Can it get any worse? The Red Sox players are dropping like flies. Just when things were looking up and they were making a move in the standings, WHAM…they were halted with broken bone after broken bone.
After sweeping the LA Dodgers the Sox set out west. First stop was Colorado where they lost their first series since May 16. They managed to stay healthy but their egos were damaged pretty badly. One player’s ego in particular, Jonathan Crapelbon, I mean Papelblown, I mean Papelbum. Ok, you get the point. It brings me great pain to focus my attention on Papelbon when I should be focusing on Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald, Dustin Pedroia, and John Lackey.
The Sox lost the first game of the series 2-1, giving Jon Lester his first loss since April.
The next game was one of the most painful losses of the season. The Red Sox were facing Ubaldo Jimenez who is easily the best pitcher in baseball this season. He entered the game 13-1 with an astounding 1.15 ERA. He hadn’t allowed more than three runs in a start all season.I personally wasn’t expecting much in regards to notching the win that night, especially with John Lackey on the mound.
The Rockies jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. But it was in the 4th when Daniel Nava stepped to the plate, launching a double to deep left scoring Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez, making it 4-2. Jimenez helped his own cause by singling to right, scoring Clint Barmes and extending the lead to 5-2.
The Sox got to Jimenez in the sixth once again by the two players we refer to as “The Replacements.” Daniel Nava doubled to deep right for the second time that night scoring Adrian Beltre making it 5-3. Two batters later, Darnell McDonald homered to left field in front of his hometown crowd with his second hit of the night. Tie ball game! John Lackey helped his own cause with his second hit of the night with a double that hit the warning track. Even he seemed surprised that he launched one that far. Marco Scutaro then drove in Lackey taking the lead 6-5 and ended Jimenez’ night on the mound.
Jimenez gave up six runs and 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings that night making it his worst outing in his otherwise spectacular season. Jimenez had never been in that position all season. He had given up 6 runs in his last 6 outings and that night he gave up 6 runs in one game! It was a major accomplishment for the Red Sox to be able to hit one of the best. Although Jimenez wasn’t physically feeling his best he was still topping out at 100 mph.
The game remained 6-5 until the bottom of the ninth when Jonathan Papelbon tried to close it out. First batter, home run by Ian Stewart, tie ball game. Next batter, Clint Barmes singled to center and then a dear old friend, Jason Giambi made a pinch hit appearance launching a 2-run walk off home run to right field ending the game 8-6. It simply sucked the life out of the team and all of Red Sox Nation. If it was any other game it wouldn’t have been a big deal but it was a game in which the Sox battled back to take the lead against the best arm in baseball, scoring six runs when the most he had given up was 3 in his outings thus far. They had overcome him with keys hits from replacement players Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald and even their own pitching staff in John Lackey.
This loss was painful! It was Papelbon’s second blown save this season. He hadn’t given up 2 home runs in a game in five years and it has happened twice this year! He has already allowed a career high six home runs this season and we aren’t even at the half way mark. While I enjoy Papelbon and his intensity, I have said the same thing for the past two years: “He is not as good as he thinks he is.” That does not diminish his talent, it simply implies he needs a good ego-check. He thinks he is Superman and that no one can touch his over powering fastball. *New flash, Paps!* You have been around in league long enough were people feast off your fastball. Look at hitters like Dustin Pedroia. He is the type of hitter who salivates on fastballs and you just can’t blow one by him. There are many Dustin Pedroias in the league that can do the same. I think if Papelbon ate some of Tom Brady’s “humble pie” and stopped relying so much on one pitch he would get out of his head and back in the game.
It was going to be hard to bounce back from that devastating loss but not if Dustin Pedroia had anything to say about it. Last Thursday in the final game of the series, Pedroia had the best night of his career launching three “laser show” home runs to pull out the 13-11 extra innings win. The Red Sox were on their way to a 11-9 victory once again until Papelbon was given a chance to redeem himself from his meltdown the night before.
Long story short, Papelbon blew his second consecutive save and it was the first time in his career he had blown back-to-back saves in the same series and this one forced the game into extra innings. Luckily our hero Dustin Pedroia who had already gone deep in the 4th and the 8th, launched a two run shot to win the game and avoid the series sweep. Pedroia became the first second baseman since Bobby Doer in 1951 to have at least double digit home runs in three consecutive seasons.
