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Home » April 2005 Game CommentsApril 2005 » Home


Game 7: April 11, 2005
Yankees (3-4), 1
Red Sox (3-4), 8
L: Mike Mussina (1-1)
W: Tim Wakefield (1-0)

It was the Wakefield we remember from the 2003 ALCS, the one with the butterflies that baffled and befuddled the team from Gotham. The knuckleball pitcher is the Red Sox player with the longest tenure, a member of the club since 1995. Fittingly, he was third in line to get his ring, following only Terry Francona and Ellis Burks. Wakefield went for 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, no earned runs, 1 unearned run, 5 strikeouts, and now has an ERA of 1.32.

I will admit to buying and watching Still, We Believe. As horribly as 2003 ended, it was a tremendous season. I bought the movie as a somewhat masochistic memoir of that season. Since I was at the Wild Card-clinching game against the Orioles, I felt a particular empathy for that group of renegade cowboys. The scene that sears the memory is watching Wakefield walk, zombie-like after giving up the game-winning home run, to a chair in front of his locker. You hear sobbing and see heaving shoulders. Trot Nixon comes up to him, tells him it’s not his fault. It’s clear that a teammate made the film crew stop their cameras.

As the Red Sox now say, “Turn the page.” But not before marking down a “W” for Wakefield for his first opening day victory. I’d hazard a guess and say there hasn’t been a knuckleballer starting on opening day in a long while.

Many think that signing Mike Mussina instead of Manny Ramirez back in 2000 would have been the wiser choice. Since their signing, the Red Sox have been to one World Series and won while the Yankees have been to two Fall Classics and lost both. We might be seeing the decline of Mussina, who turns 37 this year. He pitched only 5 innings, allowed 7 hits, 7 runs (4 earned), walked 3, struck out 5, and has an ERA of 4.91.From 2003 to 2004, his ERA rose from 3.40 to 4.59.

After several tepid games, the offense enjoyed some home cooking, with every starter getting a hit except David Ortiz. Doug Mirabelli showed why he is likely the best backup catcher in the league with his 2-run homer in the second inning, scoring Bill Mueller, who reached by getting hit by a pitch. Other batters showing signs of life were Kevin Millar (1 for 3, 2 RBIs) and Trot Nixon (2 for 3, 2 RBIs).

A well-played game overall. How else would you play when you have so many legends in and above Fenway Park, watching you?


Hey MP.

While talking about Belli and being the best backup catcher, dont forget that the Knuck is not an easy pitch to catch...He is a hell of a catcher.


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