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Posts Tagged ‘Will Middlebrooks’

Yes.  Exactly.  This was just one of those wins where you really feel like this is exactly how baseball should always be played.  Good pitching, good hitting, and good fielding.  And good winning.

Peavy went one-two-three in the first and second.  He gave up a walk in the third and a solo shot in the fourth.  He gave up a single in the fifth and sixth.  He went one-two-three in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.  So, yeah, he basically just made one mistake all night.  Literally.  Since he went the distance and all.

The same can not be said for the Dodgers’ pitchers, who made several repeatedly.  Ellsbury led off the game with a strikeout, but then Victorino doubled and scored on a double by Napoli.  We went down in order in the second.  Ellsbury led off the third with a single and scored on a sac fly by Pedroia.  Middlebrooks singled and scored on a double by Bogaerts.  We went down in order in the fifth.  Napoli walked to lead off the sixth, and two outs later, Salty uncorked the power on a 1-1 count.  The ball rocketed out of the park to left field.  Massive.  And two outs into the seventh, we had a repeat performance.  Victorino hit a massive solo shot on a 2-0 count.  The eighth was the only inning in which we didn’t score during which we didn’t also go down in order.  Two outs into the ninth, Pedroia doubled, and then it was Napoli’s turn.  The at-bat was eight pitches long, and the count was full.  And the ball ended up beyond the left field fence.

And that’s how we won, 8-1.

EPA Photo

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It was nice not to get shut out, it was nicer to win, and it was really nice to see Lester back to his old self again.  I don’t know what the next start will bring, but I think the positive trend he’s been on lately is really a sight for sore eyes.  He looks comfortable and at ease, which is a very good sign.  Here’s to hoping he keeps it up.

Lester was winning yesterday, both literally and figuratively.  He pitched seven and a third innings and gave up only one run on only three hits while walking only four.  And striking out six.  And he got the win, obviously.  He went one-two-three in the first and second.  He probably would have gone one-two-three in the third had Napoli not made a throwing error.  He gave up a hit and a walk in the fourth and went one-two-three in the fifth and sixth.  He gave up another hit and a walk in the seventh

Meanwhile, our big inning was the first.  It was awesome.  We were batting first, of course, so it meant that we won the game before the Dodgers even sent their first batter to the plate.  Yeah, we’re that good.

Ellsbury led off the game by grounding out, but then Victorino got hit, Pedroia singled, Victorino scored on a single by Napoli, and Gomes hit an absolutely huge home run on his first pitch of the game.  Seriously.  It was a ninety-mile-per-hour fastball, and he just clocked it all the way to left center field.  Ultimately, that ball stood no chance of staying inside the park.  In short, it was awesome.

And then we spent the rest of the game doing nothing.  To be honest, it’s a good thing Lester was as good as he was yesterday, because on another day our four runs may not have been enough to get the job done.

Our next rally came all the way in the eighth, when Victorino grounded out, Pedroia doubled, Napoli singled, Gomes popped out, and Drew walked to load the bases.  But Middlebrooks ended the threat when he struck out looking.

The eighth inning was also when Lester got into trouble, if you could call it that.  He was relieved after he secured the inning’s first out and issued a walk.  The problem was that our relievers allowed inherited runners to score.  Tazawa came on after that and gave up a single before securing the inning’s second out.  And then Breslow came on and gave up a two-run double.  So, yes, Lester was credited with a run, and so was Tazawa.  But looking at the situation beyond the numbers, I’d say it was really Breslow’s fault.

Uehara pitched the rest of the eighth and picked up a save after his stellar ninth.  The final score was a winning 4-2.

Reuters Photo

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We just scored enough runs to have won several baseball games, let alone one.  I mean, we buried the Giants.  We buried them under a whole mountain of runs.  We played the small ball, and we played the long ball, and we won.  And we won big.

I’ll start by saying this.  We did not score in the first, the fifth, the sixth, and the ninth.

Gomes struck out to lead off the second, Salty walked, Drew flied out, and Middlebrooks homered on his second pitch of the game, a cutter.  He sent the ball beyond the left field fence.  It was huge.

Ellsbury and Victorino hit back-to-back singles to lead off the third.  Ellsbury scored on a double by Pedroia, Papi struck out, and Victorino and Pedroia both scored on a single by Papi.

Middlebrooks led off the fourth with a walk and scored on a double by Victorino.

Ellsbury led off the seventh with a single, Victorino flied out, Pedroia doubled, Napoli struck out, and Gomes walked to load the bases.  Salty singled in both Ellsbury and Pedroia.  And it’s a shame that the bases had been partially cleared, because Drew ripped a curveball beyond the right field fence.  Three runs on one swing, and five runs in the inning.  Easy.

Nava reached on a fielding error in the eighth by who but Marco Scutaro, and he scored when Xavier Bogaerts reached on a force.

Meanwhile, Doubront had it turned on all the way up throughout the whole start and was one inning shy of going the distance.  He pitched eight innings of one-run ball; he walked one, struck out three, and gave up five hits.  He gave up a solo shot with one out in the second; that was his only mistake.  He got the win, and Uehara closed it out.

