Ode to Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, and Dice-K Matsuzaka

Over the past week, the Red Sox have been doing what they need to do to ensure themselves a spot in the playoffs (and the Rangers have been helping us out a bit). However, at the beginning of the week, we had a much bigger chance at maybe taking the division than we do at this point. If we had but swept the Royals (or even won the series), we would be in a much different position than we are now. 

What happened Monday night against the Royals was simply unacceptable. If that was the small hiccup before the big show, than that’s fine, but a solid bullpen is essential during the playoffs, and I think that Manny Delcarmen plays a very important role in our bullpen. This game was obviously not very enjoyable to watch, but it just wasn’t the Red Sox’s night. A bullpen, no matter how strong it is, always has a meltdown every now and then. 
As the playoffs approach, one has to start wondering what the starting rotation is going to look like, and I think it is getting more and more solidified with every quality start that Dice-K Matsuzaka makes. I think we would have a formidable four man rotation in Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, and Matsuzaka. That is the more obvious part, the more obscure part is how, if at all, Tim Wakefield would fit into the postseason roster. 
Tim Wakefield.jpg
As of right now, I do not think that it would be a good idea to have him pitching into October. Every time he goes on the mound, he looks like he is in pain. Wakefield could be in the bullpen as a reserve, but I am not sure if I would put him on the roster. What would you do? 
The next night against the Royals, I almost didn’t want to watch. Zack Greinke pitching against anyone is scary, but against Paul Byrd? We might as well forfeit!! Greinke didn’t even have to throw a pitch and we were already behind thanks to a beyond shaky first inning by Paul Byrd. 
Zack Greinke.jpg
Greinke pitched absolutely beautifully, so beautifully that he inspired me to write a poem. In my English class, we are learning about Romantic poetry (and we are really mutilating an already dead horse). William Wordsworth described Romantic poetry and the “spontaneous overflow of feelings”, so I’m pretty sure that the following poem can fit under that category: 
Ode to Zack Greinke
O how Zack Greinke colors the crowd, 

With his ethereal pitches, by which batters are wowed. 

A work of art whose exhibit is the mound, 

An artist as well–sculpting his pitches from the ground. 

A phenom in the making, 

A pitcher who is fragile, and not worth breaking. 

Knocking down the pins of every part of the strikezone, 

To an abundance of strikeouts, batters are inevitably prone. 

The fielders are lonely, for base runners are rare. 

Yet in Zack Greinke’s presence, they are honored to be there. 

Crossing home plate is an impossible feat, 

This is a man no one can defeat. 

I am highly considering sending this to him. During the next two games, we were finally able to cool down the Royals, or at least score more runs than them. Beckett gave up 12 hits, but thanks to some well deserved run support, the Sox were able to pull through. Buchholz followed with a stellar outing, and I was getting a bit scared that the bullpen was going to meltdown again when Ram-Ram came in and gave up three runs. 
You know, there was really no better weekend for the Red Sox vs Yankees series than this one. Thanks to my lovely Jewish brothers and sisters, no homework was to be given this weekend since it is Yom Kippour. Yet somehow, I know that I still have to do stuff for English. 
Anyway, the only thing I could think about all of Friday was the game. Plans this weekend? I think not, it is the last regular season series!!! While it would not have decided the division winner if the Red Sox were to have won or swept the series (now we’re the ones trying not to get swept), it would have made it a much closer race. Regardless of what happens, this could very well be the preview of the ALCS. 
1999, 2003, and 2004. There couldn’t be a better matchup in postseason baseball. It is a series where all of my nails are bitten off by the end of the first inning of the first game. It is virtually impossible to multi-task and do homework. It is stressful, frustrating, exhilarating, and beautiful all at the same time. 
However, my confidence, as well as the Red Sox’s confidence was nearly shattered on Friday night in the bottom of the third inning. Melky Cabrera hit a sharp line drive just above Lester’s right knee cap. At first I didn’t realize what had happened. I wondered how the ball had returned so suddenly to the third base line, and then I saw Lester fall to his back. Horrific memories of an immobile Matt Clement came rushing back, and the stories of Bryce Florie as well (I was not yet a baseball fan when that happened). 
I was almost as petrified as Jon Lester was. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of the potential consequences. The ball ricocheted off of what looked like his knee cap, and it did not sound pretty. It could have been a season ending second, and a season altering one. Lester was not carried off of the field, he limped into the clubhouse as the classy Yankee crowd stood for him, and he could barely make it down the stairs. 
The minutes following the accident were filled with agonizing hypothetical situations. It was impossible for me to imagine the Red Sox pitching staff without our consistent ace in Jon Lester. But when I heard the report that the x-rays were negative and that it was merely a right contusion, I truly breathed a sigh of relief. The fact that he wants to make his next start, albeit a bit unrealistically ambitious, is truly admirable. He is a soldier. The Red Sox may have lost that game, but I think we gained even more from the fact that Lester is okay, and will be able to pitch again this season. 
Yesterday’s game truly embo
died what each and every Red Sox vs Yankee game is all about. It exemplified the notion of a true pitcher’s duel with absolutely stellar performances by both Daisuke Matsuzaka and CC Sabathia. Sabathia stymied the Red Sox offense for seven incredible innings of one hit ball. 
Daisuke Matsuzaka somehow evaded the irrevocable damage of a bases loaded situation with no outs thanks in part to an absolutely stunning play by Victor Martinez. If giving up one run over seven innings is indicative of the type of pitcher that Dice-K has turned to, then I think he truly deserves a spot in the postseason rotation. If he wants to make up for what he has missed, this is the way to do it. 
In one hour, the last regular season of the game will take place. The Yankees can clinch the division with a win, but I think I speak on behalf of all Red Sox fans in the following understatement: I don’t want them to. We don’t give up here. Even if Paul Byrd is pitching, we can still win. We don’t go down with out one hell of a fight. Go Red Sox!! 


