Tuesday, May 03, 2011

THE At Bat

First of all, shame on me. This blog has sat fallow since early February. A book, a new job and a Facebook Group that is easier and more fun/engaging is partially to blame. But after last night's Red Sox game, I was inspired to do a short post on my main man, Dustin Pedroia.

I said earlier this year on Twitter that as Pedroia goes, so to will the Red Sox this season. And I still stand by that in spite of Elsbury's resurgence, Lowry's return after a year of battling a horrible illness and the arrivals of messieurs Crawford and Gonzalez. It's because Pedroia is the heart and soul of this Red Sox team (with a little bit of help from Youkilis).

For anyone who watched last night's game versus the Halos, you got the feeling that this game meant more than some of the other 27 games the Sox had previously played. No, this wasn't the Yankees but this was the Angels and more importantly, it was Jered Weaver. Yes, the same Jered Weaver that was attempting to break a 120 year old record by going 7-0 by May 2. Up until the 5th inning, it looked like Weaver might just break good old Sadie McMahon's record. A combination of good pitching by two young studs in Buccholz and Weaver -- neither of whom had brought their A game but both of which whose B+ game was better than most mere mortals and some stellar defense pointed toward a low scoring game.

Then came "THE" at bat. If you watched the game, you know which one I am talking about. It was Pedroia versus Weaver in the bottom of the 5th. There were two outs with runners on second and third and the Sox were down 2-1. This felt like it could be another 2-1 disappointment that would send our boys from Boston to a 12-16 record -- 6 games behind the Bronx Bombers. But you could see the determination in Pedroia's eyes. I said to my wife, Melanie, who was watching the game with me, "this game is going to come down to this at bat." Nine pitches into the at bat, Pedroia had worked a 3-2 count and had started fouling off everything.

Four pitches and nine minutes later, Pedey sent a seeing eye single up the middle and could be seen yelling, "YEAH... F@CK YEAH!" as he raced to first. Two runs scored and the Sox took the lead for good on their way to a 9-5 romping of their favorite whipping boy. Even better, the Sox bats exploded in the 7th demonstrating some of the power we were hoping for in the offseason, punctuated with a towering home run over the Green Monster by Big Papi. All was right in the universe again.

Two other VERY important notes that I am compelled to mention:
  1. ONe of the main reasons this at bat was so clutch was that it drove Weaver's pitch count well up over 100, a critical part of the Sox's winning the game.
  2. Alex Gonzalez made on of the ballsiest (and arguably the second most important) plays of the game by fielding a scorcher in the top of the 6th and gunning out Torii Hunter at 3rd on a bang bang play to keep the Angels from evening up the game right after the Sox took the lead.
Does this mean the Sox have turned their season around? Of course not. But it's a long season with exactly 134 games to go. As long as Pedroia stays healthy and keeps that fire in his belly (is there any other way?), I like the Sox chances.

Props to MLB Gameday for the screenshots.


Jim Storer said...

How do I "like" this post? I'm confused... this isn't Facebook.

Aaron_Strout said...

Jim - I know. It's very confusing. What is a blog, anyway?

Kyle Flaherty said...

"Four pitches and nine minutes later..." that statement may explain why television ratings and attendance at ballparks is in such steep decline ;)

Bryan Person said...

I was listening to this at-bat through the eyes of Joe and Dave O'Brien. It went on and on and on ... but the "good guy" won the battle in the end. I tend not to be a big "momentum" guy, especially in baseball, but there's no doubt that play sparked the team the rest of the way.

Loved that "Alex" Gonzalez play, too!

Ruben (Red Sox Nation - Alberta) said...

"Alex" is excusable. We used to have an Alex Gonzalez. But hasn't everyone heard of the Legend of Jed LowRIE?