Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jason Varitek: A Magician Of Sorts

I'll get to Dice-K and his own personal sorcery in a minute, but I just want to take my opening paragraph to praise my favorite player, because Dice-K's brilliant performance affords me that opportunity. Yes, I'm ridiculously bias, but I love Tek, and SOME credit has to be given to the catcher for bringing the best out of their pitching staff. Yes, I am aware that over his career, Tek has been blessed with the opportunity to work with some of the best pitchers the Red Sox have ever had. But I'm not going to let a trivial detail like that get in my way Tek-praise. I decided to do a little research and see how often Tek has caught no-hitters (4), 1-hitters, or two-hitters. Sure, two hitters aren't as impressive, but whatever. I like having stuff to look up. I admit, I only checked out the game data for games the Sox won where the opposing team didn't score any runs. I know, I'm a bad historian. Sue me. Or don't. Actually, don't. I don't have a lot of money nor do I have a lot of time to spend in court. Anyway, before my Dice-K praise, here are my findings:

April 4, 2001 (vs. Orioles) - WP Hideo Nomo
April 27, 2002 (vs. Devil Rays) - WP Derek Lowe
October 1, 2006 *5 Inning Game* (vs. Orioles) - WP Devern Hansack (doesn't actually count in the books as a no-hitter, but I'm adding it to my list)
September 1, 2007 (vs. Orioles) - WP Clay Buchholz
May 19, 2008 (vs. Royals) - WP Jon Lester

August 29, 2000 (vs. Devil Rays) - WP Pedro Martinez
May 25, 2001 (vs. Blue Jays) - WP Hideo Nomo
June 14, 2005 (vs. Reds) - WP David Wells
July 18, 2006 (vs. Royals) - WP Jon Lester
June 7, 2007 (vs. A's) - WP Curt Schilling (the infamous shaking-off-Tek game!)
May 22, 2010 (vs. Phillies) - WP Daisuke Matsuzaka

July 28, 1999 (vs. Blue Jays) - WP Pat Rapp
April 4, 2000 (vs. Mariners) - WP Pedro Martinez
May 12, 2000 (vs. Orioles) - WP Pedro Martinez
June 8, 2000 (vs. Indians) - WP Pedro Martinez
April 26, 2001 (vs. Twins) - WP Hideo Nomo
April 5, 2002 (vs. Orioles) - WP Derek Lowe
April 19, 2002 (vs. Royals) - WP Pedro Martinez
April 25, 2002 (vs. Orioles) - WP Pedro Martinez
June 20, 2002 (vs. Padres) - WP Pedro Martinez
July 6, 2002 (vs. Tigers) - WP Pedro Martinez
July 30, 2002 (vs. Angels) - WP Pedro Martinez
September 21, 2002 (vs. Orioles) - WP John Burkett
June 8, 2004 (vs. Padres) - WP Pedro Martinez
April 29, 2008 (vs. Blue Jays) - WP Jonathan Papelbon (SP Jon Lester)
August 29, 2008 (vs. White Sox) - WP Daisuke Matsuzaka
June 9, 2009 (vs. Yankees) - WP Josh Beckett

So there. Proof that Tek is amazing. I mean, sure, Pedro's name is up there about a hundred times, but where would he have been without Varitek? I dare not even think it (because it may disprove my theory of Varitek being indispensable). I feel good now.

As for Dice-K.... wow. I was absolutely stunned and impressed. But of course, I knew he wasn't going to get the no-hitter because I am utterly superstitious when it comes to these sorts of things, and around the 7th inning, the jackasses on Fox said "I'm just going to say it. He's got a no-hitter." And that, my friends, was the end of the good karma. You NEVER say no-hitter during a no-hitter. Apparently, the Red Sox radio guys were doing the same thing. Bad karma all around. I really wanted it for him. I've given the guy so much abuse, and I finally have a reason to be nice to him and the horrible people in charge of the media go and mess it all up. I guess I've learned my lesson. Now, if any of our pitchers are throwing a no-no, I'll be sure to put the TV on mute. If you don't hear the bad karma, it doesn't count, right? Right.

Anyhow, the one hit Dice allowed was painful. Painful because it was catchable.... or it would have been if Scutaro were just a few inches taller. I found myself muttering bitterly that Gonzo would have had it, but I don't know. It was just placed very inconveniently. I'm not going to blame Scutaro, even though I want to blame him really really badly. He did all he could. At least I think he did all he could. Still, Dice-K was able to get it together long enough to finish the game. This Dice-K robot that shows up every other start or so is very welcome. I just don't know what happens to him the game after a gem. I really, truly hope he can follow up this performance with another great one.

And not for nothing, but our once-suspect defense was unbelievable. David Ortiz played a great first base. Adrian Beltre snared a line drive. Even Dice made a fantastic catch off of a line-drive that could have ended up going up the middle. I don't know what got into our usually sketchy defense, but I'm glad that they're putting it together. I mean, really, how could I complain?

I'd go into the offense, but all I really care about is the fact that we won the game. We scored runs, and we didn't waste the great performance from our starting pitcher. Also, I'm lazy and I still have one more good game to write about before the game tonight, so... all you get is the fact that I'm happy. What a game it was. What a wonderful, heartbreaking game. Luckily, I've got another wonderful game to report on. All in due time, though. All in due time.

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