The Red Sox took two of three from the LA Dodgers last weekend, finishing a stretch of 16 of 19 games on the road with a record of 9-10. Boston began the stretch on August 5 with a half-game lead over Tampa Bay and finished its trip on the West Coast up one full game over the Rays. The lead has since expanded to two and a half games as Boston’s winning four of its last five games coincided with the Devil Rays losing four of their last five.
DEVELOPING: Shane Victorino Is NOT Carl Crawford
Shane Victorino paced the Red Sox with a gigantic offensive week that included a two-homer, seven-RBI performance on Tuesday night. GIFs of the HRs here, courtesy of Over the Monster. Coincidentally, some time late Tuesday night and also well into Wednesday morning, a bunch of fellows in the baseball media came to the conclusion that Shane’s been a pretty good signing for the team. (For example: here, here, here, here and here). His 3 HRs, 9 RBIs and 7 runs since Monday probably make him a favorite for AL Player of the Week honors.
Koji Uehara and David Ortiz Get Slap Happy After Wednesday Night’s Win Click on photo for GIF animation, courtesy of @CorkGaines:
Is This The End of Jerry Remy’s Television Career? In a statement on Thursday night, Jerry Remy said he will sit out the remainder of the 2013 season. It isn’t fair to speculate too deeply about his future in the NESN booth, but Remy’s statement included reference to returning next season. Sadly, though, his days logging full seasons as Red Sox color commentator may be over. Meanwhile, NESN has quite a bit more than the requisite “two weeks’ notice” to find an adequate replacement not named Dennis Eckersley. Hopefully, it does the right thing.
A beard-oriented, photographic retrospective of an exciting, productive week for the Red Sox:
Look! They made the trainer grow one too! (From ESPN.com)
Boston dropped two of three to the Yankees at Fenway last weekend before heading to the West Coast. The Red Sox blew out the Giants, 12-1, on Wednesday afternoon to win their three-game series in San Francisco. Boston outscored the Giants, 22-4, in the series. The Red Sox begin a three-game series against some familiar faces tonight in Los Angeles.
20-Year-Old Xander Bogaerts Gets Called Up Shortstop Xander Bogaerts made his major league debut on Tuesday night in San Francisco, playing shortstop and batting seventh. He went 0-for-3 before being lifted by John Farrell in the bottom of the 6th as part of a double switch. The most memorable moment from the debut was his charging in to field a chopper just to the left of second base. The play was not exactly routine and required a quick transfer and hard, accurate throw to first that bailed Peavy out of a leadoff triple in the fifth inning.
Prior to that, Xander almost made a highlight reel catch on a blooper to shallow left-center:
Boston held off on calling up Bogaerts long enough that he won’t reach 130 at-bats in 2013, thus he’ll maintain rookie status for 2014 while enjoying the status as the third youngest player in the league. In the meantime, Boston media will likely achieve veteran status deploying tired puns like “X-Factor” well before October.
Ryan Dempster: Vigilante Sunday night’s Ryan Dempster vs. Alex Rodriguez showdown renewed some of the fervor lost in the Boston/NY rivalry. The Sox and Yankees play seven times during the month of September and Dempster, at the very least, has probably guaranteed that the Bombers will remain interested even if they continue plummeting in the standings. Meanwhile, the Improper Bostonian points out that Joe Girardi’s two-day crusade against Dempster for throwing a dangerous projectile at one of his players was a bit hypocritical since the main reason for his ire was that his team was robbed of the reasonable opportunity to retaliate with a similar dangerous projectile aimed at a Red Sox player.
Maybe the worst part of the whole thing is that Dempster spurred a series of A-Rod as sympathetic anti-hero columns. Former ballplayer Doug Glanville gets some:
…the most righteous Red Sox player will never be more of a friend than the most egregious rule-breaking Yankee to the Yankees. You hit our teammate, even as wrong as my teammate may be, we will fight for him.
Anyway, all parties can settle down a bit now: Dempster received a five-game suspension on Tuesday and likely won’t make his next start until August 30. Justice hath been served, etc., etc.
