Jason Varitek:Unsung Hero
No doubt, Dustin Pedroia was the star of last night’s victory over the Los Angeles Angels. The “Nation” is a buzz this morning about Pedroia’s historic 13 pitch battle against previously unbeaten Jered Weaver. That battle is being replayed and analyzed over every form of media today. TV, radio, newspapers and all of the blogs that cover Red Sox baseball is covering this moment. What seems to be overlooked was Jason Varitek‘s at bat two batter prior.
Varitek came to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, already a strikeout victim of Weaver’s early in the game. Saying Varitek is struggling this year would be a huge understatement. Here he was facing the best pitcher in the American league, with one out and Carl Crawford standing at second. Was there a Red Sox fan anywhere in the world that felt that Varitek was going to do anything but make an out in that moment? I know I thought it. Varitek quickly fell behind one ball and two strikes. Varitek fought off two strike three’s by fouling them off. Weaver then did the unthinkable, he let Varitek slip thru his fingers by walking the weak hitting catcher on 8 pitches. A mistake he paid dearly for with the now infamous Pedroia at bat.
Jacoby Ellsbury then grounded into a fielders choice. In all reality, if Varitek did what he always seems to do and made an out, the inning would have ended quietly and Jered Weaver would be back on the mound for the bottom of the sixth inning.
As much as Weaver will second guess himself for his battle with Pedroia, it will be Varitek’s walk that he is going to regret the most. That free pass to Varitek probably cost him a good nights sleep. How could he walk a batter with a .128 avg get away?
The tandem of Varitek and Pedroia was comparable to a heavy weight boxing match. Varitek weakened the stronger opponent with body blows and Pedroia delivered the knock out punch.
Pedroia rode into the sunset a hero last night , but don’t forget it was Varitek that set the showdown up.
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