When the England-USA World Cup match ended at Thom's earlier today, the TVs immediately switched over to the Red Sox-Phillies game, which had begun about ten minutes earlier.
And to my utter chagrin, Scott Atchison was pitching for the Sox. Uh-oh. This ain't good.
After a few minutes of checking, I discovered that Daisuke Matsuzaka had been scratched while warming up in the bullpen, as he was suffering from forearm soreness. It was so bad that the Red Sox immediately disabled him and called up Dustin Richardson from Pawtucket.
Atchison gave up two runs in the second, and I thought this was the start of a miserable day in Boston.
The Red Sox got a run back in the bottom of the inning, and with the bases loaded, up stepped Daniel Nava, an outfielder I hadn't heard of until a couple of days ago. He was a guy the Sox found in independent ball a few years back and was having a terrific year at AAA.
He got the start in left, and Joe Blanton threw him a meatball down the middle of the plate. Nava jumped all over it and crushed it into the Red Sox bullpen (with Manny Delcarmen making a fabulous catch). My friends and I couldn't believe it, as Nava became just the fourth player in history to hit a grand slam in his MLB first plate appearance (the first since Kevin Kouzmanoff in 2005; Jeremy Hermida also hit a salami in his first MLB at-bat). Rip Repulski also did it for the Red Sox in his first PA with the club in 1960. And Nava did it on the first pitch he saw (as did Kouzmanoff). Just incredible.
And Nava came up a second time with the bases loaded in the third. Second at-bat, but this time he struck out on a check swing.
Once again, the Red Sox crushed Philly pitching, as it was a 10-2 final. For the second straight day, a Phillies pitcher gave up nine earned runs to the hot Sox bats. Kevin Youkilis was hit on the elbow with a pitch and was replaced by Mike Lowell in the 6th. He is day-to-day.
But the man of the hour is one Daniel Nava, who etched his name in the record books on Saturday. He also doubled in his third at-bat. One of my friends remarked to me, "I bet Jeremy Hermida is kicking his dog right about now."
He sure will be if Daniel Nava keeps playing like this.