A 2004 Red Sox Has A Fun ‘Where Are They Now?’ Moment Old friend Doug Mientkiewicz got his name in the local headlines by participating in a minor league brawl as a manager. The 39-year-old, who the Red Sox got from the Twins as part of the four-team Nomar Garciaparra deal, was mostly known for his defensive prowess during his playing days. He was one of those media darlings whose uniform got dirty even on his off days, so maybe this development doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Fenway Park Screens A Baseball Cinema Classic, 1993’s ‘The Sandlot’ The Red Sox celebrated the 20th anniversary of the baseball movie The Sandlot with a screening at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Earlier this season, some characters from the movie hung out with Red Sox players in Minnesota. At the time of the photo op, several sites ventured comparisons of Sandlot characters to Red Sox players. But is there really any debate? Dustin “Ham” Pedroia just has more ring to it and fits a whole lot better than Muddy Chicken ever will.
Boston capped off a tough weekend, dropping three of four in Kansas City to the surging Royals. However, their place in the standings actually improved thanks to Tampa Bay’s six-game losing streak, which finally ended Wednesday night. Last night, the Sox stranded 12 runners to lose the rubber game of the three-game series in Toronto, 2-1, capping off the 10-game road trip.
The Yankees are in town for a three-game series at Fenway beginning tonight. Boston fans will have their first opportunity to boo A-Rod since the announcement that he will be suspended – at some point – for his involvement with Biogenesis.
Boston’s Playoff Odds Now Stand At 93.7% Based on the Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds report, the odds that the Red Sox make the playoffs now stand at 93.7%, with the team making the tournament 63.4% of the time as the AL East champs and 30.2% of the time as a Wild Card participant. Simulated wins projection has the Red Sox at right at 93 victories. While the Red Sox averaged 93.2 wins during the 10 years leading up to the 2012 debacle, it is hard not to have a special appreciation for the team’s success this season.
MLB Will Begin Using Instant Replay in 2014 Major League Baseball’s announcement that it will institute instant replay next season came with the claim that 89% of past incorrect calls would be reviewable under the new rules. Boston already had one game end in a loss this season – when Jerry Meals called a sliding Daniel Nava out at home – that may have gone the other way had replay been available.
Koji Uehara Vests His 2014 Contract In Style During Tuesday night’s 4-2 victory in 11 innings against Toronto, Uehara earned a win as Boston recorded its 19th victory in its final at-bat. It was his 55th appearance, meaning that a $4.25 million option for 2014 has officially vested and Koji is likely to be a Red Sox for a second season. The vesting option increases to $5 million if Uehara finishes 35 games. As of Friday, he had finished 24.
Payroll Obligations for 2014 Now Stand At Roughly $110 Million Boston already has most of its core officially on the books for next year with two notable exceptions – Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester, who can either be bought out for $250,000 or be extended for one more year at $13 million. In other words, Boston has a significant decision to make regarding Lester. The idea of yet another guy on the team making $13 mil may be too enticing to pass up, but if the Sox are bullish on Lester’s ability to maintain ~3.0-WAR value into his mid-30s, they might be able to get better value extending his contract a few years at a lesser annual average.
Stan Grossfeld Wrote A Pretty Strange ‘Where Are They Now?’ Profile of Curt Schilling Curt provided only one surprising bit of news in the article – that he suffered a heart attack in November 2011. Although his reluctance to share the information with the general public is transparently phony, it was probably trumped by Grossfeld’s implication that he only caught wind of the information because a “visitor” mentioned it in passing to Schilling during the interview (conducted at Curt’s daughter’s softball game).
Curt’s wife Shonda (could she be considered a ‘visitor’??) believes her husband is lucky to be alive, but not because the heart attack was particularly serious: “I don’t know how somebody would not kill himself, honestly, over what he has had to endure,” she says.
