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Home » April 2006 Game CommentsApril 2006 » Saunter


Game 4: April 7, 2006
Red Sox (3-1), 14
Orioles (2-2), 8
W: Matt Clement (1-0)
L: Daniel Cabrera (0-1)

I had to look up exactly what it was that Coco Crisp did to leadoff the first inning. It was something called “bunting for a base hit,” not a stratagem Red Sox fans see often, if at all. In 2005, Crisp batted second in the order; he had 434 at bats in the two spot with .344 OBP compared to 96 at leadoff with .327 OBP. Furthermore, Crisp’s career .332 OBP does not compare favorably with Mark Loretta’s .365. Although Johnny Damon is getting on base at an impressive .450 clip, Crisp’s has turned in an acceptable .381. The single time Crisp didn’t reach base when leading off the inning was in the third inning, when he was forced to swing after falling behind on a ball and two called strikes hurled by Eric DuBose.

“Eric DuBose in the third?” you ask. “Wasn’t Daniel Cabrera was the starter?” Leo Mazzone has yet to work his pitching coach magic on Cabrera, an exceedingly talented but utterly unpredictable power pitcher. Cabrera pitched only one and a third innings, during which he gave up three hits and seven runs, all of them earned. I was surprised they were all scored as earned runs since he also allowed seven bases on balls, three of which permitted runs to score with the bases loaded. He did strike out Trot Nixon, though. I wonder if the Red Sox dugout hassled the right fielder about that? Nixon did get a free pass the second time around the order, prompting Sam Perlozzo to mercifully end Cabrera’s disastrous stint.

Not that DuBose was a viable option with his attempts to sit Boston batters. In his part of the second inning he permitted two runs to score, including a Kevin Youkilis single grounded right past Miguel Tejada’s grasp into left field to drive in Nixon. Finally, DuBose elicited a double play from Alex Gonzalez to end the threat. I think I’ll be writing those last nine words an awful lot this season.

It’s too easy to criticize Gonzalez when he’s batting, isn’t it? In the sixth Gonzalez did have a double in the gap between left and center. Defensively, the Red Sox shortstop was solid as usual; in the bottom of the second with a double play to end the inning, although Youkilis needed to stretch to complete the twin killing. Youkilis is still getting a feel for first base. In the sixth, he charged an infield grounder by Nick Markakis as he would have done at the hot corner. Matt Clement was visibly annoyed by the gaffe as he could have turned the out to end the inning if Youkilis anchored himself at first. I also question the wisdom of shuttling him between first and third in the course of a single game.

Notably, David Ortiz and Jason Varitek did not get any hits, but other Boston bats filled the void. Nixon hit his second homer in as many nights in the fourth inning and finished off the evening with four RBIs. Manny Ramirez joined the festivities, going three for four with a walk and two RBIs, although he didn’t look his best in the fifth inning when he struck out swinging with the bases loaded.

The fourth inning saw a peculiar play. After Nixon had cleared the bases with his home run, Varitek flied out right for the first out. Mike Lowell lined to left for a double and then advanced to third on a single to the opposite field by Youkilis. Gonzalez grounded to Brian Roberts who threw to Kevin Millar at first to get the force at first, but there was no force at second. Youkilis got caught up between first and second and was tagged out by Tejada to end the inning, but Lowell scored because he touched home plate before the tag. In sum, smart baserunning by the veteran and not so sharp on Youkilis’s part. Perhaps hanging out at first base with Millar rubbed off on him.

Clement ended the evening with seven innings pitched, nine hits, four runs (all earned), a single walk, and seven strikeouts. His first win of the season was placed in slight jeopardy in the eighth with Rudy Seanez’s appearance during which he yielded four runs, but the two touchdowns the Red Sox put up on the board proved insurmountable. Keith Foulke faced four batters in the ninth in a non-save situation and permitted only a meaningless hit, but inclusion in such a game isn’t a ringing endorsement.

Non-game related notes:

  • It was Hazel Mae’s birthday.
  • Apparently, NESN has a media guide.
  • Jerry Remy thinks Don Orsillo looks like a young Nick Cafardo.
  • The Orioles’ new caps were ugly and their performance followed suit.


Ugly? How right you are. And I hope it gets uglier for them today, if that is possible. And I have a quick question. I am wondering why the comment section here does not remember my personal info. I don't mind filling in the blanks, but I'm just curious. And yes, I checked the box. Have a great weekend Joanna. And go Schill.

~It’s too easy to criticize Gonzalez when he’s batting, isn’t it?~

Gonzalez is a great glove but has little to show for his 4 hits season to date. No runs, no RBI's P.S Orlando Cabrera hit a homer yesterday.

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