|06.13.10 at 9:59 am ET|
The Red Sox and Phillies square off for the sixth and final time this season on Sunday afternoon. The Red Sox own the all-time series with a 26-16 record over the Phillies. The record gets even better at Fenway Park, where the Sox are 13-6 against the Phils. They’ll try to make it 14-6 Sunday when Tim Wakefield takes the mound for Boston while Philadelphia will counter with Cole Hamels.
Each starter has already faced his respective opponent once this season, and both fared very well. Wakefield (2-4, 5.48 ERA), in fact, had his best start of the season when he faced the Phillies on May 23. He pitched eight shutout innings in which he allowed just five hits and never saw more than five Philadelphia batters in any given inning of the 8-3 Boston win. It should be noted that the Sox starter outdueled Phillies ace Roy Halladay, who surrendered six earned runs over 5 2/3 innings on that day.
In his lone start against the Red Sox this season, Hamels was nearly as successful as his knuckleball counterpart. Hamels allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings of work in the 5-1 Philadelphia victory. He also struck out eight batters, tied for his second-highest strikeout total of the season. Marco Scutaro, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, J.D. Drew and Bill Hall all had 0-fors at the plate against Hamels in that contest.
If the Sox look to rob Hamels (5-5, 3.98 ERA) of a repeat performance Sunday, they’ll need Pedroia to return to his previous form against the lefty starter. He has the best average among Sox batters against Hamels at .429 with a double and a solo home run.
One matchup to watch on the Philadelphia side should be Wakefield vs. Ryan Howard. The 2006 NL MVP has struggled against the knuckleballer, going 0-for-6 with one just one walk to his credit. The bulk of the team’s power may need to come from Jayson Werth, who has hit .455 with a home run and two RBI in the past against Wakefield.
Red Sox vs. Cole Hamels
Bill Hall (19 career plate appearances against Hamels): .158 average/.158 OBP/.158 slugging, six strikeouts
Mike Cameron (11): .125/.364/.500, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Marco Scutaro (10): .100/.100/.200, 1 double, 2 strikeouts
J.D. Drew (7): .200/.429/.800, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (7): .429/.429/1.000, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 double, 2 strikeouts
Victor Martinez (6): .333/.333/.833, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Darnell McDonald (5): .200/.200/.200, 2 strikeouts
Adrian Beltre (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 strikeout
Phillies vs. Tim Wakefield
Raul Ibanez (32 career plate appearances against Wakefield): .258 average/.281 OBP/.484 slugging, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 doubles, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Placido Polanco (17): .067/.176/.067, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Jayson Werth (11): .455/.455/.727, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout
Chase Utley (10): .222/.300/.444, 1 triple, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Ross Gload (8): .125/.125/.125, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout
Greg Dobbs (7): .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI
Ryan Howard (7): .000/.143/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Shane Victorino (7): .333/.429/.500, 1 double, 1 strikeout
Juan Castro (6): .500/.500/.667, 1 double
Ben Fransisco is 0-for-3 all-time against Wakefield while Brian Schneider is 1-for-2. Carlos Ruiz and Wilson Valdez have never faced the Boston starter.
|06.12.10 at 9:24 pm ET|
In a day of unbelievable events, this might be the most mind-shattering of them all ‘¦
After Daniel Nava hit a grand slam on the very first major league pitch he ever saw, there have now been four players in big league history to claim home runs with the bases loaded in their initial major league game — Bill Duggleby (1898), Jeremy Hermida (’05) and Kevin Kouzmanoff (’06).
Of the group only Kouzmanoff and Nava hit their grand slams on the first big league offering they saw. Pretty good, right?
Well, Victor Martinez can top that.
The Red Sox catcher can claim to having not only been present for both of the historic first-pitch home runs, but he has also has proof that he predicted both would take place just prior to their completion.
Saturday, while sitting up in the Red Sox’ clubhouse during the second inning of what would be a 10-2 win over the Phillies, Martinez offered his prediction of Nava’s blast.
“He was standing right next to me when he said, ‘First pitch, bomb!'” said Red Sox DH David Ortiz. “I came up to get some batting gloves because of the rain and Vic was here. He said, ‘Watch this, first pitch grand salami’ There you go.”
