Posts Tagged ‘Scott Podsednik’

And the bad news just keeps on coming.  If we’re going to have a blockbuster September, it’s going to have to start today because it sure didn’t start yesterday or the day before.  We lost again.

Dice-K failed yet again.  So just to be clear, if it wasn’t clear enough already, Dice-K’s norm is being a fail, and when he has a good start, it’s a reason to celebrate.  So basically, in failing, Dice-K was normal.  That says something really sad, doesn’t it.

He began his start with a seven-pitch walk to Coco Crisp and followed that with a home run for two runs.  He then gave up a solo shot in the second.  He opened the third inning with another seven-pitch walk to Crisp, followed by a single and then a sac fly that brought in one run; one out later, he gave up a single and then a walk to load the bases.  Fortunately, he only gave up a single that scored one run in that situation.  Unfortunately, it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things because, all else being equal, we would have lost anyway regardless of how many runs he allowed at that point.  The bases were loaded again in the fourth with one out, and again Dice-K limited but did not prevent the damage; he induced a groundout that scored one.

All told, he gave up six runs on seven hits over the course of three and two-thirds innings.  He walked four, struck out four, and took a well-deserved loss.

And then Miller replaced him and pitched the rest of the fourth as well as the fifth.  Breslow pitched a one-two-three sixth, Tazawa pitched a one-two-three seventh, and Melancon pitched the eighth.

Meanwhile, yet again, there is not much offense to report.  The only innings during which we had more than one runner on base were the innings during which we scored, and those were few and far between.  To be exact, there were only two of them.  That’s two innings during which we scored as well as a grand total of two runs scored; we spent more than half the game, five innings to be exact, going down in order.

Thanks two a walk and two back-to-back singles, it was our turn to load the bases with one out in the sixth.  Ross singled in Ciriaco from first, and Podsednik tried to score from second but was out at home.  And then Pedroia led off the ninth with a double, moved to third on a groundout by Ross, and scored on a sac fly by Gomez.

Pedroia had our only multihit game, and it was a great game at that.  He went three for four.  But it wasn’t enough.  The final score was 6-2.  So after being swept by the Angels, we also got swept by the A’s.  That means that we are nursing a six-game losing streak, the longest we’ve had all season long.  In those six games, we have only scored fifteen runs.

AP Photo

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Zach Stewart was called up and given the start.  I don’t think this is a start he’ll want to remember.  I know it’s a start I don’t want to remember.  It didn’t go well.  A newcomer gets called up and all he wants to do is impress and impress and impress, and then when he doesn’t and instead he falls hard and fast, you can’t help feeling bad for the man but so much worse for the team and for you, who’s saddled with a loss as a result.

He never really had much of a chance in this one, unfortunately.  From the beginning you could tell that he was having an off night in a big way.  Most of his pitches stayed up in the zone, and the opposing hitters had no problem picking them out.

In the first inning alone, he gave up a single, an RBI double, an RBI single that advanced the runner even further thanks to a throwing error by Pedroia, and a two-run home run.  He gave up a double to lead off the second, which turned into a run on another RBI single.  He gave up his second leadoff double of the night in the third and, two outs later, gave up two consecutive RBI doubles followed by his second two-run home run of the night.

Yeah.  It was ugly.  He gave up nine runs on ten hits while walking none and striking out two over three innings.  He is our first pitcher to give up nine earned runs on ten hits since Howard Ehmke did it in 1923.  And he’s our first pitcher to allow nine runs in his first game with us.  Because thankfully he was relieved by Tazawa after that.  He took an extremely well-deserved loss, and that was the end of that.  The final score ended up being 10-3, and he gave up all but one of those runs in the first three innings.  Four runs in the first, one in the second, and four more in the third.  Wow.  That’s basically the exact opposite of the way you want a callup start to go.

Tazawa gave up the Angels’ tenth run in the fifth, when he gave up a walk and a single that was followed by a double play that brought the run in.  Then Miller pitched around a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, and Aceves pitched the seventh and eighth.

We scored our first run in the second, when Gomez and Aviles opened the inning with back-to-back singles; Gomez scored on a sac fly by Podsednik one out later.  We scored our remaining two runs in the fifth; Podsednik and Ciriaco opened the inning with back-to-back singles, Ellsbury grounded into a force out that eliminated Ciriaco, Ellsbury stole second base and Podsedik scored on a throwing error, and then Ellsbury scored on a single by Pedroia.

We hardly threatened after that.  We had two runners on in the eighth, and that was basically it for our big effort to overcome a seven-run deficit and score runs.

By the way, in case you forgot, Stewart came over from the Other Sox when we traded Kevin Youkilis.  So that’s what we get.

