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The Price Is Right

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – Fenway Park, Loge Box 161

Rays 5, Red Sox 1

I came into work on Wednesday still riding the high after Tuesday night’s exciting win, and the news got even better when I found out that people in my group were invited to go to that night’s game.  I rounded up a co-worker and used my lunch break to go home and get my camera and scorecard.  We left work at 5:00, but traffic was so bad that we didn’t get to Fenway until 6:30.  Luckily that was plenty of time to meet up with our host and grab something to eat before heading to our seats down the left field line.

I joked that since I only found out that I was going to this game in the morning, it wasn't enough time to conjure up some rain. It was actually a very nice night for a game.

I joked that since I only found out that I was going to this game in the morning, it wasn't enough time to conjure up some rain. Instead we enjoyed some very nice baseball weather.

Thanks to a win last night, the division lead was back up to a game and a half, but there were still two games to go in this pivotal series.  Tonight the Red Sox were going up against David Price, who was notorious for shutting them down in the past.  But I like to think I’m not afraid of any team’s pitchers.  The Sox had already beaten Price once this year (before he went on the disabled list), and Felix Doubront had pitched a really good game against the Rays in June.  The game started with good pitching and defense on both sides.  Doubront struck out two in the first (though a walk and a hit caused him to throw 28 pitches).  In the second, he needed only five total pitches to get three grounders to second base – one of which became the now nightly Pedroia Play of the Day™ when he made a diving stop.  But Price was even better.  In the first three innings, David Ortiz’s single was the only ball to leave the infield.  During that time, the Rays’ pitcher picked up three K’s and induced three comebackers to the mound.

As usual, Dustin Pedroia played a flawless second base, including assists on all three outs of the second inning.

As usual, Dustin Pedroia played a flawless second base, including assists on all three outs of the second inning.

Doubront was the first to give.  With one out in the third, the next two batters reached on singles (one of which was almost caught by Jonny Gomes in right) with an errant pickoff throw in between that left runners at the corners.  The next batter bunted and Doubront fielded it and threw home.  The runner on third wasn’t going, so the batter was safe at first.  (That’s a sacrifice plus a fielder’s choice, for those scoring at home – or, in my case, at the ballpark.  Even though he reached safely, it’s not a hit, because he was trying to give up an out.  He gets credit for the sacrifice, and the fielder’s choice comes in because they could have gotten an out at first if they wanted to, but chose instead to prevent a run.  It makes sense now, but I had to look it up on my phone, because they didn’t put it on the scoreboard at the ballpark and it confused me when they didn’t add any hits or errors either.)  Meanwhile, now that the bases were loaded with one out, three runs ended up crossing the plate that inning.

Felix Doubront had a quality start (6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) but he was no match for David Price.

Felix Doubront had a quality start (6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) but he was no match for David Price.

The 3-0 deficit felt like a huge hole to climb out of.  The only way to do that, and the Red Sox’ approach at the plate for the past decade, is to get the opposing pitcher’s pitch count up and get him out of the game.  But Price wasn’t going anywhere.  When Big Papi flied out to right for the final out of the fourth, it was only the second ball of the game hit out of the infield (his single in his first at-bat was the other) and Price had only thrown 35 pitches.  That followed a slick double play after Victorino’s infield hit, in which shortstop Yunel Escobar ranged up the middle, gloved it, and flipped from the glove behind his back.  Second baseman Ben Zobrist barehanded it and threw on to first in time to get Pedroia.

Mike Napoli hit a ground rule double in the fifth, and Victorino reached on a bunt hit in the sixth, but both were stranded.  At the end of the sixth, Price had only thrown 60 pitches.  At that rate, he could go 12 innings!  They’d never get him out of there!

Big Papi lined out to short to end the game.

Big Papi lined out to short to end the game.

Napoli finally gave us something to cheer about when he hit a towering home run off the Sports Authority sign over the Green Monster in the seventh.  But that was the only blemish to Price’s dominating night.  The Red Sox never got another baserunner the rest of the way, and he finished the complete game with only 97 pitches.

T-shirt of the day:  A guy in the next section over from us was wearing a t-shirt that said, “Go ahead, chant: 2004.”  Very cool!

July 24, 2013 • Posted in: 2013 Games • Share on Facebook

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