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Home » Category Listing » July 2005 Game Comments

July 31, 2005


New Hampshire vs. Portland
Fisher Cats (51-55), 0

Sea Dogs (55-48), 3

L: Josh Banks (7-9)
W: Denney Tomori (1-1)
H: Randall Beam (5)
S: Jim Mann (3)

Insert joke about cats and dogs here.

Six dollars for general admission tickets for adults. Five dollars for parking right next door to the park. Four dollars for an order of large fries that was actually large. One dollar for a souvenir mini batting helmet that will go on top of my monitor at work, right next to the matching Pawtucket and Boston helmets. My biggest expense was probably tolls and gas. I love going to Hadlock Field.

I understand there was a lot of drama at the big club. There’s drama at the AA level as well, but without the media, the daily trials and tumults of lower tier players go largely unnoticed, making their struggles all the more poignant. I came home to hear part of Peter Gammons’s induction speech from Cooperstown, and he told the story of Wade Boggs and how he toiled in the minors for six years. Boggs is the inductee who made his debut at the oldest age of any Hall of Famer, and understood that adversity could be overcome with persistence.

All this profundity is hindsight, to be sure. The game was chock full of minor league shenanigans, most of which were led by the inimitable Slugger. The crowd sang “YMCA” Slugger isolated individuals to do the Chicken Dance with him, and had a race on the bases with a 6-year old girl that he inevitably lost. The Sea Dogs take the field to “Who Let the Dogs Out,” of course.

The minijumbotron (I cannot in all seriousness call it an actual jumbotron) was named the “Ford Board” and also featured kitschy goodness. There were several computer-generated videos featuring the Sea Dogs logo being refracted as if in a kaleidoscope and set to songs like “Billy Don’t You Lose My Number.” Kevin Millar made a guest appearance to present the trivia question of the day. (Who is the only Red Sox player to have hit for the cycle twice? My guess: John Valentin. Correct answer: Bobby Doerr. I was confusing the fact that Valentin has both hit for the cycle and had an unassisted triple play, the only player to have done both.) We were also regaled of Jon Papelbon’s first major league strikeout and David Ortiz’s home run moments after they had occurred.

Hanley Ramirez had solid contact in the 7th inning, but the Fisher Cats’ right fielder Maikel Jova made a good catch. The shortstop went 0 for 4. Second baseman Scott Youngbauer had a triple in the 3rd with 2 outs that didn’t result in a score but was nonetheless exciting. Catcher Jim Buckley was the primary catalyst, going 2 for 3 with an RBI and stolen base. Tomori went for 6.2 innings with 4 hits, 6 strikeouts, and no runs, walks, or home runs allowed. His three-quarter delivery baffled the New Hampshire hitters, but his speed was not the mid-90s ascribed to him when the Red Sox organization signed him in the offseason. Jim Mann of Brockton, Massachusetts closed out the game with tremendous heat, striking out all three of the batters he faced.

Outstanding results, indeed.

Hanley didn’t get the boot and will be hanging around.

Yui “Denney” Tomori on the mound.

Where’s Crespo’s jersey? This guy is as confused as me.

Wacky CG kaleidoscope video.

Victory, keeping the Sea Dogs in first place in the Northern Division of the Eastern League.

The luxurious accommodations in the visitor’s bullpen.

Farewell, Hadlock Field. Wonder who will leave next?

July 30, 2005


Game 103: July 30, 2005
Twins (54-49), 2
Red Sox (58-45), 6
L: Kyle Lohse (7-10)
W: David Wells (9-5)

Manny Ramirez was removed from lineup minutes before the game. Speculation swirled throughout the frames. Was there a deal pending with the Mets, Devil Rays, some other team? Who was or wasn’t starting for the other teams? I couldn’t enjoy this game at all because I kept on picturing was the team as I had come to know it being radically altered in less than 24 hours. Then I saw Ramirez on the field in uniform congratulating his teammates on the win, and felt an unnerving mix of relief, confusion, and anger. Relieved that it seemed that Manny would not be traded, confusion because I didn’t see the logic of having him ride pine tonight, and angry because I had no idea what was going on and I had spent nearly the entire day on tenterhooks, ill with a cold to boot. Terry Francona seemingly answered some of these questions in his press conference following the game, saying he sat Ramirez to “clear his head.” Regarding the Manny situation, Jason Varitek in his postgame interview said, “We handle that kind of thing in-house.”

Distracted as I was during the game, I barely enjoyed Wells’s 7 inning effort, with 7 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, 3 strikeouts, and no home runs. The lefty starter gets the most run support per 9 innings with 8.48. Wells was entirely candid in his appearance on the postgame show, calling Ramirez out for not playing this past Wednesday. He also said that Boston “is not Beantown, it’s Cameratown.”

While I was madly refreshing the trade threads on various Red Sox message boards, John Olerud in his clean-up role drove in 3 RBIs, 1 in the 1st inning and the other 2 in the 6th. Edgar Renteria, Bill Mueller, and Varitek each had 1 RBI each, Mueller’s happening in the the 2nd inning with his third triple of the season.

Wells gave up 2 runs to start the 8th inning. The Red Sox bullpen’s mirror sidearm pitchers, Chad Bradford and Mike Myers combined to baffle the Twins 8th and 9th inning, holding them to no runs.

In summary, Manny remains (so far) and the good guys won. To keep arms length from the insanity, I’ll be going to Portland tomorrow to take in a game at Hadlock Field. The last time I was there, a replica of Cesar Crespo’s jersey was on display as a Sea Dog who had made the majors. I’ll see if there are any other amusing artifacts and this time I will get a picture with Slugger.


Game 102: July 29, 2005
Twins (54-48), 5
Red Sox (57-45), 8
L: Carlos Silva (7-5)
W: Bronson Arroyo (9-6)
H: Mike Timlin (19)
S: Curt Schilling (4)

Guys with the surname of “Silva” and the Red Sox don’t mix. The Twins pitcher was cruising along with a 2-hit shutout until the 5th inning. Bill Mueller and Tony Graffanino singled consecutively with 2 out. Johnny Damon hit a single to right field, scoring Mueller. Jacque Jones’s throw got past Joe Mauer, scoring Graffanino as well. Silva was backing up home as he was supposed to do, but his throw back to Mauer also wasn’t caught, inspiring Damon to make a go at home plate. Justin Morneau got the ball back to third baseman Luis Rodriguez in time to get the final out, but his throw hit Damon in the back of the head.

Arroyo pitched brilliantly for 7.1 innings despite not getting a single strikeout. His line was 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 walk and 1 home run. He began weakening in the 7th inning, when Mauer hit a leadoff homer and Lew Ford followed with a double. Bolstered by strong infield defense plays, Arroyo got out of the inning unscathed.

Torii Hunter left the game in the 1st inning with a strained left tendon after pursuing the ball into the triangle. It seemed as he was unused to having to work with padding, as his cleat caught on the insulation that wraps around the bullpens. He’ll always have a place in my heart for robbing Barry Bonds and saving Derek Lowe’s pride in the 2002 All-Star Game. Plus he’s named after a sacred symbol in Shintoism.

Mueller hit his 5th home run of the season by deftly lofting the ball past Pesky Pole in the bottom of the 7th with 1 out. The next inning saw John Olerud’s grand slam, scoring runs that were needed since the Twins rallied back to come within 1 run in the 8th. Was that some sort of reverse ingratiation by J.C. Romero? Was giving up a granny his way of saying, “Hey, look, I’m willing to help you guys even before a trade is official!”

Mike Myers came into the game in the 9th and walked Mauer, who was eventually erased by a fielder’s choice with Ford at the plate. Jones then homered to get within 3 runs, but Schilling came in to slam the door.

Matt Clement had a press conference and was sitting in the dugout looking healthy and hale. His physics teacher sent him a formula showing that since the ball deflected far into left field rather than right in front of him, his body didn’t absorb the kinetic energy of the batted ball.

With each at bat, Manny Ramirez was received with mixed reaction. In his postgame interview, David Ortiz had stern words for the fans, “Terrible. They should never boo Manny here.... Manny’s one of the best hitters in the game. How do you replace a guy like that?” The atrocious three-way deal with the Mets and Devil Rays has a deadline of noon today. Let it die.

July 27, 2005


Game 101: July 27, 2005
Red Sox (56-45), 4
Devil Rays (36-66), 1
W: Tim Wakefield (9-9)
H: Chad Bradford (1)
S: Curt Schilling (3)
L: Seth McClung (1-6)

Truth be told, I’m emotionally drained by last night’s game. The recap of the series finale will be list-based and concise.

Top 5 Ways the Devil Rays Have the Red Sox Beat

  1. 9x900 meter relay race
  2. Uno®
  3. Put the rind of an orange wedge into your mouth and make funny teeth-o-thon
  4. Ticket prices
  5. Number of games played indoors in an annoying tomb with multiple foul poles

Today’s game featured the bizarro Red Sox lineup since Manny Ramirez, despite being directly asked, was steadfast in having this pre-arranged day off remain free.

  1. Johnny Damon, CF
  2. Edgar Renteria, SS
  3. David Ortiz, DH
  4. John Olerud, 1B
  5. Bill Mueller, 3B
  6. Kevin Millar, LF
  7. Alex Cora, 2B
  8. Doug Mirabelli, C
  9. Adam Stern, RF

Other examples of wacky Wednesdayishness were Alex Cora’s home run (his second of the season) and Doug Mirabelli’s infield hit and subsequent steal (his first of the season), both in the 5th inning. Some players had their Wheaties this morning.

Wakefield is back at a .500 win percentage, if you consider that sort of thing important in evaluating a pitcher. If you don’t, and judge by gritty performances in light of trying times, having the longest-tenured Red Sox player go 7.1 innings with 6 hits, 1 unearned run, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts in a situation where the starter had to go long was the remedy required.

