Tonight: Marlons at Red Sox
Florida (32-35, 17-16 Road) at Boston (40-25, 23-8 Home)
Ricky Nolasco (2-6, 7.62 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (5-5, 4.76 ERA)
Incomprehensible jock quote of the day: "I just kind of want to get better every time out," Nolasco said. "Just being consistent is the main goal." Yo Ricky, if you keep getting better every time out, then you're really not being consistent, as your results are changing every single time.
Here are tonight's lineups:
1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2. J.D. Drew, RF
3. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
4. Jason Bay, LF
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Mike Lowell, 3B
7. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Nick Green, SS
-- Jon Lester, LHP
1. Chris Coghlan, LF
2. Wes Helms, 1B
3. Hanley Ramirez, SS
4, Jorge Cantu, DH
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Cody Ross, CF
7. Ronny Paulino, C
8. Brett Carroll, RF
9. Emilio Bonifacio, 3B
-- Ricky Nolasco, RHP
Eck: "Jon Lester's been the most dominant pitcher in all of the big leagues over his last 3 starts with 34 punchouts." Big Jon... Big Bad Jon.
Facing Lester is Ricky Nolasco, who went from Opening Day starter to minor leaguer and then back to the bigs in a span of 3 months.
The Sox take the field, dodging raindrops. And after a pre-game show filled with praise for him, Lester's first pitch sails two feet outside, high above the strike zone. He battles back to a 2-2 count, then just misses the outside corner with a 95-mph heater on the obviously speeded-up NESN radar gun, then Coghlan grounds a base hit through the right side. There goes the perfect game!
Wes Helms steps up. Many empty prime seats behind home plate, as the rich folks are obviously a bunch of big babies who are made of sugar and can't handle a little rain. What is this, New Yankee Stadium? Why not let the po folks move down from the nosebleeds? I know they only paid $60 or so for their seats, but still...
Anyway, while I was ranting, Lester fans Helms with a curve for the first out. Hanley "Teal Shoes" Ramirez is next. Fitzy from Eastie calls in to say "Hey Theo, why don't you trade Lugo and Jeff Bailey for Hanley? If you don't do it, you're an idiot!" Florida would probably turn down Buchholz, Lowrie, Bard, Bowden, The Prudential Center, the Beanpot and the Citgo sign for Hanley.
And he fans on another Jon Lester curve, which eludes Varitek, allowing Coghlan to get to second. Ha, you suckers Florida, you should've traded him when you had the chance! That's it, the Citgo sign is off the table.
Crater-faced Jorge Cantu is up. Lester gets ahead 1-2 with pinpoint mid-90s fastballs, then misses with a curve. Orsillo points out that Cantu is 27 years old. Judging from his rugged complexion and all those games with the Fred McGriff-era Devil Rays, I would've guess he's 57.
Cantu tries to get a hit, but he cannot, Cantu. No, he cannot! He bounces out to Lowell to end the inning. NO SCORE.
HOME HALF OF THE FIRST
Pedroia leads off for the Sawx. He falls behind 0-2, as Nolasco hits 93 on the obviously speeded-up NESN radar gun (hereafter abbreviated as TOSUNRG.) Pedroia pops out to Bonafacio, for the first out.
Drew is out swinging on a slow breaking pitch, bringing up Youkilis. Youkilis is having a great year so far, but looked horrible last night. Not tonight though, as he gets hold of a low fastball and demolishes it over the Monster for a home run. 1-0 Red Sox.
Bay grounds out to third to end the inning. 1-0 Red Sox after one.
All-Star Goat Dan Uggla starts the inning for the Marlons. And he smashes one to deep left for a home run, tying the game at 1-1. As Eck points out, these Marlons "can go bridge in a hurry."
Cody Ross is next, and he grounds out routinely for the first out, bringing up Ronny Paulino. Lester labors to a full count, then Paulino crushes one to deep left, over the wall and off the Volvo sign. 2-1 Florida. Paulino goes Volvo.
Brett Caroll is next. Lester now at 41 pitches and covered in sweat, as the count goes to 2-2. Carroll strokes an outside pitch to right for a single. John Farrell comes out for a mound visit, imploring Lester to keep the ball down and stop letting anonymous nobodies pound him.
Emiliano Bonafacio steps in. His name translates to Eager Good Face. Orsillo considers changing his name to Donaldo Bonafacio, but alas decides against it. The Real Bonafacio goes down swinging on a curve for the second out. Maybe HE should change his name-- how about Emil Orsillo?
