Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sox take 2 out of 3 from Braves, Head into rubber game vs. Yankees tonight

Well, not going to lie, I missed the day/night doubleheader against the Braves as well as the third game on the occasion of my friend returning from Indiana and my girlfriend's graduation ceremony. Needless to say taking 2 out of 3 from an NL powerhouse like the Braves further proves that the Sox can compete and win against the best MLB has to offer, after taking 3 out of 4 from the Tigers as well as this recent series against the Braves. The one loss to the Braves, an embarassing 14-0 rout, is forgivable given the lackluster performance of minor leaguer Davern Hansack as well as a poor follow up by the Red Sox bullpen giving up an additional 10 runs on top of those given up by Hansack. If there was a game to put a second string performance out against, the logical choice would have been the start by Braves starter John Smoltz. Smoltz quieted the Sox bats that had rung up the Braves for 13 runs earlier that day allowing just 3 hits in 7 innings with the Braves bullpen holding the sox hitless in the final two innings of the shutout. Smoltz made his start despite a dislocated pinky in a previous start.

The third game also looked like another "would be loss" with a second AAA call up in Kason Gabbard facing Braves starter Tim Hudson. This was not the case however with the sox beating up on Hudson early to score 4 runs in the first inning and two more before Hudson was pulled after 4 2/3 innings. Gabbard provided a solid performance going 5 innings and allowing only 2 runs on 6 hits at which point the Boston bullpen provided the remaining 3 innings allowing a run to secure the win. Hideki Okajima and Johnathan Papelbon seemed somewhat shaky with Okajima allowing two hits in his one inning of work and Papelbon allowing 3 hits and a run in his one inning of work. Fortunately the sox were still able to clinch the 6-3 win with ease despite these atypical performances by the otherwise lights out sox relievers.

Tim Wakefield had clearly been off his game in his previous start and Monday in the bronx was no different for Wakefield who had another rough outing, missing the mark and allowing far too many walks in the opening game against the Yankees. These would come back to haunt Wakefield as he would allow 6 runs in 5 innings, which the Red Sox would be unable to overcome despite 3 hitless innings provided by the Boston bullpen (Romero, Delcarmen, Piniero). Tim Wakefield's ERA has skyrocketed due to his last two starts from a league leading 1.79 to 3.14.

Last night's game also seemed as though it could be a rough ride with fifth starter Julian Tavarez against Mike Mussina. The sox again surprised with Julian Tavarez escaping with a respectable 5 2/3 innings with 3 hits and 2 runs allowed. Unfortunately, he also issued 4 walks and was lucky to end his day on a double play ball to get out of trouble. Okajima and Papelbon again provided adequate relief but had a somewhat shaky outing both of them walking a pair in their inning of work. Okajima allowed a run to score on a near double play ball hit by Derek Jeter which Jeter was able to outrun with his exceptional speed and a little help from A-Rod shoulder tackling of Dustin Pedroia in an attempt to disrupt the throw to first.

The game tonight puts sox Ace Curt Schilling against Andy Petite in what should be an interesting game. Petite's unimpressive 2-3 record is deceiving given his excellent 2.83 ERA

The celtics got royally screwed by the ping pong balls yet again as the team with the 2nd worst record in the NBA will miss out on both highly touted draft picks Kevin Durant and Greg Oden to the Portland Trailblazers and the Seattle Supersonics who beat some long odds to get the top picks in the draft. Sure, the Celtics will get somebody good, but not a franchise player like they needed. But I can see where this is going to go, the celtics will take another year to mature for it's young talent, their high draft pick will certainly help them to a better finish than last year, just short of the playoffs or possibly lose in the first round of the playoffs leaving them with a mediocre team with mediocre draft pics dwelling just below the cusp of being a real contender for years to come. This was the year they needed a big name to help them get over the hump and get Boston to remember where the Boston Garden is and draw some eyes away from Foxboro and Fenway. But it looks like that's not going to happen, another 5 rebuilding years for Danny Ainge and the boys in green.

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