Now onto an even worse topic. To say that the Red Sox have been plagued by injuries is an understatement. Since June 24th, the Red Sox have placed 5 more players on the disabled list.
Injury #1: June 24, 2010
The Red Sox placed Mike Lowell on the DL due to his lingering hip problem. I have a feeling there was more to it than that but we’ll leave it at that.
Injury #2: June 25, 2010
Unfortunately, Dustin Pedroia’s high only lasted 24 hours. The Sox traveled to San Francisco and that is where the injuries started piling up. It started in the 3rd inning when Pedroia fouled a ball off his left instep, sending him to the ground. Diagnosis: Broken Foot and trip to the DL! Losing Dustin Pedroia is detrimental to the team. The great thing about Dustin is although he is scheduled to be out for 6 weeks he plans on being back on the field sooner than that. He was even seen taking ground balls on his knees the other day at the park. The Sox went on to lose that game 5-4 but it was the least of their problems. The loss of Pedroia clearly outweighs the loss of one game.
Injury #3: June 26, 2010
Last Saturday’s game against the Giants the Sox managed to grind out a 4-2 win due to Mike Cameron’s 3-run home run. But losing another star player to injury was front page news again. Clay Buchholz, while running the bases, grabbed his leg in the second inning and hobbled off the field. Diagnosis: Strained left hamstring and some time off. He missed a start but thankfully avoided the DL. He is scheduled to start either Monday or Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Injury #4: June 27, 2010
Sunday’s rubber match against the Giants and another star ace Tim Lincecum, was supposed to be a classic pitcher’s duel. But it was completely one sided as Lincecum only lasted three innings and Jon Lester threw a complete game, 5-hitter for the 5-1 win. Once again, that was not the focus of the day. Victor Martinez had a rough day behind the plate. In the second inning he suffered a foul tip off the same toe he has been having problems with all season but that was only the beginning of his problems that day. Later in the game Martinez fractured his left thumb on another foul tip. Diagnosis: Broken thumb and trip to the DL. He is expected to return immediately after the All-Star Break.
Injury #5 & 6: June 30, 2010
In Wednesday’s 9-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Jason Varitek suffered a broken foot after fouling a ball off it. This couldn’t come at a worse time considering Martinez was put on the DL days before. This was Varitek’s chance to get some playing time and out of nowhere his chance ended before it had even started. The Sox then announced they had traded infielder Angel Sanchez to the Astros for Kevin Cash. The Red Sox gave him a warm welcome last night by having him catch Tim Wakefield in his first game back. Luckily Cash’s main value comes in the fact that he has caught Wakefield 35 times. Diagnosis: Broken foot and six week stay on the DL.
The same night Manny Delcarmen complained of soreness in his elbow after he was unable to get an out in the eighth inning, saying the issue has been troubling him for a week. Diagnosis: Forearm strain and 15-day DL.
The Red Sox have 10 players on the DL:
1. Jacoby Elsbury (15-day)
2. Jeremy Hermida (15-day)
3. Josh Beckett (15-day)
4. Junichi Tazawa (60-day)
5. Jed Lowrie (60-day)
6. Mike Lowell (15-day)
7. Dustin Pedroia (15-day)
8. Victor Martinez (15-day)
9. Manny Delcarmen (15-day)
10. Jason Varitek (15-day)
Sox players have missed 424 games this season while on the disabled list. Let’s hope this trend comes to a halt. They can’t afford to lose anyone else.
About the Author
Written by "Baseball Brenda" Sepanek
I was born a sports fan. Playing soccer, basketball and softball in high school, then moving on to play Div. II softball at Keene State on partial scholarship. In 2003, our team was inducted into the Keene State Hall of Fame. GO OWLS! I am a die hard Red Sox, Patriots and UNC Tar Heel hoop fan. Most of my friends call me Baseball Brenda because when it comes to ranking my priorities in life, the Red Sox always are first on the list. I average about 40 games a year and I have attended every home playoff game since moving back to MA in 2005. I am super competitive and excel at anything you can win at :) Horseshoes, ping pong, darts, pool, cornhole, and bowling. Always love a good challenge. I play a lot of golf in the summer and a lot of fantasy sports. I am always looking to meet local Sox fans so look me up on Facebook.