Highlanders Walk Eleven, Give Up Five Runs in Final Inning

(written, shot, edited and narrated for Somerville Patch)

Somerville vs. Hyde Park baseball highlights

There were no clean innings Thursday afternoon for Somerville High starting pitcher Clyde Wayshak. Opponent Hyde Park put at least one runner on base every inning, but every time Wayshak and the Highlanders managed to escape with little damage.

In the seventh inning, all those base runners finally took their toll, and the made a rare mistake.

Wayshak and reliever Sammy Evers gave up five runs in that final inning – two unearned on an infield error – and the Highlanders fell to the Blue Stars, 6-4.

The Highlanders had taken a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh inning, but Wayshak allowed a leadoff triple to Hyde Park designated hitter Michael Gregorio, then walked the bases loaded.

With one down, Wayshak got right fielder Michael Pina to ground it back to Evers at shortstop. But Evers fielded the ball slowly and rushed his throw to junior varsity call-up Robbie Anderson covering second.

The throw short-hopped in front of Anderson and bounced into right field, allowing two runs to score, tying the game 3-3.

The Blue Stars took the lead when junior Anthony Aviles rolled a ball that Wayshak – now at shortstop – had to dive to field. Wayshak threw the ball home from his knees, but the ball came to late.

Evers allowed two bases loaded walks in the seventh – the Highlanders allowed 11 walks total – and the Highlanders came to bat in the bottom of the seventh down 6-3.

Somerville got one run back in the ninth, when senior captain Sean White drove in Anderson with a single, but with the bases loaded and two down, Hyde Park starter Ricky Gonzalez (complete game, three runs on three hits, five walks, two hit batters, seven strikeouts) got catcher Eddie Dias to ground it weakly back to the mound for the final out.

Up until the seventh, the Somerville defense had made several key plays in support of their starter. In the second, Highlander right fielder Robert Pratt threw out Pina trying to stretch a single into a double. Later in that inning, Wayshak caught center fielder Raymond Tejada in a rundown between first and second, and the tag was made before the run scored.

In the fourth, the Highlanders caught the Blue Stars in another rundown. Aviles had already stolen second and third base, but then broke for home on a missed bunt by second baseman Tre Barrows. Catcher Dias threw it to third baseman Justin Rumrill, who then threw it back home to nail Aviles.

The Blue Stars took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth on a deep single by Chris Baez, but the Highlanders answered in the bottom of the same inning. Evers led off the inning with a walk and took second on a thrown-away pickoff attempt. After another walk, Anderson knocked in Evers with a double to the gap in left-center, tying the game 1-1.

The Highlanders scored again in the fifth when Hyde Park catcher Jesse Valdez dropped a strikeout and had to throw to first to retire left fielder Pat Tracy, then again when Anderson stole third and the throw sailed into right field.

After the game, Wayshak was visibly frustrated with a loss that was within the Highlanders’ grasp, only to slip away in the final inning. He muttered “a routine ground ball” repeatedly and kicked his batting helmet several times. He finished the game going 6.1 innings, giving up five earned runs – three earned – on seven hits, eight walks and nine strikeouts.

“I thought my velocity was good, my control could’ve used a little more work,” Wayshak said. He added that he thought he rushed some of his pitches.

“I was frustrated at times,” he said. “I wanted to get through the innings so fast and just try to get in and hit. I think I should just take my time next time.”

Coach Mike Powers said the goal for the Highlanders is to take the loss in stride.

“Forget the loss, it’s a short season, move onto the next game,” Powers said. “You can’t hold onto them. If you do, they’re just gonna keep hanging over.”

Related Content:

Somerville High Baseball Homepage

BPSsports: Hyde park makes most of final season together

Orioles Belt Out 12 Hits as Pitchers Quiet Red Sox in Baltimore

Baltimore Orioles Adam Jones connects for a sacrifice fly scoring a run against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2011 in Baltimore.(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

There wasn’t one big hit by the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night that the Boston Red Sox could blame for their 4-1 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards. No, it was all the little hits that did Boston in.

Twelve, to be exact.

Clay Buchholz gave up four runs on 12 hits – only two for extra bases – and two walks in 6.2 innings Tuesday. The Orioles, meanwhile, got excellent pitching from starter Zach Britton, reliever Jim Johnson and closer Kevin Gregg, who combined to hold the Red Sox to just an earned run on six hits and two walks.

Buchholz Never Finds His Groove

Buchholz never settled into a rhythm Tuesday night. There were no 1-2-3 innings, and the Orioles put multiple men on base in four separate innings. In each of those four, the Orioles came away with a run.

Three of Baltimore’s runs came via sacrifice flies, two by center fielder Adam Jones in the third and fifth innings, which gave the Orioles leads of 2-0 and 3-1.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the second on an infield single that catcher Matt Wieters bounced down the first-base line. Adrian Gonzalez came in to field the ball, but it bounced off the bag and rolled towards second, allowing Wieters to safely reach.

