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Posts Tagged ‘Trot Nixon’

We played a two-game series against the Rays and got swept.

Tuesday’s game began auspiciously with us paying tribute to the 2004 team.  But it didn’t end well.  Buchholz pitched as decently as any of our other starters this year, but in terms of the way he’s been pitching lately, his start was mediocre at best.  He gave up five runs, four earned, on eight hits over six innings while walking two and striking out five.  In the second, he gave up two walks followed by a home run that score three.  And in the sixth, he gave up two straight singles and then another single two batters later that scored two runs, one of which was made possible by Nava’s fielding error, hence the unearned run.  Atchison pitched the seventh and to one batter in the eighth, Miller pitched the rest of the eighth, and Padilla pitched the ninth.

We got on the board in the second; we started the inning with two back-to-back singles followed by a flyout, and Valencia batted in our first run with a single.  We started the third with a strikeout and then hit two back-to-back singles again.  This inning possibly did us in, because if we’d been able to take full advantage of our opportunity there, it’s possible that perhaps we could have won in the end.  But a caught-stealing at third basically put a damper on things.  Pedroia doubled after that, and we scored on a balk.  And that was it.  The final score was 2-5.

On Wednesday, Lester pitched six innings and allowed three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out five.  He was solid for most of it but unraveled at the end.  All three runs were scored via the home run.  He gave up a single in the fifth followed by two consecutive home runs.  Mortensen came on for the seventh and gave up a single, and then Hill came on and gave up another single; three at-bats later, Hill gave up an RBI double.  Melancon finished the seventh and pitched the eighth, and Breslow pitched the ninth.

We had actually scored first; Salty walked and scored on a single by Nava in the second.  And then Pedroia walked to lead off the sixth, stole second, moved to third on a single by Ross, and scored on a sac fly by Loney.  The final score was 2-4.

Wednesday’s game actually began auspiciously as well with us announcing the All-Fenway team comprised of our greats throughout our long and illustrious history, with plenty of old faces and plenty of new.  The starting lineup included Carlton Fisk, Jimmie Foxx, Pedroia, Wade Boggs, Nomar, Ted Williams, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans, Pedro Martinez, Lefty Grove, Jonathan Papelbon, Papi, and Terry Francona.  The first reserves included Jason Varitek, Mo Vaughn, Bobby Doerr, Mike Lowell, Johnny Pesky, Yaz, Dom DiMaggio, Trot Nixon, Roger Clemens, Luis Tiant, Tim Wakefield, Dennis Eckersley, Dick Radatz, and Joe Cronin.  The second reserves included Rich Gedman, George Scott, Jerry Remy, Frank Malzone, Rico Petrocelli, Jim Rice, Reggie Smith, Tony Conigliaro, Babe Ruth, Smoky Joe Wood, Curt Schilling, Bill Lee, Jim Lonborg, and Dick Williams.  And, last but not least, the pinch hitter was Bernie Carbo and the pinch runner was none other than Dave Roberts.

Why before Wednesday’s game? Because Wednesday’s game was our last home game of the year.  It would have been nice to win it.  Instead we will finish the season with our worst record at home since 1965 and our first losing record at home since 1997: 34-47.  Now Fenway will soon be covered with snow, silent in the long, cold winter that lies ahead with only the bitter memory of losing as an aftertaste.

Sports Then And Now

 

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First, a word about the pregame ceremony.  It was so great to welcome Trot Nixon back to Fenway.  He earned every bit of his nickname, “Dirt Dog,” as well as every bit of the standing ovation he got.  Papi caught his first pitch in a nice gesture of rejoining the former teammates.  He also made an appearance in the booth; it was eerie seeing that footage of those home runs he hit.  All in all, it was fantastic to reminisce and remember it all.

Now, let’s talk about the game.  That’s more like it! Honestly, our pitchers’ performances last night were pretty similar to those on Sunday, but with one extremely crucial difference: the all-important and ever-elusive win.

