My partner Laura says the 2-1 loss hurt more than the 13-5 rout, but I don't agree.
I had no problem with Pauley starting the seventh. While six innings of one-run ball was so much more than we expected, he was at 80 pitches and was facing the bottom third of the order. (Rudy Seanez did start warming at the start of the inning. That was Terry Francona's first mistake, since the score was 1-1. This wasn't a case where he was warming someone with a four-run lead that Pauley subsequently lost. (However, getting Jonathan Papelbon up at the start of the 7th did not make complete sense. If Pap goes two innings, and it's unlikely he'd go more than that, then a significantly inferior pitcher has to work the 9th. There were no quotes about it in the papers, but maybe Tito wanted Seanez (if necessary) to finish the 7th and Pap to take the 8th and 9th.))
Pauley retired Andy Phillips on a grounder to short and Bernie Williams on a fly to right. Miguel Cairo tapped a meaningless grounder that Pauley was genuinely shocked not to have gloved on the first base side of the mound. Maybe this was the time to pull Pauley -- only because he was likely somewhat distracted by not getting the ground ball. But I was imploring Tito to not pull him after that, to give him another shot at the third out.
Johnny Damon sliced a 1-1 pitch to left and Cairo moved up to second. Al Nipper came out to talk with Pauley. Here is where I would have gone to the pen. Since Seanez was the only warm arm out there, Francona should have brought him in with some margin for error. Third base was open, so even if Rudy tosses a wild pitch, or walks Cabrera, it still wouldn't score a run. ... Pauley walked Cabrera on four pitches. (And then Seanez walked Giambi to force in the eventual game-winning run.)
I just didn't get my glove down far enough and it scooted underneath. It was definitely frustrating. ... If I come up with that, it's 1-1 going to the next inning. ... I was a little bit more comfortable. ... Getting out of the first inning was the biggest thing. That gave me confidence. A moment like this will be there with me the rest of my life.Mark Loretta:
He threw strikes. He wasn't affected by the crowd. I was really impressed. And he was able to keep getting them out the second and third times through the order, which showed me even more.Francona:
I'm so proud of him. ... He sunk his fastball, threw off-speed pitches for strikes. He competed. He pitched a very, very strong game. The idea is to win, but you can see how much I thought of him. I left him out there a long time in tough situations.Re Manny's attempt at a double in the sixth inning, where he tested Damon's noodle and was out by at least 10 feet. I love and defend Manny, but this was pure idiocy. There was only one out, the game was tied, and Wang was at 88 pitches. Francona claimed to like the attempt: "Out of the box, he was thinking all the way. He just came up a little short. I've got no problem with the hustle. He's trying to do something to help us win the game." I don't believe Tito is telling the truth -- he must be doing it to perhaps quiet (good luck!) the Bonehead Manny talk that is sure to follow.
Melky Cabrera's amazing catch in left center on Ramirez's bid for a game-tying home run in the eighth was perfect. He ran a straight route, took a quick look at the wall just as he reached the warning track, timed his leap and snagged the ball securely as it sailed over the fence. "That's the best catch I've made in my life."
Craig Hansen is with the club:
I picked up a changeup in the minor leagues. I feel like that's one of the pitches that is going to help me out throughout my career. ... I feel like I'm stretched out enough to start if they want it. If I have to go into the bullpen, wherever they plan on using me, right now I feel like I'm versatile to either starting or pitching in the bullpen.Mike Timlin is eligible to come off the DL Saturday, but that won't happen. Francona said Tuesday or Wednesday is probably more realistic. ... David Wells is going to San Diego to get a second opinion from the doctor who performed arthroscopic surgery on his knee last October.