|No big innings, one big burger||05.21.09 at 9:41 pm ET|
Jon Lester was charged with a run when Aaron Hill greeted reliever Ramon Ramirez with a run-scoring single immediately after the Sox starter was pulled with one out in the seventh inning — preventing Lester from getting his first scoreless outing since April 19 against Baltimore — but it was certainly encouraging enough.
As was so expertly referenced by Alex Speier earlier today, Lester’s bugaboo has been the big inning this season. Wrote Alex:
It has been also noteworthy that Lester has been victimized for several big innings this year. In nine different innings, he’s allowed two or more runs:
Game 1: 4 runs – 5th inning
Game 2: 5 runs – 2nd inning
Game 4: 2 runs – 4th inning
Game 5: 2 runs – 1st inning
Game 5: 2 runs – 4th inning
Game 6: 3 runs – 5th inning
Game 7: 2 runs – 1st inning
Game 7: 6 runs – 5th inning
Game 8: 4 runs – 6th inning
Lester worked out of some jams this time around, working with runners on in six of the seven innings in which he pitched. The only frame he didn’t deal with a baserunner was the sixth. Hitters had come into the game totaling a .318 batting average with runners on base against the lefty.
As for Ramirez, it was just the fifth time in 21 chances that the righty didn’t retire his first batter. The Hill RBI also was only the second inherited runner allowed to score out of 13 opportunties.
In other Red Sox starting rotation news, Josh Beckett helped McGreevey’s unveil their newest hamburger, The Beckett Burger, which tilts the scale at 1.9 pounds. The burger costs $30, seven of which goes to Beckett’s foundation. Here is the release:
‘The McGreevy’s Beckett Burger is approximately the size of home plate, weighing a total 1 pound 9 ounces and features lettuce, tomatoes, pickles & cheddar cheese atop 25 ounces of 100% beef. This monster of a meal retails for $30 with a portion of the proceeds going to the Josh Beckett Foundation. Every McGreevy’s Beckett Burger order comes with a complimentary t-shirt; those who finish the burger receive a t-shirt announcing that they beat the burger; patrons who strike out and need a to-go container are given a t-shirt announcing that the burger beat them.’
|Would Red, not White, made a difference to Peavy?||05.21.09 at 9:10 pm ET|
At the Red Sox continue to pull away from the Blue Jays (5-0 after five innings), let us turn our attention to happenings elsewhere in the world of baseball. In case you didn’t hear, Padres pitcher Jake Peavy has refused to be traded to the Chicago White Sox in a deal that would have sent four pitchers to San Diego.
In a statement to reporters today, Peavy said, “”San Diego is the place for us. We’ve made that decision for the time being.”
Penny is 3-5 with a 3.82 ERA turns 28 this month and has three sons, all under the age of 8 years-old. His contract is such that after making $8 million this season, he hauls in $15 in ’10, $16 in ’11, $17 in ’12, while carrying a $22 million team option for ’13.
So, just for arguments sake, if it was the Red Sox making the deal would it have made a difference? Back in March, we caught up with Peavy regarding reports that Boston wasn’t on his list of acceptable destinations (originally reported as New York and Anaheim being the only American League clubs). But Peavy clarified his stance.
“Boston was a place that I told the Padres I would certainly be interested in playing,” Peavy said. “I don’t know if there were any talks. I gave the Padres a list and Boston was on that list. Boston was a place I told the Padres I would be interested in playing at. Set that straight for sure.”
|Rios foiled again||05.21.09 at 8:02 pm ET|
Nobody has chronicled Jason Bay’s opposite field power better than our own Alex Speier, but unfortunate Alex isn’t here at Fenway Park tonight to chronicle Bay’s latest blast the other way. You’ll have to settle for me. This time the HR didn’t come close to the 413-foot, May 7 monstrosity over the Red Sox’ bullpen, instead bouncing off the top of the wall just in front of the Sox’ relievers. Truth be told, Blue Jays’ right fielder Alex Rios should have caught.
The home run made it 3-0 and marked the 11th straight time Bay’s home run has come with runners on base (as first referenced by our own Gary from Chapel Hill) breaking the single-season Red Sox record and bringing him within one of the all-time mark shared by Ken Griffey Jr. and Hank Aaron. David Ortiz had originally gotten the Sox on the board earlier in the first inning with a ground out that scored Jacoby Ellsbury, who led off the Sox’ half of the frame with a double down the first base line.
In case you forgot, Rios’ misadventures at Fenway previously included swatting an Alex Cora fly ball into the right field stands back on Aug. 31, 2006. It was Cora’s lone Fenway Park home run in 400 regular season plate appearances.
|Are radar gun readings bad for Daniel Bard?||05.15.09 at 2:40 pm ET|
Wednesday night all eyes were on the box behind home plate at Angel Stadium, the one flashing the radar gun readings. Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard was pitching and with his outing came the expectation that an 100 mph fastball would be making at least one appearance.
The pitch came, Angels slugger Mike Napoli swung about an hour late, and all the attention immediately transferred to that box.
