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Summer Doldrums

Sunday, June 25, 2017 – Fenway Park, Section 43

Angels 4, Sox 2

In the excitement of Friday’s ceremony to retire Big Papi’s number, it would have been easy to miss the news that the Red Sox had claimed veteran righty Doug Fister off waivers.  He would be taking over the fifth starter role most recently occupied by Hector Velazquez, and eventually when Eduardo Rodriguez returned from the D.L., the plan was to move Fister to the bullpen.

Doug Fister made his first start with the Red Sox.

Doug Fister warms up before his first start with the Red Sox.

It took me a long time to find a parking spot at a meter because the street and side streets in my usual area were blocked off until noon for a road race earlier.  I did find one a few blocks down eventually, but by then it was 11:45.  It was hot, and my seat was in the bleachers where it’s always a lot hotter than the rest of the ballpark.  I waited in the shade until Fister came out to the bullpen to warm up, then went to my seat right before the start.  It was “Family Day” for the Red Sox, so the players’ kids all joined them on the field or in front of the dugout for the National Anthem.

A bunch of Red Sox kids: Dustin Pedroia's three sons, Mitch Moreland's son and daughter, Jackie Bradley's daughter (in his arms), plus Andrew Benintendi, and Deven Marrero.

A bunch of Red Sox kids: Dustin Pedroia's three sons, Mitch Moreland's son and daughter, Jackie Bradley's daughter (in his arms), plus "kids" Andrew Benintendi and Deven Marrero.

More Red Sox with their kids: Brock Holt, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Pablo Sandoval, and Heath Hembree with their children.

More Red Sox with their kids: Brock Holt, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Pablo Sandoval, and Heath Hembree with their children.

Fister opened the game with three quick outs.  In the second, he gave up two singles then induced a ground ball that could have been in inning-ending 3-6-3 double play.  But the call at first base was challenged and upheld, the inning continued, and a run had come in.  The next batter doubled in a second run, and the next batter drove in a third, before being thrown out trying to take second base on the throw home.

JBJ went 1-for-4 with a homer.

JBJ went 1-for-4 with a homer.

Solo home runs by Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley Jr. inched the Sox closer, but once again there wasn’t a lot of offense to be found in the home dugout.  For Fister’s part, he worked quickly and faced the minimum over the next three innings.  The only baserunners over that span came on two walks, but a double play erased one and Christian Vazquez threw out the other.  (Seriously, why do people still try to run on him?  Thanks for the out, though!)  The game had started at 1:35, and at the end of the fifth it was 2:39.

As my grandfather would have said, "Fister's not tall, he just has long legs."

As my grandfather would have said about the 6'8" Doug Fister, "He's not tall, he just has long legs."

Pedey hits a pop fly into left.

Pedey hit a pop fly into left to open the sixth.

Fister’s outing was solid.  He gave up three runs in six innings, and when the first two batters reached to open the seventh, Robby Scott and Heath Hembree came in to get him out of it.  The Sox were only down by one run, so the game was still within reach.

The outfielders discuss important outfielder things during a pitching change.

The outfielders discuss important outfielder things during a pitching change.

The infielders gather as Robby Scott throws his warmup pitches.

The infielders gather as Robby Scott throws his warmup pitches.

It was hot in the bleachers, and while not completely stifling, it still felt good when the occasional cloud floated by.  But eventually the little fluffy clouds were replaced by a big gray one.  The forecast had only called for a slight chance of a stray thunderstorm, so I figured we’d head for the grandstand if it did start to rain.

View from Section 43 as the clouds rolled in.

The view from Section 43 as the clouds rolled in.

After Sam Travis pinch-hit for Deven Marrero in the seventh (and struck out to end the inning), Tzu-Wei Lin came in to play third base in the top of the eighth.  Lin had been called up directly from Double-A when Josh Rutledge was placed on the concussion D.L., and he had made his debut as a pinch-runner the night before.  (I remembered seeing Lin play in Portland, exactly a year ago.)  This was his first appearance in the field, and the second batter of the inning hit a grounder that rebounded off Joe Kelly and rolled toward third.  Lin ran in and made a barehanded grab with enough time to get the runner out.

Tzu-Wei Lin made a nice first impression at third base.

Tzu-Wei Lin made a nice first impression at third base.

At the end of the eighth we felt a couple of raindrops, and seats had started to open up under the cover of the grandstand, so we moved over.  The Sox were still only down a run, and if they tied it up I wanted to be comfortable.  Alas, it was the Angels who added a run in the ninth, and the Sox went down quietly to end it.

June 25, 2017 • Posted in: 2017 Games • Share on Facebook

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