Matt Clement is on NESN’s “SportsDesk” giving an interview as I write this, quite coherent and describing last night’s incident. This alone would have made my night, but seeing Boston win on “Red Sox Rewind” was like an extra bag of chips with my favorite sandwich.


Game 100: July 26, 2005
Red Sox (55-45), 10
Devil Rays (36-65), 9
W: Curt Schilling (3-4)
BS: Trever Miller (2)
H: Joe Borowski (7)
BS, L: Danys Baez (7, 5-3)
10 innings

This match-up was like two games in one. The gamut of emotions experienced ranged from the horror of seeing Matt Clement’s injury to the jubilation of the Boston players after keeping themselves in the game for their fallen ace.

Mark Hendrickson, Tampa Bay’s starter, went into the game with a 6.82 ERA. In the 3 innings he pitched he gave up 5 earned runs, including a 2-run home run in the 1st by Manny Ramirez, who was the object of a Sports Illustrated article released earlier in the day. Written by Tom Verducci, the article will be in the August 1st issue of SI and it claims that the left fielder is unhappy in Boston because of his lack of privacy and wants to be traded. When Terry Francona was asked about this piece, he said that he was “happy enough to drive in 90 runs.” Francona took his usual tack of focusing on what happens between the lines rather than outside of them.

The third inning was a nightmare for pitchers on both sides and the Red Sox in particular. Johnny Damon led off with a double to right field and proceeded to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Edgar Renteria. Designated hitter Doug Mirabelli singled to left to drive in Damon. Speedster Mirabelli booked it from first to third on Ramirez’s single to the opposite field, and Jason Varitek walked to load the bases. Kevin Millar got in on the action with an RBI single to left that advanced Ramirez and Varitek.

Trot Nixon then injured himself on a swing which found him clutching his back and bending over in pain. Diagnosed as a strained left oblique muscle, it is likely he will be unable to play for an extended duration. Hendrickson struck out the pinch batter Adam Hyzdu, but uncorked a wild pitch with Bill Mueller at the plate that scored Ramirez. He hung on to induce a pop out to end the inning.

Clement had runners at the corners and one out when Carl Crawford smoked the first pitch directly back to the mound, bounding off of Clement’s head. What viewers couldn’t see was that he was conscious and coherent after the impact because the cameras stayed a judicious distance from the pitcher. After a night of observation, Clement will be re-evaluated at Bayfront Medical Center. Tom Gill, Red Sox medical director, stated that the starter’s prognosis is good since he had never lost consciousness and his CT was negative.

Submariner Chad Bradford entered the game and gave up a single to Julio Lugo to load the bases. After striking out Jorge Cantu on three pitches, the right-handed reliever gave up a grand slam to Aubrey Huff, who has established himself as a Red Sox killer in this series. The Clement incident and the almost immediate tying of the game cast a pall over the Red Sox.

Mike Myers threw a gutsy and perfect two innings until he gave up a led off double to Huff in the 6th inning. Jeremi Gonzalez entered for the next two innings and yielded 2 earned runs in the 7th inning to relinquish the lead.

The major league debut of Manny Delcarmen in the 8th inning was sparkling. With the score 8-6, he struck out his first batter, designated hitter Jonny Gomes (any relation to Jhonny Peralta?) and made the next two, Travis Lee and Alex Gonzalez, ground out. Big things seem to be in store for the local kid, whether it be with the Red Sox or another major league team.

By sheer force of will Varitek homered to center in the top of the 9th to tenuously draw the team back into the game. Millar singled to center and was pulled for pinchrunner Adam Stern, who we hoped wouldn’t pull a Stern (previously known as a Suppan) and get thrown out while on base. John Olerud lined to center for a single, bringing Mueller to the plate in situations where he shines most: with men on. True to form, Mueller doubled to right field to plate Stern. Sadly Dale Sveum was similarly predictable, waving in Olerud, who was thrown out at home on a bang [long pause] bang play.

Schilling was steady in the 9th inning at first, getting the first two batters to ground out and strikeout. But then Lugo got on base with a single to center, a frightful sight given his speed. Damon’s legs and glove were given at test with the very next batter, second baseman Cantu, who hit it as far as you can in Tropicana Field without getting a home run.

Then, as so often happens, Damon led off with a first pitch home run in the 10th, giving Boston the lead. Insurance agent Varitek added another run with a double to score Renteria.

The bottom of the 10th did not go as smoothly for Schilling, who let Damon Hollins on with one out and who would eventually score when Lee drove him in with a double to left. The veteran converted starter then walked Gonzalez on four straight balls, permitting the go-ahead run to bat. Gonzalez was pulled for pinch runner Nick Green. Gathright grounded to Olerud, who, instead of throwing to first base to try and catch the quick center fielder, smartly threw to Renteria at second base for the force out Green, ending the game.

A strange game, perhaps a turning point for the season. The Red Sox rebounded for a win, but will the accumulated injuries spur changes for good or ill?

July 26, 2005


Game 99: July 25, 2005
Red Sox (54-45), 3
Devil Rays (36-64), 4
BS: Mike Timlin (4)
L: Curt Schilling (2-4)
H: Chad Orvella (4)
H: Travis Harper (3)
W: Jesus Colome (2-2)
10 innings

Boston’s first extra innings game of the 2005 season resulted in a loss.

For some inexplicable reason, Doug Waechter dominated the Red Sox hitters by going 5.2 innings with 5 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Bill Mueller was the only one that got an RBI off of Waechter with a productive line drive single to center in the 2nd that extended his hitting streak to seven games.

Wells pitched for 6.1 innings with a line of 9 hits, 3 earned runs, no walks, 5 strikeouts, and only 88 pitches. Second-Guess Sally wondered why he was pulled in the 7th, but then she realized that Julio Lugo hits .310 against lefties versus .287 against righties. She also knew that Timlin has pitched 24 innings with the bases empty and no runs (earned or unearned), 1 hit by pitch, 4 walks, and 20 strikeouts compared to 16.2 innings pitched with runners in scoring position with 14 hits, 6 earned runs, 5 walks, and 11 strikeouts.

The 7th inning saw an offensive revival with Johnny Damon’s 2-run home run with Tony Graffanino on base. Lugo came right back in the bottom of that inning to tie the game with RBI single to right field to score the peppy Joey Gathright.

Someone needs to deliver some stern words to that Rule 5er. In the 9th inning, Adam Stern pinch ran for Graffanino, who had singled to left. Damon followed with his second hit of the evening, a ground ball single to right field, moving Stern to third base.

Stern then pulled a Kapleresque running gaffe by taking to large a lead off of third when Edgar Renteria hit the ball straight back to pitcher Jesus Colome. Colome then tagged Stern before he got back to the bag, getting the second out of the inning and erasing the go-ahead run opportunity from third. Jesus not only saved a possible run, but got the win.

Manny Ramirez missed the opportunity to rack up another grand slam that inning after David Ortiz had walked to load the bases. Just before popping up to end the inning, he could have unloaded on a sweet 2-1 pitch right in his wheelhouse. Instead, extra frames were required.

A patented Red Sox comeback was in the offing in the 10th inning, when Trot Nixon led off with a lined single that shot past the infield to right field. Although Jason Varitek struck out, Nixon stole second during his captain’s at bat. Nixon apparently didn’t play much dodgeball as a kid because he couldn’t get out of the way of John Olerud’s hit up the middle, which removed him from scoring position and racked up the second out. (Interestingly, looking at the scoring, they called that an unassisted out by the shortstop Lugo.) Mueller ended the threat by flying out to center field.

Schilling lost his fourth game of the season when Aubrey Huff doubled to right field right over Nixon’s head to drive in Jorge Cantu. He had made a nice play to get the speedy Carl Crawford out at second base on Cantu’s bunt attempt, but it was for naught. The flukey evening ended with an outlandish win for the Devil Rays.

July 25, 2005


Game 98: July 24, 2005
Red Sox (54-44), 4
White Sox (64-33), 6
L: Bronson Arroyo (8-6)
W: Jose Contreras (6-6)
H: Neal Cotts (7)
H: Cliff Politte (11)
H: Damaso Marte (12)
S: Dustin Hermanson (23)

Going into the series, I would have been happy with a split. Going into this particular game, I got greedy. I wanted a series win against this team that was so blithely steamrolling their AL Central competition on their way to the best record in baseball.

I’m certain Arroyo was as greedy as me. Yesterday was the anniversary of The Game, and perhaps he would be spurred by the memory of the last year, the turning point of the season. His line of 6.2 innings pitched, 8 hits, 6 earned runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, and 1 home run showed that maybe he was not. Too content with his album’s success, perhaps, as all Boston media pundits have claimed? It’s not as if these media personalities don’t have multiple coals in the fire as well. You can find all of the Globe’s and Herald’s poison pens, WEEI’s disembodied voices, and local television’s talking heads in every possible media outlet. Ambrose Bierce said that the definition of hypocrisy was “prejudice with a halo.” If that’s the case, any media outlet’s facilities probably don’t have very large electricity bills thanks to the illumination provided by the nimbi of the nitwits.

Dustin Hermanson...why can’t we get pitchers like that?

July 24, 2005


Game 97: July 23, 2005
Red Sox (54-43), 3
White Sox (63-33), 0
W: Wade Miller (3-4)
H: Mike Myers (5)
H: Mike Timlin (18)
S: Curt Schilling (2)
L: Orlando Hernandez (7-3)

Manny Ramirez slammed an opposite field home run in the first with David Ortiz on base in the 1st inning, giving Boston the early lead in the game as well as maintaining his margin of dominance in RBIs with an MLB-leading 89.

