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Get a grip, 'Pine-da' Tar not the problem for Red Sox

Get a grip, Red Sox Nation.

Blame it on the "Pine-da Tar" if you'd like.

But you're missing the point.

The Red Sox had four hits against the Yankees in Thursday's 4-1 loss. The cause, apparently, was a few hundred gallons of pine tar that Michael Pineda had on his right hand and elsewhere in his pine-striped jersey.

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Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy were in full "back and to the left" conspiracy theory mode when the TV cameras caught a foreign substance seemingly all over the Yankees starter.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi sidestepped the question of the "Pine-da Tar" in his post-game presser. John Farrell said he wasn't made aware of it until the fourth inning and it was gone by the fifth.

"Everybody uses pine tar in the league, it's not a big deal," David Ortiz said after the game. In other words, our guys usually use pine tar, suntan lotion, Napalm, Vaseline, rosin, Silly Putty and, when necessary, Wesson Oil. Thank you, Big Papi. Ortiz and anyone else watching this team knows their early-season issues are grounded at the plate and within all those ground balls.

Given the way the Red Sox were hitting the ball as of late, the grip-aiding substance was probably needless overkill on the part of the Yankees. There was a consensus last night that some hitters are OK with this - despite it's illegality - because in cold weather it allows pitchers better control of a ball that might sail high and hit someone in the head. Given how brazen the substance was and that everyone watching the game on television or via their computer, tablet or smartphone, could see it, it's unlikely this was something done on the down low.

Michael Pineda fanned seven Red Sox and allowed just four hits and one run in his six innings of work, while Cesar Cabral and David Phelps combined to hold the Red Sox hitless for the final three innings.

This "rivalry" is desperately in need of some performance-enhancing substances now that Alex Rodriguez is gone. The "Derek Jeter Farwell Tour" just isn't going to keep the masses north of Fairfield County interested, especially after 2013. There hasn't been much [sports] hate between the Red Sox and Yankees since they last met in the postseason back in the 2004 ALCS. It's been weighted to one side or another, slightly in the Red Sox favor, ever since. There's no doubt the Red Sox are a weaker team than they were in 2013 and it's hard to deny the Yankees improved themselves in the offseason, albeit slightly given the loss of Robinson Cano and the accelerate assault of Father Time on Jeter.

Jacoby Ellsbury jumped ship in the offseason and that added a little pulse. But nearly every Red Sox fan from Waterville, Maine, to Waterford, Conn., metaphorically drove him to the airport. There was universal agreement with the Red Sox' decision across State Run and State Owned Media that his $153 million, seven-year contract was too close to Carl Crawford for comfort. Ellsbury's return against the Red Sox was a big "meh" Thursday. He went 1 for 4 and scored a run, but hit a grounder in the fourth that was booted by Jonathan Herrera that led to a two-run inning.

While Ellsbury made a significant and vital contribution to the 2007 [thanks for the taco] and '13 World Series Cup winners, he never displayed the same passion wrought by a Dustin Pedroia or Jonny Gomes. Therefore, his departure was met with acceptance and antipathy.

Before Thursday's tepid offensive effort - Boston's lone run came courtesy of Daniel Nava's strikeout-streak breaking home run - the Red Sox had hit into 17 double plays on the season. They might have to add a "643" jersey to the dugout this season. Boston ranked 10th in the American League before Thursday with 35 runs scored on the season in - long before anyone used pine tar. The Red Sox continued their 2014 trend of stranding more bodies than the the producers of "Lost," going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and is now hitting .202 on the season.

Last season, Clay Buchholz was accused by Toronto's broadcasting team of using a foreign substance. That claimed was mocked across social media and throughout much of the media, on many of the same platforms that exploded during Thursday's "Pine-da Tar" crisis.

There was nothing much of substance coming off Buchholz's arm Thursday. He pitched well enough to lose, giving up four runs, two earned, and six hits while striking out seven in his six innings. Better than his first start of the season but not enough to compensate for Boston's still-struggling lineup.

The "Pine-da Tar" crisis had pretty much subsided by the sixth inning. Don and Jerry had gone from "Woodward and Bernstein on Nixon" to hockey talk with Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley [the Bruins lost, too, 2-1 in a shootout at Winnipeg] and NESN's new nightly and extremely annoying "Pop-Up Facts" flooded the screen.

Speaking of Nixon, his former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 90, was spotted in a luxury suite at Yankee Stadium.

Power may be the ultimate aphrodisiac, but pine tar does a pretty good job in angering Red Sox fans on Twitter during a frustrating early-season loss to the Yankees.

Let's close with one of our own "Pop-Up Facts:"

"The Red Sox inability to hit the ball when it counts this season has nothing to do with pine tar. Now more than ever, they need to start hitting the ball with runners in scoring position."

That should make it perfectly clear.


The OBF Blog is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Got a news tip, want to let him know directly what you think, have a complaint or compliment about his "aggressively relevant" content or hate people who speak about themselves in the third person, hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or hit him on at his
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