God’s Speed Julio Lugo

Look, it is easy to dogpile on Julio Lugo.
The facts kind of speak for themselves. He was a lousy defensive infielder, was inconsistent at best at the plate, and cost way too much.
And he was a walking reminder that one of Theo’s few mistakes as a G.M. was not bringing back Orlando Cabrera and instead replacing him with the merry go round of Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie and Nick Green.
All this for $36 million over 4 years (including next year which I assume the Red Sox are paying for.)
But I am going to do what might seem to be the impossible: I am going to write a PRO Lugo piece from the point of view of a Red Sox fan.
1. He had a terrific hitting streak in 2007.
His 14 game hitting streak in July included a grand slam against Jose Contreras on July 20th.
2. He helped sink the Yankees on April 27th, 2007.
From the leadoff spot, Lugo went 3-4 with a homer, a double and two stolen bases as the Sox crushed the Yankees 11-4. It’s fun to beat the Yankees.
3. He “drove in” the winning 2 runs on the Mother’s Day Massacre
Granted, he actually grounded out to end the game, but the Orioles butchered the play and the tying and winning runs scored on May 13, 2007 and Julio was the de facto hero.
4. He went 5-6 on my birthday this year.
Granted, on May 14th 2009 the Red Sox LOST in Anaheim, but Lugo got 5 hits and made a few nice defensive plays in one of those bizarro games where Lugo came up big but Papi choked.
5. He got on base to set up the Manny homer 
In Game 2 of the 2007 Division Series, he singled off of Angels pitcher Justin Speier. That set the chain of events that led to Manny standing at first and admiring his blast.
6. He helped break open Game 6
Yeah J. D. Drew was the key hero in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS with his grand slam. But Lugo drove in a pair himself and didn’t let Cleveland off of the mat.
7. He got three hits to start off the World Series 
He went 3-4 in Game 1 of the 2007 World Series. I wondered if there was a chance he would win World Series MVP.
8. He made some good plays in the World Series…
Especially the games at Coors Field which were closer than people remember.
9. He was a member of a World Champion Red Sox team.
It wasn’t that long ago that that was an unthinkable title. 
10. I did this for Javier Lopez.
If I could honor Lopez, I can honor anyone.
Have fun in St. Louis Julio. It’s a great baseball town.
It wasn’t always pretty, but enjoy the ring.

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Six Thoughts About Today’s Perfect Game

1. I think Ramon Castro might be a good catcher for Mark Buehrle.

Castro had never caught Buehrle before. Usually you hear that a pitcher needs to get used to throwing to a new catcher.

Well, you can’t call a better game than Castro did.
2. I guess that other No Hitter doesn’t look as cool now!
On April 18, 2007, Buehrle threw a no hitter against the Rangers… and at the time it was the game of his life. He threw a no hitter where he faced the minimum number of batters…
But he walked Sammy Sosa (remember him?) in the 5th inning and then picked him off. 
No need to pick anyone off today.
3. He joins the company of pitchers with more than one no hitter

And here’s hoping I get a lot of hits from people who Google “Who has thrown more than one hitter other than Mark Buehrle?”

The answer…
Nolan Ryan has 7 no hitters.
Sandy Koufax has 4.
Larry Corcoran, Bob Feller and Cy Young have 3.
Jim Bunning, Steve Busby, Carl Erskine, Bob Forsch, Pud Galvin, Ken Holtzman, Randy Johnson, Addie Joss, Dutch Leonard, Jim Maloney, Christy Mathewseon, Hideo Nomo, Allie Reynolds, Warren Spahn, Bill Stoneman, Virgil Trucks, Johnny Vander Meer and Don Wilson all have 2.
And now you can add Mark Buehrle to the list.
4. Don’t Look Now, But The White Sox Are In First Place
As usual, they won’t get any love… but the Tigers are not exactly a juggernaut and the White Sox (lest we forget) are the defending Division Champs… and this is the kind of thing that can spark a team. 
And who are the White Sox playing starting tomorrow? The Tigers!
Man this year is going to be fun!
5. This is his biggest moment as a White Sox pitcher… and that’s saying something!
He’s had an underratedly awesome 10 seasons in Chicago. He was part of the World Champion squad in 2005 as well as the Division winners in 2000 and 2008.
He’s a workhorse who has led the league in innings twice, threw a complete game win in Game 2 of the 2005 ALCS.  He threw 7 solid innings in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series and 2 days later came out of the bullpen to save Game 3.
He’s made 4 All Star Teams and was the starting pitcher in the 2005 All Star game, finished 5th in the Cy Young vote that year. 
And this year Obama sought him out in the All Star Game locker room.
Oh yeah, he already threw a no hitter.
But today was the biggest night for him.
6. Would it have killed the Buehrle family to have changed their name to “Burly” when they came through Ellis Island?
I’ve had to double check his name every time I typed it on this posting. Is it U-E or E-U? And where do I stick this random H again?

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