That exciting enough for you Bill Simmons? (Ass Clown says what?) In the two days since the arbiter of all things Boston, Bill Simmons, labeled the 2010 Red Sox as a boring team having a boring season, the Red Sox went out and prison raped the Sportsguy’s claim, mounting two ninth-inning come backs for the ages, or at least the new decade. That they failed to reach the summit on Friday makes no difference for the purposes of this discussion. What does matter is this club continues to make things interesting and that should come as no surprise since this is an interesting team having an interesting season.
Sure, it is pretty clear to the naked eye that this is not a vintage Red Sox team. The bullpen is a wasteland. The roster is loaded down with dead wood. And the lineup, stricken with injuries, is filled with holes. But that doesn’t mean it’s a boring team, as Simmons writes. Quite the contrary, this team has plenty of interesting storylines and if this weekend has proved anything, it’s that the club is capable of producing big moments (both good and bad). And by that metric, this club has the 2009 Sox beat by a mile. (Funny how Simmons failed to mention that as far as boring goes, 2009 set ten-year lows.)
As far as yesterday goes, the Sox were at it again, combining mediocre starting pitching with a bad defensive play and horrifying situation hitting to dig themselves a four-run hole. In that respect, the storyline was quite similar to Friday night except that Friday’s starting pitching wasn’t quite mediocre and the relevant hole was five runs, not four.
Anyways, Matsusaka got drilled in the first after he inexplicably walked light-hitting Will Rymes, Adrian Belte muffed a double play in the second that led to a run, a base running gaffe by Hall cost another run and the Sox couldn’t do anything with runners on base, either stranding guys or erasing them with double play balls. Two of those came from Beltre and when those are added to his miscue at third, it all adds up to a pretty long day for number twenty-nine.
But with all that weighing them down, the Sox still found themselves trailing by just two in the ninth, in large part because the bottom of the bullpen showed up with a spirited three-inning effort. From there, McDonald legged one out, Lowrie drilled a double, Leyland played the percentages and walked Youkilis and Ortiz defied the percentages with a big double off a lefty. You read that correctly …. David Ortiz actually got a hit off a goofy-handed reliever. Bang …. game over with TWO outs to spare and the Sox had one of their better wins of the year. And certainly a win that will make the season-ending top-10 list.
The other big news from yesterday was the call-up of Ryan Kalish who debuted with a couple of knocks and hard-struck line out. Surely there will be ups and downs as Kalish develops but this kid looks like the real deal. Quiet hands. Patience. Good plate discipline. And the power is coming. It’s funny , but the quacks at Baseball America seem to have missed this story. I’m guessing because Kalish has not wowed with big power numbers on his rise. But he is absolutely mashing this year and it seems that said critics forgot that power was the last tool to reveal itself. Anyways, Kalish is now up and I don’t think he is going anywhere.
The corresponding move for Kalish was the termination of Jeremy Hermida who was DFA’d to make room. Thank god that experiment is over. As I mentioned earlier this week, his glove was just too criminal to keep on the 25-man roster. Theo threw a few noodles at the wall this season and Hermida just didn’t stick. Bad Approach+Bad Athlete=Bad Baseball Player. Interesting that the pro scout who has responsiblity for Florida didn’t nip this one in the bud last winter but I guess Epstein has a special place in his heart for former first-rounders who have fallen.
* From the addition by subtraction file comes news that Ramon Ramirez has also been shipped out. R Squared had a great debut with Boston but he hasn’t pitched well since last June, making this move a foregone conclusion. He simply didn’t have the command to survive in the AL and his presence will not be missed.
* It wouldn’t be “deadline day” without the Sox making a move and Theo didn’t miss a beat, picking up Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Chris McGuiness and Roman Mendez. Remember, the Sox have been after Salty in the past but they shied away when the Rangers were askig nfor Clay Buchholz. Well, Roman Mendez and Chris McGuiness are hardly Clay Buchholz, so in that respect, the Sox saved themselves quite a bounty. However, Salty has struggled a bit this season and now has a slight problem throwing the ball back to the pitcher. His other problem is he hasn’t hit a whole lot this season. Add them up, and his shine has faded. But he is still just 25, he switch hits and he has raked in the past. Seems to me that this is a relatively inexpensive lottery ticket and good protection in the event that Victor Martinez is not re-signed. Actually, they could move forward with both Salty and Martinez and that might reduce the need for David Otriz. Regardless, if Salty can regain his form, nobody is going to remember that Chris McGuiness was quietly putting up big numbers for Greenville.
FARM REPORT: It wasn’t a great night down below as Casey Kelly got hammered, Anthony Rizzo went hitless, Ryan Lavarnway went hitless and Salem got rained out. But Lowell won, Jose Iglesias returned from a two month stint on the DL with a hit and Jacoby Ellsbury had a couple of knocks for Pawtcuket. Who knows, two more games for the Pawsox and Ellsbury may finally be ready to chip in for the big club.