Yale baseball got an "F" Thursday night at Fenway Park.
Former Eli Craig Breslow was unable to throw the ball 60 feet, 6 inches, starting from a full stop after a deliberate windup and a framed target. When it came time to uncork a throw on the move, and the target was about 95 feet up the third base line and Game 2 of the World Series was on the line, he uncorked a doozy that landed a good 150 feet up the line.
That opened the flood gates/Pandora's Box/Gates of Hall/Arc of the Covenant, leading to St. Louis' 4-2 victory that tied the Series 1-1.
So, Craig, have you ever made that throw before, from home plate to third during a game? In Little League? High school? College? The pros?
"I've thrown the ball that distance thousands of times," he said in postgame remarks aired on WEEI, but he did not say specifically if he had ever made that throw, from that sort of angle, especially with the Red Sox tied [for the nanosecond] in a World Series game.
Breslow has been called "the smartest man in baseball" more than once by some creative scribes. At Yale, he double-majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and has deferred acceptance to medical school. With all the talk of doctored baseballs heading into Game 2, one might figure Breslow would be masterful in mixing up a prescription for that special goop that helps pitches move in ways nature never intended.
Perhaps he did that, but it's supposed to affect the ball heading toward the plate, not up the third base line trying to get a running advancing from second.
The doctor's Hippocratic Oath includes the phrase "never do harm" to anyone. Breslow broke that vow quickly on Thursday.
He inherited the two runners Lackey left on base. Pete Kozma, who came into pinch run for David Freese and Jon Jay then pulled off an uncontested double-steal. He's no relation to John Jay, who signed the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War and served as America's first chief justice. But that double-steal triggered a Cardinal revolt and put St. Louis back in the driver's seat of this series as it heads west three games starting Saturday night.
With runners on second and third and one out, Breslow labored through a walk to Daniel Descalso. Matt Carpenter's fly ball to left that triggered the two run, two error play, starting with Jonny Gomes' off-line throw to the plate. [Gomes had Jay dead to rights leading off second, by the way.] Jarrod Saltalamacchia bungled the throw. Breslow backed up the play, which tied the score at 2-2, but then threw the ball back into left field, which allowed Jay to score. Breslow followed that up with a single to Carlos Beltran, scoring Descalso, for the 4-2 lead/final score.
"Craig would like to have that ball back and hold it," Farrell said. "It's uncharacteristic of the way we've taken care of the baseball this year."
The foundation for the seventh inning of Game 2 of the World Series was laid when John Lackey was unable to hold onto the 2-1 lead he was given by David Ortiz' 17th career postseason home run, a two-run shot, in the sixth. Lackey's job was to hold the lead through the seventh. He failed. That leaves Lackey about $41 million short in terms of working off his five-year, $82.5 million deal, following his Game 5 victory over the Tigers in the ALCS.
In the movie version of "Fever Pitch II - Boston Strong - The Story of the 2013 Red Sox," Ortiz's home run in Game 2 comes in the bottom of the ninth and gives the Red Sox a 2-1 victory. It would be Boston's 10th straight World Series win, sending the Red Sox off to the Gateway City with a 2-0 lead in the World Series.
The World Series serves as a catalyst to rekindle the crumbled marriage of Ben Wrightman and Lindsey Meeks [she kept her name for professional purposes]. Ben and Lindsey have two kids, but they got divorced in 2012 after she had lost her fancy, six-figure salary "math" job due to a company bankruptcy. Turns out she could not handle the stress of being a stay-at-home mom, especially once "Uncle Bobby" moved in, and the income-limited lifestyle after living just on Ben's teacher salary.
They had reunited during the magical Red Sox season of 2013 for a brief fling, but eventually called it quits.
Ben heads off to Game 4 in St. Louis with his pals to drink away his sorrows and find solace in his "only true love" the Red Sox, but Lindsey follows him there to tell him that she's pregnant again, with his child. She breaks the news as Koji Uehara strikes out Beltran with the bases loaded to give the Red Sox their third World Series title in 10 years.
"Three kids, and now three rings in my lifetime," says Ben .
"No, that's four rings, silly," adds Lindsey, as she puts her wedding band back on her left hand.
Thursday night, the Cardinals flipped that script and ordered a re-write. It included Michael Wacha going Josh Beckett circa 2003 vs. the Yankees. This 22-year-old Texas Toughguy was dealing all night, throwing downhill, keeping the Red Sox guessing with an assortment of fiery fastballs, baffling change-ups and the "surprise I can throw a curveball, too" curveball.
While Wacha did give up a real-life two-run home run to Ortiz, he also remained in the game after that home run and got Mike Napoli swinging and Gomes to ground out, finish the inning after an Ortiz curtail call amid a frenzied Fenway and eventually earn credit for the win. Having Ortiz replacing Napoli in St. Louis at first is a no-brainer, but it might be time to consider pulling Stephen Drew in exchange for moving Xander Bogaerts to short and Will Middlebrooks back to third. Also, in case you forgot, Daniel Nava also plays for the Red Sox, can hit AND play left field all at the same time.
Drew could be the first player in baseball history to have a negative batting average before this World Series is over. Meanwhile, Thursday night, Napoli and Saltalamacchia combined to leave 286 runners on base on Thursday.
Or maybe not, it just seemed that way.
Ortiz's home run the lone opportunity for those of us at Fenway to let loose with the wild fury that has become common place on Yawkey Way this year. Don Draper [Jon Hamm, life-time Cardinals fan] was there, seated behind the plate sporting a beard [it looked real] that would put Napoli to shame. But it was Red Sox fans who wanted to hit the Scotch and cigarettes when this game was finished.
The Cardinals bullpen, which has been flexing its developing muscle in the NL playoffs during the past few postseasons while Boston was licking its autumnal wounds, went full "Show Me" and showed the Red Sox and a chilled Fenway crowd how indeed they won 104 games [after Thursday night] and beat the Pirates and Dodgers in the NL playoffs.
Meanwhile, we got another bitter taste of "Our Father's Red Sox." We thought they had been put to sleep sometimes between the Great Salary Dump/Organ Transplant of 2012, the hiring of John Farrell and the creation of #WalkOffCity.
"Nobody can dictate you're going to win four straight games in the World Series," Ortiz said.
Red Sox fans and media members under 30 can't remember the last time this team had lost a World Series game. Gone is the Red Sox World Series winning streek, It ended at nine games and died just three days shy of its 27th birthday. Those 2004 comparisons are also tossed onto the asheap of history. Several members of the 2004 team, including Pedro Martinez, were on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The Red Sox could have used a little of that 2004 magic Thursday night.
But 2013 is going to stand on its own for the Red Sox, win or lose.
Just ask Ben and Lindsey.
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