Monday, April 21, 2008

Game 21: Marathon Monday

What a beautiful morning in Boston. The whole city is a buzz about comeback wins for the Sox, game 1 excitement for the Celtics and game 7 dramatics for the Bruins. Oh, and don't forget the thousands of skinny people who have descended on this city to run 26+ miles. Yep, it's Patriots Day here and I am going to spend it blogging about the Red Sox and their annual 11 am start.

For those who are not familiar with the history of Patriots Day, this is the anniversary of the day Paul Revere sneaked 3 hookers into Boston Common (2 by land, 1 by sea) for the enjoyment of Ben Franklin and Sam Adams. Or something like that. More importantly, the Sox start early, they run the Boston Marathon and I get the day off.

Today the Red Sox are going for the 4 game sweep of the Texas Rangers with Clay Buchholz facing off against former Sox Kason Gabbard. Yeah this is the guy we gave up for Gagne last year... so we better beat him today or everyone is gonna look really stupid.

Lineup is as follows:

CF-Ellsbury (Coco has a sore hammy)
2B Pedroia
DH Ortiz
1B Youkilis
RF Drew
3B Lowrie (giving Casey the day off)
SS Lugo
C Cash (another day off for Tek cause he's got the flu)
LF Thurston (Manny gets his second day off thanks to the ejection)


2B Kinsley
SS Young
CF Hamilton
LF Bradley
3B Blalock
DH Botts
RF Murphy (the other guy we gave up for Gagne)
C Laird
1B Broussard

Looks like fun! I'll be back after the first inning and every following inning with updates. Fire it up.

First inning:
Apparently Tek and Manny aren't the only stars with the day off. Jerry Remy is out sick so we get to hang with Ken Macha and his monotone. After getting the first out, Buchholz gave up a double to Michael Young, but gets out of trouble with a K and a line drive to Thurston (who looks shaky out there). Buchholz has good velocity on his fastball and is locating his devastating change up.

Gabbard works quickly. Jacoby lasts the longest, but Kason makes quick work of the first three batters he sees. I hope this isn't a long morning for Sox hitters. Sox 0, Rangers 0

Second inning:
Buchholz was struggling to locate is curve ball, but is still managing to punish the strike zone. After getting 2 quick outs (and another K), Murphy waits on a fastball and bloops it into center. Laird puts a bunt down the third base line and reaches cause Lowrie is was playing so far back (come on, it was the freaking catcher). Drama as a walk loads the bases (gulp), but a pop up for Kinsler prevents any damage. Whew... he threw a ton of pitches (up to 42 now) but it could have been worse.

Gabbard dropped himself (slip!) on the mound and caused a brief commotion with the trainers but it didn't look like he was hurt. Drew drew a walk (see what I did there!), got the Sox their first base runner and advances to second on a pass ball. Lowrie advanced the runner to third and in steps Lugo. I freaking loathe this guy and cannot believe that he was able to draw a walk. I think my hate fuels him. Macha completely writes off any chance of Cash getting a hit and is as shocked as I am when he walks... but any chance of scoring is thrown out the window when Thurston strikes out on 3 pitches. Left the bases loaded. I hate this AAA lineup. Sox 0, Rangers 0

Third inning:

Up and down inning for Buchholz. Young got a 4 pitch walk, Hamilton got a 3 pitch K, fly out for Bradley (would have been gone in some parks), single for Blalock and a pop out from Botts to end it. Other than the UGLY walk, he looked much better that inning.

In a SHOCKER Gabbard was pulled right before the start of the third inning. That slip might have really hurt him. So much for his no hitter. He is replaced by Dustin Nippert and his near infinity ERA. Jacoby draws a walk right away, steals second and Dustin singles him over with the first hit of the day. In steps Papi... and out steps Papi. He still isn't his old self just yet. Bad strikeout. Now cue the WORST BASE RUNNING EVER. Youk popped up to shallow center Jacoby tagged, but CHANGED HIS MIND half way home. Pedroia tried to distract him by going to second (and that worked!) but then Jacoby tried to score AGAIN! He was tagged out easily. My words don't even do that disaster justice. I just opened my first beer. Sox 0, Rangers 0

Fourth inning:
Ken Macha is putting me to sleep. I almost missed the GREAT catch from Thurston in front of the monster. Buchholz is up to 73 pitches but gets his 4th K and his first 1,2,3 inning to end the top of the fourth. He looks like he is settling down.

