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In addition to batting .301, Jacoby Ellsbury added some excitement to the 2009 Red Sox in a couple of other realms. On April 12, he set a team record after playing in his 179th consecutive game without an error. As it happened, the games were the first 179 of his career; he’d never committed an error yet. Fourteen days later, playing against the Yankees, he pulled off a straight steal of home plate – the first one for the Red Sox since Billy Hatcher in 1994. The day’s win was the 10th in a row for the Red Sox – who beat the Yankees in every one of the first eight games between the two teams. Their only longer streak against New York was in 1912, when Boston won their first 14 matchups. And on the final day of the regular season, Ellsbury stole his 70th base of the season, obliterating Tommy Harper’s club-record 54, which had stood since 1973. It was the second year in a row that Ellsbury led the league in base thefts. Going into the 2009 season the Red Sox added two arms for the staff. They signed former Marlin/Dodger Brad Penny and added 42-year-old John Smoltz. Neither performed as well as hoped-for, and neither was with the team by the end of the season. Jason Bay had a full year with the Red Sox, leading the Red Sox with 36 homers and with his 119 runs batted in. David Ortiz had a hard time getting going, batting under .200 as late as June 10. He didn’t hit a four-base hit until May 20, though after he did, he added 27 more to his total and finally drove in 99 runs. His final average was only .238. Youk hit 27 homers and Drew hit 24. At the July 31 trading deadline, the Red Sox traded pitchers Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone to Cleveland for catcher Victor Martinez. In his second game with Boston, on August 2, Victor Martinez collected five hits in an 18-10 romp over Baltimore. In August, Boston also added Billy Wagner to the pen, and brought back Alex Gonzalez to play short. Both Smoltz and Penny were dropped from the team, but a new arm in former first-round pick, Daniel Bard, emerged in the pen. Bard reached past 100 mph with many of his pitches, giving Boston a stronger pen. He had 63 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. In one period on September 12 and 13, the Red Sox swept a three-game homestand from the Rays in less than 24 hours On September 29, the Sox lost their fifth in a row, but clinched the Wild Card with 91 victories when Texas lost in LA. In the eight seasons of the Henry/Werner/Lucchino regime, it was the sixth time that the Red Sox were in the hunt for October, and was the seventh time since 1995 that Boston was the AL Wild Card winner.

By Bill Nowlin
 

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Tagged:
Alex Gonzalez, Billy Hatcher, Billy Wagner, Brad Penny, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay, John Smoltz, Justin Masterson, Tommy Harper, Victor Martinez

Comments

  • Hal Eagar said: I don't remember that. 4:56PM 01/23/12
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