The Red Sox opened the dreaded interleague play last night on the road in Philadelphia. It would be their first meeting with the Phillies since closer Jonathan Papelbon jumped ship last off-season and took a sweet deal in the City of Brotherly Love. The Sox felt no love in game one, losing 6-4.
Daniel Bard, in his seventh start of the season, had a case of the yips in the first inning, walking three of the first four batters he faced. After a single, a sac fly and a double, the Red Sox were quickly in a 4-0 hole. Coming back from a four-run deficit is never easy, but throw in having to face (5-1) Cole Hamels and it gets a lot more difficult. Hamels struck out nine batters in his seven-inning outing.
Both Mike Aviles and Cody Ross had two hits, including a solo home run from each off Hamels. Adrian Gonzalez also went yard, although a day late on his promise to hit one out of the park. That’s ok. Better late than never, right?
With the Phillies up by two runs going into the ninth, you knew what was going to happen. Yup, the always fiery and often vocal Papelbon came in to close it out. Kelly Shoppach singled to lead off the inning and went to second on a ground out by Daniel Nava. Marlon Byrd followed with a ground out to the shortstop but when it appeared that first baseman Ty Wigginton was pulled off the bag, Bobby Valentine came out to argue the call.
Who knows if Bobby came out because he actually thought Byrd was safe, or if he was just trying to get into Papelbon’s head and throw him off his game. Whatever the reason, the only thing Bobby accomplished (besides losing his gum) was getting tossed out of the game. Nick Punto struck out to end the game. It didn’t phase Pap in the least as indicated by his post-game remarks:
“No man, Valentine can’t distract Cinco, man,’’ Papelbon said. “Cinco has ice water in his veins.’’
Evidently, Mr. Papelbon, who wears #58, now has an alter ego called Cinco Ocho. Um… yeah… that’s original. I am so glad I never heard him refer to himself in this manner when he was with the Red Sox. That’s embarrassing. Please, please, please let him legally change his name to Cinco Ocho. Because we all know how well that’s worked for #85.
The list of injuries seems to grow daily for the Sox. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was hit in the ear with a ball that ricocheted off the batter in the seventh and left the game with an ear laceration. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution to make sure he didn’t suffer a concussion. Cody Ross also got dinged up last night, fouling a ball off his foot in the eight inning. He also went to the hospital for x-rays. No word yet on whether either injury will result in a roster move.
For yet another uninspiring box score, click on over to here, courtesy of the Red Sox. Game two of the three game set with the Phills is tonight at 7:15pm. Jon Lester, coming off his best start of the season so far, will face off against Joe Blanton. Lester has had great success against Philadelphia in the past — he’s 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three career starts. Normally this would make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but the current unpredictability of the starting five has sent my warm fuzzies on an extended vacation.