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Home » April 2008 Game CommentsApril 2008 » Flop


Game 25: April 25, 2008 ∙ 11 innings
Red Sox 4 L: Mike Timlin (2-2) 15-10, 3 game losing streak
WinRays 5 BS: J.P. Howell (1)
W: Scott Dohmann (1-0)
12-11, 4 game winning streak
Highlights: Tim Wakefield’s knuckler was dancing as much as Raymond the mascot, so much so that Kevin Cash had a difficult time behind the plate. But the movement was too uncontrollable he walked five batters and had both a wild pitch and a passed ball. Extra inning futility characterized the Red Sox batters’ first visit to Tropicana Field. At times their effort was as dull as the Devil Rays’ new uniforms. Taking the “devil” out of their nicknames is like refusing to say “hello” because of the first four letters of the word. HeavenO, three-game losing streak.

In the first inning a fly ball off Dustin Pedroia’s bat lodged itself into the one of the catwalks that ring the dome of Tropicana Field’s roof. It was a metaphor for many of the innings of last night’s game: starting off with potential but then ending with an unsatisfying thud.

One of the thuds was the sound of David Ortiz bellyflopping. In the top of the eleventh Jason Varitek was plunked by Gary Glover and then sacrificed over by Jacoby Ellsbury. Dustin Pedroia shot a single between first and second and Boston’s designated hitter found himself in a crucial at bat.

Ortiz fisted the ball to the first baseman Eric Hinske, who quickly relayed to Jason Bartlett. The shortstop got off a toss to pitcher Scott Dohmann who covered at first and saw first hand Ortiz’s last-second lunge.

Tonight Ortiz is out of the lineup because of improperly deployed landing gear in his red-eye flight landing attempt. His right knee bruised, Ortiz will sit in favor of J.D. Drew. Sean Casey went to the 15-day disabled list and Brandon Moss was recalled to the major league club to shore up Boston’s swiftly deteriorating lineup.

Speaking of deteriorating, Mike Timlin turned out to be the loser last night, but many contributed to the defeat. In the final three innings of the game the last batter had the chance to drive in the go-ahead run and place pressure on the young Rays to match them. But Manny Ramirez struck out in the ninth with two on and Julio Lugo grounded into a double play in the tenth.

Boston failed to take advantage of Akinori Iwamura’s gaffe in the ninth. Instead of erasing lead runner Kevin Cash on a ground ball to him, he decided to throw to first. Tampa Bay’s second baseman took too long to make up his mind, however, and missed the chance to take out Pedroia. Enough time had elapsed that even a not-so fleet-of-foot backup catcher such as Cash would be safe at first.

Another Ray miscue was a managerial one. With two out and B.J. Upton at first, designated hitter Carlos Peña singled to right. Speedy Upton advanced all the way to third on the hit. Joe Maddon then had Nathan Haynes pinch run for Peña. With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth and Upton, who represented the winning run, at third, Maddon removed one of his most potent bats for Haynes. Haynes happened to drive in the winning run in the eleventh with none out and Carl Crawford at second, but in my opinion that doesn’t justify removing 2007’s Comeback Player of the Year in a close divisional match-up when the run Peña represented would have been meaningless.

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