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A Few Other Things From Last Night

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  • I can't remember too many instances of a pinch runner working out as well as Fernando Perez did yesterday. From his aggressiveness in advancing to third on Bartlett's groundball to his scoring the winning run, he ran to the next base like Dave Henderson runs from the dentist, and had it not been for his outstanding footspeed, the game might still be going on. Ordinarily, when a hitter lifts a potential sac fly into shallow right, the outfielder has a chance. JD Drew didn't have a chance. Perez is one of the fastest motherfuckers I've ever seen.

  • According to the PITCHf/x data, Mike Timlin did indeed throw a 1-0 strike to Ben Zobrist in the 11th. The pitch was called a ball and John Farrell got ejected for politely suggesting otherwise. Timlin got the call back a few pitches later when a 3-0 high fastball was called a strike, but I'm not sure that really evened things up. So I suppose the Red Sox may have a legitimate gripe. Two things, though: (1) it was a near-borderline pitch, and you can't expect those to be called strikes 100% of the time, and (2) it was Timlin who kept missing the outside lefty strike, and it was Timlin who walked Navarro and allowed the winning run. Strike zones are never perfect, and a bad call hurt the Red Sox, but it wasn't the biggest contributing factor to their losing in the 11th. It was just one of several.

  • It was really nice of Jon Papelbon to point to first base after Carl Crawford's line drive caromed off of his shoulder and bounced towards Dustin Pedroia. I'm sure Pedroia had no idea where to throw the ball. He only has 894 total assists. "Wait, so when the ball hits the pitcher I throw to third, yes? Aren't we playing Calvinball rules?"

    Papelbonpoint_medium

  • I can't believe I'm saying this, but I can't help but feel like Evan Longoria needed that game in the worst way to rebuild his confidence. Prior to yesterday he'd had some ugly rookie at bats, at bats where he got himself out instead of letting the pitcher do the work. Yesterday he climbed back into the driver's seat. Anybody who's ever batted will tell you it's easier to dig in again after you've hit the ball hard than after you've gotten yourself out, and as a kid in the playoffs I'm sure that effect is amplied. Beating the Red Sox last night was big for Longoria and big for the Rays. After an ugly and occasionally embarrassing Game 1, it would've been easy for them to get down on themselves, but now they should be flying high. This series is just beginning.