Friday, May 30, 2014

Home Cookin' Sports Chowdah Update- Home of the Braves, No Hospitality as Atlanta's NL Club Gets Back to Its Beantown Roots; Beckett Notches First Career No-No, Shuts out Phils

RED SOX- Somebody break up the Red Sox! Of course, if I said that a week ago it would've sounded like some sort of plea to invoke the mercy rule when they looked to be matching or beating the record for consecutive regular season games lost by a defending World Series champion with that disastrous series against Tampa Bay [Not to mention the homestand against Toronto and Detroit- NANESB!].

Although it didn't look that way at first, things started to turn around with Monday afternoon's game at Turner Field when the Red Sox rallied from a 6-1 deficit to tie the game at 6-6 before a rainstorm moved in and caused an hour-long delay. After the delay, the Red Sox got two more runs and the bullpen persevered to make it an 8-6 final- their first win since May 14th.

The following night in Atlanta, Boston made it two in a row after scoring four unanswered runs in the top of the 7th, rallying from a 3-2 hole to go on and win by a 6-3 final.

Wednesday night saw the series shift to Boston- the original home of the Braves until 1953- and the games opened up with a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the 2004 World Series team with alumni on field [with the notable exception of Big Papi- the only member of the 2004 'idiots' still on the Red Sox roster- NANESB!]. This included a ceremonial first pitch from Manny Ramirez that was cut off by fellow outfielder Johnny Damon in an impromptu recreation of one of the more infamous "Manny being Manny" moments during his time with the Red Sox

It gets better for Red Sox nation, though. After the ceremonial first pitch, Lackey and the Red Sox bullpen hurled a gem with Lackey, Tazawa, Capuano and Breslow shutting out the Braves by a 4-0 final and capping their 3rd straight win.

On Thursday night at Fenway, the Braves jumped out to an early lead with a Jason Heyward solo homer in the 3rd and an RBI single from Evan Gattis to make it 2-0. In the bottom of the 5th the Red Sox got on the board with an RBI double to make it 2-1, but Atlanta added to their lead with a booming Freddie Freeman RBI double that barely stayed in the park to put Atlanta up 3-1.

In the bottom of the 8th, Brock Holt led off the inning with a single to shallow left off of David Carpenter and advanced to second on a fielding error by Justin Upton. This was followed by a Xander Bogaerts single that plated Holt to make it a 1-run game. Dustin Pedroia would then single to put Bogaerts in scoring position with nobody out. Bogaerts then came home on a Pierzynski single to tie the game up at 3-3.

Carpenter got Gomes to strike out for the first out of the bottom of the 8th before Luis Avilan came out of the Braves pen to strike out Grady Sizemore and intentionally walk Big Papi. Craig Kimbrel then came out of the Atlanta pen to get David Ross to strike out and end the threat, but the damage had been done.

After Uehara came on in relief of starter Jake Peavy, Ryan Doumit led off the inning with a single followed by a Tommy LaStella sac bunt to move pinch-runner Jordan Schafer over to second. With Schafer in scoring position, Uehara got Andrelton Simmons to ground out and Jason Heyward to strike out and end the Braves threat in the top of the 9th.

In the bottom of the 9th, Jackie Bradley Jr and Brock Holt led off with walks, putting runners in scoring position right away and with nobody out. On Kimbrel's 15th pitch of the inning, Xander Bogarts hit into what initially looked like a double play- or at least a routine groundout- to 3rd, but Braves 3B Chris Johnson's throw to second was low and dribbled past Tommy LaStella.

An alert Jackie Bradley Jr bolted for home and Lastella's throw was wide of the plate, giving the Red Sox a walkoff 4-3 win in the bottom of the 9th to complete the home-and-away series sweep against Atlanta.

While winning four straight against a club like the Atlanta Braves is always good, the Red Sox need to improve their record within the AL East and they'll have a chance to do exactly that when they host the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night. David Price [4-4; 4.42 ERA] is scheduled to get the start against Brandon Workman, who was recently called up from Triple-A Pawtucket. In seven starts against the International League this season, Workman has a 3-1 record with a 5.12 ERA.

The game will be televised on NESN with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET.

ELSEWHERE IN MLB- Former Red Sox starter Josh Beckett has pitched the first no-hitter of the 2014 season last weekend as the Dodgers blanked the Phillies 6-0 on Sunday. This also marks the first no-hitter in Beckett's distinguished career and the first no-hitter for the Dodgers since 1996. Although Beckett's no-no was the first of 2014, the last MLB no-hitter actually took place on the final day of the 2013 regular season when Marlins [another one of Beckett's former clubs- NANESB] starter Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers.

Beckett, a 1999 1st round draft pick by the Marlins, made his MLB debut for Florida in 2001 and won his first World Series in 2003, besting the Yankees in six games. In 2006, Beckett and then-teammate Mike Lowell were traded to Boston and Beckett won a World Series title with the Red Sox in 2007 after Boston swept the Colorado Rockies in four games.

During the colossal trainwreck that was the 2012 season, an underperforming Beckett was traded to Los Angeles along with outfielder Carl Crawford and 1B Adrian Gonzalez for infielder James Loney in the biggest post-deadline transaction in MLB history. Although the Red Sox had to pay the salaries of the traded players for the remainder of the 2012 season, the move freed up nearly $250 million in salary for the Red Sox.

Beckett's pitch total

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