Just as Thomas Jefferson said that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” the sport of baseball must be refreshed from time to time with downright absurdity, lest we forget the awesome slapstick power of the occasionally slapdick sport. Yesterday was one of those days.
Thursday’s 8-7 win over the White Sox featured, among other things, the Red Sox failing to score more than one run off James Shields, a pitcher with an ERA over 20 and the mechanics of a drunk horse; the Red Sox holding the White Sox scoreless in bases-loaded, no-out situations twice late in the game; and a walk-off single by MVP candidate Xander Bogaerts. It was all quite something, but ultimately, for a team stuck in a losing microclimate and about to head off for a road trip, it was something necessary and good.
Top Play (WPA): In the eighth inning, Dustin Pedroia singled home Marco Hernandez to tie the already ridiculous game at 7-7. It’s pretty underwhelming as big plays go, but after the Red Sox inexplicably fell behind 4-0 against the game’s worst starter only to rally to a 5-4 lead against his replacement (that they would later blow), the wait made it great. Pedroia pulled the ball over the shortstop to tie it; he’s been going the other way a lot, but yesterday he was classic Pedey, taking his hits to left field.
Bottom Play (WPA): About that blown lead — Junichi Tazawa replaced Tommy Layne with one out in the seventh inning, two runners on, and the Red Sox up 5-4, and promptly gave up a home run to Jose Abreu, sending Chicago to a 7-5 lead. Coming one day after Koji Uehara’s implosion, it wasn’t a great sign, and given the bases loaded scenarios the Red Sox bullpen would subsequently enter into (and successfully negotiate!) it was yet another sign that God is still cackling at our plan to have one of the league’s great bullpens.
Key moment: Good news for aspiring left fielders: The Red Sox need you! Oy. Chris Young, who has merely hit everything in sight this season, pulled his hamstring as he rounded first base on a second-inning blast off the Green Monster that missed being a home run by mere inches. With Brock Holt still recovering from a concussion, Blake Swihart on the shelf and Rusney Castillo frolicking at a farm upstate, this is a… difficult situation. The Who had an easier time with their drummers.
Trend to watch: The Red Sox fell behind in the first inning yet again, with Rick Porcello being tagged for two runs in the first frame. I believe Dave O’Brien said Boston hasn’t scored in the first inning in 9 games, and while I’d love to confirm that, my day job is covering financial markets and the world is about to explode. The real trend today is watching your 401(k)’s value plummet. Happy Friday!
Coming next: The Sox head to Texas to face the American League’s best team. Tonight’s tilt features David Price against Nick Martinez. Last year, before this series, a Dallas radio station brought me on ostensibly to talk baseball. It was, in fact, a trolljob, and they apparently tried to get another one of us on this year for the same stunt and failed. Screw them and screw the Rangers, except for Beltre, of course.
Photo by Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports Images