Monthly Archives: April 2014

Screen Grabs from YouTube MLB Classics: Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout game in 1986

Barely 13,000 fans were in attendance at Fenway Park on April 29, 1986, a breezy, chilly night (but not unbearable at 56 degrees at first pitch) in which the Red Sox hosted the Seattle Mariners.  From

That same night Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics, in the early stages of a march to the NBA title, were facing the Atlanta Hawks at Boston Garden in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series. The Red Sox were such an afterthought that their broadcast was moved to WPLM on the FM dial from its normal spot on WRKO-AM to make way for the Celtics.

Roger’s command was off in the early going, which wasn’t all that surprising. To that point, he had walked 10 batters in his first 24 innings of the 1986 season. Roger may have been shaking off a bit rust early on since he was also working on two extra days’ rest going into the start thanks to a rainout in Kansas City. Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that Boston had begun the season with a four-man rotation and only incorporated the typical five-starter staff in late April as the schedule became more demanding.

Legendary broadcasters Ned Martin and Bob Montgomery had the call on TV for a small, subscriber-only cable channel called New England Sports Network (NESN).

00:31: Seattle’s starting lineup.

Seattle starting lineup

00:55: NESN’s first set of stats show that Clemens had a pretty good April leading up to this start against the Mariners.

Clemens' April 1986 stats

01:00: …even though his expanded line (taking out things like “Wins”) wouldn’t necessarily suggest what was to come that evening.

Clemens' expanded April

3:03: Clemens’ former teammate at the University of Texas, Spike Owen, digs in at Fenway Park for the first time during the 1986 season in a Mariner uniform. He’d be a Red Sox by the end of the summer, coming over in the Dave Henderson trade.

Spike Owen digs in

6:20: The count would run full and Owen would foul off a couple offerings before whiffing on a fastball.

(K #1)

Owen whiffing - K 1

8:08: Phil Bradley also works a 3-2 count against Roger before swinging at a fastball up and away. Ball four, perhaps. But a tough pitch to lay off at that speed after Clemens set him up perfectly with a breaking ball the pitch before.

(K #2)

K2 - Phil Bradley

10:02: George Steinbrenner favorite Ken Phelps gets Roger into his third straight full count of the game before swinging underneath this fastball. Three full counts and three swinging strikeouts after one inning for Roger.

(K #3)

K3 - Phelps

10:47: Boston’s starting lineup for Seattle’s Mike Moore, a No. 1 draft pick.

Boston's lineup

13:00: Leadoff hitter Dwight Evans chases a nasty slider off the plate from Moore.

Evans Ks in 1st

13:09: Dewey isn’t in the mood to go down quietly though. He argues with the ump that he caught a piece for a foul tip into the dirt, but replays clearly show the catcher caught it cleanly. A ball-shaped divot near home plate isn’t enough to win the argument, unfortunately. Boston would go down in order.

Dewey argues

17:50: After a Gorman Thomas lineout to start the top of the 2nd, Clemens gets Jim Presley to chase a curveball.

(K #4)

K4 - Pressley

18:45: Ivan Calderon quickly gets down two strikes and the electricity in Fenway becomes audible. Clemens delivers with his first called strikeout of the game on a pitch that may have been a bit off the plate. (Note – The angle here is at least a little deceptive as the center-field camera at Fenway wasn’t as truly aligned with the mound and plate in those days.)


K5 - Calderon

30:00: After the Red Sox fail to score in the bottom of the 2nd, Roger starts the 3rd by inducing Danny Tartabull to hit a ground out to second on a full count, drawing an air of disappointment from the crowd looking for another strikeout. He gets back on track quickly by dropping this backdoor fastball on Dave Henderson for a called third strike.


K6 - Henderson

31:54: Steve Yeager manages to put a ball in play as well, flying out to center fielder and current NESN employee, Steve Lyons. Nine up, nine down and six strikeouts for Clemens.

Lyons in CF catch

41:39: The Sox go down quietly in the bottom of the 3rd. Martin describes the pitcher’s duel as a “silent movie” so far. But it gets a little noisier when Owen singles to right field to start the Seattle 4th. Owen gives Clemens a little smirk as the perfect game goes by the boards.

Spike Owen base hit

45:05: Owen’s presence at first is a factor as Roger checks on him at least five times and even tries a 2-2 pitchout to see if they can catch him going to second.

Owen on first

45:07: Ultimately, Roger is still able to make his pitch to Bradley for his seventh strikeout, the sixth swinging punchout.


