Don't be dismayed by the 4 walks on Erik Bedard's line score on Tuesday night. He was being squeezed big time.
And by an umpire who supposedly has a great rep, Tim McClelland.
Before Trivia Night kicked off, I caught the first three innings or so, and Bedard just wasn't getting the close calls. You can make a case that all four walks were awful calls. (There was one at-bat where the Amica pitch zone had four balls in the zone, and the count was 3 and 1. Pretty abysmal.) But Bedard kept his composure and settled down. He allowed just three hits and two runs in five innings. All the "damage" occurred in the first inning. He allowed no runs, two hits and no walks after the first inning.
(My friend Dave's Trivia team name tonight was "The Strike Zone's The Size of a Deck of Cards." So that's were the title of this post comes from.)
The Sox overcame the lousy home plate ump and Darnell McDonald hit a two-run shot that tied the game in the fifth. Jason Varitek's RBI single put the Sox up in the sixth.
It was tied again in 7th, and David Ortiz hit a roller that pitcher Phil Dumatrait couldn't handle and fell down, and Sports Illustrated's own Dustin Pedroia scored the go-ahead run.
The bullpen combo of Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon were stellar, especially Pap, retiring the last three hitters in the 9th on 9 pitches to wrap up another winning road series, 4-3.
And the so-called greatest closer of all-time got torched in the ninth inning in NY as Mariano Rivera gave up a two-run shot to Bobby Abreu in a tie game to give the Angels the win over New York and give the Red Sox a 2 1/2 game lead in the AL East.
Papelbon sure looks a whole lot sharper than Rivera right now, as Pap has allowed just two hits and no walks in his last 11 innings. Not bad for a guy in the middle of a salary drive.