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Don't take Lester for granted

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  August 17, 2011 12:01 PM

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6. Unexpected stat of the day, per always-insightful reader Jeremy B.: With his eighth homer yesterday, Jason Varitek now has one more this season than Victor Martinez. Just to be clear, though, that's an observation rather than an implication of V-Mart, who is hitting .321 with a .371 on-base percentage in his first season in Detroit and whose acquisition by the Sox during a playoff push two years ago should never been lamented despite Justin Masterson's emergence as a legitimate No. 2 starter.

7. It also should be noted that Varitek's home run, on a 92 mph fastball from Jeff Niemann, is the first encouraging sign in awhile that he is capable of a productive second half -- he's hitting .152 with a .552 OPS in 50 plate appearances since the break, which follows his recent trend of late-season slides.

8. As terrible as he looks at times, I'm going to resist any temptation for now to write off an accomplished player such as Carl Crawford as a bust one year into a seven-year deal. But it's pretty hard to comprehend right now that he began the season as the Red Sox' No. 3 hitter.

9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

hornsamfinn817.jpgAfter Lowrie-to-Pedroia-to-Gonzalez left the Rays' Sean Rodriguez with a place in baseball history he'd probably prefer not to have in the nightcap Tuesday, Joe Castiglione was in good form recounting many of the triple plays he's seen since he began calling Red Sox games in 1983.

I remember the most recent one turned by the Sox vividly -- John Valentin's almost casual unassisted triple play against the Mariners on July 8, 1994.

There were the strange happenings of July 17, 1990, when the sluggish Lead Sox hit into two against the Twins and still won the ball game.

Until Castiglione's reminder, I had forgotten that Jim Rice hit into one on the Fourth of July in 1988 -- surprisingly, it came on a pop-up rather than one of his frequent grounders to the left side of the infield during his latter years.

As for the Sam Horn card? He's have to be in the top-five Red Sox players who were most likely to hit into a triple play but didn't, along with Doug Mirabelli, Mike Lowell, Calvin Pickering, and . . . well, let's just say Adrian Gonzalez probably couldn't beat many of those '90s Lead Sox in a sprint.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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