Buchholz did not have a consistent out pitch Tuesday. His fastball was usually elevated, his breaking ball around the strike-zone but rarely in it. This lead to twice as many fly outs (10) to ground outs (five), plus all but maybe two hits lining into the outfield, and the aforementioned three sacrifice flies). Orioles hitters fouled off 20 Buchholzs pitches, and he got only 10 called strikes (and 12 swinging strikes).

Red Sox Hitters Stifled

Only two Red Sox got on base more than once Tuesday night: Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Both went 1-3 and a walk (Ortiz also reached on an error in the fourth); there were no Red Sox with multi-hit games.

Pedroia scored the lone Red Sox run in the top of the fourth. After singling, taking second on a Gonzalez ground out and stealing third base, Kevin Youkilis drove him in with a sacrifice fly. Pedroia also fielded a grounder in the fourth on a lay-out dive, then threw from his knees to first base for the out.

The Red Sox only had two real scoring opportunities besides the top of the fourth, and Britton quelled both of them. In the fifth, Britton got Gonzalez to hit into a fielder’s choice at second. In the sixth, with two men on, Britton got Carl Crawford (0-4 with two strikeouts) to fly out to center.

Gonzalez tried to make up for his fifth-inning failure with a lead-off double in the top of the eighth, but reliever Johnson set down the next three Red Sox in order. Johnson struck out four in two innings of work.

Gregg worked a perfect top of the ninth for his third save.

Missing from Tuesday’s game was Boston’s trademark patience at the plate. Boston averaged less than four pitches per at-bat, 11 times putting the ball in play before a third pitch was thrown. Though the Red Sox grabbed four hits with early swings, they also squandered their sixth-inning scoring opportunity with a one-pitch out.

The Red Sox continue to struggle against lefties, and they’ve always been weaker against young, lesser-known pitchers. That Britton had the Red Sox swinging so early in at-bats shows just how off-balance he had them all night long. Only a high pitch count knocked him out of the game (he still picked up his fourth win, going six innings and giving up just the one run), but his relievers picked up right where he left off, keeping Boston uncomfortable at the plate.

The Red Sox missed an opportunity Tuesday to finally get back to .500, and also gain a game on the first-place New York Yankees. Had they won, Boston’s victory would have finally washed away the first 12 games of the season, in which they went 2-10. Instead, the climb out of their early-season hole will have to wait at least two more days.

Twitter Love for Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie is batting .431. He has scored 13 runs and driven in 12. He has an OPS of 1.141. And as his hot streak continues to somehow get hotter with each passing game, his legend grows.

Literally.

The Twitter hashtag #legendofjedlowrie was first used by Providence Journal Red Sox writer Brian MacPherson on April 17, though it was his April 18 tweet, “Jed Lowrie won the Boston Marathon before his first at-bat today,” that was retweeted multiple times and likely birthed the movement. Since that time, over 1,300 tweets have included it, often times with the abbreviated hashtag #lojl. And reading them, you learn some pretty interesting stuff about the shortstop from Salem, Oregon. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “Jed Lowrie can solve the federal budget problems.” @cmcabo97, 4/18/11, 11:33 AM ET
  • “When Paul Revere rode, he actually yelled, ‘Jed Lowrie is coming! Jed Lowrie is coming!’ Toronto took no heed.” @brianmacp, 4/18/11, 11:35 AM
  • “Jed Lowrie once won the Tour de France on a Tricycle.” @matty3_6, 3/18/11, 11:39 AM
  • “Jed Lowrie invented magic.” @mytwittah, 4/18/11, 12:03 PM
  • “In Pulp Fiction what was in Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase was actually Jed Lowrie’s baby pictures.” @ALargeRegular, 4/18/11, 12:03 PM
  • “Trading Babe Ruth was just a elaborate plan -that took years- to land the Jed Lowrie deal.” @mytwittah, 4/18/11, 12:11 PM
  • “Jed Lowrie already found the afikomen.” @DeportMcCourts, 4/18/11, 12:16 PM
  • “He’s never made a mistake. He thought he did once, but he was wrong.” @rterenzi, 4/18/11, 9:51 PM
  • “Jed Lowrie sun tans in the Large Hadron Collider.” @JedLowrieLegend, 4/19/11, 5:17 PM
  • “Cobra failed because they tried the weather device rather than using jed lowrie.” @LKrukowski, 4/20/11, 5:26 PM
  • “Keyser Soze is terrified of Jed Lowrie.” @TBritton_Projo, 4/20/11, 5:31 PM
  • “Scrooge McDuck’s financial advisor and personal accountant is Jed Lowrie.” @JedLowrieLegend, 4/20/11, 7:18 PM
  • “When a boulder fell onto Jed Lowrie and pinned him in a canyon, it took Jed 127 seconds to shatter the rock with his mind.” @JedLowrieLegend, 4/20/11, 8:04 PM
  • “There is no Theory Of Evolution, just a list of animals Jed Lowrie allowed to survive.” @CaptainRich5, 4/20/11, 9:58 PM
  • “Donald Trump will never find Jed Lowrie’s birth certificate…because its on Mount Olympus.” @Soxfan311, 4/21/11, 10:50 AM
  • “In many ways, Jed Lowrie is identical to Dr. Manhattan.” @JedLowrieLegend, 4/21/11, 12:07 PM
  • “Waldo is hiding from Jed Lowrie.” @bosoxfan929, 4/21/11, 1:07 PM
  • “jed lowrie has slept with GLadOS.” @m2309a3, 4/21/11, 2:46 PM
  • “Jed Lowrie crosses beams of proton packs without consequence.” @JedLowrieLegend, 4/22/11, 3:49 PM
  • “Jed Lowrie solved Fermat’s Last Theorem.” @lecreative, 4/22/11, 4:12 PM
  • “The Japanese Anime Classic ‘Akira’ is loosely based off of Jed Lowrie’s childhood as a psycho-kinetic warrior.” @JedLowrieLegend, 4/23/11, 10:03 AM
  • “Jed Lowrie invented the Internet, not Al Gore.” @lecreative, 4/23/11, 12:36 PM
  • “Jed brings out the chatty JD Drew, emoting and talking with his hands.” @_fc, 4/24,11, 3:56 PM
Jed Lowrie: The man, the myth, the legend. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Lowrie’s legend may have grown from the #legendofsamfuld Twitter movement inspired by Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Sam Fuld, since they were teammates at Stanford University.

