Four Real? Four at Bats That Changed the Game. Sox vs Os 3-31-14
|Opening Day 2014; Game 1 of the series in Baltimore|
Welcome to another exciting baseball season with RedSoxLife.com! Minutes after many Red Sox games, you may scour the internet to read up on all the dirt about the Red Sox game. Yes, I know that the common fan just cares about the final score, but if you are reading this article, you want to hear what really happened during the game. This Four Real? blog is not just a recap of the game; it's set up to give you information about the four most important at bats during every game. They could be big hits, they could be an at bat that set up a huge play, or they could be a moment that changes the outcome of a game. Whatever it is, I'll do my best to write about it. As always, feel free to let me know you are reading my work and send me a tweet @Red33Sox. Now let's start the 2014 season, shall we?
1) Top of the third inning, and the Sox are down 1-0. While they left two men on last inning, the Sox get two men into scoring position with a David Ortiz single and Mike Napoli double. Mike Carp steps up and swings four times in the at bat, fouling off three pitches, but he is fooled by a Chris Tillman knuckle curve in the dirt and the Orioles get out of the jam.
2) With the Sox down 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Grady Sizemore steps to the plate versus Tillman. Sizemore, seen as a simple low cost-low risk signing in Spring Training, won the job outright from Jackie Bradley and came up already 1 for 1. On a 3-1 pitch, Tillman misses his spot and gasses an inside fastball that Sizemore hits into the first couple rows of bleachers in right. It must have been a great feeling for Grady, as it was his first MLB homerun in nearly 1000 days (June 15, 2011 to be exact).
3) Bottom of the seventh inning, and the game is tied at 1. Tillman is long gone, but Red Sox ace Jon Lester is still going strong. He starts off the inning with an innocent fastball that AL East newcomer Nelson Cruz crushes down the left field line. The no-doubter puts the O's up 2-1in a game that you know is going to be low scoring.
4) Last breath of life for the Red Sox is in the bottom of the ninth. Newly appointed closer Tommy Hunter starts the inning by hitting Will Middlebrooks,and then Dustin Pedroia singles to put men at first and second. David Ortiz pops out and then with two outs, a pinch hitter, the powerful Jonny Gomes steps up..... wait, no. Jackie Bradley, who entered the game a bit earlier for Napoli as a pinch runner, steps to the plate. He is overmatched and looks at a couple of pitches before he watches a high fastball get called strike three. The call ends the rally and the game, and the Sox start 2014 with a losing record.
Should Jonny Gomes have pinch hit? It might have been a good idea, but Bradley wasn't the reason the Sox didn't win. They were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base in a game they should have won. Don't cry too long Sox fans, as the Red Sox also lost their 2004 Opening Day game... to Baltimore.. with Pedro Martinez on the mound. And that year ended up ok......
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