As the rain continues to pour, Chris Coghlan steps up. A pitch gets away from Varitek, rolling maybe two inches away from him, and Carroll inexplicably takes off for second. He's thrown out easily, ending the inning and mercifully sparing Lester anymore pitches. 2-1 bad guys after 1 and a half.
Ortiz is first for Boston, and he just misses a high changeup, flying out to RF on it, instead of hitting it 470 feet like he used to.
This brings up Lowell, who hits one well to left-center, but watches it die and fall into the glove of Ross on the warning track. Nolasco getting away with some fat pitches here, hopefully he'll keep throwing them.
But he handles Ellsbury easily enough, getting him on a routine flyout to Ross to end the inning. Sox trailing 1-2 after 2.
Things learned from the commercials: 1. dorks like to ineptly hit on women who work at McDonalds. 2. Howie Long goes around randomly taunting other men in parking lots, apparently hoping to start fights.
Back at the game, some guy in the bleachers is wearing some sort of bubble-boy plastic device over his head-- possibly to keep the rain off, or possibly to keep from dying of exposure to germs that his immune system can't handle. What a moop.
Top of the order up for the Marlons, after the baserunning out that ended last inning. Coghlan grounds out routinely to Green. Wes Helms is next, and he grounds a hit past a diving Green for a single.
Eckersley going on about how you don't want to get your "moss" wet in the rain-- presumably meaning the hair on your head-- and points out that his moss is "dwindling." (And dyed black, too, probably, is my guess.) Dwindling Eck Moss would be a good band name.
Lester battles Hanley to a 2-2 count, but Hanley grounds a single past a diving Lowell for a hit. Hmm, lots of hits going through the diving left side of the Sox infield this year.
Cantu is next, and Lowell's able to get his little roller and throw him out, with the runners advancing. Down 2-1, 2 men in scoring position-- it's getting Uggla out here.
Dan Uggla to be precise. Lester gets ahead of him 0-2, then just misses on the next one, starting to walk off the mound before the ump rules it ball one. But it's all okay, as Uggla taps the next one back to the mound and Lester handles it easily, throwing to first for the out. 2-1 Florida, middle of the third.
HOME HALF OF THE THIRD
Varitek starts off by popping out to Uggla. NESN cuts to some vintage 1980s Dennis Eckersley baseball cards, showing off his classic thick "moss" in all its glory. Here's some similar Eck Moss images:
That's really some randy Moss.
Nick Green is next, and he fans on four pitches. The next batter, Pedroia, clearly not wanting to hang around a long time getting his dwindling moss wet in the rain, flies out to left on the first pitch. Nolasco's really settling down now. Florida leads 2-1 after 3.
Cody Moss, um, Ross is up for Florida. He taps one back to Lester, his bat shattering and the jagged barrel flying into the crowd as Lester throws him out at first.
The increasingly irritating Ronny Paulino grounds a single to left. But Brett Carroll skies a routine flyball through the rain to Drew, who grabs it for the second out. Orsillo is now publicly considering changing his name to Donatangelo Bonifacio, I am not making this up. It's better than Announcer Boy, you have to admit that.
The Other Bonafacio steps up to the plate, and rolls one up the middle. Greenzo gloves it and flips backhand to Pedroia for the out, ending the inning. Still 2-1 Florida after 3.5 innings.
Drew leads off by whiffing on a pitch about 6 feet outside (but only a foot low.) Youks is next. Last time up, after I insulted his hitting in last night's game last time, he belted a homer, so I'll do it again now. Wow, he was horrible last night. Almost as horrible as Pedroia and Drew in their last at-bats. Wait, that didn't help, as Nolasco gets Youks to flail at a breaking ball for strike three.
Nine in a row set down by Nolasco now. Massachusetts Bay is next, but he can only fly out to CF for the third out of the inning. That's 10 straight for Cy Nolasco. 2-1 Marlons after 4.
Things learned from the commercials: 1. Apparently people who drink Coors aren't clear on how refrigerators work and require some sort of insurance for that. I pity them even more.
Coghlan starts things for Flo Rida. Lester labors to a full count, then gets him pop out to SS. A report from the NHL awards: Claude Julien wins the Jack Adams award for Coach of the Year, and Tim Thomas wins the Vezina Trophy for best goaltender! Congrats Clode and Timmay. Got to wait and see if Zdeno Chara will win the Norris Trophy. Keep an eye on the hardware boys, or else Cam Ward will steal it from you again.
