I only have time for a quick entry, even though I wasn’t able to write all weekend. In the next two days, expect an entry recapping the Toronto series (quite a success considering the circumstances), and the position we’re in heading into the All-Star break.
Hello again, everyone out there in the MLBlogosphere.
If I were to ever find myself in a position of teaching baseball offense to someone, I think I would use last night’s Yankees-Red Sox game as a model for my class.
Baseball is a game where scoring is pretty unpredictable. It’s very hard to know when there’s going to be a shutout, or when, like last night, a team is going to score 20 runs. Offense can sometimes be misinterpreted due to this. Just because a team loses 2-1, it doesn’t mean that their offense wasn’t working. They clearly weren’t at their best, but who’s saying they didn’t leave the bases loaded in every inning? They failed to produce, but I think that loading the bases still counts for some sort of offense.
Because games like that (stranding the bases loaded so much) are rare, I would probably choose a clear offensive game for any example in my “class”.
Last night, was an unbelieveably clear, offensive game. Our starter, Brad Penny, left the game after 4 innings, already having allowed 8 runs. There is an ongoing problem with Penny that was clearly shown here. I’ll let you take a guess as to what this problem is with the help of this stat- He threw 89 pitches through 4 innings last night.
Yeah, Mr. Penny throws far too many pitches and therefore wears himself out ridiculously soon in the game. Sorry, but this is not the guy we want starting off a series like this.
Our relievers didn’t fare much better against the torrent of hits the Yankees were bringing upon us. Michael Bowden came in and let up 7 runs in 2 innings, even worse (if you can believe it) than Penny had done.
Surprisingly, Takashi Saito, one of our relievers that has really struggled this season, produced one of the few really good innings in the game, allowing no hits and no runs while striking out one.
The lead just kept building, even as our offense began to
FINALLY produce. We scored 10 runs in the last 5 innings of the game, but the Yankees, already leading 6-1 before this point, scored 14 runs to match that. While 14-10 might have been a decent game for us, because of those early innings, the score was actually 20-11. Yes, 20 runs. The most the Yankees have ever scored against us.
As much as I hate to admit it, the Yankees have one of the best offenses I’ve ever seen live. And as much as I wish it wasn’t true, they are (right now) just about the best possible example on how to run a baseball offense. They can hit (23 hits in the game), they hustle (8 doubles and a triple), they score (20 runs), and they wear a pitcher down (see “Brad Penny”).
Now before I get carried away, I’m going to have to stop getting so enthralled by the Yankee offense. And what can do this for me? A little Red Sox offense, please…
The Red Sox offense wasn’t so bad. Against most other teams, 11 runs wins a game. Lowell went 3-5, Pedroia went 2-5, and Ortiz went 2-4. Our offense was not nonexistent. It was just dwarfed by the superior offense of the Bronx Bombers. That pretty much spells out what we need to do tonight. We have to turn up the bats, crank off some hits, and outhit, outrun, and outscore the Yankees. I’m pretty sure that’ll lead to a win.
All this is not to say that the game didn’t have it’s bright points. Jerry Remy was back in the booth after an ongoing struggle with depression and lung cancer. Remy is my favorite broadcaster of all time, without a doubt, and I can’t even say how happy I am to see the man doing well and back doing what he is so good at.
Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one overjoyed to see the RemDawg back in business.
The pictures go on…
It is great to see so much love and happiness in the stands for Remy. He deserves it!
Also, in the 1st inning, Jacoby Ellsbury stole 2nd base to tie Tommy Harper’s Red Sox record of stolen bases in a season, at 54.
Jacoby is an ABSOLUTE speedster!
We know what we have to do. We can’t let this lead keep growing bigger and bigger. Now is the time to win! I still believe that we are as good as the Yankees, let’s prove it! So tonight, let’s duplicate the Yankees’ success and lead an offensive outburst of our own! GO SOX!!
Maybe the boys did some recommended reading…
…because the comeback was alive and well in Arlington, Texas last night. It is something us Red Sox fans haven’t seen for a while. The last few weeks for us have been depressing, as our guys have struggled to hit when we needed it and we just haven’t been able to come through on several wins we really needed.
