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Knuckled Under

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – Fenway Park, Section 43

Orioles 12, Red Sox 5

You could say the first week of the season “flu” by, with many key players on the team hit by either influenza, a stomach bug, or a respiratory bug, all of which were circulating through the clubhouse.  Add to that two players on the bereavement list at the same time, and transportation issues when they attempted to return.  Play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien even had to leave one broadcast half-way through due to illness.  But after a road trip to Detroit which caused the Tigers to have the visiting clubhouse fumigated when they left, the team returned to Fenway in much better shape, with the full lineup they envisioned all winter (with the exception of Jackie Bradley, Jr., on the D.L. with a sprained knee).

For me, it was the first game of the year in my familiar Tenth Man Plan seats in Section 43.

Steven Wright warms up before the game.

Steven Wright warms up before the game.

Give 'em the ole knuckleball!

Wright deals a knuckleball.

Unfortunately, Wright’s knuckleball wasn’t exactly knuckling.  He gave up two homers as the Orioles batted around in the first and two more in the second, and the Sox were down 8-0 when he exited the game.  I didn’t have the flu, but I sure felt like puking.

Outfielders Andrew Benintendi and Chris Young had to chase down a lot of hits all night.  And it could have been worse if Benintendi, filling in in center for JBJ, hadn't made a great diving catch in the fourth that prompted me to nickname him "Andrew Bradley, Jr."

Outfielders Andrew Benintendi and Chris Young had to chase down a lot of hits all night. And it could have been worse if Benintendi, filling in in center for JBJ, hadn't made an impressive diving catch in the fourth that prompted me to nickname him "Andrew Bradley, Jr."

Ben Taylor replaced Wright in the second, and pitched 3-2/3 innings while only allowing one run.  The rookie came into the game having struck out 4 of the 5 batters he had faced in the majors, and added 3 more Ks.

Ben Taylor replaced Wright in the second, and pitched 3-2/3 innings while only allowing one run. The rookie came into the game having struck out 4 of the 5 batters he had faced in the majors, and added 3 more Ks.

Once they were down 9-0, the Red Sox did try to make a comeback.  The first run scored in the third on a sac fly.  Three more came in the fourth, capped by a homer by Pablo Sandoval.  In the fifth they had the bases loaded with one out, and when Xander Bogaerts drove in their fifth run, that brought the tying run to the plate.  Unfortunately that was as close as they’d get.

Even the mighty Sandy Leon couldn't tie up a four-run game with no one on base.

Even the mighty Sandy Leon couldn't hit the five-run homer we needed to get back in the game.

It was a clear but cool night in my Tenth Man Plan seats.

It was a clear but cool night in my Tenth Man Plan season ticket seats.

When Ben Taylor finished his 3-2/3 innings of relief, Fernando Abad was next, making his first appearance of the season.  My favorite thing about Abad is getting to make “Abad pun” every time he pitches.  Tonight he did well, which I called “Agood Abad outing,” and then when Joe Kelly allowed three more runs in the eighth, “This game just went from Abad to worse.”  (Sorry, but with a game like this, I had to do something to stay amused.)

Left-hander Robby Scott pitched well in the ninth.

Left-hander Robby Scott pitched well in the ninth.

The game's not official until I get a picture of Xander Bogaerts blowing a bubble with his gum.  It's kind of like trying to capture Dustin Pedroia in the air when he does his trademark hop before each pitch.  Come to think of it, I didn't get a good picture of the "Pedey hop" tonight, so does that mean this game doesn't count?

The game's not official until I get a picture of Xander Bogaerts blowing a bubble with his gum. It's kind of like trying to capture Dustin Pedroia in the air when he does his trademark hop before each pitch. Come to think of it, I didn't get a good picture of the "Pedey hop" tonight, so does that mean this game doesn't count?

The Red Sox retired numbers light the way to the Yawkey T Station. I don't normally walk past them after a game, but tonight I did.  They're going to need to add a 34 later in the season.

The Red Sox retired numbers light the way to the Yawkey T Station. I don't normally walk past them after a game, but tonight I decided to. They're going to need to add a 34 later in the season.

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