Pedroia has more company in leading role
Much was made of the fact that in hitting a home run to lead off the game for the Red Sox in the World Series opener Wednesday, Dustin Pedroia duplicated a feat last accomplished by former Red Sox star Johnny Damon in Game 4 of the 2004 Series off the Cardinals' Jason Marquis. But it turns out that a third Sox player did the same, in the second World Series game ever played.
Outfielder Patrick Henry "Patsy" Dougherty of the Boston Americans homered to lead off Game 2 of the 1903 World Series against the Pittsburg Pirates at the Huntington Avenue Grounds. Dougherty hit two home runs in the game, won by the Sox, 3-0. The game was played in 1 hour 47 minutes and had a listed attendance of 9,415. Dougherty later played for the New York Highlanders, forerunners of the Yankees, but was placed on waivers after getting into a fistfight with the manager, Clark Griffith. He was picked up by the White Sox and played for the 1906 "Hitless Wonders."
Pedroia was the 18th player to lead off a Series game with a home run, the first rookie to do so. The rookie record for home runs in a Series game is two, accomplished four times, most recently by Andruw Jones of the Braves in 1996, when he was 19 years 6 months old and homered in his first two Series at-bats, which came in Yankee Stadium.
Yesterday, the Major League Baseball Players Association announced that Pedroia had won the Players Choice Award for outstanding rookie in the American League, as selected by his peers. The Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, as chosen by the baseball writers, will be announced Nov. 12.
Ellsbury againRookie Jacoby Ellsbury started his fourth straight game in the postseason last night, manager Terry Francona maintaining that Coco Crisp is still showing the effects of hitting the wall in the triangle in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. "I thought he was a little sore," said Francona, who put Crisp in center field Wednesday in the seventh inning, moving Ellsbury to left and removing Manny Ramírez. "Looking at him run, I didn't think he was at top speed. I kind of wanted to get him in there, get him an at-bat; I thought it was a good time to do it."
Crisp rolled out to short in his one at-bat.
"Coco's always going to will himself to be a dynamic center fielder, even when he isn't feeling good," said Francona. "I thought watching him run, he was limping a little bit.
"We're going to need Coco in this series, whether he starts or plays in a game. Getting him out there, I thought, would do more help than harm."
Francona, on the difference between Ellsbury and Crisp: "Ellsbury is a young, very athletic center fielder who is still at a point who can outrun some of his, I don't want to say errors, but lack of knowing hitters or recognizing the strength of hitters, where Coco is pretty polished with the same amount of speed. When Ellsbury moves to left, that's about as good an outfield as you're going to see."
Drew a hot itemUntil he was hit in the right ankle in the second inning last night, the J.D. Drew revival meeting remained in full swing. Drew went 2 for 2 and has hit safely in his last eight postseason games, batting .433 (13 for 30) with 2 doubles, a home run (grand slam), 8 RBIs, 6 runs, and 2 walks. His 11 RBIs are third in the majors this postseason, trailing only Mike Lowell (12) and Ramírez (16). Drew's longest hitting streak of the regular season was nine games, which he accomplished twice, including his first nine with the team. He finished the regular season by hitting in eight of his last nine games, batting .406 with 3 home runs and 12 RBIs . . . Game 1's wet weather played a factor, Francona said, in his decision not to go to his bullpen earlier in relief of Josh Beckett. "[Groundskeeper] Dave Mellor was with us all night, and there was weather hanging," Francona said. "If you bring a reliever in and then the game gets stopped, and then something happens tonight where somebody goes short . . . We had [Manny] Delcarmen up in the seventh to keep Josh from laboring if he was in an inning. That didn't happen. Manny got up, kind of took the edge off, then we had [Mike ] Timlin a clean inning, [Eric] Gagné a clean inning."
Ortiz a keeper?Francona suggested he would not be averse to using David Ortiz in all three games in Colorado, even though no DH can be used in games played in the National League park. "His bat is so important that, again, there'll be rest time here pretty soon," said Francona. A scenario in which Ortiz would play all three? "Oh yeah," Francona said . . . Game 3 starter Daisuke Matsuzaka and his interpreter, Masa Hoshino, flew to Denver yesterday in advance of the team . . . Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, who owns a home in La Jolla, just north of San Diego, had more than a dozen friends staying in his home after they either lost their homes or were evacuated during the wildfires that devastated large swaths of southern California. Former Boston outfielder Dave Roberts, who had to evacuate his home because of the fires, told Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune he would be unable to accept the Sox' invitation to throw out a ceremonial first pitch during the Series. Last night's first pitch, thrown by heart transplant recipient Andrew Madden, was "delivered" by Daniel Cotter, an 18-year-old from Dorchester chosen the National Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club of America . . . Kevin Youkilis took a nine-game postseason hitting streak into last night's game, batting .459 (17 for 37) in that span . . . The Sox were attempting to win their sixth straight Series game, matching the club record (1915-16) . . . The Sox began the night having won their last four World Series games at home, their last loss at home coming in Game 4 in 1986, when Worcester's Ron Darling held them scoreless on four hits for seven innings and Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter hit two home runs in a 6-2 Mets win . . . The Red Sox had not trailed in this postseason for the last 36 innings, since Game 4 of the ALCS in Cleveland, until the Rockies scored in the first last night . . . At 40 years 11 months 11 days, Curt Schilling ranked as the sixth-oldest pitcher to work a Series game. Jack Quinn, who was 46 years 3 months 7 days when he pitched Game 4 of the 1929 Series for the Philadelphia Athletics, was the oldest . . . Is James Taylor in Francona's iPod? "I don't know," he said, adding that his iPod was programmed by someone else. Francona said he was a fan growing up. He remains, he said, a big fan of Aerosmith ("the evolution of them I just love"), and inquired whether lead singer Steven Tyler would make an appearance during the Series (Game 6 or 7 is on the docket, according to a Sox official). "He was hilarious," Francona said of seeing Tyler during the '04 postseason. "He came up to me and said, 'What's that you're chewing? I showed him, and he said, 'Can I have some?' I said, 'Be careful.' He said, 'I've had a lot worse than that.' They said he came through [the clubhouse] about three times, and he was like yellow. He said last month if we got to the Series, he'd like to be back."
Gordon Edes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.