Chris Carlson

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I don’t know how Dice-K does it.  Most of the time he is just awful.  And then all of a sudden he executes a start like this that’s just awesome, and it makes you think that maybe you shouldn’t write him off juts yet.  Basically it’s so agonizing that he can’t just do this on a regular basis, and you can’t help thinking about what could possibly have gone wrong between Japan and where he is right now.

He pitched seven innings and gave up one run, which wasn’t even earned, on five hits while walking two and striking out six.  He threw 101 pitches, seventy-one of which were strikes, and by his standards that’s extremely efficient.  The lone run scored in the first; he started the game by allowing the first of his walks, which eventually turned into a run on a sac fly thanks en route to a missed catch by Pedroia, which allowed the runner to advance.

Dice-K had plenty of good relief behind him to keep the pitching momentum going.  Mortensen and Padilla combined for the eighth, and Bailey handled the ninth.  I guess this is him giving us a glimpse of what we should expect next season, when we hope he’ll be healthy at the start of it.

Although we only outhit the Royals by one, we outscored them by four.  Ellsbury single-handedly answered their run in the bottom of the first with a solo shot on his fourth pitch, the fourth straight four-seam he saw in that at-bat.  All four pitches were the exact same speed, too: ninety-two miles per hour.  He took the first two for balls, fouled the third, and went yard to right on the last.  And with Ellsbury’s second home run of the year, the game was tied at one.

But not for long.  We took the lead in the third and never looked back.  Podsednik and Pedroia hit back-to-back singles, and Ross singled them both in.  Ellsbury and Ross hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth that scored one, and Loney followed it with a second consecutive scoring play, a single that plated Ross.

And that’s a wrap! Literally nobody in the last four spots of the order produced a hit, a run, or an RBI.  Only one, Gomez, managed to reach base all night, and that was because he walked.  Meanwhile, three of the top five, Podsednik, Ellsbury, and Ross, went two for four.  Ross bounced both of his hits off the Monster, and his double just barely missed making it into the seats for a home run.  And with this win, Dice-K becomes one of only four Japanese pitchers to win fifty games.  Not bad for someone who hasn’t seen Major League action in about two months.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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What a game.  That was a nailbiter for sure.  Down to the wire, it really could have gone either way.  I’m serious.  Either team could have easily won, and either team could have easily lost.  It was one of those games where you could tell that it was going to be decided by something small or by something big.  And until it was decided all you could do was keep the faith and believe that somehow we would come out on top.

It started with poor pitching on both sides.  Morales was the culprit for us in a big way.  He was fine in the first.  And he was fine in the second.  But he completely and totally imploded in the third and didn’t even make it out of the inning.  He gave up a single, a fielder’s choice, another single followed by a steal, an RBI single, a strikeout, a walk to load the bases, an RBI walk since that’s really what it was, and an unearned run thanks to an error by Ciriaco.  He gave up almost every kind of run imaginable in that first inning, including the more humiliating varieties.

Then Mortensen got up there and allowed a whole heap of inherited runners to score, plus several of his own.  He gave up an RBI walk of his own followed by three consecutive RBI singles.

So just so we’re completely aware of the dire situation, I will point out that that’s eight runs.  We gave up eight runs in a single inning.  We usually don’t even score eight runs in a single game.  Or, for that matter, in multiple games put together.  And our pitching staff just dropped eight runs like it was their job.  Honestly our pitching’s been so sub-par this season that sometimes it looks like it actually is.

At that point Mortensen was relieved by Tazawa, who ended the inning and pitched the fourth without incident.  Melancon pitched the fifth and sixth.  Bailey gave up two consecutive singles and an RBI single two outs later, after which he was relieved by Padilla, who finished the inning and pitched through the eighth.

Fortunately, our hitters were actually prepared to answer.  And it was glorious to watch the whole thing unfold.  Because, sure, they scored eight runs in a single inning, and sure, that inning was early on in the contest, but we were clearly unfazed by it.  That plus the fact that the pitcher we were facing was, as I said, not that much better than Morales.  These things blended together to create a fantastic dish of cold, hard revenge every single time they’d score a run.  We’d just come roaring back.

We actually scored first; Pedroia doubled and scored on a single by Gonzalez in the first.  And we scored five runs in the second.  Gomez doubled and scored on a single by Podsednik, Ciriaco singled, Ellsbury singled in Podsednik, and then Pedroia strode to the plate and delivered an absolute wallop of a swing that seemed to uncork months and months of frustration.  He let loose, and the ball sailed out toward the Monster.  And it was fantastic because it brought in three runs in one swing of the bat; that’s a matter of seconds.  It was a game-changer.

