Sunday, December 9, 2007

Gagne Hits the Road

All is well in Red Sox Nation. Former Red Sox reliever will be donning Brewers blue and amber to begin to the 2008 season. There may not be any celebrations in the city of Boston, but at least Red Sox fans will be able to sleep a little easier.

I'd like to take a moment to thank the Milwaukee Brewers for giving Gagne a guaranteed $10 million to close next year. That's right, those are the same Milwaukee Brewers who let Francisco Cordero go, because Cordero wanted $11.5 million a year. Although, to be fair, Cordero did also want a four year deal.

In all seriousness, Gagne could be effective again in '08. Milwaukee is hardly the pressure cooker that Boston is. And before coming to Boston in 2007, Gagne converted 16 of 17 save chances, with a 2.16 ERA and a WHIP of 1.05. But it's hard to forget what he did with the Red Sox.

So, in honor of this great day, I thought I'd compile some memories of Eric Gagne's short stint with the Red Sox. I guess this could be considered a highlight of the lowlights. And I'm truly sorry to those of you who have tried to hard to forget them.

August 10th vs. Orioles - In my opinion, this was Gagne's defining moment with the Red Sox. The Red Sox had a six game lead in the AL East when Gagne waddled into the eighth inning of a 5-1 game. Gagne then gives up a double, a single and a walk before recording his first out. That would be the only out he recorded, as he gave up a double to the next batter and was removed. He lasted a third of an inning, allowing four runs and blowing the lead. At the end of the night, the Red Sox lead was down to five games.

September 18th vs. Blue Jays - Perhaps Gagne has a fear of birds? Gagne comes into another 8th inning, this time with the Red Sox division lead down to 3.5 games. Try to picture Gagne, with his scruffy face and over sized three-quarter length sleeves coming into a one run game. Gagne quickly retires the first two batters of the inning. Then he gives up a walk, a single, and another walk to load the bases. Gagne then precedes to walk in the tying run, and then give up a double. The double would have scored three runs, if not for a relay throw by Dustin Pedroia that cuts down Greg Zaun at the plate. At the end of the night, the Red Sox division lead is down to 2.5 games.

August 17th vs. the Angels - The eighth inning wasn't kind to Gagne, so why not try the ninth? This time Gagne comes into a close out a one run game. Gagne records a quick first out, then gives up a walk, followed by a single, followed by yet another game tying single. With two men on, Gagne then gives up a double to Vladimir Guerro which allows two more runs, before Gagne gets a double play. At the end of the night, the Red Sox lost yet another game in the Al East and Josh Beckett lost an extra win that could have netted him the AL Cy Young.

October 28th vs. the Rockies - This one is my absolute favorite Gagne moment - most likely because it doesn't involve him pitching. The Red Sox are in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the World Series. And who would you guess is throwing in the bullpen, right beside Jonathan Papelbon? That's right, Eric Gagne. Of course, when Hideki Okajima gives up a two run home run to Garrett Atkins, it's Papelbon, not Gagne who comes in to close it out. But could you imagine if it was Gagne celebrating on the mound when the Red Sox won it all? Now that would be ironic!

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