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Home » August 2006 Game CommentsAugust 2006 » Revamp


Game 126: August 23, 2006
Red Sox (70-56), 5
Angels (67-60), 4
W: Jon Lester (7-2)
H: Julian Tavarez (2)
H: Mike Timlin (19)
H: Keith Foulke (9)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (33)
L: Kelvim Escobar (9-11)

Step away from the ledge. The Red Sox didn’t lose. In fact, a strong contingent of Red Sox fans were at Angels Stadium to cheer on their team, outdoing the Angels devotees. Perhaps the home town supporters were waiting for their cues from the rally monkey or their Jumbotron was on the fritz.

The Red Sox broke a six-game losing streak through the power of sluggers David Ortiz and Wily Mo Peña. Both players launched two-run homers, Ortiz’s in the first and Peña’s in the second. Even more remarkably, Boston scored one more run in the second after Javy Lopez lined a double into right and was driven in by Coco Crisp’s single to center.

To add to the astonishing turn of events, those five runs withstood the onslaught of Julian Tavarez and Mike Timlin on the mound. Keith Foulke, who has been performing surprisingly well since his return (no earned runs in four and one-third innings pitched, two hits, two walks, and four strikeouts for August), and Jonathan Papelbon combined to shut down the Angels for the last two innings.

Timlin did hurl into a jam in the seventh inning. He allowed a leadoff double to our old friend Orlando Cabrera but did induce a ground out from Vladimir Guerrero. Juan Rivera walked on a 3-2 pitch and Robb Quinlan followed up with a single to right that looked as if it were going to be caught. The ball’s trajectory was the only thing keeping Cabrera from scoring the tying run.

Until recently, ducks on the pond didn’t trouble Timlin, fittingly, because the middle reliever is a hunting enthusiast. In fact, Timlin hardly put himself into such situations. Recently, however, the veteran looked ragged on the mound, leading some to conjecture that his participation in the World Baseball Classic may have worn him out. The huntsman buckled down, however, and struck out Tim Salmon for the second out. Rookie sensation Howie Kendrick tapped weakly to Timlin, who neatly tossed the orb to home for the force out.

In light of Timlin’s decline, Foulke’s seeming return to near-2004 form is timely. His baffling change of pace pitch seems to complement Papelbon’s electric stuff well. After a few seasons of intoning “Timlin in the eighth, such-and-so in the ninth,” it might be time to update the timeworn phrase.

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