No excuses or meanderings this time. Just trying to get back off my own personal DL and into the regular groove again.
About the only thing Erik Bedard has going for him so far is his face, a kindly looking mug, all rounded or beveled edges, hangdog eyes under permanently raised brows, and rosy cheeks. He looks like a cross between a Kewpie doll and Winnie the Pooh.
Ellsbury and Ortiz could be back tomorrow (per OtM). Me, I still wish Clay Buchholz was going to be walking back through that door.
Lavarnway at bat. Second game for the Sox. Looks at a strike, swings and misses on a pitch from CJ Wilson. Next pitch inside. At first glance, Lavarnway looks something like a beefier Rocco Baldelli. There’s just nowhere for the kid to go just yet, with Jason Varitek still clinging to his spot on the roster and Saltalamacchia having carved out a name for himself. But if Lavarnway can live up to his potential, it would be nice to have a homegrown guy behind the plate. In fact, I wonder if, with the eventual ascension of Jose Iglesias, we’ll one day have an almost entirely homegrown infield (with the exception of first base, of course).
Lavarnway strikes out.
Finish this sentence: Carl Crawford is __________________. I honestly don’t know how I would at this point.
Michael Young singles, the first hit for Texas. Nelson Cruz, with a lifetime .308 average (4 for 13), a double, 2 HR, 3 RBI, and 4K against Bedard, is NESN’s “Key Matchup” of the game. Bedard works Cruz to a full count (or, rather, the other way around), and then Cruz fouls one off. On the ninth pitch of the at bat, Cruz flies out to Reddick. Let’s call it a draw.
On a pitch inside, Mike Napoli insists he’s been hit on the hand. Ron Washington sprints out of the dugout to argue as Napoli insistently thrusts a meaty left arm into the ump’s face. Nothing doing. And the boos rain down. They continue after Napoli strikes out.
In the broadcast booth, the bitching about the oppressive heat in Arlington officially begins. Fans are shown fanning themselves with various implements.
Nolan Ryan is shown in the stands, not fanning himself. Just chewing on a thumbnaikl and looking like he’d still grab one of these youngsters by the head and clean his clock with his pitching hand if given a chance.
Marco Scutaro is shown shrugging, palms out, at an indifferent-looking Dave Magadan in the dugout after a K.
Bedard walks Craig Gentry, the ninth hitter in the Rangers lineup, who is fresh off the DL after suffering a concussion. He appears – with the slightest twitch of his face and nothing more – not to agree with the call. It is his first walk of the game. Gentry is a threat to steal, and the delicate dance between him at first and Bedard on the mound begins; Bedard fusses with the ball in his glove, stares at Gentry, steps off the rubber before delivering a pitch to Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler blasts two scary-looking foul balls down the left field line. Bedard keeps checking on Gentry, and delivers with a slide step on a couple of occasions. The quintessential quiet tension of baseball settles over the field for a few moments, before the customary explosion of action: Kinsler lines one to right, Josh Reddick is judged to has drapped the ball, and rips off his glove, chewing his gum ferociously, and spitting out a clearly lip-readable, “that’s BS.”
Replay shows he caught the ball.
Instead of two outs and one runner at first, there are now two baserunners, and one out.
Elvis Andrus, 0 for his last 9 at the plate, picks this moment to hit a seeing-eye grounder through the hole at shortstop, past a diving Scutaro, scoring Gentry. Crawford makes a nonsensical throw toward home with nobody in the cutoff position, and a runner advances to third. Now there are runners at first and third with one out, and Josh Hamilton at the plate. This crisis, at least, will be averted, as Hamilton flies out.
Don Orsillo uses the term ‘grass cutter’ to describe Adrian Gonzalez’s nubber for the first out of the inning. I don’t like the play, but I like the phrase.
Pedroia reaches on base with a one-out single. Jed Lowrie promptly GIDP’s.
I’m so sick of the “messed up Flash Mob guy” commercial, I could just spit.
I am on record as really liking Jed Lowrie on a personal level. His bat earlier this season was also undeniable. But his defense sometimes makes me wince.
CJ Wilson has given up two hits so far. No Red Sox hitter has reached second base. That includes this inning.
Bedard continues his toil. He begins the inning at 75 pitches, leaning in for the sign with a look of grim determination on his face.
Gentry returns to the plate. Bedard drops a lovely curveball in for strike one. Swing and a miss for strike two. Swing and a foul tip into the catcher’s glove for the K. After that, Kinsler’s fly ball to right is judged to be firmly in Reddick’s glove.
What was that I was saying about Buchholz?
Okay, just kidding. I still want Buch back. Bad.
For a second it looks like Scutaro will have a hit into left, but that’s before Josh Hamilton is sprawling onto his belly and reaching out with his glove to make the catch.
It’s the closest thing to a hit the Red Sox will have this inning.
Speaking of diving snags, Pedroia lays out for a Hamilton grounder, but he’s too late to get Hamilton at first base.
The second hit of the night for Michael Young puts two men on with one out again. In the dugout, Curt Young goes to the phone. Bedard continues at his deliberate and inscrutable pace.
Again, Nelson Cruz works a 3-2 count. The crowd in Arlington is howling. Time called. A foul. Again, time is called. Bedard seems to be moving in slow motion. A curveball floats out of his hand, drops past the bat of Cruz for a swinging strikeout. A huge swinging strikeout.
The 100th pitch of the night for Bard earns a swinging strike from Mike Napoli. This is his last stand, and he acts as if he knows it. No grimacing or gritting of teeth, no glares in for the sign. Under pressure, Bedard just seems to get slower…and slower…
The 102nd pitch from Bedard, a 1-2 pitch at that, leaves the park off the bat of Napoli and over the head of Carl Crawford. That pitch, the difference between escaping the inning unscathed and three more runs for the Rangers.
Baseball is maddening.