But before you surmise that it was just a lucky guess, understand Martinez has a history with such things. That was thanks to Kouzmanoff’s first-pitch blast sat a member of the Cleveland Indians back on Sept. 2, 2006.
When he first got there I said, ‘If I was you I would swing at the first pitch.’ He said, ‘You think I should do that?’ I said, ‘Why not? You play in Double A and Triple A, but you haven’t played against the Rangers so those they probably didn’t have a good scouting report on you from the minor leagues. So if I was you i would swing at the first pitch.’ So guess what? First at-bat, bases loaded, off of Kevin Millwood — first-pitch grand slam.
“When he walked to the plate I called a grand slam.”
When asked if he had duplicated his effort this time around, Martinez resounded, “When you see David ask him.”
Hence, the Ortiz confirmation, and another legend to build on to Nava’s historic day.
“Unbelievable,” Ortiz said.
|06.12.10 at 8:59 pm ET|
Scott Atchison knew the drill ‘¦ sort of.
Atchison last lived the life of a starter in 2008 when pitching in Japan. But, as he pointed out after the Red Sox‘ 10-2 win over the Phillies, ‘It’s totally different in the big leagues.’
Atchison found out he was getting a chance to make his first major league start just 20 minutes before the start of the game, getting word that there might be something wrong with the scheduled Red Sox’ starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
‘I was in here dressed, 20 or 25 minutes before the game, I guess, just kind of waiting. [Bench coach] DeMarlo [Hale} came in and said, ‘Atch get your glove. Let’s go.’ I said, ‘Where we going?’ He said, ‘We need you out in the bullpen, something might be up.’ I was already dressed so it wasn’t that big a deal from that point,’ Atchison said. ‘I got out in the dugout and Tito said, ‘Head out to the bullpen. We’re not exactly sure what’s going on.’ So I went out there and Dice was still throwing. I guess they called in and they were like, ‘Get going, you’re going to start this thing.’ It was kind of exciting because I’ve never started a game in the big leagues. I was able to put a ‘1’ where all the ‘0’s’ used to be in the columns.’
The 34-year-old held his own, all things considered, going three innings, giving up two runs. Prior to Japan, Atchison’s experience as a starter consisted of one start with Triple A Fresno in ‘07, with the last regular run as a starting pitcher in the United States coming in ‘02 with Triple A Tacoma.
‘I had done it somewhat before, so I guess I knew what I was getting myself into,’ he noted.
‘I had plenty of time. I’m a reliever. I probably could have waited actually a little longer, but they said ‘Get going’ and I hadn’t look at the clock. There were a thousand things running through my mind as to what was going on. I tried to treat the warm-up for the most part like I would if I was getting loose to come in and pitch an inning. I figured that was the best way to go about it.’
It was an effort that drew a tremendous amount of appreciation from the Red Sox considering the immediacy that came with the decision following Matsuzaka’s ailment.
‘Thankfully Pawtucket was in town, and we got Richardson here,’ said Francona of Dustin Richardson, who was summoned to take Matsuzaka’s place on the roster. ‘He didn’t pitch. That’s a lot to ask out of a bullpen. Fortunately everything about as well as it could. Atchison gives us three, which is a lot, and then everyone who came in did great.
‘[Matsuzaka] threw a lot of cutters his last outing but nothing to suggest this would happen. This was all happening as he was warming up. Johnny [Farrell] had called me and said, hey, he’s not warming up very well. I called him back and said, ‘Is this something to worry about?’ I said, ‘Let Atchison. We don’t want to surprise somebody, don’t want to put him behind the eight-ball more than he already is. It became apparent, Johnny called back and said, ‘I’m not comfortable with this.’ And I don’t think dice-k fought him.’
|06.12.10 at 8:52 pm ET|
Despite being placed immediately on the 15-day disabled list with right forearm soreness, Daisuke Matsuzaka said after Saturday’s game that he is not overly concerned about the injury that forced him to be scratched from Saturday’s start against Philadelphia at Fenway Park. Matsuzaka said he did experience this before in his career but can’t remember the last time it bothered him to the point where he had to miss a start.
“I can’t even remember when the last time was so I think that just goes to tell you I don’t think this is a really big problem at all,” Matsuzaka said through interpreter Masa Hoshino.