K7 - Bradley

48:42: A nasty outside slider makes Phelps look silly as Clemens tallies his eighth strikeout. Monty remarks, “Roger’s gone to the snowman.”


K8 - Phelps

51:47: Gorman Thomas hit one on a line his first time up, but falls behind 0-2, works it back to full, then hits a fly ball to Don Baylor in foul territory and he obviously just catches it eas….

Baylor catch in foul territory

52:05: Oops. No non-strikeout end to the inning after all…Baylor drops the ball. Martin and Montgomery both talk about how he’s publicly admitted he hates making that play ranging to his left into foul ground.

Baylor's drop

52:44: Roger takes advantage of another shot at Thomas and the slugger can’t hold up on an inside fastball. (K#9)

K9 - Thomas

1:00:21: The Red Sox’s half of the 4th ends with a hobbled Jim Rice being thrown out by a mile at second base on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out. Moore continues matching goose eggs with Roger.

Rice out at 2nd

1:02:08: On his way to a 10th strikeout, Clemens gets Presley to uncoil this awkward bid at a fastball that was at eye-level yet still too inviting after a nasty breaking ball to start the at-bat. Presley would ultimately get rung up on a backdoor fastball.


Presley offering

1:04:06: Roger gets ahead of Calderon quickly and again gets the call on the outside heater.


K11 - Calderon

1:04:18: The bleacher crew loves it…

Bleacher crew

1:05:31: Tartabull lays off a 0-2 offering that is about a foot off the plate, but Clemens fools him (and Gedman, who had initially set up away) by coming back over the plate for an inside strike three call. Roger left the mound after five with 12 of the first 15 outs being K’s, including six straight to tie the team record.


K12 - Tartabull

1:08:06: Rich Gedman tries to get Roger some run support by stretching a hard-hit ball down the right-field line into a double, but Calderon guns him down easily at second base.

Gedman out at 2nd

1:16:19: Clemens warms up for the 6th inning.

Clemens warms in 6th

1:18:40: Dave Henderson becomes victim No. 13 on a fastball off the outside half of the plate. Seven straight K’s, a new team record.


K13 - Henderson

1:20:28: Clemens gets ahead of Yeager as Monty remarks, “I don’t know about you, but every strike he throws sends cold cheels down MAH spine…” Yeager would go down looking for Clemens’ 14th as he finishes off the only Seattle batter yet to fan in the game to that point.


K14 - Yeager

1:21:44: Spike Owen would fly out to center to end the 6th. 14 K’s through six innings is enough to get the bullpen up cheering like gleeful fans.

Sox bullpen cheering

1:24:28: Dewey reaches on an error by Tartabull at second base to start the bottom of the 6th. But he is thrown out by a wide margin at second on a missed hit-and-run sign with Boggs at the plate. Whether it was Boggs or Evans who made the mistake is unclear.

Evans out at 2nd

1:28:25: After a Boggs walk, Buckner would finally break through for Boston with a ball that just sneaks over the head of left fielder Bradley. Second and third with one out for the Sox.

Buckner double

1:30:51: A Jim Rice grounder with the infield in keeps both runners in scoring position with two outs. Don Baylor would chase an outside breaking ball to end the threat.

Baylor chases

1:31:55: As Fenway security chases down some rogue fans running on the field before the 7th, NESN shows a shot of the Seattle lineup’s box score thus far. Roger had thrown 92 pitches (60 for strikes) to that point.

Seattle's Box score 7th

1:33:29: Clemens makes quick work of Bradley to start the 7th for his 15th strikeout, a new career high.


K15 - Bradley

1:36:43: Phelps chases a heater that trails ever so cruelly off the outside part of the plate for No. 16.


K16 - Phelps

1:38:11: As Gorman Thomas gets his neck nice and loose, down in the count 1-2…

Gorman Thomas gets neck loose

1:38:19: …The crowd rises to its feet.

Crowd rises

1:39:31: And Thomas extends on a pitch over the middle of the plate and crushes a home run to straight-away center-field.

Thomas HR1

Thomas HR2

Martin remarks “one thing like that can ruin a whole night for somebody.” Then again, if the wind were blowing in even 5 mph harder, Lyons probably catches the ball as it only barely cleared the center-field fence. Boston now trails 1-0.

