Unless we’re talking about hand grenades and horseshoes, of course… But, this is baseball.
David “Big Papi” Ortiz hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to get us within one run of tying the game. We were trailing 6-1 with almost no hope of winning when we came up to bat in the ninth at Fenway Park. With one out, Detroit Tigers closer, Jose Valverde, walked the bases loaded and Big Papi took full advantage and went yard with his 22nd homer of the season. Adrian Beltre hit a 2-out double to keep the momentum up and J.D. Drew was then intentionally walked to enable a force-out. But, that wasn’t needed when Mike Cameron came up to the plate and with a full count, struck out looking to end the game. We walked off the field with the scoreboard showing 6-5 in the Tigers favor.
This was a tough loss for the Red Sox. There was one positive I can think of, though, and that is the determination and drive our players have. They didn’t give up. That is what baseball is all about. The game is never over until it’s over– not until the last out is made.
With that being said, we have to look back on this game and wonder what happened, wonder why we lost and what went wrong. I mean, if you look at who was on the mound for us tonight, and the fact that Papi hit a grand slam, and we still walk away with the loss, it just doesn’t make much sense.
Jon Lester had one of his worst outings. He gave up 4 runs on a career high 11 hits, throwing 115 pitches in 6 innings. I hoped after sweeping the Angels, and having an off-day, our offense would have stayed alive and we would dominate this series. However, we didn’t even get on the board until the 5th inning when Marco Scutaro hit a solo homer on a 1-1 pitch. We leave too many runners on base, especially RISP, in crucial situations. We must get on the board early and keep the momentum up throughout the game.
We need to make sure everyone stays healthy and hope that we can gain some major ground in the 59 games that are left to be played (currently we are 58-45). After the Rays beat the Yankees tonight at Tropicana field, we are now 6.5 games out of the wild card and 7.5 games from first. With the trade deadline quickly approaching (4 PM on Saturday), I really hope we can get some bullpen help. Luckily, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury will be back in the line-up within the next few weeks so our fielding and offense should be set.
I feel like these wild, late-inning wins rarely happen for us anymore. I feel like all of Red Sox Nation is hurting, right along with our team, and nobody has any hope anymore. We have to keep the faith. Our boys, our players that we live for and watch every single day still have hope that we can do this, and we should too.
So, no, almost didn’t count tonight. But, can I please remind all of you about 2004? I’m sure none of you can forget, but take a look back at the standings on July 31st and tell me again that we can’t do this, and that there is no hope for us.
One swing… one swing taken by Marco Scutaro scored 4 runs, gave us the lead, ended up winning us the game and ultimately was the last act to help us sweep the Los Angeles Angels. And to add on to that– it was the first series sweep at Anaheim since 1998.
However, we can’t forget about all the outstanding baseball that was played in the last three days to put us in the position to end this 10-game road trip 6-4.
Clay Buchholz started Monday night’s game and came out with the win thanks to an outstanding 4-out save by Jonathan Papelbon. Buchholz dominated, going 7 innings, giving up only 1 run on 5 hits with 1 walk and 7 strike outs. I, of course, must mention David Ortiz, who came back to Anaheim after winning the home-run derby and kept his power alive. He belted 2 home-runs to help the Red Sox win 6-3. Victor Martinez started the scoring off early, though, when he came out for his first at bat since being activated from the disabled list, with an RBI single to score Adrian Beltre. J.D. Drew helped out in the 9th, with a 2-run double to add some cushion for Paps who returned for the 9th inning to close it out. Papelbon came in with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th after Scott Atchison gave up a 2 run homer to Hideki Matsui. Drama in the 8th inning is something every Red Sox fan has, unfortunately, grown accustomed to.
Game 2 of the series was an interesting match-up. John Lackey was returning to the mound at Anaheim for the first time since joining the Red Sox. He didn’t get the kind of welcome he was hoping for after spending 8 seasons with the Angels. After receiving mostly boo’s from the crowd, he pitched a gem of a game and came out with the win against his former teammates. He went 7.1 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB and 2 strike outs. Daniel Bard came in for relief, walking 1, striking out 1 and one FO to end the 8th. Paps came in and pitched a perfect 9th to get the save. It’s just so perfect– this Bard to Paps set-up and closer deal we have going on. We walked off the field winning 4-2, giving Lackey his 10th win on the season.
Today’s afternoon game, Josh Beckett came out hoping to get his 2nd win on the season. It was his second start after being activated from the DL and we really needed him to go deep in the game, mainly because Bard and Paps were unavailable. We also needed our offense to show up to give us some confidence towards the later innings. Beltre and Bill Hall both belted solo home runs early on, while Kevin Youkilis tied the game in the 7th with another solo shot. But, the hero of the game was by far Scutaro, who had his 2nd career grand slam to break the tie and put us on top 7-3. Beckett went 7 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, with 1 walk and 5 strike outs. Manny Delcarmen came in for the 8th giving up a hit and a walk while striking out 2. The Angels had runners on first and second with hope for a 2-out rally, but, Bill Hall had something else in mind when he made an incredible catch to end the inning. Ramon Ramirez came in and pitched a perfect 9th to get the save and to give the ever-so-deserving starter a win. It was a very smooth game, and everyone worked together to prove that the Red Sox will keep fighting and keep winning.
