Carl Crawford delivered his second game-ending hit of the month Monday as the Red Sox edged the Twins 2-1 in 11 innings.
Crawford, who had been 0-for-4 in the game, doubled off the Green Monster to score pinch-runner Jose Iglesias from first base. Iglesias was off with the 3-2 pitch with one out in the inning and just beat the throw home from Ben Revere.
Boston got another outstanding performance from Josh Beckett in the contest. Beckett pitched seven scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.99. He left with a 1-0 lead, but that was blown in the eighth after Alfredo Aceves balked a runner to second and Jonathan Papelbon, asked to get four outs, allowed a game-tying single.
The Twins ended up with nine hits in the game, every one of them a single. It kind of summed up the entire season for the team with the fewest homers and extra-base hits in all of baseball. Even the Padres have outhomered them 21-15.
Minnesota took the loss despite an encouraging showing from Nick Blackburn. In the sixth inning, Blackburn fanned J.D. Drew, Jed Lowrie and Crawford to strike out the side in order for the first time in his career. He entered the game with just 15 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings for the season, but he notched five K’s tonight.
By taking three out of four at home, the Red Sox pulled back within a game of .500 at 17-18. The Twins have the game’s worst record, pending the White Sox’s result tonight. They’re 12-21.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.