Last night in baseball

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Photo of Victor Martinez courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Found in my Twitter feed:

The Atlanta Braves beat Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals 5-0 (with Strasburg giving up four runs on six hits in six innings, three of those runs earned, yet he also struck out seven).  According to many on Twitter, the Braves fans started chanting “Over-rated”.  When I read that, I must admit to laughing out loud.  You have to think that they were beat to death with “expect the team to lose to the mighty Strasburg” crap ever since the day someone figured out he’d be pitching at Turner Field.  Why not have fun with it?  He lost to their team after being deemed the best pitcher baseball has ever seen.  Let him know that, in spite of MLB’s trying to make the world Strasburg fans, not everyone wants him to win – especially when he’s pitching against their team.  I don’t believe he’s over-rated but I sure do believe we’re being saturated with Strasburg publicity right now and the “over-rated” chant will hit every ballpark he visits if he doesn’t with the game and strike out at least 10 each in each appearance.  This isn’t his fault, this is the fault of MLB and every writer and broadcaster who has decided that a Stephen Strasburg start is more important than any other game being played in baseball.  Maybe now we’ll stop being inundated with inning by inning updates on him.

Detroit Tigers’ Joel Zumaya hurt his right elbow last night while pitching against the Minnesota Twins.  According to catcher Gerald Laird, you could hear something pop as he made his pitch to Delmon Young.  MLB has the video here and the look of pain on Zumaya’s face is, well, painful.  Check out the look on Young’s face after he swings.  Whatever happened to Zumaya, his catcher and the guy at bat heard it and there’s no way it’s anything but bad news.  Thinking good thoughts for the 25 year-old who has been plagued by arm injuries in his short career.  In an understandable contrast to how Braves fans treated the opposing pitcher, Twins fans gave Zumaya an ovation as he left the field.

Staying in Minnesota for a moment, Twins fans, I’ve come to find out thanks to Twitter, also do the wave.  Can the “Fenway Park is the only place that still does the wave” talk finally be put to rest?  It isn’t accurate at all.  There are plenty of lame, wave-doing fans all across Major League Baseball and folks need to stop pretending Red Sox fans are some odd breed that still live in the 1980s.

The Red Sox are rumored to be calling up Gustavo Molina from Pawtucket and putting Victor Martinez on the disabled list.  Lots of complaining on Twitter last night because Molina isn’t hitting well in Triple-A.  Folks need to take into consideration that the two best catchers on the PawSox, Mark Wagner and Dusty Brown, are both on the DL right now and Molina will be the back-up catcher to Jason Varitek.  Expecting the Triple-A back up to the back up catcher to come up to the bigs and blow you away is short-sighted and, well, ridiculous.  Molina will do what he’s being brought up to do, be a serviceable backup to Jason Varitek.   The team is in injury trouble right now; do folks expect all stars to be available to fill in?  The injury situation sucks all the way around.  Having starters go down doesn’t always (or usually) give a team the opportunity to fill the gap with the next big name.  This is, unfortunately, something the Sox and their fans are going to have to deal with for a while.

Reports are that Clay Buchholz won’t be going on the DL, Martinez will be and Dustin Pedroia won’t be having surgery.  It’s all still pretty ugly but it still feels to me like it could be worse.  Six weeks without Pedie will hurt the most.  Can’t even try to find a silver lining there.  Hopefully Victor’s hand won’t hurt so much that he won’t be able to rub Adrian Beltre’s head after each home run.

All Star Game voting updates came in yesterday.  I am not upset to see no Red Sox players in the running to be starters.  Given all the injuries this season I am even more dedicated to the idea that I want the team to use the All Star break as a genuine break from the game.  Give them the rest, let the Yankees and Rays do the heavy-lifting for home field advantage.  I have no problem with this.

As I mentioned yesterday, there won’t be a live chat for tonight’s game.  There will be a live chat tomorrow night (Daisuke Matsuzaka v Matt Garza in game two of the two game series against the Rays) and then next week we’ll start back up on Tuesdays again.

Tonight we get John Lackey going up against James Shields.  If ever a game screamed out for a live chat to take the edge off, I realize this is it, so I apologize in advance.  I do, however, have a good feeling about Lackey tonight.  If the Sox can split this series, I’ll be happy but a sweep would make me even happier…so lets work on that, eh, John?

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