Captain and insurance agent Jason Varitek hit a solo home run in the 9th to bookend the Red Sox scoring. Varitek leads the league for home runs by a catcher with 14 and is in the top six amongst eligible catchers for hits, RBIs, batting average, and on-base percentage.

The Red Sox also had several key defensive shenanigans in the early innings. In the 1st, Scott Podsednik was caught stealing when attempting his 51st swipe of the season. Varitek nailed the left fielder on his throw to Alex Cora. Podsednik had the throw beat, but his butt came off the second base bag briefly, at which point Cora tagged him. Rather than having Podsednik at 2nd with no out, Tadahito Iguchi continued his at bat with no runners on and 1 out.

Iguchi subsequently walked and was rundown with the ball circulating amongst John Olerud, Edgar Renteria, and Cora. Briefly imagine if the trio were Kevin Millar, Ramon Vazquez, and Mark Bellhorn and you will appreciate how better defensive players make plays look easy.

Cora got the benefit of a call by second base umpire Paul Nauert when the second baseman caught an throw by Bill Mueller that he dropped on the transfer. Paul Konerko, a Yankee fan, was called out since Nauert ruled Cora lost it on the transfer.

Miller had a solid outing of 7 innings with 5 hits, no earned or unearned runs, 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. He worked out of a bases loaded jam in the 3rd. The pitching staff conspired for their eighth shutout of the season.

Satisfyingly, Carl Everett went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Reading this result made me smirk like Schilling did when Ramirez caught Timo Perez’s fly ball to end the game. Winning these tight games against formidable competition is heartening, especially knowing that our bullpen can clamp down and pitch with one of the better relief pitching staffs in the league.

July 23, 2005


Game 96: July 22, 2005
Red Sox (53-43), 4
White Sox (63-32), 8
L: Tim Wakefield (8-9)
W: Jon Garland (15-4)

The Wizards of Ozzie racked up their 63rd win last night and are now leading the AL Central by 11 games. How is this even possible? Based on these rankings, it’s clear they rely on pitching and defense:

  • 25th in batting average (.260)
  • 21st in strikeouts (584)
  • 30th in hits (830)
  • 26th in on-base percentage (.321)
  • 2nd in earned run average (3.62)
  • 29th in earned runs against (346)
  • 14th in strikeouts against (598)
  • 4th in fielding percentage (.986)
  • 28th in errors (52)
  • 9th in double plays (97)

Garland reprised his role as the young ingenue traipsing through the magical White Sox season with enchanted cleats that have somehow reduced his ERA from 4.89 in 2004 to 3.19 during this season so far. His line of 6.2 innings pitched, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, and 1 home run, clearly demonstrates some sort of supernatural intervention. Someone click his heels together and send him back to Charlotte.

An old friend from 2002, Dustin Hermanson, pitched in the 9th and gave up 2 earned runs. You probably barely remember him since he only pitched 22 innings with the Red Sox with an ERA of 7.77. Hermanson went down with a groin injury on April 3, 2002 in the 2nd inning of a game that officially didn’t happen. He gave up a 2-run home run to the new guy in the office, Adam Stern, with that other new hire Tony Graffanino on base. Perhaps Hermanson could ask to borrow Garland’s mystical cleats.

Manny Ramirez now leads the league in assists with 12. The Red Sox Gold Glove candidate threw out Paul Konerko at home to end the 4th inning. Joey Cora apparently got some tips from Dale Sveum before the game.

Jerry Remy had a joke for Dan Roche this time around: What do you call a fish with no eyes? Fsh.

Feh. I haven’t seen anything from this team to make me think they are the best in the American League, no matter what their record says. Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, former Red Sox player and current broadcaster for the White Sox, was on WEEI and trumpeted the South Side team’s greatness from the mountain tops. Time to knock him off that mountain.

July 22, 2005


Game 95: July 21, 2005
Red Sox (53-42), 6
White Sox (62-32), 5
H: Mike Timlin (17)
BS, W: Curt Schilling (1, 2-3)

L: Luis Vizcaino (4-4)
W: Joe Crede (1-0)*

Joey Cora, brother of Alex, is the third base coach for the White Sox. Help a brother out, Joey.

After Clement ran to first base to help put out A.J. Pierzynski in the 6th inning for the second out, Dave Wallace came out to deliver his patented accupat therapy. Wallace knows the exact pressure points to pat to align his pitchers’ chakras. This, along with the Phitel titanium accessories, make the Red Sox the poster child for alternative health in baseball. All of Clement’s earned runs came on 3 home runs, which might be something to look out for in the future. He went 6 innings with 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts.

Although the White Sox started off with a lead from the 1st inning with Carl Everett’s 2-run home run to center field. Paul Konerko and Aaron Rowand both homered to left center field in the 4th inning. It seemed to be going the pale hose’s way, but never count out the potent Boston offense.

Johnny Damon began the comeback in the 5th inning with a leadoff double to center. Edgar Renteria then drove him in with a double of his own to Rowand. Who else but David Ortiz to get his team within one run of the opposition by driving Renteria in with a single to the opposite field?

Clement had settled down enough to maintain the score for the 5th and 6th innings, despite the epic at bat executed by Timo Perez. Perez’s 13-pitch at bat ended in a walk and put Clement in a jam with 2 runners on base. He recovered to strikeout Crede to end the inning. This won’t be the last you hear about this particular third baseman.

Damon again spurred a rally in the 7th inning by getting an infield single off of Cliff Politte. Politte then walked Renteria, setting the stage for Ortiz. White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, whom the Red Sox were reportedly pursuing in the offseason, booted the ball hit to him and made an errant throw to home to achieve 2 errors in the same play. I wonder how may errors a single player can have in a single play? Renteria scores on a Millar sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, but Ortiz is thrown out at third base to end the inning into what Gameday calls a “sacrifice double play.”

With the Red Sox in a slim one-run lead in the bottom of the 7th, Iguchi doubled on a liner to right field with 2 out and the ball attendant gets in the way of Trot Nixon as he attempts to field it. Everett then walked on 4 pitches. For a moment it seemed that Timlin might blow the game, but he induced a pop out from Konerko to end the threat.

In the 8th inning, after striking out Pierzynski, Schilling gave up a double to Rowand. He got Perez to ground out, but that put Rowand 90 feet away from a tie. Crede came to bat and went to the opposite field for a RBI double, and Schilling got his first blown save of the season.

With one out in the 9th, Crede dropped a foul ball off of Manny Ramirez’s bat. A White Sox fan was picked up on NESN’s microphones, yelling repeatedly, “Two hands!” On the very next pitch, Ramirez hit what would be the game-winning homer.

So, the Red Sox did get some help from another Sox brother, but instead of Joey, it was Joe.

Since you all enjoyed the palindrome post so much, without further ado I bring you the rest of the post anagram-style:

  • Carl Everett loves dinosaurs: Slurs declarative overtones
  • Paul Konerko from Providence: Provoke panicked lemon furor
  • Monumental Timo Perez at bat: Zanier ambulant totem tempo
  • Damon scores despite Sveum: Menaced speeds suit vrooms
  • Joe Crede drops foul ball: Cajoler fuddles blooper
  • Manny gets the lead: Angel dynast theme
  • Schilling comes through: Solemn highlight occurs

*Dig at the White Sox third baseman courtesy of 12eight.

July 21, 2005


Game 94: July 20, 2005
Devil Rays (32-64), 4
Red Sox (52-42), 9
L: Mark Hendrickson (4-7)
W: David Wells (8-5)

I had tickets to this game, but was unable to go. Fortunately, I sent my operative, Hawaii, and his brother in my stead. Their mission, since they did choose to accept it, was to find out whether or not the remote control camera on the wall between the visiting and home bullpens was still there. I saw it on Friday the 15th, but it was gone the very next day. A few possibilities as to why it was gone:

  1. It was being worked on, since it is a new gadget and still has some kinks.
  2. It is only for use during NESN or WSBK games, and Saturday was broadcasted by Fox.
  3. The Yankees whinged about it and had it removed, only to have it reinstalled since the Devil Rays have no pull.

The team has faced left-handed pitchers for 5 games in a row, and will oppose another one tonight in the form of Mark Buehrle. The White Sox southpaw is just a touch better than Hendrickson, who pitched to 6 batters in the 1st inning and got no outs. His line was 4 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), and 2 walks.

The Red Sox lefty Wells had another quality start, going 7 innings with 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, and 1 home run. As for offense, the question is who didn’t get a hit (Cora, Stern, Olerud, and Hyzdu); all those guys probably got made fun of in the clubhouse.

In not-so related news, a 1,191 pound tiger shark was caught in the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament off Martha’s Vineyard yesterday. It would have won the contest, but the crew was 6 minutes late. The shark was so large, it had to be towed outside of the boat, which slowed the return trip. Yesterday was not a good day for cartilaginous fishes.

The mysterious disappearing and reappearing camera.
Photo courtesy of Hawaii.

July 20, 2005


Game 93: July 19, 2005
Devil Rays (32-63), 2
Red Sox (51-42), 5
L: Casey Fossum (4-8)
W: Bronson Arroyo (8-5)
H: Mike Timlin (16)
S: Curt Schilling (1)

The last save that Schilling earned, back on May 3, 1992, was quite different from last night’s. The final score was 12-3 in that May game. He earned that save by pitching 4 innings with only 3 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Other notable participants in that game were Dale Sveum (Phillies SS), Lennie Dykstra (Phillies CF), John Kruk (Phillies 1B), Rod Beck (Giants RHP), Willie McGee (Giants RF), Darren Lewis (Giants CF), Jeff Brantley (Giants RHP), as well as Clifford Brantley (Phillies RHP). Schilling had a perfect 9th inning for his 14th career save.