On the brink of elimination during the 1986 ALCS, the Red Sox staged a ninth-inning rally to tie Game 5 and eventually win 7-6 in 11 innings. This one probably gets forgotten in the annals of Boston sports history thanks to recent championships and, of course, the gold standard 2004 ALCS Comeback.
*Disappointingly, the ABC footage posted to YouTube does not include most of the graphics used by the network throughout the broadcast. At one point during the first inning, Michaels discusses how valuable Wade Boggs is because he draws so many walks and the network posted his OBP. Michaels explains, “There’s something in baseball called on-base percentage…”
00:22: The video includes about 20 minutes of ABC pre-game analysis. Al Michaels explains the simple mathematics for Boston and its need to win three games in a row. As recently as 1984, the Red Sox would have already been eliminated as part of the former Best-of-5 LCS format.
1:22: Michaels recaps the night before as Roger Clemens took a shutout into the ninth inning before giving up a leadoff home run and putting on a couple of baserunners, who would both score to tie the game thanks to an uncharacteristically poor performance from Calvin Schiraldi, who had a 1.41 ERA in 51 innings in 1986. He had just five appearances in which he had a negative win probability added (WPA).
2:13: In retrospect, Deborah Schiraldi was maybe a bit too excited that her husband got a couple of strikes on Brian Downing. Cal tried a two-strike curveball that dove so far inside that it hit Downing.
3:37: The Sox would lose in extra innings when a Bobby Grich single drove in Jerry Narron. Losses don’t get any more heart-wrenching than this right?
4:30: ABC had not only Jim Palmer doing color commentary in the booth with Michaels…
5:13: But also Don Drysdale for an on-field interview such as this pre-taped bit with Sox manager John McNamara.
18:49: As you can see in this establishing shot, the left-field bleachers at Angel Stadium are conspicuously empty. It’s almost like the fans are avoiding potential home run balls for some reason.
29:00: The Sox go down in order in the top of the 1st against Witt. Bruce Hurst takes the mound for Boston. Hurst started two games against California in the ALCS and three in the World Series against the Mets. His combined line for the 1986 postseason: 3-0, 38.0 IP, 36 H, 7 BB, 4 HR, 25 K, 2.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP.
45:35: With a runner on first base, Rich Gedman ropes an inside pitch from Mike Witt that stays up just long enough to land in the seats near the right-field foul pole. Boston takes a 2-0 lead. (Michaels notes that Gedman hit two home runs all season at Fenway but had three jacks at Angel Stadium during the ‘86 regular season.)
1:03:17: Bob Boone hit a solo shot to left field off Hurst to start the 3rd.
1:04:36: Hard contact off Hurst continues as Gary Pettis sent a single up the middle to follow Boone’s homer. The whole Boone family is just the worst.
1:05:33: Former Red Sox shortstop Rick Burleson was California’s leadoff hitter. During his second at-bat, he would lay down a sacrifice bunt that got Pettis to second with one out. But Pettis would wind up being stranded.
1:13:04: There are some impressive beards on the 2013 edition of the Boston Red Sox, but Dwight Evans’ mustache is a thing of legends.
1:20:20: Michaels: “And there is a guy who’s a pretty good fisherman…”
1:23:08: After a Reggie Jackson single, Hurst caught Jackson leaning and Buckner made a great swipe tag to finish the bottom of the 4th.
1:26:14: Red-hot Rich Gedman follows his 2nd inning home run with a double off the left-center wall in the 5th. He would be stranded.
1:36:45: With Wade Boggs on first base in the top of the 6th, Marty Barrett lays down a bunt that rolls just in front of the mound for Witt, who fields it and throws Boggs out.
1:36:51: Boggs makes his feelings known, but replays showed he was indeed out. With the No. 3 hitter Bill Buckner on deck and no one out, Barrett’s surrendering an AB was a questionable decision. Boston missed what may have been an opportunity to break things open as Buckner and Rice both made outs to finish off the inning.
