Sunday, April 27, 2008

Game 26: Suck It, Stuffy McGinnis

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 1, Tampa Bay Rays 2

Well, thank goodness our losses have some variety, or I don't know what I'd do with myself. I'm going to skip the frustrating negative of this loss, because a.) giving up two runs over eight innings ain't nothing to cry about, and b.) it's hard to get down on the offense for scoring one run against a pitcher on his game. Pitching does beat hitting, after all.

No, instead I'm going to do a double salute. First, to Clay Buchholz, whose pitching last night was a microcosm for how he's done pretty much all year. Throw out his two worst appearances (April 5 in Toronto, where the entire team was fighting through a post-Japan crash, and April 16 in New York, where he faced overexposure to the Yankee bats), and he's been exemplary: never less than six innings, never more than three walks, two runs, or four hits in three starts against three different teams. We (or maybe just I) might have lingering bad impressions of him because the Sox don't seem to win when he's on the mound - the team is 1 and 4 with Buchholz pitching, but two of those games were mediocre to bad starts, and two against pitchers having spectacular evenings - but clearly he's establishing himself as a fairly formidable pitcher, and he did the team a solid favor last night by keeping the relievers off the mound.

Second, to Kevin Youkilis, who knocked some dude with the awesome name of Stuffy McGinnis out of the record books by completing 1,701 plays at first base without an error. Of course, because defense is the red-headed step child of baseball, particularly when it comes to first basemen, the record breaking didn't receive much of an acknowledgment: a Google News search reveals one article on the accomplishment, and neither Youkilis nor Terry Francona were aware when the play happened. I think it's worth a significant mention because I keep thinking back to 2006, when Boston signed J.T. Snow as insurance against Youkilis not making a good transition to first base, only to find that Kevin seemed born to the position, and that Snow was a $2 million extraneous replaceable part. Funny how things work out.