I went to bed last night right after the end of the seventh inning with the Sox down 7-2 against King Felix. I should know better with this team.
After my first cup of coffeee this morning, I opened MLB At Bat on my ipad and discovered the unbelievable. The Sox had scored six runs in the ninth to win 8-7. Oh … my … God! As Marc said in a text at 7 am:
Holy shit!!!!! Just watched the highlights!!!!!!
After giving up a five spot in the fifth, Dempster was allowed to go one more inning and then Steven “Dreamweaver” Wright floated through three innings of shutdown knuckleball relief. Surprising? Not really. As I’ll discuss in a moment, it was deja vu. The surprising thing was what transpired in the bottom of the ninth.
Mariner closer Tom Wilhelmsen came on to close out what I expect everyone at Fenway and in the great northwest thought would be Felix Hernandez’s 110th career win. But no, because this happened:
- Nava walked …
- Lavarnway singled
- Holt doubled (7-3)
- Ellsbury walked
- bye bye Wilhemsen hello Ollie Perez
- Victorino singled (7-5)
- Pedroia singled (7-6)
- Ortiz whiffed
- Perez out Medina in
- Gomes singled (7-7)
- Drew walked
- and full circle Nava singles to score Pedrioa and the Sox win 8-7.
Is this unusual? Kinda, but not this year. The Sox have 11 walk off wins so far in 2013. That ties them for the most since 1978 and is two away from the team record of 13 in 1940. Clearly, this is not the year to leave the park early or turn off the TV before the last out.
Maybe there was a little magic/deja vu/a wrinkle in time last night. On July 11 the Sox came back from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Mariners 8-7. Not too weird you say. Until you learn that:
- King Felix started on July 11 and left after with a 7-1 lead.
- The Sox starter on July 11? Dempster. He lasted only 3 1/3 innings.
- The reliever on July 11? Steven Wright. He tossed 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball before the Sox scored in the top of the tenth. Koji cliosed that game out.
That’s some kinda weird karma.
What has Felix Hernandez done to displeasure the baseball gods? He hasn’t killed a bird recently, I’m guessing. Yet, after last night’s game he may feel compelled to pull aside any young man determined to propose to his girlfriend on the jumbo screen at Fenway and relate his tale of misery at the hands of Steven Wright. King Felix is the 2013 version of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It might start like this:
It is an ancient Mariner known as the King to all,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By tattoed neck and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?
The King holds him with his skinny hand,
‘There was a reliever who could do no wrong,’ quoth he, ‘his name was Wright!’
‘Hold off! Unhand me, tattooed loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
King Felix holds him with his glittering eye though—
The affianced stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The King Mariner hath his will.
You get the picture … Coleridge I am not. The Mariners, though, must feel as if some other worldly power controls them when Steven Wright takes to the mound, even though their opponent the Red Sox can conjure up little hope facing perhaps the greatest pitcher of the 21st century. Steven Wright is the dreamweaver, the hope possessor, the man with that certain mojo that sucks the victory mojo from the Mariners. And he did it again last night.
On the bright side for the Mariners, they know their Wright torture is done for the year. The Sox win last night pushed the season series resoundingly in their favor 6-1.
Now, the Sox await the arrival of the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three game interleague tilt starting tonight. Since the onset of interleague play in 1997, the Sox have played the Diamondbacks twelve times. They are 7-5 against the Snakes winning the last five.
Tonight’s matchup has Jon Lester facing off against Randall Delgado. Delgado was acquired by the Diamondbacks from the Braves in the Justin Upton off-season deal. The twenty-three year old Delgado is 3-3 on the season with a 2.85 ERA and is on a hot streak. He tossed his first ever complete game shutout against the Padres in his last start and has not allowed a run over his last two starts, totaling 14 2/3 IP. Delgado is a pitch to contact guy. In 53 innings, he’s allowed 58 hits, walked 10 and struck out 38. He has lowered his walk rate considerably this year which seems to bode well for the youngster. He has had a bit of luck, though, compiling a strand rate of 84% (league average strand rate is 70-72%) so he is due for a correction in that department. Let’s hope that starts tonight.