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Home » August 2006 Game CommentsAugust 2006 » Unfold


Game 125: August 22, 2006
Red Sox (69-56), 3
Angels (67-59), 4
L: Kason Gabbard (0-2)
H: Brendan Donnelly (9)
BS, W: Scot Shields (4, 7-7)
S: Francisco Rodriguez (35)

You know how when you were small and you did something very, very bad? If you were like me, perhaps you accidentally scratched your mom’s new car with your Big Wheel or you broke one of your dad’s tools while attempting to make a mongoose trap? To make up for it, you tried to gather as many pretty blooms to make a bouquet of apology.

But tiny legs can only bring you from plant to plant slowly and little fingers can only hold so many wildflowers. By the time you brought back your token of contrition, your grubby fingers extended a mass of wilted flowers, roots, and dirt.

The Red Sox gifted their fans with such a posy last night. “We’re sorry,” their play seemed to say. “Won’t you forgive us? Aw, shucks. Come on....”

If such a bundle were presented to you by Dustin Pedroia, you can’t say you wouldn’t be tempted to gush, “Of course I forgive you! Look at you, you’re just so... so adorable!” And then pinch his cheeks.

The cheeks of his face. Get your minds out of the gutter, people.

Pedroia does exude that boyish enthusiasm that fans love. In his interview, he told the story of how Adam Stern was joking with him about his impending call-up being a trade instead. I wouldn’t be surprised if part of him believed it and was relieved to be starting for the team that drafted him.

In the second inning, Pedroia had his first major league at bat. Wily Mo Peña led off the inning with a line drive to shallow right. He should have been limited to a single, but his heads-up baserunning bought him second base because Vladimir Guerrero catapulted the ball to first. Then Mike Lowell’s short line drive single to right advanced Peña to third and Doug Mirabelli walked to load the bases. Gabe Kapler struck out flailing and Pedroia took the dish.

The shortstop watched ball one cross the plate. The next pitch he starched solidly to Orlando Cabrera, who sauntered easily to the keystone sack for the third out.

In the fourth the infielder would get his first major league hit--a two out single to center. He would not tally a run or RBI in this game, however.

In fact, only a single visiting player notched an RBI. In the seventh, David Ortiz got a free pass with two outs and was driven in by Kevin Youkilis. The other two runs came on an error by Chone Figgins in the third. Youkilis worked an eight-pitch walk after Ortiz grounded into a fielder’s choice. Peña hit the ball deep (does he hit it any other way?) to center and the versatile utility player proved the adage about the Jack of all trades, master of none.

Figgins was masterful enough to single in the fourth to plate Robb Quinlan. The Angels scored the majority of their runs in smallball fashion; only in the second inning did the home team go deep by virtue of Juan Rivera’s longball. Rivera is having a career year, improving in batting average, power, and patience.

Manny Ramirez did not start the game but pinch hit to lead off the ninth inning. His long fly nearly cleared the center field wall to tie the game, but Figgins made the play to put him away.

Which is more than what can be said for Kapler, Mark Loretta, and Youkilis in the third. All three pursued a lazy pop up off Guerrero’s bat yet none of them came up with the catch. Guerrero would be credited with a double and a run would score in the next at bat.

Hopefully the inauspicious beginning to Pedroia’s major league won’t take too much of the bloom off the rose. Watching him blossom is one of the few joys Red Sox have these days.

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