Extra Bases

Sox talk Griffey, replay and another win

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First off, let’s pay a little tribute to the great Ken Griffey Jr.

Many players are autograph collectors and the star they all sought was Ken Griffey Jr. For players born in the 1980s, Junior was the guy they grew up watching and emulating. I still remember going into the Seattle clubhouse last year and seeing Griffey sign a pile of jerseys in front of his locker. All were requests from Yankees.

Mike Cameron had some great perspective to offer tonight. He was one of four players the Reds traded to Seattle for Griffey in 2000. Cameron replaced him in center field in Seattle and it was with the Mariners that Mike’s career took off.

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“It’s been a great ride for him,” Cameron said. “I know the toughest thing to do is retire for one. But to retire during the season is probably really hard to do because of the camaraderie more than anything else.”

Cameron and Griffey became friends over the years, going on trips sponsored by Nike. Junior, he said, was the player everybody flocked to.

“He reached out to a lot of people,” Cameron said. “He’s been a gift to the game of baseball for a lot of fans for a long time. I’m proud to say I’m a little part of his history. I wish him the best. It’s been a great ride for him, man.”

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The Sox also were talking about the terrible call Jim Joyce made that cost Armando Galarraga his perfect game. Joyce acknowledged he was wrong and apologized. But it was too late at that point.

Two themes were constant: That Joyce is a good umpire the players respect and that the clearly blown call could force more replay into the game.

“You have every stat that you can possibly have. You might as well use instant replay to get it all right,” Cameron said. “In a situation like that, we were talking about having a little red flag you could throw on the field and get one instant-replay call a game.”

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I’m personally opposed to everything being adjudicated by replay. But having one or two challenges a game is not a bad idea.

As for the game, it’s worth noting the Sox trailed the Athletics 4-0 Tuesday and came back to win, then rallied from a 3-0 deficit tonight. The way the Sox are playing lately (they’ve won 12 of 15), they fear no deficit.

The offense — 15 runs on 24 hits the last two nights — just keeps humming along. David Ortiz is so hot that he was issued his first intentional walk of the year after belting a classic Big Papi home run in the fifth.

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If you can figure out Daisuke Matsuzaka, call the Sox. They can’t. He walked eight in his last start and tonight threw 84 of 109 pitches for strikes. He didn’t walk anybody over 6.2 innings but allowed 10 hits as Oakland sat on his fastball. is that good pitching? It was good enough tonight.

“I hate to say this. It was almost too many strikes,” Francona said. “He worked ahead real well and he got hurt when he was ahead in the count.”

The Sox will try for the sweep tomorrow with Tim Wakefield facing Brett Anderson. Then it’s off to Baltimore, which is reportedly about to fire manager Dave Trembley.

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Thanks for reading today. Back at it tomorrow.

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