September 25, 2005

G154: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3


The Red Sox and Yankees have identical records with eight games remaining.

Five things:

1. Tito used the bullpen just as I would have -- Hansen, Papelbon, Timlin -- so even though Hansen gave up a game-tying home run to Melvin Mora in the seventh, bringing him in was the right move. And it was good to see Francona stay with him after that; the Sox are going to rely on him in the playoffs, so getting him used to the pressure now is essential.

2. On Edgar Renteria's two-run single off BJ Ryan in the ninth, pinch-runner Adam Stern got a fantastic read on the flair to left and was sprinting all the way. From second base, Stern had the play directly in front of him, and he scored what turned out to be the decisive run. Nice to see ER gearing up for a hot post-season, too.

3. Pitching: Matt Clement didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning, but he walked six. I can't completely fault him for that, because the umpiring was incredibly inconsistent. ... Papelbon v. Matos in the eighth. With a man on first and one out in a 2-2 game, this AB took nine pitches and five throws to first before Boston got a K-CS double play.

4. Defense. The Sox made some great plays, including Kevin Millar diving to his right to snare Bernie Castro's grounder in the fifth, then turning and diving to his left to tag the base for the out, Bill Mueller's bare-handed grab-and-gun on Tejada's roller in the ninth, and double plays that ended both the fifth and sixth innings.

5. The last three innings really felt like a playoff game. Knowing the Yankees had lost meant my heart was racing a little more and my hands were a little sweatier. Myers coming in for Hansen with runners on 2nd and 3rd in the seventh and getting a pop-up was huge. Timlin's semi-shaky ninth -- a two-out double to Gibbons which scored Castro, who had walked -- had me worried, but he retired Javy Lopez on a hard fly to the edge of the track in right to end it.

In the last two games, we've seen timely hitting and gutsy pitching. Have the Sox refound their groove? ... This team can go from great to godawful in the space of a day or even a few innings, so who knows? They just have to have a win at the end of the day. It doesn't matter how they get it.

In Toronto, the Jays battered the Yankees for seven runs in two innings. Jaret Wright allowed all seven runs while recording only three outs. Miguel Batista struck out Jason Giambi with the tying runs on base in the 8th, then struck out the side in the 9th, saving a 7-4 win. ... Cleveland romped over the Royals, but we're winning the East, so we'll let New York worry about that.

Wang / Towers at 1:00, then Wells / Maine at 1:35.


Anonymous said...

To borrow from the vernacular of the gents down the dial covering the President’s Cup matches, we’re back to all square in the East with 8 to go.

A (Sort of) Quality Start
With a Yankees’ loss in the books before the first pitch was thrown at the Yards, it was a relief to see the pre-All Star break version of Matt Clement instead of his recent, more evil twin, though his incessant nibbling on the outside corners and inconsisent Phil Cuzzi strike zone resulted in too many walks, accompanied by a few flings of my Sox lid around the family room. What a line through 4 2/3 – 0 hits, 0 runs, 6 walks! You kept expecting that Clement’s lack of control was eventually going to catch up with him, but some unusually slick fielding (led by none other than Cabin Boy, Millar) kept Clement on the right side of a day spent living on the edge.

Are We There Yet?
The pace of this game was absolutely excruciating even to the most ardent fans among us. Both Clement and Eric Bedard seemed intent on wresting the revered “Human Rain Delay” moniker away from former O’s skipper Mike Hargrove, which was bestowed on him during his playing days with the Indians and Rangers. Holy shit, I believe that some of those India-Pakistani cricket matches have been played in less time. HP ump Cuzzi actually clapped his hands a couple of times in an effort to get the two hesitant hurlers to pick up the pace.

Cooperstown on Hold
Welcome to the big leagues, Mr. Hansen. After blowing away Matos to open the 7th, he closed Clement’s day by serving up the dinger to Melvin Mora to tie the game. As Remy later pointed out, Hansen’s second-pitch slider established neither fear nor respect in Mora, who then sat on a 95 MPH heater and deposited it on the guy sitting in row 2 of the left field bleachers. If anyone can get this kid to trust his full repertoire of stuff to keep the hitters honest, it’s Varitek, so let’s hope that Tito gives him the ball again. He kept his head high leaving the field, a good sign.

Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind
A quick shot of Trot in the on-deck circle prior to his first AB revealed the number 44 on the right-rear panel of his batting helmet. For those of you who ever wondered how much Gabe Kapler means to this team, you should wonder no more. A class gesture by Nixon.

Billy Ball Game
While this guy’s exploits in the clutch are already the stuff of legends, no effort in recent memory beats his bare-hand grab of Tejada’s slow roller in the ninth, and the subsequent 5-3 laser to Olerud to get what became a huge second out. He has to be one of the most underrated third baseman in baseball.

As with every one of these remaining 8, today’s game looms large. If Boomer’s cranky knee can’t allow him to throw anything better than that cement mixer breaking ball we saw last week, Tito better have the long guys at the ready.

My wife says unless this thing is wrapped up (for better or worse) before next weekend, she will be leaving to stay with friends...

Peter N said...

Bye bye to her for a tad. We're playing ball next week!!

sarah said...

omg, what's with the next great american novel comments, yaz-tex?? keep it concise! i don't want to read a comment longer than allan's post! jeez.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, duly noted on the length of the last post...I promise that I will toss my words around in future posts as if they were manhole covers...

Anonymous said...

Fair comment on the last post, Sarah, and you can expect that I will be more concise in future posts, tossing out words as effortlessly as one would toss manhole covers..

From the Vined Smithy said...

You could also just have your own blog. Having a blog is fun.

Robin said...


I posted that tie on MY blog... poop.