FREE PASS

Clay Buchholz

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz delivers to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, March 23, 2013. Photo: Elise Amendola

It was the bottom of the third, I began to watch yesterday’s game. Mike Napoli was at bat. There were no outs and no one on base. The score, 2-1, Sox.

Napoli strikes out and Will Middlebrooks is up. Middlebrooks hits a triple rounding the bases to third. One out and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is up for the Sox. He hits an RBI and Middlebrooks runs home. The score now 3-1.  Two more pop flies to the outfield and the inning is over.

Today’s game was smooth and steady until Clay Buchholz allowed his first walk, FREE PASS, of the day, in the top of the sixth.

Junichi Tazawa walks to the mound and the day is called for Buchholz. Tazawa ends the inning as he allows one base hit for a double play. He seems quite impressive on the mound, but only until he walks two of the Pirate’s players (two FREE PASSES), at the top of the eighth. The score is still 3-1 and the Sox are up, but there are no outs. Manager John Farrell walks to the mound where Tazawa and catcher David Ross reside. Pitcher Anthony Carter takes over. The defensive team becomes sloppy all of a sudden and the dynamics shift.  A slap bunt to Xander Boegart causes an error in the field as he throws passed Mike Napoli to attempt the inning’s first out. The Pirates score two runs tying the game. WIth a man on second and the Pirates’, Alvarez up to bat, there is a chance to take the lead. Homerun! It is 5-3, Pirates.  With two outs and no man on base, Anthony Carter hands out another FREE PASS.  Fortunately nothing came of it but a walk to first base.

It’s the bottom of the eighth. Dustin Pedroia is up to bat.  Strike three! He swings and misses.  That’s four strike outs in the game for Pedroia with no hits. Mike Napoli also strikes out leaving today’s stats no better than Pedroia’s. We’ll have to rely on Jacob Ellsbury to get on base. Unfortunately he swings, misses and strikes out.  The bottom of the eighth is over.

It’s the top of the ninth.  Brock Huntzinger takes the mound.  He strikes out the first batter, but the Pirates’ Jose Tabata hits a double into the left field wall. Mercer strikes out, but Carter allows Felix Pie another FREE PASS.

The game didn’t get too interesting until Johnny Gomes took a hit to his left elbow. He ended up having to call it a day.

Pinch hitter, Brian Sweeney takes first and Blake Swihart takes to home plate. There is one out by Lyle Overbay. Swihart attempts a bunt down the third base line, but instead he pops the ball into the infield. It is carelessly dropped but the Pirates make a double play anyway.  No infield fly was called.

It was sheer chaos to end the game and it began with Junichi Tazawa’s two FREE PASSES he allowed at the top of the eighth.

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