1:40:11: With another chance to notch No. 17, Clemens gets Presley down 0-2 but he grounds to first base to end the inning. Watching this replay three decades later, the obvious kneejerk instinct is to hope Roger flubs the feed from Baylor. He doesn’t and Roger now has six outs left to add to his strikeout total.

Feed from Baylor

1:40:23: NESN cameras catch Roger slinging his glove into the dugout in frustration, clearly upset not only that he didn’t get Presley down on strikes but also that he’s now trailing in a game in which he has 16 K’s through seven innings.

Roger slings glove

1:48:30: After a two-out single from Lyons and a Glenn Hoffman walk, Moore begins to show some signs of fatigue. Dewey steps to the plate after a visit to the mound from the pitching coach and deposits a flat fastball over the middle of the plate over the center field wall.

Evans HR1

Boston finally gives Clemens a lead, 3-1, as the game heads to the 8th.

Evans HR2

1:51:06: Some enterprising fans have managed to string up an impromptu K wall above the center field bleachers by the time Clemens comes back out onto the mound in the top of the 8th, needing three more strikeouts to tie the major league record of 19.

The K Wall

1:51:52: Joe Sambito and Bob Stanley warm in the pen with Roger’s pitch count rising on a cold night.

Sambito and Stanley warm

1:51:57: Victim No. 17 is Calderon, who flails at a fastball that Martin notes probably could have been thrown anywhere and he was going to go after it.


K17 - Calderon

1:55:32: Tartabull follows with solid contact, but it falls safely in center field for a base hit. It brings up Henderson, who gets to 2-2 before missing this fastball.


K18 - Henderson

1:55:43: The crowd loves it. Martin: “It’s not a sellout crowd by any means, but they’re making sellout noises.”

Crowd loves it

1:55:52: A new Red Sox record.

A new Sox record

1:57:29: Seattle sends contact hitter Al Cowens to the plate to pinch hit. He lifts the final out to Lyons in center and Clemens finishes eight innings with 18 K’s.

18K through 8

2:03:37: The obligatory shot of a manager standing in the dugout with his hand down his pants. Boston would put two runners on base but ultimately be held scoreless in its half of the 8th.

Manager hands down pants

2:14:21: Roger takes the mound for the top of the 9th. This is what the CF wall looked like.

CF Wall top 9th

2:16:35: Strikeout No. 19 comes against the pesky Owen, who nearly put a ball in play down the third-base line but ultimately chases up and away like so many other Mariners hitters on this night.


K19 - Owen

Clemens ties record

2:17:55: With the count 2-2 on Bradley, the crowd comes to its feet. Monty remarks, “as a matter of fact, I’m gonna stand up…” Clemens paints the inside corner with a called third strike for his new major league record 20th K.


K20 - Bradley

Clemens sets record

2:18:21: With the crowd in extended ovation, Roger isn’t quite ready to just grab the ball and move on so he lets it sink in by cleaning his spikes.

Clemens cleans spikes

2:18:26: Roger composes himself quickly. Could he have enough left in the tank for No. 21 against Ken Phelps? Ned Martin lets out an “Oh Mercy…”

Roger composes himself

2:19:22: Determined to just put something in play, Phelps gets his bat-head out on 2-1 outside pitch and grounds to Romero at shortstop to end the game. Clemens can finally show some emotion.

Clemens shows emotion

2:20:03: The 20 Ks on the outfield wall.

20Ks on outfield wall

2:20:50: A woman comes down to hug Clemens as he heads off the field. Efforts to confirm who that woman is were still ongoing at the time this was posted.

Clemens hugs

Final score
And it was pretty much definitely smooth sailing from there on out for The Rocket in Boston. A Hall of Fame career devoid of any complication, controversy and dissent? He is still to this day tied with Cy Young for the most wins in team history. He’d even strike out 20 batters again in 1996, his last year on the team – after which time he rode off into the deep red of the Texas twilight.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, April 18 – 24

The Red Sox continue to have trouble stringing together wins. The offense has been erratic, but more concerning is that front-end pitchers Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz both struggled in their most recent outings this past week. Boston continues to hover below the .500 mark and hopes of a winning April are slipping away. One gets the feeling the team will have a different look by mid-summer…one way or another. Several pitchers in the minors such as Brandon Workman and Allen Webster are likely to contribute before the end of the season and this could be a year in which it makes sense for Ben Cherington to make a significant move for a bat around the July trade deadline.