1:40:51: More than anything, it seems like the poster-board outwitted this Angels fan…
1:48:15: Bobby Grich’s long fly gets the extra help it needed to make it over the fence from Dave Henderson’s glove, giving the Angels a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th. Henderson, who came into the game an inning earlier as a defensive replacement for Tony Armas, nearly made the catch of his life. Instead, his momentum would carry his arm, the glove and, most importantly, the ball over the fence.
1:49:52: In the aftermath, as the Sox get ready to bat in the 7th, Michaels and Palmer shed their blue CBS suit jackets. Al gets a bit swept up in the moment, saying “this [Henderson’s misplay] could be one of the more memorable plays of the 80s.” Forget for a moment that Al Michaels called the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s gold medal run and just take note of the following:
a. The game is only two-thirds in the books
b. The Red Sox trail by only one run
c. As a decade itself, the 80s were only about two-thirds complete in October 1986
2:02:55: Bob Stanley runs into trouble in the bottom of the 7th and a seeing-eye single by pinch-hitter Rob Wilfong up the middle plates another run. Gary Pettis would score on a sacrifice fly a batter later. 5-2, California.
2:08:26: In dire need of runs, the Sox pinch-hit rookie Mike Greenwell for Spike Owen. Greenwell had spent much of 1986 in Pawtucket. He would lead off the top of the 8th with a single and be replaced immediately by pinch-runner/infielder Ed Romero (Boston wasn’t too interested in having Greenwell play SS in the bottom half of the inning). But the Sox couldn’t get Romero home.
2:15:38: ABC: “Another Boston Catastrophe.” Meanwhile, Michaels sets the stage as Buckner digs in, “Witt on the mound and security at the ready…”
2:18:08: Just as they showed Cal Schiraldi’s wife the night before, here’s Lisa Witt. The obligatory wife/girlfriend shot is just a bad omen that is not worth the potential pain. Buckner singles to center to begin the inning. Buckner hobbles off the field for a pinch-runner as his knees barely allow him the 90 feet to first base.
2:20:50: Donnie Moore gets loose in the bullpen, but Witt punches out Jim Rice and seems to still be sporting effective stuff.
2:24:58: Witt hits his spot on the outside corner here, but Don Baylor reaches out across the plate and somehow manages to pull this outside fastball over the left-field fence. Al Michaels, sounding on the verge of orgasm, exclaims “What a GREAT series!”
2:27:19: With Rich Gedman (three hits, including a HR and a double) due up, the Angels make the call for the left-handed Gary Lucas. Mike Witt debates openly how in the world he’ll explain this to his wife…
2:28:37: Lucas hits Gedman’s right arm on the first pitch, narrowly missing his head. The Angels are forced to bring in Donnie Moore to face Dave Henderson.
2:30:35: Moore gets two strikes on Henderson. The field is lined with security and other team personnel.
2:31:58: The beauty of potential energy…
2:32:03: “And Downing goes back and it’s gone. Unbelievable…” Henderson homers to left field, not far away from where he helped along Grich’s two-run shot earlier in the game. Boston takes a 6-5 lead. There are a few more people in the sunny left-field bleachers than at the start of the game…
2:32:24: Henderson, on his way toward joining Carlton Fisk and, years later, David Ortiz…(and Johnny Damon). And Mark Bellhorn.
2:39:41: Bob Boone gets a base hit to lead off the bottom of the 9th. Gary Pettis moves pinch-runner Rupert Jones to second base. All of this, Michaels points out, while the shadows created by a stadium-top flagpole that briefly waves around directly in front of the hitters’ line of vision.
2:41:35: McNamara lifts Bob Stanley in favor of the lefty Joe Sambito to face Wilfong, who immediately singles to right. Jones slides in safely behind Gedman’s left foot despite a strong, on-the-mark throw from Dwight Evans.
2:43:41: With Schiraldi having worked the day before and Tom Seaver on the shelf with a sore knee, Steve Crawford comes in for Sambito with the winning run on 1st base and one out. Crawford gives up a single that gets Wilfong to third base; puts Doug DeCinces on first base with an intentional walk; then gets out of the 9th inning by inducing a shallow fly to right and a broken-bat comebacker to the mound.
