Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Why were some national media "experts" so certain that Detroit would win this series? Was it because the Celtics took 2 of 3 from Detroit in the regular season? Was it because the Celtics have Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce? Was it because nobody but the C's can win in the Garden?
Remember when a certain Irish-American curly-haired Boston Globe columnist delivered these words of wisdom?:
"As for Garnett, I have only two words of warning: Alex Rodriguez."
More like David Ortiz, Shaughnessy. KG shot 11 of 17 from the field, ending up with 26 points and 9 rebounds. Pierce continued to play out of his mind, netting 22 points, with 6 rebounds, and 6 steals. He also did a great job of running the offense when Rondo was sitting. Rajon had one of his best defensive performances of the year, racking up 5 steals. He also had 11 points and 7 rebounds.
The Celtics played superbly on the defensive side of the ball. They forced turnovers, and made Detroit take low percentage shots on the outside. Had the Celtics shot better from 3 (2 of 9), this game would have been over much sooner than it was.
Speaking of shooting from 3, the C's tried to get Ray Allen involved in the offense early on, but it was to no avail. Allen's shots were all off. Halfway through the 1st, it was clear that he was psychologically affected by his struggles. He passed up open shots for difficult drives through traffic. Thankfully, his problems were only on one half of the court, defensively he had a great game.
Game 2 is Thursday night, same time, same place, and hopefully same result.
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During the off-season, Justin Masterson was seen by most Sox fans as a throw-in to get Johan Santana. He was a prospect, just an obscure collection of minor league statistics. But he's looked pretty sharp in his two starts in The Show. And this time, he collected Major League win #1.
Hideki Okajima almost blew it. Coming off a sore wrist, he surrended a leadoff double in the 8th, then walked 2 batters to load the bases with 2 outs. Papelbon came in and got the 4 out save, striking out 3.
I hate it when Papelbon has to come in and get more than 3 outs. In 2006, he was overused and ran out of gas down the stretch. Last year, the Sox protected him. He only went more than 1 inning 4 times in 2007. Tuesday night was the 5th time the Sox used him to get more than 3 outs.
But it all ended well, and the Red Sox have won 5 straight. Bartolo Colon makes his Sox debut Wednesday night, facing Brett Tomko.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
You just never know what's gonna happen in this game.
In the 139 year history of professional baseball, only 255 times had a team ended a full 9 inning game with 0 hits. Last night, the Kansas City Royals became team #256, as Jon Lester threw 9 no-hit innings in a 7-0 Red Sox victory.
Lester threw a career high 130 pitches, 86 of which were strikes. He got ahead in the count, and finished the Kansas City batters with a devastating curve, and a potent fastball. His stuff was electric, and the way he and Varitek changed things up - high to low, inside and outside, fast and off-speed - was like watching two bullies playing Keep Away with a small child.
This was Lester's first career complete game, and obviously his first career shutout. He's the first Red Sox lefty to toss a no-no since Mel Parnell blanked the White Sox in 1956.
An assist goes to the Red Sox defense. Jacoby Ellsbury made a sensational diving grab in the 4th to rob Jose Guillen of a 2 out single. He also stole 2 more bases.
Even Julio Lugo looked good in the field. The only sloppy defensive play came from Lester himself, throwing away a pickoff attempt.
The last no-hitter thrown in the Majors was, of course, Clay Buchholz's in September of '07. The last time a team has had two no-hitters in a row like this was when Nolan Ryan tossed no-hitter #3 in 1974, and #4 in 1975; both for the California Angels.
In the young 21st century, there have been 12 no-hitters thrown. Four of those have been by Red Sox pitchers. The Marlins are the only other team with multiple no-hitters in this century with 2.
And how about Jason Varitek? He becomes the first man in baseball history to catch 4 no-hitters. The fact that he's caught no-hitters from 4 different pitchers speaks volumes about his strategic value as a game caller. He also had a great night at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a 2 run homer.
It's just a nice story. Only 20 months ago, Lester's career and his life were in jeopardy. And now, he's made history.
Justin Masterson faces Gil Meche Tuesday night.
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AP Photo/Charles Krupa