Boston Gets Blown Out in the Rubber Game Against New York


Farrell Calls Out Michael Pineda
John Farrell decided enough was enough in regards to Michael Pineda’s blatant disregard for the unwritten rule of baseball that a pitcher at least “make an effort” to hide gripping agents like pine tar from plain view. It’s tough to blame Farrell much. Boston’s offense has been anemic in the early going and it showed some early life in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against New York. But Pineda came out for the second with pine tar on his neck and was ultimately ejected once Farrell went to the umps (the assist goes to David Ortiz).

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Buster Olney put the whole thing well on his ESPN blog: “…as Pineda went out to the mound for the second inning, he became the guy who zooms past a state trooper in the left lane at 80 mph.”

Buster offers a good solution that makes sense in light of Wednesday night’s theatrics.

Since Major League Baseball has nothing else going on at the moment — like, say, the implementation of a revolutionary replay system, or a dramatic shift in how umpires interpret the transfer of the ball from the glove to the bare hand, or issuing document retention memos — here’s something for the good folks on Park Avenue to work on. It’s time for them to identify a substance they will approve for pitchers so that they can improve their grip on the baseball, something that can be for them what pine tar is to hitters.

… Once an acceptable substance for pitchers is identified — something that is tacky enough to help with the feel of the ball, but not so thick that it can be glopped onto the ball and affect its aerodynamics — it could be placed on the forearm of the glove hand. It could be preapproved by the umpires, as a pitcher goes to warm up for the first time, in the same way that umpires have given the OK in the past for pitchers to blow on their hands on a cold day.

Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi Had No Grip Issues…
If a guy who just ran a marathon two days before can throw a pitch on a blustery, cold night why can’t a “major leaguer”?

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The Red Sox / Cliff Lee Rumors Begin Anew…
Another season, another round of discussion about whether the Red Sox could be Cliff Lee suitors in a trade with Philadelphia. After the week the rotation just endured, this discussion doesn’t feel too out of the blue.

Jonah Keri on Grantland:

Once again, it’ll be an interesting call. On the one hand, the Phillies have players who would net a huge return. Cliff Lee, for instance, would be a great addition for a handful of big-revenue clubs, even with a $25 million salary this year and next and a $12.5 million buyout (or $27.5 million salary) in 2016.

The Red Sox, for one, have more than enough money and more than enough prospects to pull off a blockbuster deal that would help Boston this year and help Philadelphia for years to come. On the other hand, the Phillies are trying to hold down their status as an attendance juggernaut.

Daniel Nava Gets Sent Down
The outfielder has struggled mightily this season. On Sons of Sam Horn, a thread asked if we’ve seen the last of Nava. The general consensus seems to be that given the fragile nature of veterans Shane Victorino and Grady Sizemore, someone will get hurt at some point down the line and Nava will get another shot. Nava has been written off before, it feels somewhat surprising he still has one more option left after this latest demotion.

Local Man’s Game Recap (Red Sox 5, Yankees 1)

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CARVER, Mass. – Actually, I got a buncha Pineda trees in the back end of my cranberry bog. No joke. Big old sappy monstrosities. Provide a ample amount of shade during sunny summer days.

Oh wait. Yah, I meant pine trees. But there’s no difference between my big ass pine trees and the Yankees pitcher Miguel Pineda. Lemme make that clear here.

Settled into the Sox game just in time to see the umpires swarming on that cheating bastid Pineda in the second inning.

Pretty obvious he needs the stuff. He didn’t have anything smeared on his neck in the first inning. Grady Sizeman starts off the game with a triple and the Sox score a couple easy runs. Then all of a sudden he comes out for the second inning with a big shiny, shit-stain mark on his neck?

Johnny Farrell mighta been born early in the morning. But it wasn’t early THIS morning. Easy call to head out there and have the umps check the guy. Heard Ortiz was down in the video room getting ready for his AB and noticed something was up. I bet it’s pretty hard to miss a big old brown smear on a guy’s neck.

Looked like poo, right?

Those guys on the NESN camera crew should probably win a Pulitzer for that. They zeroed in like a sniper.

Wanna talk about a contrast? Let’s talk about how good John Lackey was tonight. Pounding the zone, pitching his heart out on a night the Sox needed a pick-me-up. Had to have a long outing Lack and they got it. Eleven strikeouts. Eight innings.

Hey, I’ve got a bit of an unsolicited proposal for New York right here to end it tonight: Bring back Pinetarheada on one day’s rest tamarrah. Let him try to redeem himself. Only condition is he’s gotta do what he did tonight – first inning with no help. Sizemore’ll hit another triple and the Sox’ll devour him again. He can come back out and try to be Cy Young thereafter. I ain’t worried. It’d be a good way to take a rubber game of a big April series against the Yanks.

