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Home » May 2006 Game CommentsMay 2006 » Signs


Game 37: May 16, 2006
Red Sox (23-14), 6
Orioles (18-22), 5
W: Curt Schilling (6-2)
H: Mike Holtz (1)
H: Mike Timlin (10)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (14)
BS, L: Todd Williams (1, 1-1)

The Red Sox improved their record in one-run games for the season to 6-3. It didn’t seem that the game would be so close, especially after Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon’s solo shots in the second inning and Curt Schilling’s scoreless three innings. However, Schilling did have to work out of a jam in the second inning; Ramon Hernandez singled and Corey Patterson doubled. No runs scored, but it was a prelude to future innings against a few typically light-hitting Orioles.

Hernandez faced Schilling again in the fourth and jacked his sixth home run of the season. In the next inning, the Red Sox righty, rookie Nick Markakis grounded a single up the middle. Schilling, perhaps not having a complete book on Baltimore newbies, gave up a homer to Brandon Fahey, the first of the slight second baseman’s major league career. There’s something to tell the grandkids. Miguel Tejada doubled with two outs and was driven in by Jay Gibbons’s roundtripper. All of Baltimore’s runs were the result of home runs relinquished by Schilling. Hopefully this isn’t an augur of things to come.

Boston’s offense was not as pyrotechnic but was effective enough to garner a win. The Red Sox scored two runs in every evenly-numbered inning but the eighth.

Mike Lowell doubled (surprise, surprise) to leadoff the fourth and advanced a base on a Trot Nixon ground out. Gibbons misplayed Wily Mo Peña’s short fly ball to shallow right, but the hitter was still credited a sacrifice fly on Gibbons’s error. Peña advanced on a wild pitch to Alex Gonzalez and scored on Kevin Youkilis’s double. Markakis robbed Mark Loretta on what Baseball Tonight ranked as the second-best Web Gem of the evening.

Kurt Birkins was brought in to face Nixon and walked the right fielder on four straight balls. Todd Williams was brought in to end the threat, but after inducing ground outs from Peña and Gonzalez, Williams walked Youkilis. Loretta and David Ortiz whacked consecutive singles to win the game. Ortiz suppressed his power to take a pitch outside into center field, demonstrating the designated hitter’s supreme situational hitting ability.

Even Mike Holtz gets a mention for coming into the sixth inning and not knuckling under the pressure. With two out and a runner on first, Holtz walked Markakis. At that point, Holtz seemed to make Rudy Seanez seem a favorable option; at least he would lose the game quickly with a home run. But Holtz got Fahey to ground out to Youkilis, the pitcher able to edge the rookie in a footrace to first.

I believe the definition for “automatic” in the Oxford English Dictionary will now be revised to include the pictures of Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon.

Jerry Remy was in fine fettle, delivering dissertations on retaliation and second baseman to shortstop silent communication. Being old school, Remy thinks the umpires are too quick to issue warnings and don’t have a feel for the game. If a warning is issued too quickly, the opposing team won’t have a chance to retaliate and just get the tit-for-tat over with. Intentionally hitting a batter is appropriate, claimed Remy, as long as a pitcher does not throw at a hitter’s head.

When a runner is on first, the shortstop and second baseman engage in a bit of facial semaphore on who will cover second on a steal attempt. Typically the shortstop will watch for pitch type and location while taking into account whether a batter is left or right-handed. He then signals to the second baseman with a closed mouth if he is to cover and a open mouth should the second baseman cover. This has inspired me to reread Paul Dickson’s The Hidden Language of Baseball: How Signs and Sign-Stealing Have Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime.

Snarky comment: Gonzalez’s bat flew into the stands in the eighth. Fans fought for possession of it. That’s okay, he wasn’t using it.


Snarky comment: Gonzalez's bat flew into the stands in the eigth. Red Sox hitting coach Ron "Papa Jack" Jackson was encouraged, stating it was the farthest anything has travelled out of the batters box during a Gonzalez AB this season.

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