September 22, 2005

G152: Devil Rays 7, Red Sox 4

One out. Mike Timlin needed to record just one lousy out. It took him five batters to get it, but by that time, the lead, the game, and first place in the East were gone.

Tim Wakefield held a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth. He allowed a single, threw a wild pitch, and hit a batter (his 3rd of the night). He got Carl Crawford to hit a 3-1 pitch for a 4-6-3 double play, but then Jose Cantu singled to left. 4-3.

I really didn't have any problem with Timlin coming in. Wakefield was at 93 pitches and the next batter, Travis Lee, had tagged him for a long home run back in the second inning. ... It fell apart pretty quickly. Lee singled, Johnny Gomes tripled, Eric Munson doubled, and Alex Gonzalez singled.

In retrospect, perhaps Craig Hansen for the out and Timlin in the ninth would have been a better course of action. ... The Sox went quickly in the ninth, slipping into second place for the first time since mid-July, thanks to the Yankees' 2-1 win over Baltimore.

Bill Mueller led off for the first time in his career and collected three singles and a walk. Manny hit #39, Doug Mirabelli had two hits, and while Edgar Renteria went 1-for-5, he also hit three wicked line drives right at Tampa infielders. Adam Hyzdu walked twice, though I did not like seeing him whiff with the bases loaded in the seventh.

Boston gets its long-awaited day off today. The Yankees finish their series with the Orioles tonight. The Red Sox will be either in an exact tie for first or one game out. ... Then it's a 10-game sprint to the finish.

11 comments:

Adam C. said...

Tito is an idiot. You've got a fresh, new arm in the bullpen who is an out machine and an old guy who's a decent closer but who faints in the presence of inherited runners.

Who do you put in to get one lousy, freaking out?

sarah said...

as frustrating as last night was, i refuse to give up. if this ship goes down then i'm going down with it.

r.e. edgar - i've noticed that past two or three nights that he has been hitting the ball very hard but it's just been going directly toward fielders. a sure sign that he's about to break out of his slump. my husband thinks i'm crazy but i'm telling you: edgar is gonna come up big.

GO RED SOX!!!

grunherz said...

"i'm crazy but i'm telling you: edgar is gonna come up big."

Edgar will be this year's post-season Mark Bellhorn.

I mean that in a good way.

just get to the post-season

yaztex said...

Last night was an evening of ironic juxtapositions, courtesy of that little miracle we call the satellite dish.

On CNN, you had live coverage of the Jet Blue flight circling LAX with its damaged landing gear, as millions across America hoped and prayed that the captain could call upon his accumulated knowledge and experience to bring everyone on his ship home safely.

On the other end of the dial at FOXSFL millions across American hoped and prayed that Captain Tito could also call upon his own knowledge and experience to bring everyone on Flight G152 safely.

Fortunately for those at LAX, they ended up on the flight that landed safely, a far better fate than those of us who watched Tito auger G152 into the ground at the Trop.

I agree with the author that Tito's decision to send Wake back out for the 8th was solid, even as he dodged a bullet to get out of the 7th. However, I expected that the bullpen would be a beehive of activity from the beginning of the inning (Hey Tito - This just in..YOU'RE FIGHTING FOR A GODDAMN PLAYOFF SPOT!!), and that Wake would be given the rest of the night off if even a single Devil Ray got on base.

It took a leadoff single and a HBP to even get him off his ass to get Timlin up, and by then the situation had begun to spin out of his control. Putting aside for a moment that he was sitting on the bench with his jacket on and not warming up, why not go with Myers to get the left match-up vs. Travis Lee? Even if Lou pinch-hits for Lee to get a righty against the lefty, Lee was having a big night and it would have been wise to force Pinella to pull him. Why roll over on the match-up and not force Pinella to make a counter-move?

Then, as Timlin threw extended BP to a succession of D-Ray hitters, it wasn't until the 4th consecutive hit put the game out of reach that Tito called back down to the bullpen. In an effort to perform the Minute Waltz in 30 seconds, Myers was warming up so furiously that he looked like a Roaring '20s flapper in baseball drag. Alas, when Timlin finally coaxed the last out on a fly to left, it was all over but the shouting.

What happened to the recently christened Papelbon 8th Inning Bridge? How about giving Hansen (He of The Unhittable Cheese) the chance to be to Tito what K-Rod became to Scoscia when he gave him both his confidence and the ball down the stretch in 2002? Tito manages this team in a manner that seems so by the book that he's trying not to lose, rather than trying to win.

Timlin is a gutty, veteran gamer who would answer the call until his arm fell off, and then would probably try to wing it from the portside. However, given that the percentage of his inherited runners who score is .562 (presumable a factoid that Bill James could have placed been on Tito's crib sheet that he kept studying last night while he diddled away the game), why not give the rock to Papelbon or Hansen in the 8th and give Timlin a clean set of bases with which to work in the 9th?