Matsuzaka, who entered the game with three wins in his last four starts and a 5-2 record, said he did not feel any cramping or tightness while stretching and playing catch prior to heading out to his bullpen session prior to the game. He said he informed pitching coach John Farrell of the issue and the decision was made to shut him down.
“Until I went to the bullpen, I went through my regular routine, but once I got in and started throwing, I felt some sudden tightness in my forearm,” he said. “I think I could have pitched through it, but we talked about it and decided there’s no sense in trying to compenstate and making a mechanical adjustment just to get through it, so that was the decision.”
Matsuzaka said he didn’t feel anything unusual in his side session or work leading up to his warmup for Saturday’s scheduled start.
“Nothing out of the ordinary,” he said. “I went through my normal routine, got some massage work done. And went into my start today feeling pretty much the same as usual, so yes it was sudden.”
“Even today we had to go through a lot of pitchers to get through the game, and for that I feel very sorry,” Matsuzaka said.
Matsuzaka said he felt no issues with the elbow and will get a combination of heat, ice and massage work while on the disabled list.
“After coming out of the game, the trainers took a look at me and things didn’t seem that bad,” Matsuzaka said. “It’s not a joint issue. It’s muscle soreness, so I don’t think it’s going to take that long. We’ll take some time, see how I feel tomorrow, and take it from there.”
|06.12.10 at 7:30 pm ET|
What first appeared to be setting up for an innocuous inter-league game between the Red Sox and Phillies Saturday night at Fenway Park turned out to be anything but. First came the news that the Sox’ scheduled starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, was being put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm just minutes before game-time, and then a rookie, Daniel Nava, offered reason for all those in attendance to save their ticket stubs.
While the 10-2 win for the Red Sox was impressive, the thing most everybody came away from the Sox’ second straight victory against the Phils with was the image of Nava hitting the first major league pitch he saw over the right field wall — into the Sox bullpen — for a grand slam. It was the fourth time in major league history a player has hit a grand slam in his first big league at-bat — joining Bill Duggleby, Jeremy Hermida, Kevin Kouzmanoff — and second occasion that a player hit the first pitch he saw for a grand slam (Kouzmanoff being the other).
Here is what went right and wrong for the Red Sox on a rainy day at Fenway (click here for a recap):
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– When interviewed by Fox during the game, Nava’s father said, “I feel like I’m in Kansas,” breaking off his best Wizard of Oz reference. This just in: Knowing how Nava ended up in position to hit Joe Blanton’s initial offering for a grand slam was more surreal than anything the 1939 classic could offer. Where do you start? Diminutive overachiever finds an invite to play in an independent league before having the Red Sox purchase his contract for a dollar. Then comes Saturday, when not only does Nava get the start in left, but jumps all over Blanton’s fastball for a dose of history. In regards to the game itself, it gave the Red Sox a lead they would never surrender, with the Sox scoring five runs in the second inning and three more in the third to quickly wipe out the Phils’ early 2-0 lead. To read about what Nava had to say prior to his debut click here. To read about Nava’s journey toward the big league — including his showdown with John Lackey — click here.
(By the way, in the pregame interview with Nava our own Joe Castiglione ends the session by saying, “Now go hit that first pitch out.” Check it out here.)
– The Red Sox offense continued to torture Phillies, following up their 12-run, 17-hit series opener by pounding out the 10 runs, along with 16 hits. Philadelphia starter Joe Blanton had to take the brunt of the damage — protecting a taxed bullpen — allowing 13 hits over just four innings, throwing 100 pitches. Leading the hit parade for the Red Sox was J.D. Drew, who totaled three hits, including his seventh homer of the season. Also claiming multiple-hit games for the Sox were Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, Darnell McDonald, and Nava.
– The Red Sox pitching staff didn’t too poorly for a bunch of relievers having to fill in for an injured starter. Scott Atchison did allow the two runs in the second inning, but considering he had little time to warm-up — and had never made a major league start — his three innings were fairly productive. After Atchison the rest of the game was filled out by Manny Delcarmen (2 IP), Hideki Okajima (1 1/3 IP), Ramon Ramirez (1 2/3 innings), and Jonathan Papelbon, whose ninth inning outing was his first appearance since June 6.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Just as Matusuzaka was getting rolling (riding 13 2/3 scoreless innings), he appears to have hit another road block. While Matsuzaka did go to the bullpen to warm-up less than 30 minutes before the start of the game, he was subsequently brought back to the dugout after experiencing his forearm injury.
|06.12.10 at 5:28 pm ET|
Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava made his mark in team history by launching a grand slam into the right field bullpen at Fenway Park on the first major league pitch that he saw. It would appear a safe bet that he has now given the Sox more than adequate return on the $1 (to clarify: one dollar) they initially invested in the player.
