Julian Tavarez is pitching so well he's almost becoming known more for his on-field performance than his off-field wordsmithery (new word). In his last 14 & 2/3 innings, he's given up a total of 6 hits. He's given up 2 hits in each of his last two starts. Not too shabby for a middle-reliever who is replacing Jon Lester while he gets his control together. But it wouldn't be a Tavarez story without some strange comment. And this one hits home for me because he name-tricked my favorite player: Mark Bellhorn.
With the Sox sweeping the ChiSox and the Yanks dropping another, the Sox are now in a great position to make the playoffs and win the East. So Tavarez was asked about the Sox World Series chances and his thoughts about pitching in Fenway. He was reminded of his pitching performance in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series and he went on to reflect a moment he will "never forget":
"I had three broken fingers, I'll never forget that," said Tavarez, who had punched a telephone on a dugout wall during the National League Championship Series, when the Cardinals were playing the Astros. "It was like 25 degrees, and I had three broken fingers. I told [manager] Tony La Russa, I wanted to pitch in the World Series, but we knew it would be tough against the Red Sox after they came back against the Yankees. Our World Series was against Houston."Nice. Brian must be so pleased that he is so indellibly etched in your memory, Jules. Except that his name is Mark. That's like Mike Torrez remarking about Bucky Dent's home run and saying, "Oh yeah, I gave up that long fly ball to Stewart Dent and we lost the game and missed the playoffs."
"But I'll never forget that. I faced Manny [Ramírez], my best friend. And I gave up that home run to Brian [sic] Bellhorn. It felt like the fans would fall right on my head."
It's MARK Bellhorn, Julian. And he bitch slapped you and everyone in his path in the 2004 playoffs (he won Game 6 and piled on in game 7 of the ALCS before winning game 1 of the world series). Whatever else you remember about that series, remember that.