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Posts Tagged ‘Steven Tyler’

The one bad inning rears its ugly head yet again.  Take away that sixth inning, and we clearly win.  The truth is, though, that that sixth inning wasn’t even that bad.  Three runs? We should be able to score twice that in our sleep.  We were up against Bartolo Colon, who wasn’t having the best outing of his life, either.  So you can look at it in one of two ways: either Lester shouldn’t have allowed those run at all or we should have been able to score more, especially off the bullpen since Colon left early.  The reality, as usual, is a mixture of both.

Lester cruised through five.  The first inning was his second-most efficient at eleven pitches; he posted two K’s in that inning.  The second inning was his second-least efficient at twenty-three pitches; he allowed two baserunners, one single and one four-pitch walk.  He opened and closed it with strikeouts, the first on three pitches.  He faced the minimum in the third, his most efficient inning at ten pitches.  He faced the minimum with two strikeouts again in the fourth.  He allowed a walk but faced the minimum again in the fifth, thanks to a double play.

And then the sixth.  It started with an eight pitch walk.  You never, ever want to begin an inning by allowing a runner on base.  It doesn’t matter how the runner gets there.  You just do not want to pitch the rest of the inning with a runner on base.  What if you make a mistake? Lester was about to find out.

He allowed two consecutive singles after that, which resulted in the first run.  It could have stopped there.  But Lester issued another walk, which loaded the bases.  A double play put two outs on the board but scored another run.  A double then allowed the third run before a groundout ended it.  He threw thirty-five pitches in that inning.  And that was the last we saw of Lester last night.

All told, he allowed three runs on six hits over five innings while walking four and striking out seven.  He threw 108 pitches, sixty-four for strikes.  What you notice first is obviously the high walk total, and the Yankees eventually made him pay.  What you also notice is that his cut fastball was by no means at its best last night.  He threw it well most of the time, but it didn’t have that nastiness to it that it usually does.  When you watched it, you just didn’t get the same lights-out feeling you get when you watch it on an on night.  His curveball and sinker didn’t help much either, and he hardly threw any changeups for strikes.  And whatever problems were plaguing him last night didn’t manifest themselves until the sixth, when he just lost everything.  He took the loss.

What the bullpen lacked on Thursday, they made up for on Friday.  Because we lost, they don’t have anything to show for it.  But it was a masterful display of collective control and dominance.  Albers, Williams, Aceves.  Three scoreless innings.

The final score was 3-2.  In the second, Reddick singled, and Scutaro grounded into a force out and scored on a double by Ellsbury.  Papi hit a solo shot in the fourth.  I guess that hug he got from Steven Tyler before the game paid off.  It was a six-pitch at-bat, and all six pitches were fastballs, only one of which was a two-seam.  The count was 1-2, and he sent the ball over the bullpen into right field.  That was not a good at-bat for Papi.  His first pitch was a called strike, then the ball, and then he just fouled off pitch after pitch after pitch.  He did not look happy.  So he packed a whole lot of angry into that swing.

The fifth inning was just terrible.  With two out and the bases loaded, the Yankees made a pitching change and Gonzalez stepped up to the plate.  For the Yankees, that’s supposed to be a recipe for disaster.  You have a new reliever stepping into a pressure cooker and facing a hitter you just epically do not ever want to face in that situation because he’ll make you pay for any mistake you make, no matter how small you think it is.  At all costs, he will get at least one runner across the plate.  If Gonzalez had plated one, then given what happened in the sixth the game would have been tied, and we would have sorted it out in the late or extra innings.  (Of course you never know because even something small changes the game completely, but you know what I mean.) But he struck out.  He struck out swinging on three pitches.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was awful.

After that, Crawford doubled in the sixth and Papi singled in the ninth, but that was it for us.

Reddick and Crawford both went two for four; Crawford also had that spectacular diving catch in left that ended the third.  Salty caught two thieves and has improved dramatically on that front.

We are eight and two against the Yankees this year but are now in second place for the first time since July 6.  We can solve that problem today and tomorrow.  Lackey takes on Sabathia this afternoon.  Hold onto your hats.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin
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To put it simply, we won! On Opening Day! Against the Evil Empire! The first of many, folks.  The first of many.

The opening ceremonies were un-announced and very nicely done, complete with fireworks, Don Orsillo, and Joe Castiglione, with special guests Steve Tyler, Keri Hilson, LeBron James, Dr. Dre, and Neil Diamond.  You read right.  Neil Diamond finally sang “Sweet Caroline” live.  And it was so good to see Ryan Westmoreland in attendance.

The highlight? Pedro Martinez threw out the first pitch! That really takes you back, doesn’t it? They unfurled the American flag over the Green Monster and who should step out from behind it.  Papi was pretty psyched.

I feel compelled to mention that YES didn’t show any footage of Pedro.  Apparently, they previewed the season like they’d been doing every day for the past half-year because every moment must revolve around the New York Yankees.  Ugh.  Just another occurrence that reveals why they’re, well, the Yankees.

And I would like to take this opportunity to point out to all of the naysayers that it was the offense, not the defense, that carried the day.  You really don’t get much more proof that the offense packs a powerful punch than a final score of 9-7.

We were down by three heading into the sixth.  That was when our bats pretty much exploded.  Youk smacked a triple that scored two, and Beltre hit a sac fly to score Youk.  Tie game.  The Yanks scored two more runs in the top of the seventh.  Then Dustin Pedroia hit one of those home runs everyone told him he couldn’t hit while he was growing up because there’s no way someone of his size should have that kind of power.  A two-runner into the Monster.  Huge.  After that, Youk scored again on a passed ball.  Pedroia added another RBI in the eighth.  And there you have the nine runs in all their glory.

The best part of it is that those nine runs were scored due to many different kinds of offense.  You had big ball, and you had small ball.  There were manufactured runs, and there were opportunistic runs.  What that shows is that the offense can get it done in any situation; we know we can always score when we need to.

The only bad part of the game was the only part of the game everyone was sure would be great heading into it: Josh Beckett, our supposed ace in the hole.  Yeah, not so much.  He got rocked.  Five runs on eight hits with three walks and back-to-back jacks in less than five innings is not what we wanted to see from him during the first game of the year.  I mean, they were all over his fastball, and he wasn’t locating his off-speeds.  That’s a terrible combination.  Thankfully, we’ve got a day off tomorrow so the bullpen can rest up.  But I feel pretty safe in saying that nobody saw that coming.  There was absolutely nothing that occurred during Spring Training to even remotely suggest that he would have any sort of issue.  If this were any other pitcher, I’d chalk it up to nerves.  But this is Josh Beckett: not only has he been in Boston for years, but he thrives on pressure situations.  He should have owned.  He didn’t.  I won’t worry about it unless he bombs his next start, but all I’m saying is that it was really unsettling.

Schoeneweis relieved him and did work; a scoreless, spotless frame.  Ramirez came on and allowed the sixth and seventh New York runs.  Okajima got the win, Bard got the hold, and Paps got the save.  He allowed a hit and threw ten pitches, seven for strikes.

We have a day off tomorrow, as I said, and then we’re back to the usual start time of 7:00PM for the remaining two games of this series.  Then another off day, then a road trip to the Midwest.  We’ll be the first to break in Target Field.  Hey, anything is better than the Metrodome.  So, to emphasize: we beat the Yankees to win Opening Day.  We took advantage of two rallies to bounce back twice.  Resilience.  Dominance.  Awesomeness.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  That was the first regular season ballgame we’ve seen in a good, long time, and with the exception of Beckett, it didn’t disappoint.  Just drink it in, folks.  Baseball is back!

Digital Sports Daily

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