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Home » April 2006 Game CommentsApril 2006 » Submerge


Game 23: April 28, 2006
Red Sox (13-10), 2
Devil Rays (10-13), 5
L: Matt Clement (2-2)
W: Casey Fossum (1-1)
H: Dan Miceli (2)
S: Tyler Walker (1)

If I were to tell you that the opposing team’s pitching staff would yield nine walks in the course of a game and is 28th in the majors for team ERA (5.63 cumulative), 26th in strikeouts (123 total), and second in walks (101 season to date), you would probably think the Red Sox would walk all over said team.

Instead, Boston’s bats proved impotent against an incompetent group of hurlers. The Red Sox lineup had just six hits. Seventeen at bats came and went with runners in scoring position, and only twice, both in the eighth inning, did Boston batters come through with hits.

Red Sox fans may have already voiced their near-hysteric concern over Wily Mo Peña’s fielding, but at least he’s no Jonny Gomes. The sometime Devil Ray outfielder somehow lost track of Jason Varitek’s fly ball in the second inning, which resulted in the captain’s ninth career triple. The subsequent trio of Mike Lowell, Trot Nixon, and Peña could not bring a run home.

To lead off the fourth inning, Casey Fossum hit both David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Both were clearly unintentional. But still, imagine if Josh Beckett or Curt Schilling had been on the mound? Next Varitek and Lowell both flied out, but Nixon walked to load the bases. Peña nearly snuck a grounder up the middle, but it was intercepted by the jack-of-all-trades Ty Wigginton, who stepped on the second base for the force. In another sign of the impending heat death of the universe, thanks to the two RBIs he notched in the first inning, Wigginton leads the AL in RBIs with 24.

Another indication of increasing entropy was Matt Clement beating Carl Crawford in the sixth inning foot race to first for the final out of the inning.

The Red Sox squandered another bases loaded opportunity in the seventh inning. Alex Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis reached on back-to-back bases on balls. With two on and no out, Mark Loretta struck out and Ortiz advanced the runners with his ground out to second base. With first base open, however, Ramirez was given nothing to work with, leaving the task to score runs to Varitek. Varitek has had only one grand slam in the majors; two, if you count his bases-loaded clout in the World Baseball Classic. The Red Sox catcher enjoyed an eight-pitch at bat but came up empty, popping out to second base.

Vague signs of life in the form of back-to-back doubles by Lowell and Nixon in the eighth at least assured the Red Sox would not be shut out. J.T. Snow pinch hit for Gonzalez and knocked a single up the middle to plate Nixon.

The score should have been 6-2. Home plate umpire Bruce Froemming missed a call that would have granted Gomes a run in the fifth inning. With Gomes and Wigginton on second and first with no out, Toby Hall bunted. Clement did not reach the ball in time, but Lowell did. Lowell’s throw took an odd hop and Youkilis could not catch it on the first bounce, but did recover in time to “hose” Gomes at home. Replays showed Gomes actually did touch home before the tag.

No number of gifts from the umpire could have salvaged last night’s debacle. The Red Sox now must win the second game of the series or they will have dropped three consecutive series.

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