September 12, 2004

Sweet Dreams. The late nights of the west coast trip kinda wore me out. However, I do not have a regular 9-to-5 job to get up for in the morning, so my sleepiness means only one thing: I am old and lame. ... But Game #141 -- a 9-0 whitewash of the Mariners -- was highly satisfying (or "outstanding" in the parlance of Don Orsillo) regardless of its starting time.

Bronson Arroyo allowed only 4 hits (and 0 walks) over 7 innings. His only jam was in the third, when Greg Dobbs and Dan Wilson began the inning with singles. Arroyo kept the ball in the infield, getting a strikeout, a force play and another groundout. He retired 10 Mariners in a row from the 4th to the 7th.

Manny Ramirez clubbed his 41st home run in the first inning. He also made two very good catches (ending the 4th and in the 9th), leaping to snare fly balls down the line and near the stands in foul territory. Manny is the living embodiment of the mild-mannered comic book superhero. ... In the 5th, Johnny Damon hit a 2-run double and Mark Bellhorn hit a 2-run homer on successive pitches. That upped the Red Sox lead from 3-0 to 7-0. With two outs in the 9th, Boston added two more runs on a single, double and 3 walks.

Mike Timlin was put in a hole when he began the 8th when two errors by Orlando Cabrera and Kevin Youkilis put runners on 1st and 2nd. But a force play and a 6-4-3 double play ended the inning. Alan Embree allowed a 2-out double in the 9th before striking out Orlando's brother Jolbert to end the game at 12:53 am.

I'm sure Terry Francona is sleeping better these days. Boston's margins of victory in its last 5 wins have all been comfortable -- 8-3, 7-1, 8-3, 13-2, 9-0 -- which has allowed Tito to pull his starters on his own schedule and with reasonable pitch counts and rotate pitchers out of the bullpen as they need work.

In Baltimore, Orlando Hernandez and the Yankees won 5-3. Who would have thought he'd be New York's pitching savior? The Yankees' 2½-game lead in the East is mostly (solely?) due to his 8-0, 2.49 record. He has been virtually untouchable at home this year, going 5-0, 1.85 in 6 starts, holding batters to a pathetic .208/.269/.319. He will face the Red Sox (and Curt Schilling) in the Bronx this Friday night. ... Anaheim lost to the White Sox 13-6 and fell 6 games behind the Sox in the wild card race.

Leiber/Daniel Cabrera at 1:35 pm and Lowe/Meche at 4:05 pm.

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