In 2007, the Sox — at the encouragement of GM Theo Epstein, Assistant to the GM Allard Baird and Assistant Director/Professional Scouting Jared Porter — made a decision that they wanted to scout independent leagues more heavily, believing that there could be overlooked prospects to mine. While the team had signed indy leaguers in the past as minor league filler, Nava was one of the first players whom the team signed as a prospect.
The Sox did not have a scouting report on Nava from his college days at Santa Clara, when he led the Division 1 West Coast Conference in batting average and OBP. But they had seen his statistical profile, and became intrigued by a switch-hitter who was named the MVP of the Golden Baseball League while leading the Chico Outlaws to a championship in 2007 with a line of .371/.425/.625 with above-average defense.
Typically, the Sox inquire about the warts associated with indy leaguers before they sign them — perhaps defensive shortcomings, an inability to hit pitchers on one hand or another, does he have a bad plate approach, etc. — but with Nava, there were no such blemishes. The Sox had never scouted him in person, but based on recommendations of Golden Baseball League officials, Nava appeared a good bet to be an undervalued player, and so the Sox acquired the rights to him, sight unseen, for $1, with the understanding that the team would pay an additional $1,499 if it kept him out of spring training.
The Sox had an area scout look at Nava work out before the start of spring training, and determined it would be worth bringing him to Fort Myers in 2008. There, he played well enough to convince the Sox’ player development decision makers that he deserved a spot with High-A Lancaster of the California League. And so, the Sox paid the $1,499 to the GBL to keep him, while giving Nava a salary of $1,100 per month.
“The rest,” said a team source, “is history.”
|06.12.10 at 4:32 pm ET|
(Update: Daniel Nava became the fourth player in major league history to hit a grand slam in his first major league at-bat, hitting the home run in the second inning of the Red Sox’ Saturday afternoon game against the Phillies against Joe Blanton. Click here for more.)
When the Red Sox announced that they would option outfielder Josh Reddick, a well-known prospect who has some experience at the big-league level, back down to Triple-A Pawtucket Saturday, many Sox followers were left scratching their heads as to who would be called up to replace Reddick on the 25-man roster. Jonathan Van Every perhaps? No, he was traded to the Pirates on May 31. Was there going to be another trade? That didn’t appear imminent.
Finally, reports came out that the Sox were going to call up 27-year-old outfielder Daniel Nava, and one more question arose: Daniel Nava, who?
Nava has been facing those kinds of doubts for literally his entire baseball career. As a 4-foot-8, 70-pound freshman in high school, Nava struggled to get any playing time because of his size.
‘I really was 70 pounds. I couldn’t go on the rides at the theme parks, I was so small,’ Nava said. ‘That kid could barely swing a 32-inch bat so I don’t think he was thinking about the big leagues or anything like that.’
He eventually grew to 5-foot-5 by his senior year, earning an All-League honorable mention that season, but no colleges came calling and he tried to walk on at Santa Clara University. But because of his still small frame, Nava was told instead to consider a move in coaching and therefore he moved to a spot as team manager, where he did laundry, helped with equipment, basically did anything he could to stay around the team. It appeared his playing days were numbered.
Then, a seemingly miraculous growth spurt caused him again to shift course, and he moved to the junior college ranks at College of San Mateo after his family could no longer afford the expenses of a private four-year school.
‘Unfortunately, we just couldn’t afford it,’ Nava said. ‘It was just getting too expensive for us. We had no other options.’
However, he flourished in JuCo, earning both All-Conference and Junior College All-American accolades in his two seasons. Nava returned to Santa Clara, this time on scholarship, and surprised his former coaches by leading the West Coast Conference in batting average and OBP with statistics of .395 and .494 in each respective category.
Still, there were doubters as no major-league clubs came calling in the following draft, and none were willing to sign him as a free agent. He was even cut by the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League before they eventually called him back after absent players left holes in the roster. Again, Nava made the most of his opportunity by hitting .371 and was named the Best Indepefndent League Prospect by Baseball America after just the one season.
