Monday, April 23, 2007

Red Sox Sweep Yankees With Help From Four Consecutive Homers

The AL Eastern Division leading Boston Red Sox are now 12-5 on the young season after having swept the Yankees last night at Fenway Park. Part of the fun was a record-tying four consecutive homers in the third inning off the bats of Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek. excerpt:

BOSTON (AP) -- It took the Boston Red Sox 10 pitches to hit four straight homers and three days to complete a sweep of the New York Yankees.

In another thrilling chapter in a rich rivalry, the Red Sox tied a major league record with the home run streak and got their third consecutive comeback win with a 7-6 victory Sunday night despite Daisuke Matsuzaka's shaky debut against the Yankees.

Depsite Matsuzaka's shaky debut against the Yankees...Well, yeah. Look, the Yankees are on a pace to score 1,000 runs for the season. Christ, Curt Schilling got bombed Friday night as A-Rod dented him for two homers, and it was only a rally against Mariano Rivera that saved the day.

I've avoided analyzing Matsuzaka because, quite frankly, three spring training appearances and four regular season starts is a pretty small sample from which to choose. People are on him because they don't think he can pitch from the stretch. Bullshit. I'm fairly certain that Matsuzaka, on at least one or to occasions in his EIGHT YEARS AS A PROFESSIONAL PITCHER IN JAPAN, HAD TO DEAL WITH OPPOSING BASERUNNERS. The reason this "analysis" is so prevalent is simple" 103 million dollars.

From what little I HAVE seen from Matsuzaka, he seems confident and in command of his pitches. He also throws harder than I expected. I suspect he will settle down okay and provide the Red Sox with 18 wins, and be right in the mix for the AL strikeout lead.

Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek connected against Wright, making his second major league start.

Lowell also added a second homer, his third of the season, a three-run shot in the seventh inning to give the Sox a 7-5 lead.

The third-inning outburst made the Red Sox the fifth team in major league history to hit four homers in a row. The Los Angeles Dodgers did it on Sept. 18 last season against San Diego. Drew hit the second of those four homers as well. It was the second homer of the season for all four Boston batters.

Wright became the second big league pitcher to allow four consecutive homers. The other was Paul Foytack of the Los Angeles Angels
on July 31, 1963, in the sixth inning of the second game of a doubleheader against Cleveland. One of those homers was hit by Tito Francona, the father of current Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who turned 48 on Sunday.

J.D. Drew gets to be part of history twice, and Terry Francona gets the same by association with his dad Tito from what he did in 1963, and on his birthday no less. Not only that, but each of the homers was the second of the season for each batter. Is that the Twilight Zone theme I hear playing in the background...

Wright also tied a major league record for most homers allowed in an inning. He was the first pitcher to give up four since Randy Johnson
of the Yankees on Aug. 21, 2005, against the Chicago White Sox.

Red Sox Homer Binge

The Red Sox hope to keep the momentum going as they begin a two-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Fenway with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield matched against former Sox hurler Tomo Okha.

In other baseball news, Mark Buerhle tries to tie Johnny Van Der Meer's record of two consecutive no-hitters when he takes the mound tonight in Kansas City as his Chicago White Sox take on the Royals with their starting pitcher Gil "Ga" Meche. The White Sox lefty threw a no-no against the Texas Rangers his last time out. I wonder what the Vegas odds are of him matching Van Der Meer?

And yesterday, Barry Bonds launched his 740th career homer, leaving him 15 shy of Henry Aaron's all-time major league mark of 755 as the Giants beat the Diamondbacks yesterday 2-1 behind Barry's homer and Matt Cain's strong complete game outing at San Francisco's Lefty O'Doul Stadium.

Bonds is edging toward history, and for some he is doing it under the cloud of suspicion due to having used a cream that contained steroids (supposedly without his knowledge). Whether this affected his performance or not, he is still one of the best baseball players I have ever seen, and I hope he stays healthy and effective as he nears Aaron's magical mark.

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