Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Red Sox Rockin’ Spring Training

During the second of week of Spring Training in Florida, the Sox are proving that they will be a serious contender for the World Series this season.  During six games from March 8th-14th, the Sox won 5 out of the 6 games and are looking great for our die hard Red Sox Nation. 

On Monday, they faced the St. Louis Cardinals and pulled off a walk-off 7-6 win in the bottom of the 9th inning.  Beckett was the star on the mound while young Josh Reddick was the clutch batter during this victory.  Beckett started for the second time this Spring Training and struck out 3 batters throughout 3 perfect innings.  Papelbon, Okajima, and Ramirez also threw hitless innings (the Cardinals didn’t score until the 7th when Manny Delcarmen was on the mound).  J.D. Drew started things off with a triple and later scored off a single.  Josh Reddick tripled in a run in the 5th, doubled in a tying run in the 9th, and eventually scored the winning walk-off run to finish the game.  Jose Iglesias also hit a 3 run homer on 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th to put the Sox on top.

On Tuesday, Tim Wakefield used his famous knuckle ball to shutout the Florida Marlins as the Red Sox demolished them 9-0.  Wakefield threw for three scoreless innings, only giving up 2 hits and striking out one.  He had complete control over his knuckleball, allowing him to throw 22 strikes in only 30 pitches.  The Red Sox scoring was very well rounded, with almost the whole lineup contributing to the win.  Hermida had an RBI single and a double, Reddick had two doubles, and Kalish, Brown, and Ellsbury all had singles.       

Can’t win ‘em all.  The Sox lost 8-6 to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Wednesday.  At the plate, Jacoby Ellsbury started strong for the Sox with two homeruns and 3 RBIs.  Youkilis helped out with two hits and an RBI double, along with Pedroia’s 2 hits and a run in.  On the mound, Jon Lester didn’t perform quite so well.  In just 2 and 2/3 innings, Lester gave up two hits and a run, and walked one batter.  However, he also somehow managed to strike out four Rays batters during his outing, so it sort of balanced out.  His hard work was destroyed when rookie Adam Mills took the mound and gave up seven hits and six runs in just one inning!!  Papelbon succeeded in cleanly closing out, but the damage had already been done.

Thursday turned out much better and the Red Sox beat the New York Mets 8-2.  John Lackey started on the mound and for the second time this Spring Training threw three shutout innings.  He allowed three hits but never walked anyone.  It wasn’t until the seventh inning that the Mets scored their only points with back to back homers by Mike Jacobs and Jason Pridie.  Former Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay played against us for the first time since leaving as a free agent, and to the fans delight was 0 for 2.  Alex Cora, who also played for us, but way back when, hit a single for his new team.  Its interesting how different the fans will treat ex players depending on how/why they left the Red Sox.  The classic examples that come to mind are obviously someone like Nomar Garciapara (who was traded by the Red Sox) vs someone like Johnny Damon (who despicably signed with the Yankees as a free agent).  Now whenever Nomar plays against the Sox, our fans still cheer for him and show our appreciation, but Johnny Damon will forever be booed and despised for his complete lack of loyalty to Boston.  I still wear a shirt all the time that says ‘No Hair. No Beard. No Soul.’ In reference to Damon leaving the Sox for the Yankees who forced him to cut his hair and shave his beard to fit their required appearance.  Boston has the greatest fans in the world, but if you double cross us, don’t expect to still be loved. 

On Saturday the Red Sox had a 3-2 win over the Pittsburg Pirates.  Clay Buchholz was the starting pitcher and had an impressive outing allowing only one hit and one walk in 3 innings of work.  Papelbon once again showed off his closer abilities by pitching a single perfect inning.  At the plate, the Red Sox were quiet until the 7th inning when Mike Cameron doubled and his pinch runner Darnell McDonald scored with Ryan Kalish off a single by Tug Hulett. 

Finally, on Sunday the Sox finished off the weekend with a 6-4 win against the Minnesota Twins.  Due to an unfortunate illness on game day, Josh Beckett was unable to start and was filled in for by Ryne Miller.  Big mistake.  Miller walked two and allowed 3 runs on 2 hits in just one inning of play.  Scott Atchinson, who has been in the Minor leagues for 3 years, stepped up and threw a scoreless inning for the Sox.  Dustin Pedroia hit a single in the 4th and had an RBI double in the 5th.  Jeremy Hermida double in the 4th to knock in two runs, and Kevin Youkilis helped out with an RBI single in the 5th    

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