Wes Helms goes down swinging on a low curve for the second out, bringing up Red Sox Shortstop of the Past and Future Hanley Ramirez. It is pouring now, getting everyone's moss wet. Hanley bounces out to Pedroia to end the inning. Sox trail 2-1 in the fifth.
Ortiz leads off and gets ahead 3-0. He gets the green light on the 3-0 pitch and swings, but can only pop a towering fly to shallow right. Uggla settles under it, but suddenly from out of nowhere, third baseman Emiliano Bonafacio comes racing all the way over into right field for some reason, collides with Uggla, and knocks the ball away! Ortiz, making the most of his footspeed, reaches first base safely.
Lowell is next, and he hits a liner to left, but it's at Coghlan, who grabs it easily for the first out. And Zdeno Chara wins the Norris Trophy! The Bruins winning all the non-Stanley Cup hardware they can carry.
Ellsbury chops one down to Helms at first. Helms snares it and fires to second in time to nab the speedy Ortiz. Hanley thinks about trying to throw to first for the double play, but decides to hang on to it. Ortiz eventually slides in, and starts rubbing Hanley's thigh for some reason. I am not making this up. Must be some secret Dominican player thing: instead of a secret handshake, they do a thigh rub. They don't call Ortiz "El Sexy" for nothing!
Varitek is up, and Ellsbury takes off, diving in safely ahead of the throw for the stolen base. On that previous play, Helms really should've just stepped on first and then thrown to second to get Ortiz, but it's too late now. Tying run on second with two out for Tek.
Varitek gets the count to 2-2, but then whiffs on a breaking ball to end the threat. 2-1 bad guys after 5.
Things learned from the commercials: 1. People in Houston are really into their gas stations. 2. There's a disembodied voice coming from an oven at Quizno's and the workers there do its bidding!
Hore-hay Cantu starts off the inning by dropping a single into left center. Uggla is next, and Lester is already up to 112 pitches. This will undoubtedly be his last inning.
Suddenly, Crew Chief Jerry Crawford decides that he is sick of getting his moss wet, and waves for the ground crew to come out and put the tarp on the field as the rain comes pouring down (what else would it do, pour UP?)
Lester is surely done for the night now. On the other hand, Nolasco must be done too, they're not going to bring him back after a long rain delay. No Loss Though for Nolasco. 2-1 Florida, Rain Delay in the 6th.
The Washington Natinals are currently leading the Yankees 3-0 in the 9th! How will the Nats blow this one? On a dropped pop up? Wait, that's been done just a week ago. Will they balk in the winning run? Be forced to forfeit after it's discovered that they used a player with Swine Flu? They'll surely find some way to blow it.
In other scores, Tampa lost to Colorado, but Toronto sweeps the Phillies, winning as Rod Barahahahas gets the last laugh, belting a game-winning HR.
RAIN DELAY RANDOMNESS:
Things learned from the commercials: 1. Tom Brady's got a baby mama. 2. Red Sox management is really excited about the 500 consecutive sellouts at Fenway. 3. NESN has a very limited number of commercials, promos and programs to choose from.
As this is the only time all year that the Marlons will be at Fenway, the umps are prepared to wait hours and hours to get the rest of the game in. Maybe I should get off the computer and go down to Fenway and catch the rest of the game in one of those empty executive seats.
Nah, I'd rather type dumb jokes in a dry house than go through all that.
Final: Natinals 3, Yankees ZERO. This is the first time ever that the Yankees have been shut out in their ridiculous new stadium! And it's done by the worst pitching staff in the history of baseball!
Rain Delay Follies: some classic footage from 1976 shows Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi in Red Sox uniforms! The story: "In 1975, A's owner Charley Finley failed in a headlined attempt to get rid of Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. The next year, in the wake of the Messersmith-McNally decision which paved the way for free agency, he began gutting his championship team before his stars made good on threats to walk away.
Finley tried to sell Vida Blue to the Yankees and Fingers and Joe Rudi to the Red Sox for a combined $3.5 million, claiming he needed the money to sign free agents and rebuild. Kuhn disagreed, voiding the sales by saying they weren't "in the best interests of baseball."
A furious Finley branded Kuhn "the village idiot" and sued to have the deals go through. Finley lost this battle."
That "sale" that lasted for three days was voided by Bowie Kuhn exactly 33 years ago today.
More rain delay randomness: Some credit-loan company is using an Obama speech in their commercial, is that even legal? Matt Stairs coaches youth hockey in New Brunswick in the off-season. Well what else would he do there in the winter?