So far, Fuld is batting .346 with just 8 RBIs and a “measly” .901 OPS.

Allen and Pierce Combine For 70 As Celtics Blow Out Knicks in Game Three

Not a whole lot to write about tonight. Not much going on.

Well, ok, the Boston Celtics blew out the New York Knicks, 113-96, to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. They never fell behind or were even tied after scoring their first bucket.

Probably ought to mention that Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined for 70 points, including 14 three-pointers on 74 percent shooting from beyond the arch. That’s kinda important.

And oh yeah, Rajon Rondo somewhere, too. He made a ridiculous double-clutch scoop shot in the fourth… and had a triple-double… and set a Celtics single-playoff-game record with 20 assists.

But really, nothing really newsworthy, right?

Allen Rains 3’s All Night

The Knicks had no answer for the dynamic duo of Allen and Pierce. Allen scored 32 points, draining eight three-pointers, with three rebounds, an assist and two steals. He drained a trey for the 12-3 Boston lead early in the first. He drained three more in the second, including one late in the quarter from the exact spot from which he’d been blocked only moments earlier for the 50-39 Celtics lead.

Allen had the Knicks running scared all night. One Knick was never enough to contain him, so New York started doubling him. Didn’t work.

When Carmelo Anthony (15 points on 4-16 shooting, a performance frustrating enough to make him shout a very naughty word on national television) broke his coverage to help chase Allen, Jeff Green (nine of the bench’s 13 total points, the one Boston criticism) was left wide open for the 21-footer to make it 52-42 Celtics with less than a minute left in the half.

Early in the third, Rondo penetrated into the lane, drew in the Knicks defenders, then found Allen for his first of two third-quarter treys. In the fourth, Allen drained two more, his last one killing the last Knicks mini-run, which had cut the Celtics lead to 14 after reserve shooting guard Roger Mason hit two three-pointers of his own (the Knicks bench outscored the starters, 52-44).

Pierce Lethal In the Lanes… and ALSO From Deep

As lethal as Allen was, Pierce had perhaps an even stronger game. Pierce knocked down 14 baskets, six from downtown. He grabbed three rebounds, dished out one assists and stole three passes.

Pierce opened the scoring for the Celtics on a pull-up jumper. A minute and a half later, he stole the ball and broke for the basket, laying it in and getting to the line to put the Celtics up 7-0. He scored an and-1 basket again in the third when Rondo penetrated on a fast break after a Kevin Garnett (12 rebounds, the key to a Celtics defense that out-rebounded the Knicks 43-33) steal, then dished it to Pierce for the layup and the foul.

By the end of the game, Pierce was stroking shots he had no business taking. Single coverage, double coverage, dribble-penetration, crossover-jumpers, it didn’t matter. Pierce could hit shots anytime he wanted to from any spot on the court. That included from three-point range, where Pierce knocked down six shots. In the first, Rondo grabbed an offensive rebound, then passed it to Pierce in the corner while leaping out of bounds. Pierce drained it for the 15-5 Celtics lead.

