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Posts Tagged ‘Ryne Sandberg’

Dustin Pedroia.  Dustin Pedroia the Destroyah.  Ladies and gentlemen, Dustin Pedroia the Destroyah is officially back in action! He is so back in action, it’s not even funny.  He is so back in action, I was almost blind by the lasers coming off his bat last night.

Before the game, Tito texted him and asked if he wouldn’t mind batting third.  He said no, he wouldn’t mind.  His bat completely agreed.  That was corny, but how else can I say it? Dude was packing.

He then proceeded to go five for five with a walk, four runs, five RBIs, and a career-high three home runs in a single game.  Simply put, that was the best offensive game he has ever played in his entire life.  Ever.  Seriously.  Four of those five hits were for extra bases.  And going all the way back to Little League, he’s never hit three home runs in a single game before.  The last time he even came a little bit close to that was last season against the Orioles, when he hit two.  But never has he hit three.  The team hasn’t had a three-homer game since July 23, 2004 (with the emphasis obviously on 2004), when we lost to the Yanks but Kevin Millar went deep three times in the process.  Last night was the twenty-fifth three-homer game in club history.  Tito even compared Pedroia to Ryne Sandberg.  Scutaro announced truthfully that here’s a real three-spot hitter.  I think at this point Pedroia may be over his slump, don’t you?

He hit his first homer of the night in the fourth to get us on the board.  It was hit mighty deep and ended up somewhere in the left field seats.  It was his tenth of the year; he’s the fourth member of our lineup to have ten.  But obviously he wouldn’t have only ten for long.

He hit his second homer in the eighth.  That one was a two-runner.  He extended all the way to get it with the tip of his bat and curled it around the foul pole in left field.  It was his second career two-homer game, but again, it wouldn’t be just a two-homer game for long.

His third and most dramatic home run was another two-runner on a slider that he absolutely crushed in the tenth with two outs and an 0-1 count.  He put the barrel of his bat on it, and it had backspin on it.  So it was barely two feet inside the left field fence.  But it was out.  It was most definitely out.  It may as well have been a walkoff because it gave us a lead we would not relinquish.  Finally.  The final score was 13-11, courtesy of the little man with the apparently really big bat.

It was incredible.  It was really incredible.  And even that’s an understatement.  He had every single Rockies pitcher’s number.  He read the ball perfectly.  He executed his swings right on time.  His motion was precise.  And he unleashed all the power he had.  You don’t see a game like that every day, but for Dustin Pedroia the Destroyah, a game like that is just amazing, not surprising.  Wow.

It was a slugfest, so the rest of the offense wasn’t too shabby, either.  Naturally that’s an understatement.  Cameron and and even Dice-K rounded out the fourth with a two-run double and an RBI single, respectively.  All seven of the hits and four of the runs that Hammel gave up came in that frame.  In the fifth, Beltre got in on the action, depositing one in left field, ironically with Pedroia on base.  Beltre also had himself an RBI single, along with Tek’s two-run double, in the seventh.  And the rest of it, as I said, was all Pedroia.  Man, slugfests are good for the heart, good for the mind, and most definitely good for the soul.

That was the good, and believe me, it was all good.  Now for the bad.  Dice-K wasn’t exactly on the ball.  In his first start since June 7, he only lasted five innings, gave up two runs on five hits, walked four, and struck out six.  So, on average, that’s about one hit and one walk per inning.  He threw thirty-seven of his 101 pitches in the first inning alone.  Rusty much? Eventually, as he is wont to do, he did settle down.  He threw only twelve pitches in the second, seventeen in the third, twenty-five in the fourth, and thirteen in the fifth.  Really, all of his pitches were good.  His fastball and slider were his most effective pitches, but he also threw his changeup and cutter decently.  Having all his pitches working helped him mix them effectively and vary his speed.  His strike zone was sort of diagonal; he threw from the upper right corner to the lower left corner, with his balls being around those corners as well.  The movement on his pitches was more moderate than usual, which may have been the problem.  If pitches that are supposed to move don’t move, they sort of hang over the plate and don’t do much, and it’s really easy for the batter to spot them and make constructive contact.  Luckily, Dice-K managed to not allow any home runs.  In fact, that was the one category in which our pitching last night excelled.  Dice-K left with a 6-2 lead but was off record.

And now, last but unfortunately not least, the ugly.  Dice-K was off record because Delcarmen failed.  He gave up three runs on two hits and a walk without even recording an out.  Okajima followed that with a failure of his own, allowing three runs on four hits and earning a blown save for his trouble.  Ramirez recorded an out.  Atchison received a hold but allowed a run.  Bard received a hold and recorded an out.  And now we arrive at Papelbon.

Papelbon was awarded both the win and a blown save, his second in a row.  He entered the game with an 11-9 lead and exited the game with a 13-11 final score, but in between he opened with a strike out, only to give up three consecutive hits, the third of which was a bloop single on a 3-0 count that was good for two runs that tied the game.  Many thanks to McDonald for making a jumping catch literally at the center field wall.  (Other defensive theatrics included Cameron’s beautiful diving catch in center.) These were his first back-to-back blown saves since May 7 and 9, 2008, the third time he’s done it in his career, and the first time in his career that he’s done it on consecutive days.  Ultimately, I hope he went up to Pedroia after the game and thanked him profusely for that third long ball.

Thus, the entire offense spent the entire night bailing the entire pitching staff out.

Lowell is on the fifteen-day DL because he felt something in his right hip.  Essentially, it was a roster move to make room for Dice-K’s return.

That was some game, of which resilience was the name.  It took ten innings, lasted four hours and forty-eight minutes, included four lead changes, and a grand total of thirty-three hits between the two teams.  But we won out! Still tied with Tampa Bay, we’re two games out of first and off to San Francisco.  Wakefield starts it off.  After last night’s marathon, I’m thinking something brief but decisive, although with Wakefield, as with Dice-K, you never really know what you’re going to get.  At least we’ve got some momentum going into it.  We staved off the sweep, we’re still almost in first, and our second baseman, who had until this point been in a slump, just lit it up big!

AP Photo

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