Doubront had a quality start.  He pitched six innings and gave up two runs on four hits.  He walked one and struck out six.  He threw ninety-five pitches, sixty-four of which were strikes.  So as you can see, he pitched one less inning than Beckett, thereby throwing less pitches and strikes, and gave up half as many hits, but he posted the same number of runs, walks, and strikeouts.  (Doubront’s two runs were both the result of the long ball; he gave up a solo shot in the second with one out and again in the fifth with two out, fortunately to two different batters.)

Then Atchison pitched two shutout innings.  And then Aceves imploded again.  Again, he gave up two runs.  Again, it was the ninth inning.  Only this time the runner was on because he doubled, not because he walked, and there were two outs in the inning, not one.

And yet somehow the result was different.  Somehow, we managed to win yesterday while we couldn’t seem to manage that on Sunday.  Why? What did we do yesterday that put us on top of the Tigers?

Oh, yeah.  Scoring runs.  You know, that thing that half your team is supposed to do when you’re trying to win a ballgame.

In the first, Gonzalez singled and scored on a double by Papi.  In the second, Sweeney doubled and scored on a single by Aviles, who scored on a double by Nava, who scored on a single by Pedroia combined with a deflection of the ball.  We are fortunate, therefore, that Aviles was able to stay up there and get that hit; before he singled, the Tigers argued that he struck out on a foul tip, while Aviles thought that it bounced.  Jim Leyland was even ejected over it; he came out to argue at the time, then sat down, and then came back out to argue after the fact because he was angry that the missed call let us score so many runs.  And then he sat down again, and then he was ejected; he didn’t even realize that he was the one ejected at first, but then he came back out to argue, and then he finally left.  Listen, missed calls are a part of the game.  This time, the Tigers were the victims, and next time, we’ll be the victims.  It’s the human element of the game, and it’s how the game works.  It all evens out in the end.  If the situation were reversed, I’d obviously be extremely livid, but let’s be honest.  The situation is not reversed, and we won.  And we need all the wins we can get.  And as I said, it’s just a part of the game. It happens every once in a while.

In the third, Papi singled and Salty brought the two of them both home with a long ball on a fastball, the fourth straight two-seam of the at-bat, which he blasted into the Monster seats.  The fastball was outside and missed its mark.  Well, that’s what happens when pitchers make mistakes.  In the sixth, Salty, Sweeney, and Middlebrooks hit back-to-back-to-back singles, which scored another run.  And lastly, in the eighth, Sweeney singled and scored on a double by Aviles.

And we won, 7-4.  We posted almost twice as many hits as the Tigers did, even though both teams hit the same number of extra-base hits.  While they went one for two with runners in scoring position, we went three for eleven.  And while they only had one multi-hit performances, we had four: Aviles, Salty, and Papi all went two for four, while Sweeney went three for four.  Not a bad way to return from the DL.  Speaking of which, we hope that Pedroia isn’t the next one to go down; he did have to leave the game after the fifth because he jammed his right thumb making a diving catch that ended it.  The catch was spectacular; the consequences, possibly not so much.  Obviously we hope it’s nothing too serious.

So as you can see, Sunday’s game and yesterday’s game together demonstrate the necessity of playing like a team, as one unit that takes entire responsibility for the game’s outcome.  You can’t say that a loss is necessarily the pitchers’ fault, because as yesterday showed, if you score enough runs you can always overcome a bad pitching performance.  But you also can’t say that a loss is necessarily the hitters’ fault, because Sunday showed that you should be able to give the ball to your reliever, especially your closer, and expect the game to end with the score the way it was when he came in.  You need all the aspects of the team working together simultaneously to achieve something.  You need the pitchers to pitch, and you need the hitters to hit.  Ideally, this should happen during the same game, every game.  And then we’ll have more games like yesterday’s and less like Sunday’s.