2:55:48: After a Boggs walk to start the 10th, Barrett once again(!) bunts hard enough down the first base line that a force out is made at second. The play proves costly as Dave Stapleton would follow with a single that gets Barrett to third. But Jim Rice hits into a double play and, like the 6th inning, the Sox are held scoreless in the 10th because Barrett gave away his out.
2:59:29: Nothing of note really happens for California in the bottom half of the 10th. So let’s just take quick note of Reggie Jackson’s CHiPs-inspired sunglasses.
3:10:53: With a runner on first, Gary Pettis takes a pitch the other way and Rice makes a jumping catch at/on the wall. The ball may not have been a home run, but anything but an out and the game is otherwise over.
3:12:45: Fittingly, Don Baylor gets hit by a pitch to begin the 11th. He led the majors in HBPs in 1986 with 35(!!). In the background of ABC’s sound feed, the Angels Stadium PA can be heard announcing, “That was the first time that Don Baylor has been hit by a pitch in an ALCS game.” If you listen closely, you can kind of detect the snark.
3:17:22: After an Evans single, Gedman pops a ridiculously bad bunt about 10 feet in the air that serendipitously lands free of spin in no-man’s land. Bases loaded…
3:17:42: And then everything goes to shit for Boston? No, the feed cuts out and returns for the bottom of the 11th. Begin speculation on conspiracy theories as to why there is no archive footage available of Henderson’s sacrifice fly that scored the winning run. However, it feels almost fitting that the play that technically gave the ballgame its end isn’t even worth the trouble. Similar to the 2004 ALCS, the capacity for drama after Games 4 and 5 proved limited.
3:20:52: Anyway, Schiraldi would wind up finishing the Angels off in order in the 11th, notching two strikeouts and looking much like the dominant reliever he had been throughout the 1986 season. And Mrs. Schiraldi would get the last laugh.
California went on to lose the series in seven games as Boston went home to Fenway and outscored the Angels 18-5 (Game 6 and Game 7 box scores). The franchise wouldn’t make its first World Series until 2002. By then, Gene Autry could only watch on from his perch in heaven, a place where we assume Thundersticks shall make no sound for all eternity.
The Red Sox took two of three from Arizona at Fenway Park before heading to Houston and somehow stealing two of three at Minute Maid Park thanks to two more comeback wins. Stephen Drew’s three-run ninth-inning home run in the finale on Wednesday clinched the series victory. Finally, last night the Sox ran into the buzzsaw that is Bruce Chen in Kansas City, dropping the opener of a four-game weekend series against the Royals, 5-1.
Boston Matches Its 2012 Win Total Tuesday night’s game in Houston went awry quickly. A horrific first inning for Ryan Lavarnway and Steven Wright might have done some serious harm to the psyches of a couple of younger players: Wright’s knuckler was landing everywhere but Lavarnway’s glove. After Wright threw only 18 of 38 pitches for strikes in the first inning, John Farrell lifted Wright for Brandon Workman, who wasn’t much better. Still, Workman managed to eat some innings out of the bullpen and Boston’s offense came through with one of its best performances of the season. Is there much doubt Bobby Valentine would have run poor Wright back out for the second inning to let him “fight through” his struggles? Or, failing that scenario, that he would have given a few unflattering quotes to the media of his assessment of Lavarnway’s defense?
The Bottom Line: Boston won 69 games in six months under Valentine. The Red Sox won their 69th game of the 2013 season on August 6. The team is currently projected to win 95 games.
Larry Lucchino Dresses Up Like Darth Vader, sneaks into Ben Cherington’s Bedroom in the Middle of the Night, and Tells Him If He Doesn’t Call Up Xander Bogaerts Soon, He’s Going to Melt His Brain Just kidding. But seriously, it’s getting to be about that time right?
Jake Peavy’s Debut Goes Well The right-hander made his Red Sox debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night. Peavy struck out seven in seven innings, allowing two earned runs in the 5-2 win. Peavy will make his second start in a Boston uniform on Friday night.
