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Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Lavarnway’

Walkoffs are awesome.  That is a fact.  I am a fan of the walkoff, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen one like this.  I would not want to be on the receiving end of one of these.  No, I would not.  For the Jays, there is no question that this was absolutely and completely humiliating.  It was completely avoidable, and yet it happened anyway and, in retrospect of course, there was nothing they could do about it.  It happens sometimes; that’s the nature of the game.  But I would not want to be Toronto right now.

Napoli and Nava led off the second with back-to-back singles.  Napoli scored on a double by Lavarnway, and he and Nava both scored on a double by Brandon Snyder.

In the fourth, Dempster gave up three singles, a walk, and a groundout that resulted in two runs scoring.

Ellsbury singled and scored on a double by Gomes in the fifth.

Breslow came on for Dempster with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth but got through it.  He gave up a solo shot to lead off the seventh; Wilson and Miller both pitched that inning.  Uehara came on in the ninth and gave up a solo shot that tied the game at four.

The Jays made a pitching change for the bottom of the ninth.  Iglesias grounded out, and then Snyder singled and Ellsbury walked.  Jonathan Diaz came in to pinch-run for Snyder, and the Jays made another pitching change.

I don’t know about you, but I was getting ready to settle in for a long night.  It just felt like one of those times when it was pretty unlikely for any late-inning heroics.

And, in fact, I was right.  There weren’t any.  There was just a late-inning mistake.

Adam Lind was out with a back injury, so Josh Thole, a catcher, had to step in at first.  Victorino stepped up to the plate and hit a ground ball.  But since the Jays’ first baseman was unused to playing first, the ball went off his glove, and Diaz scored from second base.

And so it was a 5-4 walkoff.  No heroics.  Just paying attention with the opposition made mistakes.

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This was one of those games that ended in an infuriating way because of an infuriating call.  It happens sometimes.  But technically, it shouldn’t happen at all.  That’s the infuriating part.  It’s completely avoidable, and yet somehow there is always some team that gets hurt.  Honestly, I don’t really mind if that particular team happens to be an adversary of ours.  But when it happens to you, you just know that there is no justice.

We have seen better from Doubront, especially lately.  But this really wasn’t that bad.  He pitched five innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits.  He walked four and struck out two.  Doubront led off his performance inauspiciously with two walks followed by an RBI double and an RBI groundout.  He gave up two singles and a double in the second, and a run scored on a passed ball.  He had a one-two-three third and a damage-free fourth and another one-two-three inning in the fifth.

Through the fifth, we were in the lead by one, having scored four runs.  Napoli led off the first with a single, Carp flied out, Drew walked, and Lavarnway singled in Napoli.  Drew later scored on a sac fly by Ellsbury.  That tied the game at two.  Pedroia led off the third with a single and scored on a groundout by Napoli to retie the game at three.  And we were winning after Lavarnway led off the fourth with a walk and scored on a groundout by Victorino.

We didn’t score in the sixth, and Tazawa made sure that they didn’t either.  We didn’t score in the seventh, but the same can not be said of the Tigers.  Obviously.  Because Bailey came out to pitch, and what has he done lately? He’s helped all of our opponents way more than he’s helped us, that’s for sure.  Yesterday was no different.  He gave up a single, secured the inning’s first out, gave up another single, and was then replaced by Miller.

But Miller gave up a single to load the bases, and then recorded a strikeout.  But then he did something really awful.  Perhaps just as embarrassing as walking in a run is hitting in a run.  By that I mean that Bailey hit a batter with the bases loaded, so he practically handed Detroit a free run.  Admittedly, with the bases loaded, the damage could have done far worse, but that’s not the point.  The point is that pitchers should have control that is far better than a lack of control that would allow a situation in which a hit batsman facilitates a run scoring.

We didn’t score in the eighth.  The Tigers led off the bottom of the eighth with what was obviously a fly ball.  One up, one down.  Nava caught it.  And he put his hand in his glove to get the ball to throw it in.  And then somehow second-base umpire Mike DiMuro made the absurdly ridiculous call that Nava had dropped the ball.  John came out to argue and rightly so.  He ended up getting ejected for the first time this year, but not before it was obvious to all that the ball was caught.  That was an out.  I don’t know which baseball game DiMuro was watching, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t ours.

