This Week in Boston Baseballing, September 6 – 12

The Red Sox followed up a stirring comeback victory in New York last Thursday by slugging their way to wins in the next two games, ensuring a series victory against the Yankees. Boston forced Mariano Rivera into a second blown save of the series on Sunday afternoon, but the Yankees fought back in the bottom of the 9th to salvage the finale.

The Sox won their three-game series in Tampa Bay and have a 8.5-game lead over the Rays in the American League East. The Magic Number now stands at eight games. Boston is three games ahead of Oakland for best record in the AL and home field advantage in the playoffs.

Koji Extends His Perfect Streak to 34 Batters
Koji Uehara picked up a win in Boston’s 10-inning victory Wednesday night. The reliever has now recorded the equivalent of a perfect game plus an additional seven hitters. Eight out of every 10 pitches thrown during the stretch have been strikes.

The World According to Carp
Mike Carp’s grand slam over the center-field wall gave the Red Sox the 7-3 win on Wednesday in extras. After sitting on the bench as a spectator for four hours, Carp swung at the first pitch he saw from Fausto Carmona and ran hard out of the box, thinking triple…

Mike Carp thinking triple

…right up until the ball cleared the fence.

 Carp grand slam

Clay Buchholz Returns
Boston’s three-game set in Tampa Bay began Tuesday night with Clay Buchholz taking the mound for the first time in three months. Buchholz struck out six batters and walked only one in five innings, throwing an efficient total of 74 pitches. David Price pitched eight innings and struck out nine for Tampa, but the Sox were able to scratch out a couple of runs thanks to a Mike Napoli double and a Johnny Gomes single in the fifth.

Buchholz k's Molina

With the Sox maintaining a comfortable lead in the AL East over Tampa, it was likely one of the last impactful wins the team will have this season. Buchholz made a strong case in his first start back that he can go head to head with the league’s best pitchers.

Jacoby Ellsbury Has a Fractured Navicular Bone
Ellsbury will shed his walking boot and take the next week or two to let the bone finish healing on its own. Jacoby is expected to return before the end of the regular season to “regain his timing” at the plate leading into the playoffs. Or, if you’re Ellsbury’s agent Scott Boras, he is expected to return in time to *cross fingers* pad counting stats in lieu of his pending free agency.

Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe Bump Fists
With NESN color commentator Jerry Remy out for the season, various former Red Sox are being brought into the booth to fill the void. During the first game of Derek Lowe’s three-game tryout in Tampa, Pedro joined Lowe to reminisce about the 2004 World Series team.  

Pedro and Lowe fistbump

D-Lowe was very solid in providing insightful assessment of Buchholz’s return. But he still sounded a bit shell-shocked at times over the last three days by his abrupt retirement from the game. Earlier this year, Lowe pitched 13 innings out of the bullpen for the Rangers. He was able to maintain a self-deprecating good humor about how quickly things ended. On Thursday night, he jokingly pointed out that three of the AL Wild Card contenders – the Yankees, Indians and Rangers – were all recent former employers competing for a playoff spot minus his services.

The Red Sox Announce Dollar Beard Night
You know it’s been a rare season when the Red Sox need to resort to a minor league-esque marketing gimmick to get fans to show up at Fenway Park to watch a team that is flirting with 100 wins.

Sox Dollar Beard Night

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