October 14, 2003

Game 4 Scorecard.

1st Inning: Soriano walks, Jeter singles. Giambi rips a line shot right at Millar, who gets the easy unassisted double play. Whew.

2nd Inning: Bret Boone (on Fox) says he admires Zimmer for going after Pedro on Saturday, saying the coach was "sticking up for his team ... protecting his guys." So Boone believes coaches attacking opposing players is a good thing for baseball?

3rd Inning: Nixon singles to lead off. Mueller falls behind 0-2, but takes 3 straight pitches to run the count full. I tell my TV that Gump better not call for another hit-and-run. On Mussina's 7th pitch, Nixon takes off for second. Mueller swings and misses and Nixon is a dead duck at second. This is the 3rd straight game Grady has tried a hit-and-run in the early innings and it has failed every time (though Mueller at least swung at this pitch).

4th Inning: Boston loses a chance to pad its 1-0 lead when Soriano snares a sizzling grounder by Ortiz and turns a 4-6-3 DP to end the inning.

5th Inning: With one out, Dellucci singles, Soraiano singles and Jeter doubles off the 3B bag. One run scores and it's 1-1. If the ball had missed the bag and gone into the corner, Soriano probably would have scored, but he had to hold at third. The slumping Giambi (dubbed Miss-ter October in the tabloids) pops to shallow center. Damon catches it and although he has a noodle arm, Willie Randolph does not send Soriano. Damon's throw is predictably lame, dying in the infield and rolling towards the 3B line. Soriano would have scored easily.

7th Inning: With Boston ahead 2-1, Joe Buck is praising Mussina's pitching performance. He notes the Yankees bullpen is up and says "the Red Sox hitters might carry Heredia into the game to get rid of Mussina." It doesn't dawn on Buck that Mussina is both losing the game 2-1 and being outpitched by Wakefield. Buck also implies several times that Pedro has not spoken to the media about the Zimmer altercation, which is a lie.

7th Inning: Tim McCarver begins calling a different game that the one being shown on my TV. Millar walks with one out and Nixon hits a double off the wall. Matsui misplays the ball, but the run doesn't score, and McCarver says he made a great play. Mueller, mired in a horrific slump, is walked intentionally (thank you Joe Torre!) and Varitek comes jogging in from the bullpen, catcher's gear still on and an equipment bag slung over his shoulder. He will pinch-hit for Mirabelli. (Didn't the Sox have a coach that could carry that bag?) McCarver: "If Varitek comes in, you have to pull Wakefield." Whaaaa? Mirabelli caught Wakefield most of this season, but Varitek has caught him for years and there is no rule mandating a change of pitchers when a replacement catcher comes in. Weird.

Varitek slaps a 1-0 pitch to shortstop. Jeter moves one step to his right, gloves the ball and throws to Soriano, who makes a poor throw to first. Varitek beats the throw (a double play would have ended the inning) and Millar scores to put Boston up 3-1. McCarver makes no mention of the insurance run as his Yankee Love goes into overdrive. He blathers on and on about the great play Jeter made (one, maybe two, steps to his right!) and when he isn't talking about the Captain, he's singing the pitch-blocking talents of Posada (who went 0-4 versus Wakefield).

9th Inning: That insurance run becomes very large as Sierra homers off Williamson to bring New York within one run 3-2. But the Red Sox's new closer strikes out Dellucci for the 2nd out and gets the undisciplined Soirano to wave at three identical pitches (off the plate and down). Williamson was throwing 96 earlier in the inning, but the final pitches to Soriano are about 89-90. The game is over and the series is tied.

Tom Swany, sitting in the right-field box seats on Saturday, said Jeff Nelson and Jeff Weaver had been exchanging words with fans earlier in the game, before the ninth-inning brawl. "Earlier, he was mouthing to fans. He would talk back to them." As for who started the brawl inside the bullpen: "It was Nelson. No question."

Praise the God Squad. ... The Red Sox bullpen postseason ERA is 1.09. Hitters are batting .127. Timlin has retired all 22 batters he has faced, allowing only five balls out of the infield. Yet Ron Chimelis writes: "No wonder the Boston Red Sox are having so much trouble keeping pace with the New York Yankees. Every game for the Red Sox is a nine-inning adventure, a mix-and-match test of a bullpen that has been stellar in the postseason, but remains loaded with question marks." Maybe he was watching the game with McCarver.

Speaking of Chimelis, I saw the headline of his column "Pedro, Manny: Grow Up" and got worried. But it turns out I agree with a lot of what he said. Martinez and Ramirez should come out and say "I'm sorry for my actions"; they will likely get blasted even if they do for (a) not being sincere (more media mind-reading) and (b) taking too long to do it. Here's Chimelis: "It's sad when Don Zimmer becomes our example of honor. This supposedly proud man hasn't been too proud to collect a paycheck for essentially doing nothing but serving as team mascot. Zimmer reached age 72 without ever having to grow up, which can happen when you never have a job outside of baseball. He went looking for trouble, and Pedro had every right to defend himself. The next day, Zimmer faced the media, turned on the waterworks and refused to answer questions. But give him credit. At least he said something, and now he's a national treasure again."

Could Wakefield pitch in relief in Games 6 and/or 7? "Right now I feel great. But I may be running on adrenaline. I always have my spikes on, so we'll see how I feel tomorrow. ... I could be available." ... Pedro will not be moved up to Game 6.

New Rally Footage? "Bill Cosby, a longtime associate of Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, toured the room, stopping at nearly every player's locker, telling jokes. When he got to team prankster/head cowboy Kevin Millar, Millar unveiled his imitation of the comedian, sending Cosby and the rest of the team into hysterics." ... Did Cosby call a Sox fan a coward?

Dave Anderson of the New York Times wrote a thinly-veiled exhortation for Yankees fans to bring batteries to Game 7 and throw them at Pedro. Anderson hopes the series ends in six games "if only to eliminate the possibility of an ugly scene. Should a decisive Game 7 occur Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, all the commotion last Saturday at Fenway Park might resemble a tea-and-crumpets party compared with what could develop with Pedro Martinez on the mound for the Red Sox and a World Series berth up for grabs. ... Over the years, fans at Yankee Stadium have never been known to be hospitable to visiting villains. Forget the usual heated boos. Those boos are polite compared with the little batteries that some outfielders in gray uniforms have had fired at them from the grandstand and the bleachers. And in a Game 7, Pedro Martinez would be a visiting villain unlike any other. ... Names or even nicknames will never hurt Martinez, but in the absence of sticks and stones, a battery might. When he's on the mound or when he warms up in the bullpen, he would be within range of any Yankees loyalist with a good arm. But if there's no Game 7, Pedro the Perpetrator will be safe. Until next season."

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