Ed. Note: Carver man and friend of the site Francis Flynn is an avid Red Sox fan, Boston-born and bred. Flynn’s day job is maintaining a 10-acre cranberry bog and tract of farmland that has been in his family for three generations. But his passion is following his region’s most beloved baseball team. Flynn recently agreed to provide Fenway Pastoral readers with his own recaps throughout the 2014 regular season. All we had to do in return was promise to publish his pieces unedited and to send him a case of Miller High Life (bar bottles were specified) every week.

Local Man’s Game Recap (Yankees 9, Red Sox 3)

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CARVER, Mass. – Buncha bums. Had to turn on the hockey game to get my spirits up. I don’t usually watch much hockey even with the Broons being what they’ve been. Too Canadian for my tastes. But the baseball tonight was of piss-poor quality. Piss…Poor.

First off, though, I’m no ingrate. I’ll tip my scally cap to Jake Ellsbury – just this once. Triple to start the game. Kinda all went downwards from there on out. I was already in a bad mood. The Cumberland Farms cashier gave me a stink eye for topping off my coffee this morning. That shit is pure swill to begin with. Farmhouse roast my ass. Who’s farmhouse, exactly? Barnhouse roast, maybe.

I don’t like this Tanaka. The guy never throws the ball over the plate but somehow seems to get ahead every count. Nibble, nibble nibble. Keep nibblin’ Tonka. You’ll be just like Dice-K pretty soon.

Eck was squirting up his Dockers talking about him after the game. But blue was giving him everything under the sun. Guess that helped.

All the while, Jonny Lester was obviously getting squeezed. Especially in the second. Threw ‘im off his game. The bases were loaded because Jeter pulled that act where he throws his wrists over home plate on outside pitches to make the ump think the ball’s outside. Any other batter in the league does that and it’s chin music. Right in the chops. Jeter – A total scoundrel right up to the end.

Some silver linings to that inning though, seeing Dusty step in and calm Jonny down. Nice little man-up moment. The next pitch, Pedey turned a pretty around-the-horn DP. Keeps the game Two-Zip.

Things went south from there. Ortiz and Nap both tattooed baseballs but you don’t get extra credit for socking a solo home run onta the Charlesgate Bridge.

Tell yous one thing: B’s won 3-0 tonight. I’d give anything to see a Sox win at that score right about now.

Ed. Note: Carver man and friend of the site Francis Flynn is an avid Red Sox fan, Boston-born and bred. Flynn’s day job is maintaining a 10-acre cranberry bog and tract of farmland that has been in his family for three generations. But his passion is following his region’s most beloved baseball team. Flynn recently agreed to provide Fenway Pastoral readers with his own recaps throughout the 2014 regular season. All we had to do in return was promise to publish his pieces unedited and to send him a case of Miller High Life (bar bottles were specified) every week.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, April 11 – April 17

The Red Sox lost three of four in New York over the weekend as the offense continues to sputter. In Chicago, Boston dropped the opener before coming back for two last at-bat wins against the White Sox, including a 14-inning affair on Wednesday night. The team has now managed just 56 runs in 16 games but still sports a 7-9 record and a fairly neutral run differential (-4) thanks to strong efforts like Jon Lester’s one-run, eight-inning performance Thursday night.

The Replay Debate
On Sunday night, the deciding run for the Yankees scored as the end result of a review that overturned a potential inning-ending double play. The galling part of the reversal was that a play that was equally – if not more conclusive on replay – was not overturned the day before because reviewers seemed to be looking at different camera feeds. A frustrated John Farrell cast his vote on the matter.

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In the immediate aftermath of Boston’s loss, Red Sox Nation, with thought-leaders like’s Eric Wilbur showing the way, hasn’t come around on the whole replay thing.

Replay survey

If baseball weren’t mired in the dark ages in most things technology as they pertain to on-field play, flaws in the system could have been ironed out sometime less embarrassingly late like, say, during the flip-phone era. At some point this year, replay will aid in wininng a game for the Sox and the colors on the map above will look a little different.

Twitter: Giving Media Undeserved Fodder Since 2007
Poor Xander Bogaerts. He’s deleted his Twitter account because a woman sent a sexy photo of herself to him and he accidentally posted the private message to his feed. Dude’s a 21-year-old budding baseballing star and, as is won’t to happen, ladies respond to that kind of thing.

