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Secretariat threw five innings for the Red Sox yesterday

Jun 18, 2012, 10:01 AM EDT

Franklin Morales

Josh Beckett‘s shoulder injury left the Red Sox needing a fill-in starter yesterday and rather than call someone up from the minors they turned to Franklin Morales, who’d only pitched out of the bullpen since arriving in Boston last year and hadn’t started a game since April 21, 2009.

Morales had thrown more than 40 pitches in appearance just once all season, yet he tossed 80 pitches in five innings of two-run ball against the Cubs while striking out nine and walking zero.

It was a helluva performance, especially on short notice and after being strictly a reliever for more than three years. Or as teammate Vicente Padilla put it afterward: “He was a horse. Secretariat.”

Bobby Valentine told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he “had a hunch” Morales would come through with a solid effort and the manager indicated that he may stick in the rotation with Beckett on the disabled list.

(Side note: We’re all agreed that “Secretariat” is Morales’ new nickname for life, right? Has to be.)

  1. uyf1950 - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Two things. First, let’s not lose sight of the fact that it was the Cubs he was pitching against. Second, I saw Secretariat race and to compare Morales effort (by giving him that nickname) to probably the greatest horse that anyone under 70 years of age has ever seen does Secretariat an injustice.

    Here is a link for anyone not familiar with Secretariat.

    • Matt Aromando - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      This is why we can’t have nice spot starts.

      • uyf1950 - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        Matt, your reply proves my point. As you said it was as “nice” spot start. Secretariat was a GREAT horse and a GREAT racing champion. Secretariat wasn’t some horse that the owner put in a $5,000 claiming race. Which is the equivalent of what the Red Sox did when Morales pitched against the Cubs. Sorry for the comparison, but that’s the way I feel.

    • cur68 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      My Dad and I watch the triple crown races every year. Have done since as long as I can remember. I still remember seeing that race on our old black and white TV, even though I was 5 or 6 years old. It wasn’t even close. Big Red was a monster of a horse even when compared to the top echelon of his peers. Franklin Morales is going to have to turn in that performance against teams other than the Cubs to even be in the conversation for Secretariat Status. If he can do that against the Braves, Cards, Rangers, Angels, Yankees etc for a season, then yeah, we can talk about, maybe, thoroughbred status. Secretariat Status will be after his 4th No-No. Nolan Ryan, Satchel Paige, almost certainly. Justin Verlander, Harry LeRoy Halladay III, Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez: now those guys, are in the conversation. Frankilin Morales? Yeah, not so much, bro. Vincente Padilla I fine you a Loonie for making that ridiculous metaphor. I fine you a further 1 Million Loonies for being so damn ugly.

      • bigleagues - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM

        Call me a neo-hippie vegetarian, but horse racing has always made me feel a little queasy – even though I find myself watching those stupid races.

        Kind of like Franklin Morales . . . I felt queasy at the notion of him starting a game – but couldn’t help but watch it.

        Yet, I’ve now warmed to the idea of Morales getting more Starts . . . though I wouldn’t miss horse racing at all if it went away forever.

        (Full disclosure: I was a carnivore most of my life and I love Bobby V).

    • offseasonblues - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      That video still gives me goosebumps. He ran that race for fun.

    • bbil2012 - Jun 18, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      You jealous little bitch.

      • cur68 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:31 PM

        Hey look! Franklin Morales comments on HBT! How ’bout that? Hi Franklin! Keep up the good work and maybe, one day, you too can be a Racehorse. Maybe a Bobtailednag. Or a GlueBoy. Something like that.

  2. kiwicricket - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Is anyone else more surprised by the fact it was Vincente Padilla, who came up with this quote?

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      Absolutely Kiwi. When I read that I was somehow suddenly impressed that Padilla knew who the hell Secretariat was. Admittedly though…I am sometimes easily impressed.

    • pellypell - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Disney made the story into a movie, my three year old knows who he is. Except, in my house he is referred to as Big Red.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Yesterday was the first time I got to see the Cubs play this season and my description would be “Yikes!”

    • windycity0301 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Try watching them all year against lefties. It leaves an awful taste in your mouth. Their supposed best power hitter, Brian LaHair, is always on the bench against lefties as is Campana (who is just fun to watch because you can just see how he gets in infielders and pitchers heads, and frankly Cub fans need a little something fun to watch this season!) Now they are putting their current number 3 hitter David DeJesus (who would be a nice role player/possible corner outfielder on other teams) on the bench for lefties as well.

      Instead we get to watch the likes of Jeff Baker, Joe Mather, and Reed Johnson light it up. Woo Hoo!

  4. psousa1 - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Did I hear Orel Hershiser say “I talked to Red Sox fans and they tell me – They can’t trade Kevin Youkilis he’s the heart and soul”.

    What? Two things. 1. Red Sox fans want him on the bench or out so they can play Will Middlebrooks who is a superior hitter. 2. Orel Hershiser did not talk to Red Sox fans.

    • 18thstreet - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      My only regret is that I have but one thumb to give up for this comment.

      ESPN does this ALL THE TIME, simply assuming that the fans are living in the past. It’s ironic, since, generally speaking, that’s what makes most announcers lousy. I heard the MASN announcers talking about the Yankees’ infield and how they had 12 Gold Gloves among them, and yet he (MASN announcer) thinks the Nats are better on defense. As if these are conflicting thoughts! (Willie Mays has 660 career homeruns, but I’d rather have Darnell McDonald.)

      They often couch their ignorance (or even their indecisiveness) by blaming the fans. (“This crowd thought he was out!”) as if we can’t POSSIBLY watch objectively and notice what happened.

    • 18thstreet - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM

      Isn’t Pedroia the heart and soul? And, if we’re allowed to split the heart from the soul, I think one of them might be Ortiz.

      How many hearts and souls is a team allowed?

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Hahaha! Yeah really 18th! A team can’t have that many hearts and souls.
        It was Varitek, then Damon, then Youkilis, then Big Sloppy, and now Pedroia.
        I am going with Pedroia.

  5. randygnyc - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Morales turned in a pretty special performance, considering his own personal circumstances. The Red Sox should be pleased to see one of their pitchers step up like that. Compared to guys like Beckett, lackey and Dice K, who have showed very little heart for a very long time, Morales is a revelation.

  6. jimbo1949 - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    More Mr Ed, than Secretariat. Hyperbole much?

  7. offseasonblues - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Secretariat would have pitched a perfect game, striking out 27.

    • cur68 - Jun 18, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      And then be put out to stud.

      • 18thstreet - Jun 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

        Like Steve Garvey.

      • cur68 - Jun 18, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        We should all be so lucky.

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