Boston Globe Staff/Matthew J. Lee

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Simply put, if you thought Friday’s game reminded you of 2004, you didn’t see anything yet until you saw yesterday’s game.  In Friday’s game, we had the potentially winning grand slam but it wasn’t enough.  Yesterday, it was enough.  It wasn’t deep, but it was as dramatic as ever.  We won it in true 2004 fashion.

Dice-K’s performance was mediocre.  He pitched six innings, gave up four runs on eight hits, walked two, and struck out five on 108 pitches.  His efficiency is clearly improving, but it’s easy to see that his hit total prevented him from staying in longer past a reasonable pitch count.  His fastball, slider, curveball, and cutter were actually thrown well.  He did not throw a single changeup for a strike, though.  His bad inning wasn’t actually so bad labor-wise; he threw only twenty-two pitches in the first, but he gave up a two-run shot in the process.  Still, it’s a step in the right direction.  It could have been worse.  He could have given up twice the runs in twice the pitches.  And we’ve seen him do that before.  So technically we should be thankful.  His strike zone was completely random.  He didn’t deliver any wild pitches, but he certainly made some pitches that were pretty wild.

Richardson and Atchison combined to pitch the seventh, when we got on the board.  Ryan Kalish, promoted as Hermida was designated for assignment, hit an RBI single and scored on McDoanld’s double.  Kalish would finish the night two for four.  And he started in left field without making an error, which is kind of a big deal.  (It was actually Beltre who made our error.  Unfortunately no surprise there.) That’s a great kid we’ve got here.  Looks kind of like Trot Nixon when he’s out there, actually.  The future in the outfield looks bright.  Anyway, those were part of a string of four straight hits.  So we cut the deficit in half.

Before the inning was over, Papi found himself at the plate with the bases loaded and two out.  He struck out.  Worst.  Foreshadowing.  Ever.

Atchison and Okajima continued to hold the Tigers at bay.  And now we come to the bottom of the ninth.  The grand finale.  I’m telling you, this will smack of 2004 like you wouldn’t believe.

McDonald led off the inning with an infield single.  Then Lowrie pinch-hit and stroked a double.  Then Youk was intentionally walked (after being hit by a pitch earlier; the irony continues).  So the bases were loaded, and Youk would be on the move no matter what because he was the winning run.

Then Big Papi stepped up, in all his Big Papi glory.  He took some pitches.  He even showed bunt.  Then he ripped a double into the hole in left-center field and emptied the bases.  We won, 5-4.  Just like that.  Sometimes one swing is all it takes.  As soon as I saw that ball reach the Monster, I knew Youk was coming home and we were going to win.  So the Tigers walked the winning run.  How ‘bout that.

And I was watching all of this and reminiscing like crazy.  After Friday night and yesterday, how can you not? Especially when you see Papi get mobbed.

They say that the more successful you are in the All-Star Home Run Derby, the worse your timing and average are afterwards.  David Ortiz has officially disproven this theory.  He finished the night two for five, extending his hitting streak to nine games during which he’s batted .308 with twelve RBIs.  That’s his eighteenth walkoff hit, and it’s particularly impressive considering Coke is a southpaw and Papi’s average against southpaws coming into yesterday’s game was a mere .190 with one home run.  Particularly against Coke, Papi didn’t have even one hit to his credit in eight at-bats.  Well, he changed that in a hurry.  Coke’s fastball ended up away.  Papi was waiting for a fastball away.  That’s pretty much how it happens.

And I think the outcome of Friday’s game played a big part in our win yesterday because it shows you that you have no way to know which run will be the winning run.  You can’t afford to give up because you don’t know who’ll turn it around when.  So you just have to keep chipping away because something like yesterday might happen, and you’ll walk off with a win.  Literally.  It was epically awesome.

The trading deadline came and went yesterday.  Nothing earth-shattering happened, although we did go against the grain.  The theme of this year’s trading deadline was bullpen improvement for most teams, but Theo decided to go for catching improvement.  He traded Ramon Ramirez to the Giants for a minor leaguer.  It’s been fun, but he wasn’t as good as he’d been when he first arrived, and his impact has been minimal of late.  And we landed Saltalamacchia (that is spelled right – I triple-checked) from the Rangers for two prospects, a player to be named later, and cash considerations.  Salty will spend some time in the minors for now while Cash continues to play for Tek.

