Thursday, April 21, 2011

Boston Red Sox Secure First Road Win In Oakland...5-3 Final Score

Good morning. I'm late for an early ( too early!) appointment but reliever Danny Bard saved the day for the Boston Red Sox Wednesday afternoon in Oakland. For brevity because I'm halfway out the front door, here's part of the Boston Globe article concentrated on DB. Thanks.

OAKLAND, Calif. —" Baseball has reached a point where every pitcher in the bullpen has been slapped with a title. There’s the closer, the set-up men, the lefty specialist, the long reliever. As the game proceeds, managers paint by numbers and drop relievers into their appointed slots. That lessens the chance of bruising egos or, worse, strategy being questioned.
Daniel Bard does not fit any of those definitions. Red Sox manager Terry Francona has the freedom to use the hard-throwing righthander when needed. That moment yesterday came in the sixth inning. The Sox had a three-run lead on the Oakland Athletics, but starting pitcher Clay Buchholz had loaded the bases with one out and was over 100 pitches. Bard sped through a dozen or so warm-up pitches, jogged to the mound, and ended the crisis in six pitches, striking out Cliff Pennington and getting Coco Crisp to pop to shortstop. The Sox went on to a 5-3 victory, their fourth in five games. Buchholz earned the win and Jonathan Papelbon ended up with a save. But it was Bard who locked down the team’s first road victory in eight tries this season. "That was the game right there,’’ said Francona. “You guys have heard me talk about it time and time again that the game can be won in the sixth or seventh. For me, that was it. He came in and stopped it.’’ Bard likes the sound of that.“My job is ‘intense middle relief,’ ’’ he said. “But that’s too much to say. Maybe you can call me ‘the stopper.’ ’’In college baseball, “closer’’ is a catch-all term for a team’s relief ace, the pitcher who comes in to snuff out rallies when needed. Bard’s younger brother, Luke, has that job at Georgia Tech. One of Bard’s best friends, Athletics prospect Andrew Carignan, had it at North Carolina when they played there. “In college, they don’t define the closer like they do in the big leagues,’’ Bard said. “That’s what I do now. It’s satisfying because you can impact the game. When they need me, I pitch. I just have to be ready.’’ Bard, an intellectually curious person, found a statistic on Fangraphs.com called Shutdowns and Meltdowns. It measures how a relief pitcher affects the ability of his team to win based on how much the statistical probability of victory changed when he was in the game. Bard was fourth in baseball with 38 Shutdown."

Keep it going, Danny. Paps looked great, too as the Boston Red Sox labor to get to 500. Keep the faith. Now, coming up is a four game set with the California Anaheim LA Angels. Here are your pitching match ups...


Thu. 21 at LAA** 10:05 PM ET NESN/FoxW **J. Beckett (2-1) vs. T. Chatwood (1-1)
Fri. 22 at LAA** 10:05 PM ET NESN/FoxW** J. Lester (1-1) vs. D. Haren (4-0)
Sat. 23 at LAA** 9:05 PM ET NESN/FoxW** D. Matsuzaka (1-2) vs. E. Santana (0-2)
Sun. 24 at LAA** 3:35 PM ET NESN/FoxW** J. Lackey (1-2) vs M. Palmer (1-0

I see three wins out of the four games but beware, I've been known to see things. Please don't forget to click on the title of this post for all the video highlights of the game. And do not forget...Jed Lowrie is STILL on fire! As always, be well.

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