"Two out of three ain't bad." - Meat Loaf, 1977
Justin Timberlake owned the oxymoronically-named "MTV Video Music Awards" Sunday night, given that MTV rarely airs music videos these days.
Peavy tossed his second complete game of the season, scattering three hits in an emotional gritty performance at Dodger Stadium in an 8-1 Boston victory that delivered all the baseball voltage of Timberlake's shut-down-the-internet montage on the stage at Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.
Peavy was in sync as Timberlake reunited with NSYNC for shortened versions of "Girlfriend" and "Bye Bye Bye" - with both Peavy and Timberlake throwing in some original choreography for added impact.
Thanks to Peavy, it was "Bye Bye Bye" to Crybaby Carl and the rest of Los Angeles with a 77-55 record, second best in the American League. See you [maybe] in a couple of months.
Peavy's other complete game this year came while he was with Chicago. His effort Sunday was the first complete game thrown by Red Sox pitcher not named Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez or Curt Schilling since Luis Tiant retired.
Or it just seems that way.
With Schilling calling the game for ESPN, Peavy made about 45,000 Dodgers fans shut up Sunday, dominating Carl Crawford and friends. The thumping raising his lifetime mark to 14-2 against the Boys of Summer in 25 career starts.
Red Sox manager John Farrell approached Peavy before the ninth about taking him out, but this happened:
Peavy's performance closed out a weekend of starting pitching brilliance by the Red Sox. Friday night, John "Lack of Support" Lackey made one mistake in Boston's 2-0 loss. Saturday, Jon Lester dominated the Dodgers, allowing just one run over 7.1 innings.
Peavy notched his complete-game victory - his second of the season - by striking out Hanley Ramirez, who had taken Lackey deep two nights earlier. It was the first series the formerly red-hot Dodgers had lost since June 16.
The Red Sox finished their stay at the Hotel California going 4-2, which has to bring relief to a Nation that was paralyzed by fear, anger and the Curse of Dempstino a week ago today. The Yankees beat Tampa Bay Sunday, helping the Red Sox return to Fenway Park this week with a one-game cushion in the A.L. East.
For those keeping score at home, the Yankees, who allegedly went all Admiral "I'm Afraid We Have Awakened A Sleeping Giant" Yamamoto, were 5-2 in the seven games before Ryan Dempster plunked Alex Rodriguez and went 5-2 in the seven games after Ryan Dempster plunked Alex Rodriguez.
But who wants facts to get in the way of a good baseball myth.
- "Bill Buckner's error cost the Red Sox the 1986 World Series."
- "The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth so the team's owner could finance 'No-No-Nanette.'"
- "I have never used steroids."
The Dodgers were crafting a mythological tale of 2013 dominance before the Red Sox rolled into Chavez Ravine. A year to the day that the Red Sox underwent their multi-organ transplant and shipped Crawford, Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick "The Fourth Stooge In This Deal" Punto for a bunch of kids and $262.5 million of salary relief.
The weekend had a mix of 2012 and 2013 for Boston. The starting pitching was simply outstanding. Lester, Lackey and Peavy combined for 24.1 innings, allowing the bullpen to take the weekend off, giving up just four runs and nine hits against what was the second-best team in baseball [tied with Pittsburgh, behind Atlanta] before this series began.
There was plenty of whining from Crawford, who said before the series that he wanted to sweep Boston "bad." He got it half-right. Crawford scratched out a hit Sunday around two vintage Crawford whiffs and a fly out to end the eighth. Adrian Gonzalez added a useless solo shot to pad his otherwise impact-less stats. Beckett was spotted throughout the weekend in the dugout next to all-world pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who spent the rest of the time making Popeye's runs for Beckett, who's out for the season after surgery and going 2-8.
Shane Victorino, who was once a sixth-round draft pick of the Dodgers and played 53 games for the Dodgers in 2012, was booed heartily all weekend. Or at least for what amounts to booing in Los Angeles. Victorino didn't cry about his days in LA. He just beat the Dodgers at the plate, hitting a home run and double Sunday and turned a sure double into a single off the bat of Skip Schumaker thanks to pure hustle in right-center field.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Napoli also homered for Boston. Salty's shot produced twice as many runs as Gonzalez's did for one-fifth the cost. Napoli's shot nearly left the ball park landing deep in the left-field stands.
Dodger Dogs for all.
And in a "moon-landing moment," Xander Bogaerts produced the first of what Carmine projects to be 56,283 career RBI.
This series put a cap on the Crawford/Gonzalez/Beckett/Punto Salary Dump, unless these teams end up meeting the World Series. That would be a rematch only 97 years in the making. The core of Lackey, Lester and Peavy showed flashes of a playoff trio core of starters who would give the Red Sox a fighting chance in the playoffs. This comes with news that Clay Buchholz threw some more pitches [38 to be exact] somewhere and felt good afterward. He no doubt leads the majors in simulated-game strikeouts and long-toss ERA.
Here's how his performance in Fishkill, N.Y. was reported by MLB.Com:
"Originally planning to throw three innings and up to 45 to 50 pitches, Buchholz lasted just two-thirds of an inning against Hudson Valley, allowing three runs (one earned) on one hit and three walks, while not recording a single swing and miss. His 38th and final pitch of the night resulted in his second straight walk and left him with an even split of 19 strikes and 19 balls."
This begs for a sarcastic remark about "World Series tickets going on sale at 2 p.m. Monday." Reports say Buchholz should be ready by September but they haven't specified the year.
However, the outing of those starting pitchers who are actually pitching for the Red Sox these days leaves some hope that this team might indeed be playing some serious October baseball.
With or without Buchholz.
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