Sometimes when I’m walking by parking meters in the city, I like to look at the time remaining and wonder about the people parked there. What are they doing as the time ticks away, what kind of people are they?
I think that a parking meter ticking away can sometimes be a good metaphor for a baseball team struggling to stay in the race in late summer. Every opportunity a team gets, they must take, whether it is the chance to to move a 1/2 game up the standings or to sign a veteran that just might have that one little skill a team needs to keep the push going. As the time ticks away on the season, fewer and fewer opportunities like these will arise, and it will become more and more important for a team to capitalize on them.
Today, I believe, the Red Sox had an opportunity. We were one game from sweeping the Tigers, which would have been huge heading into a must-win series against our current wild card rivals, the Rangers. There was also, of course an opportunity involving our own division. The Yankees, with baseball’s best record and going strong, are beginning a road series against the Mariners today.
The Yankees, like most teams (including the Red Sox), are stronger at home than away, probably even enforced by how hitter-friendly the new Yankee Stadium is. This is one of the only two series between our next meeting with the Yankees at Fenway, and it is important for us to gain ground on them before we face them. If the Yankees win today, we are back to where we started after their sweep of us, and we have missed out on what could prove to be an important opportunity. If they lose, we are fortunate and things remain the same as they were this morning.
It is a missed opportunity because of the grim afternoon game we suffered through today. Hope was abuzz in the air before the game, the prospects of a sweep alive in many of our players’ faces. Dustin Pedroia looked happy to be enjoying a day off, and he too seemed excited for the possibilities of this game.
The Tigers went up 1-0 fairly early on an infield single. They scored once more on a Ryan Raburn homer in the 7th. Clay Buchholz, our starter, pitched a decent game, going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs, only 1 earned. He has definitely showed talent this year, and has definitely been unlucky enough to be given some unfavorable matchups, as well as a fair share of close game losses. His 1-3 record doesn’t really tell the whole story, in my opinion.
Tonight there is reason for excitement for Red Sox fans, as well as baseball fans. I am sure many people in Boston will be tuning in to the Yankees-Mariners game to see how it’s going for us. I am not always one to wish a loss upon another team, but tonight would be the night to do so. Sorry, Jane and others!
There is also excitement in Houston tonight, as Kazuo Matsui needs just one hit to get his 2,000th pro hit. Only 566 have come in the MLB (the others in Japanese pro baseball), but it is a monumental achievement nonetheless. Good luck to him in reaching this goal!
I hope that the missed opportunity for the Red Sox today will turn into a lesson for the team in the future, so that we can turn any upcoming opportunities like it into sucess!
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Last night marked the return of one of the great pitchers of all time- Pedro Martinez. In an eventful game, he got the win vs. the Cubs in his first outing in nearly a year.
But first things first. The Red Sox beat the Tigers 8-2 to complete the sweep. Our ace Josh Beckett was on the mound and once again he delivered a strong performance, going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs. He’s become almost automatic when on the mound, as he has gone 7-1 in his last 10 starts and gone 7 or more innings in all but one of them. I think he is definitely in the top 4 pitchers in the AL right now, and possibly behind only Greinke and Halladay.
The other guy acquired in that trade with Florida back in 2006 also shined last night- Mike Lowell. He hit a homerun in the 2nd inning and didn’t look back from there, going 3-4.
We have made great progress in recovering from the Yankee series, almost completing a sweep of our own now! I have faith that we can ride this hot streak through this series and into what will be an important one against our wild card foes, the Rangers.
Now on to the Pedro news. Martinez started against the Cubs, throwing 5 good innings, with 3 runs and 7 hits allowed (in the same game, Shane Victorino was hit by a beer cup from an unruly fan, check out mlb.com for video) I, for one, am happy to see Pedro back in the game. Last year, before his father died, he asked Pedro to continue playing the game of baseball. It is heartwarming to see Pedro back in the game and still going strong because of this. I was always a big fan of him, even though he had his occasional issues.
Since Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, two other legends trying to return to the scene, have already made their sorry exits from this season (and probably the game), it is good to see that the one legend closest to Boston fans’ hearts still has a chance. And we had some good memories, didn’t we Pedro?
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Last night the Red Sox were glad to be back in Boston as we beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in the comfort of Fenway. Our bats came alive, as Nick Green, Jason Bay, and Dustin Pedroia all hit homeruns. Pedroia crossed home in the first inning, putting us on the board early.
It was especially nice to see Bay hit his shot, as just a few days ago he was out with an injury. Overall, it was a nice, not-too-stressful win. It feels good to be back in the swing of things, and I feel like that game was a decent first step to rebounding nicely from the Yankee series.
The win over Detroit came with an added bonus: a 5-4 win for the Blue Jays over the Yankees. That means that we’re one game closer to first place in the AL East, only 5 1/2 games back right now. Things aren’t so bad in Beantown, Sox fans!
Another good piece of Boston sports news, Tom Brady has told reporters that he’s ready to play on Thursday in the Patriots’ preseason opener vs. the Eagles. Today he said, “I’m ready. I think everybody is ready. We’ve had a good camp. I think guys have really been working hard, trying to do what Coach Belichick has asked.”
Also of note in baseball last night, Troy Tulowitzki hit for the cycle and Jason Bartlett came within a single from hitting for it as well.
Although several players have hit for the cycle this year, I found Tulowitzki’s especially awesome because he had accomplished 3/4 of it (all but the triple) by the end of the 4th inning. Usually players get the 4 hits more spread out in the game, because a player doesn’t always hit 3 times in 4 innings.
Jason Bartlett’s effort was a little hearbreaking, because he came within a single of the cycle, which is usually the easiest part of it to accomplish. It’s always annoying to see a player come so close to something special like the cycle, even when you’re not a fan of them.
All I can say is that we’ve been through the storm, and now we have to keep fighting until the end of the season.