The combined weight of the two starting pitchers was probably less than David Wells’s full weight. Other Devil Ray rankings of note:

  • 13th in batting average (.269)
  • 16th in strikeouts (590)
  • 6th in hits (876)
  • 21st in on-base percentage (.327)
  • 30th in earned run average (5.74)
  • 1st in earned runs against (529)
  • 24th in strikeouts against (541)

Not a bad offensive team at all, but severely lacking in pitching. The Red Sox avoided the sweep, right before a tough 4-game series against the pale hose.

July 19, 2005


Game 92: July 18, 2005
Devil Rays (32-62), 3
Red Sox (50-42), 1
W: Scott Kazmir (4-7)
H: Travis Harper (9)
H: Joe Borowski (3)
S: Danys Baez (17)
L: Wade Miller (2-4)

The best thing we could have hoped for was Lou Piniella having an extended tantrum in the 9th inning. I wanted one of his patented moves, like the first base grab and toss or the hat kick. But this is the homefield of the world champions; he could have innovated and climbed the screen behind home plate and then hurled himself at Laz Diaz. The foul poles should be rigged with fireworks that are set off in coordination with Piniella’s entrance music. Also, the garage doors should be limned with neon, with a ramp for dramatic entrances and exits. I demand this for all future Devil Ray games.

I probably would have enjoyed watching Alien vs. Predator more than this game. This movie inspired the following reviews:

“[Alien vs. Predator] is in desperate need of a bigger steel cage and a whole lot more smackdown.”
Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“One thing is certain: Nobody is going to be demanding a rematch.”
Lou Lumenick, New York Post

“Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. Elton John and Billy Joel. Alien vs. Predator is just another contrived combination of two former chartbusters who perform their greatest hits before coming together for a duet at the end.”
John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press

“This is a sad end for two profitable Hollywood franchises, which now seem to be at an end. The movie bills itself as some sort of ultimate hunt. Instead, it’s merely a mercy killing.”
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

“‘Whoever Wins...We Lose!’ Thank you, Fox, for the truth in your advertising.”
Collin Souter, efilmcritic.com

“We never confused Godzilla vs. Mothra with actual cinema as kids, so why are we doing so with this one? It’s fun!”
John Venable, supercala.com

“There isn’t a performance in the movie worth noting, unless one is noting inabilities.”
Randy Shulman, Metro Weekly (Washington D.C.)

“A more accurate title might have been Audience vs. Cliche.”
Paul Sherman, Boston Herald

Not only did Boston lose, but Johnny Damon’s hit streak ended at 29.

July 18, 2005


Game 91: July 17, 2005
Yankees (49-41), 5
Red Sox (50-41), 3
W: Al Leiter (4-7)
H: Tanyon Sturtze (11)
S: Mariano Rivera (23)
L: Tim Wakefield (8-8)

Remember how everyone lauded Al Leiter when he joined Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth during the postseason last year? Why didn’t continue with that? I much prefer him as a television analyst than a rejuvenated 39-year old lefty mowing down the Red Sox hitters. He went 6.1 innings with merely 3 hits and 1 earned run while walking only 3 and striking out 8. The magical Yankee uniform seemed to garb him with that oft-mentioned mystique and aura that had been lacking lately.

Wakefield was wreathed in his own gloriole, ending his complete game outing with 5 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, and 3 home runs. The veteran righty saved the bullpen, a crucial concern for the next few series since the Red Sox won’t have another day off until July 28th.

Kevin Millar broke up a double play in the 2nd inning with his matchless panache. He stopped suddenly on the basepath and slipped (intentionally or not, it’s difficult to say), causing Robinson Cano to lose the ball from his glove into the shallow outfield.

The first base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt giveth, as in the 4th inning when Jason Giambi was called out, and he taketh away, as in the 9th inning when Alex Cora was called out to complete a double play with no outs and the bases loaded, effectively ending the game. Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be umpires, but should they insist, you can send them to The Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires. I hear one of the courses is entitled “Bribes and How to Hide Them.”

July 17, 2005


Game 90: July 16, 2005
Yankees (48-41), 7
Red Sox (50-40), 4
W: Randy Johnson (10-6)
H: Tom Gordon (16)
S: Mariano Rivera (22)
L: Matt Clement (10-3)

I should have known that it was unlikely there would be batting practice when a day game follows a night game. So, my friend David and I showed up two hours early mainly to gawk at whomever we could and enjoy a pristine day at the park. Standing behind the home dugout where children thronged to beg for autographs, I was surprised how few of them would append “mister” to the names of the players. Of course, I’m from another generation and the team exudes an air of unceremoniousness that encourages informality. Still, if I’m asking a favor of someone, I would err towards courtesy.

John Halama is generous with his autograph time. Perhaps this impacts his pitching efficacy. Kids, please don’t ask Mr. Halama for any more autographs. He also needs all the energy he can get to answer his phone. It’s very taxing on him.

Kay Hanley and Michelle Lewis did an excellent job on the national anthem. Hanley began it solo, and Lewis joined in with the “rocket’s red glare” verse. Johnny Pesky was the Red Sox Legend of the game, and it was heartening to see him there, moving on from the recent loss of his wife. We gave him a standing ovation.

Clement was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma with a side order of deep-fried frustration. He went only 2.2 innings with 5 hits, 6 earned runs, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts, and 1 home run. The 2nd inning was a summary of his day’s inconsistency: 2 straight walks on 5 pitches each and then 3 straight strikeouts swinging.

What happens when you have a gunshy third base coach directing the slowest runners in the league while they are running against one of its weakest arms? An inning is killed. With Kevin Millar on second and Doug Mirabelli on first, Bill Mueller hit a single to Bernie Williams. Millar could have made it to home to score, but was held up by Dale Sveum. Mirabelli isn’t a speedster by any means, but Sveum must have momentarily thought his team was playing the Devil Rays with a reinvigorated Rocco Baldelli patrolling the outfield.

Mark Bellhorn hit his 7th home run of the year in the 3rd inning, which is the total number of homers in Jerry Remy’s career. A benefit of going to this game in person is not having to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver; how were they? Manny Ramirez also had a dinger, his 23rd, in the 4th inning. Both were yielded by Johnson, but were not enough to overcome the Yankees’ blockbuster 3rd inning.

You’ll see a picture of David Ortiz below after he had finished practicing first base with Eno Guerrero. He could have had more, especially since his fielding error on the Hideki Matsui grounder in the 7th permitted Alex Rodriguez, who got on base with a walk, to score.

Mueller had a great day defensively, initiating a double play on a Gary Sheffield ground ball to end an inning in the 6th and tandeming with Jason Varitek on a strike ’em out, throw ’em out with Williams at the bat and Matsui trying to steal third in the 7th. Without that play, they Yankees would have probably scored more than the single run they did in that frame.

Mariano Rivera has returned to his dominant form of yesteryear, destroying two of Johnny Damon’s bats before he lined out to Tino Martinez, striking out Edgar Renteria, and popping out David Ortiz. Despite many fans’ hubris about “owning” Rivera, Varitek himself has said that no one owns him, but that the sequence of events in Game 4 of the ALCS was the right time and right situation.

In streak news: Damon’s hit streak increased to 28 games, but this was the first loss in the red uniforms after 4 straight wins.

Going for the series split tonight with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on ESPN. Here’s hoping that WEEI will be synchronized with their broadcast.

How did that chord progression go again? I’ll ask Gammo.

2004 J.G. Taylor Spink award winner Peter Gammons.
He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 31, 2005.

Ortiz was the only non-pitcher I saw before the game. He shagged some ground balls with Guerrero in preparation for covering first base.

Francona surveys the grounds before the game.

“Whew! Good thing I don’t have to pitch this series,” thinks Wade Miller.
He wasn’t friendly at all when leaving the park Friday night, but spent about a half an hour signing autographs on Saturday.

The only bullpen arms I trust.

The opposing pitchers long tossing.

July 16, 2005


Game 89: July 15, 2005
Yankees (47-41), 1
Red Sox (50-39), 17
L: Tim Redding (0-6)
W: David Wells (7-5)

Things not involving actual baseball that deserve mention:

  • I went to the game with Joe. Joe is eight feet tall. Well, not exactly, but since I’m 5', it certainly seemed so. I felt like I was conversing with his navel.
  • Joe and I saw Hazel Mae in person before the game. Joe fell in love and I saw living proof that the camera does add weight. She seemed genuinely nice in person, stopping to introduce herself after she heard Joe yell, “Hey, that’s Hazel Mae!”
  • I finally got to see the Red Sox take batting practice. I come two hours early for every game possible and had yet to see them in the cages. Ortiz, of course, put on a show.
  • Someone in the roof boxes ordered a bag a peanuts from a vendor in the right field box. The seller threw it up to buyer with excellent aim. The buyer wasn’t sure how to get the money down, and the vendor said, “Just throw it down.” The bill just wafted down right into the vendor’s outstretched hand. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. The crowd in my area cheered vigorously.
  • There was an insanely entertaining Yankee fan in my section carrying a wad of cash. He wasn’t obnoxious, just very vociferous. There was something weirdly endearing about him because, despite his team being down the entire game, he never bowed in the face of adversity, talking smack throughout the game. This is more than you can say for most Yankee fans. You’ll see his picture below.
  • A father with his son and daughter sitting to my left had the chance to see an unbelievable game. The son, the older of the children, was keeping the score. The daughter sat in her father’s lap while he explained the finer points of the game to her, such as, since the score was 17-1, it would probably be a lead that even Alan Embree couldn’t blow. He told her, “You can tell your grandkids you went to a game where you saw an inside-the-park home run and a grand slam.”
  • Watching the players leave the park and knowing that Trot Nixon drives a Mini. Did he lose a bet or something?

