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Home » May 2006 Game CommentsMay 2006 » Sideswiped


Game 38: May 17, 2006
Red Sox (23-15), 3
Orioles (19-22), 4
L: Tim Wakefield (3-5)
W: Erik Bedard (5-2)
H: LaTroy Hawkins (5)
S: Chris Ray (10)

You know it’s an odd game when the best and worst plays are catchers gunning down runners. Old acquaintance Kevin Millar, who had a two-run homer in the fourth to give his team the lead, led off the sixth with a single lined to his former partner in crime Manny Ramirez. While Luis Matos was at the dish, Millar dared to steal second base.

Doug Mirabelli wasn’t pleased with Millar’s tactic and eyed he of the frosted tips all the way back to his dugout. NESN later showed the interplay between the pair, Millar signing to Mirabelli not to call the curveball and Mirabelli miming in reply that no one should be running on him. All the while they were smiling, however. Quite a bit different from the 2002 state of affairs between these two teams, particularly July 28th.

The Orioles got to crow about their key caught stealing play since it sealed their victory and averted the series sweep. After David Ortiz had launched a no-out, two-run four-bagger in the ninth to bring his team within one run, Chris Ray calmly and assuredly punched out Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell in succession. Wily Mo Peña grounded to Miguel Tejada for what looked to be the guaranteed final out of the game. Peculiarly, Tejada slipped while trying to plant for his throw to put out the runner, allowing Peña first base. The hometown scorer didn’t give the Orioles shortstop an error.

Willie Harris pinch ran for the Red Sox center fielder and the crowd grew as loud as I have yet heard it this year, and this time for the Orioles. With the count 2-0 in Trot Nixon’s favor, however, Harris broke for second base. Ramon Hernandez, who has cut down only half of the runners attempting to swipe bases off of him, fired the ball in time to Tejada’s waiting glove.

Thus proving the adage that there is no honor among thieves. Especially thieves like Harris that may have missed a sign. That wasn’t Terry Francona winking at you like you were Dave Roberts, Willie; that was just dust in his eye.

Random moments that made a loss somewhat enjoyable anyway:

  • Kevin Youkilis made Scott Bedard throw ten pitches before getting a free pass in the first inning. He set the tone for Peña, who walked in the second inning on six pitches after falling behind two strikes. I think the two should also have a Mohawk Challenge: the hitter with the fewer bases on balls gets a mohawk.
  • Mark Loretta’s two for four showing and his propensity to get on base when it matters most.
  • Tejada made a tremendous ranging play to his right on a Lowell grounder deep in the hole. He threw across his body to arc the ball in near-perfect position into Millar’s glove. He was never made part of the shortstop holy trinity in the 90s but he deserved to be placed amongst them. Even now, he has surpassed them.
  • Tim Wakefield knuckled down and struck out Melvin Mora with the bases loaded in the second inning.
  • Jay Gibbons’s catch of Trot Nixon’s long fly ball in the fifth inning was the antithesis of Aaron Rowand. The Baltimore right fielder half-heartedly pursued the ball to the warning track and weakly jumped to fetch it, wary always of the wall behind him. I’m not saying he should have ran like a bighorn sheep into the fences, but at be sure of yourself enough to run to the wall to figure out where it is and then adjust to the flight of the ball.


Or perhaps, Jay Gibbons can adopt the Wily Mo Pena style of playing Right Field, who learned everything he needs to know about fielding from Lil' Jeffy of "Family Circus".

I don't remember Jeffy's technique. I presume it's not very similar to Ichiro Suzuki's.

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