Rob Bradford of WEEI apparently didn’t read Pete Abraham’s column from yesterday in which Pete made a great case for chilling out about the Red Sox’ recent troubles. About how this stuff happens on lots of teams and that, because of that, it makes little sense to make this into some sort of high and harrowing drama.
We know he didn’t read it because rather than agree with such a sensible take and say “eh, things went bad but let’s not blow it out of proportion,” Bradford decided to equate the 2011 Red Sox with the most famous story of hubris and avoidable disaster in the history of Western Civilization.
Jason Varitek is the Sox’ captain, see. Do you know who else was the captain of a doomed ship?
The 39-year-old was the captain of the fastest sinking ship in baseball history, thereby surfacing his name among the others. Edward Smith, the captain of the Titantic, wasn’t the one who was supposed to spot the iceberg, yet he is front and center of the boat’s Wikipedia page. When the historical documents are drawn up regarding the 2011 Red Sox, expect Varitek’s name to get similar billing … At least we knew what Smith was supposed to do. Occasionally help steer the ship. Make sure the crew is properly delegated. Keep in communication with other boats. And occasionally have dinner with Kate Winslet. But, to this day, nobody can identify what Varitek was — and is — supposed to do as a result of his title.
Well, at least we aren’t getting carried away with this anymore.
Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.
With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.
The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.
Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.
It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.