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Home » May 2006 Game CommentsMay 2006 » Resolute


Game 45: May 25, 2006
Devil Rays (21-27), 1
Red Sox (27-18), 4
L: Doug Waechter (0-3)
W: Josh Beckett (7-1)
H: Keith Foulke (5)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (16)

Sox Trax, the Red Sox strike zone data tool, is a splendid thing. And not only for the edification of the viewers at home, I’m sure. There must be some intensive behind-the-scenes analyses of not only the Boston players’ tendencies but also a wealth of data to be mined for the advanced scouts.

Much has been made of the Joe Maddon’s methods to stop David Ortiz. In the first and third innings, Ortiz demonstrated that one could sooner defy the laws of physics than prevent him from putting the ball in play. Ortiz singled in both innings, foiling Maddon’s schemes. In the third inning, Manny Ramirez followed up Ortiz with a walk and then Trot Nixon arced a deep sacrifice fly, enabling Ortiz to tag up to third base.

Little League coaches of our great land, please tell your players to emulate Ortiz in all but his head-first sliding technique.

Jason Varitek singled to bring Ortiz home. Mark Loretta was the only other Red Sox player to notch an RBI despite Doug Waechter being on the mound.

Baseball is littered with anecdotes of players that make spectacular defensive plays to end the top of an inning and then lead off the bottom of the inning with a superb offensive showing. Julio Lugo enacted the opposite of this phenomenon in the sixth inning. In attempting to stretch his leadoff double into a triple, the Devil Ray shortstop was out at third, thanks to the heady play of Mark Loretta. Wily Mo Peña’s relay throw was so strong and high Alex Gonzalez was unable to corral it. Loretta was there to back up his shortstop, retrieving the ball in time to relay it to Mike Lowell for the out.

Again, Little League coaches across the country took note to remind their players never to make the first or third out at third, especially when trailing by more than one run.

When fielding in the bottom of the sixth, Lugo threw like Peña did from center field. The problem, of course, is that Lugo plays in the infield. And to complete the circle of ignominy, Peña was the batter who received the gift single and advance to second base.

Speaking of Peña, Don Orsillo noted that the center fielder reverse engineered a defensive gem on a Ty Wigginton fly ball in the seventh inning with Keith Foulke on the mound. Peña often makes the routine extraordinary. The Red Sox center fielder was unable to make a play on the next air ball to him, but Ramirez backed him up to hold Greg Norton to a single.

Josh Beckett tallied his seventh win of the season, tied for first with six other major league pitchers. He pitched six innings and allowed just four hits and a single walk while striking out seven. Beckett is 35th in ERA with 3.80 and is in the top 30 in total strikeouts with 47.

Although it’s not hyped like other inter-divisional series, it’s an AL East match-up nonetheless. With the Tampa Bay ace Scott Kazmir squaring against the quondam starter David Wells tonight, any advantage in this series is essential.


Nice writeup. I like the "circle of ignominy". Looking forward to the day, however, when Peña stops making the routine look extraordinary. How about just making it look routine once in a while?

It's as if WMP has only two settings for each flyball. There's routine/extraordinary and routine/butchered. It's fortunate that lately we've only seen the former, but the latter is always a possiblity.
He's not exactly crisp with the glove.

Perhaps it was Peña's wrist hindering his outfield play? Or is it a ruse to give the slugger more time to refine his hitting, since he can't be sent down?

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