The market on the whole was loaded with starters and bats but skimpy on outfielders and relievers.  Figures.  We don’t need any of the former; we need the latter.  The problem of course is that our current status in the standings is deceiving.  We’re playing without key members of our lineup.  It wouldn’t make sense to make an earth-shattering move because we’re not really as bad as we look right now.  We don’t need another bat; we have bats.  They just happen to be on the disabled list at the moment.  It’s a tough position to be in.  But I think Theo ultimately made the right choice in standing pat.  Our performance with those bats present in the lineup before the break proves it.  In Theo we trust.  It’ll all work out.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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One thing has become incredibly clear this week: as go the pitchers, so go the Red Sox.  With a team based on run prevention, we should have expected this.  Because if you don’t have effective starting pitching, it doesn’t matter how many runs you score; the opposition will score more.  And it just seems like, somehow and for some reason, the offense is much more comfortable hitting behind a pitcher who’s on.  The cuts look more robust, the at-bats look healthier.  We’ll have to wait and see if that remains to be true, but for now at least we’ve performed noticeably better with good starting pitching behind us.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we should honor him who was honored: Nomar! The retirement ceremony for No. 5 took place before last night’s game, on May 5, 5/5.  I’m telling you, seeing him in that home jersey with that old No. 5 on the back was something else.  When he spoke with Don and Jerry in the booth, he said he cried after being traded; to tell you the truth, it seems in retrospect like he had no idea what he was doing when he wanted to be traded.  It seems like his resentment, the chip on his shoulder, the bad feelings, and the bitterness were the stuff of an immature player who acted on his momentary emotions.  Because I think he’s regretted it since.  You don’t go through all of these measures afterwards to return to the team you left if you didn’t wish you were with that team the whole time.

His former teammates turned out, which was good to see.  Obviously all the guys on the current team were there.  Trot Nixon was there, complete with a standing ovation, along with Brian Daubach and Lou Merloni.  The brass was there.  And of course his family was there.  He didn’t do the batting ritual, but he did the next-best thing: he rubbed some dirt on his hands at shortstop, stood at the third-base side of the mound, and made one of his signature off-balance, side-arm throws to Tek for the first pitch.  That brought back a lot of memories.  How about those two three-homer games, or when he came back from that wrist injury only to go deep and bring home the go-ahead run?

So here’s to you, Nomar.  You finally found what you were looking for:

You might say it’s closure to a playing career, but the door is open because I feel like I’m back home.

What a player.  What a career.

And then of course we proceeded to honor him further with a win.

The final score was 3-1, and Lackey did indeed show his former ballclub who’s boss.  Seven innings of one-run, two-hit baseball with four K’s and only two walks.  That one run was a homer for Wood in the fifth on a pitch that was down because Lackey didn’t locate it, but that was it.  He threw only 103 pitches.  So in four of his first six starts, he’s allowed at most two runs.  He had some trouble in the early innings, including the obligatory bases-loaded jam through which he fortunately emerged unscathed.  He threw forty-two pitches over the first two innings; he threw sixty-two over the last five.  For the entire game, the Angels left three men on base.  Having scored only one run, that means two things: one, that they weren’t given opportunities to score, and two, that they couldn’t make good on the opportunities they managed to find.

He obviously threw mostly cutters, but his mix of pitches was good and he had good movement and velocity on all of them.  His cutter was fantastic.  His quickest inning was the third, in which he threw just nine pitches, followed by the seventh, in which threw ten.  As opposed to the second, in which he threw almost three times as many.  His strike zone was nice and even.  He didn’t throw too high up and limited throwing too low down.  He had some on the left and more on the right.  All in all, a very dominant outing.

