Not Dead Yet

Have to get this off  my chest: I want to go back and delete every entry or tweet that I’ve written defending John Lackey in any way.  I won’t get into why (you can Google it and find out for yourself) because I hate feeding into the gossip mongers, but if the story is true in my mind there is NO defense for him and, really, I couldn’t care less what happens to him from here on out.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

But about that game…(not that first one which we will not speak of but that second one)

Holy cow.

When Mark Teixeira doubled in two runs and then scored on a bad throw in the first inning I yelled, out loud for the baseball gods to hear me, “I’m done!  I’m SO done with this!” and stormed out of the room with the television.  I paced around until the next inning began and then sat myself down in front of the television and kept watching until the very end.  Apparently I wasn’t “done” but I needed to finally let the frustration out.

And I’m glad I didn’t give up because the way the game was won, while more than a bit painful at times, was beautiful.  (Beautiful as in “That baby is butt ugly but his mother thinks he’s beautiful”, beautiful.)

Jacoby Ellsbury and his three-run homer will be what everyone remembers because, well, without it the Sox go into the bottom of the 14th inning still tied.  The kid who many called “soft” and other nasty names last year  because he had the audacity to be hurt and unable to play, has done nothing this season but show everyone up.  Many will say it’s still not a lock for him to be MVP but I’m not going to argue with anyone who gives him their vote.  The guy has come up big for the Red Sox this year.  HUGE.

But folks would be remiss to ignore what went on atop that pitcher’s mound last night.  I don’t usually recap the game, but the pitchers deserve many props for what went on. Let’s start with acknowledging that Lackey could have been (and HAS been) much worse.  He left the game in the seventh with one on, one out and the lead and, unfortunately, Alfredo Aceves gave it up by letting an inherited runner score without giving up a hit. (A stolen base, a ground out that moved the runner along and a sacrifice fly scored Lackey’s final run.) Aceves then went on to get three more outs before being replaced with Daniel Bard in the 8th.  Papelbon replaced Bard with a two-out bases loaded (two intentionally) situation in the ninth.  Paps struck out Austin Romine to end the inning and bring the game to extras.  Paps then went on to pitch two more perfect innings (if we could pick two MVPs for the game Ellsbury definitely has to share the title with Jonathan Papelbon.  He was amazing.) before Franklin Morales (who ended up being the game winning pitcher) took over in the 12th inning.  In the bottom of the 13th inning, Morales had men on second and third with two outs and struck out Brett Gardner to end the Yankees threat.  That might go down as my favorite strike out of the season.  After Jacoby’s theatrics in the top of the 14th inning, Felix Doubront came into the game and got out Jesus Montero, Ramiro Pena and Austin Romine to end the game and get a save (and he did it with 14 pitches…fitting, yes?).

So for 8 innings (8 because the run Aceves gave up was Lackey’s and was on him not Alfredo – my complaining about the inherited runners ruling is for another day) the Red Sox bullpen pulled it together and didn’t let the Yankees score.  Jacoby took it from there (with some help from his teammates.  Dustin Pedroia was all over the place last night…in the field, on the basepath…really trying to get something going…and Darnell MacDonald and Marco Scutaro found their way on base to set up the opportunity for Jacoby to hit his 3-run home run – and if I’m being fair I should note that David Ortiz was the only starter last night without a hit) and, voila, the team is alive again.

No rest for the weary (the game went five hours and eleven minutes long) as the Red Sox have to play the Baltimore Orioles tonight in Baltimore (while the Yankees will be playing the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida).  Josh Beckett, whose wife was due to have a baby four days ago, is on the mound (as well as baby-watch) tonight.  I’m not ashamed at all to say I hope the kid stays put until at least the 8th inning.

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