And Joshua Patrick Beckett, let's get that neck loose, huh? We can't afford more disabled starters right now. Not to say that you weren't fantastic and impressive in your six innings even with a stiff neck, because you were. I'm just saying that if you had taken control of your neck and loosened it, Daniel Bard wouldn't have pitched the 8th, and I wouldn't have suffered eight heart attacks in the ninth inning. You were only at 83 pitches... an unbelievably impressive fete considering you threw 24 pitches in the 2nd. That's an average of 11 pitches per inning, excluding the 2nd. You did fantastic! No sarcasm, I swear.
What a game, though. Verlander didn't look like he was ever coming out of this one, which scared me a little. I love pitchers' duels. I love them so dearly! Luckily, after giving up a run in the 2nd, Beckett settled down for the next four. After giving up a run in the 3rd, Verlander gave up solo home runs to Drew and Papi in the 4th and 7th innings respectively. Matt Albers pitched respectably in the 7th. Daniel Bard did not, but I'm not going back over the mess he made. And then there was the ninth.
Two pitches into his outing, Paps gets drilled with a line drive off the bat of Alex Avilla. There was general panic in the bleachers... more so when the next three batters reached base with the game tied. But man, Jonathan must have steeled his will, and struck out Boesch and Cabrera back to back on nine pitches total to end the inning and let everyone breathe again. THAT was the definition of heart-attack theater. Scary and entertaining all at the same time. All nine pitches were four-seam fastballs, topping out at 97 for the strikeout of Cabrera and averaging 96. It was beautiful. He's been pitching like he wants a huge contract at the end of the year.
Before anyone really knew what was going on, the Sox had the bases loaded with zero outs in the bottom of the ninth. Lowrider stepped to the plate and participated in a terrifying 10-pitch at-bat that ended with what should have been a single but turned into a force out, as little Jose Iglesias got thrown out at home on a tough play. He couldn't get a lead, or he risked being doubled off third, and by the time he COULD run home, he was out. So that was deflating for a moment. Luckily, with the bases still loaded and one out, Crawford got a hold of Al Alberquerque's 1-1 pitch and deposited it over the head of Austin Jackson in center. Dirty Water, and we win again. Nerve-wracking. And wonderful. That's six for the Sox. With Lester on the mound tonight, I like our chances of getting to seven. Thanks for the heart attacks, boys.