Atchison gives Sox the best relief in baseball

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Atchison gives Sox the best relief in baseball

BOSTON -- Scott Atchison isn't getting many headlines. But he is getting plenty of work and doing the most with his appearances.
Atchison, who pitched one third of an inning in the Red Sox' 6-3 win over the Detroit Tigers Tuesday night, has thrown more relief innings -- 29 13 -- than any pitcher in baseball. He also sports a 0.92 ERA, fourth best among qualifying relievers in the big leagues.
Atchison, in fact, went into Wednesday's game with a chance to go the entire month of May without allowing a run. The last run he allowed came on April 29. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 13 outings, covering 17 23 innings.
The latter represents the longest current scorleess streak of any pitcher in the majors.
Opposing righthanded hitters have hit just .189 against him while lefties have hit just .212.
"He's an efficient thrower,'' said Bobby Valentine. "His 90 (mph) reads more than that, obviously, because the hitter doesn't see 90; they see something more than that. He's got late rotation and the short arm stroke behind him and he's able to move the ball side-to-side and do it with efficiency.
"Before the ball leaves his hand, you can see where the catcher is and know where the ball is going to be most all of the time. Then, all he you need is a plan and he works his plan against hitters.''
Atchison has had to overcome numerous trips back and forth to the minors and the perception that he's not overpowering.
"He's evolved into a very good pitcher,'' said Valentine. '"But because he doesn't throw 95 mph, as soon as he gets hits, people are going to say, 'It was all smoke and mirrors from the beginning.' It's kind of a weird thing.''

Roasted: Ortiz apparently thought Pedroia's real first name was Pee Wee

Roasted: Ortiz apparently thought Pedroia's real first name was Pee Wee

BOSTON — It took until 2015, apparently, but David Ortiz now knows Dustin Pedroia’s full name.

The couple days leading up to the jersey retirement ceremony tonight for Ortiz have been packed. Around lunch time Thursday, Ortiz had a street near Fenway Park named after him — a bridge wasn’t enough — the street formerly known as Yawkey Way Extension. (It’s between Brookline Avenue and Yawkey Station.) On Friday morning, he was at Logan Airport where JetBlue Gate C34 was designed with a new theme to honor Ortiz.

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Tonight's the big night, so to speak. But Thursday night will probably go down as the most entertaining.

Ortiz was roasted at House of Blues on Thursday, joined on stage by Pedroia, Rob Gronkowski and a handful of actual comedians. Bill Burr was the biggest name among the professional joke-tellers. It was a charity event to benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which helps to provide lifesaving surgeries for children.

All the comedians — Lenny Clarke, Sarah Tiana, Anthony Mackie, Josh Wolf, Adam Ray (a young man dressed up as an old Yankees fan) — ripped on everyone on stage, including Pedroia. Naturally, Pedroia was mocked for being short over and over and over.

When he took the podium, Pedroia said it was a good thing the height of the microphone was adjustable. If he had to stand on his wallet, he said, he’d be up to the roof.

Most jokes were not suitable for print or broadcast. But the story Pedroia told about being in the on-deck circle when a catcher needed a ball once was a highlight. It's from just two years ago.

“So I had already played with David for, I don’t know, nine years?” Pedroia said. “And I hit right in front of him for nine years.”

The Red Sox were playing the Indians at home. The umpire had to use the bathroom and the ball rolled near Pedroia. So the catcher said hello to Pedroia, using the second baseman’s first name.

“David walks over and goes, what the [expletive] did he call you?” Pedroia said.

“I said, ‘Dustin,’” Pedroia said. 

Ortiz was confused. “’Why’d he call you that?’” he said.

“I go, that’s my [expletive] name,” Pedroia said. “He goes, 'Oh, is that right?’

"I’m like, ‘Yeah, bro. I’ve had 1,600 games with you. They’ve actually said it 5,000 [expletive] times: now batting, No. 15, Dustin Pedroia.’”

“I thought it was Pee Wee," Ortiz went.

“This is dead serious,” Pedroia said. “Now the umpire comes back — I’m standing there, I got to hit...and I’m looking at him, ‘You thought my parents would name me [expletive] Pee Wee?’ 

“And he’s just looking at me, and we’re having a conversation. The umpire’s yelling at me, the catcher’s laughing at me because he can hear kind of what he’s saying.”

No jersey retirement speech will be that funny.