As Ken Doctor points out, though, other rich dudes like Warren Buffett and Aaron Kushner have also recently bought under-performing newspapers. Their first move was to implement digital subscribership and pay walls to defibrillate revenues. But the Globe has already done that over the past year and yet the business continues to hemorrhage profit and lose readership.From the end of Doctor’s “newsonomics” analysis of the deal:
Should Red Sox players become embroiled in A-Rod-type controversies, though, the question of who breaks relevant stores when will rise to the fore. That’s been an issue for decades, in Chicago, Atlanta, and L.A., as Tribune, Turner, and Murdoch cross-ownerships have raised related questions. …
For the Globe news staff, that’s not the big question, though. That one is: Will John Henry do right by the Globe legacy of quality and public service? He has the deep pockets to do that — and that may be one of the best early indicators here.
Anyone who has paid attention to the coverage from Peter Abraham, Amalie Benjamin et al in recent years knows this probably isn’t all that big of an issue. When was the last time a Globe reporter actually broke a significant news story surrounding the Boston Red Sox? Answering that question becomes a lot more difficult unless you feel comfortable categorizing Bob Hohler’s hatchet job of Terry Francona after the 2011 disaster as a legitimate news story.
Best of luck to Mr. Henry in his new endeavor. Malcolm Gladwell said on Bill Simmons’ podcast Wednesday, “billionaires seem to think that running a newspaper is a lot more fun that it really is.” Then again, John Henry may just be in a win-win situation. Even if the whole thing fails miserably, Henry’s wife Linda can surely make a couple of bucks building a Fenway Trilogy Triangle-style condominium complex. Luxurious, high-rise views of Ho Chi Minh’s profile painted onto the Boston Gas tank at a reasonable price!
We’ll leave you with this Hot Sportz Take from Globe 10.0 recorded by Abraham and Dan Shaughnessy way back during 2012 spring training.
Boston took two of three in Baltimore against the Orioles and then lost a heartbreaker to the Devil Rays, 2-1, in a make-up game as David Price once again pitched a gem at Fenway Park on Monday. The Sox swept a three-game set against the Seattle Mariners, reclaiming first place in the process and notching a couple of the most dramatic victories of the season. The last two wins included a 15-inning win Wednesday night followed by a six-run, ninth-inning rally on Thursday to cap off the sweep.
Boston Plays Its Longest Game of the 2013 Season
Wednesday’s 5-4 win over Seattle was one of those games the media gushes over because it was gutsy(TM) and team-building. Don’t sleep on the significance of the bottom of the 15th inning hero being Stephen Drew only a day after shortstop understudy Jose Iglesias was traded to Chicago.
Particularly in the era of the Wild Card(s), these win carry an intangible cost that may not be all that worthwhile footing. Then again, for the sake of argument, if the Sox fell on their sword and had their relievers throw meatballs, the Mariners’ lineup is hapless enough at times to mess that up. NESN cameras caught the Fenway digital clock striking 12:00 and Don Orsillo delivered the line, “Welcome to Thursday,” which kind of felt cheesy at the time…
Then the Red Sox Scored Six Runs in the Ninth Inning On Thursday
A fantastic show of lineup depth resulted in yet another dramatic win for Boston. Everybody and their mother got a hit for the Sox in the bottom of the ninth facing Seattle’s bullpen. Boston also got a little help from Seattle’s interim manager, who forgot his lefties from his righties…
The swing in win probability during the bottom of the ninth inning via Fangraphs:
And here is the exact moment NESN’s Jenny Dell realizes that, yes, there was a camera trained on her when she took a few extracurricular squirts from the celebratory ice-water bath meant for Jonny Gomes. (Full video at Surviving Grady).
Jake Peavy Comes to Boston
On Tuesday night, Jose Iglesias was replaced in the field in the eighth inning during Boston’s 8-2 win against Seattle. An hour or so later, reports came out that Iglesias would be sent to Detroit as part of a three-team deal that landed the Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy. The move has been well-regarded by fans and media. It seems possible Boston, Chicago and Detroit will eventually see this transaction as a winner in retrospect.