To make matters even worse, Bailey made a throwing error, so what should have been the second out of the inning resulted in a situation with two men on base.  Miller then loaded the bases again with a walk.  He was pulled in favor of Wilson, who gave up a sac fly that brought in one run and an intentional walk.  Breslow came on and gave up a two-run single.

Pedroia led off the ninth with a single and scored on a double by Gomes, but by then the damage had already been done.  And we lost, 7-5.  If not for that completely botched eighth, it’s entirely possible and perhaps even probable that the game would have ended differently.

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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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Confidence is the key.  Feeling confident and channeling that confidence into finding a groove is how to get out of a slump.  We’re not necessarily out of the woods yet, but we’re taking positive steps to get there.  We’ve had some nailbiter wins recently; it’s nice to to back to coming out on top and then staying on top.  It felt easy and effortless last night, like we started the season that way and never stopped.  Here’s to keeping that going.

Ellsbury singled on the game’s third; one out later, Pedroia walked, and Papi worked the count 2-2 thanks to two balls and two fouls.  He got a curveball he could hit, and he hit it.  He sent the ball beyond the fence in right center field for a three-run shot, just like that.

We went down in order in the second; Middlebrooks singled, but it didn’t matter thanks to Lavarnway’s double play.  Gomes walked in the third and scored on a single by Papi.  Middlebrooks’s walk was our only damage in the fourth.

Dempster gave up five runs on eight hits while walking six and striking out two over the course of four and two-thirds innings.  So, on average, he gave up more than one walk, one hit, and one run every inning.  That is not what I call a good start.

He issued two consecutive walks to lead off the second; both runners advanced on a groundout, and a force out was successfully converted at home.  But he gave up a single that scored his first run right after that.  He was able to pitch himself out of a bases-loaded situation in the third.  He gave up another run thanks to a double-single combination.

He ran into real trouble in the fifth.  He gave up a double that turned into a run two groundouts later.  He issued a walk that turned into a double thanks to a steal, and the runner scored on a single.  That first base-steal-single-run sequence then repeated itself.  And that was when Mortensen came in, gave up a single, and ended the inning.

Dempster was lucky that we scored three runs of our own in the top of the frame.  Gomes and Pedroia hit back-to-back doubles, scoring one run.  Papi grounded out, which moved Pedroia to third, and Napoli’s walk put runners at the corners.  Nava’s sac fly brought Pedroia home, Middlebrooks’s single moved Napoli to second, and he scored on a single by Lavarnway, who was thrown out at third.

So each team had scored three runs in the fifth inning alone.  Even if we hadn’t scored again for the rest of the game, and provided that the Twins didn’t either, we would have won.  Each team had scored in two other innings before the fifth; the Twins had scored two prior runs, but we had scored four, so we were already on top.  It stayed that way in the sixth; neither team scored, thanks in the bottom of the inning to the combined efforts of Mortensen and Breslow.

We blew the game wide open in the seventh.  Pedroia walked to lead it off, and after working the count 2-1, Papi had himself a multi-homer game! He hit the ball again beyond the fence in right center field, again with at least one man on base.  It was a fine piece of hitting.  And it was made even better when Nava went back-to-back.  The Twins made a pitching change that did no good; Nava hit a solo shot in the very next at-bat.  His ball also ended up beyond the fence in right center field.  I love back-to-back jacks; it’s so much fun reveling in the fact that, at first, you think it’s just a replay until you realize that we actually powered our way through.

So that was another four runs right there, and Breslow kept the lid on the Twins in the bottom of the inning.  We went down in order in the eighth, and Wilson did a fine job.  It looked like we might get yet another rally going in the ninth when Papi and Napoli worked back-to-back walks and Nava singled to load the bases with nobody out.  Middlebrooks struck out, and Papi did score on a sac fly by Lavarnway; I guess we weren’t finished quite yet.  The bottom of the inning was pretty uneventful.

So we ended up winning, 12-5.  It was a slugfest, all right, and we buried the Twins with our massive power.  Both teams had an almost equivalent number of hits and walks, but our hitters were better at taking advantage of our opportunities, and our pitchers were better at closing the deal; we’ve seen recently the effects that that can have first-hand.  That’s basically all there is to it.