Bard followed that with an equally dominant hold, retiring two of his three batters.  And Paps capped it all off with an equally dominant save, enjoying a one-two-three ninth and throwing nine of his ten pitches for strikes.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you close a ballgame.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is Jonathan Papelbon.

The offense was short but sweet.  Beltre’s single glanced off third base, and Wood was charged with an error for failing to catch it while Drew scored.  Papi hit a towering opposite-field home run over the Monster in the fourth.  Pineiro left the pitch up.  After that home run, I don’t want to hear anymore about his supposed slump.  He’s out of it.  It’s done.  Finished.  Leave the man to his business; he’s obviously off to a better start this year than it is last year, so no use turning up the pressure.  Besides, his timing has looked great lately.  And Beltre went deep in the eighth, his second in three games after going twenty-four without.  And he was as good in the field as he was at the plate; amidst pieces of broken bat, Beltre initiated a double play unfazed.  And he fired that ridiculous hop by Kendrick to first on time.

So Scutaro doubled, Pedroia went two for three with a walk, Ortiz went two for three with a walk, and Beltre went three for four.  How ‘bout that.  How about that.

Tonight we go for the sweep and a chance to bring our record above .500, which we desperately need.  Dice-K’s on the mound, so I’m not making any predictions, because as we all know, all bets are off with him.  But still, this is awesome.  We are in a position to sweep the Angels at home in our first series with them this year.  We’ve played baseball during this series that I’d love to see played for the rest of the season.  And we have good momentum going into our series with the Yankees.  I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

We buried the Flyers, 4-1.  I seriously can’t believe the kind of hockey we’re playing.  It’s incredible.  I have no idea where this came from.  All season, we try to play like this, we barely make the playoffs, and all of a sudden it comes out.  Excellent.  Just excellent.

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Cutting to the chase yet again, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were both revealed to be on the list of the roughly one hundred baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drug use in 2003.  Neither will be punished by the league because suspensions were only introduced in 2004.  But this season just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it.

Isn’t it funny how the New York Times is always the one to break these stories? And with a decidedly anti-Red Sox bent, too.  “Now, players with Boston’s championship teams of 2004 and 2007 have also been linked to doping.” Like we couldn’t figure that out from the headline.  And isn’t it funny how, out of one hundred-plus names, these were the only two that were leaked? To a New York newspaper? On the front page? Mere moments before game time? When David Ortiz was scheduled to be in the lineup? It’s just strange, is all I’m saying.

The first thing I’d like to say is that the tests in 2003 were called for by Bud Selig to determine the percentage of baseball players who were using.  The results were supposed to be destroyed.  They weren’t; they were supposed to remain anonymous.  And that’s the kicker.  You can’t just release only a handful of the one-hundred-plus names on the list; it’s completely unfair.  If you release some, you have to release all.  Not doing so allows unclean players to masquerade as clean and point fingers to the unclean when really they’re all in the same boat.  And it’s deceiving; it makes it easy for people to forget that at that time this was prolific.  Furthermore, according to Nomar, because the test was anonymous and only for the purposes of determining whether testing was necessary, many players intentionally refused to be tested, thereby allowing themselves to be associated with positive results, in order to push the number of positive players over the top, which would force Bud Selig to implement tests.  This is definitely something to be kept in mind when future revelations of names are made.  Unless that’s not altogether true.  And in this day and age, you can’t be too sure.  Either way, the point is that, as it stands now, the list totally irrelevant.  Just sayin’.

Usually in these situations, the logic of choice would be that of superficial fairness.  Yes, it looks like Manny Ramirez was possibly David Ortiz were taking steroids at the time.  (I’ll explain the “possibly” in a moment.) Just like Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez.  And that by taking steroids, Manny and Papi actually evened the playing field.  The Yankees had cheaters on their team.  We had cheaters on our team.  So we still won, and we were still the better team.  Plain and simple.