Of course, if you’re a younger pup trying to make a name, you find a different angle: Enter Boston.com’s hard-hitting, bone-crunching, numbers-running Stats Driven analysis of the trade, in which some dude points out that Jake Peavy’s two playoff starts SIX AND SEVEN RESPECTIVE YEARS AGO constitute a “problematic playoff past” (alliterative and asinine all in one!). When you’re posting something on a blog called “Stats Driven” and you begin a sentence with “Obviously his 9⅔ in two starts is a tiny sample size...” you should immediately stop writing that sentence, get up from your computer, leave your dormitory and talk to your career adviser about finding a new major.
Big Papi Loses His Shit
David Ortiz’s dugout tantrum on Saturday night in Baltimore is pretty well-documented at this point. And it seems like a quaint afterthought in light of all that happened with the team over the next five days. Papi’s rage fell just short of earning him a suspension and ultimately, it was a no-harm, no-foul situation. And like a true superstar, he went 4-for-4 with a home run the following day. We’re not even going to bother showing the video here again because, really, it’s almost like it never happened at this point.
Daniel Nava Forgets to Play it Halfway, Loses His Shit, Gets Ejected…
Yet another Daniel Nava base-running gaffe put Jerry Meals in the position to not be in position to make an obvious call. Nava slid safely into home plate on a sacrifice fly that would have tied Monday night’s game at 2-2 in the ninth inning. Meals’ bad call robbed Nava a shot at redemption for an earlier mistake the hitter prior. On a long fly to right field, Nava putzed around with some kind of crow-hop in between second base and third base (closer to second) that resulted in his being stopped at third base even though the ball went over the right fielder’s head. Nava admitted his mistake after the game, as did Meals, who said from where he’d set up he could not see Nava’s foot hit the plate under the tag of Jose Molina.
It’s hard not to like Nava, but he can’t afford to be bad at things like baserunning – particularly when he comes in as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
…And Then Redeems Himself A Few Nights Later
Nava capped off Thursday’s ninth-inning comeback with his line shot to center-field. It may have been a double or triple in its own right. But either way, it was enough to plate the winning run and ensure the team didn’t go into extra innings for a second straight night.
Frank Castillo Dies
The most bizarre piece of news during the past week was that former major league pitcher Frank Castillo drowned while swimming in a Phoenix lake on Sunday. The 44-year-old Castillo pitched for the Red Sox in 2001, 2002 and had a brief cameo in 2004. Watching pitchers like Castillo get by with smoke and mirrors can be an entertaining experience as a fan if you’re willing to embrace it. Castillo’s Red Sox tenure was poorly timed as fan angst probably reached a peak in volume during 2001/2002 as the team was being sold. Nevertheless, he took the ball and tried to make it work. Any true Boston fan should be able to respect that even if only in retrospect.
Roger Clemens Comes Back
The Texas Con Man made a surprise appearance at Fenway on Tuesday night as part of the team’s 25th Anniversary celebration of the 1988 “Morgan’s Miracle.” Other participants included Spike Owen, Dwight Evans, Joe Morgan and Oil Can Boyd. How great a week has it been for this team that Roger Clemens can set foot in Fenway and the whole thing is essentially a footnote?
John Henry Submits Independent Bid for The Boston Globe
Less than a year after he exited the futures trading business, news has emerged that John Henry may perhaps look to make a buck or two in the media business. There would be some pretty substantial conflicts of interest in the coverage of the Red Sox and, really, professional sports in general if Henry were to take control of the Globe. But frankly, the idea of owning a daily newspaper at all seems a bit quaint in this day and age, no? Are there any locally-based real estate developers out there that may be willing to convert a significant chunk of space on Morrissey Boulevard into, say, premium condominiums on the outskirts of a neighborhood that is gentrifying at an alarming rate?