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Soup of This Day #47: Pass The Motels Looking At The Pines

August 8, 2011

The Breeders performing Drivin On 9
The Breeders perform Drivin’ on 9, the Zappa club, Tel Aviv, August 22, 2008 – Photo: Amir E. Aharoni, 2008. Amir E. Aharoni is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Mostly just baseball tonight, with a 3 game homestand against the Yankees to wrap up. As covered in Soup of This Day #46 the New Yorkers took Game 1 3-2 off the back of some ok pitching from the Bionic Lazarus Bartolo Colon, ably supported by a strong pen and a lethargic Boston offence.

Game 2 kicked off on Sunday morning (Perth time) and featured the recovering John Lackey. Recovering as in, was crap a month ago but has won his past 4 to get to 9 and 8, all the while maintaining a 6+ ERA. He was up against Forest Whittaker look-alike CC Sabathia, who has been rock solid all term against everyone but the Red Sox. Against the Sox he was 0 and 2 heading in to this start.

As befitting this tight series between the only real contenders for the AL East title the 1st couple of innings were scoreless with both pitchers mowing through the top of the orders 1-2-3 in the 1st. Bottom of the 3rd and the Sox broke the deadlock, going 2 up thanks to an Ellsbury sac fly and a Pedroia RBI double off the Monster. That 2-0 lead didn’t last though, couldn’t last with Dr Jekyll and Mr Lackey on the mound. Top of the 4th and with runners on the corners Lackey hit Cano to load em up. He then induced a double play that scored a run before conceding a mundane RBI single to tie the game at 2 apiece. For the record that was 86 pitches from Big John in just 4 innings and he looked like he needed rescuing.

Right on cue the bats rode in to save his arse. A 5 spot 4th, courtesy of RBI singles from Crawf and Scutaro, followed by a 3 run blast from Jacoby Ellsbury. The Sox lead off man is on a tear, that being his 19th of the season and coming just a couple of days after his walkoff heroics against the Indians. Lackey tried to make it interesting again, giving 1 back in the 5th but when he sat down after 6 the score was still 7-3.

There was time for the Yankees to pull another back off Bard in the 8th, giving the game the sniff of a close finish but that was quashed in the bottom of the same. Then, Ellsbury drove in 2 via an RBI single and Pedroia added a bonus run off a sac fly. That’s how it ended, 10-4, with Ellsbury batting in a career best 6. Lackey is now astonishingly at 10 and 8 and is… cough… ahem… doing ok.

So all square in the series and in the division as the 2 combatants went into Game 3 each on 69 and 43. Josh Beckett and Freddy Garcia the 2 starters and once again it was tight early. Actually it was tight for the whole game to be honest, with runs at a premium and blown chances (mostly for the Sox) aplenty.

Marco Scutaro opened the Sox account with an RBI single in the 2nd, an inning that also saw Crawf hit safely for his 7th consecutive at bat. That run was to the only scoring contribution from either outfit until the 5th when Nunez, batting at 9 for the Yankees knocked a solo shot over the Monster. With the scores tied Beckett sat down after 6 with no decision and Matt Albers stepped up. He looked good early, a simple groundout and a strikeout of the afore-mentioned power hitting No.9 Nunez had 2 back in the hutch with nobody on. Then, out of nowhere he dished up a solo shot to Gardner and the Yankees led it 2-1.

Which is where it stayed through to the 9th. Oh, the Sox had opportunities, notably stranding the charging Crawf at 3rd in the 8th, but they failed to capitalise. And they were going to pay, going into the 9th 1-2 down against Mariano Rivera, the Godfather of closers.

Fortunately for the Sox, even Godfathers have their kryptonite (Yes I know, but Marlon Brando was in both so it’s ok). In this case the kryptonite was Marco Scutaro, the last player to knock a walkoff home run against Rivera. He didn’t manage that tonight but a leadoff double off the Monster was near enough. Ellsbury sac bunted him to 3rd and then Pedroia sac flied him home. Scores level and a blown save for Mariano.

On to the 10th then and Bard was clean, strike outs of Teixeira and Swisher sandwiching a Cano ground out. In response Youk flied out and then Big Papi had a ground rule double. McDonald came in to pinch run for the big guy and Crawf was intentionally walked – Something which as little as a week ago would have been laughed at if suggested. Up then came Josh Reddick, like Ellsbury last week against the Indians (Twice) he was 0 and 4 for the night. Like Ellsbury last week against the Indians (Twice) it didn’t matter – He drove a single down the left field line and McDonald easily made it home for a 3-2 walkoff in 10 easy innings.

Minus the ‘easy’ bit really, because these Sox don’t do things the comfortable way. That would have entailed making use of those RISPs that they racked up. The thing about Runners In Scoring Positions is that they could and really should score. Sigh.

Anyhow, back 1 game clear atop the AL East and at 70 and 43 and that’s now 10 and 2 over the Yankees this term. That might inspire some post-season confidence if these 2 meet again some autumn night.

Maybe by now you’re wondering at the title to this blog. It’s a line from a song, Drivin’ on 9, made popular by The Breeders off their Last Splash album, circa 1993. There’s a couple of reasons why it could fit this post: For 1 it’s a cover of a song by alt folk band Ed’s Redeeming Qualities. ERQ had Carrie Bradley in their lineup and the vocalist and violinist ended up on Last Splash so I guess took the song with her. What makes this a little fitting is that Ed’s Redeeming Qualities were, like The Breeders originally a Boston outfit. In fact they played a fair bit at The Rathskeller, which by a quick string calculation on Google Maps was less than a mile from the pitcher’s mound at Fenway. It’s tempting to think that they played a gig or many while the Sox were firing up in the 80s.

A 2nd reason could be that The Breeders had 2 sisters at their core. Kim Deal had left The Pixies (Another Bostonian group) and pulled in Kelly Deal for Last Splash. Kim and Kelly are identical twins and that’s where the Sox are headed next, a 3 game road stand against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Kim and Kelly Deal of The Breeders

That’s Kim (l) and Kelly. The Deals. Not at all like a baseball team. For 1 they play nice music. The Minnesota Twins probably do not.

Yep could be either of those reasons but as it happens it’s neither. Nor is it any cool symbolism in the lyrics – I’ve got no idea what the song is really about. Nope, it’s just cos I like the song. Always have. It takes me back to a time when I shared a flat with my brother and we had no furniture or food to speak of. What we did have was beer, salt and vinegar chips, a fuzzy tv with horizontal lines like P-Diddy’s sunglasses and a radio to listen to football on a Saturday night. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss those times, I have a wonderful family now and cleaning vomit out of the twin-tub washer wasn’t that much fun (A bottle of Jack in 15 minutes was ambitious bro).

But those chips, some brews and football. That was alright.

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