In the third quarter, Pierce drained threes on two straight possessions for the 63-50 lead, making an eight-point lead with 10:07 left an 11-point lead a minute later. He hit back-to-back treys a second time late in the fourth quarter for a 109-86 Celtics lead.

Rondo’s Triple-Double Just the Third-Best Performance of the Night

One would be hard-pressed to find a key basket for the Celtics that didn’t start with Rondo. He finished the game with 15 points, 11 rebounds (with a game-high six offensive rebounds) and 20 assists. Friday night, Rondo was the perfect point guard. If a teammate was open (as Pierce or Allen almost inevitably were), Rondo found him. He even found Jermaine O’Neal three times: once under the basket and twice for mid-range jumpers (one on a behind-the-head pass).

If no one was open, Rondo didn’t hesitate to shoot. He knocked down a 16-footer when the Knicks played off him early in the first to make it 4-0 Celtics. Midway through the third, he drained an 18-footer to make it 69-54 Celtics. With four seconds left in the third and the shot-clock expiring, Rondo hit a jump shot to secure his sixth playoff triple-double.

He is now tied with LeBron James for second among active players.

Three Scoreless Bullpen Innings Propel Red Sox in Extra Innings in Anaheim

Jonathan Papelbon reacts after striking out Los Angeles Angels' Howard Kendrick to end Thursday's baseball game in Anaheim, Calif. The Red Sox won 4-2. (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

The Boston Red Sox needed a strong bullpen performance Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In 10 innings they had left 13 men on base.

Luckily, a strong performance is exactly what they got.

The Red Sox relief trio of Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks and Jonathan Papelbon combined to allow just a bunt-single through the final three innings, holding down a 4-2 Red Sox win over the Angels in 11 innings. Jenks picked up his first win of the season after throwing a perfect 10th inning. Papelbon struck out Angels second baseman and primary power threat Howie Kendrick with a runner on second to pick up his fourth save.

Gonzalez Wins it in the 11th; Red Sox Squander Other Chances

The Red Sox broke open a 2-2 tie in the top of the eleventh. After J.D. Drew walked (one of two) and took third on a Dustin Pedroia (3-4, two walks) single to right, Adrian Gonzalez (2-5, walk) drove him in with a double to right that got past right fielder Torii Hunter and rolled to the wall. Jed Lowrie made it 4-2 Red Sox by driving in Pedroia with a sacrifice fly. During the previous at-bat, Pedroia had eluded a tag during a rundown.

The Red Sox had no trouble getting men on base Thursday night; it was getting them home that proved nearly impossible. Through 10 innings, Boston managed just one hit with runners in scoring position: a two-run single by Jacoby Ellsbury in the top of the sixth off Angels starter Tyler Chatwood (six innings, two runs, six hits, five walks, three strikeouts) for the 2-0 lead.

That lead was erased when starter Josh Beckett (eight innings, two runs, three hits, two walks, five strikeouts) finally tired in the bottom of the seventh (through five innings, Beckett did not allow a hit) and allowed a two-run home run to Hunter, tying the game 2-2. It was a lone flat breaking ball on a night of otherwise sharp pitches. Beckett continues to dominate, even if the win-loss record doesn’t reflect it.

The Red Sox went 2-18 with runners in scoring position Thursday. They had eight multi-runner innings, but only capitalized twice (the sixth and the 11th). In the eighth, they had the bases loaded with only one out, but Drew struck out and Pedroia popped out to second to end the threat.

In the seventh, Drew and Pedroia reached on walks to start the inning, but Gonzalez popped out, followed by two strikeouts.

Youkilis Exits After First Inning with Bruised Left Shin

After Pedroia and Gonzalez reached on consecutive singles up the middle in the first, Kevin Youkilis waged a 10-pitch battle with Chatwood before grounding into a double-play. During the at-bat, Youkilis fouled four pitches off his leg and foot. Before the second inning, Youkilis came out of the game. Dugout cameras showed a significant bruise on his left shin.

Lowrie moved to third once Youkilis left, with Marco Scutaro taking over at shortstop. Scutaro went 0-3 with runners in scoring, but made a nifty play in the bottom of the ninth, sliding gracefully to stop a ball hit up the middle, getting up quickly and firing to first for the out.

The Red Sox continue to struggle with runners left on base. They average over six stranded per game. The pitching – both starting and relief – seems to be figuring itself out. But unless the offense can back them up with actual runs, eventually every pitcher will falter.

The Red Sox got lucky Thursday night. The Angels squandered as many chances as the Red Sox did (Drew’s strong through to Pedroia helped gun down shortstop Erick Aybar’s attempted triple in the bottom of the eighth). In the future, Boston might not be so lucky.