  1. Erin Kathleen

    Well, I’m sure Greinke would appreciate a tribute from a Red Sox fan, if you do decide to send him your poem. As for the Royals, they’re spoilers. It’s what they do, and they’re good at it. They are always one of the worst teams in baseball, and yet I’m always afraid to face them at the end of the season with the playoffs on the line.-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.blogspot.com

  2. Buz

    Elizabeth – LOVE the poem! Might I suggest doing a little research, find out who the sports editor is for the KC paper.. ship it to him!!! Then watch the paper : )

    I really like your passion and think you will definitely achieve those goals you have established.

    Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

  3. Jane Heller

    So you’re studying romantic poetry? Then you MUST go to see the new Jane Campion movie (she’s the Australian woman who directed “The Piano” several years ago and won an Oscar). It’s about Keats and the young woman he loved before he died. It’s called “Bright Star” and it’s got lots of poetry in it of the type that you wrote to Greinke!!! I agree about Wakefield. He looks like it hurts just to walk. I know he’s a gamer and will do anything to help the team, but Dice K looked really good yesterday. He got in a couple of jams but had no trouble working out of them.


  4. redsoxmelissa

    I was sooo devastated when Jon Lester got hit in the knee the other night. I remember hearing on the radio that Jon Lester would be the most likely starter pitcher for the first play off game. I’m glad he’s okay now and he can still pitch. He and Beckett are my favorite pitchers.

  5. xcicix

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say no one can defeat Greinke…though he’s the closest anyone has come this year.
    I’m really sorry about the game today. You guys shouldn’t have gotten swept, but we’ve all got to go down that road sometimes. It was a good game today though.
    I’m glad Dice-K seems to be recovering. He’s awesome. Do you think the Sox’ll give him to us for Stephen Drew?

  6. Michael David

    The Royals always seem to play spoiler at the end of the season. They actually owned the Tigers down the stretch, and put thier Central hopes in dire jeopardy. At least you know the Sox will make the playoffs. There will be now Wild Card for Detroit if they can’t hold on to the lowly Central.
    Great poem, too.

  7. juliasrants

    Elizabeth – Wakefield can have a limited role coming out of the bullpen and I think Byrd has earned a spot in the pen also. As painful as it is for Wake to move, he can help us tremendously on the mound. And Paul Byrd? He showed again Sunday that he can help us. As I wrote today – his role is not as a starting pitcher but as a long reliever. Delcarmen scares me and his numbers show he has gotten worse as the season has gone on. He is not someone we can depend on nor should we. The young guys? Bowden and Bard? They can be a help but I question whether they have the maturity or experience needed to be able to handle the pressure of playoff ball. Billy Wagner is the question in all of this. Can he pitch back to back games and be effective? If so – we are golden.


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