Game 39: May 19, 2006
Red Sox (24-15), 5
Phillies (22-19), 3
W: Matt Clement (4-3)
H: Keith Foulke (4)
H: Mike Timlin (11)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (15)
L: Jon Lieber (3-5)
Our Papi, who art at first base, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy home runs come. Thy arm be gun, in Citizens Bank Park as it is in Fenway. Give us this day our daily RBI. And forgive Francona his trespasses, As we forgive those Phillie fans who trespass against us. And lead us not into frustration, But deliver us from upheaval. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
David Ortiz made the sign of the cross after cleanly fielding Jimmy Rollins’s biting grounder for the first Phillie out of the game. Next Matt Clement enticed Chase Utley to whiff, but those would be the easiest outs of the inning. Bobby Abreu doubled to wall in left field, where Manny Ramirez lay in wait and was about to make one of his patented “How ’Bout That” catches but was inches short. The erratic Red Sox starter walked the next batter and hit Ryan Howard to load the bases, but the foray was staunched by Shane Victorino’s fly out to center.
Victorino, who is from Maui, just like me, did hit the Phillies’ only home run of the game in the fourth inning. Philadelphia rallied in the seventh with Utley’s two-out, two-run double off Keith Foulke. But Terry Francona kept Foulke in to punch out Abreu to end the resurgence.
The way of the Philadelphia team thus far seems that they have just enough talent to make it interesting but fall just short of division leader material. They trail the Mets, a team that broke the bank to complete, by three games. How do they stack up in the National League?
- Eleventh in OBP: .335
- Sixth in slugging percentage: .438
- Eighth in strikeouts against: 273
- Fifth in home runs: 52
- Seventh in ERA: 4.44
- Eighth in strikeouts for: 272
- Fourteenth in WHIP: 1.46
Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek, and Ortiz homered for the Red Sox, with the acting first baseman’s roundtripper almost reaching the upper deck. Hit Tracker stated that it was only 425 feet; it may not have been the farthest but it was supremely lofty in its trajectory, almost enough to convene with the heavens.
In more earthly matters, in the bottom of the ninth Dustan Mohr found himself as the fourth outfielder, a bit like Joe Maddon’s defensive alignment for Ortiz, but with an extra player. In his postgame interview, Terry Francona drawled that it wasn’t the case that Mohr didn’t understand the double switch, since it wasn’t in effect. Rather, Mohr was misled by the public address announcer who said that he would be replacing Willie Harris at center.
I may be a traditionalist in many ways, but I think both leagues should use the designated hitter. Probably because I’m used to how the American League works and I’ve read the explanation for double switches a few times and it still seems bizarre. Abolish the double switch!