Game 20: April 25, 2005
Orioles (13-7), 8
Red Sox (11-9), 4
W: Bruce Chen (2-1)
H: Todd Williams (2)
L: David Wells (2-3)
Why can’t we get pitchers like this Chen guy? Whenever I hear his name, I think back to the May 20, 2003 game the Red Sox won against the Yankees. I got free tickets through a Yankee fan, the proviso being we had to be next to him during the game. (He’s not so bad, even though he cheers for pure evil. He truly did feel badly for Red Sox fans following Game 7 of 2003. He did not rub it in at all.) We were excited because we thought Pedro Martinez would be starting, but it turned out he had strained a new muscle. (“They are going to have to invent muscles for him to pull,” quoth the Yankee fan.) It wasn’t until around 4 PM that they announced Martinez was scratched, and I heard the news while waiting on Yawkey Way for my friends to arrive. Once word had spread that some guy named Bruce Chen was starting, scalpers looked as if they had sunk their life savings into a dotcom stock.
The Red Sox trailed until the 7th inning, when they came back with 5 runs to beat Jeff Weaver, who at that point wasn’t damaged goods. I remarked that Weaver was a fly ball pitcher and that Fenway and Yankee Stadium’s dimensions were far different from the vast Comerica Park. I also called a Bill Mueller double, who was then leading the league in two-baggers, if I recall correctly.
Thinking back to that game makes me feel better because Wells’s outing last night was fetid. He went 3.2 with 8 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 1 home run, and an ERA roughly equivalent to his IQ, 4.91. Yes, I’m getting frustrated with him. Because Chen went 6 innings, 9 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, 1 home run, with an ERA of 3.62. Why can’t we get pitchers like Chen?
How about the injuries of Matt Mantei and Wells? The box score says it was 49 degrees, so perhaps adjusting to lower temperatures after playing in Florida was an issue. Still, they are professional athletes. Well, professional ballplayers, at any rate. Do they know how to properly stretch before a game?
Offensively, there were some bright spots and things to look forward to. Jason Varitek went 2 for 4 with a double and a home run. Johnny Damon worked counts, going 3 for 3 and had 2 walks as well. You can read about those in his upcoming book. Mueller finally returned and pinch hit for Ramon Vazquez, but struck out.
I feel compelled to mention that Michelle Damon’s segments in the pre-game show are pure unintentional comedic gold
, not unlike her bleach job. (Scratch that; it was catty.) She visited the Museum of Fine Arts for the “Rockwell and the Red Sox” exhibition , and looked about as out of place as a Las Vegas showgirl in a nunnery. (Must see into getting myself declawed.) Not only that, she had her husband’s ring with her. File this under “whipped,” along with Doug Christie and Kris Benson. (Although I readily admit I’d probably ask to carry around the ring were I married to a World Champion Red Sox player. I’d put it on a chain and wear it around my neck, like in high school. ’Cuz we’d be going steady. So concludes my championship ring fantasy.)
The Michelle piece also made me think of Dorothy Parker’s riposte to the challenge to use “horticulture” in a sentence: “You may lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” Dorothy and me, we would have had fun together.