Fundamental baseball this was NOT. After a Drew walk, Nippert balks, and Jed Lowrie pops a bunt up to the short stop... that nobody bothers to catch! Then Lugo singles up the middle and gets the freaking run home! Maybe I need to keep bad mouthing Lugo and he'll hit a grand slam next time up. Then Cash hits a blooper right to Kinsler and he almost picks Lugo off first, but instead throws it away. Another run scores and Lugo gets to second. Jacoby hits a ground ball to short and the Rangers almost throw this away too as Jacoby reaches safely! It's little league out there. Pedroia capitalizes on this madness with a 2 run double. I love the quick kids! But wait there's more! Papi hit a fly ball to Bradley who loses it in the sun and ANOTHER run scores. Meanwhile Nippert can't find the plate and loads the bases again. I guess that was the incentive the Sox batters needed to end the inning. Damage was already done though. Sox 5, Rangers 0

Fifth inning:
Another quick inning for Buchholz with his 5th K. I'm glad the long half inning didn't have any negative effects.

Poor Nippert is back out again. He must have run over the pitching coaches dog or something. Big double in the corner for Lugo (he must love my abuse) and Cash moves him to third with a bloop hit, Thurston pops out foul (this guy has NO bat) and Jacoby singles Lugo home. He is SO locked in right now. Finally Nippert is rescued and replaced by German. He gets Pedroia quick, but leaves one in the zone for Papi... box score shows that as his 2nd RBI double... but we have to thank Bradley for the first one. Texas gives up 3 more. Sox 8, Rangers 0

Sixth inning:
Buchholz comes back out and gives a liner up to Bradley, but then gets a money double play and his 6th K to end the inning. He looked really really good today.

Who is this and what have they done with Julio Lugo? He rockets a ball off the wall and my jaw is on the floor cause he's 3 for 3. A few more walks and the bases load for Thurston... who pops out in foul ground again (yeesh he is awful), Jacoby Ks and Pedroia pops out. Bases loaded with no outs and they can't score... and I'm not mad? We must be kicking butt. Sox 8, Rangers 0

Seventh inning:
Aardsma replaces Buchholz (who had a great line) and immediately walks Murphy and gives up an RBI double to Laird. Not too good. He bounces back with 2 Ks before Francona replaces him with Lopez who gives up another RBI double off the wall. He too comes back with a big K to end the threat. Kind of a shaky inning from the pen.

Papi leads off with a walk (that's 11 walks from Texas if you're keeping score) but the Sox can't capitalize off an newly rejuvenated German. Weird, I know. Sox 8, Rangers 2

Eighth inning:
Lopez still in there and looked much better at first. After two quick outs (and another K), Murphy doubled one off the wall in center before Lopez got the third out on a weak grounder. I like these low drama situations.

German is pulled for Benoit who we hammered on Saturday. Got to love this Texas bullpen. Lugo gets his 4th hit of the day as fire and brimstone falls from the sky. 4 for 4? I may have to reexamine my life. It's almost scripted as Cash hits into a double play and Thurston pops straight up AGAIN. Now THIS is what I expected from the scrubs. Sox 8, Rangers 2

Ninth inning:
Enter Delcarman to close this one out. He started rough looked pretty good lately but kind came apart this afternoon. MDC made quick work of the first 2 batters before Young smacked a double down the line and Hamilton doubled him home. No further damage as Bradley grounded out to the mound to end the threat, game and series.

Great game from the "B Squad" on this Patriots Day. Love to see offense from the backups and I especially love to see a 4 game sweep.

FINAL SCORE: Boston Red Sox 8, Texas Rangers 3