Heading into what everyone knew would be an exciting and decisive series with the Rangers, our hopes were high. We knew that beating Texas would be tough, but we were confident we had what it took.
Jon Lester took the mound for us in the first game of the series yesterday. He was facing Kevin Millwood, who has been decent this year. Lester has been our #2 pitcher for most of the season, so we expected him to bring it to set the tone for the rest of the series. One of our problems has been good starting pitching in the last few weeks. Aside from bright points whenever Beckett pitches, we have been unable to really decide things with the quality of our starters.
Texas got on the scoreboard very quickly, scoring on a 2-run homer by Michael Young as only the 2nd batter. We struggled to even it up until the 6th, making legitimate threats in the 2nd and 4th innings. Finally, Ortiz homered and drove in 2 runs, and just like that, we were back in the game.
A few innings later, going into the 9th inning, the score was 4-2 Rangers, and thus the stage was set for a comeback.
We started off by rallying for one run off of hits by Ortiz, Varitek, and Ellsbury. We were only down one run at this point. Things were starting to change course. With men on 1st and 2nd, Francona made the decision to put pitcher Clay Buchholz in as a pinch runner for V-Tek on 2nd. Pedroia then hit a long fly ball to left field. The ball bounced off the wall as left-fielder David Murphy missed his attempt to leap and catch it. This is where things got interesting. Buchholz, standing on 2nd, thought the ball had been caught. Ellsbury had seen the play and was sprinting from first, so Buchholz quickly rounded third and, sliding headfirst into home, was called out. The baserunning blunder by Buchholz had cost us an out, and things didn’t look so good.
With 2 outs (the other from a Woodward strikeout), Victor Martinez came up with men on 2nd and 3rd. It was a grim situation. Martinez fought through a grueling 7 pitch at bat before he found one he liked, and doubled to deep right field, scoring both runs! The score was 5-4 Red Sox!
In my opinion, this was one of those times when you really get to know your team. If the Red Sox had just figured they were going to win, and just stopped trying right there, two things may have happened. First, we may have actually won anyway. Maybe Texas wouldn’t have had enough energy left either, and we would have shut them down in the bottom of the 9th. But we also may have lost. Our defense might have come out and started playing without much enthusiasm. After maybe an error, a few missed plays, Texas may have been right back in this game.
However, we didn’t settle for either of those outcomes. We stayed in the game and rallied for 3 more runs. A 6-run inning!! I learned something valuable about the 2009 Boston Red Sox in that inning: We have what it takes to win.
All in all, it was a happy night in Red Sox Nation. To top it all off, earlier during the day we acquired shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who played for us in 2006. As many of you probably know, we have been in dire need of a shortstop these past few weeks. Although the acquisition is meant only to be a short-term solution for our shortstop woes, let’s hope Gonzalez is the missing piece of the puzzle for this team to succeed. Welcome back, Alex!
So far so good in this Rangers series. Keep up the good work, boys!
Thanks for reading. (sorry about the wierd font change, not sure why that happened!)
p.s. Tomorrow I’m traveling up to Maine. I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog tomorrow, but I should be able to get in at least 2 or 3 entries during this next week.
After arriving home from camp and settling in, I got on the computer to see what I had missed, and yes, I’ve missed a lot. All this confusion and crazy news rushing over me and into my jumbled head which just hours ago was worrying about saying goodbye to all of my friends at camp was a little much for me at first. Now that I have adjusted a little more I can sit down and write on my blog. I must say, it feels pretty good.
While I was away at camp I thought of a lot of cool things to write about when I got back, but now I find it kind of hard to begin. I think I should write sort of a coming back entry that gets me back in the flow of things on the MLBlogosphere. So here goes…
From the day I left camp I had an idea related to my blog that stayed with me the entire time. Now I can carry it out. I thought some people might be interested in camp and how it was. Writing about stuff sometimes does help my summarize them in my mind and make them a little less confusing as well, so my hope was that I could make this entry informative for anyone who is curious about the latest month in my life, as well as therapeutic for me. As I said before, my mind is full to the top of stuff right now, so this should help.
