As he took a lead off third base in the fifth inning, Carl Crawford couldn’t believe what he was watching.
Jered Weaver, the best pitcher in the American League this season, was throwing Dustin Pedroia every pitch he had. The 13-pitch sequence broke down to four fastballs, three sliders, three cutters and three changeups.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Crawford said. “He must have fouled off five or six great pitches.”
The Red Sox were down 2-1 with Crawford at third and Ellsbury at first and two outs. Pedroia was 3 for 25 against Weaver as he came to the plate. The two had first faced off in college and to hear Pedroia tell the story, he hadn’t fared much better in those days.
Here’s what transpired:
79-mph changeup: Ball
79-mph slider: Foul
92-mph fastball: Ball
79-mph changeup: Foul
91-mph fastball: Foul
93-mph fastball: Foul
92-mph cutter: Ball (Ellsbury steals second)
81-mph slider: Foul
78-mph slider: Foul
78-mph changeup: Foul
92-mph cutter: Foul
91-mph cutter: Foul
91-mph fastball: Two-run single to center
Weaver threw four different pitches and at six different speeds. He started out with three pitches inside then worked the ball outside. Two pitches were low, two others high.
“It was awesome. It was one of those things where he battled, battled, battled,” said Adrian Gonzalez, who was on deck. “You could see Weaver making pitch after pitch. He just kept fouling them off.”
Of the 118 pitches Weaver threw, Pedroia saw 23 of them over three at-bats. The final at-bat was epic.
“See it, hit it. There’s really nothing else you can do,” Pedroia said.
Up 3-2, the Sox then put the wood to the Angels with six runs in the seventh inning. Gonzalez dented the Wall for the first time with a three-run double to left center. Kevin Youkilis followed with an RBI double and then David Ortiz with a home run into the Monster Seats.
Ortiz has drawn 15 walks this season and of his 26 hits, only seven by my count have been pulled into right field. He’s going up the middle and the other way while showing great patience. If that keeps up, the home runs and RBIs will pile up.
A few other notes and observations:
• Ellsbury bruised the inside of his left knee when he collided with Jeff Mathis scoring on the Gonzalez double. Terry Francona said the joint was “stable” and that Ellsbury is only sore.
• Dan Wheeler has allowed 16 hits and 11 runs over 10 innings. You have to wonder if he’s injured.
• Gonzalez has hit safely in 15 of the last 16 games at 24 of 68 and has 18 RBIs on the season. It’s not a big deal that he hasn’t had a home run in 93 at-bats. But is certainly is weird. Bet when he hits his next one, a bunch will follow. That’s usually how it works.
• The Sox are 14-1 against the Angels the last two years, outscoring them 97-46. That has to be embarrassing to the Angels.
• The Sox have won games started by Felix Hernandez and Weaver the last two days. Now they get Dan Haren on Tuesday.
• Crawford is 4 for 8 in May. Hey, the man has to start somewhere.
• It’s hard to say Clay Buchholz was good tonight because he put 10 runners on base in 6.2 innings. His defense saved him at least one run and maybe two. But he managed the game and that was something he didn’t well earlier.
• Can you remember a first baseman more confident in his arm than Gonzalez? Maybe Keith Hernandez back in the day. With Torii Hunter on second and no outs in the sixth inning, Gonzalez snapped up a grounder and fired to third.
Nine out of 10 first basemen take the easy out. Gonzalez was saved by Youkilis making a heck of a tag. But he had the guts to throw the ball in the first place.
“It’s one of things where I always tell (the third baseman) to be aware if it’s hit hard at me,” Gonzalez said.
• A Fenway Park security guard dropped a fan who ran on the field with a Tedy Bruschi-like tackle late in the game. He got a huge ovation from the fans in the right field corner.
Meanwhile, the whole country is on high alert after those Navy Seals double-tapped Bin Laden and some nitwit decides to run on the field? He’s lucky he only got tackled.
• I don’t know about you. But as I watched this game tonight, all I could think about was how is this team two games under .500?
The way things are going now, 11 victories in the last 16 games, that will change soon.