Monday, October 5, 2009

Yay: Regular Season Review

Continuing in the tradition I started last year, I am going to go over my top five favorite games of the year that I got to attend. It's not bragging. Just think of it as a way for me to ward of alzheimers for a few minutes, ok?

Unlike last year, the games I attended this year were not record breaking (well, one was) or definite shoe-ins. I actually had bad luck at the park this year, and finished up with a .500 winning percentage after seeing them only win twice in six games from June to the first week in September... but I don't want to make a post about the best losses of the year. So, here they are, counting down to number one....

#5 - Josh Beckett vs. CLE (10/3) - Final score 11-6 Sox
Josh wasn't particularly dominant in the first two innings, and he only went five, but those last three were pretty snazzy (and very much appreciated!). His line looked like this: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 98 pitches. Not very Beckett-like, but he still got the win and kept his season ERA down below 4, which ALWAYS makes me happy. This game also featured Victor Martinez's first career grand slam (2nd inning), and Dusty Brown's first major league hit (a solo HR in the 8th). Munchkin also had a home run, and so did Brian Anderson (1st and 3rd innings respectively). Even with half a little league lineup, our offense looked incredible, and our pitching looked good. No, it wasn't great. Also, a BIG reason for this being on my list.... I was given the tickets for free, and you can never take free Sox tickets for granted. It didn't hurt that the seats were five rows behind the Sox on deck circle.... ok, I'm bragging a little here, but I swear, I'm not usually like this. Hopefully I'll put up some pictures eventually.

#4 - Tim Wakefield vs. MIN (4/22) - Final score 10-1 Sox
Another big-offense type game. I love those kinds of games. Granted, this was a rain-shortened affair, and the game was called after 7 innings, but come on. Minnesota wasn't going to score 9 runs off the best bullpen in baseball in 2 innings. I don't even see that as a possibility. Wake was great. This was during the part of the year where he was MVP while Beckett and Lester were struggling. Home runs were given to us from Asshat, Captain Planet, and Mr. Awesome. This was back when Asshat was hitting .462 (no, I didn't remember that, I had to look it up). Even though I missed the top half of the 1st due to train issues, it still ended up being a great, very enjoyable game on Admin day! Yes, I am an Admin, so it was only appropriate that my boss let me leave early to go to the game. It was a great day, for sure.

#3 - Josh Beckett @ BAL (8/1) - Final score 4-0 Sox
I loved this game. I love Camden Yards, and I love Josh Beckett, so the combination of the two is an amazing thing. Up until this point, I hadn't yet seen Josh pitch live for the season. I was supposed to have seen him three separate times before this point, but due to suspensions and scheduling changes, I missed him every time. He definitely rewarded my patience with 7 scoreless innings on the day that Victor Martinez made his Red Sox debut (yes, I love getting tickets for August 1st every year so I can see the new aquisitions or lament the recent departures). Another 5 K's for Josh, and one pristine inning a piece for Oki and Bard, and the Sox may as well have played "Dirty Water" at the end of the game... Baltimore, you're my (other) home! Josh picked up his league-leading 13th win, and he was looking like an unstoppable force. What's not to love about that?

#2 - Tim Wakefield vs. CLE (5/7) - Final score 13-3 Sox
Yep. This was the one record breaker that I saw this year. Some of you may recall this game. In the 6th inning, 12 men came up to bat and 12 men came around to score all before recording an out. The scoring in the inning was capped off by a 3-run HR by Jay Bay. I remember fans cracking up laughing in the bleachers, getting supreme enjoyment out of the moment. Three different pitchers tried, two in vain, to record that first out. Right after Bailey's hit in his only AB of the inning, people behind me were laughing, "How many outs? That's right NOBODY OUT!" Not the most clever catch phrase in the world, but in the moment, it worked. We were all happiness and smiles. How can you not enjoy scoring 12 runs in a single inning, never mind doing it all before the first out? Six innings and only 2 runs allowed from Wakefield made this one of the most fun Wakefield starts I've ever been to. Way to break a record, guys!

and finally... and this really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone....

#1 - Jon Lester vs. TEX (6/6) - Final score 8-1 Sox
Once again, Johnny's got my best game of the year. Rather, I got his best game of the year. This was the infamous attempted murder game. Mike Lowell tried to kill me. Standing room only tickets on the monster resulted in my friends and I sitting in the first row closest to the Fisk pole. That's where Mike Lowell's home run ended up. I'm glad we didn't touch the ball, in retrospect, because there may have been fan interference. It was originally called a double, but it very clearly was up over the line. It smacked off the padding at the very top of the wall. Since we didn't touch it, the home run went to review, we were shown on TV, and the umps got the call correct. I will never mock Mike Lowell again. Oh, on top of that? Jon Lester had a perfect game going through 6 innings. He gave up a walk, a hit, and a run in the 7th, but he ended with a two-hit complete game victory, 11 beautiful, perfect strike outs, 107 pitches, and a win. Michael Young, for getting both hits of the night, is on my shit list (with Curtis Granderson) for the rest of his career. I know he was just doing his job, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. A lot of analysts were saying this after the game, but Jon DID look better in this one than he looked in his no-hitter (my #1 game of last year). He was brilliant, and after the rough start he had to his season, it was a great way to remind people just how amazing he can be. I look forward to seeing him start game one of the ALDS this week. I've seen what he's capable of. I feel good about it.

So those are my best games of the year. All in all, it was a pretty good season for the Sox. Thank God it's not over!

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