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Home » August 2005 Game CommentsAugust 2005 » Atone


Game 120: August 19, 2005
Red Sox (70-50), 4
Angels (70-52), 3
BS: Mike Timlin (5)
W: Curt Schilling (5-5)
L: Scot Shields (8-9)
10 innings

I had to make sure I was watching the correct game. Some team wearing Red Sox uniforms put on the bunt twice in the 2nd inning. Alex Cora bunted for a base hit after Bill Mueller had singled to lead off. A spirit must have then possessed Terry Francona and made him put on the sacrifice bunt call with Gabe Kapler at bat to move over the runners. I slapped the side of the television to confirm it was working correctly. Johnny Damon plated Mueller with a ground out to first base for the first run of the game.

Matt Clement was solid through 7 innings, partially dispelling the notion that he is unable to sustain his momentum past the All-Star break. His line comprised 6 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts and was in line for his twelfth win of the season.

Before I go on about the game, I must say to Steve Finley, he of the $6M a year salary and .267 OBP, how dare you use “Tom Sawyer” as your bat music. Perhaps that is why you get booed. It’s not your 0 for 4 showing with 2 strikeouts, really.

The Red Sox extended their lead in the top of the 5th with 2 runs. Manny Ramirez doubled to center with a line drive on a 2-2 pitch. John Lackey made a wild pitch that allowed Ramirez to reach third with Jason Varitek batting. The Red Sox catcher walked, and John Olerud lined a double to center to clear the bases.

With a little better throw from Olerud, the bottom of the 5th would have continued the shutout of the Angels. Casey Kotchman led off with a double and would eventually score on a fielder’s choice by Finley. Olerud threw to home to attempt to get Kotchman out but his throw bounced before reaching Varitek. Making amends for recent sloppy play, Ramirez reached over his head to catch Adam Kennedy’s liner. With runners at the corners and 2 out, Alex Cora proved his mettle by diving to catch Orlando Cabrera’s fly out to end the inning.

The 6th inning had a little more of the go-go that the Red Sox usually lack, even though it ended fruitlessly. Damon beat out Figgins’s throw for a leadoff infield single and then proceeded to steal second base on a close call that prompted Mike Scioscia to complain. Mueller made an excellent catch of a foul ball from Darin Erstad’s bat, sliding near the wall in a way that evoked his gruesome season-ending injury.

Another interlude, this time with Steven Manganello, affectionately known as “The Coma Guy.” This atypical fan was in a coma throughout last year’s ALCS and World Series, missing the entirety of his beloved team’s championship run. Dan Roche, Don Orsillo, and Jerry Remy are straightlaced on Fridays now, much to everyone’s dismay. No Cobalt or coma jokes here, folks.

David Ortiz found Bill Welke’s calls at home plate a joke. He was extremely disinclined to agree with Welke’s view of the strike zone, which was capricious at best. The designated hitter struck out for the third out of the 8th inning and was thrown out for arguing balls and strikes. He made a demonstration at home plate by pretending he was a right-handed hitter at the plate, perhaps insinuating that Vladimir Guerrero gets favorable calls? Remy opined that Ortiz’s exhibition might get him suspension time.

With 2 out and 1 on, Francona called for Guerrero to be intentionally walked. Very few players require this particular tactic of intentional base on balls to put the tying run on, and the Angels’ right fielder is one of them. Bengie Molina came through on a full count with a bases-clearing single to tie the game. Note to Francona, or who or whatever is currently possessing him: see how rest improved Schilling? Please consider the same for Timlin.

Schilling pitched 2 perfect innings with 4 strikeouts to shut down the Angels and allow his team to wage a comeback. In the 10th inning, Kapler and Damon singled in order. Roberto Petagine batted in place of the ejected Ortiz. Petagine stood in the box for a marvelous 10-pitch at bat. With each successive pitch and foul off one could almost feel his confidence surging, so different from a comparable Kevin Millar turn at the plate. Watching Millar’s plate appearances, one senses mounting desperation as an undertone, and the scene invariably unfurls into an unproductive out. In contrast, Petagine walked to load the bases, and with 1 out Ramirez surveyed the field. Quickly down 1-2, Ramirez seemed to make the decision to judiciously drive in a run rather than swing for the fences. He took the fourth pitch, a ball, and then nubbed the fifth pitch just enough to score Kapler and advance the runners.

The Red Sox won their 17th one-run game (17-12 overall) and their 4th extra innings game. They have outscored their opponents 10 runs to 6 in extra frames, showing resiliency in late and close situations. Slowly they make their way out of the inferno (a place of random fireworks and exhorting public address announcers), through purgatory (although they left 16 in Limbo), and perhaps beyond.

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