Game 73: June 26, 2006
Phillies (35-40), 7
Red Sox (45-28), 8
BS, L: Clay Condrey (1, 1-2)
H: Javier Lopez (2)
H: Mike Timlin (13)
BS: Jonathan Papelbon (2)
W: Craig Hansen (1-0)
Baseball is replete with threes and multiples of threes: three strikes, three bases, three parts of the outfield, nine players on the field and in the lineup, nine innings. Each league has three divisions and a minor league player must be promoted through three levels to reach the big leagues. According to some, batters parse a pitch into three components: sensory gathering, computing, and swinging. Baseball front offices supposedly divide the 162-game season into thirds as well, with the first third learning what the team’s nature is, the second third determining what the team needs and getting it, and the last third fusing the old and new together for the playoff push.
The Red Sox have swept the last three series, each series with three games. And David Ortiz is three times more clutch than your replacement level player. (Okay, I made that last thing up.)
This game had three phases itself. At first we enjoyed a pitchers’ duel with Cory Lidle (or, as my friend called him, “Cy Lidle”) and Tim Wakefield threw goose eggs until the sixth. With the scoring barrages in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh, the game entered into the second, offensive stage, with that seventh inning particularly offensive to Boston fans. And finally came the third episode, in which David Ortiz made his case for knighthood (even though there is no order of knights in the United States, one will be established because of him), sainthood (to make the St. Jude Thaddeus and St. Philomena duo a trio), and possibly godhood. Divinity in threes.
How difficult is it to not get fired while listening to a day game at work? Let’s just say I’m expecting a memo from human resources regarding excessive use of vulgarity. If my case is arbitrated by someone who dislikes Rudy Seanez, which is pretty much a lead pipe cinch, I’ll probably get by on just a suspension.
Jonathan Papelbon gave up his first home run to Chase Utley in the ninth inning. It was a cheap hit off of Pesky Pole, too, hardly warranting the term “longball” as it would have sliced foul in any other park. It was Papelbon’s second blown save out of 24 opportunities and his scoreless inning streak of 21 and two-thirds innings ended with a thunk. But the baseball gods are mordant, knavish, and capricious, and in this game granted rookie Craig Hansen his first major league win even though the double he allowed to Jimmy Rollins gave the Phillies the lead.