These things and a win alone would have made it a great night. But it was incredible because of:

  • Trot Nixon’s inside-the-park home run in the 2nd inning. The only other time I had heard the crowd be so loud was when Shea Hillenbrand hit a home run off of Mariano Rivera on April 13, 2002, before there were Monster Seats, so his ball sailed into the screen. Gary Sheffield left Melky Cabrera hang out to dry like Lou Piniella does with his pitchers. When Cabrera successfully made the next catch of Kevin Millar’s fly ball, we sarcastically cheered.
  • The implacable David Ortiz. With Jason Varitek, Alex Cora, and Edgar Renteria on base, Ortiz hit a grand slam in to the visitor’s bullpen in the 6th inning. I’m more than a little spoiled; this was the third grand slam I’ve seen this year.
  • The emergence of Adam Stern. He his first major league hit, a ground ball single to left, in the 8th inning. When he left the park, no one would get his car for him, so he and his girlfriend had to walk to the player’s parking lot themselves. Someday soon you’ll have more pull, Stern!

Quite simply, one of the best games I have attended in person. I’m interested to see how tomorrow will shape up in comparison.

Also, I figured out how to make the pictures below link to larger versions, so if there’s anything you would like to see in greater detail, just click on the picture for a larger version.

Francona with Eric Frede for the pre-game interview. Francona is probably thinking, “Redding? Oh yeah, we’re going to shell this guy.”
What he’s probably actually saying would be more like, “Ah geez, the Yankees have a tough lineup; it’s going to be rough.”

Hey, Dan! I have a joke for you: What did the ocean say to the beach?
Nothing. It could only wave.

Mike Timlin and John Olerud, probably talking about how being on the Red Sox is more fun than being on the Blue Jays.

Chad Bradford, whom Joe Morgan wouldn’t be familiar with because he has not and never will read that book by Billy Beane.

The obstreperous Yankee fan.

Thank you for letting me see my first inside-the-park home run in person.

Joe said, “I hope he gets his first major league hit.”

And he does.

An accounting of Ortiz’s feats with a picture of Stern.

July 15, 2005


Game 88: July 14, 2005
Yankees (47-40), 8
Red Sox (49-39), 6
W: Tom Gordon (3-3)
S: Mariano Rivera (21)

BS: Mike Timlin (3)
L: Curt Schilling (1-3)

The night started off with the raffle winners getting their Red Sox World Series rings. We know your names, where you live, and what you lool like. So very tempting to say, track them down, beg and plead for that precious piece of history, and change your name to whatever is engraved on the side.

Manny Ramirez pulled off the decoy of the year in the 1st inning. He executed his deceptive loping hook side so that Robinson Cano thought he could stretch out a triple. Thus lured, Ramirez used his lethal quick release technique to transform Cano’s greed into an out at third. Ramirez racked up his 11th assist of the season.

The home half of the 1st inning was riveting. So exciting, in fact, that Andrew of 12eight, with whom I was instant messengering, decided to end every phrase with exclamation marks. Johnny Damon led off with a looping fly ball to right to extend his hitting streak to 26 games! Renteria sacrificed bunted Damon to third! Then Ortiz’s ground ball single gets past the shift and Damon scored! Ramirez worked a walk, setting up Trot Nixon’s 3-run homer! (Note: Using more than one exclamation point in a paragraph makes one seem like an earnest 4-year old talking about her day at the zoo; this technique should be used sparingly. But this inning warranted it!)

The Yankees responded with home runs by Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams in the 2nd inning, quickly closing the gap. The tone of the evening was set, a continual dialogue of switching leads and breaking ties.

At this point in the game, Jerry Remy mentioned that he asked Dale Sveum about the balls used for the Home Run Derby. Sveum said they felt smaller and harder than regulation balls. My illusions are shattered.

Speaking of Sveum, he nearly botched Nixon’s progress around the bases in the 3rd inning. Trot reached first base by going opposite field off the wall. On Millar’s double, Nixon was nearly sent to home by the inconsistent third base coach. Sveum put up the stop sign in time for Nixon stay alive, but the right fielder looked peeved. Then again, he always looks like that.

Bill Mueller made a nice catch for 1st out of the 6th inning on Williams’s foul ball. Then Mueller made a diving grab of Jeter’s hit, but the throw took a bounce on the infield and flew into the dugout. I don’t tend to play Second-Guess Sally, but I think the ball was catchable and would have been snared if John Olerud were in the game. Still, it was named a throwing error on Mueller.

Chad Bradford and Mike Myers warming in the bullpen inspired laughter from me. Who made these seating arrangements? Why do they always put a lefty right in the middle of the table? He drank my water, too. Bradford’s 7th inning debut started off with him making Gary Sheffield look silly and grounding out on the fourth pitch. Terry Francona demonstrated commendable judgment by pulling Bradford immediately after he walked Alex Rodriguez on four balls. The only problem was that he went to Alan Embree.

Nixon made an outstanding catch of Matsui’s hit to right field off of Embree, and he somehow induced a ground out from Giambi, which is rare for Embree, king of long fly ball outs. But I must trot out Second-Guess Sally again, because I was utterly dumbfounded as to why we didn’t hear the opening bars of “Black Betty” at the top of the 8th because Embree stayed in the game. Instead, Jorge Posada (This season, .310 BA against LHP, .240 BA versus RHP, and .250 BA facing Embree) leads off with a double off and Tony Womack pinch runs. The Yankees tie the score again on a Ruben Sierra double to right field.

Curt Schilling entered in the 9th, goateed, but only to be made the goat. Sheffield led off with a double and Rodriguez homered to the deepest part of the park to take and never relinquish the lead. The night when exclamation points turned into question marks. Will the Schilling bullpen experiment yield better results in the future? Whither Embree? Does the pinch hitting of Olerud for Mark Bellhorn signify some changes afoot?

I’ll be at tonight’s game in person, with more than a little anxiety, even though the opposition is starting Tim Redding, who has an ERA of 9.10.

July 13, 2005

Stellar Spectacle

Asglogo76th Annual All-Star Game: July 12, 2005
National League (41-34-2), 5
American League (34-41-2), 7
L: John Smoltz
W: Mark Buehrle

S: Mariano Rivera
Ted Williams Award for Most Valuable Player: Miguel Tejada

This year saw the debut of the Red Carpet Show, an incredibly stupid idea whose time should never have come. Yet it did, and may Ted Williams smite all those who had a hand in its genesis. He said, “I’ve found that you don’t need to wear a necktie if you can hit.” There’s a great picture of him with his finger lodged between his shirt collar and neck, looking conspicuously uncomfortable. I can’t imagine what he would think of this generation of glitterati players.

Another awkward moment featuring the clash between celebrities of various stripes had David Boreanaz, an actor pimping his Fox show, pretending he was a baseball fan. He called Rivera “Riviera.” Just about as convincing as he was playing a good vampire in “Angel,” which is to say, not very. (Actually, his utter lack of baseball knowledge is a Yankee fan prerequisite. In that case, kudos to Boreanaz.)

Billy Bob Thornton’s introductory narrative had me convinced that the All-Star game was birthed by the American auto industry and midwifed by movie remakes. They should have added poetry slam style lilting intonation to complete the desecration. The players entering through fireworks and smoke down a ramp added just the right touch of lurid ostentation, if the effect desired was WWE Smackdown, circa 1998.

Speaking of smackings down, there was no need for a fake handshake between Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek because the later was in the bullpen helping to warm up Buehrle. Also, Joe Buck purposefully paused after he introduced Kenny Rogers, permitting the audience to get their jeers in.

The AL scored first with Tejada’s leadoff home run in the 2nd inning. When the NL came to bat the next inning, McCarver mentioned that Abreu “hit a season’s worth of home runs in a night.” In the former St. Louis catcher’s case, you would modify that statement to a little less than half a career’s worth of homers in a night.

Until the 7th inning, all the scoring was done by the AL as their relentless lineup built up a 7-run lead. The 3rd inning saw 2 RBIs by Ortiz and Tejada. Ichiro Suzuki plated Varitek and Brian Roberts in the 4th. Mark Teixeira’s home run with Alfonso Soriano, last year’s All-Star MVP, on base to intoned the death knell for the NL.

Those feisty players from the JV league mounted a minor comeback, scoring 5 runs in the last 3 innings, the most dramatic of which was a 2-run home run by Andruw Jones off Rogers to end the shutout. But it wasn’t enough to wrest away the first All-Star game win for Terry Francona, a victory that will hopefully reap dividends for the Red Sox in the postseason.

July 11, 2005

Quadrangular Quadrille

HrderbyHome Run Derby: July 11, 2005
Bobby Abreu, Venezuela
Jason Bay, Canada
Hee-Seop Choi, South Korea
Andruw Jones, The Netherlands
Carlos Lee, Panama
David Ortiz, Dominican Republic
Ivan Rodriguez, Puerto Rico
Mark Teixeira, United States

After a pathetic performance by a ripoff of a ripoff band which embarrassingly featured one of our own on guest vocals (the ubiquitous Damon, of course), the great international experiment is underway. For the first time, the home run derby participants represent their country of origin.

Abreu was patient, taking pitches until he felt right. The Phillies right fielder’s first swing was a home run. He had 9 dingers with 4 out, I thought that he might be wearing himself out. I was completely wrong; his tenth bomb was 517 feet and cleared Comerica Park, if you can believe that. Before his 14th, they started chanted his name. With 15, he tied the record. When he broke it, Miguel Cabrera, Melvin Mora, and other Venezuelans came out to congratulate him. He broke his bat after the 21st home run. Rollins came out with a new bat for him. His round ended with 24 home runs.

