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.
It’s been two great days for two of my favorite Red Sox players.
Jason Bay has done more than replace Manny since our acquisition of him last year. His hustle and determination are admired by Sox Nation and his attitude towards playing is always great. I am happy to have Bay as a member of the Red Sox, and now, as an American citizen on July 2. Congrats Jason!
Yesterday was also a milestone for a Sox player, Tim Wakefield. Wake made his 383rd start for the Red Sox, and passed Roger Clemens on the Red Sox list for this category. He had a tough outing last night against the Mariners, but reaching this milestone is still great. Wakefield has been with the team for 14 years and counting, and I know that Red Sox Nation is grateful for his commitment to the team. Congrats Tim!
Happy 4th of July to everyone as well!
Here’s a fantasy team update for anyone who’s interested…
-I won my last matchup 9-3, now I have 60 wins on the season and I’m still in the running for the top 4
-Andrew McCutchen has basically forced Melky Cabrera out of the starting lineup; I was even more happy with McCutchen after that 13 game hitting streak, the longest this year for a rookie
-However, Melky might get back into the lineup as Juan Pierre, my other great pickup, will go back to being only a role player as Manny returns to the team in a few days or so
-I am really eyeing Wakefield as he again impressed me, getting the 1-0 nothing win last week; a trade could be in order very soon
-I officially have 5 of the top 15 hitters in the AL on my team, and no more than 2 or 3 in the NL; I can’t figure out why
I also thought I should talk a little about Joe Mauer and his chase for .400. He still can’t be statistically considered the best hitter in the majors, because he’s below the required amount of plate appearances, but whenever he passes that mark (he might not reach it until the All Star break), see ya later Pujols, and the others up there. Mauer is in a different class, Pujols is one of the only guys who can even compete with Mauer’s stats right now, and Mauer is a good ways above even him.
Anyone who read the article in Sport Illustrated this week should be as full of discouragement for Mauer fans as I am, as it was loaded with reasons why it will be extremely difficult for Mauer to bat .400 this year. As Joe Sheehan discussed in his sidebar article in the issue, Mauer also needs a fair amount of luck and the ability to keep pace with his stats so far to reach the hallowed mark last reached by the great Ted Williams. He’s hitting about 1 in 4 of his fly balls this year for homeruns, more than two times more power than he’s ever had. As Sheehan said, if this powerful streak drops off a little, Mauer’s average could suffer.
Among other reasons adding to the difficulty Mauer should continue to encounter on his chase for .400 are the fact that only 2 men alive played with a .400 hitter, and the fact that so many players “destined” to hit .400 after a hot first half, or in the case of George Brett and Todd Helton, even a hot first 5 months, have suddenly dropped off and ended up to 20 points below .400. If Mauer can reverse that pattern and keep up the hot streak through September, he will have beaten all the odds. I guess that is pretty obvious.
We could witness history this year, folks, and I’m rooting for Mauer.
Also, Tim Wakefield is making his 383rd start for the Red Sox, and therefore passes Roger Clemens for first in this category. Congratulations Wake!