The photo, courtesy of Awful Announcing. (Indeed.)


The photo isn’t even particularly racy unless you’ve been in a coma since 1985. If so, welcome back. Also, 1984 first-round pick John Marzano never really panned out as hoped. Sorry you had to find out this way.

Red Sox Exercise Caution With Koji
Koji Uehara’s shoulder discomfort led to some extra caution for the team in New York. Uehara went back to Boston and was given a decent bill of health and rejoined the team in Chicago, picking up the save last night and reassuming his closer role. Good seeing him draped over David Ortiz’s shoulder in the duo’s signature celebratory pose.

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Ortiz Coming Out of His Funk?
A lot of Boston’s offensive struggles in the early going of 2014 can be explained by David Ortiz’s sub .700 OPS. Papi is the lynchpin of the offense and two homers in 16 games is concerning. Chicago’s Adam Eaton took away a solid bid for a third last night. It may just be a matter of time…

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Local Man’s Game Recap (Red Sox 6, White Sox 4)

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CARVER, Mass. – Look, this ain’t all that easy to admit, but my pipes aren’t exactly what they were when I was a younger man. You know which pipes I mean. Sometimes I stand at the toilet just waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Then, finally, bam! Splashdown! (Two drops). And other times? It’s a cascade. Four cups of morning coffee just gushing out in a twisting stream of liquid relief.

The Sox batters have been working through one of those driblet kinda stretches right here. Frustrating. Demoralizing. Driblets. Every run is a drop in the bucket. Makes you do that thing where you shut your eye lids and roll your eyeballs up all the way into the back of your head until you’re basically crosseyed in unbridled relief.

Chicago’s bullpen tried to gift-wrapped the Sox this thing. That guy Cleto – he was one of Julius Caesar’s friends in one of Shakespeare’s plays or something, right? Philosopher I think. Yup, he was absolutely thinking a whole bunch. Three walks! Six from the pen overall. I’ll hit up Cleto next time I’m in an ethical dilemma for sure but maybe not the next time I wanna start rolling the credits on a tight lead in a baseball game.

Even after all that, I wasn’t POSITIVE that’d be enough, especially when Ortiz hit that fly ball to left.

But then Gomes chopped that pussy fart down the third base line. Better than a bunt. The Sox got the bases loaded and Sizemore hit the game-renewing sac fly.

Course, that little “burst” of late offense meant an extra five innings of baseball. I made it until about the 11th and once I saw Capuano warming I felt comfortable leaving it in his hands since he’s local. And Bradley Junior delivered. This is why we watch.

Ed. Note: Carver man and friend of the site Francis Flynn is an avid Red Sox fan, Boston-born and bred. Flynn’s day job is maintaining a 10-acre cranberry bog and tract of farmland that has been in his family for three generations. But his passion is following his region’s most beloved baseball team. Flynn recently agreed to provide Fenway Pastoral readers with his own recaps throughout the 2014 regular season. All we had to do in return was promise to publish his pieces unedited and to send him a case of Miller High Life (bar bottles were specified) every week.

Local Man’s Game Recap (White Sox 2, Red Sox 1)

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CARVER, Mass. – Late game last night so didn’t get to sign in until this morning. Went out and grabbed a 26-ouncer from Honey Dew and gonna crank this out while I drink it.

I’ll cut to the chase since this is supposed to be a recapitulation of the ballgame. Alexander probably did us all a favor by rush-throwing that ball into the ground. It was getting late and the bats were silenter than a long cold winter’s night. Which it apparently was, judging by the frost coating on my cranberry bog this morning.

Sox needed a win tonight like no ones’ business after the weekend they had in New York. But the offense is still dorminant and couldn’t pick up Peavy tonight. Jack was fired up as usual and pitched a helluva six innings and it was all for not. Team’s in a hole now. Time to wake up and start playing like it’s a new season.

And Cahp? Well, Cahp took his eye off that ball. Coulda help Bogaehts out. If Nap doesn’t bend out his frigging ring finger on that crazy slide into second base, he’s in the game and Mikey isn’t playing first base. Too bad Mikey can’t play third. Herrara is faster than a white dude trying to get outta Brockton before dark, but just sayin’ it seems like the bats a bit light.

Last observation on my agenda. The Chicago fans musta been a bit confused tonight. Giving Pierzynski a standing ovation. Are they gonna erect a A.J. Pierzynski statute outside the park? Put it right next to Manny Mimosa’s? Very few cases where you ever give a guy wearing the gray laundry that much respect. Gotta wonder about that.