During Abreu’s stint, Tejada worked on Ortiz, prepping him like it was a prize fight.

Bay tried not to cry when it was his turn. During his at bat he said, “I got nothing.” And he literally didn’t have anything, blanking at the plate.

Lee, unlike Abreu, hit primarily line drive homers. With 1 out remaining, Lee was able to hit 2 home runs, and totaled 11.

Reggie Jackson is interviewed. My annoyance factor went up, something I didn’t think was possible with both Berman and Morgan already pushing my buttons.

After a slow start, Choi finally hit 1 with 6 outs. He finished with 5, his longest 474 feet. Not even an All-Star selection, Choi came to Detroit to represent his country.

Rodriguez, the hometown representative, hit his first home run with 1 out. His son looks a lot like him. I’m most impressed when they can hit a homer on the last out, like how Rodriguez hit his 7th and final home run. His longest was 442 feet.

Sveum pitched to Teixeira, a switch-hitter who chose to hit lefty. A wise choice, as all of his homers this year came from the left side. His first homer came with 5 outs, and he looked out of his element. He made as if to change his bat with 1 out, possibly hoping to change his luck, but it was to no avail. He completed the round with just 2 longballs.

Varitek made a guest appearance, and Berman began to ask the catcher, “How would you pitch Ortiz to get him out?” Even Morgan said, “Nah, you don’t want to ask him that.” The captain put his fingers to his lips; there would be no way he would compromise Ortiz’s potency at the plate. Meanwhile, Tejada brought out the Dominican flag. Varitek spoke glowingly of Ortiz, and also had confidence in Schilling coming out of the bullpen.

I saw Ortiz dominate at a home run derby, but that was at Doubleday Field, which was a mite smaller. It took a while for Ortiz to get warmed up, but when he did, he shrank the field as it were that quaint park in Cooperstown. The 9th home run was caught by a Red Sox fan, appropriately enough. When the 9th out came around, Manny had the Dominican flag in hand and was making the rounds. Papi broke Tejada’s record from last year with 17 blasts, and his longest was 483 feet.

Jones was robbed by one of the fielding kids. Other children in the stands risked life and limb to get Jones’s 5th and last home run by running out on to a suspended tarp. It’s just a ball, kids! Unfortunately, the Jones from the Braves that I do like doesn’t make it to the second round.

Abreu, Ortiz, Lee, and Rodriguez continued to the second round.

Berman and Morgan interviewed Bud Selig during Abreu’s second at bat. He hyped the World Classic, addressed the Kenny Rogers situation, and reiterated his stance against steroids.

In the second round, we see if the hitters overexerted themselves. Abreu slammed 6, which is just a quarter of what he accomplished in the first round, but his total through just 2 rounds broke Tejada’s total for the entire competition last year.

Lee’s swings at around the 6th out seemed quite labored, and at that point he only had 4 taters, which was his final total.

Rodriguez just missed a homer that a fan reached over to catch. A beer sacrificed itself for nothing, as it was judged fan interference. I can’t bring myself to call him “Pudge,” he looks so different. He appeared to be the one participant to pace himself, as he wasn’t out of breath at the end of his 8-homer session.

At this point Berman said something about eephus home runs and showed his idiocy.

Morgan said that Ortiz has established himself as the big game hitter. That’s like saying that water has established itself as wet or that the sun has been determined to be hot. Sadly, our Red Sox representative came up with only 3 home runs in the second round. He didn’t seem particularly tired, but his balls were going towards center right, not the ideal placement at Comerica.

Inhuman, in a word, describes Abreu’s final round performance of 11. This meant 41 total longballs for a distance of 17,560 feet, obliterating all previous records. Rodriguez managed 7 homers, but it was not enough to beat the Venezuelan. Absolute Abreu.

July 10, 2005


Game 87: July 10, 2005
Red Sox (49-38), 1
Orioles (47-40), 4
L: Tim Wakefield (8-7)
W: Rodrigo Lopez (8-5)

S: B.J. Ryan (19)

Ba da ba ba ba! I’m not lovin’ it.

Except for the new pre-game segment, “The World According to Mike Myers,” that NESN premiered today. Myers was a much better left-handed pitcher to highlight than Wells. Wells might start spouting off about how being followed by cameras is like sexual assault or how rehabbing in the minors is like being in an internment camp or something. Instead, with Myers we got a lighthearted look at his superstitions. His humor and openness made his quirks seem more endearing than torturously compulsive, unlike some other player you might remember. Part of his ritual was that after he gets up the stairs (starting with the correct foot, of course), he needs to get knuckles from Francona. Then he has to put his mitt under the dot on the “redsox.com” sign. As he made his way to that spot, there was a guy sitting on the bench by the requisite space for Myers’s glove, and when he saw the lefty coming, he quickly got up and out of the way. I had suspected there was a bit of the showman in Myers; he enjoyed getting molested and adored by fans much too much in the World Series DVD for me to think otherwise.

Bill Mueller, well-documented as my favorite player, was featured on “Inside Your Sox.” The segment covered all the things I had written about the third baseman previously, but mentioned that he played in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League, something I didn’t know. I found a fan tribute page to the now defunct league that once featured Brad Fullmer, Gabe Kapler, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Kotsay, Tadahito Iguchi, and Adam Kennedy. The site appears to have been a project for a Boston College student and it is no longer working. If this person (or someone who knows him or her) happens to read this, I’d be happy to provide the bandwith to host the site. Happily, another instructional league, the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League, made its debut in June with four teams: Waikiki Surfers, O‘ahu Paddlers, Hawai‘i Aliis, and the Kamuela Paniolos.

What about the game, you ask. I’m avoiding talking about it, if you must know. On the Red Sox side, there isn’t much to summarize offensively, just 4 hits. The only 2 of note were Nixon’s home run to right in the 2nd and Damon’s bunt single in the 9th to extend his hitting streak to 25 games. Lopez continued his dominance with an 8 inning showing, permitting only 3 hits, 1 earned run, no walks, 6 strikeouts, and that single home run. He threw only 94 pitches, our hitters blithely obliging him with overly aggressive first pitch swings.

Inexplicably, Wheels Ortiz stole second base with 2 out in the 9th and Ramirez at the plate with the score 1-4. Definitely something the designated hitter thought up himself. It was his first stolen base since 2002. Hey, now. He’s an All-Star. Got his game on.

Rafael Palmeiro is 9 for 55 against the knuckleballer with 14 strikeouts, but a great hitter will find a way. He solved Wakefield for once and homered to right in the 6th inning. The first baseman now has 2 more hits to 3,000 and the history books, but it won’t be at Boston’s expense.

On to the All-Star break and its myriad festivities, including the Futures Game.

July 9, 2005


Game 86: July 9, 2005
Red Sox (49-37), 1
Orioles (46-40), 9
L: Wade Miller (2-3)
W: Bruce Chen (7-5)

For the Red Sox, you could have called the game on account of a miracle play. The 3rd inning followed the usual script: the part we all love, where the team steps on its opponent’s neck and builds an insurmountable lead, a lead that even Halama could maintain. Nixon began by hitting a double to left, showing that opposite field flexibility. Damon’s infield single stretched his hit streak to 24 game and advanced Nixon to third base. A follow-up single to left by Renteria drove in Nixon and set the stage for Ortiz. On the 5th pitch with the count 2-2, Ortiz hit a towering fly ball to center, a certain 3-run bomb, right? Chen became the luckiest pitcher in the league at that moment, because Matos committed larceny. We’re not talking misdeanor here; it was a felony. Even Ortiz applauded Matos’s feat as he broke from his home run trotting path and made his way back to the dugout.

Enough about that game; it was putrid. Since Rafael Palmeiro played a large role in Baltimore’s victory, it’s appropriate to talk about the first baseman’s Hall of Fame credentials. He’s quite close to achieving 3,000 hits, which is considered one of the milestones for automatic entry. He has also hit over 500 home runs, another key number for consideration. And yet, his candidacy is the subject of speculation, and this link to the Jayson Stark/Rob Neyer debate well summarizes the arguments for and against his admittance.

Neyer’s points against Palmeiro are carefully considered and he diligently shows how Palmeiro was rarely the best in the league for any notable offensive categories. But his position regarding the over-representation of first basemen in the hall being a mark against Palmeiro is akin barring MIT graduates from winning a Nobel Prize because too many of them have won it before. By its very nature and positioning in the defensive spectrum the first baseman is expected to the spot where offensive powerhouses play. Why should Palmeiro be penalized for being productive enough to be a first baseman when he played 17 of his 20 years in a league that permits the designated hitter?

When he gets 2 more hits, he will join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray in the elite group of those who have both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. And 5 years after he retires (I grant the possibility it might be more, but not much), he will join them in the Hall of Fame.


Game 85: July 8, 2005
Red Sox (49-36), 7
Orioles (45-40), 2
W: Bronson Arroyo (7-5)

L: Sidney Ponson (7-7)

Hawaii’s Smurf mojo put me in the mood for last night’s game, but also embedded into my cerebral cortex the incessantly pert Smurf theme song. I couldn’t decide if hearing that in my head is better than being bombarded by the McDonald’s sesame ginger chicken pseudo-poetry jam commercial. I now spastically reach for the remote control when I hear the opening bars of that song. My annoyance with that commercial was somewhat salved since the game itself was relaxing jaunt down the Orioles’ throats.

The Red Sox left 15 runners on base, but this was nothing to complain about because timely hits were made with men on this evening. Manny had a chance to bolster his grand slam total in the 6th inning, but instead of going for the statistic, he went with the pitch and lined a single to center field, generating 2 RBIs. There was another bases loaded situation in the 8th inning, this time with Mueller taking the plate with 2 out. His ground ball single up the center raised his bases loaded performance to a stellar .643 batting average and 16 RBIs.

