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Home » June 2007 Game CommentsJune 2007 » Gallimaufry


Game 70: June 19, 2007
WinRed Sox 4 W: Josh Beckett (10-1) 45-25, 1 game winning streak
16-6-2 series record
Braves 0 L: Tim Hudson (6-5) 38-34, 1 game losing streak
13-6-4 series record
Highlights: The Red Sox improved their record to 6-4 in shutout games. Curt Schilling left the team to get an MRI back in Boston (results were thankfully negative), but Beckett proved that his shoulders could carry the team until Schilling returns or Jon Lester is recalled. Dustin Pedroia went vertical to nab Scott Thorman’s extra base bid in the second. Coco Crisp out-highlighted center field counterpart Andruw Jones with an airborne snatch of Hudson’s liner in the fifth.

Where are these doppelgängers of former Red Sox players produced? Is there a lab someplace where the Edgar Renterias of the world get baseball aptitude rejuvenation shots? Perhaps it happens in those places replete with clean rooms where dirty deeds play out. Behind the doors in those pristine halls the splicing of genes of aardvarks into artichokes to make for protein-rich vegetables that also devours deleterious insects happens just the down the corridor from where the conversion of Willie Harris from bench fodder to a serviceable major leaguer also occurs. It’s a gallimaufry of horrors, those laboratories of unnatural mutation.

The Braves turned Harris from .156 batting average, .250 OBP, and .200 slugging in 45 at bats to .385, .446, and .513 in 117 ABs and Renteria from .293, .361, and .436 in 623 ABs to .333, .395, and .521 in 267 ABs. The force of change that Leo Mazzone used to bring to the pitching staff before he left the Braves has now been supplanted by the Midas touch of Atlanta hitting coach Terry Pendleton.

But Pendleton’s magic didn’t help his hitters overcome the onslaught of Josh Beckett. He didn’t tally a tremendous number of strikeouts (just three) in his rain-curtailed six innings of work, but he walked only two and allowed a mere four hits. The only extra base hit the entire Red Sox pitching staff relinquished last night was a first inning double off the wall by none other than Harris.

The Red Sox batters must have read up on literary theory before authoring this game. The first three innings comprised the rising action, the last three falling action, and the middle provided the climax, perfectly placed in the middle of the game.

David Ortiz homered for the 12th time in 2007 in the fourth inning, whetting the appetite for the next inning.

Alex Cora led off by tripling past a diving Andruw Jones and Beckett doubled to the left-center gap to plate Cora. Showing some baserunning acumen, Beckett tagged up on J.D. Drew’s fly out to center and traversed home on Dustin Pedroia’s gutshot single.

Beckett must have shared his tips with Jason Varitek in the dugout when their paths crossed. The catcher made a heads-up baserunning play with one out in the sixth. He saw that Scott Thorman was unable to corral his grounder and that Kelly Johnson didn’t back up the play. Coco Crisp singled to match his season-high hitting streak and advance Varitek to third.

Bobby Cox retrieved Tim Hudson from the mound but the switch did not stop Cora from lofting the ball deep enough into right field to allow the Red Sox backstop from tagging up.

Terry Francona seemed to be reading too many of Joe Torre’s tomes with his reliance on Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon for the final innings. But unlike the Yankees skipper, Francona realized that holding the lead in this game meant that they would not be swept by the Braves and used his assets accordingly. When Torre calls on his bullpen it’s like an addict reaching for his crack pipe; when Francona does so it’s putting a bandage over a vaccination site.

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