06/20/07: Red Sox 11, Braves 0
Today, Julian Tavarez pitched seven confusingly awesome shut-out innings (though he didn't bowl any balls to first or beanball any hecklers, more's the pity), five different guys (Drew, Crisp, Ortiz, Ramirez, Hinske) hit home runs, 11 total runs were scored, so of course we're going to talk about Jason Varitek. (What, are you surprised? Please, take a moment, visit with the title of the blog.)
First of all, he's been intentionally walked more times this season than David Ortiz. True fact. Twice in this series alone. Which, don't get us wrong, we love our Captain, but if you were the Braves, judging by what you've seen in this series from Coco Crisp and Jason Varitek, who would you intentionally walk and to whom would you pitch?
Let's look at the numbers for this series as of the start of tonight's game:
Jason Varitek: 2 SO, 1 BB, 2 H, 1 R, 0 RBI, 0 HR,
Coco Crisp: 1 SO, 0 BB, 5 H, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR.
Right, so if you picked pitching to Tek and hoping to get that last out before Coco "I've already hit 2 homers so far this series, but, hey, I'm sure those were just flukes, man, trust me" Crisp gets up to bat...Congratulations! You are not the Braves. You probably didn't just have a pile of runs scored against you.
(Unless you're the Yankees.)
But we said we were going to talk about the Captain, and, gosh darn it, let's talk about the Captain. He was intentionally walked, struck out twice (and didn't look too happy with some of the ump's calls in the process*), and hit a single tonight. He also managed to look mighty fine doing so (and maybe one day we'll give up all semblance of serious blogging and just rhapsodize about our love of his old school socks, his uniform, his thighs, his face, his eyes, his [censored]). We have a magnet of him on our fridge, which has nothing at all to do with tonight's game but everything to do with our complete and utter lack of objectivity when it comes to this man.
It's entirely possible that we cheered when he got his hit tonight. It's also possible that we clapped. And when he was forced out at third on a Julio Lugo single, and he took off his batting helmet and looked so disappointed in himself, it is entirely possible that we wanted to...give him a hug? Bake him cookies? Make sure he knows Boston loves him unconditionally? All of the above?
Tek back in the dugout after getting forced out at third, a dramatic reenactment:
FRANCONA: It's okay, Jason.
VARITEK: How was I supposed to know that Lugey was going to actually get a hit?
VARITEK: I was sure he was going to pop out.
VARITEK looks sad and sits down. Various members of the team come up to him to console him. Nobody goes to console JULIO LUGO.
In conclusion, a great game, and not just because we won. It's also because we're back to a two digit lead in the AL East, at least for one night, and we're enjoying that while we can.
*Hey, what was with Brian McCann twice calling time-out after Beckett was already winding up in Game 2? Is that allowed? Is there a word for "opposite of balk"? Or an appropriate penalty, like an automatic strike or maybe the pitcher gets to spit his gum out in your hair?