But I’m not going to employ that logic, because I am a member of Red Sox Nation, and I root for a team that deserves more than just the cheap, dirty, easy way out.  When the first news of Manny Ramirez broke, I said that neither the 2004 nor the 2007 World Series victories are tainted, and I stand by that.  Yes, it looks like Manny Ramirez and possibly David Ortiz were taking steroids at the time.  But they were only two on a team of forty.  To taint those two victories is to besmirch the rest of the team without due cause.  True, they played an enormous part in both, but without the team they would’ve gotten nowhere.  David Ortiz hit walk-off home runs in the 2004 playoffs. In order for those home runs to win the game, other runs had to have been scored and plated by other players.  Like Mark Bellhorn, Bill Mueller, Pokey Reese, Trot Nixon, Orlando Cabrera, Dave Roberts, and Kevin Millar, to name a few.  What about them? They played more of a part in those wins than just two guys.  So when Yankee fans, or anyone else for that matter, try to void 2004, they’re just grasping.  Men don’t win championships.  Teams win championships.  And I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we are not about  to let the superficial fan or the weak of heart slander two entire teams of upstanding ballplayers.

Now, that begs the question of who else on the 2004 team tested positive, but we have to work with the information available.  And I can guarantee you right now that every member of that team did not dope.  Doping had to have been an isolated incident, done on an individual basis.  It wasn’t something that ran rampant in the clubhouse.  We didn’t have a trainer injecting people or a supplier doling out pills.  The clubhouse, then, was clean, and as a team, we won honorably.  As a team, we were clean because we did not condone this behavior.  And we still don’t.

And now we get to discuss the “possibly.” David Ortiz admitted that, when he was a young man in the Dominican Republic just breaking into the game of baseball, he’d started buy protein shakes without really knowing for sure what they contained.  It’s possible that they contained PEDs and he just didn’t bother to check.  There’s no excuse for that.  But there is a difference between that and the actions of Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds.  It’s possible that he tested positive in 2003, figured it must have something to do with an ingredient in the shake, and stopped drinking them, which coincides with the fact that starting in 2004 he tested clean, a fact we have records to prove.  And the plausibility of this possibility is actually confirmed by the fact that Bronson Arroyo has publicly stated that he was taking androstenedione and amphetamines.  He stopped taking the andro because he found out it was laced with the steroid Winstrol due to “lax production standards.” Apparently, back then, it wasn’t that rare to take something without bothering to check what was in it.  (Arroyo stopped taking the andro in 2004 and the greenies in 2006, when each was respectively banned.) Manny Ramirez is another matter entirely, but we can’t pass judgment on David Ortiz.  Not yet anyway.  Not after he issued a public statement through the Red Sox during which he said he knows nothing, wants to find out all he can, and will explain the situation to the public as soon as he has more information.  This is not the usual skulking off that guilty users practice.  He’s being responsible; the first thing he did was confirm with the Players Association that the report is true.  This is exactly in the style of Big Papi, always open with the media and up-front with the fans.  We owe him our patience while he figures this whole thing out.

Believe it or not, that was the easy stuff.  Deep down, we all know the wins aren’t tainted.  We all know that, as both a team and a clubhouse, we’re clean and honorable.  We know it, we believe it, and it’s easy to explain why, and I’ve done that.  Now comes the hard part.   The part where you realize how painful it was to discover this, how frustrated you were to read it, especially on the front page of a New York newspaper.   I won’t lie; it hurt bad.   And if it comes to pass that he was ingesting PEDs a-la Bonds and A-Rod, I’ll be even more disappointed in David Ortiz.  But we’ll cross that bridge when and if we come to it.  As it is, it stabs you right in the heart.  It makes you angry that he could be so ignorant and stupid as to get caught up in all of that, and it frustrates you even more because you know you can’t judge yet since you don’t have all the details.  And it makes you sad.  But what makes you even sadder is that there are people out there who’ll try to take away from you what you’ve rightfully earned, based on the mistakes of two misguided men.  Whether one of them acted with a certain intent or not.

