Saturday, April 23, 2011
Do-Over: Red Sox 4, Angels 3
The Angels did virtually nothing against Lester, save for a single run in the seventh that felt like some kind of alien gift, Jeff Mathis knocking home Erick Aybar. Aybar's managing to get into scoring position (by way of a stolen base) was of itself a topic of some horror to the Red Sox, who feature the now-dubious Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the dish as their starting catcher, the elderly Jason Varitek no longer able to discharge those duties reliably. Salty famously had a case of the "yips" while he was with Texas and later, last year, with Boston. He's been pretty terrible at throwing out baserunners in his career (the 30% he took into today's game was a career high — his career figure is 21%), and I expect the wild pitch was a generous call in the second. Finally the scorer could handle it no more in the eighth, and with Bobby Jenks on the mound, charged him with an outright passed ball that allowed Bobby Abreu to score from second base. He stood at the plate stunned, hands wide, as if he expected the ball to materialize from the ether. Abreu charged him like a freight train, gathering steam as he passed third, and by the time Salty realized his peril, it was far too late.
Gifted with such a boon, the Angels proceeded to squander it, with Mike Scioscia electing to bring in a pinch hitter for Mark Trumbo (the only batter in that part of the lineup capable of changing the game with one swing of the bat), and a pinch runner for Alberto Callaspo. The pinch runner was odd; the pinch hitter, indefensible. Bobby Jenks had a 7+ ERA going into the inning, and if you have any faith in Trumbo at all, you leave him in the game against a struggling reliever who's lost 4-5 MPH on his formerly league-leading fastball. Instead, Maicer Izturis bounced out meekly, 4-3, ending the frame and the threat. It seemed the opposite of good managerial tactics, eventually a ransacking of the bench (Bobby Wilson came in to play first base for Trumbo), and nothing to show for it.
At last, a couple random comments about the game's environment:
- Helen mentioned that the lower attendance (39,005 official, and probably close to that in the seats) and the late cold start for the Red Sox has discouraged the more irritating Red Sox fans from materializing in the seats; and so it was. We had no problems at all with the Boston faithful in the park, and neither did we observe anyone in Angels colors harassing their counterparts.
- We didn't notice this until just today, but the vegetarian options improved immensely with a Melissa's stand on the field level. We didn't eat there today because we elected to grab something at Fresca's before the game, but Helen vows she'll give it a try tomorrow.