Women’s Rugby Requires Aggressive Play, Not Aggressive Players

Also published on Boston.com.

Imagine you’re tackled while playing football. You hit the ground hard and expect play to stop. Instead, bodies suddenly start flying every which way. Teammates and opponents slam into each other all around you. Your opponents want to strip the ball; your teammates want to clear a path for you to hand the ball off (while you’re still on the ground, remember). And if you do hand the ball off safely, you have to get up immediately and take the new ball-carrier’s place as a potential tackler.

What would you call this mass chaos? You’d call it rugby. And the women’s rules are the exact same as the men’s.

On Sunday, April 3, the Boston University women’s rugby team is taking on Radcliffe College at Harvard University’s Cumnock Field. White lines on the synthetic grass mark a 70-meter by 100-meter field with two “try lines” to mark the front of rugby’s scoring area, and two dead-ball lines to mark its end. H-shaped goalposts stand centered on the try lines.

Players score in rugby – whose name comes from the Rugby School in central England, where the sport originated – by touching the football to the ground inside the goal area, resulting in a five-point “try.” A two-point “conversion” attempt follows, in which the ball must be kicked through the uprights and above the crossbar. The ball can also be drop-kicked through the uprights for a three-point “drop goal.”

For the conversion the ball must be positioned in line with where it was touched down for the try, so runners will often enter the goal area, then head towards the center before touching the ball down.

BU gets on the board first when senior fullback Sarah Appleton breaks two tackles and runs over a third before downing the ball to the far left of the goalpost. Appleton’s conversion attempt – kicked directly into a gusting, 18 mph wind – sails wide right. 5-0, Terriers. But Radcliffe responds with a try of its own to tie the game.

If the ball goes out of bounds, a lineout is awarded against the last team to touch it. The opposing team throws in the ball, and each side has two players grab a third by the shorts and lift her into the air. The two elevated players vie for control of the ball.

BU is awarded a lineout near its own try line, but Radcliffe gets control of the ball and punches it in for a 10-5 lead. Poor lineout play will plague the Terriers all game.

The Radcliffe women score five more unanswered tries, converting three times, to go up 41-5 early in the second half.

The football cannot be thrown forward, so players run with the ball as far as they can, then pass it laterally or backwards to a teammate, or they are tackled. When a player is tackled, teammates form a protective “ruck” around the downed player, attempting to push opponents out of the way long enough for the ball to be handed off to a teammate.

BU’s only real scoring chance during Radcliffe’s streak comes late in the first half, as forward (forwards tend to be the stronger, heavier players) Aubrey Macgill barrels through Radcliffe tacklers as she approaches the try line. But she reacts too quickly as she is tackled, not waiting for the ruck to cover her, and she throws the ball away. Macgill turns the ball over several times during BU’s game.

If a player runs ahead of the ball (“off-sides”), or pushes it forward with his or her hands (a “knock-on”), the opposing team is awarded a “scrum.” Eight players interlock and form a three-tiered battering ram that slams shoulders-first into the opposing eight, trying to push the other side backwards while using their feet to feed the ball back to teammates, who restart the running.

Radcliffe’s women are on average a bit taller than BU’s, which gives them added leverage in the scrum. They are able to push back and nearly over-run the Terrier defenders. By the time BU recovers, Radcliffe is running at full speed, easily cutting through BU’s first line of defense, then dragging the remaining Terrier tacklers for extra yards before the next ruck.

Late in the second half, BU is awarded the ball after Radcliffe’s scrum-half illegally rolls the ball towards her teammates instead of down the middle of the scrum. BU downs the ball for a try, and Appleton converts.

BU captain Julie Athanasiadis fights her way for another try late in the game, but several rucks just outside the try-line beforehand take too much time off the clock for BU to mount a comeback.

Radcliffe 48, BU 19.

In a sport that requires so much contact, so much physicality, so much hitting, you might think that only the most naturally aggressive women play. You would be wrong.

“We don’t just run around the pitch hitting people as hard as possible,” says captain Teagan Lukacs in an e-mail. “There is a lot of technique involved in tackling to be effective and avoid injury. The focus is to get possession of the ball, not just inflict pain.”

During one of BU’s 5:30 a.m. practices on Nickerson Field, freshman Mandy Garelick describes the game in militaristic terms, using words such as “war,” “survival,” and “soldier.” In the background, BU’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps does drills.

Junior Irene O’Brien says that camaraderie and trust are crucial in a sport where players stand guard over fallen teammates.

“For me, it’s like a protective thing,” O’Brien says of rucking over tackled teammates. “I want to make sure that I get there so I can make it easier.”

Team president Abigail Smigelski says that most players accept the hitting as crucial to winning the game, so their competitive drive fuels their physicality.

