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Manny was Manny again at Fenway Saturday. The same chorus of cheers and boos greeted him, he played DH, and he lost, 5-4 on a walk-off single. But more on that later. After six straight outs, Manny led off the 2nd inning with a single, then stole 2nd base when James Loney struck out. Victor Martinez and Tim Wakefield are the easiest tandem on the easiest team to steal against, and Manny Ramirez pulled it off. He later scored on an RBI single.
Bill Hall and Daniel Nava singled and doubled (respectively) in succession in the bottom half of the frame to knot the score at one, after Victor Martinez walked. Speaking of Martinez, he added two more in the 4th with a shot over the wall in right, taking advantage of a Kevin Youkilis single in the last at bat. Not to be out-done, Manny Ramirez homered over the Green Monster in the 6th. As long as he’s not going into the Monster during innings for secret meetings with Lex Luthor, we’re happy.
Fear not, because the Sox regained the insurance run in the bottom of the 6th, on a homer from Youk to left-center. Though Wakefield did show why he can’t be fully trusted immediately after. After a ground-rule double and a ground-out that advanced the runner, Blake DeWitt doubled home the run, and advanced to 3rd on a fielding error by Bill Hall in right. The way the wall is set up, the ball bounces off some crazy angles out there. Manny Delcarmen came in and immediately allowed the run to score on a sac fly, officially earning himself his second blown save of the season.
With the score still tied 4-4 going into the 9th, Jonathan Papelbon came into the game in order to rest Daniel Bard. A lead-off single (and sacrifice bunt) did nothing to hurt Pap, though, and he got out of the inning completely fine, except for his 1.00 WHIP for the day. Bill Hall singled to lead off the bottom of the inning, but when Daniel Nava tried a sacrifice bunt of his own, he didn’t hit it hard enough (still green, kid), and Russell Martin, the Dodgers’ catcher, was able to throw out Hall. Following a strikeout and walk, it was Dustin Pedroia’s turn, against Jonathan Broxton, the Dodgers’ closer. Four pitches later, bada bing, bada boom, Pedroia lined the ball into right field, which allowed Daniel Nava to round 3rd and beat out the off-line throw home.
There were some good options, but finishing the action after a two-out walk was the most important moment, not just for the win, but also for giving the rest of the bullpen some more time off.
Again, there are some (not so) great candidates, but when you give up stolen bases to practically everyone that gets on the bases, that’s not part of the winning formula.
The Fox announcers brought up the subject that from 2004 to 2008, the Dodgers’ payroll included a physicist named Vladamir Shpunt. Shpunt’s job was to enhance the Dodgers’ winning ability by sending positive energy waves to them. And he only appeared at Dodgers Stadium once; the rest of the time he watched at home on TV. I know I’m not Stephen Colbert and I know this isn’t “The Colbert Report,” but to quote the title of a popular segment, “That’s the Craziest F***ing Thing I’ve Ever Heard.”
W: Jonathan Papelbon (2-3)
L: Ronald Belisario (1-1)
Tags: Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall, Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis, Los Angeles Dodgers, Manny Delcarmen, Manny Ramirez, Marco Scutaro, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, Victor Martinez