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Home » June 2006 Game CommentsJune 2006 » Relentless


Game 76: June 29, 2006
Mets (47-31), 2
Red Sox (48-28), 4

BS, L: Aaron Heilman (4, 0-3)
W: Curt Schilling (10-2)
H: Mike Timlin (14)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (24)

This game had everything but the kitchen sink. Both starting pitchers showed that age cannot wither them, nor custom stale their infinite variety. As time has taken its toll on their arms, Curt Schilling and Tom Glavine compensated for this impairment by pitching smarter, not harder. Glavine had a no-hitter until Mark Loretta lined a single into center field. Billerica’s own pitched five innings, leaving the sixth after relinquishing a home run to Loretta, a double to David Ortiz, and a base on balls to Manny Ramirez. With the bases loaded and one out, Jason Varitek arced a fly ball just deep enough to plate Ortiz to tie the game. Notably, Ortiz and Ramirez were able to tag up with Mike Lowell’s fly ball to center because Carlos Beltran’s throw missed the cutoff man.

Schilling was similarly effective but pitched more efficiently, enabling him to last until the seventh inning. The only blemish on his line was the two-run roundtripper off the bat of Carlos Beltran in the top of the sixth. He struck out six and only walked a single batter on the way to a double-digit win total for the season.

The Red Sox offense responded to Schilling’s gutty performance by putting on a small ball clinic in the seventh. Coco Crisp bunted to get on base, swiped second, advanced on Alex Gonzalez’s sacrifice bunt, and finally touched home on Kevin Youkilis’s sacrifice fly to garner the lead. Terry Francona used these tactics in the correct circumstances: late and close. In the NL, you’d see someone like Dusty Baker or Tony LaRussa making these calls earlier and often.

To say this game was crisply played is a high compliment in light of the spectacular catch that Crisp made in the eighth inning. With two out, the tying run at first, and MVP candidate David Wright at the plate, Mike Timlin battled to keep Schilling’s win intact. Wright lined a shot that would have tied the game were it not for the marvelous read and flawless execution of Crisp, who momentarily resembled Deion Branch with his complete commitment to make the highlight reel play.

There were two other key defensive plays that didn’t make the headlines. Jose Reyes was caught stealing in the first inning after reaching on a bunt and Beltran at the plate. Stolen bases are risky enough but to do so with such a hitter at the plate so early in the game isn’t the wisest call. In the fifth inning, Julio Franco hit a ground-rule double and threatened to tally the first run of the game. But he strayed too far from the bag and was picked off thanks to the alertness of Loretta. Defensively the Red Sox have made the quotidian and the extraordinary play consistently; last night they tied the major league mark of 16 errorless games.

Ortiz placed a home run souvenir in nearly the same spot in the center field bleachers where Beltran’s had descended earlier in the game. He was probably granting the wish of some little Red Sox fan who, although happy to get a souvenir, really preferred to have a home run ball hit by her team. Don’t get to thrilled though, kid; there’s 200 of those in existence.


And it's no big deal that we lost a game. ONE game. And with our #5 guy to boot. Matt will be back in 10 days or so, and I made a bold (dumb?) prediction over at my place. Take care Joanna, and a happy healthy holiday to you and yours. And I will stand by that prediction, for reasons made evident over at my place.

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