Arroyo has come out of those two rough stretches in May and June with a solid line of 7.2 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, and 1 home run. Aside from a smattering of outings where he had 5 or more earned runs (notably Orioles on May 30, Cubs on June 10, and Indians on June 23), he’s pitched well enough to win. I’d prefer a predictable Arroyo to an untested Schilling in the rotation. Just think of Schilling as the Troy Brown of the Red Sox, filling in where he is most needed, which is, in this case, the porous bullpen.

Dan Roche told a joke about antennae (the ceremony wasn’t great, but the reception was good). I hate to break it to him, but Trupiano told the same joke weeks ago. It’s a bad sign when you’re reusing Trupiano’s material. Speaking of, what does Geronimo Gil yell when he’s jumping out of a plane?

[Meta note: I was reading the game comments from the past few nights and there were some glaring errors and in one case I didn’t finish a sentence. I’ve been trying to be more timely and in some cases quality has been victimized. If you see any mistakes or weirdness, don’t hesitate to comment or e-mail (thanks, twitch). I’m assuming by now you can discern between my actual eccentricity and something unintendedly idiosyncratic. I need the All-Star break, too.]

July 8, 2005


Game 84: July 7, 2005
Red Sox (48-36), 1
Orioles (45-39), 3
L: David Wells (6-5)

W: Daniel Cabrera (7-7)
S: Tim Byrdak (1)
6 innings; called on account of rain

Baseball and its quirks. There’s no other sport where you could play part of the game and still have a winner due to weather. (NASCAR isn’t a sport.)

Terry Francona decided to have most of the regular lineup sit because of the team’s late arrival in Baltimore. Looking at what he devised, it was very unlikely that a win was in the offing anyway.

  1. Alex Cora, SS
  2. Bill Mueller, 3B
  3. David Ortiz, DH
  4. Trot Nixon, RF
  5. Kevin Millar, LF
  6. John Olerud, 1B
  7. Doug Mirabelli, C
  8. Adam Stern, CF
  9. Mark Bellhorn, 2B

The 5th inning began slowly with Cora and Mueller striking out. In quick succession, Ortiz’s single, Nixon’s double, and Millar’s walk loaded the bases, and it seemed that Boston would come back from the 1-2 deficit they found themselves in. Infuriatingly, Nixon was picked off of second base by Sal Fasano. Something about being in that fourth spot makes you a boneheaded baserunner, apparently. The right fielder didn’t blame anyone else but himself, saying, “Stupidity -- great opportunity for Olerud to come up with a big hit -- and [I was] trying to get that extra lead, that extra little jump. It probably lost the game for us.” It’s not entirely Nixon’s responsibility; some games are lost even before the field is taken.

Wells pitched all 6 innings and gave up 2 home runs. Leftfielder Eli Marrero jacked one in the 3rd from the 8-hole. Melvin Mora also hit one in the same inning, giving the Orioles the lead. Wells’s tendency to be around the plate will usually lead to homers; as long as he keeps his walks down and runners off the basepaths, the occasional longball shouldn’t be of great concern.

Poor, hard-up male Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) still singing late in the mating season, as “most birds still singing continuously are likely unpaired first-summer birds, since few are successful in gaining mates. Songs heard late in the season are usually those of unmated or immature birds.” They had a brilliant start, but seem to be fading as the summer wears on.

July 7, 2005


Game 83: July 6, 2005
Red Sox (48-35), 7
Rangers (43-40), 4
W: Matt Clement (10-2)
S: Alan Embree (1)
L: Chan Ho Park (8-3)

Clement earned his tenth win by getting all but the final out with a line of 9 hits, 4 earned runs, no walks (let that sink in, now; the man that was once the epitome of “wild” did not give up a single base on balls), 9 strikeouts, and 3 home runs. Meanwhile, Carl Pavano was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Sometimes the best moves....

Despite a slow start, the Red Sox had two huge innings in a row. In the 6th, Oritz homered, Millar doubled in Nixon, and Varitek singled in Millar. It came apart for Kameron Loe in the 7th:

  • Renteria walked
  • Damon singled to right
  • Renteria grounded out but advanced Bellhorn and Damon
  • Ortiz went opposite field with a single and the shift on, plating both Bellhorn and Damon
  • Ramirez doubled to center, permitting Ortiz to reach third
  • Nixon was intentionally walked
  • Millar hit one to left that Mench fielded and threw to Blalock to get Ramirez at third, but Ortiz scored
  • Passed ball advanced Nixon
  • Nixon scored on a single to the shortstop by Varitek

Remy was enjoying himself making fun of Castiglione during a lull. “Isn’t that weird, sitting in a booth talking to yourself? He takes that out of the booth, too. Sometimes I see Joe talking to himself, like on the plane.” Orsillo also had one of his classic quotes: “Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night saying, “The 2-2...!” and then realize that I was dreaming.”

I have been to Texas once when I was 8, not counting layovers on my way to somewhere else. My parents and I drove from Oklahoma City to the town where my dad was born and where his grandmother is buried, Blanket. I could not believe there could be anyplace so flat, and that you could get into a car and go for hours in a straight line and not fall of the planet. There was roadkill there the likes I had never seen: horned toads, armadillos, and jackrabbits. It was the first time in my life that I saw the sun set into something other than the ocean.

July 6, 2005


Game 82: July 5, 2005
Red Sox (47-35), 7
Rangers (43-39), 4
W: Tim Wakefield (8-6)
S: Mike Timlin (2)
L: Chris Young (8-5)

Going into this game I was concerned. I’ve written before about how rookies do well against us, and Young, a 6'10" right-handed Princeton graduate, starting his 25th game, seemed just the type that would give the hitters fits. Young only lasted 2.1 innings with 5 hits, 7 runs (6 earned), 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, and 3 home runs.

Damon continued to show why he is an all-star. His 8-pitch at bat resulted in a single to left field. After Renteria struck out swining, Young surrendered his first home run of the game to Ortiz. Scoring first is always a good thing.

With Damon, Renteria, and Ortiz on base in the 3rd, Ramirez hit his 20th grand slam. He now trails Lou Gehrig by only 3 for most career grand slams. I listened to the radio call by Trupiano, and he was anti-Trupe. He didn’t seem to think Manny got enough of it, especially because it was to the opposite field.

Mueller hit his 4th home run of the season off of Young, prompting Buck Showalter to pull the young pitcher. I wonder how that feels as a hitter? It’s understandable to give one up to Ortiz or Ramirez, but if Mueller gets you, it’s time to leave the mound.

“Wheels” Ortiz was robbed of an infield hit in the 4th inning with a blown call by first base umpire Ed Montague. I’ve chronicled enough umpiring miscues this season, I think I’ll do an end of the year wrap-up of top 10 mistakes by the men in blue.

Wakefield was nails for 8 innings. The Red Sox needed for him to go deep and he answered the call with 115 pitches, 75 of which were strikes. His line of 8 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, and 1 home run lowered his ERA to 3.98 and proved again his value to the club. He earned his 122nd win with the Red Sox, tying him with Luis Tiant for the 4th all-time wins. With his next victory he will tie Mel Parnell, the winningnest left-handed pitcher in Red Sox history.

Content with victory, the only other remotely snarky thing I have to say is that it cracks me up when Remy calls Juliana Hatfield “Julian Hatfield.” Even I’m not so out of it that I think Hatfield has had her gender reassigned.

July 5, 2005


Game 81: July 4, 2005
Red Sox (46-35), 5
Rangers (43-38), 6
BS: Juan Dominguez (1)
W: Joaquin Benoit (1-0)
H: Mike Timlin (15)
H: Alan Embree (4)
BS, L: Keith Foulke (4, 5-5)

After the bottom of the 1st inning, the feeling of dread hanging over the rest of the game was palpable. The Rangers loaded the bases with no out. It wouldn’t be the last time either; the opposition loaded the bases in the 2nd, 4th, and the 9th. The last occasion proved lethal.

Ramirez had another Manny moment when he tried for second base in the 2nd inning following a Michael Young error. There’s hustling, and then there’s being hustled; I really wish Manny would figure out the difference when he’s on the basepaths.

The third inning seemed to rekindle the Red Sox’s fire. Mueller led off with a single to right. Ricardo Rodriguez handily erased the next two batters, one of which was a Damon ground out that removed Mueller from scoring position. Rodriguez then yielded 2 consecutive walks to juice the bases and facing the unsavory prospect of having to pitch to Manny. Rodriguez walked in a run, and then uncorked a wild pitch to score Renteria with Nixon at the plate. Here’s the list of other ways to score a runner without the ball contacting the bat that Andrew and I came up with: balk, passed ball, steal, error, hit by pitch with bases loaded. I guess you could add dropped third strike but the guy at third would have to have a huge lead and the catcher would have to be a complete moron. In fact, it would probably have to be a dropped third strike plus throwing error to work. The other extremely unlikely possibility would be catcher’s interference with the bases loaded.

Nixon managed to go opposite field and hit a double over Kevin Mench’s size 8 head in 6th inning. When hitting over Mench’s head, you need a control center in Houston to manage the trajectory. Ortiz had also reached on a double and scored to tie the game.

In the 8th, Ortiz again reached base again, this time on a bloop single to left field. Manny drove him in with a home run to take the lead. It wasn’t enough.

The rest of the game was designed to introduce the new Marvel supervillain “The Suck” to Red Sox fans. Engineered in a lab in Alabama and portrayed by Keith Foulke, this new antagonist will surely send chills up the spines of followers everywhere when seen warming in the bullpen.

