September 25, 2005

G155: Red Sox 9, Orioles 3

Before David Wells threw his first pitch, he had a five-run lead. He allowed two solo home runs in the first -- and I started worrying that his knee problem was worse than we had been told -- but he settled down. Of the next 20 Baltimore hitters, only one touched second base.

The Red Sox batted around against John Maine in the first inning. After two quick outs, David Ortiz walked, Manny Ramirez homered to dead center, Trot Nixon singled, Jason Varitek walked, John Olerud singled in two runs, and Bill Mueller doubled in Olerud.

In the fifth, Nixon and Varitek doubled, Mueller hit a sac fly and after Miguel Tejada booted what should have been an inning-ending grounder, Johnny Damon belted a two-run home run. After Wells left the game in the seventh -- due to injury? -- the two Chads (Bradford and Harville) mopped up. (I would have liked to have seen Manny Delcarmen.)

He didn't score or knock in a run, but Edgar Renteria is stinging the ball. He lined out to third in the second, had a home run stolen by right fielder Jay Gibbons in the fourth, then missed another home run by about three inches -- the ball hit the top of the wall in right-center for a triple. He added a line single in the seventh.

In New York, the Yankees rallied against Toronto, scoring six runs in their final two innings to win 8-4. Mariano Rivera held off the Jays in the eighth (New York led 4-3), but after the Yankees scored four more runs, Joe Torre sent him back out for the ninth. Rivera threw 25 pitches while protecting that five-run lead, and 36 for the game.

Kansas City rallied to beat Cleveland 5-4, so here is where we stand:

Boston 91 64 --
New York 91 64 --

Cleveland 92 64 --
Boston 91 64 .5
New York 91 64 .5

Randy at Over The Monster has the final seven match-ups, as does MLB:
Red Sox Jays/MFY
0926 Schilling Bush
0927 Wakefield Chacin
0928 Arroyo Lilly
0929 Clement Downs

0930 Wells Wang
1001 Schilling Johnson
1002 Wakefield Mussina
Can the Sox win three of four from the Jays and two of three from the Yankees?

The Red Sox -- 50-24 at home, tops in baseball -- are feeling what we're all feeling.

John Henry: "We've got to wait for the final scene of the final act. ... This year, the playoffs started two weeks early." ... Damon: "Every day, every night, every pitch, everything is the most important situation that could come up. It kind of feels like the World Series a little bit." ... Terry Francona: "It's kind of hard to explain the feeling."

Not really. We're pretty used to it by now. We'll be on the edge of our seats all week.

Also: Delta Air Lines' Song affiliate has named one of its Boeing 757s "Big Papi".


Anonymous said...

So, if there has to be a tiebreaker game, who pitches?

Arroyo vs. Small?

Anonymous said...

Feel better now, guys?

You should. I was stuck out in New Mexico all weekend following the Sox on XM radio, and the Saturday game nearly killed me. But I think the Yankees just may have missed their window of opportunity. The schedule finally favors the Sox again, the O's are (rightly) feeling humiliated and determined to derail the Yanks, all 5 Sox starters are coming off good games, and Renteria, Damon and Nixon look like they're emerging from their prolonged slumps.
My two questions: who do we want as the Wild Card? If the Indians blow it, it means that the final series is not so do-or-die, but the Sox may have to deal with the Yankees again, assuming NY could beat Chicago (they would, I think.) The Indians as the Wild Card means a satisfying death blow to the Evil Empire, which it richly deserves, but it also means the Sox have to play Cleveland in Round #1, and right now I'd say they are a much tougher opponant than either the ChiSox or the Angels.

Logically, it makes sense to root for both NY and Boston to make the cut, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Second question: Who of the starters goes to the pen in the postseason? Since Day #1 the assumption has been Arroyo, but I vote for Clement, hands down. I don't trust him right now (I see why the Cubs shelved him down the stretch last year; his mental toughness is questionable, and his control is a ticking bomb. Bronson leads the team in quality starts; for me , it's Schilling #1, Wake #2, Arroyo #3, and Wells #4, if only because of his sore knee.

One last comment about a another sore subject, the ersatz third base coach: Damon has an idiotic quote in the Globe today about how Sveum "takes a beating" from fans and press because the Sox are so slow. Well,duh, Johnny, it's the job of the third base coach to know the running ability of his players, and not send them home just because a faster player should score. What a lame excuse for season-long incompetence. I hereby guarantee that Sveum costs the Sox at least one game in the post-season.

allan said...

Actually, I do feel better. Good, even.

The hitting, pitching, fielding, etc. all seemed cohesive and professional against the O's.

I would really like the White Sox to not make the post-season (mainly because of Ken Harrelson and the media's uncritical praise for Ozzie), but that would mean the MFY get in.

I'll worry about the match-ups once we're in.

I assume you mean Curt starts Game 1 and not that he is the staff's top pitcher. He claims to have found and corrected a flaw in his delivery, but I'm still a bit worried. As far as effectiveness to date, I'd put him #3 or possibly #4.

And EZ-Pass Dale has been a seasons-long problem, not just 2005. We've been lucky he hasn't lost a game in the playoffs. I hope he takes a manager's spot (Pirates?) next season, because the sooner he leaves, the better.

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling surprisingly good, and have for the entire Orioles series. We get to play at the fens, and even though we are playing the Jays, I think we have an excellent chance of 3 of 4, if not a complete sweep.

I'm not sure if we want Clement in the pen, since I think he'd be utterly useless there. Wakefield obviously has to be there, and Schilling, and Arroyo, but Clement could be a great 4th starter. I think Clement's going to be working like a dog on his control all week, so I can only hope it makes a difference.

Shame we can't use Foulke or Wade Miller, both worthy additions to the pen. Here's hoping Hansen and Papelbon really start plowing through the opposition.