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.
MassLive.com got a great screenshot of the play from the NESN telecast:
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?