Then the Angels’ monster inning happened, and neither team scored again until the fifth, when Pedroia singled and scored on a single by Ross.  Not wanting to feel left out of the power action, Aviles went yard toward the Monster as well.  One at-bat later, Ciriaco doubled and scored on a double by Ellsbury.  This gave us a one-run lead at the time, which we promptly lost due to Bailey’s run.  That tied things up at nine, and that’s exactly where it stayed until the eighth.  We hit four straight singles in the eighth, the latter two of which plated runs.

Except that the Angels answered us, too.  Aceves came out for the ninth and gave up a solo shot and two RBI singles to give the Angels a one-run lead, and Ross’s mistake in the field wasn’t helpful.  And suddenly the situation was reversed.  Momentum was no longer on our side.  It’s been so hard to come by, and naturally when you need it most it tends to disappear.  That’s the story of our entire season, I guess.  It was all that any one of us could take, and yet we couldn’t look away because we believe as long as there’s even the tiniest shred of hope that we could obtain the W, we knew we were still in it.  We were in it to the very, very last, all right.

Except that that solo shot wasn’t a home run at all.  It didn’t even go over the Monster, and anyone watching could have seen it, but for some reason nobody realized or challenged it.  And if it had been challenged and reviewed and possibly reversed, who knows what the outcome of the game would have been then?

But then Ross led off the ninth with a solo shot out toward the Monster.  This was unbelievable.  We finally seemed to have an answer for everything, and the suspense was almost intolerable.  We showed that we have resilience.  We showed that we have grit and that we can come back at the drop of a hat.  Now we just needed to show that we could seal the deal and walk away with the win; we needed to score a run or two that the Angels didn’t have an answer for, because we were neck-and-neck and needed to put ourselves on top.

But the team that had the last word wasn’t us.  Aceves allowed a solo shot to lead off the tenth followed by a single and was then replaced by Breslow, who gave up an RBI double for the winning run.

The final score was 14-13.  Now, I’ve seen disappointing losses this year.  I mean, every loss is disappointing, but there have been some real backbreakers.  And this one is up there.  To come back every single time except the last, to respond to everything they did at the plate run by run, to have had our chance to win throughout the whole game and then come up short by just one run in extra innings is definitely up there.  It was exhausting, it was painful, and above all it was infuriatingly disappointing.  So you can blame the pitchers because thirteen runs should have been much, much more than enough to win with, or you can blame the hitters for not having been able to score that fourteenth or even fifteenth run at the end of it all.  Whoever you blame, the outcome won’t change.  We should have been the ones to have had that last word.

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

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Before we get into the action, I want to say that, as usual, the brass did an outstanding and extremely classy job during last night’s pregame ceremony.  We honored the legendary Johnny Pesky and lifted our spirits as one Nation as we remembered his.  And the commemoration will continue throughout the season as the players wear a black patch on their jerseys bearing Number Six.  In fact, last night, everyone, including the outfield grass, bore Number Six.  Well done.  As I said, we miss you, Johnny Pesky, and we salute you.

Same old, same old.  Did we play mediocre baseball? Yes.  Did it show in the outcome? Yes.  Ergo, did we win? No.

Cook took the loss and gave up five runs, four earned, on eleven runs over five innings.  He also walked one and struck out four.  Even that unearned run was technically his fault, because he was the one who made the throwing error to put the runner in scoring position so he could score on a single in the third.  And then in the fourth he gave up three straight singles that resulted in one run, and the fourth straight single after that resulted in another.  And then he gave up a two-run home run in the fifth.

It’s no wonder that Mortensen came out in the sixth.  So let it be known that the relief corps was not the problem, because the Angels were able to win just with the runs they scored off of Cook.  Mortensen pitched the sixth and seventh, Padilla pitched the eighth, and Aceves pitched the ninth.

But, as is too often the case, the hitters did not provide adequate support.  We could go back and forth as we always do about the fact that the pitcher shouldn’t allow so many runs as to have to lose the game due to a lack of run support and that the hitters can’t just put all the responsibility on the pitcher to get the job done, but the bottom line is that we lost no matter how you look at it.

Anyway, we didn’t even score at all until the sixth inning, when Ross walked with two out and Salty went deep on a fastball on a 1-2 count.  It was the fourth pitch of the at-bat, and he let it loose to right field.  In the end it had no chance of staying in the park; he just lofted it right out of there.  Podsednik doubled in the seventh and scored on a wild pitch.  And that was it.  It wasn’t enough.  We lost, 5-3.  There’s nothing more to it.  So much for Randy Niemann replacing Bob McClure as pitching coach.  There are no easy fixes for a season-long slump.

