July 30, 2005

G102: Red Sox 8, Twins 5

Red sox win; Yankees, Blue Jays and Orioles lose.

As long as the Manny Ramirez debate continues on message boards, talk radio and (to a lesser extent) the comments section of a few posts here, there were two specific plays last night that would have received a lot more attention if Manny had been involved.

Terry Tiffee's triple in the 8th inning: A line drive over Damon's head. Damon first ran straight across towards right-center, then sort of backwards. He made a futile leap as the ball sailed way over his head. Just a brutal route to the ball. Tiffee drove in a run on the play, and when he scored two batters, the Sox lead was down to 4-3. Damon's poor fielding could have been costly.

Jason Varitek's baserunning in the home half of the 8th: This happened after John Olerud's grand slam. Varitek walked with one out. Bill Mueller smacked a liner to third. When Juan Castro threw to second base, Varitek turned off towards right field. Bret Boone dropped and bobbled the ball, but because Varitek was about half way to the bag and not even in the baseline, there was no danger of the Twins not getting the out.

I hate the veer-off play. If a runner has to turn away because he's out and there is no need for a slide, it should be done much, much closer to the bag. There is very little chance of the runner getting hit in the head with the throw. Even runners that are out at first base by 15 feet run through the bag. And the fact that Varitek turned away as the throw was going to Boone showed that he was conceding the out well before the out was made.

I haven't looked through the papers yet this morning, but I'd be shocked if the team captain got criticized for giving up on that play. (At least one SoSHer in the game thread thought Varitek might have been able to get to second safely due to Boone's bobble.)

Wells / Lohse at 7:00.


redsock said...

From Chris Snow's game story in the Globe:

"In the eighth, Arroyo walked the leadoff hitter, Bret Boone, then surrendered a triple to designated hitter Terry Tiffee that Damon, despite a valiant skywalk, couldn't pull down."

Kelsie Smith, also of the Globe:

"Even his halfhearted effort to catch a Lew Ford double in the seventh inning -- which ricocheted off the Wall to Johnny Damon -- wasn't a first for the left fielder."

mouse said...

No bias there. None at all.

Damon could've (and should've) caught that fly ball. He took a bad route to it and it went over his head. Jerry Remy called him on it--why won't the rest of the media?