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Home » July 2007 Game CommentsJuly 2007 » Return


Game 88: July 12, 2007
Blue Jays 4 L: Roy Halladay (10-4) 43-45, 1 game losing streak
13-11-4 series record
WinRed Sox 7 W: Tim Wakefield (10-8)
H: Manny Delcarmen (5)
H: Hideki Okajima (14)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (21)
54-34, 1 game winning streak
19-8-3 series record
Highlights: With this victory three Red Sox pitchers now have double digits in wins: Wakefield joined Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka to head one of the premier pitching staffs in the majors. There were no homers by Boston players but they hit when it mattered, including two-out RBIs by David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in the sixth.

The frenzy around David Ortiz’s knee subsided as he stated he would not have surgery in-season but will wait until the 2007 campaign is over. He’ll play through the pain his torn meniscus is giving him. If 3-for-5 showings are the norm for a hobbled Ortiz, the temptation will be to keep him in the lineup everyday. I fear the long-term repercussions to this decision; one need only look at Frank Thomas as a cautionary tale.

How the mighty have fallen. Toronto is constantly touted as the contending team-in-waiting in the AL East thanks to J.P. Ricciardi. Several facets give this general manager a higher profile than others who are more successful: his front office lineage as a special assistant to Sandy Alderson and a peer of Billy Beane in Oakland, his recent spending spree, and a media corps that is fatigued of the Boston and New York storylines.

Vernon Wells batted in the one-hole because of his poor showing this season. Unlike another centerfielder, Andruw Jones, Wells’s locked in his (over)value last December with a seven-year, $126 million extension. Jones’s lack of production is puzzling has he should be motivated maintain or surpass his seasons, but perhaps Wells now that he has cashed in has allowed himself to become complacent.

Roy Halladay is a Cy Young-winner who has been surrounded by lesser lights in the rotation. When a number two starter has been acquired to bolster the pitching staff, they are often in down or injury-plagued years. So it has been Halladay’s task to anchor the rotation alone, and the burden sometimes appears to have gotten the better of him.

Last night was one of those times. The Red Sox fell one short of batting around in the first while Halladay expended 41 pitches. Ten of those came against Dustin Pedroia, and J.D. Drew duplicated the feat to lead off the second.

Pedroia also closed the top of the first with a diving snatch of Troy Glaus’s sharp rap up the middle. The second baseman used the ground as a gymnast works a pommel horse and pivoted around to heave to Kevin Youkilis to nail Glaus at the first base bag.

Ramirez recorded his fifth outfield assist in the fourth to the chagrin of Thomas. Although Ramirez played shallow as usual, his jog to the ball and quick release was swifter than the designated hitter’s baserunning.

There few things slower than Thomas galumphing into second. Glaciers (or what’s left of them) come to mind. Continental drift. Paris Hilton.

I think Ramirez just wanted to see Pedroia standing next to Thomas in an attempt to create baseball’s version of Bao Xishun and He Pingping’s historic meeting.

Tim Wakefield fell just short of a quality start; the sequential homers by Matt Stairs and Alex Rios in the sixth put him over the threshold. The triad of Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathan Papelbon has emerged as the deal-sealers for their starters.

Just after Delcarmen turned in yet another performance to secure his spot as the go-to man in the seventh inning, Blue Jays field manager John Gibbons was ejected in the least sensational manner possible. If that performance was meant to fire up his team it is no wonder it is lagging behind the division leaders by 11 games.

Gibbons’s lackluster scene was only overshadowed in incompetence by a fan in the left field stands parallel to the left field foul line. The cretin reached over on a foul ball off the bat of Rios that Ramirez could have gloved given the chance. Rios went on to double in the same area but luckily was left stranded at third.

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