April 18, 2005

G13: Red Sox 12, Blue Jays 7

An unconventional Patriots' Day game this morning-afternoon, played in a lengthy 3:41.

Nineteen runs, 32 hits, three balls dropped in left field because of the bright sun, a 40-pitch second inning from Curt Schilling (but no runs scored), another two home runs from Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon robbing Alex Rios of a home run down by the Pesky Pole (as the fans kept their hands to themselves), Shea Hillenbrand reaching base in all five plate appearances...

Schilling threw 118 pitches in only five innings (16-40-15-24-23), though he did strike out ten Jays. Francona went to his bullpen too much, I thought. He could have let John Halama go more than one inning (he threw 11 pitches in the sixth) and could have stayed with Matt Mantei with two outs in the seventh rather than burning both Mike Myers and Mike Timlin when Toronto went to its pinch-hitters.

Manny's second-inning rocket off Dave Bush may still be traveling. It made his two homers on Friday look like wind-aided pop-ups. His homer in the sixth just cleared the left field wall, bouncing back onto the field. There was little doubt about its legitimacy, but the umpires needed to confer before giving a definitive ruling. Jays manager John Gibbons disagreed and was ejected.

Mark Bellhorn hit his sixth double of the year in the third, after the Jays foolishly walked Bill Mueller (2-for-2 with the BBI and HBP) to load the bases. Trot Nixon had a couple of hits and two RBI from the #2 spot.

With the strong starting pitching and the bushels of runs since the middle of last week, it really feels like the Red Sox are unstoppable. A few losses down the road will straighten me out nice and quick, but right now, everything is fun. ... With the win, Boston moves into second place, bumping the Jays to third.

Dan Shaughnessy seems to share in the sunniness, calling Fenway Park "the happiest place on Earth. ... [H]ome games have become festivals of cheer and celebration. The anger and agony of seasons past is gone." But as we know, happiness in the Nation is castor oil to the CHB, who must resort to petty insults. Thus, Schilling's 11:00 am start "probably took [the pitcher] away from his little website friends late last night, but everyone's got to make sacrifices."

Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican has an idea: A six-man rotation. ... The Nixon/Payton platoon is working well.

NESN Trivia this afternoon: Who hit the first grand slam against the Blue Jays? Answer: Carlton Fisk, September 6, 1977. Don Orsillo mentioned that Fisk hit it off Mike Darr. That name sounded familiar. I had done some research into one-game players many years ago and Darr was one of them.

Darr's start that Tuesday night against the Red Sox at Exhibition Stadium was his only major league appearance. He started and lasted only 1.1 innings, allowing three hits, four walks and five runs. Play-by-play:
Red Sox 1st: Burleson singled. Doyle flied out center. Lynn walked, Burleson to second. Yastrzemski flied out to left, Burleson to third. Rice hit by pitch, Lynn to second. Fisk homered, Burleson, Lynn, Rice and Fisk scored. Carbo walked. Hobson struck out.

Red Sox 2nd: Miller walked. Burleson flied out to right. Doyle singled to right, Miller to third. Lynn walked, Doyle to second. Murphy relieved Darr. Yastrzemski hit a sacrifice fly to left, Miller scored. Rice grounded out shortstop to first.
Boston won 11-2 behind Bill Lee (though both teams had 11 hits). Fisk hit a three-run homer later in the game and finished with seven RBI. ... Darr's son, also named Mike Darr, a Padres outfielder, died in a car accident during spring training 2002.

Re Steinbrenner's Burst of Hot Air: Dave Anderson of the Times: "His timing might be perfect. Of the Yankees' next 13 games, 11 will be at the Stadium, beginning tonight against the Devil Rays. When the Yankees do turn it around, as a team with all that talent surely will, Steinbrenner can take full credit for having lighted the fire under them." ... Newsday's Ken Davidoff: "You get what you overpay for, Boss."

Lou Piniella is also sounding a bit testy. How tough was Matt Clement? "I guess he was tough. Ask our hitters. You people ask the manager like he's supposed to know everything. If I knew everything, we wouldn't be getting our ass beat every night." ... Asked about Scott Kazmir's performance against the Sox, Piniella barked: "I don't know, Son. Go look at the [expletive] charts. They'll tell you about him. I don't know. You people ask the same [expletive] questions every day - every [expletive] day. What else we got?"

The latest on Sheffgate: The Red Sox have revoked Chris House's season tickets for 2005 and prohibited the fan who spilled beer on Sheffield from buying tickets for the rest of the season.

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