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Home » September 2007 Game CommentsSeptember 2007 » Retaliatory


Game 149: September 15, 2007
Yankees 1 L: Chien-Ming Wang (18-7) 84-64, 1 game losing streak
25-20-2 series record
WinRed Sox 10 W: Josh Beckett (19-6) 90-59, 1 game winning streak
31-12-5 series record
Magic number: 9
Highlights: Beckett pulled ahead of Wang in the Cy Young race with his seven-inning, three-hit showing. Wang was chased off the mound in the sixth after David Ortiz’s two-out, two-run double to center in the sixth. The sinkerballer had eight flyball outs compared to six groundball outs, an unusual ratio for him. Ortiz went 3-for-3 and walked twice; his Domino Oreo dessert pizza beard carries powerful on-base mojo.

There is no such thing as momentum in baseball. If any Red Sox fans fell off the bandwagon with yesterday’s abrupt loss, there was still time to clamber back on as the team wove through the gears to cruise to an easy victory. Clay Buchholz got more national screen time not in the form of no-hitter highlights but with a straightforward recitation of the Red Sox lineup.

In the first frame Josh Beckett seemed to have reverted to his 2006 ways. After falling behind in the count he tried to challenge Derek Jeter but instead served up a tater that was lost in the the batter’s eye. The strapping starter settled down and sat 12 batters in a row.

The streak was broken with two out in the seventh. Beckett did not pussyfoot; he hit Jason Giambi with his first pitch. The dugouts were warned and Tim McCarver yammered mindlessly about how such retaliation was uncalled for.

McCarver thought that Beckett was exacting a pound of performance-enhanced flesh from Giambi because of Chien-Ming Wang’s hit of Kevin Youkilis in the fifth. Of course no one believes that Wang is dim enough to hit Youkilis just to face the infinitely more lethal David Ortiz. The former Cardinal’s brain must have been addled by many collisions at home plate because I interpreted Giambi’s plunking as retaliation for the previous series, and I am sure I am not alone.

Momentum may not carry over, but hard feelings do. With the countless replays of every clash between Boston and New York on Fox’s broadcast schedule one would think McCarver and his play-by-play companion Josh Lewin could piece together the correct cause and effect.

The Red Sox responded to Jeter’s homer with a run by Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman sent a bounder up the middle, advanced on Ortiz’s single (a rope to center that the sun-blinded Bobby Abreu didn’t pick up until the last moment), and scored on Mike Lowell’s ricochet off the left field loge seats. The hamster exercise wheel his teammates provided him has indeed stretched him out well.

Peewee, as Terry Francona calls Pedroia, made his signature tumble and turn play on his Yankee counterpart for the second out of the second inning. According to Ken Rosenthal, Francona also calls Pedroia a “little rodent,” but to me he’s like a corgi. These dogs are built low to the ground to avoid the hooves of the ruminants they shepherd and are known to roll beneath the underbellies of them.

The game was knotted at one run apiece for the first four innings creating a taut pitcher’s duel. Youkilis’s beaning in the fifth shuffled the lineup: Eric Hinske rotated from left to first and Jacoby Ellsbury entered as a pinch runner and Hinske’s replacement in the outfield. X-rays were negative on Youkilis’s wrist and the event had another positive outcome: Ellsbury flashed around the horn on Ortiz’s single past a toppling Giambi and scored on J.D. Drew’s opposite field shot.

A numerical oddity to note: all three Yankees outs in the sixth inning were fielded by Julio Lugo and Hinske: Jeter G 6-3, Abreu G 6-3, Rodriguez G 6-3.

The full power of Boston’s offense was unleashed in the sixth and seventh innings.

Hinske clanged a double off the bottom of the left field wall for a double to lead off the sixth. The burly first baseman charged hard but clean into Jorge Posada in his attempt to jar the ball out of the backstop’s glove, but Posada held on for the second out of the inning. The setback was fleeting as Ortiz came through with a fly ball to the right-center gap. Ellsbury flew around the sacks and had a fender bender with Posada at home.

Posada seemed to shy away from contact, perhaps thoughts of Hinske were lingering in the corners of his mind. The catcher didn’t even try to tag Ellsbury; by his actions it seemed he thought there was a force at home.

The Red Sox batted around against the dregs of the Yankee bullpen in the seventh. Edwar Ramirez, Ron Villone, Brian Bruney, Sean Henn, and Ross Ohlendorf all took their turns at inflating the stat lines of the opposing batters.

It was an shoddy day for souvenir seekers. Fans reached into the field of play on Pedroia’s fly ball to right in the sixth and Jason Varitek’s in the seventh. There is so little foul territory there that fans should know not to extend past the wall because the ball may clip the line. Joba Chamberlain reached into the stands from the Yankees bullpen to try glove Hinske’s home run ball, but gravity once again was his mortal enemy.

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