Dump Truck. With one out in the 9th yesterday afternoon, trailing the Giants by two runs, David Ortiz singled down the right field line -- and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. With Manny Ramirez on deck, it's hard to overstate the stupidity of this play. Even if Ortiz had made it safely to second, the Giants likely would have walked Ramirez intentionally to face the decidedly less-dangerous Kevin Millar (though Nomar Garciaparra might have hit for him). Referring to himself as "a big dump truck" with no brakes, Ortiz said: "When I was going around first base, the ball was still going down the line, but it hit the wall and bounced out to the guy. If I didn't come out of the box the way I was supposed to and I got caught, that's a different situation, but I was hauling ass as soon as I came out of the box."
Pedro Martinez had a horrible first inning, allowing 4 runs and 5 hits. But he rebounded, allowing only 1 hit over 5 shutout innings. Martinez has a first-inning ERA of 7.80 (15 IP, 13 ER) and batters are hitting .359 (23-for-64) against him, with 5 home runs. From the second inning on, the numbers are 3.20, .224.
Terry Francona was quoted in Saturday's Herald as saying he had no plans to rest either Nomar Garciaparra or Trot Nixon during the weekend. But yesterday, Garciaparra, Nixon and Johnny Damon all began the day on the bench. Francona cited the quick turnaround from Friday night's game and Saturday's 12:15 (PST) start. ... Players need days off, but why rest all three players at the same time? Boston had last Monday off and they have this Monday off as well. I don't get it.
Nixon: "Baseball's tough. This game's not peachy and rosy all the time. [It's] not nice to you all the time." ... As a Red Sox fan for almost 30 years, I can't argue with that. But is having the Red Sox use their heads and put up a fight for 9 innings too much to ask? Too often, it seems at-bats and innings are being quandered.
Tony Massarotti has some stats on the Red Sox batting with the bases loaded. While the Sox are #1 in at-bats with the bases loaded, they are 26th in batting average. "Through their first 65 games, the Sox were 18-for-87 with the bases loaded, a .207 average that was well below the major league average of .268. Of the Sox' 18 hits, 11 were singles. And nine of the 18 hits came from either Pokey Reese or Johnny Damon, meaning the rest of the Red Sox were a miserable 9-for-68, a batting average of just .132. More numbers? Even with Reese (5-for-10) and Damon (4-for-9), the Sox had more strikeouts (22) than hits (18) ... eliminating the possibility for something so basic as a sacrifice fly."
Random stuff: Bill Mueller began a running program recently and hopes to rejoin the team in two to three weeks (All-Star break). He said he has been secretly swinging the bat in his in-laws' backyard and has been watching the Sox on the Extra Innings package. ... Ramiro Mendoza will make a rehab relief appearance Sunday for Pawtucket. ... Byung-Hyun Kim threw on the side in Lowell Thursday and in Pawtucket Saturday. ... Sean McAdam says the the Red Sox are close to signing RHP reliever Curtis Leskanic, who was released by Kansas City last week and cleared waivers Friday. ... Johnny Damon on Carlos Beltran.