This sweep couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Victor Martinez being back in the line-up has obviously boosted our offensive confidence (which I knew it would). We outscored the Angels 17-8 this series if that proves anything at all. Mike Lowell, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek are all doing everything in their power to get back on the roster quickly. I’m hoping J.D. Drew’s injuries aren’t serious and he’ll be back in the line-up this weekend. I’m really looking forward to this 7 game home-stand that’s coming up after our off-day tomorrow. Jon Lester will be on the mound Friday against Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga. We’ll finish off this weekends series with Dice-K starting on Saturday while Buchholz will be back on the mound for Sunday’s game.
I hope to take my broom out once again this weekend because oh–indeed.. how sweep it is!
Go Red Sox!
Ok, so it wasn’t as jaw dropping
as Armando Galarraga’s un-perfect-perfect game. But, Jon Lester had a perfecto
into the 6th inning of Saturday night’s game against the Mariners.
Eric Patterson ruined his heroic act from Thursday nights game, when he dropped a fly ball with 1 out in the 6th hit by Jack Wilson for
a two-base error. When will major league players understand the little league
concept of using two hands when catching a fly ball? Lester still had the no-no
possibility but that was shortly shattered by the next batter, Michael Saunders,
who jacked a 2-2 curveball over the right field wall. We then trailed 2-1 and
nothing good came after that. Lester had 13 strike-outs (career high) in his 8 and 2/3
innings pitched. He was obviously solid through 7 innings, other than the
homerun he gave up. However, in the 8th inning, something happened, and he lost
his momentum and gave up 2 more runs. When he was taken out of the game, we
were down 4-1 and we were not able to score again. We ended up losing the game
It’s not rocket science, but we can’t expect to win games by only scoring 1
run. And we definitely can’t count on our starter’s to do all the work, as much
as we’d like to be able to. Run-prevention can only do so much when you have a shaky bullpen like we do. David Ortiz was
the only reason we were even on the board that night, belting his 19th homer of
the season in the 4th inning. It’s so frustrating that we keep losing these games in late innings, which only proves one thing— we need to work on our pen.
Fast forward to Sunday’s afternoon game in which Daisuke Matsuzaka started. He prevailed through 6 innings, giving up only 1 run on 4 hits with 5 walks and 4 strikeouts. He was taken out and replaced by Daniel Bard who came in for the 7th. Bard pitched the 7th with 1 hit, 2 ground outs and a strike out. He was taken out in the 8th with no outs after giving up a single and Hideki Okajima came in (which was, without a doubt, Tito’s mistake). From there, all hell broke loose. Oki loads the bases with no outs. He gave up 5 straight singles, Michael Saunders being one who hit a 2-run single which put the Mariners up front 3-2. Milton Bradley came in as a pinch hitter, and singles on a bunt which scores Casey Kotchman. We end up losing this one 4-2, giving up 11 hits, and no errors, although we had a few mental errors.
Oki misplays two bunts which truly cost us the game. Bard should have been kept in to finish the 8th, then bring in Jonathan Papelbon for the 9th to close it out. Why did Terry decide to bring Oki in when Bard is completely and utterly dominating? We have a one run lead in the 8th inning, and we replace Bard, who now has a 1.86 ERA (lowest on the team) with Oki, who now has a 5.81 ERA. I understand the pitch count, and the idea that we need to save him so we can use him more. But, I’m sure you all have heard the quote by Leo Durocher, “You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.” We need to win games one at a time and not worry about the next day’s game. If we keep doing this, we’ll go 0 for the next 30 games.
We need to start making better defensive decisions. Our starters, for the most part, are doing their job and leaving the game with the lead. But, our pen is really struggling and we need to do something about that ASAP. It’s also tough for our offense to truly dominate when we aren’t playing with Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez or Jacoby Ellsbury.
It’s hard to stay hopeful when we are now 8 games out of first and 5 from the Wild Card spot. This is the worst deficit we’ve sustained since May 23. We are now 55-44. Positives— V-Mart could be back tonight for the series opener in Anaheim and most of our guys should be back by mid-August. But, is it too late? We can’t let this split series against the Mariners keep us down. We have to keep going out there every single day and fight—fight for our lives, practically. We must stay in contention with the line-up we have, so when we get all of our boys healthy, we can come back and, at the very least, take over the Wild Card. Let’s just hope the Yankees and Rays go on some major losing streak so we can gain some ground. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.