I’ll give the few souls that ventured to the White Sox stadium some respect. Looked cold there and it flurried. Remy said there was a blizzid there the night before?

Ed. Note: Carver man and friend of the site Francis Flynn is an avid Red Sox fan, Boston-born and bred. Flynn’s day job is maintaining a 10-acre cranberry bog and tract of farmland that has been in his family for three generations. But his passion is following his region’s most beloved baseball team. Flynn recently agreed to provide Fenway Pastoral readers with his own recaps throughout the 2014 regular season. All we had to do in return was promise to publish his pieces unedited and to send him a case of Miller High Life (bar bottles were specified) every week.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, April 4 – April 10

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The Red Sox’s opening weekend at Fenway Park didn’t go so grand as the Brewers earned the first sweep for a road team in Boston since the Bobby Valentine regime. Boston took two of three against the Rangers thanks to David Ortiz’s heroics on Wednesday afternoon before losing 4-1 last night at in New York in Game 1 of 19 against the Yankees. Boston was 13-6 against the Yankees last season.

Michael Pineda Wasn’t In the Mood to Hide the Pine Tar
The Yankees righthander outdueled Clay Buchholz and rightly deserved to win as Boston’s offense was back to its mostly anemic ways Thursday night. However, all anyone will remember was that Pineda apparently submerged his hand in pine tar before spinning the gem.

The Internet and social media was all over it once NESN caught on in the third inning. A summary of images archived by Google in the last 24 hours for a search of “Michael Pineda”:

Pineda pinetar gallery

In the Herald, John Tomase wrote:

Publicly, most Red Sox hitters either feigned ignorance or said it had no impact on the game.

“Everybody uses pine tar in the league, it’s not a big deal,” slugger David Ortiz said. “What else?”

But privately, multiple players believed he crossed a line — one, for the sheer brazenness of apparently applying the substance with a trowel; and two, for throwing a slider they considered filthier during the first four innings than the final two, when he mysteriously cleaned up.

Oh John Tomase…you and your private conversations with unnamed sources.

JBJ Changes the Conversation In His Favor
Timely hitting and some smooth plays in the field has helped remind people that Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t chopped liver. He would have begun the season in Pawtucket if not for Shane Victorino’s injury, but he is proving to be all-around solid so far, leaving his struggles in spring training behind. He has options left and isn’t likely to stay up the whole season, but the outfield minus JBJ’s glove is considerably worse.

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Yeah, Just Swing Away A.J…
Leaving aside the inexplicable dislike that A.J. Pierzynski seems to stir up in most everybody, the guy is an odd fit for the Red Sox. Clearly, he is just bridge to Boston’s tandem of young prospects, Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. Boston can’t just play the 38-year-old David Ross every night. So we’re left with A.J. Fucking Pierzynski, who separates himself from Boston’s organization-wide philosophy of plate discipline by swinging at goddamn everything.

Jon Couture wrote of Pierzynski:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out his second-inning double-play came on a ball he went reaching for across the plate. He strikes me as the kind of guy who, even hitting .300, is going to drive me crazy. (Please note, he’s not going to hit .300.) But yes, it was the only time he was retired in the game. And he had a great Sox-style nine-pitch at-bat in the seventh that ended with an infield single.

Slowly trying to accept A.J. Slowly.

Beautiful follow-through, AJ. Beautiful!

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Fan Attendance At Fenway Park
The Red Sox are having a hard time getting another “sellout streak” up and running in the early going of 2014. The ballpark was 99.1% full for Opening Day last Friday based on ESPN’s definition of “full capacity.” The team hasn’t come any closer to a full-fledged sellout since. Fenway drew a little over 33,000 fans for the 4:05 p.m. start against Texas on Wednesday. Overall, the park has been about 90-95% full at best at the start of each game.

Fans are leaving early in droves, which isn’t all that remarkable considering the weather has been crisp for just about every game so far. Still, there is a clear reason the team has begun deploying profit-generating measures such as dynamic/variable ticket pricing and, for the first time in years, holding various minor league-style kitschy promotions like Toga Night.


Local Man’s Game Recap (Yankees 4, Red Sox 1)

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CARVER, Mass. – Look, I don’t wanna make accusatory statements against Miguel Pineda any more than the next guy. But something was up. Remy spotted it a mile away. And Johnny Farrell just sat on his hands while the game got outta control. I started getting some phone calls about it around the fourth inning. What’s that on his hand? Looks he’s been fisting a crank-shaft! Et cetera et cetera et cetera.