Narrator: James Andrew, Physician/Scientist, searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation interacts with his patient, Keith Foulke, and his unique body mechanics. And now, when Keith Foulke has to make a save with runners in scoring position, a startling metamorphasis occurs.
[While trying to close out a game with RISP, Foulke changes into “The Suck”: 16.03 ERA, 9 for 13 in save opportunities.]
Narrator: The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter.
Foulke: Mr. McAdams, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
[McAdams witnesses yet another blown save.]
Narrator: An accidental implosion took the life of a fellow relief pitcher and the good Keith Foulke as well. The reporter thinks the creature was responsible.
McAdams: [droning voice-over] I gave a description to all the local media. They are going to fixate on his velocity, pitching mechanics, mental state, and/or a combination of the foregoing.
Narrator: Now Foulke must let the world go on thinking that he is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him.

Special thanks to Pine Tar Helmet for the phrase “The Suck,” which she is the not.

July 3, 2005


Game 80: July 3, 2005
Blue Jays (42-40), 5
Red Sox (46-34), 2
W: Roy Halladay (12-4)
S: Scott Schoeneweis (1)
L: Bronson Arroyo (6-5)

The Red Sox frittered away two bases loaded situations in the 6th and 9th. The 6th started off as a perfect comeback statement. Renteria singled to right, Ortiz did the same to center, and Ramirez walked on 7 pitches to load the bases. Nixon flied out to center and Renteria was thrown out at home for the 8-2 double play. Varitek then put the inning out of its misery with a first pitch fly out to left fielder Catalanotto, who has been replaced by Reed Johnson as the requisite Red Sox killer.

Although Ramirez began the 9th inning by popping out, momentum built when Nixon walked on 5 pitches. Then the team captain and Olerud singled consecutively, plating Nixon. Mueller followed with a superlative at bat in which he got behind 0-2, but fouled off pitch after pitch to keep the at bat alive. Miguel Batista finally yielded and Mueller lined a hit to center to load the bases. There were no further fireworks, however, and the game ended with whimper rather than a bang.

Halladay went 8 innings, and probably could have gone longer, sturdy has he is. His line was impressive: 5 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. In contrast, Arroyo went the same number of innings but with 8 hits, 3 earned runs, a walk, a strikeout, and a balk.

The disturbing trend of losing to bird teams continues. Blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) seem to be such charming birds, too: “Infamous as a destroyer of eggs and nestlings (and Red Sox pitching). Blue jays are intelligent and adaptable, taking advantage of almost any food resource (such as taters and meatballs). Common, conspicuous, and noisy, blue jays are capable of making a wide variety of sounds (like whooping and hollering when winning a series).”

Congratulations to the Red Sox who made the All-Star team, with the previous years they were selected in parentheses. This will be the first time as All-Star starters for everyone but Ramirez.

  • Johnny Damon, OF (2002)
  • David Ortiz, DH (2004)
  • Manny Ramirez, OF (1995, 1998-2004)
  • Jason Varitek, C (2003)


Game 79: July 2, 2005
Blue Jays (41-40), 4
Red Sox (46-33), 6
BS, L: Pete Walker (3, 3-2)
W: Mike Timlin (3-1)
H: Alan Embree (3)
S: Keith Foulke (15)

Dave McCarty in the NESN pre-game and postgame shows brought a smile to my face. So far he strikes the balance between Bob Tewksbury’s knowledge and Gary DiSarcina’s personability. There is life after baseball.

Some only vaguely baseball related notes that I took down as I watched the game:

  • Michelle Damon’s In Style segment featured Wade Miller’s wife Amy, who is now 6 months pregnant and looking to stay cool and comfortable, yet fashionable, for the summer months. Their daughter Hunter stole the show, however, running around the shop and making faces in the mirror.
  • I hate catcher’s masks that are structured like hockey masks. Gregg Zaun’s in particular, because he looks like he intentionally ornaments it, like how some people detail their cars. You’re not a goalie, you’re a catcher.
  • Orsillo made fun of Trupiano’s shirt. I don’t usually mind Trupiano’s fashion choices, but this time it was warranted. An almost obscene blending of pink and green, it screamed Jimmy Buffet fan.
  • Various Red Sox players continue to wear titanium necklaces produced by Phiten. The Phiten site needs to be updated; not only does it still show Randy Johnson, which is not a ringing endorsement, it also presents him as a Diamondback.
  • Birds suck. This year’s Blue Jays are like last year’s Orioles.

Jerry Remy mentioned that Trot Nixon is hitting lefties better this season than any previous season, but it’s probably only because he’s only permitted to hit against the lefties he hits well. Looking back at 2003 and ignoring 2004 because it was an injury year, Nixon had 441 at bats, 96 of which were against left-handed pitchers, yielding a rate of approximately 22%. This year has shown a more marked platoon strategy with Jay Payton; he has had 222 at bats, 29 of which have been against southpaws, or 13%. His batting average against lefties so far is .276 compared to .219 in 2003 and his on-base percentage is .382 versus .296, but I submit it is because Terry Francona only lets Nixon see lefties he can handle.

This game seemed to follow the same script as the first game of the series with the Jays taking the early lead and shutting out the Red Sox until the 4th inning, when Varitek hit a sacrifice fly to plate Ortiz, who had walked to lead off the inning and reached third on a Ramirez single. The next inning saw another run in the form of Ortiz’s line drive RBI single that advanced Renteria and scored Damon, cutting the deficit to 2 runs.

Mueller just missed what would have surely been a bases-clearing triple in the 6th had the ball not bounded into the right field stands. His ground-rule double came with bases loaded, a situation that Mueller thrives in; he’s batting .615 with 14 RBIs. His 2 RBIs tied the score.

Red Sox pitchers kept their end of the deal by shutting out Toronto from the 5th inning forward, despite some inconsistent home plate umpiring. Wells, who relies on borderline calls to go in his favor, got disgusted with Larry Poncino’s judgment. With 2 out in the 7th inning, Wells jawed with home plate umpire. Being the veteran that he is, Poncino cut Wells slack, only to have second base umpire Chris Guccione overstep his authority by throwing out the lefty. Note that the rookie umpire that ejected Wells is does not have his biography on the major league umpire’s website, although his name is there because he is a call-up. The only biographical information I could find on Guccione was his page on the Pacific Coast League site. Wells said in the postgame press conference, “We get sent up and down, the same thing should apply [to umpires].” It might be time for Guccione to go back to umpiring between the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Las Vegas 51s.

In the bottom of the 7th, Oritz singled to center to lead off and Manny regained the lead with his 2-run home run that no one, including Ramirez himself, thought would get out of the park. It would be the team’s 22nd come from behind victory. Although Foulke went 1.1 scoreless innings with 1 strikeout, he appears to have not yet regained his full confidence and composure that served him so well in the past.

Rubber game today against past and potential Cy Young winner Roy Halladay and Bronson Arroyo, a match-up that I’ve taken to calling the Gunslinger versus the Singer because, well, I’m lame like that.

July 2, 2005


Game 78: July 1, 2005
Blue Jays (41-39), 15
Red Sox (45-33), 2
W: Ted Lilly (6-8)
L: Matt Clement (9-2)

Newsflash: that game was horrible. Lilly always brings his best stuff against the Red Sox, of this I’m certain. I think he continues to harbor a large amount of resentment against the team for when they taped his name on the backs of their jackets for his 2003 ALDS start. Were it not for the Eric Byrnes and Miguel Tejada incidents of that bizarre game, Lilly would have likely won Game 3 and the Red Sox would have been swept out of the playoffs.

When not grounding into double plays to kill rallies (Ramirez in the 5th and Mueller in the 6th), Boston was rarely getting on the basepaths. The team left 8 on base, which seems forgivable save for the fact there were only 12 Red Sox to reach base in the course of night.

Sports Illustrated’s midseason report arrived yesterday, with many Red Sox and Yankees tidbits generously sprinkled throughout:

  • Brian Cashman was part of the Pop Culture Grid, and his responses were unsurprising: has watched Dancing With Stars, has not been to the beach this year, doesn’t have a preference between Shakira, Coldplay, and the White Stripes, has not seen Mr. & Mrs. Smith, does not watch Dr. Phil, and doesn’t own a Livestrong wristband. Cashman not go to the beach? I think researchers had to develop an industrial strength sunblock for him to be able to withstand mild daylight.
  • Curt Schilling is number 1 on the Five to Watch list, and SI noted that the team was 25-7 in 2004, postseason inclusive. My assumption was the list was for players on contending teams or possible trades. For some reason Jim Thome on the list, and his lackluster season so far on a flagging club.
  • Tom Verducci’s picks for the postseason at this juncture: Sox, both Red and White, Angels, and Twins for the wild card. In the NL, Marlins, Cardinals, Padres, and Braves for the wild card.
  • For Verducci’s First-Half Awards, best closer went to Mariano Rivera and best free-agent addition went to Matt Clement. Rookie of the year went to Tadahito Iguchi, whom the Red Sox were rumored to be pursuing during the offseason. Worst free-agent addition was captured by the illustrious Tony Womack, who lost a job to Cesar Crespo last year. That wasn’t proof enough to the Yankee organization that they were making an egregious error in signing him?
  • For a second year, SI had a listing of the top 50 moneymakers in sports. Funny anecdote under number 11, Alex Rodriguez’s entry: “Look closely at the Yankee’s superstar’s Speed Stick ad on TV. The stadium lights spell E5. Is someone at Mennen a Red Sox fan?” After Rodriguez, Jeter, Tom Brady, and Manny Ramirez follow in order. Six Yankees appear in the list for players of US citizenship; Hideki Matsui was number 19 of 20 in the foreign nationals list. Only Manny appears for the Red Sox.

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