"Aftah you been up for a while kid, they'll get ya that strike."
My dad kept saying things like that to Kason Gabbard, as time after time his attempts to paint the corners were rejected by the home-plate umpire.
"Schilling gets that call," he said after a sharp cutter prompted only silence from the ump.
Even while getting squeezed, Gabbard had a perfect game going today through three and two-thirds. And my dad was in great form in general when it came to the old ball game this afternoon; I also enjoyed his cry of "A Triple for the Tank!" after Jason Varitek coasted into third base with a three-run hit in the bottom of the first.
Even after Jeff Francoeur broke up the perfect game on a little "shit hit" to right (to again quote my Dad) which was followed by a ringing hit by Diaz to center, Gabbard put his big-boy britches back on again, and absolutely pwn3d Andruw Jones with a huge swinging K to end the inning. Gabbard's season high in the minor leagues was seven K's--through four innings today he had already racked up six.
Now is when we get to have lovely debates amongst ourselves, like, when Jon Lester comes back after beating cancer last year, where do we slot in Kason? Do we want two lefties in the starting rotation? Is there such a thing as too many lefties? Oh my God, I think I'm finally officially overdosing on the Red Sox. The awesome is just too pure.
They ended up getting to Gabbard by the sixth inning (this just in: Jeff Francoeur is officially a pain in the ass), but if I'd had to put my money on which pitcher was gong to go 4 innings, giving up six runs, and which would go 5+ for almost exactly 100 pitches, and 2 ER, I'd have lost my shirt.
Me: All I know is, Brendan Donnelly looks like he should be tending bar in Fitchburg.
My Dad: Yeah, and serving beer to Jason Giambi.
The dugouts have been under siege this series, bombarded in both today's game and last night with hot-shot foul balls. I think the weather has a lot to do with that, and also a lot to do with the development of a bit of a 'tude among the Braves. Did you see the way Scott Thorman punched his helmet after the 3-6-1 double play to get the Sox out of the jam in the sixth? I think somebody needs a nap.
In general, Sox pitching continues to be kickass over ice cream with a cherry on top. Okajima fed three straight Okie-Dokes to Andruw Jones for a K in the eighth. He gets the kind of strikeouts that make the fans at the park sound like the audience at the rap battles in 8 Mile. "Ohhhh!!!"
It also makes me think of the Chappelle line in the "street baseball" sketch: "Wait till you see him play defense!" Can't you just picture Okie buryin' fools in street ball? I bet he can dunk with the best of 'em.
Cora and Pedroia were zinging all over the field today. Did you see the way Cora scrambled all over the infield trying to turn a double play in the eighth for Oki? Nice turn by Pedroia, too, but they couldn't beat out the runner in the end.
At any rate, let's all take a moment to be grateful to / for John Farrell. The Okie-Doke is his brainchild, and if you've been following this pitching staff this year, you know that's just for starters. I mean...Papelbon is blowing the ball past hitters at 92 and 94 right now. That didn't just come out of nowhere, either. If we're going to bitch about managers and coaches when the team is doing poorly, they deserve some credit when things are going well.
By the by, Edgar Renteria getting a hit and then scoring a run off Papelbon? You know my dad just did that with his mind.
That said, good riddance to Jeff Francoeur, who got the unheard-of RBI off Pappy and has gone 8 for 14 with a home run this series. Also, I continue to believe that if the game situation doesn't get Papelbon's adrenaline pumping, he's just not as effective--he actually gave up a run, but once it was a save situation, he made Andruw Jones his biatch, getting him to make several awkward swings, the last at some filthy high cheese.
How many weapons does this kid have at his disposal? Enough so that there's usually one or two you forget about. And he's far from the only guy on our staff who can say that.
I still feel scared shitless when I look at the AL East standings. Deadspin was on to something when they needled us: "Things are going a little too well, eh?" I don't know anyone who doesn't feel that apprehension. If there's anyone who can find the chink in the armor, the potential disasters when it comes to our team, it's us. So far this year, though, it's clear we're not in Kansas anymore.
I mean, the rain even held off just long enough to get the game in, giving way to bright idyllic sunshine until Papelbon's last pitch, then pissing down again on Tina Cervasio as she previewed the postgame show. Since when do the Red Sox have luck on top of everything else? This is really getting serious.
P.S. Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo are to be congratulated for the number of times they managed to work in the name "Saltalamacchia" while calling today's game. Remy has also, awesomely, given him the nickname "Salty".
In other NESN news, Eckersley has now been missing from the NESN studios long enough to make me severely worried. Please just show us some video footage or issue a statement so we know that he's still alive wherever he is, okay?
P.P.S. Happy belated birthday to Joshie (May 15). He celebrated by going on the DL. I don't understand why we can put a man on the moon but we can't find some way to keep Beckett's leprosy in check, over there.