Johnny Pesky

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That’s what I’m talking about!

Because as miserable as it is to lose to the Yanks, it’s ridiculously awesome with an equal magnitude to beat them.  There’s really not much more to say.  If we could only beat one team this year and we could pick which one, I don’t know who wouldn’t pick the Yanks.

I’ll start with Lester, who pitched spectacularly.  He pitched seven solid innings during which he gave up only one run on five hits while walking two and striking out four.  That one run was the result of a solo shot he allowed with two out in the fourth.  It was basically the only big mistake he made.  Other than that, the Yanks had nothing on him.  His cut fastball was biting and moving as well as it has ever done.  Naturally he got the win, because he completely deserved it.

And now I’ll move to the hitters, who gave Lester enough backing this time to pull out the W.  We didn’t waste any time, either.  It was like we smelled a win and wanted to make sure it was actually true.  Crawford singled in the first, and then Gonzalez unloaded on a fastball.  It was his fourth pitch, and the count was 2-1.  It ended up in left field like it was his job.  Which it is.  And when he does it, he does it exceptionally well.  Red Sox hitter goes yard against the Evil Empire.  What a refreshing sight to see!

Ciriaco singled and scored on a double by Punto in the fifth, and then last but not least, Podsednik singled to lead off the ninth, moved to third on a double by Ciriaco, and then scored on a wild pitch.

And last but not least, we couldn’t have done it without a hold each from Bailey and Breslow, who pitched the eighth, and a save from Aceves, who pitched the ninth.

So the final score was 4-1.  It wasn’t much.  It wasn’t a slugfest or any other lopsided score by any means.  It wasn’t an enormous statement of dominance.  But it was a win.  It was a win against the Yankees.  And that’s a good a win as you can get.  Not much else to say, really.  I’m just going to revel in our Yankee-beating glory.  Short and sweet and getting it done.

The Boston Herald

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If there’s one thing I loathe with every fiber of my baseball-watching being, it’s losing to the Yankees.  Why can’t we just beat them? Seriously, how awesome would that be? We should just beat them.  Like, every time.  It’s one thing to lose in every single way to every single team on every other single day, but it’s quite another to do all that and lose to the Yankees also.

This game was just terrible.  It just didn’t go well.  It could have gone well, but naturally it didn’t.  At one point things looked so good, and at the next point things got pretty bad.

Morales turned in five and one-third abysmal innings and took the resultant loss.  He gave up five runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts.  Part of the reason why he was so mediocre was that he made a lot of mistakes.  And a too-high number of those mistakes turned into home runs.  There were four of them.  He gave up solo shots with with one out in the first and again with one out in the seventh.  He also gave up two consecutive solo shots with one out in the second and a solo shot with two out in the fifth.  The only non-homer run he gave up scored in the sixth, when he allowed two straight singles, one of which scored on another single, which was actually given up by Mortensen, so it was an inherited runner.

The solo shot that Mortensen gave up with one out in the seventh clearly was not an inherited runner; that was all him and his own fault.  And then Andrew Bailey, who we haven’t heard from basically since he was acquired and who still does indeed pitch for us, handled the last two outs of the eighth.

So while the Yankees were getting busy throughout the game, we made a dent in the final score during one inning and one inning only.  Granted, it was a decent dent.  It was nothing to be ashamed of.  And it was a good run total.  But Morales was not having a good night, and it wasn’t enough.  Surely a starting pitcher should be able to lock down a win with four runs’ worth of backing.  The key word there being “should,” because as we of all people know, all too often that is a far cry from reality.

It was our third inning of glory, however limited and short-lived it was.  Aviles singled, Podsednik reached on an error, Aviles scored on a force out by Ciriaco, Ellsbury walked, Crawford provided an easy out, and then Pedroia just let one rip.  He was in a hurry, too.  It was the second pitch of the at-bat; the first one was in the dirt, and the second one was most certainly not.  It was a fastball clocked at ninety-two miles per hour, and Pedroia let loose with that total-body swing that he just throws his whole self into and he powered that ball straight out to left field.  At the time it gave us a much-needed one-run lead.  Which was promptly erased.  To his credit, he did almost vault another one out of the park in the eighth, but somehow it was hauled in for an out.  We just can’t catch a break at all.

And then we went back to doing nothing and going down in order most of the time.  So the final score was 6-4.  And we lost to the Yankees, which is obviously devastating, horrible, painful, and humiliating every time.  At least the deficit wasn’t too large, so we lost with dignity.  But what bothered me was that we couldn’t spread out our scoring. We put ourselves on the board once and only once during the entire game and that was all we could manage, when all I really want to do is just clean the field with them.

The Boston Herald

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