That assuredly would garner some interest from the big leagues, but at first, things weren’t looking good again for Nava. The Blue Jays had previously left after seeing Nava in a tryout without offering him a contract before the accolades began to roll in. Finally, the Red Sox and Cubs expressed interest in the low-risk, potentially high-reward player after reading the piece in Baseball America, and Nava eventually took his first shot at minor-league baseball in the Red Sox system.
So far in his two-plus seasons down on the farm, the switch-hitting Nava has produced some eye-popping numbers. He hit .341 with 10 home runs and 59 RBI in 85 games at Single-A Lancaster in 2008 and continued his impressive hitting by accruing an average of .364 in 32 games in Double-A Portland last season after a mid-season call up.
But the knocks kept coming. After entering the Sox system at the prime age of 25, many chalked Nava’s impressive hitting up to his age; he was just an older player in the prime of his career dominating younger, less-experienced pitching. Basbeball America didn’t list him as a top prospect in the Sox system, and the popular website Soxprospects.com listed him as a ‘post-prospect.’
Nava continued his ascent of the Sox system by playing at Triple-A Pawtucket, and in yet another chance to silence his critics, he has again performed admirably. Before his Saturday call-up, he led the PawSox in every major offensive category: average (.294), home runs (8), RBI (38), hits (58) and runs (28).
Then, when he finally got the notice that he would be starting in left field Saturday afternoon for the Boston Red Sox, Nava didn’t know immediately what to say or do. ‘It’s obviously a dream come true. I was telling my friends, ‘Sorry guys if I don’t know what to say because I’m kind of speechless.’ The whole thing happened so fast. I’m trying to learn what to do, where to go.’
Ironically, this will not be his first time on a big-league ballfield. He participated in the Futures of Fenway game last season for Portland and actually won a contest to throw out the first pitch at an Oakland game when he was nine.
‘I actually didn’t want to do it when I was younger. I was so scared,’ Nava said. ‘I honestly think I was more nervous then. Playing ball and doing all that stuff, I don’t think I’m as nervous now. It was a good experience.’
Now when he takes the field as an actual major leaguer, he finally has the chance to prove he can hit with the big boys of the majors, but at this point, Nava isn’t worried about just proving anything about himself. His goals are more team-oriented at this big moment in his career.
‘It’s going to be a great thrill,’ Nava said. ‘I’m not going to say it’s not. I’m just trying to do one thing at a time and not look too much into the future about what’s going to happen. Just here to help the guys win. Keeping it nice and simple.’
When Nava finally takes the field wearing a major-league uniform, his miraculous ascent, from a tiny high-school freshman to college team manager to independent league dropout to Red Sox minor leaguer to major league ballplayer, will finally be complete.
|06.12.10 at 4:32 pm ET|
After thoroughly dismantling the Phillies in the opener of their three game weekend series at Fenway, the Red Sox look to continue their success against the national league Saturday with Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound.
In his last outing against the Phillies Daisuke (5-2, 4.59 ERA) utterly dominated one of the best lineups in the national league, nearly no-hitting them with an impressive eight inning, one hit performance. Although he has had his share of ups and downs this season, he is coming off another solid start against the Indians during which he went eight strong without allowing a run.
Daisuke has not given up more than three runs since his poor performance against the Yankees on May 17. With the Sox offense scorching hot after putting up 12 runs Friday night, Daisuke is in good position to continue his recent streak of success.
On the other side, Joe Blanton will be taking the mound looking to stop the bleeding for a Philadelphia team mired in the worst slump of their season, having lost 13 of their last 20 games. The Phillies have scored three runs or fewer in more than half their games (30 of 59) and hope to find some success against the American League.
An interesting matchup to look out for is Adrian Beltre vs. Blanton. Beltre has four doubles, one home run, and seven RBI against the Philadelphia righty in his career. Mike Cameron enjoys facing him as well, with three homeruns and 5 RBI in only 12 at bats.