The final score, ladies and gentlemen, was 12-1.

Getty Images

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We needed this win.  I don’t enjoy losing, and I especially don’t enjoy losing to the Yankees.  So when I saw us dominate yesterday, not only in terms of pitching but also in terms of hitting, I was very pleased indeed.  There’s nothing like an invigorating stint with a National League team to get your victory going.

Lester faced the minimum through three and gave up his first hit, a single, in the fourth.  He had a couple of baserunners in the fifth but held firm.

Salty led off the second with a single, Nava walked, and Drew singled to load the bases.  Just like that.  And of all of the reactions that Middlebrooks could have had to that situation at the plate, he hit a sac fly.  It scored one run, but come on.  When the bases are loaded with nobody out, there are so many other cooler, better, and more productive things to do than hit a sac fly.  It was better than nothing.  So was the balk that Lester ended up working, scoring yet another run.  That was pretty awesome.  And then Victorino singled in the inning’s third run before Pedroia flied out to end it.  So it wasn’t exactly a bases-clearing triple, and it wasn’t exactly flashy or what you’d expect with the bases loaded.  But by the end of the inning, we had the bases cleared.

We added insurance in the fifth; with two out, Nava singled and scored on a double by Drew.  Ellsbury singled to lead off the sixth, moved to second when Victorino got hit and third when Pedroia grounded into a double play, and scored on a wild pitch.  Even down to the wire, we hadn’t finished scoring; Pedroia tripled in the ninth and scored on a double by Salty.

In the end, Lester was just two outs shy of going the distance.  He dealt with two on in the sixth, one on in the seventh, and one on in the eighth.  After he induced a flyout to lead off the ninth, he gave up two consecutive singles and was replaced by Workman, who ended the game with two K’s.  But what a start! He was rewarded for his incredible effort with a well-deserved win; he pitched eight and one-third innings of shutout ball, giving up six hits and two walks while striking out three.  Meanwhile, our hit total was double that.  Against Lester the Giants’ batters never even had a chance.  Winning seven-zip was easy all the way through, and Lester looked like his old self again.

Getty Images

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Let’s talk about A-Rod for a moment, shall we? And, you know, the fact that, somehow, the rules have allowed him to still play while he appeals a suspension for drugs, among other things.  It’s just ridiculous.  He’s appealing the suspension, and as a result he can still play.  Even though he was suspended.  Ridiculous.  Absolutely ridiculous.  He first came to bat when he led off the second, and Dempster was not about to fool around.  He threw four four-seam fastballs.  The first one was low, and the second and third were both inside.  So A-Rod had a 3-0 count when Dempster hit him in the back.  A-Rod took first, slowly I might add, and home plate umpire Brian O’Nora warned both teams.  When Joe Girardi realized that Dempster wasn’t getting ejected, he himself was after he threw his hat on the ground and made his displeasure known.  But the truth of the matter is that ballplayers the league over don’t understand why A-Rod is playing.  And fans the league over don’t understand why A-Rod is playing.  And it’s entirely possible that umpires the league over don’t understand why A-Rod is playing either.  All Dempster really did was let him know it.

Unfortunately for us, it kind of backfired.  Dempster then gave up a double, an RBI single, and a successful sac fly.  In the third, he gave up two consecutive singles, a lineout, and a groundout that scored one run.  But it was really the sixth inning that did us in for sure.  The Evil Empire scored four runs that inning, and without that inning, we would have won, all else being equal.  The inning began when who but A-Rod hit a solo shot.  After a groundout, Dempster gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases.  Britton came on and didn’t give up a grand slam.  But he did give up the next-worse thing: a bases-clearing triple.

Until the sixth inning, we were in the lead by three.  Ellsbury walked to lead off the first, Victorino singled, Pedroia flied out, and Papi walked to load the bases.  Then Ellsbury scored on a sac fly by Gomes and Victorino scored on a single by Salty.  We went down in order in the second, but Victorino doubled and scored on a groundout by Papi.  Salty doubled to lead off the fourth and scored on a sac fly by Drew, and Middlebrooks unloaded on the second pitch of his at-bat and sent it all the way beyond the right field fence.  It was huge.  And it was fast; that ball just rocketed out of the park.

Victorino grounded out to lead off the fifth, but then Pedroia singled, Papi doubled, Gomes popped out, and Salty walked intentionally.  And then we scored a run in what is probably one of the more embarrassing methods for an opposing pitcher.  Nava walked with the bases loaded.  It was awesome.

With one on and two out in the seventh, Workman was replaced by Morales, who gave up an RBI single.  Morales and Tazawa both pitched the eighth, and De La Rosa hit a batter to lead off the ninth, which later turned into a run on a single.

So we went from leading by three to losing by three; the final score was 9-6.

