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Home » August 2006 Game CommentsAugust 2006 » Precipice


Game 116: August 13, 2006
Orioles (51-67), 9
Red Sox (68-48), 11
L: Daniel Cabrera (5-8)
W: Jon Lester (6-2)
H: Kyle Snyder (1)
H: Manny Delcarmen (13)
H: Craig Hansen (6)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (31)

Everything’s all unicorns, puppy dogs with big eyes and fluffy tails, rainbows, ice cream, and Kylie Minogue tunes now that the Red Sox swept the Orioles. I’m going to be contrarian, however, just as I was (or tried to be) when Boston was swept by Kansas City. I attempted to be a voice of equanimity while the majority of my fellow fans were on the ledge. But now I’m going to comment on some potentially fatal flaws in this team’s composition.

When your team heads into the last two innings of the game with the score 10-4 (good buddy), it shouldn’t have to bring in its shutdown closer (Jonathan Papelbon) who had pitched two innings the day before to nail down the win.

There shouldn’t be damage control by a rookie (Manny Delcarmen) who hadn’t pitched since August 9th to bail out a veteran journeyman relief pitcher (Kyle Snyder) who paints corners like Vermeer one day and splatters solo shots around the park like Pollock the next.

A championship-caliber team shouldn’t require a Mike Lowell first inning grand slam, a Kevin Youkilis seventh inning three-run roundtripper, and yet another circuit clout by Doug Mirabelli in the eighth inning to overcome the second weakest team in the AL East.

It was a win, a resounding thumping, an offensive bombardment that hadn’t been seen since, well, the other two times the Red Sox played the lowly birds.

The next two teams on the docket have pitching that is quite a bit better than Baltimore’s. In Detroit’s case, one could argue that they have a veritable dream team of arms who combine to lead the majors in team ERA with 3.69 (home team’s ERA is 4.64), shutouts (13; Red Sox have three), and saves (40; Boston 34) and who have given up the least number of earned runs (429; compare Boston’s 535) and home runs (113; Red Sox pitchers have 142) in the AL.

I’ll enjoy these victories for now, but the next eight games will be a test. Theo Epstein characterized the next two series as “a gauntlet.” In a few days, we’ll have a better indication of whether or not Boston can make the playoffs for the fourth year in the row and, if they do survive, what sort of showing we can expect.

“So, did you like anything about yesterday, sourpuss?” you might be asking yourself. There were two things that I enjoyed.

From Jerry Remy a bit of levity regarding the opening of the center field gate during Coco Crisp’s at bat in Saturday’s game. The perpetrators were none other than Tom Werner and John Henry. The pair was making rounds of Fenway, something they typically do to observe the state of the park. Henry pulled the lever, not knowing that it operated the door. Werner took advantage of the situation and waved at Mike Timlin from the opening.

Larry Lucchino forbade them from further wandering that day and forced them to remain in their seats.

Dave McCarty had an interview with fellow World Series champion Kevin Millar during the pre-game show. The two talked about the special bond shared by that team that continues to this day. Millar said that they still text message each other and keep in touch. McCarty brought out a silver dollar and Millar explained its provenance: after being defeated in three straight games, Millar bought in a brand new roll of dollar coins and passed them around. They did not lose a game from that point forward.

Does the 2006 team have this same tenacity? We shall see.


While watching the Remy/henry/Werner thing, I thought, "this is going to be on Empy's blog."

Did you see the next inning when Henry held up a "Sorry Coco" sign? (since Coco had a strike called on him when the gate opoened and he tried to call time to no avail.)

Oh, right! I thought this doubled as an apology for shopping him around the trading deadline.

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