It makes our job much easier when the events of the game follow all of the convenient storylines.
(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
For example, Jed Lowrie’s best friend in the world is Lehigh Valley outfielder John Mayberry Jr.
They were roommates for three years at Stanford and lived together in Arizona during the winter a couple of years ago.
On Monday night, Jed and John faced each other for the first time as pros so what do you suppose happened? Mayberry homered in the 5th inning to give the IronPigs a 1-0 lead, and Lowrie matched his roomie with a HR of his own to tie the game in the 6th inning.
Then you have the Mark Wagner storyline.
On Monday night, Wagner’s mom Moya, uncle Pete, and cousin Josh were in attendance at McCoy Stadium after traveling all the way from California.
Wags had a huge 2-out, RBI single in the bottom of the 8th inning to give Pawtucket a 2-1 lead.
In the movie version of Monday’s game, that would have been the winning run. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t scripted and Hunter Jones surrendered a home run in the 9th to Mike Cervenak that tied it a 2.
But the game did have a happy ending. Jeff Bailey’s sac fly in the bottom of the 9th scored Gil Velazquez with the winning run in a 3-2 PawSox victory.
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Hyder and I both loved seeing Bruce Springsteen at the Comcast Center in Mansfield on Sunday night, but apparently we missed the real concert.
Karaoke to celebrate Jeff Natale’s 27th birthday.
Natale provided the scoop and gave me the green light to share the details publically.
The boy band of Natale, Travis Denker, Bubba Bell, Brian Anderson, and Sean Danielson got on stage together to sing “Bye, Bye, Bye” by the Backstreet Boys.
That has to be a fine in Kangaroo Court.
Danielson is a fanatic of the group Incubus so he and his roommate Natale did a duet of the song “Dig.”
The solo performers were Denker and Bell.
Travis sang “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison.
Bell belted out a Sublime tune, although Natale didn’t remember which one.
It sounded like a great birthday – no matter how the PawSox sounded.
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Paul Byrd looked great on Monday, as he allowed 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings vs. Lehigh Valley. In short, he looked just like the guy who beat the Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALCS two years ago to give the Indians a 3-games-to-1 lead in that series.
I happened to be in the dugout just before Byrd went out to the bullpen to warm-up on Monday, and watched him sign a bunch of autographs before pitching coach Rich Sauveur arrived to accompany him to the bullpen.
Byrd is no dummy. At that point he told the autograph seekers, “I wish I could keep signing but this guy won’t let me,” as he pointed toward Sauveur.
A crafty veteran move.
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I know some Red Sox fans were ticked off, but I was thrilled to see John Smoltz pitch a gem in his first start for the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. He tossed 5 scoreless innings with 9 strikeouts and at one point whiffed 7 batters in a row – a feat he had never accomplished in his 20+ years with the Atlanta Braves.
I heard Smoltz on the Dan Patrick radio show on Monday and he said the Cardinals told him he was tipping his pitches with the way he was holding his glove. It’s hard to say if that’s why he was so lousy for the Red Sox, but it’s too bad the folks in Boston didn’t spot it first.
I was incredibly impressed by Smoltz during his rehab stint with Pawtucket and will be rooting for him for the rest of the year.
Unless, of course, he pitching against Boston in October.
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The PawSox conclude their 4-game series against Lehigh Valley on Tuesday night. I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.