Game 3: April 5, 2006
Red Sox (2-1), 2
Rangers (1-2), 1
W: Josh Beckett (1-0)
H: Mike Timlin (1)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (1)
L: Kameron Loe (0-1)
In the landscape of extinction, precision is next to godliness.
And the winner of the Best Young Pitcher Imitating Roger Clemens Award goes to.... It was amazing to watch Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon on the mound last night. At this point I’m not able to say which righty was more right on and all the voting members of the academy have yet to turn in their ballots. Both of the youthful Red Sox pitchers turned in arresting performances to secure a series win.
Beckett’s debut didn’t start out favorably. In the first inning Brad Wilkerson hit a leadoff double and then reached third base on a wild pitch. Wilkerson would go on to score on an infield hit by Michael Young. Facing the heart of the order with no outs, Beckett did not buckle but excelled in the face of hardship. It was the first and last run of the evening.
With all hubbub over Beckett’s premiere, everyone seemed to forget that J.T. Snow also made his first start. The veteran first baseman went 0-4 and left two on base, which is probably why no one seemed to notice.
Don Orsillo generated material for next year’s “Rem Dawg Unleashed” early in the season. The second inning saw Orsillo was waxing poetic of the new age of general managers in baseball. “Young GMs have had sex,” he began. A long pause followed as he realized what he had let slip, perhaps Freudianly. Then he continued, “Success.” Jerry Remy was no where to be heard; he was most likely convulsing in laughter on the floor of the broadcast booth. Fortunately for Orsillo but unfortunately for the Red Sox, the top half of that inning went quickly. In the bottom of the inning Ranger sinkerballer Kameron Loe induced every Red Sox batter except Jason Varitek to ground out.
Until late in the game, it was a long, tedious night for Boston. David Ortiz ground into two double plays to end scoring opportunities, including a twin killing in the sixth inning that stranded Coco Crisp, who had powered a triple into right field.
Trot Nixon eventually discovered the chink in Loe’s armor in the seventh inning. A leadoff walk by Manny Ramirez unnerved the 24-year old pitcher, who left a ball too high in the zone to the Red Sox right fielder. Nixon propelled Loe’s mistake into the right field seats for the lead.
What does a guy have to do to overthrow an incumbent Gold Glove in this league, Ramirez must wonder to himself. In the eight inning, the left fielder and last year’s leader in outfield assists got his first of the season by throwing out Mark Teixeira at home for the second out of the inning. The Texas third base coach Steve Smith displayed shades of Dale Sveum with his decision to send his runner home on a line drive single into shallow left. Had it slipped Smith’s mind that the ball was hit into the dominion of fielding savant Ramirez?
The Red Sox went into the bottom of the ninth with just a one-run lead and the eighth hitter in the Rangers lineup in the queue. Skipper Terry Francona went with Jonathan Papelbon instead of Keith Foulke to slam the door. Papelbon struck out two to secure the victory and perhaps the closer spot in the bullpen. Baseball aficionados like to bring up Wally Pipp in such situations, but I unlearned a lot of accepted knowledge about Lou Gehrig’s predecessor at Snopes.com.
Waiting for Beckett was well worth it.
Red Sox debuts of notable pitchers:
- Josh Beckett, April 5, 2006: W, 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
- Roger Clemens, May 15, 1984: No decision, 5.2 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR
- Pedro Martinez, April 1, 1998: W, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 0 HR
- Jonathan Papelbon, July 31, 2005: No decision, 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 2 HR
- Tim Wakefield, May 27, 1995: W, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR