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July 28, 2014

Hot to Trot

Chris Archer will be lucky if he shows up in David Ortiz's highlight reel for the designated hitter's Hall of Fame induction. The young starter was quick to call out Ortiz for his bat flip and home run trot but it slipped his mind that he kissed his bicep after striking out Daniel Nava with the bases loaded.

This particular trot was around 27 seconds and wasn't even in Ortiz's top five slowest circuits this season. The three-run homer put the Red Sox ahead to avoid a series sweep.

It's okay, Mr. Archer. Your well-informed comments on Ortiz really demonstrate that the Rays are an important, well-respected organization.

Truly the game of baseball is elevated to hitherto unseen heights in Tropicana Field. Bill Veeck himself would rise from the grave to witness the extraordinary Christmas in July celebration in St. Petersburg. Rising from the dead? Wait, stop the presses! Time for Zombie Apocalypse Night at the Trop!

Game 105: July 27, 2014
WinBoston Red Sox
48-57
3 W: Allen Webster (1-0)
H: Edward Mujica (1), Andrew Miller (13), Junichi Tazawa (11)
S: Koji Uehara (21)
HR: David Ortiz (25)
Tampa Bay Rays
51-54
2 L: Chris Archer (1-)
2B: Desmond Jennings (26)

July 27, 2014

Challenging

David Ortiz blasted the ball to right field with two down in the first inning. This fan reached over the wall and made a Brock Holt-like catch. The fine-fielding fan was just a few seats away from a kid with a "hit it here" sign. The umpire ruled fan interference and Ortiz was placed at second base.

The umpires wanted to review the ruling. Multiple camera angles showed the fan reached into the field of play and the call was upheld.

John Farrell decided against challenging a close play at second base in the fourth frame. Yunel Escobar laced the ball into the right field. He reached first at the same time Daniel Nava's throw arrived in Stephen Drew's glove. Replays showed that Escobar was out. Kevin Kiermaier drove in Escobar for a run and John Lackey complained about Farrell not challenging the call. Perhaps Peavy won't be the only Red Sox starter traded this season.

With the trade of Jake Peavy signaling the end of the Red Sox attempt to contend it seems Holt has decided that the he'll follow the rules of physics like humans do. Here he is being the tail end of a 4-3-2 double play.

In most games being thrown out at home would be the most egregious mistake. But Evan Longoria and Escobar topped that gaffe in the sixth when they let Jonny Gomes's grounder past by them unaccosted for a single.

Later in the inning Xander Bogaerts assumed he was the last out of the frame. He just assumed that Gomes made an out because it was such an easy out.

Game 104: July 26, 2014
Boston Red Sox
47-57
0 L: John Lackey (11-7)
2B: David Ortiz (21)
WinTampa Bay Rays
51-53
3 W: Grant Balfour (1-3)
H: Brad Boxburger (11)
S: Jake McGee (11)
HR: Ben Zobrist (8)

July 26, 2014

Give Up the Ghost

Junichi Tazawa surrendered the lead in the seventh inning of last night’s game and Ben Cherington waved the white flag today. Jake Peavy was sent to the San Francisco Giants for a pair of pitching prospects: right-handed Heath Hembree and southpaw Edwin Escobar.

Hembree is ranked as the Giants’ seventh best prospect by Baseball America and Escobar is second on the list. Escobar struggled in the Pacific Coast League, a circuit notorious for inflating hitters’ capabilities and destroying pitchers’ psyches. Escobar is from Venezuela and related to major leaguers Kelvim and Alcides.

It was in San Francisco that Peavy bought a tobacco store Indian statue last year. “The Chief” was a good luck charm for the rest of the season and got a ride in the duck boat that Peavy purchased after the World Series parade. Perhaps “Charlie River” will be re-christened as “McCovey’s Duckie.”

