I'll tell you one thing... when Pedroia promises a laser show, I believe him. Now, he didn't specifically go out of his way to promise one for the final game of the Rockies series, but after his struggles earlier in the month, he was confident that there would be plenty of shows over the season. He was right, but I'm sure there aren't many people who doubted him. Not anymore anyway.
Sure enough, Pedroia WAS the show on Thursday, June 24th against the Rockies, going 5 for 5 with a walk, a single, a double, and three home runs, including the 2-run home run he hit in the top of the 10th. We can all sit around disappointed that he didn't hit a double, or we can just marvel at Munchkin. When he struggles, he doesn't carry it with him. He is able to turn himself around and get back on track each time, and each time, he does it more dramatically. How much more dramatic can you get than 5 for 5? You can't do it. He might be able to do it, but you can't. To this day, I still feel stupid for ever thinking that Pedroia wasn't ready to be an every day second baseman. I am SO glad he proved me wrong, and I will absolutely never doubt him again.
It was a typical outing for Dice-K. In five innings, he threw 105 pitches, hit a batter, walked four, and allowed two runs on five hits. Calling this a typical outing makes me sort of sad, but it is. He went through a really good stretch where he was throwing strikes and not nibbling, but in his first game back from the disabled list, he nibbled. It's fine. He didn't end up with a decision, and he didn't give us a heck of a lot of innings, but it's fine. Next time around, he'll probably pitch a complete game.
The sixth inning got awfully ugly awfully fast. Dice-K came out of the game with a 6-2 lead. Delcarmen relieved him, faced three batters, and didn't get a single out. After loading the bases, Oki came in and immediately allowed those runs to score on a 2-run single by Todd Helton, and an RBI single to Miguel Olivo. After he allowed all of Delcarmen's runs to come in (granted, he did manage 2 outs in that time), he allowed a bases-loaded 2-run single to Ian Stewart, and was taken out in favor of Rambo. Now, for those keeping track at home, that's 2 pitchers, 2/3rds of an inning, 38 pitches, and five runs. Rambo can't shut them down either, allowing an RBI single to Clint Barnes before being able to get Ryan Spilborghs to line out to Scutaro. Total for the sixth inning from Red Sox pitching? 1 inning, seven hits, six earned runs, one walk, no strikeouts, 43 pitches, three pitchers. Those are some scary numbers.
Our boys were able to re-take the lead in 7th. After singles from Nava and Pedroia, a ground out from Papi, and an RBI single from Beltre, Jason Varitek stepped to the plate (swoon!) and knocked a 2-run double into right field, making the score 9-8 Sox. Oh, that Jason. He's so fantastic, isn't he? I think he is. They added further distance between themselves and the Rox in the 8th on Pedroia's second home run of the game, scoring Daniel Nava to make the score 11-8 Sox. Unfortunately, though, in the bottom of the frame, Scott Atchison, who has just been fantastically important to our bullpen, allowed a run to score, bring the tally to 11-9 Sox. It would stay that way until the ninth, when in stepped Paps.
Fresh off of his implosion the night before, Papelbon was determined to close out the game quickly and easily. Once again, though, he failed. He did get the first batter on a strikeout, but then allowed consecutive singles to Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez, and the painful 2-run single to Brad Hawpe, bringing Papelbon's pitching total for his two days of work in Colorado (at that point) to 1 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs. Sure, he came back after Munchkin hit his third home run of the day (his second 2-run shot), and closed out the bottom of the 10th, but his shakiness over the Rox series was concerning.
It's fine, though. We got a laser show and avoided the sweep. Next, on to San Francisco to visit the Giants!
2 weeks ago