester.  He wasn’t as economical as he usually is, but his outing was still excellent.  He tossed six frames, gave up two runs on four hits including a solo shot, walked two, and struck out six.  He threw ninety-six pitches total and picked up the win.  I agree with Hall; Lester should totally start the All-Star Game.

His cut fastball was sharp, as were his changeup, sinker, and curveball.  He threw his game high of twenty pitches in the second and game low of eleven in the third, and he was pretty consistent in his other four innings.  His release point was perfect.  He didn’t throw any balls around the upper left or bottom right corners of the zone, but his zone itself was nice and even.  His movement was spot-on.  So he mixed his pitches well, varied his speeds, and did everything he usually does.

Manuel allowed the third Jays run, and Richardson pitched the ninth.  Done.

Unfortunately, the prediction that V-Mart will return soon after the break was a bit too ambitious.  He’ll be out longer.  Ellsbury, on the other hand, is back with the team.  He’s in Toronto, working out with the team and seeing team doctors.  I can’t wait to see him back in the outfield again.

So last night was a spectacular night for everybody.  Tito won his nine hundredth Major League game, the starters got to rest because of the big lead, we received a big boost to our morale, and we won! This afternoon, we hope to give Lackey a similar offensive cushion – that wasn’t even a cushion, that was a mattress or something huge – as he takes on Morrow.  Most importantly, we look to build some momentum going into the break so we can start the second half on good footing.

Wow.  That was powerful.  Absolutely.

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Same score, but very different ending: we lost, 6-7, in ten innings.  Again, it was all the bullpen’s fault.

Wake pitched very well.  He was an out shy of seven frames, during which he gave up two runs on seven hits, one walk, and five K’s.  That’s a good outing.  108 pitches.  Really an excellent outing.  He’ll now transition to a bullpen role to make way for Dice-K.  That’s huge.  That’s one significant role reduction right there.  Appropriate that when he returned to the dugout, he was greeted by a hug from Papi, who’s gone through the same thing this week.  I mean, Wake has been pitching in this rotation for fifteen years.  It’ll be sad to see him go, and it would be a waste, too, because clearly he’s still got it.  He’s still a great starter.  He’d be the number one starter on some teams.  But between you and me, I think he’ll have his fair share of starts coming down the pipe.  I think they’ll want to ease Dice-K back into the starting rotation, so I think Wake will make some starting appearances here and there.  I don’t think it’ll be a flat-out end of an era.  I’d be surprised if he just spends the entire rest of the season in the bullpen.

But Okajima, who quite frankly has been awful lately, game on to pitch an inning and an out and gave up two runs.  Lately, it’s gotten to the point where the second he steps out of the bullpen and onto the outfield grass, runs just start scoring.  He got a blown save for his trouble.  Bard turned in a perfect inning.  But Atchison allowed three runs and took the loss.  Schoenweis worked around two hits and allowed an RBI single, and Delcarmen pitched well for two outs.  We lost in ten innings.  The bullpen’s sure been getting its work in lately, but as far as this game is concerned, that’s what they get for letting our lead slip away and losing us the ballgame.  Paps was unavailable.

Baltimore led by one until they arrived at the bottom of the sixth inning, when we scored four runs.  And if you wanted manufactured runs, you got them right then and there.  Youk singled in Pedroia and moved V-Mart to second.  Papi singled in V-Mart and moved Youk to third.  Drew sacrificed Youk home.  And Lowell doubled in Papi.  We almost recovered our lead in the bottom of the tenth, which would’ve been wild.  Imagine that for a second: three walkoffs in six games.  Five wins in our last six.  That would’ve been something.  But alas, it was not to be.  Drew doubled in Youk and Hall singled in Drew and moved Beltre to second, but the rally ended there, one run short of tying it up.  McDonald popped out.  Scutaro stepped up with two on and two out, but he hit it right at Wigginton.

Youk went three for five with a double, Drew finished two for four (the day off did him good), and Pedroia hit a double.  Beltre made an error.

Ellsbury and Cameron will in fact join the team during the road trip to Toronto and Baltimore.

