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Home » July 2006 Game CommentsJuly 2006 » Diabolic


Game 103: July 30, 2006
Angels (54-50), 10
Red Sox (62-41), 4
W: John Lackey (10-6)
L: Curt Schilling (13-4)

Ten-four, message received and it’s not a good one. Curt Schilling, who had yet to lose a game at Fenway this season, usually comes into a tied series and acts the stopper. The veteran righty was unable to do so last night, lasting only five innings while striking out five and permitting no walks. He was throwing strikes, most assuredly, but most of them were non-deceptive variety.

The evening’s nadir was the third inning in which Schilling surrendered three homers, one each to Orlando Cabrera, Vladimir Guerrero, and Juan Rivera. Since Joe Morgan was at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, at least we the beneficiaries of Orel Hershiser’s learned commentary. Not only does Hershiser know that Billy Beane didn’t write Money Ball, he gave us an anatomy lesson in the first inning. John Lackey was struck by a Manny Ramirez come-backer right in the iliotibial band, a long tendon which connects a muscle near the pelvis to the tibia, adding stability to the knee. Hershiser is such a nerd; I adore him.

In the first, Hershiser also remarked on Jason Varitek’s subtle combination deke and block of home when Maicer Izturis came barreling in thanks to Guerrero’s single. I can almost here the mindless blather of Morgan drowning out Hershiser in my brain: “Now that’s how baseball should be played. Good baserunning, small ball. And Varitek didn’t do a good job of blocking the plate.” Morganisms have infested my brain, echoing in sympathetic responses to the interjections of Jon Miller. Is there a cure?

Mike Scioscia was at his wits’ end after both Howie Kendrick and John Lackey failed to throw to first base for easy outs in the first. The Angels’ manager must have been thankful for Schilling’s inconsistency because it cloaked his own team’s uneven performance.

Speaking of uneven performances, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were well-positioned in the front row for last night’s game. Affleck could have done more to unhinge the rookie Kendrick, who had to go to the wall to retrieve Alex Gonzalez’s pop-up for the final out of the home half of the second. But the Academy Award-winning actor was too occupied with his make-up or text messaging his agent on his BlackBerry or something. He’s an Academy Award honoree like Mark Redman is an All-Star.

Trot Nixon had a difficult evening. He really doesn’t want to get traded, does he? He misplayed Adam Kennedy’s liner to the bend in the second inning, allowing the Angel second baseman to triple and drive in the go-ahead run. Nixon wrenched something in the third inning while taking a hack at the plate and was pulled from the game. Hershiser proved less valuable here, not nailing down the anatomy affected, but we later learned that Nixon strained his biceps. Wily Mo Peña’s biceps, which are approximately the size of Nixon’s legs, replaced the right fielder at the dish with the count 2-2, two out, and both runners in scoring position. Peña swung and struck out, but the at bat, and therefore strikeout, is still Nixon’s.

The evening of frustration was summarized by Mike Lowell’s at bat in the fifth inning. Gonzalez led off by pushing a single past his Angel counterpart’s glove. Alex Cora pulled a double into shallow right, advancing Gonzalez and setting the table for David Ortiz. The designated hitter did not disappoint and arced a double into the gap between left and center for a two-run double. Peña returned the favor by doubling high off the wall. Varitek got a free pass and the momentum shifted in favor of the home team.

Replays clearly showed that Lowell was hit by Lackey’s pitch and Kerwin Danley missed the call. The Red Sox baseman flung his bat and spiked his helmet into the ground, immensely aggravated. As were we all.

The trading deadline is this afternoon at 4 PM and I’ll be going to tonight’s game. I wonder how different the team might be?

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