If there’s one thing we have to take away from this, it’s that it’s wrong to let unclean players give the clean a bad name by hiding among them.  Similarly, it’s wrong to accuse the clean of being unclean just because a realistic outcome could maybe, possibly, sort of be construed to fit an anomalous behavior.  That’s slander.  When the press does it, it’s libel.  And it’s illegal.  Just to give you an idea of how grave an offense defamation can be.  Red Sox Nation is better than that.  The Royal Rooters raised us better than that.

I was very surprised to hear about this.  I know, I know, technically this shouldn’t have surprised me.  Maybe I relate too much to the pre-steroid era, or maybe I’m stubbornly non-cynical; I don’t know.  Whatever it is, there are things I do know.  I know that 2004 ended the Curse of the Bambino and that 2007 reminded us it wasn’t just a dream.  I know that the retired numbers hanging on the right field roof deck represent players who couldn’t be paid to look at a PED.  I know that the men wearing our uniforms now know what not to do.  Behavior like this doesn’t fly in Boston.  Never has.  Never will.  And finally, I know that when I look at a Red Sox jersey, at the World Series trophies, and the youth of the 2009 club, I’m looking at things and people I can respect.  Clubs like ours have learned from their predecessors’ mistakes, and the things they will achieve without the aid of PEDs will be even better than anything that could be achieved with them, because of their absence.

So, that’s that.  I’m not naive.  I just refuse be as cynical and detached as many other baseball fans and sports writers are being.  The situation’s awful, but it is what it is.  Hopefully, and I mean hopefully, this’ll be the last such issue I’ll have to address.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Yesterday was Jerry Remy Day, honoring the twenty years of Remdawy’s colorful color commentary in the booth. Jerry is a great man. A knowledgeable man. A presidential man. A Sovereign man. He batted left and threw right. He debuted with the Angels on April 7, 1975 and retired with his home club, the Red Sox, on May 18, 1984. He averaged .275, stole 208 bases, and scored 605 runs. Here’s to the great baseball you played, the great city where you stayed, and the great commentary you’ve made. Here’s to twenty more years of Boston baseball with Remy on NESN. And here’s to the fabulous comeback the club made to win on Jerry Remy Day.

We were losing, 4-1, into the eighth inning, and I agree with Dustin Pedroia: they were eight pathetic innings. Just some really pathetic baseball, with the exception of Pedroia’s solo home run in the first inning. And again, just like in the 2007 ALCS, as Drew and Pedroia go, so go the Red Sox. (Interestingly, Drew didn’t do much offensively yesterday, but he did make a great catch inches from the bullpen.) The eighth inning arrived, and Lugo started things off with a base hit. In a snap, we scored three runs, Doug Davis was taken out and Chad Qualls was put in, and we scored two more. Pedroia batted in another run, and Lowell batted in two. The fifth run supplied by the captain himself, whose clutch single batted in the winning run. We won the game, 5-4. It’s safe to say Varitek is officially out of that slump of his. What a relief. We could use the extra offense.

Say hello to our first home victory against the D-Backs, people! Chris Smith got the win. He issued one walk and one strikeout in his two innings pitched, and his ERA is 1.50. Obviously a good kid. It’ll be interesting to see what roll he’ll play in the pitching staff. Masterson wasn’t bad, either, going six innings again and giving up four runs on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts. He did commit an error on a pickoff move, though, and he’s pitched better. But still not a bad outing. Pap collected is 22nd save, a refreshing redemption after he blew his last save. Watching him yesterday, I didn’t think he was as efficient as he usually is. He’ll snap out of it; he always does.

In other news, David Ortiz could be picking up a bat today. Smile, Red Sox Nation; he’s getting closer! The Yankees lost yesterday, which means they’re still soundly in third. Trot Nixon is a Met. Wakefield is starting against Randy Johnson tonight, and Johnson is actually older than Wakefield and definitely much uglier. And don’t forget to vote Boston for the All-Start Game. Voting ends next week, and Tek could use a little help in that department.

Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy, 6/24/2008

Brita Meng Outzen/MLB.com

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