Then all of a sudden he comes out for the fifth and it’s gone?

Let Clay Buchholz greaseball himself up like that and I can’t even imagine what he’d of done with it. Probably a no-hittar. Definitely a shutout and about 17 strikeouts just like Pedro back in 1999 in Yankee Stadium.

Just to be clear…I’m mainly insulted because “Pin-head-a” there had no sense of true espionage. Classless, brainless, but worst of all completely imaginationless.

So before you get your undergarments up into a big needless bunch of fabric, I’ll acknowledge the fact that yeah I’m sure some Sox pitchers have dabbled in the ol’ pinetar on the fararm bit before. Alls I’m asking for as a fan is some semblance of an effort to cover it up. That’s it. Otherwise, let’s just make it legal and stop with puttin on all these airs. You know what I mean?

Georgie Brett isn’t coming charging out of any dugouts these days. Nobody gives a damn. So let’s ALL bathe ourselves in pinetar and stick to everything and let the game be the game again.

Because let’s be honest with ourselves here. Buchholz lost it after the third inning. He didn’t have his A game. And Grady Sizemore’s chicken arm cost the team another run in the fifth inning. Jeter would have been gunned down by a mile with two outs on that single otherwise if he were tested by anything resembling a real throw.

But really, it didn’t matter. Pineda was better than Clay tonight. With substance or without (but, obviously with, OK?). So his wrist is all slippery and disgusting for no real good reason now. I ain’t all that sore about it honestly. Dan Nava hit a homer after a tough start to the season – I’ll take the moral victory where they come.

Next time out, let’s see what gives when we let both guys sprinkle his magic pixie dust on the ball and see how it plays out. That’s alls I’m saying from this neck of the woods.

Ed. Note: Carver man and friend of the site Francis Flynn is an avid Red Sox fan, Boston-born and bred. Flynn’s day job is maintaining a 10-acre cranberry bog and tract of farmland that has been in his family for three generations. But his passion is following his region’s most beloved baseball team. Flynn recently agreed to provide Fenway Pastoral readers with his own recaps throughout the 2014 regular season. All we had to do in return was promise to publish his pieces unedited and to send him a case of Miller High Life (bar bottles were specified) every week.

Local Man’s Game Recap (Red Sox 4, Rangers 2)

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CARVER, Mass. – David Ortiz, you old seadog, you. Papi’s still got it. All these years later. Just amazing.

I knocked off work on the bog in time to catch most of this one. As a little reward to myself, I drank about half of my week’s pay for these recaps, chased it with a bit of whiskey, told the old lady to stay off the landline for a minute and cranked up the modem so I could write this website.

Being directly frank and truthful, I can’t say whether that ball Ortiz hit today was fair or foul. But it doesn’t really matter. The umpires had no idea. Neither did Jerry Remy, he wouldn’t even say. But damn, that thing was high and deep and there’s gotta be some sort of benefit of the doubt given for hitting a baseball into the first stratosphere of space or piercing the o-zone layer or whatever part of heaven it was that David touched with that dinger.

I got to thinking and maybe it was the double-digit beers going through, but I started wondering, what if Mo Vaughn woulda done what Papi’s doing? If he’d been smart enough not to chase the money out in California’s LA land. Take Boston’s money instead. I can’t think of many guys who’ve thrived (except fa Ruth…) after they left town.

Here in Beantown, loyalty is rewarded. And that goes both ways. Ortiz is living proof when he hits these late-game bombs…just a gargantuan shot last night. Too bad guys like Mo leave town instead of staying here and basking in the glory that my man David’s getting now.

Oh well, no reason to think about old shit though. Why even bring it up, ya know?

The Sox got their first series win of the season. Now it’s time for New York. Ellsbury – you coulda been here for this…just like Mo.

Ed. Note: Carver man and friend of the site Francis Flynn is an avid Red Sox fan, Boston-born and bred. Flynn’s day job is maintaining a 10-acre cranberry bog and tract of farmland that has been in his family for three generations. But his passion is following his region’s most beloved baseball team. Flynn recently agreed to provide Fenway Pastoral readers with his own recaps throughout the 2014 regular season. All we had to do in return was promise to publish his pieces unedited and to send him a case of Miller High Life (bar bottles were specified) every week.