Commentary

Sox suffer litany of indignities

Insults, injuries, ejections ... Pretty much everything goes wrong in Philly

Updated: May 19, 2012, 3:15 AM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

PHILADELPHIA -- You could belt out three choruses of "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" in the time it would take to list all the things that went wrong for the Sons of Bobby Valentine and their manager Friday night.

[+] Enlarge Bobby Valentine
Eric Hartline/US PresswireBobby Valentine probably wishes he got tossed well before the ninth inning of Friday's painful loss.

Put it this way: Having former closer Jonathan Papelbon set down the Red Sox in the ninth for his 12th save in 12 chances to preserve the Phillies' 6-4 win Friday night was only the final indignity for Valentine, not the worst.

That would probably be the wad of chewing gum that flew out of the mouth of umpire Gary Darling in the midst of a heated ninth-inning discussion with Valentine, who gave away at least a half a foot to the towering Darling and then had to dodge a gooey projectile while trying to convince the umpire that Marlon Byrd should have been ruled safe on a bang-bang play at first. (Replays were inconclusive on the thisclose play.)

Valentine even hopped in imitation of Phillies first baseman Ty Wigginton in re-enacting the play, contending that Wigginton's foot had come off the bag on a high throw from shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Valentine not only lost the argument, but was ejected for the first time as Sox manager (38th time in his career), finger-pointing at Darling as he departed.

That led to another oddity: The Phillies already were without their manager, Charlie Manuel, who was serving a one-game suspension for his high-decibel debate with another umpire Bob Davidson, who also was suspended a game.

Which segues to another rubbed-in-your-face moment for the Sox: In Manuel's place, the Phillies were guided to victory by bench coach Pete Mackanin, who last fall auditioned for the Sox managing job after Terry Francona was fired but didn't make it past the first cut. Mackanin surely derived some private satisfaction from sticking it to the team that he'd so obviously underwhelmed back in November.

Of more lasting -- and pressing -- concern to Valentine and the Red Sox were injuries sustained by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a freak play in the fifth and Cody Ross on a foul ball in the eighth.

Saltalamacchia was behind the plate in the fifth when a fastball from Daniel Bard struck Wigginton in the arm, ricocheted off Saltalamacchia's shoulder and struck him on the left side of his head, leaving the Sox catcher lying face down in the dirt.

"It was basically redirected," said Nick Punto, who watched from the dugout and later on replay. "It hit him on the shoulder and then hit him in one of the few spots he didn't have any protection, without losing much velocity."

After remaining on the ground for a few long moments, Saltalamacchia was assisted to his feet by trainer Rick Jameyson and managed to leave the field under his own power.

He wound up making a trip to the hospital to be tested for a concussion, although it appears he may have escaped with nothing worse than a few stitches for a lacerated left ear.

"I talked to him," Bard said. "He's OK. A little shook up, but probably just a pretty good cut on his ear."

Ross, meanwhile, had walked, doubled and hit his eighth home run before coming to the plate in the eighth, when he fouled a ball off the top of his left foot. X-rays were taken of the injury. Best-case scenario is that Ross has a sore foot and may miss at most a game or two. Worst-case scenario? For a team that already has used the disabled list 14 times and whose wounded have missed a cumulative 414 games on the DL, need we say more?

Papelbon did his share of chirping before the game, when he held an impromptu media session in the dugout mostly for the benefit of the Boston media contingent.

"I've been looking forward to this series since the day I signed here," Papelbon said.

"Facing old teammates, bragging rights," he said. "It's like you play with your brother in the backyard for so many years, you want those bragging rights. I don't want to have to hear it from [Dustin] Pedroia, somebody like that, text messages. I want to be giving it to him. It'll be fun."

It wasn't quite the thrill it could have been for Papelbon. None of the four batters he faced in the ninth -- Kelly Shoppach, who reached on an infield hit; Daniel Nava, Byrd and Punto -- was his teammate last season.

And while there would be no Dropkick Murphys -- the entrance music was Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" -- the rest of the shtick remained the same. The hat pulled down over his eyes, the long lean forward, the penetrating stare, and the fist pump after he struck out Punto to end it.

[+] EnlargeAdrian Gonzalez
Brian Garfinkel/Getty ImagesAdrian Gonzalez finally homered Friday, as did Cody Ross, who later fouled a ball off his leg.

"Same old Paps," said Punto, who faced him plenty when he was with the Minnesota Twins. "He looked good, didn't he? Still has that good split going."

Papelbon was relatively subdued by his standards after the game, according to the reporters who visited with him. He did, however, dismiss the suggestion that the Valentine tempest could have punctured his concentration.

"Valentine can't distract Cinco, man," Papelbon said, alluding to the alter ego he adopted while in Boston. "Cinco has ice in his veins."

Bard, meanwhile, kicked sand in his own face by walking the bases loaded in the first inning, when the Phillies took a 4-0 advantage that the Sox were unable to overcome. Bard set the tone for his outing with leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, whom Bard walked on a 3-and-2 slider instead of pumping a fastball strike and daring Rollins to hit his way on.

"My first mistake was throwing a 3-2 slider to the leadoff guy," he acknowledged afterward. "It works for me a lot, but it's probably not the smartest thing to do, first guy of the game. That's kind of getting out of that relieving mode, still.

"If it's the eighth inning and he's the winning run, it's a little bit of a different situation. Leading off the game, I need to be more aggressive there. I think it just put me in a little bit of a funk, and I didn't respond to it real well. When you get out of your delivery a little bit, that's when you step off, take a breath and kind of hit the reset button, but I never did that. I tried to power through it a little bit. Something that probably lasted two or three pitches, coming out of my delivery a little bit, lasted 12, 15 pitches."

Carlos Ruiz made Bard pay for his wildness by sitting on a first-pitch slider and lacing it to center for a two-run single, Wigginton's sacrifice fly made it 3-0 and John Mayberry Jr.'s double brought home a fourth run.

Staked to that lead, Cole Hamels (6-1) and the Phillies were able to survive home runs by Mike Aviles, Ross and Adrian Gonzalez, who went deep two nights after calling his shot, ending at 110 at-bats his streak of not hitting a home run. Gonzalez's home run came off reliever Chad Qualls.

"This loss is on me," Bard said. "Four-nothing in the first, I battled as much as I could to keep it there, and they battled to come back, chipping away, putting runs on the board, but four runs in the first, pretty tough to overcome."

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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