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Home » September 2005 Game CommentsSeptember 2005 » Behemoth


Game 135: September 4, 2005
Orioles (64-72), 1
Red Sox (80-55), 5
L: Rodrigo Lopez (13-9)
W: David Wells (12-6)

3.5 games ahead in the division
2 game winning streak

I can tell it’s September baseball. I’m less inclined to take a blithe tangent about the mating patterns of eastern songbirds or the origins of the name “Baltimore.”

Wells pitched his second complete game of the season, but the other was the rain-shortened game on July 7th that only went 6 innings. Matt Clement and Tim Wakefield are the only members of the rotation to also have complete games, Clement’s on May 22nd and Wakefield’s on July 17th. On the occasion of his return from his suspension, Wells let his breaking pitches do the talking and instead of calling a press conference he put on a clinic. The veteran southpaw gave up only a single earned run, struck out 4, and gave up no bases on balls or homers. Such dominance late in the season bodes well (pun unintended) for the Red Sox’s drive into the postseason.

Unlike recent games where errors abounded, crisp defensive play kept the Orioles in check. In the 2nd inning, Tony Graffanino bolted hard to get B.J. Surhoff’s fly ball to shallow center, but it barely evaded him. He was immediately dispatched on a double play from Eric Byrnes’s bat straight into the teeth of the lethal infield combination of Edgard Renteria, Tony Graffanino, and John Olerud. Graffanino demonstrated baseball wizardry with his rapid transition of the ball from glove to throwing hand.

Bill Mueller pilfered Geronimo Gil of a hit in the 3rd inning. The ball bulleted toward the third baseman so quickly he barely had time to get his glove in place to nab the missle. His act of alchemy converted what would have been extra bases into the first out of the inning. In the same inning, Brian Roberts got on base with a fly ball to left field only to be caught stealing second base. Oleurd positioned himself perfectly to receive Wells’s pickoff by moving closer to the mound to clear a line of sight to Renteria.

In general I’d rather have Olerud or Roberto Petagine start at first. With Lopez starting, Terry Francona had to make Kevin Millar ride pine because he of the helmet has a batting average and OBP of .429 and a slugging percentage of .714 facing the righty. This lineup move paid dividends in the 5th inning. Trot Nixon led off with a fly ball single to center and Mueller followed with a ground ball single pulled into right field that permitted Nixon to reach third base. With no out and runners on the corners, Olerud launched the first pitch he saw into the Red Sox bullpen. The bullpen camera got a great shot of the ball receding away from Jay Gibbons’s glove.

Doug Mirabelli, who started to give Jason Varitek a break during this extended period with no days off, legged out a line drive that ended up in the left field corner into a double. Graffanino followed with an infield single to Mora upon which Mirabelli advanced to third. I really hoped Graffanino would do Manny’s shtick where he inquires vociferously of Mirabelli to get to home plate to score. Damon hit a double to right field that scored both runners on base, but was thrown out with your everyday 9-4-2-6 play. Does everyone in that jumble get an assist?

The only run the Orioles managed to score was in the 6th inning. Melvin Mora doubled on a ground ball to left field and Miguel Tejada’s subsequent double rapped the scoreboard to score the Orioles third baseman.

(I probably piqued your interest, so here’s information on the Baltimore orioles’ reproductive behaviors and here’s the man Baltimore was named after.)


"Behemoth" always makes me think of Stephen Wright. On K-Billy.

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