This game is the perfect example of the concept of “bright side.” Yes, we lost; yes, we take a further hit in the standings; yes, Wake is going to the bullpen.  But we manufactured runs! That was the one thing we wanted to see our offense do, just to know it’s capable of it, and we saw it.  We saw it in a big way, because we almost won us a ballgame that way.  (If it weren’t for the bullpen’s failure.) So we lost, but we’re in a good position because we’ve laid all our offensive skills on the table, we know where they stand, and we can draw from all of them.  The homestand is done; now we hit the road for Toronto, followed by Baltimore.  Beckett on the hill tonight at the Rogers Centre.  Let’s start this road trip right.

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We lost last night.  We’re now one and a half games behind New York.  But still there is no shame in losing to Toronto.  In fact, I feel very comfortable saying there’s no shame in being swept.  That’s not going to happen, and I’ll be one very unhappy camper if it does, but like I said Toronto was a first-place club not too long ago, and while their quality will deteriorate as the season progresses, it doesn’t deteriorate overnight, so we have nothing to worry about as far as that’s concerned.  Everything still holds: the Yanks will keep first place warm for us while they enjoy their short moment in the sun, and then soon enough we’ll be back and that’ll be it for New York.

We lost, 3-5, and it was a real shame because Penny pitched beautifully.  Six innings, two earned runs on ten hits, no walks, five strikeouts.  When your fifth starter allows only two earned runs, you should be able to score, get a lead, and keep it.  We essentially failed to do all three of those things.  We scored once in the first inning and twice in the second.  Lowell went two for four with an RBI in the first, and Baldelli batted in the second with Tek on first.  He hit it out.  Cleared the wall in left center field by a  good distance.  That’s his sixth RBI and second home run in a Red Sox uniform.  But he also made a fielding error.  So we had our lead, and then came the failing to keep it part.  Ramon Ramirez, who’s been lights-out in almost every appearance, allowed two runs on three hits in less than an inning of work.  He doled out a base on balls and no strikeouts.  Just to give you an idea of just how abnormal that is, those two runs matched his season total of runs allowed.  Okajima and Delcarmen were perfect.  At the end of it all, we were out-hit, 14-4.

But there were two occurrences that, at least for a moment, managed to overshadow our sub-par ballplaying.  And that can only mean one thing: potential injuries.  Luckily, neither of them turned out to be actual injuries.  In the fifth inning, Baldelli ran at top speed to chase down a foul ball.  It started curving toward the stands but he didn’t think it would get there, so he went into the slide to haul it in.  Now, the consistency of the dirt by the wall in the Rogers Centre makes for a tough slide because it’s a little rubbery so you can get stuck, so to speak.  So he went into the slide on this dirt, and basically it was knee meet wall.  It wasn’t pretty.  He didn’t catch the ball, but that was the least of his problems.  He stayed on the ground and was obviously in pain and ended up leaving the game.  X-rays came back negative, so it’s just a contusion, but he’ll get the day off today and probably come back Tuesday.

Also in the fifth, because apparently that inning was potential injury central yesterday, Tallet hit Pedroia’s left knee with a pitch.  It was an accident.  But Pedroia went down and stayed down.  And he also was obviously in pain.  Seriously, I don’t even want to think about what that feels like.  And just to show you how much of a dirt dog he is, he got up, limped to first base with Tito and a trainer, and by the time he reached the bag he was standing on his own two feet insisting he was good to go.  He stayed in the game.  But if you ask me, if I had to make the choice, I’d much rather have lost this game because he sat out than win it because he was left in and then have to put him on the DL.  Of course, we never had to make that choice, because he was in the lineup and we lost, but at least the kid’s healthy.  Dustin Pedroia is not someone you want to lose.  Incidentally, he scored Lowell’s RBI, went hitless, and stole, got caught, and was picked off.

Mark Kotsay could return as early as Tuesday, and just in time to give Baldelli a few more days of rest if he needs it.

On the bright side, we have every Monday off in June which should give the boys a second wind going into the All-Star break.  Potentially on the bright side, we’re throwing Lester today.  That could either go really well or be absolutely horrible.  And if you told me this time last year that Lester would be inconsistent and have a record of three and five with a 6.07 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP, I wouldn’t have been able to stop laughing.  Yeah, right.  Lester with those numbers? Impossible.  Apparently not.  So we’ll see.  As much as there’d be no shame in losing tomorrow, that doesn’t mean I want to.

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