Alexei Ramirez’s two-run homer off Clay Buchholz in the sixth inning proved too difficult to overcome, and the White Sox took another one-run decision, 3-2, at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night. Boston is staring at Chris Sale and the very real possibility of a three-game sweep directly in the face on Thursday. The Red Sox are already 1-5 on this road trip, and that’s on the heels of a 2-4 homestand.
Every good team experiences an ugly road series like this, in which nothing big goes right and all the little things seem to go wrong. But good teams earn that designation by providing themselves with leeway for that occasional series, and the 2014 Red Sox have yet to do any such thing.
Seventeen days into the season, the Red Sox have already sliced their margin of error to a fillet. A better homestand, and the Red Sox could have better afforded to play fast and loose on the south side; they did, after all, lose two of three here last May.
A better offense, and the Red Sox could get past the first-inning defensive miscues that helped the White Sox promptly negate Boston’s first first-inning run of the season. Handed a 1-0 lead, Buchholz hit Adam Eaton to lead off the game. Daniel Nava couldn’t grasp a pickoff attempt, allowing Eaton to move to second. Ryan Roberts bounced a two-out throw to Nava, allowing Eaton to score in a macabre replay of Tuesday’s ninth inning.
A better defense, and Buchholz wouldn’t have thrown 31 pitches in the opening frame — a full 15 of which came after Roberts’ error. He wouldn’t have been up over the 100-pitch mark in the sixth, then, when he left a 2-1 fastball to the hottest hitter in the American League up over the inner half. Ramirez, who entered the night with a hit in every game this season and a .415 average more than 50 points better than the league’s next-best, deposited that mistake in the Chicago bullpen in left field for a two-run homer.
The Red Sox revved their offense with three straight hits to open the game — a double by Dustin Pedroia, an RBI single from Xander Bogaerts and another single from David Ortiz. The inevitable sputtering came quickly thereafter, as Boston did not register another hit all night.
Despite their inability to connect barrel to ball, the Red Sox had their share of opportunities. Their failure to collect a hit was felt most poignantly in the eighth, when a quartet of White Sox relievers each walked one Boston batter, with a run coming in to score on A.J. Pierzynski’s sacrifice fly. But with the bases loaded, Jackie Bradley, Jr. popped the ball up innocently behind short.
In one stretch in the middle innings, Chicago starter John Danks walked or hit five of 10 Boston batters; the Red Sox stranded all of them, including the sacks loaded in the third.
Danks, a left-hander whom the Red Sox have traditionally hit well, weaved his way through traffic on the bases to allow only the first-inning run over six frames.
Buchholz yielded the three runs (two earned) on six hits over six.
Divisions are not won in April, but the Red Sox need only look at last season for a reminder of the first month’s significance. By the first of May, Boston had already put 8.5 games between it and the preseason favorite Blue Jays. The tone had been set.
The Red Sox hope they are not feeling the other end of that seesaw this April, with a 5-10 record equal to the woebegone starts of 2011 and 2012 through 15 games.
With its emphasis on a moment in sports history just prior to my—and I never know how to put this—sports consciousness kicking in, Dream Team is the rare sports book I knew I needed to read. My earliest sports memories are all around 1992—Laettner’s shot, Sanders’ run through the Cowboys, my first Mets game.
As such, I remember the Dream Team being a big deal—we had posters and T-shirts and all—but I didn’t quite realize how big a deal it was for the sport globally. (I was five.)
Perhaps because the chapters are so short and the pace so breezy, McCallum’s book reads more like a survey than an in-depth analysis. There’s a lingering sense that McCallum got caught between two poles here: sticking to the story of the Dream Team specifically and exploring the shifting dynamic of the NBA in the early 1990s—from the league’s 1980s saviors to its 1990s advancers (with one guy specifically in mind). Focusing strictly on the Dream Team would have left out some of McCallum’s better stories about the personalities in here, Barkley especially. Going the other way, though, would have made this a much longer book, and probably a bit more of a slog.
What you get, then, is a pair of brief representative glimpses of each of the players—one focused on ‘92 and the other an “interlude” from McCallum’s 2011 interviews. McCallum knows the players well enough to avoid extrapolating unnecessarily in these short spaces, which is important. He also probably knows more than what he puts in here.
The Dream Team’s dominance is so self-evident, so taken-for-granted, that there isn’t much in the book about what made the team so much fun to watch. There’s John Stockton calling it “basketball poetry,” but there isn’t much showing to back it up. Maybe that’s impossible to do in text. The chapter breaking down the Dream Team scrimmage offers play-by-play and line-by-line trash talk, but it’s still not the same as actually watching the tape.
The Buffalo Bills have finished 6-10 each of the last three seasons. Fortunately, the prolonged sub-mediocrity hasn’t kept all of their fans down. In fact, some of their fans spent the season getting up – way up – by dunking on some unsuspecting fools who made the mistake of coming to Ralph Wilson Stadium (or the Rogers Center).
uploader Noah Harpster’s description:
There are several things we do really well: wings, not win championships and posterize you at the Ralph.
My friend—we’ll call him “Dean”—works at a pet store here in Los Angeles, and recently James Avery, the actor who played Uncle Phil on Fresh Prince, has become a somewhat regular customer. Avery has come in two or three times with his dog, and each time Dean has helped him find what he needed, never mentioning that he recognized Avery from TV.
After a few interactions with Avery, Dean answered the phone at the store one day and found it was Avery calling. “This the dude who always helps me?” asked Avery. “It is,” said Dean. Avery then proceeded to tell Dean that his dog would be coming into the shop later that day, but because he was busy, “a friend” was going to bring it in. Dean said cool, and went about his day. A little while later, in came Avery’s dog, accompanied by the friend he’d told Dean about: none other than Joseph Marcell, the man who played Geoffrey the butler on Fresh Prince. Uncle Phil had sent Geoffrey the butler to the pet store for him.