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Home » July 2006 Game CommentsJuly 2006 » Solecism


Game 87: July 13, 2006
Athletics (46-43), 5

Red Sox (53-34), 4

W: Huston Street (3-3)
H: Scott Sauerbeck (4)
S: Kirk Saarloos (2)
H: Craig Hansen (4)
BS: Manny Delcarmen (2)
L: Julian Tavarez (1-3)
11 innings

Despite scoring early and benefiting from a decent five-inning outing by Jon Lester, the Red Sox dropped their first game of the second half of the season. Lester displayed his uncanny ability to create dramas and then wangle his way out of them, reminding me of my histrionic sister, who self-diagnosed herself as bipolar. Or was it dysphoric mania? It was one of those mental disorders that characterize games such as this.

Lester only surrendered a single earned run--a solo shot in the third inning by the vastly under-rated Nick Swisher. Yet he allowed five bases on balls and struck out only three. Lester’s proclivity for short appearances forced Terry Francona to go to the bullpen in the sixth inning.

Short starts also put pressure on the relief pitchers that follow. Preferably Craig Hansen wouldn’t be extended past getting three outs, which he did easily in the sixth. But he was back on the mound at the start of the seventh inning and relinquished consecutive singles, the first of which was to the nine-hole hitter, Antonio Perez. Hansen managed to induce a ground out from Swisher, but both runners still advanced into scoring position.

Manny Delcarmen replaced Hansen to face the red-headed but now shorn Bobby Kielty. He was more eye-grabbing with his Ronald McDonald coiffure, but the remnants of his fiery locks were still enough to distract Mark Loretta from fielding the grounder that lolled toward him. Rather than fielding the ball Loretta took his eyes away from the ball to sneak a peek at home; the split second lapse was enough to allow the ball to skit his glove. Loretta’s fourth error of the season permitted to runners to cross home to tie the score 3-3. Delcarmen, along with Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon, allowed no earned runs in the three and two-thirds innings they pitched.

I’m going to do something that is very difficult for me and other Red Sox fans: I’m going to give Julian Tavarez credit. He shouldn’t have even been on the mound to lose the game in extra innings. There he was in the eleventh inning, ready to play the role of scapegoat because of Loretta’s error. The second baseman alone shouldn’t shoulder the blame, however: there was also the ineptitude of the Red Sox bats, which snoozed for much of the match-up and left 15 men on base as well as Willie Harris being picked off of first in the ninth inning with the score tied and no outs.

Tavarez did allow the Kielty and Frank Thomas RBI singles, but Boston did not capitalize in the bottom of the inning. They came within a run by virtue of Varitek’s RBI single through the heart of the infield into center, but the outs dwindled to nothing before the home team could recover.

There were some positive moments during the game despite the loss. Dave Wallace was back in the dugout in uniform. Mike Lowell’s 12th home run as viewed from the blimp was an exquisite sight. David Ortiz’s leadoff ground-rule double bounded into the stands to be caught by a fan with an Ortiz shirt on. She should treasure that, as he has fewer doubles than homers. Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek teamed up for a hit-and-run play in the third, an occurrence probably rare as a blue moon. And what is a blue moon? Sky & Telescope says:

When is the Moon “blue,” in a calendrical sense? According to the Maine almanac, a Blue Moon occurs when a season has four full Moons, rather than the usual three. This type of Blue Moon is found only in February, May, August, and November, one month before the next equinox or solstice. According to modern folklore, a Blue Moon is the second full Moon in a calendar month. This type of Blue Moon can occur in any month but February, which is always shorter than the time between successive full Moons.

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