The final juxtaposition of the evening could be found when one jumped over to YES. In stark contrast to Manny jaking it down the line in the 5th on his comebacker to the mound, where Rice pointed out in the post-game ("hey man, this is a pennant race, you gotta' hustle"), you had the gritty Sheffield very nearly legging out a DP grounder in the 8th at Yankee Stadium.

Could it have made a difference? In the case of the Yankees, you can bet Sheff's hustle inspires those around him to play at a higher level of intensity. In the case of Manny, you wonder when Tek is going to take him behind the wood shed and kick the living shit out of him for his prima donna act.

If one ascribes to the notion that adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it, the next 10 games will determine which of these two teams - Sox or Yankees - has enough to come out on top on or before October 3.

Sean O said...

Sorry, I still have faith, but edgar sucks, and he's never going to get any better. If he can't continually rake against lefties, then he literally is no good to us in any capacity.

If there is a postseason, he's going to suck there as well.

redsock said...

In stark contrast to Manny jaking it down the line in the 5th on his comebacker to the mound

I think you mean the 1st inning -- Manny homered in the 5th.

Bear in mind also that Ramirez hustled like hell from first to third on Millar's single in the seventh, drawing a throw from center that allowed Millar to advance to second. With one out and Boston hoping to extend its 4-2 lead, having runners at 2nd and 3rd is a lot better than 1st and 2nd.

It became fairly moot when Tito stayed with Stern, but you must include that play in any assessment of Mr. Ramirez's night.

And as I mentioned in the SoSH Game Thread when someone noted Remy's ripping of Manny, Remy had better do that to every single player every single time it happens.

Or he's going to give people the impression that he has an agenda against a certain player while letting similar bahavior from others slide.

yaztex said...

Thanks, redsock, for correctly pointing out that The Manny Shuffle occured in the 1st inning, and that he launched the bomb in the 5th.

Manny's first-to-third dash in the 7th was, indeed, a nice bit of hustle (a very close play at third), perhaps in atonement for the waltz down the first-base line in the 1st as Jim Ed himself opined in last night's Extra Innings.

I'm not in the anti-Manny faction, but at this point the margin for success or failure is so small that you hate to see a season decided by a guy who decides he's not of a mind to run one out.

Jack Marshall said...

I would not have lifted Wake, who handles lefties better than Timlin, had only thrown 93 pitches, and was not going to give up another homer (on a non-knuckler) to Lee. There were two outs and a man on third. I'll bet Wake's record of getting out of that situation is 2-3 times better than Timlin's. But If I did bring in someone, it would have been Myers, Hanson...anyone but Timlin, really.
This game was more bad luck than anything (certainly not Manny's fault). But the three starting pitcher blow-outs of the last ten days made the team vulnerable...plus the Yankees are in one of their incredibly lucky stretches. (If Aaron Small isn't proof that God is a Yankee fan, I don't know what is. 9-0! they were hoping for a .500 pitcher, and they get a Don Sutton/Doyle Alexander savior.)
That being said, don't worry. The Sox will prevail.

Devine said...

Hey Jack,

I wanted to apologize for being snitty with you earlier this year. You were a big man in saying Redsock had the Manny thing called right (though that not-legging-out did bother me, even if the run to third made up for it a bit), and I wanted to apologize for being a jerk (which I sometimes really was). Anyway, hope the end of the season goes well for you and I. Can't afford in-fighting when there are some asshole Yankee fans (one particularly in my office) who demand my passive-aggressive attention. GO SOX!!

--Devin

kenfromnh said...

This team reflects the manager as all teams do. If the manager is a hustler-the team hustles. If you watched last night and saw the expression on the red sox players faces in the duggout from the beginning of the Timlin thing to the end of the game you could see anger, not frustration. I believe most of the players except for a few of his (Francona) favorites do not like him. Without calling people profranity I briefly state we can only hope Theo gets someone to manager the team next year who understands the task in front of him.

Jack Marshall said...

Devine: Thanks. You have duly earned my revelation of the Great Red Sox Secret: the "Red Sox Principle." I have formulated it over 40+ years of Sox watching, and it is truth.
The RSP says this: If the Sox are going to win, it is only after everything points to certain failure. Conversely, they are most likely to lose when victory seems assured. Last year I kept telling people that I couldn't see how the Sox could defeat the principle, until they were down 0-3 and no team had ever recovered from that deficit. I called my parents and mourning Sox friends and said: "This is perfect. The Sox are going to win." This is absolutely true; they made me put it in writing, in fact.

Once Dan Shaunessey declared the Sox were in, the fool, I knew this stretch was coming. The Sox must fall before they can rise, but like the two must wins against the Twins in '67, the one strike to go homer by Henderson in '86, Carbo's 6th game homer in the '75 Series, and the 8 straight wins to force the olay-off in '78, no team is better when defeat is looming. It's when they're ahead that you should worry.

This is perfect.