The Red Sox came out strong yesterday in the Bronx, beating the Yankees 4-1 in a nationally-televised game. Jon Lester put up seven strong innings, allowing five hits, one run (a Curtis Granderson solo shot) and striking out four while allowing only two walks. Honestly, I didn’t think he’d pitch this well, especially since he let the leadoff guy get on base in each of the first two innings. But, he turned it around, and the Sox lineup helped him out. Adrian Gonzalez ripped a first-inning two-run bomb to set the tone, and Nick Punto scored Pedro Ciriaco on an RBI single in the fifth inning. The Sox tacked on an insurance run when Scott Podednik scored on a wild pitch from Cody Eppley in the ninth inning.
Ciriaco went 4-for-4. What is it with this kid? And, Punto had a great day at third base – he flashed the leather a couple of times.
Also, a moment of excitement in my house: when Craig Breslow came on to pitch in the eighth inning, Breslow and batterymate Ryan Lavarnway formed the first all-Yale University alumni battery in the major leagues since 1883. As the wife of an especially enthusiastic Yalie, this was a Very Big Deal, and we spent most of the time Breslow and Lavarnway used inducing Robinson Cano to hit into a double play facebooking about it. For God, For Country, And For Yale, and all that.
Here’s a link to the respectable box score, courtesy of the Red Sox. In tonight’s rubber game, Josh Beckett (or, as McCarver called him yesterday, John Beckett) and his 5-10 record and 5.19 ERA take on Hiroki Kuroda (11-8, 3.06 ERA).
Two other items of note from yesterday:
First, the Globe reports that within the next few days, Carl Crawford will ask the Red Sox for permission to get Tommy John surgery next week. Crawford’s been playing better lately, but he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s in pain. There’s a balance that it seems like Crawford’s trying to strike here, between playing through pain if the team’s in contention for a postseason spot (which they are, barely), and thinking of what’s best for his own health if they’re not (which I think is also ok – he does have his own career and well-being to think about, which I can’t say I blame him for). He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in April, and since then he’s received a platelet injection that lets him play through the pain – but that’s never been seen as a permanent fix.
Second, the New York Daily News puts an interesting spin on the ongoing Adrian Gonzalez text message drama: apparently, you see, it was recently-traded backup catcher Kelly Shoppach’s fault. Kelly Shoppach, who had clashed with Bobby Valentine over his playing time earlier this year, apparently sent the text message to ownership from Adrian Gonzalez’s cell phone. It sounds like a group of players – probably none of them the impact players that could actually get ownership’s attention – became unhappy with Valentine’s style and convinced Gonzalez to let them use his phone to send the text. Gonzalez is the highest-paid player on the team, and they apparently thought that a text coming from him would actually have some heft behind it.
So, looks like both the instigator and the leak are Kelly Shoppach. Or at least, that’s what the Sox would have you believe, since nobody, including Gonzalez or Shoppach, care to talk about the incident any more. Isn’t that convenient – let’s all just blame the backup catcher after he’s been shipped out of town.
I still think the larger issue is that there’s an issue at all – it’s not who told on who, or who covers for who, or who has the bigger salary and more sway over the ownership. Fact is, this clubhouse is still in disarray, and blaming Kelly Shoppach for all the team’s problems is shortsighted, inaccurate, and will only take the Sox as far as the next blowup.