Many women first get into rugby through some kind of competition. Mandy Garelick and sophomore Alex Krawczuk both say they started playing through dares or bets. Beth Riley, 23, who played for Trinity College in Conn., said she joined “out of spite” after recovering from an injury that doctors said would keep her from playing varsity athletics.

Rugby players are often stereotyped as stocky lesbians. The BU team has women of all shapes and sizes. One player wears a gray t-shirt that reads, “So gay so what!”

Smigelski says that while the stereotype is unfair, rugby is definitely a sport that welcomes women of all orientations.

Radcliffe vs. BU highlights.

 

For Jess Galer, Boston Marathon Training Involves Lots of Running, Lots of Pizza

Jess Galer, 29, from Fennimore, Wisconsin, runs with Children's Hospital's "Miles for Miracles."

Read alternate version at www.BUJournalism.com/marathon2011

Every Friday, in preparation for the next day’s long run, Jess Galer, 29, eats cheese pizza from Emilio’s Pizza & Sub Shop in Boston’s South End, down the street from her apartment. She’s training for the Boston Marathon, to be run on April 18, Patriots Day. Pizza might seem like an odd training food, but if Dean Karnazes – the man who once ran 50 marathons in 50 different states in 50 consecutive days – eats it, there must be something to it.

The morning of the run, the 5-foot-7, 160-pound Children’s Hospital pharmacist from Fennimore, Wisconsin, eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

She dons her training gear. First come the black crop pants from Lululemon Athletica, whose “Luxtreme” fabric quickly wicks away sweat (transfers the sweat from the surface of the skin to the surface of the fabric, where it evaporates without lowering one’s body temperature). Then she puts on two or three layers of shirt – usually pink or teal – of varying length (she likes sleeves that end in thumbholes) so she can stay warm or cool as necessary. On Patriots Day she will wear the pink-and-blue-checkered jersey of Children’s Hospital, whom she is running and raising money for. Last come Brooks “Adrenaline”-model sneakers, white, blue and gray, size 9.5 wide.

Galer stretches, then goes. On Saturdays she usually trains along the Boston Marathon’s course. These Saturday runs have been building incrementally since she began her training 18 weeks ago. Her first Saturday, she only went five miles. For her last long run in March, she ran 21 miles, starting at the race’s start in Hopkinton, Mass., and finishing after the hills in Newton.

Galer runs with Miles for Miracles, the 300-runner fundraising group for Children’s Hospital. She maintains what she calls a “conversational pace” during the Saturday runs, talking mostly about work.

Galer always starts her long runs amped up, so she has to make sure she doesn’t come out of the gate too fast and burn up too much energy. It takes her five miles to get into rhythm, which is why she says she likes the middle miles so much.

“It’s like you finally don’t have to try to run anymore, your body is just doing it,” she says in an e-mail. “You’re feeling great and everything is in synch.”

The easiness passes around mile 18 and gives way to exhaustion. The sweat starts to pour. The sneakers feel heavy as they pound the pavement. The face goes slack, as keeping those muscles taught saps much-needed energy.

The breathing gets heavier. Galer tells herself, “with every breath I get stronger,” and she says the phrase helps her maintain her focus. She uses a similar reframing with hills, telling herself she loves them instead of dreading them.

Galer pushes through the final miles of a long run by remembering that stopping would hurt more than continuing. The most painful part of an 18-mile run, which took her through Boston to simulate the end of the marathon, was when she had to stop and wait for streetlights to change.

Every three miles Galer drinks a mixture of Gatorade and water, to rehydrate without hurting her stomach. Every six miles, she eats a GU Energy Gel, which combines caffeine with the sugars and carbohydrates needed to maintain energy levels, and electrolytes to help stay hydrated. Galer’s favorite flavors are “Chocolate Outrage” and “Espresso Love.”

After running, Galer drinks chocolate milk to recover.

During her three weekday runs (and occasional solo long run), none longer than six miles, Galer listens to music on her red iPod Nano. Her musical preferences range from country to hip-hop to Lady Gaga. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, she also listens to Zooniversity Music’s “Teach me How to Buck” (UW’s mascot is Bucky Badger).

“I really try to listen to songs that make me happy, because it makes the running more enjoyable,” Galer says at an Apr. 2 fundraiser at the Baseball Tavern in Boston’s Kenmore Square.

She will also sometimes zone out when running by herself, trying to clear her mind and relax. She calls running her “free therapy.”

Though this is her second marathon – her first was the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in June 2008 – Galer says her 18-week raining schedule would suit an even less experienced distance runner.

“You’re supposed to be able to pick this up even if you haven’t been working out before,” she says.

When she isn’t running, Galer takes an hour-long spin class or lifts weights for an hour at the all-women’s Healthworks in Copley Square. The weight training involves lighter weights and many repetitions, which tones existing muscle instead of building fresh bulk.