AP Photo

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Now , that’s more like it! If a loss to the Yanks is my least favorite loss, then obviously a win over the Yanks is my most favorite win.  And this one was sweet! It was modest enough to show that we don’t necessarily have to be flashy and slug it out to make it happen, but it was decisive enough to show that we could if we really wanted to.  Ultimately, I particularly enjoyed that it showed that we are just better.

It would have been difficult for Lackey to do a better job.  He was just one out shy of pitching seven innings, and he only gave up one run.  He allowed six hits and three walks and only had one strikeout to his credit, but he got the job done anyway.  He threw 103 pitches, so he was pretty efficient, but mostly it was just a matter of his command and control, which were in high gear.  Scoring opportunity or no scoring opportunity, the Yanks couldn’t do much with his stuff.

He went one-two-three in the first and was almost in trouble in the second, during which he gave up two singles and two walks.  But thanks to a timely and well-executed double play and a flyout, he escaped unscathed.  He went one-two-three in the third and gave up two more singles in the fourth.  In the fifth, he gave up a single, a double, and three straight groundouts, the second of which ended up scoring his only run.  But, as I’ve said, if you have to allow a run, it’s always better if you manage to get an out in the process.  He went one-two-three in the sixth, and he was taken out of the seventh after he allowed a walk, a double play, and a hit batsman.

Breslow took over and ended the inning, and he and Tazawa combined to pitch the eighth.

Meanwhile, we had at least one baserunner during each of the first three innings, but we didn’t score until the fourth, which Papi led off with a double followed by a single by Carp and a strikeout by Nava.  Then Drew reached on a force attempt thanks to a throwing error, and Papi scored.  Carp and Drew executed a double steal, Salty struck out, and Middlebrooks and Ellsbury hit back-to-back singles, scoring one run each.  We went down in order in the fifth but turned it on again in the sixth, which Nava led off with a double.  After Drew grounded out, Nava scored on a single by Salty, who scored on a double by Ellsbury with a little help from a throwing error.  Pedroia led off the seventh by popping out, by Papi smacked a solo shot way deep, all the way out to center field, on a full-count changeup.

We had the bases loaded with two out in the eighth, but we didn’t score.  Uehara pitched a solid ninth.  And that’s how we beat the Yanks, 6-1.  As I said, it was sweet.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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A loss to the Yankees is, without a doubt, my least favorite type of loss.  A slugfest loss to the Yankees is my least favorite type of loss to the Yankees.  I just really, really, really hate losing to the Yankees.  And we didn’t have to, either.  But when your starting pitcher makes that many mistakes, it’s kind of unavoidable in the end.

It was a complete and total disaster.  Doubront gave up his first run in the first thanks to a single-single combination.  In the bottom of the inning, we went down in order.  In the second, he issued a walk and, one out later, a two-run home run.  In the bottom of the inning, we went down in order.  In the third, he gave up a single, and another runner reached on a force attempt thanks to a fielding error by Drew, and then Doubront gave up a three-run home run.  And the only thing that kept us from going down in order in the bottom of the inning was a single by Middlebrooks that led nowhere.

With two out in the fourth, Doubront gave up another run after a triple-single combination.  And in the bottom of the inning, we finally got on the board.  Pedroia singled, and then there was a deflection and a fielding error put him at second, and he scored on a single by Gomes after Papi struck out.

De La Rosa relieved Doubront for the fifth, and he also pitched the sixth; neither team scored during those two innings.  After he hit a batter and induced a lineout in the seventh, he was replaced by Morales, who finished the inning.  In the bottom of the seventh, Pedroia ended up at second thanks to a throwing error and scored on a single by Papi.  Then Gomes grounded out, Drew doubled, Napoli walked, and Drew scored on a single by Salty.  That was probably our most promising point in the game up to that time at which we had the most opportunity to really make a dent in the deficit.  And Carp came up to pinch-hit for Middlebrooks, and he got hit by a pitch.  Except that home plate umpire Bill Welke called him back after he was already on his way to first base, even though Carp was obviously correct.  Then, with a full count, after five pitches, Carp took a slider for what he thought was a ball, since it was a ball.  But again, Welke made a call that was questionable at absolute best when he decided that Carp had struck out.  Carp doesn’t usually lose it, but this time he lost it.  I mean, his batting helmet came off, and he was really getting animated.  And I’m pretty sure that everyone except Welke knew exactly why.  It was because Welke was wrong.

Neither team scored in the eighth, and Britton came on for the ninth.  Before the ninth, we were down by four, and with a solid rally, we could perhaps have scored enough runs to come back.  Instead, Britton made it even worse.  Britton nailed down the inning’s first out with a strikeout but then gave up two consecutive singles.  After another strikeout, he gave up three consecutive singles that scored one run each.

In the bottom of the ninth, Gomes flied out, Drew singled, Napoli doubled, Salty flied out, and Holt, who came in to replace Carp earlier, walked to load the bases.  It was an absolutely golden opportunity.  But, appropriately enough, Ellsbury grounded out to end the inning and the game, and the final score was an insufferably humiliating 10-3.  In front of Fenway’s largest crowd of the season.  To say it was awful would basically be the understatement of understatements.

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

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