There was a time, just a few short weeks ago, that the Boston Red Sox season was not a sad tale of excised contracts and dead managers walking. A time when a well-financed baseball club had not yet realized its fate as an also-ran ball club, just playing out the string like so many others. It was obvious but, for countless reasons, the Red Sox and their fans still considered the post-season a realistic goal for 2012.
Injuries and underperformance took the life out of the 2012 Red Sox. Injury to David Ortiz serving as one of the biggest blows, sending the Sox into a death spiral from which they may never recover. In the aftermath of Ortiz leaving the lineup, all sorts of lineup madness and general tomfoolery took place in Beantown. None crazier — nor more symptomatic of the deep rot within the Red Sox foundation — than the rise of Pedro Ciriaco.
A journeyman pushed into duty by injuries, Ciriaco has played all over the diamond for the Sox – mostly a second base when Dustin Pedrioa was injured, the 26 year-old now gets the bulk of his playing time at third, though spent time at short and in the outfield, for some unknown reasons. Crazier still: six starts as the Red Sox designated hitter. It seems like Bobby V just likes the skinny guy from San Pedro de Macoris.
In some ways, Pedro Ciriaco is like (previously mentioned on Getting Blanked) Josh Rutledge. Never walks, hits for some average, probably isn’t as good as 2012 suggests. The differences being age and pedigree and reputation. Ciriaco has a reputation as the free-est swinger in the baseball, as Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs pointed out last week. Last night, against David Robertson, Pedro Ciriaco proved Jeff right.
Facing Robertson in the ninth inning of a tie game, Ciriaco came up looking to get a rally started for the BoSox. Much to his credit, he eventually did just that, steering a ground ball single through the right side of the infield. Players like Pedro Ciriaco don’t start rallies by standing around – they make it happen with the bat. There is no time like the present – the first pitch is the best place to start.
What happens if the first pitch is a spiked curveball, destined to travel 55 feet max? You swing anyway, dammit! The moment the ball strikes the Earth, frozen forever infamy.
Brutal. What a swing. As stated above, he eventually did single in this at bat but, geez, Robertson had to feel good about his chances after getting ahead of a hitter who will clearly swing at anything. Anything in the world. Baseball is, as always, the best.