Phillies vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka
Raul Ibanez (19 plate appearances): .214 AVG/.421 OBP/.500 SLG, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 walks, 4 SO
Placido Polanco (12): .222/.417/.222, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Ross Gload (7): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts
Shane Victorino (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double
Juan Castro (5): .400/.400/.400, 2 hits, 1 strikeout
Ryan Howard (5): .200/.200/.200, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
Carlos Ruiz (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk
Chase Utley (5): .200/.200/.400, 1 double, 1 RBI
Jayson Werth (5): .200/.200/.200, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
Ben Francisco (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
Greg Dobbs (1): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Chad Durbin (1): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Kyle Kendrick (1): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Matsuzaka has never faced Brian Schneider or Wilson Valdez
Red Sox vs. Joe Blanton
Adrian Beltre (49 plate appearances): .267 AVG/.306 OBP/.422 SLG, 4 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
David Ortiz (27): .304/.370/.565, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Jason Varitek (26): .208/.269/.292, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Kevin Youkilis (25): .333/.400/.571, 1 triple, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Mike Lowell (21): .200/.238/.200, 4 RBI, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Victor Martinez (21): .238/.238/.381, 3 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (19): .188/.316/.313, 2 doubles, 3 walks
J.D. Drew (16): .333/.313/.533, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 strikeout
Mike Cameron (12): .444/.583/.1.556, 1 double, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Jeremy Hermida (6): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Jon Lester (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Marco Scutaro (3): .500/ .667/1.000, 1 double, 1 walk
|06.12.10 at 4:23 pm ET|
Just minutes before the Red Sox game with the Phillies Saturday afternoon it was announced by the team that Daisuke Matsuzaka had been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain. Scott Atchison got the emergency start for the Red Sox, who also recalled lefty pitcher Dustin Richardson. It is Atchison’s first start in the major leagues. Matsuzaka was in the Red Sox bullpen prior to the game, seemingly warming up for the start.
The hurler did have to postpone his side session Wednesday after throwing up during his long toss, pushing his session to Thursday. It is the second time this season Matsuzaka has been on the disabled list, where he began the season with back and neck issues. Check the Red Sox team page for more information.
|06.12.10 at 7:49 am ET|
“He’s quite a story,” Francona said before the game. “I don’t if it would make him feel good or not. I played with Jamie and saw him pitch his first major league game in Chicago. Even when he came up in 1986, he was not a power pitcher. He could throw behind in the count. His career took a lot of turns, he was even out of the game.
“He just competes, he doesn’t give in and he uses both sides of the plate. The more aggressive you are, the more that plays into him. You’ve got to swing at strikes. If you get over-aggressive, you play right into his hands. He’s had a phenomenal career for a long time. I don’t know how guys do it. I’m sure there are days where he wakes up and doesn’t feel so good. I hope today is one of those days.”
Well, the baseball gods must have been listening very intently because it’s hard to imagine things going much worse for Moyer than Friday night over one-plus inning of work.
After getting Dustin Pedroia to hit into a hard force-out for the first out of the first inning, Moyer gave up run-scoring doubles to Victor Martinez, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre before Mike Lowell drilled a 73 MPH change over the Monster in left for a 5-0 lead.
“I know Jamie Moyer doesn’t wow you with the radar gun but he has three pitches that has about the same velocity that does three different things,” Lowell said. “He usually has very good location. I think today, just just chalk it up. He probably missed his spots a couple of times and we put some good swings on it but he is a guy that can keep you off balance but he has stuff can keep you off balance. He can still compete, that’s for sure.”
Digger Phelps’ son-in-law would faced just four batters in the second inning – retiring none – before being lifted in his shortest outing since July 4, 1998 with Seattle.
What did all of the Red Sox at-bats have in common? Patience and discipline. It is the only way to beat a pitcher who has lasted this long in the majors.
“Everyone know that Jamie is the kind of pitcher who can hit both sides of the strike zone,” Ortiz said. “You have to look for your pitch and then stay aggressive.”
Moyer, of course, pitched briefly for the Red Sox. The year was 1996 when he started in the bullpen for Kevin Kennedy but wound up making several starts.
He was released following the 1995 campaign, but his contract was picked up by the Red Sox on December 22. Moyer started the 1996 season in the Boston bullpen, but made seven starts for the Red Sox during the year.
“The history,” Moyer recalled after Friday’s contest. “This team here that I faced here tonight, I was thinking about it before the game, it’s a grouping of players I’ve played against, some were teammates and it seemed like they’ve all come together.”
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