Galer’s training hasn’t caused a drop in weight, mostly because she eats “way more” than she used to.

“It’s absurd,” she says. But the training turns fat into leaner muscle, so Galer lately finds she fits into smaller-sized clothing.

As much as the training physically tires her out, it also has made her more focused, more organized, more put together.

The training regimen’s structure has made her feel far more positive, confident and fit heading into Patriots Day, a change from her first marathon, which she says she didn’t run so much as “willed myself through it.”

Galer has so enjoyed the changed lifestyle that she has already signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C.

Though Galer’s training hasn’t limited her diet, it has definitely limited her socializing habits. She drinks far less alcohol than she used to, and finds herself going to bed most nights before 10 p.m., needing longer, deeper sleep to combat the physical exhaustion she feels by the end of the day. When awake, she usually talks about her training with her coworkers. Responses have been mixed.

“Some of my friends who I used to go out with more told me I’m maybe not as much fun,” Galer says, laughing.

On Friday nights, Galer always stays in.

And eats cheese pizza.

Update: Galer finished the Boston Marathon in 4 hours, 56 minutes and 59 seconds. She ran 41:07 faster than she did at the 2008 San Diego Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon.

Galer finished the 2011 Boston Marathon in 4:56:59

Celtics Regular-Season Wrap-Up

Team chemistry may have been disturbed with the loss of Kendrick Perkins, but the additional rest for Paul Pierce will pay dividends in the playoffs. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Celtics finished the 2009-10 regular season 50-32. This season, they finished 56-26. The 2010 Celtics finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, beating the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic before losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. The 2011 Celtics finished third, and will face the New York Knicks in the postseason starting Sunday.

Will these Celtics  surpass the 2010 squad? Will they hang banner no. 18 next fall? Or will the Celtics’ weaknesses doom them? What even are those weaknesses? Perhaps if we clarify them, we can figure out how likely they are to derail Boston’s playoff run.

Team Lacks Focus Against Weaker Opponents

Last year, the Celtics’ .500-run after Christmas could be attributed to a conscious choice by Doc Rivers. The Big Three needed rest so they could be fresh in April, and Rivers’s reliance on the bench cost the team many late-game leads and games. But that strategy paid off, with a veteran squad healthy and rested for when it mattered.

The Celtics have not used the same strategy this year. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have all averaged more minutes per game than they did last season. For the most part, this strategy has worked, as all three players have shot better, rebounded and scored more. It has even paid off on defense, with both Allen and Garnett stealing more often. This has directly led to the Celtics holding opponents to fewest points per game in the NBA.

The physical liabilities of last year’s team seem to have disappeared, even as the Celtics’ primary scoring apparatus has gotten a year older. So without physical issues to blame their struggles on (especially during their final 20 games, where they went 10-10), the issue must be mental.

Taken as a whole, the collective of teams that beat Boston during the regular season doesn’t seem so bad. The 21 teams (five of which beat the Celtics twice) combined to finish the season with a .506 winning percentage. On average, they finished better than eighth in their respective conferences. It would seem the Celtics mostly lost to around-.500 playoff teams.

But did they really? Don’t be so sure. Of their 26 losses, 11 were to sub-.500 teams. Seven of those games were against teams that finished in the bottom third of the NBA. Four of those losses came at the hands of the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats, who combined to go 57-107.

It seems the Celtics had a problem with bad teams this year. This was never more evident than on the second night of back-to-back games. Whereas on the first night they went 8-1 against sub.500 teams, on the second night they went 5-8. On the road against sub-.500 teams, they went 1-7. The Celtics handled their business on first nights (15-4), but could never match the intensity the next night (8-11). This suggests that the team would overplay game one, then be dead for game two.

Playoffs Will Not Have Bad Teams or Tight Schedules

Mental focus and pacing issues plagued the Celtics all season, but of all the problems a team could have, these are oddly not so bad. The Celtics will enjoy the extra time off between playoff games, and their competition will never slacken. The team will have to take their opponents seriously, and their own play will improve to match it. Who would you rather have the Celtics lose to: the teams they’ll see in the playoffs, or the teams they won’t?

Of course, losing twice to Chicago and once each to Miami and Orlando doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, either.

Team Chemistry Following Perkins-Krstic/Green Deal

Many have argued the Feb. 24 deal that shipped Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City and brought in Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic hurt the team by killing its interior toughness. But the reality is that off all the current Celtics to start at center for this year, Krstic is just 0.1 rebounds per game behind leader Shaquille O’Neal. And while Perkins averaged 8.0 boards this year, much of that can be attributed to five 10-plus rebound games with the Thunder.