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I wanted to go out with a bang.  I really did.  I was really hoping that, since we were playing the Yankees for our last series and therefore our last game of the year, we would do something to remind the world that we may have had a worse-than-worst year this year but we’d be back with a vengeance next year.  I was hoping that we’d do something spectacular, like score a ton of runs or pitch exceptionally well, which for us, given the season we’ve had, would be nothing short of spectacular.  I was hoping we’d have a hand in deciding who would win the division.  At the most basic level, I was at least hoping that we’d walk away with our heads held high after a win over our archenemy.

Instead, we ended the season in a more appropriate fashion: with bad hitting, bad pitching, and a bad loss.  We got shelled.  And that’s much more indicative of our season this year than any win would have been.

Dice-K got the nod to start, and speaking of lasts, this may have been the last time you see Dice-K wear our uniform.  If that’s true, this start was a similarly appropriate end for him because it was mediocre at the very best.  He gave up five runs on six hits while walking one and striking out two over the course of only two and one-third innings.  He threw forty-three pitches, twenty-seven of which were strikes.  He went one-two-three in the first using only six pitches.  But then he gave up a single and a walk to lead off the second before notching his second and final strikeout and giving up a three-run home run on his first pitch of the at-bat.  He induced a groundout to start the third but then gave up another single followed by another home run.  After giving up a single, Mortensen came on to finish the third inning.

Mortensen went one-two-three in the fourth and got the first out of the fifth, but then he gave up a double and a two-run home run of his own followed by two consecutive walks on five pitches each.  Beato then came in and finished the fifth.  To begin the sixth, he hit a batter, gave up a single, induced a groundout, and issued a five-pitch walk.  Atchison then came in and gave up a single that scored two runs.  He finished the sixth before Carpenter came on for the seventh and gave up a solo shot on his sixth pitch.  He then issued a four-pitch walk, induced a lineout, gave up a single and then a double that scored two runs, and issued another walk.  Breslow then came in and issued a four-pitch walk to load the bases and gave up a single and a sac fly that plated one run each before finally recording the last out.  Tazawa went one-two-three in the ninth.

Meanwhile, Ellsbury had singled on the second pitch of the game and scored on a single by Ross two outs later.  And with two out in the seventh, Ciriaco doubled and scored on a single by Iglesias.  That was all.  It was our last chance to score runs for half a year and we only came up with two.  Other than that, we hardly threatened at all.  Rare was the occasion when we got a runner past first base or multiple runners on base.  By the time the game was over, hardly any of the Yankees’ starters were left on the field.

The final score was a crushing and humiliating 14-2.  Only Ross and Ciriaco had multi-hit games; they each went two for three.  Pedroia and Lavarnyway were the only ones who walked; each walked once.  We pounded out a grand total of eight hits, only three of which were for extra bases, and all three of them were doubles.

And so ends the most disappointing season in recent memory.  There’s nothing new to say.  We’ve been losing so consistently and for such a long time that every possible way I could express the anger and confusion and frustration and embarrassment that we have steadily experienced this year has already been used to express it.  We end hte season on an eight game losing streak and have only won one of our last thirteen games.  We finish with a record of sixty-nine and ninety-three, our worst since 1965, which corresponds with a winning percentage of .426.  We also finish twenty-six games out of first place in our division.  We’re last in our division for the first time since 1992 and third-to-last in the league.  It was awful.  For an entire season we had to sit through injury after injury, loss after loss, and drama after drama.  It was just crushing and exhausting and frustrating and infuriating.  And strange; the Orioles are in the playoffs, and the Nationals have the best record in all of Major League Baseball? Who knew? But one thing’s for sure: we’ve got a lot of work to do this offseason.  A lot of work to do.  It’s going to be a long, cold winter, but hopefully it’ll be a busy one as the brass figures out how to fix this mess.  We only have our hope for next year now.

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Buchholz got shelled during his last start of the season.  It wasn’t pretty.  It certainly wasn’t a good note on which to end the year for him, especially given how well he’s been pitching lately.  It’s a real shame.  I would have loved to have decimate the Yankees, and I would have loved to have seen Buchholz play a big part in that, because he’s way better than last night’s line.