I feel like the Red Sox might give me a heart attack before I turn
Tonight was a very smooth night for the Red Sox. John Lackey pitched great–he
had a no-hitter into the 8th inning against the Seattle Mariners and lost it
with 2-outs when Josh Bard hit a line-drive into right-center for a single. So,
it was a bummer that Lackey lost his bid for a no-no, but we went into the 9th
inning with a 5-run lead (6-1) and brought Manny Delcarmen in to close it out.
Just 3 outs… that’s all we needed and the Red Sox could walk away from a
great game with the win and all of Red Sox Nation could get some much needed,
But, the Red Sox have to make things interesting. Manny…being Manny… (never
heard that one before) and Jonathan Papelbon jointly ruined our lead and the
game ended up tied after 9, which forced us into extra innings. Daniel Bard
came in for the 10th and had a nice 3 up 3 down appearance (I can’t get over
how much I love him). Hideki Okajima came in for the 11th and 12th and managed
to get out of a 1-out, bases loaded jam to end the 12th inning. Eric Patterson
turned out to be the hero of the game, with a 2-out, 2-run double in the 13th
to put the Red Sox on top 8-6. Then, Ramon Ramirez came in for the bottom of
the inning and earned the save while Oki was given the win.
It’s upsetting that Lackey was snubbed of his 10th win this season because our
pen was unable to hold the lead. Over 8 innings, Lackey threw 116 pitches, gave
up only 2 hits and 1 run, with 6 strike outs and only 1 walk. He left the game
with an enormous lead, and no question, his best outing in a Red Sox uniform,
and ended up with a no-decision. I guess, as they say, life isn’t fair and
obviously neither is baseball.
That was the short version of what happened in the game tonight. But, really,
it ended up being a little over a 4 hour game with my blood pressure raised to
a point where it might be safe for me to be put on some medicine for it (just
kidding, kind of).
Before this game, the Red Sox just ended a 3-game series in Oakland where we
lost 2 out of 3 and lost even more ground in the AL East race. After winning
tonight, though, we are now 7 games behind the first place Yankees and 4 games
from the Rays who still hold the Wild Card spot. Josh Beckett will make his
return tomorrow night for the second game in this 4 game series against the
Mariners. I’m so glad he’s back, I just hope he’s not too rusty and can make it
at least 6+ innings. After using a lot of our bullpen tonight, we really don’t
have many options if he gets in to trouble early.
So, I don’t think I’ll need blood pressure meds just yet, but if the Red Sox
keep this up, come October, I might just have to make a visit to my doctor. I’m
not sure she would understand, though. “Ms. Doll, why are you stressed out
lately? What is the reason for the rise in your blood pressure? You are only 20
years old.” Oh, the Red Sox bullpen keeps blowing leads and my boys aren’t
hitting. I’m sure she would love that as an answer. Her solution would not be
medicine, but a referral to a therapist, I’m afraid.
Go Red Sox!
I finally get a chance to sit, relax, write and watch a Red Sox game.
It’s been a few days and I’ve definitely been having withdrawals. I’m
writing this as I watch the Red Sox start their 10-game road trip in
This past weekend’s 4-game series against the Rangers
was not the kind of second half start I was hoping for. We lost three
out of four games at home and are now playing ten games away from Fenway
starting in Oakland with a 3-game series against the A’s. Then we head
to Seattle for a 4-game weekend series against the Mariners and end our
road trip in L.A. with a 3-game series against the Angels. Is it just
me, or is everyone else nervous about this trip? What happened the last
time we went out west? I’m sure none of you have forgotten about that
dreadful series against the Giants where we lost Dustin Pedroia, Clay
Buchholz, and Victor Martinez to injuries and all three were placed on
the disabled list.
Luckily, Clay Buchholz will be
back on the mound for us on Wednesday night to end the series against
the A’s. Also, Josh Beckett is scheduled to make his return to the big
club on Friday for the second game against the Mariners. Jeremy Hermida
is now with Pawtucket on a rehab assignment and could be rejoining the
Red Sox as early as this weekend in Seattle. And Mike Lowell is ready to
start rehab, will be playing with the PawSox, and could be back next
week, depending on his recovery.
As doubtful as I could be just
because of all the injuries we’ve sustained, not even mentioning our
record in the last 13 games (5-8), and how many games back we have
fallen from the first place Yankees (6.5 in case you were wondering), I
still believe that we can do this. There is still plenty of baseball to
be played and it is looking very likely that most of our guys who are on
the DL will be back by mid-August (just in time for my trip to
Tampa…!!). We are only 2.5 games behind the Rays who hold the Wild
Card spot. We have to stay positive. There are so many people who say
they are a part of the greatest Nation in the world, who sure seem to
be fair-weather “fans.” What happened to having some faith?