Game 41: May 21, 2006
Red Sox (25-16), 5
Phillies (23-20), 10
L: Lenny DiNardo (1-2)
W: Cory Lidle (4-4)
Manny Ramirez is rubbing off on Wily Mo Peña, and not just in terms of power hitting. In the fourth inning the center fielder shushed the crowd after he nabbed Pat Burrell air ball that tailed away from him towards the fences. Just as Ramirez had done on May 10th, Peña put his finger to his lips, Allen Iverson style, so Philadelphia fans should be familiar with this move.
Unlike the Patriots in the AFC divisional playoff game in January 2002, the Red Sox did not get the benefit of the tuck rule in the bottom of the sixth. Umpires ruled that Peña didn’t make a catch of Jimmy Rollins’s fly ball to shallow center despite it having been cradled by Peña for at least three strides. Second base umpire Phil Cuzzi and third base umpire Jerry Crawford both made the call. Indeed, Section 2.00 of the official rules defines a catch as
... the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession.... If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.
There is much more verbage associated with the definition of a catch, but the bolded sentence above shows why the umpires ruled as they did. Interestingly, if Peña was in the act of throwing the ball back into the infield and dropped it, it would have been a catch.
Bobby Abreu relived memories of his bombastic showing in the Home Run Derby last year with his three-run homer in the sixth off the recently recalled Abe Alvarez.
Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell had solo roundtrippers in the fifth and sixth respectively, but Cory Lidle pitched just well enough for his fourth win, averting a series sweep by the visiting team. Lidle probably wanted to make sure his tires weren’t slashed as retaliation for a poor performance.
Lowell has adapted his play well for American League play but also showed his senior circuit savvy. In the second inning, Shane Victorino was on third and Cory Lidle was on deck. Victorino was to break for home on contact. Instead of going for the out at first, Lowell threw to home so the run wouldn’t score and also notched the second out of the inning.
Serendipitous happenings seem to gather around Lowell; in the eighth inning he unintentionally drove in a run with a check swing grounder to third. But all the luck in the universe couldn’t overcome Philadelphia’s early lead.
Hopefully Wally’s feelings weren’t hurt when he saw David Ortiz riding with the Phillie Phanatic on the field yesterday. Sure, players may be fickle when they are on the road, but to be unfaithful to Wally after all his hardship seems heartless and cruel. I hope Ortiz has a good explanation for his infidelity. The Phanatic and Wally might share a bond because of their green fur, but the bond of being Red Sox brethren bests such superficialities.