Here comes the fake Obama commercial again. And now it's Red Sox Report, for probably the 7th time this week. Time for me to channel surf until the game restarts.
Rain Delay Channel Surfing:
Wow, there are lots of national network TV shows on that I've never heard of. "The Listener" is on NBC. Whoa, a guy who LISTENS, sounds like good TV. I see it's a Craig Olejnik vehicle, so you know it's good. Apparently on this episode, a girl is found dead! CBS counters with "The Mentalist," starring Simon Baker. So it's called The Mentalist, but it's not about mental Julian Tavarez? Dang. On this episode, Patrick searches for a killer! Hey, Patrick, you should call the Listener, maybe your killer killed the girl that they found. Give him a ring, I'm sure the Listener will patiently let you do all the talking.
Meanwhile, on Channel 38's Frasier re-run, Frasier tries to solve a murder. No, seriously. Even the old sitcoms are filled with murders tonight. No wonder sports is so popular, everything else on TV sucks.
Over on the MLB network, there are no murders, but the Tigers are beating the Cardinals pretty badly. 6-3 in the 9th in the long-awaited rematch of the 2006, 1968 and 1934 World Serieses. Hey how about some Bonus Live Blog coverage? Sure, why not?
Fernando Rodney is on to try to close it out. And he walks the leadoff hitter to get to Albert Pujols. Not a clever move. But he's able to jam Pujols and get him to fly out to LF for the first out. Ryan Ludwick "Von Beethoven" is next. He'll try to hit a 3-run homer with one man on base.
Rodney throws a pitch about 30 feet outside that goes for a wild pitch, then misses again for ball four. Now the tying run is up, and it's Chris Duncan, who has some power.
The pitching coach is out to say whatever it is they say in these situations: "Hey, how about not throwing pitches 20 feet out of the strike zone? How about this time we go with the over-the-plate pitch instead?"
For some reason, Duncan decides to swing at the first two pitches, and fouls them both off. Which team will make the dumber mistakes and lose this game? Well Rodney uncorks another wild pitch that goes back to the backstop, but neither runner bothers advancing. So I guess that's a draw.
Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen that before, a pitch that goes all the way back to the backstop and two runners don't even advance.
Rodney takes the lead in dumb plays by walking Duncan, who clearly wanted to do anything except walk, loading the bases and bringing up power-hitting Rick Ankiel, who knows a little bit about wild pitching. He represents the potential winning run at the plate.
He takes a strike, wisely, then Rodnney chucks one way outside. Ankiel then decides to hack at the next pitch, and rolls one to the shortstop, Adam Everett, who tries not to laugh as he picks it up, steps on second, and throws to first to complete the game-ending double play. Sweet save by Fernando Rodney! The Cardinals refused to let him blow this one.
Back on NESN, they're showing an extended interview with shaven-headed Yankees scrub Brett Gardner, who got hurt tonight making a catch against the lowly Natinals, who beat the Yankees 2 out of 3 in their stupid new stadium. Garnder banged his head against the fence making the catch, and it looked scary for a while, but he's fine now, as he's capable of being interviewed on TV for about 10 minutes without a problem. They must have X-rayed his head but found nothing.
Oh yeah, the Red Sox game? They're still waiting it out, still hoping to finish it. They'd better, because it's an official game, and if it could not be finished, the Sox would lose. So they'd better wait all night to make sure the Sox get to get their ups.
NESN now goes to The Ultimate Red Sox Show for the second time in this rain delay. Apparently this show is not the same exact thing as Red Sox Report, even though it sure seems like it. I guess this one is somehow more "ultimate." The question now is, are more people still watching NESN than remain in Fenway?
And now Orsillo/Bonafacio is back on, and the umpires have called the game, meaning the Red Sox lose, even though the rain has just stopped. I think I can speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I ask What the #^%#$? Seriously? We get stuck with a loss after 5 innings, when the rain finally stops for a minute? Well this night has certainly gone horribly wrong all of a sudden.
Seriously, it's pretty stupid that this game "counts." Even if the Red Sox had won, it'd be just as stupid. The game lasted 5 innings, and it was a 1-run game. The rule should be changed-- call it a suspended game and finish it at the end of the season if it has any playoff implications. If the game had never started, or had been one inning shorter, that's what would've happened.
This seems unfair, and I blame Lugo. But still, there's nothing anyone can do about it I guess. Except complain on the internet.