Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Jonathan Papelbon: Circus Performer

I thought for certain that we wouldn't have a game in The Bronx last night. I was at Professor Thom's and we were going to have a benefit for the Jimmy Fund, but the rain delay but the kibosh on that. (It will be rescheduled for a future date, probably in June.)

But after waiting over two hours, they finally got going. And the Red Sox made themselves right at home in the new Wind Tunnel (aka Yankee Stadium), and were putting up a picket fence, scoring single runs in the first four innings and staking Jon Lester to a 4-0 lead going into the fifth.

Lester was mowing New York down, and wound up striking out a career-tying 10 batters. But he gave up back-to-back homers to Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira to make it 4-3.

Lester pitched seven solid innings, leaving with a 6-3 lead. Mike Lowell and Jason Bay went deep, with Bay's homer banging off the left field foul pole. (It brought back happy memories of Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, when Mark Bellhorn banged one off the right field pole that added the exclamation point to the rout.)

Ramon Ramirez gave up his first run of the season, as Teixeira went deep again in the 8th to make it 6-4. Jonathan Papelbon came in to get the last two outs, and then put all of Red Sox Nation on edge when he loaded the bases in the ninth, and struck out Teixeira and then Robinson Cano to give the Red Sox their fourth straight win over New York this season. (And that strikeout brought me back to Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, when Keith Foulke struck out Tony Clark to end it. My heart was pounding as much last night as did then.)

Once again it has been another "tightrope walk" for Papelbon in getting a save. He has rarely had a clean 1-2-3 save this season, and seems determined to make every save an interesting affair. These tightrope walks can be unnerving, and I've always felt that combined they've taken about five years off my life.

But it's always worth it when beating the Yankees.

1 comment:

Steel36 said...

One of the Cubs TV announcers once commented about Mitch Williams in his wild hey day. It was said that Mitch was born with a full count on his head.

Way to keep it up Papelbon.