He only lasted one and two-thirds innings and gave up eight runs on six hits while walking two and striking out two.  The weird thing was that his first inning was solid gold; he retired the three batters he faced thanks to a flyout, a groundout, and a strikeout.  The second inning, however, was one of the worst innings I have ever seen him pitch, if you can even call it that.  His very first pitch of the frame was hit for a solo shot.  He got the first out of the inning on a strikeout.  And then he gave up a single and two consecutive home runs, the second of which was reviewed but stood as originally called.  Then he issued two consecutive walks on a total of sixteen pitches followed by a single, a sac fly that plated a run, and a double that plated two runs.  Aceves then replaced him and gave up a two-run home run before giving up a double and finally ending the inning.

Aceves had a solid third and pitched around two baserunners in the fourth.  Beato took over for the fifth, sixth, and two batters into the seventh.  Then it was Miller’s turn, and he finished the seventh.  Bailey gave up a single, a groundout that advanced the runner, and another single that scored him.

Meanwhile, Nava put us on the board for the first time in the fourth with a solo shot on the second pitch of his at-bat, a ninety-two mile-per-hour sinker that he launched to right center field.  We scored our last run in the seventh; Gomez led it off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout by Lavarnway, and scored on a sac fly by Salty.

So let me just put this in perspective for you.  The final score was an ugly, painful, and humiliating 10-2.  The Evil Empire scored all but one of its runs in the second inning alone, all but one of which were credited to Buchholz.  So, as I said, Buchholz gave up eight runs, and then Aceves and Bailey gave up one each.  That’s how bad Buchholz was.  He just didn’t have it.  He couldn’t find the strike zone, and when he could, he couldn’t close the deal.  It wasn’t that he was issuing a lot of walks; he issued only two.  The problem was that he wasn’t throwing strikes, so he was throwing a lot of pitches and getting tired and making mistakes at every turn.

We will not be leaving our mark on the baseball season of 2012.  Both the Yanks and the Orioles are now officially in the playoffs.  We didn’t spoil either team’s postseason potential.  The only thing that we could possibly effect now is who wins the division.  It’s a sad day when that’s all you’ve got.

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Well, we put Zach Stewart on the mound again, and he disappointed again.  We lost.  Our runs were the result of only two scoring plays in the whole game.  We did not play well at all.

It started and basically ended with Stewart.  He gave up five runs on seven hits over the course of only two and two-thirds innings.  He walked none and struck out one.  His fourth pitch of the game was hit for a solo shot, and then he loaded the bases by giving up two singles and hitting a batter.  One run scored on a double play, and the other scored on a single.  He’s lucky he escaped with only those three runs.  He went one-two-three in the second but was back at it in the third; his sixth pitch of the inning was hit for a solo shot, he got the inning’s first out, he gave up a single, he got the inning’s second out, and then he gave up an RBI single.  And that was when he was replaced by Mortensen.

Mortensen finished the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth.  He gave up a solo shot to lead off the fifth, which was Baltimore’s last run of the game and Mortensen’s only blemish.  Carpenter pitched the seventh, and Padilla pitched the eighth.

We didn’t score until the fourth, and when we did, we were already behind by five.  Ross led off the fourth by smacking a seventy-eight mile-per-hour changeup out to left field for a solo shot on the second pitch of the frame.  That was it until the seventh, when Lavarnway singled and Nava hit a home run of his own to left field, this one for two runs and on Nava’s first pitch, an eighty-eight mile-per-hour fastball.  Both home runs were expertly hit, both consisted of healthy swings, and both were great to watch except for the fact that, like I said, they were our only scoring plays.  If they had been part of a larger slugfest or something, they probably would have looked a lot better.

With this 6-3 loss, we are now down to our last series of the season.  It’s against New York, and we should at least put up a strong showing to make it hard for them or something.  Anyway, while the Orioles were celebrating their first playoff berth since 1997, we were just swept right out of Baltimore and have lost ninety games in a season for the first time since 1966.

In other news, the Pats downed the Bills by the healthy score of 52-28.

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