Doubts were passed from person to person in the press box, until finally somebody confirmed that the radar gun readings on the television had it at ’97′. It made no difference. Two more fastballs later and Napoli had struck out and those who weren’t familiar with Bard’s fastball had been introduced to what had instantly become of baseball’s most dynamic heaters.
But it raised the question: Could such chicanery with the radar gun readings get in the head of a young pitcher to the point where they try and become someting their not?
“If you’re smart enough and mentally prepared enough, that shouldn’t bother you,” said Bard, who has been clocked as high as 102 mph. “You should look at how hitters do against you.”
Bard could see Napoli’s reaction and that was good enough for him. He has gone through the ups and downs of radar gun readings in the minors, understanding the fun fans derive from seeing an 100 mph fastball. It started when he got his first ’100′ mph reading on a stadium gun at Hadlock Field in Portland on a 3-0 pitch (“You get the courtesy applaud on a 3-0 strike, but then it kind of got louder and louder,” he remembered. “Then I turned and it showed 100 mph.”
And Bard has already heard the stories of how Tampa Bay lowers their Tropicana Field gun, or even how the Cardinals supposedly turned Joel Zumaya’s 100 mph heat into 92 mph during the 2006 World Series. In short, he is prepared for what awaits him.
Still, there are some pitchers who view the practice of displaying the readings in a negative light, with Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon leading the charge.
“You know what the radar gun is for? The fans,” Papelbon said. “I personally don’t even think we should have them in the ballpark because it’s a tool that benefits only the hitter, not a pitcher at all.”
Ironically, it is Papelbon who witnessed perhaps one of the greatest shock and awe moments when it came to the reading on a radar gun. While in the Florida State League, he had to man a gun himself with Zumaya pitching, charting the throws of his own pitchers. But when the then-Tigers minor leaguer started throwing, Papelbon couldn’t help himself.
The Sox hurler turned on his ‘Stacker’ radar gun, pointed it at Zumaya, and proceeded to do a double-take. ’104′.
“That was legit, too,” he said. “That was the fastest I’ve seen, by far.”
Nobody is going to deny the entertainment value of the stadium readings, which promise to be a focal point each and every time Bard enters a game this season. Yet it will also test a pitcher’s discipline, as Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen found out this year when he came one mph away from hitting 100 mph for the first time in his career.
“I was just one away,” lamented Delcarmen. “I like looking at it just to see where I’m at. Some parks will take some speed off for the opposing team and that will make you feel like, ‘I don’t have my fastball today’. But I like looking at it. You just have to be careful.”
|Ortiz’ low point?||05.14.09 at 7:40 pm ET|
With the bases loaded and two outs in the 12th inning, David Ortiz hit a check-swing dribbler out in front of the plate which Angels’ catcher Jeff Mathis got to in time to throw out the Sox’ DH to end the threat.
Not only did it snuff out the Red Sox’ best chance thus far in extra innings — leaving the scored tied, 4-4 — but it also put Ortiz at 0 for 7 with 12 left on base, tying a club mark for most stranded that was originally set by Trot Nixon in 2003. As a team the Red Sox have stranded 17 baserunners. The team record for most left on base by a team is 22.
|Francona tossed in the 10th||05.14.09 at 6:49 pm ET|
Red Sox manager Terry Francona was tossed from the game by home plate umpire Bill Miller for arguing balls and strikes in the 10th inning and the Sox and Angels tied at 4-4. It was the first ejection for any member of the Red Sox this season.
Julio Lugo, who was at-bat at the time, proceeded to launch a double into the right-center field gap (his fourth hit of the game). Lugo would be caught up between second and third on Jacoby Ellsbury’s grounder to first, but stayed in run-down long enough to let Ellsbury to reach second.
As good a baserunning move as it was for Ellsbury, he proceeded to make a bad one on the next at-bat when Angels center fielder Torii Hunter made a spectacular running catch of a Dustin Pedroia blast to deep center, failing to tag up on the play. David Ortiz would ground out on the first pitch of his at-bat to end the Red Sox’ half of the 10th.
|Maybe Drew does have 4.5 speed||05.14.09 at 6:23 pm ET|
In what I’m calling one of the best plays of the Red Sox’ season, J.D. Drew caught Torii Hunter’s shallow fly ball on the dead run (the infield was in with Bobby Abreu at third base and one out) and flipped a throw (again, while on the run) which took one hop before landing right to catcher Jason Varitek, who applied the tag on Abreu.
What made the play so difficult was that A. How far Drew had to go to get the ball, out-running Jacoby Ellsbury to the pop up; and B. the accuracy in which the right fielder made the throw to prevent the Angels’ go-ahead run. This from Drew the other night when talking about his speed:
“The coach that was timing me (in the 40-yard dash back in college) was a football coach. He looked at his watch and said, ‘That can’t be right.’ So I did it a couple more times,” Drew remembered. “I can’t remember the time, but I know it was a sub 4.5 (seconds). He was like, ‘You’ve got to come out for the team.’ The best 60-yard time I ran on a track was 6.28. But I’m old now. Every year you have to add a .1.
“I’ve always felt like anything first time home, especially in my younger days, I could run with anybody.”
It’s 4-4 heading into the ninth.
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