When Peavy was traded to the Red Sox from the White Sox at the trade deadline last year he was immediately embraced by his teammates and fans. He was amazed to have his name be in the same list of the legends who played at Fenway. We know that wins are not the best indicator of a pitcher’s success but seeing Peavy with only one mark in the “W” column was disheartening for all. But we won’t remember him for this year’s failures but last season’s glory.

The Rays wore memorial patches for Don Zimmer. The only way this lightweight expansion team can assume a faux patina of history is to pay tribute to a man that was steeped in baseball lore.

Game 103: July 25, 2014
Boston Red Sox
47-56
4 H: Andrew Miller (12)
BS, L: Junichi Tazawa (3, 1-2)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (27), Jackie Bradley Jr. (19)
HR: Shane Victorino (2)
WinTampa Bay Rays
50-53
6 W: David Price (11-7)
S: Jake McGee (10)
2B: Sean Rodriguez (9), Evan Longoria (17)
HR: Desmond Jennings (9)

July 25, 2014

He’s a Stroman

Comin’ to ya from a dusty mound
That strike zone, I will pound
And when you get a hit, you’ll only get one
So don’t worry, ’cause you won’t get a run

I’m a Stroman! (Horn riff.)

Great, yet another Blue Jays rookie pitcher that can totally dominate the Red Sox lineup. How many of these guys does Toronto have?

Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter with a bloop single to center in the seventh inning. Victorino along with Brock Holt, Stephen Drew, Christian Vazquez, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. had bases on balls.

To add injury to insult David Ortiz left the game in the ninth with back spasms. He’s back in the lineup tonight but there’s nothing like seeing your best hitter get pulled late in a meaningless game.

I said it. These games only serve to give the younger players experience in the big leagues. With any luck Mookie Betts will make the drive up 95 before the season is done.

Game 102: July 24, 2014
Boston Red Sox
47-55
0 L: Rubby De La Rosa (3-3)
No extra base hits
WinToronto Blue Jays
54-49
8 W: Marcus Stroman (6-2)
2B: Ryan Goins (2), Melky Cabrera –3 (26)
Jose Bautista (18), Josh Thole (3)
3B: Ryan Goins (1)
HR: Bautista (18)

July 24, 2014

Fledgling Takes Flight

Remember this face. If Aaron Sanchez lives up to his potential he will frustrate Red Sox batters for years to come.

In his major league debut Sanchez got all six hitters he faced out. He punctuated his performance with a strikeout of Stephen Drew. It doesn’t look like Sanchez will recreate Clay Buchholz’s feat of tossing a no-hitter in his second start because the Blue Jays rookie has been shifted into a relief role.

It seems like yesterday that Buchholz, the Red Sox’s pitching phenomenon of seven years ago, made his debut. After battling multiple injuries Buchholz is still trying to recapture his past brilliance. He recovered from a comebacker off Munenori Kawasaki’s bat that glanced off his glove and into his face to pitch for six innings.

But Buchholz couldn’t keep the three-run lead that David Ortiz gave him in the first frame. Ortiz’s home run was a monstrous blast off Roberto Alomar’s name in the Level of Excellence.

As the sun that fuels the Jamaican summer gives way in the evening, Ortiz’s bat can’t plate runs in every at bat. R.A. Dickey struck Ortiz out in the fifth on a foul tip.

The Red Sox have been erratic as the flight of a knuckleball. The euphoria generated by their recent hot streak has dissipated into the somber reality that this is the bridge year that was supposed to happen last year.

Game 101: July 23, 2014
Boston Red Sox
47-54
4 L: Clay Buchholz (5-6)
2B: Daniel Nava (8), Xander Bogaerts (18)
HR: David Ortiz (24)
WinToronto Blue Jays
53-49
6 W: R.A. Dickey (8-10)
H: Aaron Sanchez (1)
S: Casey Janssen (15)
2B: Jose Bautista (18), Josh Thole (3)
3B: Ryan Goins (1)
HR: Bautista (18)

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