The idea I had was to think about away to connect my experience at camp to baseball. I kind of got this idea from Matt Peaslee in his blog, The Pittsburgh Peas. One of the last blog entries I read was his entry about his trip to the amusement park Kennywood. He connected this relatively unrelated day to baseball and sports in a pretty cool way (check it out to find out how).
So I racked my memory of the last month for anything I could connect to baseball and I found a nice baseball story of my own I thought connected pretty well. While at camp baseball news is pretty distorted (as I said). I missed a good deal of trades, huge moments, up and down movement in the standings, etc. Often I found out about these things in strange and abnormal ways. For example, I first found out about Mark Buehrle’s perfect game around 4 or 5 days ago (almost 2 weeks after he threw it) and only then did I find out about it from a friend’s Sports Illustrated he had just received in the mail.
Yesterday Red Sox fans had to take the bitter with the better. As usual in life, with good things always comes bad things as well; nothing can ever be entirely perfect.
In the 3rd inning, David Ortiz connected on a Luke Hochevar pitch and sent it deep for his 300th career homerun. Big Papi has hit safely in 25 of his last 30 games now, and it seems he has recovered from his troubling start to the season. The joy of seeing Papi get #300 didn’t last for long, though.
We came into the game expecting it to be an easy one. Kansas City is a below .500 team, and they were a dismal 3-6 in their last 10 coming into the game. Their starter Luke Hochevar hadn’t pitched in Fenway since facing Jon Lester during Lester’s no-no last year.
It had been 4-3 when Penny left in the 5th, and he later said that he had felt confident after leaving the game. “Anytime you have the lead after the fifth, I’m happy as a starting pitcher,” said Penny after the game.
We ended up losing 8-6 as the Royals’ ace closer Joakim Soria squandered a threat in the 8th and put us away in the 9th.
“It shows how well the Yankees have played,” said Jason Bay. “We haven’t played that badly. Except for the Seattle series,
we’ve been winning series.” Okay, but c’mon J-Bay, just take a look at the bullpen…
I can almost see this guy laughing as we struggle to understand just what it is that has suddenly put us in a tie with a team we led by 5 games on June 23rd.
In closing, I wish good luck to all the players going to the All Star game and congratulations to the winners of the final vote, Brandon Inge and Shane Victorino. Both are deserving winners and are good additions to both the AL and NL teams.
Thanks for reading.
Yesterday in my blog I complained about the Red Sox’ inability to win games when they’re on the line as of late. Takashi Saito wasn’t able to hold our opponents in 2 recent games, and we paid for it.
Today, thankfully, my call was answered with a huge win for the Sox, and the score was close again in the 7th. It was 4-3 Mariners, as they had gotten a huge boost in the 4th when Ronny Cedeno hit a bases clearing triple off Jon Lester. Lester called upon his strength and grit today, throwing 122 pitches in 6.2 innings, 82 of them for strikes. Aside from the 3rd, Lester pitched strongly, and the 3 runs allowed in that inning were unearned.
Trailing by one, the Red Sox faced Miguel Batista in the bottom of the 7th. With 2 out and men on 1st and 2nd, David Ortiz came up to bat. He had already homered in the 1st inning, and was looking to tie the game up. He rapped a single to right, and just like that we had tied the game.
You can imagine my joy that we hadn’t blown it in the late innings, instead we had come back. That’s right, we didn’t surrender a huge lead or end up losing a tie game in the 9th. We came back in the 7th, and ended up absolutely putting the game away, scoring 5 runs in that inning.
It was a well deserved and rejuvenating (did I spell that right?) win for Red Sox Nation and for the team. I felt like my prayer had been answered.
But then the gifts just kept on pouring in. First, it struck me that Big Papi had gone 2-4, and most importantly, he had batted in the tying run that sparked the huge 2 out rally in the 7th. That’s just the kind of game a guy needs to get back on track.
Second of all, I found out that Tim Wakefield had made the AL All Star team for the first time in his career. Wake has been a well loved and very dedicated player on the Red Sox for most of his career, and this was the perfect way to top off a great first half (of a season that will most likely be one of his last). He totally deserved it, and just seeing Wakefield’s name on there made the 5 other Red Sox names on the All Star team all the more worth it.
Thanks for reading.