Nation STATion: In honor of Henri Stanley

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Nation STATion: In honor of Henri Stanley

By Bill Chuck
CSNNE.com

You know who Henri Stanley is, dont you?

No, hes got nothing to do with the Bruins, Henri couldnt lift Lord Stanleys cup.

When it comes to baseballs trade deadline, Henri Stanley was the key to the greatest steal in Red Sox history.

Still dont know who this career minor leaguer is? Henri Stanley played for nine different minor league clubs and hit .283 with 80 homers in eight seasons. While that sounds unimpressive, it was good enough to enable the Sox to win a World Series. My hope is that in 2014 when the Sox celebrate the 10th anniversary of the World Series championship that broke the curse, that Stanley, who was hitting .299 for Pawtucket in 2004, will run onto the field and stand next to the player he was traded for at the trade deadline: Dave Roberts, who pulled off the greatest steal in team history, the steal that kept the Sox alive in the ALCS.

When the Sox traded for Dave Roberts, all the attention that day was on the deal that sent "Nomah" to the Dodgers for Orlando Cabrera. This year, the Sox major attention-grabbing deal was for Erik Bedard, who was born in Ontario and probably appreciates my reference to the Stanley Cup.

Erik Bedard already has one credential that enables him to fit in with the Sox rotation perfectly . . . hes been on the Disabled List eight times in his career. I guess one way to look at this is that it is an improvement over Rich Harden, who the Sox almost got, and has had 10 stints on the DL. Bedard had three shoulder operations in his three-plus years with the Mariners.

Many people thought that Bedard might have hurt his chances to be traded when he pitched poorly this past Friday night in his return from the DL (sprained knee), but he appeared more rusty than anything else. The start Friday night was his 16th of the season, the most he has had since 2007 with Baltimore. Both in 2008 and 2009 he was healthy enough for just 15 starts each season. He missed all of last season (left shoulder surgery).

But, when Bedard is on the mound (which we are getting the sense is more likely than Clay Buchholtz this season), he has relatively good stuff.

Heres Nine to Know about Erik Bedard this season:

1. In 91.1 innings this season, hes struck out 87 batters. His 8.57 strikeouts per nine innings is almost identical to David Price (8.56) and James Shields (8.59).

2. His ERA is 3.45, and batters are hitting .226 against him. Batters are hitting .227 against A.J. Burnett and Dan Haren, and hit .224 against Dice-K.

3. His WHIP this season of 1.172 is comparable to Gavin Floyd, who also has a 1.172, Doug Fister, who has a 1.171, and Justin Masterson, who has a 1.176.

4. Hes walked 30, which means he has averaged 2.96 walks per nine innings. As a frame of reference, think of Jason Marquis 2.91, Yovani Gallardo 2.93, and Jon Lester 3.03.

5. Bedards Game Score average (for a complete explanation of Game Scores, click here) http:www.billy-ball.com201107the-fun-of-game-scores this season is 55, just like Kyle Lohse, Hiroki Kuroda, and Wandy Rodriguez.

6. You can count on about 94.4 pitches per start for Bedard, although hes thrown over a hundred six times this season. James McDonald also averages 94.4 per start, Madison Bumgarner averages 94.2, and Tim Hudson is at 94.5

7. With the bases empty, batters are hitting just .205 against him, but from the stretch they are hitting .260.

8. Lefties are hitting .239 against the lefty Bedard, but righties are hitting .221. While lefties have hit just three homers, that represents 3.3 of the 101 at bats against him. Righties have slammed eight homers which is 3.2 (249 AB).

9. Bedard throws his fastball close to 58 of the time and batters are only hitting .180 against it. His curve accounts for about 29 of his pitches and batters hit .280 against that pitch. He also throws a cutter and a changeup.

The mainly overlooked deal for Boston this deadline was the acquisition of Mike Aviles from the Royals. Aviles has made 144 appearances at short, 135 at second, and 39 at third. He has already been told to get a glove for the outfield. Defensively, his best position is SS where he has a plus six Total Zone fielding runs above average. He is minus six at second and minus five at third in his career.

Aviles is not the threat that Roberts was to steal bases (Dave was 33-of-34 when the Sox acquired him LA), but Aviles is 10-of-12 and really, all the Sox may need is from him is to steal one when it counts.

Speaking of steals

On July 31, 1997, the Sox and the Mariners made another trade at the deadline sending the immortal Heathcliff Slocumb out to Seattle for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek.

Bonjour Henri, wherever you are.

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?