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Home » July 2006 Game CommentsJuly 2006 » Thewy


Game 88: July 14, 2006
Athletics (47-43), 15

Red Sox (53-35), 3

W: Barry Zito (9-6)
L: Josh Beckett (11-5)

The Oakland As are known for coming into the first half of the season like a lamb and roaring into the second half like a lion. So it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that the perennial AL contenders took over Fenway last night and humiliated the Red Sox with a defeat that duplicated their worst of the season.

Momentum turned against Boston in the first inning when Milton Bradley gloved a shot off the bat of Manny Ramirez that seemed destined to reach the bullpen. Instead of the Red Sox moving ahead 2-1, they were blanked until the sixth inning.

Pitching with his team trailing adversely affected Josh Beckett. He seemed tentative and fell behind in the count, making his pitch count untenably high early. Beckett lasted just four and a one-third innings and had more walks than strikeouts (four of the former compared to three of the latter), but he only gave up a single gopher ball, this time to Mark Ellis in the fourth.

Ellis alone had more runs than the entire Red Sox team last night. Like his team, Ellis’s pattern is to have strong second halves after turning in a few tepid months of play. The visiting second baseman went three for six with five RBIs.

The Red Sox have been outstanding defensively and flaunted the leather in the second inning. Kevin Youkilis displayed impeccable footwork by nabbing Bradley’s bounding line shot and regrouping himself in time to relay to Beckett for the first out. Coco Crisp replicated his catch against the Mets with his diving collar of an Ellis fly. The degree of bedazzlement of the outs in this inning were in inverse proportion to the sculptedness of the players’ physique, as Gabe Kapler concluded the inning with a middling snare of Antonio Perez’s air ball to shallow right.

Craig Breslow, who was called up from Pawtucket to replace Jason Johnson just a few days ago, made his Red Sox debut last night with a near-perfect one and two-third inning showing. He struck out two (Nick Swisher and Mark Kotsay) and allowed only a single hit (an RBI single to Ellis). The newcomer did hit Frank Thomas with a pitch in the sixth but lived to tell the tale. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher seemed tempted to warn the dugouts because David Ortiz had been hit in the fifth inning by Barry Zito. Ortiz hits Zito at a steady clip: .381 BA, .435 OBP, .667 slugging with just a single strikeout.

The best part of the evening was watching the postgame to hear Dennis Eckersley pop off about Beckett and Zito. In a separate segment, Manny Delcarmen’s nickname was revealed to be “Delmacarena.” If Eck were a novelty dance he’d be the hustle.

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