August 8, 2004

Motor City Madness. And they say Comerica is a pitcher's park ...

Tim Wakefield allowed six home runs -- something a pitcher hasn't done since 1940 -- but still got the win. His Red Sox mates scored six runs in the 4th inning before making an out and edged the Tigers 11-9. Boston starting pitchers had pitched at least seven innings in nine consecutive games before today.

Five of the Detroit homers came in the first three innings. But after Boston took a 9-6 lead, Wakefield settled down a bit, allowing only one hit (another HR) in the next two innings. Mendoza, Timlin and Foulke finished up. ... George Caster of the Philadelphia Athletics allowed six home runs to the Red Sox back on September 24, 1940.

Kevin Millar mouthed off before last night's game when he didn't see his name on the lineup card. "I'm not going to be lied to. I'm not going to be lack-of-communicated to. I wasn't told I was on the bench. I didn't know that was the situation. I didn't know they traded for [Mientkiewicz] to be the everyday first baseman. ... This is the time to get an identity for this team and we still don't have it. We're still checking lineups August 7. It's frustrating. Right now, no one knows what the hell is going on. No one knows where they're hitting. No one knows where they're playing. We're in a dogfight now, but if we really have to go with 55 different lineups a week, we'll win two and lose three and win two."

Ol' Buckethead has been hot over his last 15 games -- .471 average, .532 OBP -- but if he didn't know he'd get significantly less time at 1B, then he's a fool. What he ought to be doing is thanking Francona for sticking with him when he was a corpse in the lineup for months. And today he did just that, apologizing before the game: "I came in and I was frustrated. I probably should have taken a walk down to the dugout for an hour ... I didn't want to challenge him [Francona] because he has been loyal to me. He's in a tough situation with what he has to work with right now. I've got to understand that side of it, also." ... Then he went out and went 0-4, not hitting the ball out of the infield.

Pedro Martinez won his 178th game Saturday night with a great performance. It was the 69th time Martinez had 10+ strikeouts for Boston (he tied his season-high of 11), passing Fat Billy into first place on the team's all-time list. After the game, Pedro spoke about staying with the Red Sox. "I definitely want it to work out with Boston. But I'm like the rest of you, we'll have to wait and see. I don't know how it's going to turn out right now. I just want to help this team get to the playoffs and then win a World Series. That's still possible."

Scott Williamson pitched well for Pawtucket on Friday, but afterwards his right forearm swelled up to twice the size of his left one. ... Larry Lucchino: Boston's Bad Cop? ... Eric Van -- "Harvard brainiac and chat-board legend" in the words of Gordon Edes -- notes that Mark Bellhorn, "despite his league-leading 117 whiffs, has struck out just once with a runner on third base and less than two out."

After watching a replay, Dale Sveum admitted that he had made a mistake sending Dave Roberts Wednesday night. Sveum said that on the tape, he noticed a hesitation from Roberts on the hit, so "Yeah, I goofed that up." ... Without the hesitation, Roberts would have been dead by maybe 7 feet instead of 10, but hey, it's a start.

Idiots Abound: Ethan Forman, a business writer for the Eagle Tribune: "We all know the story about how after the 1919 season Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold a young pitching phenom, George Herman Ruth, to the Yankees to finance a Broadway play." ... I hate writers who either know nothing about their subject or can't be bothered to do even a tiny amount of simple research. First, the finance-the-play storyline has been shown (in "Red Sox Century") to be mostly, if not completely, a myth. Second, Babe was not a pitching phenom when he was sold to New York. He had been in the majors for 5½ years at that point and wasn't even pitching much anymore. In 1919, he was a full-time outfielder, setting a new single-season record for home runs.

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