Krstic is not the best option to rebound, but this team’s best rebounder has always been Garnett, not Perkins, Krstic, O’Neal or anyone else. Come the playoffs, the main job of the centers will be to foul Orlando’s Dwight Howard until he loses all rhythm. The Celtics need bodies more than they need centers. Krstic is certainly good enough to do that.

The Return of Paul Pierce

Jeff Green, meanwhile, has done exactly what the Celtics hoped he would: give Pierce a break. Since Green joined the team, Pierce’s scoring has increased as his minutes have decreased. Both of these changes are relatively small (18.84 points per game to 18.99, 34.7 minutes per game to 34.5), but those couple extra breaks here and there may pay off in the postseason.

Pierce has the singular ability to carry an offense when no one else is contributing. Rajon Rondo may call the plays and run the floor, and Garnett may scream and curse, but Pierce is the true leader, the one who really makes it all go. Having him as fresh as possible will mean far more than whether the Celtics allow an extra rebound or fail to amp up for the competition.

When the team absitively, posilutely needs a basket, there is no substitute for the Truth.

Jets Lose Interest in Moss, Avoid Disaster

It’s been an interesting week for former New England Patriot, Minnesota Viking, Tennessee Titan, and Oakland Raider Randy Moss. On

If Randy Moss becomes a New York Jet, it will be an epic disaster for Rex Ryan and his team. (www.jetsgab.com)

Monday, Boston Globe reporter Greg Bedard reported that the New York Jets were interested in signing the free-agent wide receiver. Less than 24 hours later, Fox Sports reporter Adam Schein tweeted that the Jets had “no interest” in Moss.

Will Moss be a Jet? Won’t he? Should Patriots fans even care? The man almost single-handedly derailed two teams last season, and the Patriots turned their season around on their very next game after trading him. Wouldn’t you rather see him derail the team that poses the only real threat to the Patriots in the AFC East? How best can we even describe the wayward wide receiver?

Apologists will probably call Moss “idiosyncratic.” Critics will likely call him “cancerous.” Perhaps an analogy would be most effective, so here goes:

Randy Moss is the Charlie Sheen of the NFL, if Sheen’s drug of choice was marijuana instead of crack. Both Moss and Sheen are:

By not pursuing Moss, Rex Ryan may have saved his team’s season (assuming there is one). We all saw what happened when Sheen was finally let off the leash (or “fired”): he took his loudmouthery to never-before-seen levels. For Moss to join the Jets might have caused a similar reaction.

On a Jan. 12 media conference call, Ryan said, “We’re a transparent organization. We let our guys speak and we don’t try to tell them what to say and what not to say.” It’s a nice strategy with players like cornerbacks Antonia Cromartie and Darrelle Revis, because it lets them feel uninhibited, unchained to a corporate image.

But there’s an unspoken agreement in that “transparency:” say whatever you want, but don’t call out your own team.

If you look at everything Revis and Cromartie have ever said, not once will you find a direct attack on the Jets organization, their coach or their teammates. They might give a cliched answer like “we need to play with more heart,” or “we need to play 60 minutes,” but have they ever said “this play was a bad idea?” No. And that self-censorship is as powerful as the organizational censorship used by teams like the Patriots.

If Moss has shown the world anything in his career, it’s that he either can’t or won’t censor himself for anyone about anything. If Moss is unhappy, the world hears about it. The rest of the Jets believe that since the can say whatever they want, they shouldn’t abuse it by saying everything that they might want to. Moss believes that if he can say whatever he want, he will. That difference in interpretation could quickly create a rift between him and the rest of the team.

And the talent Moss would bring to New Jersey isn’t exactly mind-blowing. Through 2009, Moss averaged just over 77 receptions, 12 touchdowns and 1,200 yards per season. Last season’s numbers: 28 catches, five touchdowns, 393 yards. The league has figured out Moss’s act: double-team him early so teams won’t throw to him, then let him mentally take himself out of the game in the second half.

Wanna know how many Jets wide receivers had a better 2010-11 season than Moss? Three: Jerricho Cotchery (more receptions and yards, but fewer touchdowns), Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. Basically, their entire passing offense. What exactly do they need Moss for? Are 1.75 catches and 0.3 touchdowns per game worth the headaches?

Given everything Moss has done in the past, if he is given the opportunity, he will directly lead to the downfall of the Jets. A non-decision may turn out to be the smartest decision Ryan makes all season long.

An Interactive Guide to the MLB

Do you feel sick inside when you can’t remember how the Arizona Diamondbacks did last season? Do you wake up in the middle of the night, screaming because you don’t know which orange juice company sponsors which baseball stadium? Can you no longer live with yourself because you’ve forgotten which year the Kansas City Royals won the World Series?

Don’t worry, my interactive map is here to help! Click on any logo, and you’ll immediately see where they play, what their park is called, how they did in 2010, and how many titles they have. Comments welcome!

View Baseball in America in a larger map