What a wild night it was in Philadelphia last night. Every single position player played except all three backup catchers, George Kottaras of the Red Sox and Chris Coste along with Paul Bako of the Phillies. A total of twelve pitchers came in the game and struck out 34 batters. Jon Lester got eleven while Joe Blanton struck out seven.
The final score was five to two but ended in the thirteenth inning when Boston scored three runs in the top of the inning and then Daniel Bard got his first major league save and Takashi Saito got his second win of the season. Youk and J.D. Drew supplied the power as each hit solo home runs off of Joe Blanton.
The lineup was a little questionable and it was not the only questionable thing Terry Francona did. Here is the line up so you can be the judge.
1- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2- J.D. Drew, RF
3- Kevin Youkilis, 3B
4- Jason Bay, LF
5- David Ortiz, 1B
6- Jason Varitek, C
7- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
8- Nick Green, SS
9- Jon Lester, P
Of corse playing at Citizens Bank Park there are not any DH’s so Terry Francona put David Ortiz at first base and moved Youk to third. I liked the move because Ortiz has finally broken out of his slump, hitting three home runs in six games. Ortiz though went one for three with a strikeout before being taking out of the game for Mark Kotsay in the sixth.
The other questionable thing Terry did happened in the ninth. Jonathan Papelbon needed the day off and Takashi Saito had pitched a hard earned 1.1 innings against the Yankees and Francona wanted to give him the day off even though he could have pitched in the ninth. Saito came in and got two outs in the 12th and got the win. Anyway so with Boston up by one run in the ninth Ramon Ramirez came in.
Ramirez had given up back to back home runs in his last outing against the Yankees and with Ryan Howard up Ramirez gave up another home run. Let me just say I would have never put him in. I mean sure he has been having a good year but I would have put in either Manny Delcarmen or Justin Masterson. Delcarmen last pitched Thursday and Masterson came in and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in extra, striking out three. I might have considered Daniel Bard, who later got the save that game but because he is a young kid I can understand Terry not wanting to put him in and then have him give up a home run.
Anyway Ramirez’s ERA is up to 2.10 and he has now given up four home run, seven earned runs, eighteen hits, and has walked ten in 30 innings. I really did not like the Coco Crisp trade even though I agreed he needed to go. Boston could have got a lot more for him. But I am getting off topic. Ramirez is in a slump or whatever you want to call it and before the season started I thought he should be a mop-up reliever. Maybe he should become a mop-up reliever for a little while.
Jon Lester though was the talk of the game though he gave up just two hits an earned run and walked just two. He also struck out eleven including six straight (the record is ten though in case you were wondering set by Tom Seaver) Lester got Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez to strikeout twice.
Lester has been on fire his last three starts striking out 34 going two and zero. His ERA for his last three starts has been 1.23 against the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Phillies. Lester has only walked seven batters and given up seven hits. Against teams with guys like Vernon Wells, Ian Kinsler, and Raul Ibanez.
Lester pitched seven great innings but did run into some trouble in the second. After a leadoff single for Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino doubled moving Ibanez to third with no outs. Lester then got Pedro Feliz to ground out but Ibanez scored on the play. Carlos Ruiz would ground out for the second out of the inning but Victorino would move to third. Joe Blanton though grounded out to second as the hits to Ibanez and Victorino would be the last hits he gave up.
I thought the Red Sox where having a hard time scoring runs! Well how does eight runs sound along with a pitcher who struck out twelve! Unless your a Blue Jays fan that is awesome. Why did we score eight runs because of this.
I was playing MLB 2K8 the other day on my Wii. I was the Royals and I was trying to make them a good team. In the game they are the 29th best team. The worst team is the Marlins but that would be to easy to make them good. I went to 2015 and won a World Series with guys like Ryan Zimmerman and Zack Greinke winning the MVP and Cy Young. I played four more seasons till 2019. I actually played one of the games against the Red Sox. Most of the games I just sim. It showed Michael Bowden on the mound for Boston. That got me thanking. What would the Red Sox be like in ten years . . .
Today, Friday the 13th was the first full day of pitchers and catchers camp. It came just in time although it could have been earlier. Today there are two college basketball games, seven hockey games, a golf tournament, four women’s basketball games, and the 2009 Rookie Challenge. Some could argue that today is the loneliest day in the history of sports. It would be the loneliest day in sports if the NBA Rookie Challenge wasn’t today at nine P.M. eastern. I’m getting off track though. I know that all the first few days of pitchers and catchers camp is just conditioning, stretching, and throwing the ball around. The real work doesn’t start until Monday when position players report to camp. The only problem is Kevin Youkillis and Chris Carter will not arrive at camp . . . because they are already there. I think it would be kind of boring to be the only two position players (besides catchers) to be there. Like all of the drills would be mostly related to the pitchers and catchers. I’m sure they have someone else training Youk and Carter though. Everyone seems healthy or better. It looks like Brad Penny and Jon Smoltz or doing great but Mike Lowell might need a little extra time maybe till the end of spring training but he should be able to practice Monday. Josh Beckett is also looking great. When he threw yesterday he seemed like when he had his 2007 form according to reports. Jed Lowrie who got a left wrist sprain and an unknown fracture should also be ready to compete for the starting spot at shortstop. Julio Lugo also will be after recovering from a torn right quad. David Ortiz looks healed and should have a Big Papi type season smacking 40 homers out of the yard. Mark Kotsay looks to be the only Red Sox position player not ready for spring training. He underwent back surgery and looks like he will be ready in May. Another big question for the Red Sox in spring training is will Josh Bard be able to catcher knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield? I think he will. There will be a few rough spots, most of them coming in spring training but I think he will. Sure he stunk last time he tried t catch him but he saw a guy catch a knuckleballer in San Diego with the Padres and that must count for something. Spring Training is where champions are made. Prospects get called up, players meet new teammates, and baseball starts again.
This is a new series I like to call, Young Guns. I will look at the youngest, best, and most promising player on each team. This series will not be every day. I could put two up on the same day, zero in a week, or nine in three days. So I’m going to start with the Boston Red Sox.