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Home » April 2008 Game CommentsApril 2008 » Hurt


Game 7: April 6, 2008
Red Sox 4 L: Josh Beckett (0-1) 3-4, 3 game losing streak
WinBlue Jays 7 W: Roy Halladay (1-1)
S: Jeremy Accardo (3)
4-2, 3 game winning streak
Highlights: Frank Thomas is the only player in history to have seven consecutive seasons of at least a .300 batting average, 100 walks, 100 runs, 100 runs batted in, and 20 home runs. He maintained this run from 1991 to 1997, which includes the strike-shortened year 1994. You wouldn’t think it’s possible, but he is more of a nuisance to the Red Sox than Frank Catalanotto. At least that runt wouldn’t hit monstrous grand slams off the bullpen as Thomas did to Manny Delcarmen in the fifth inning.

I’ve been procrastinating. There are a few things as unpleasant as writing about a series sweep, and I managed to do them all before writing this column: wading through two loads of laundry, slogging through a few weekly tasks at The Wood, the Abad, and the Uggla (the premiere fantasy franchise league in the northern hemisphere), and attempting to salvage my flailing team in a linear weights league (negative points in a complex scoring system are difficult to recoup).

I reviewed the notes to my game to see where it went wrong for Josh Beckett. With 42 pitches on his arm going into the fourth, an arm that had been dealing mid- to high-90s heat, Beckett flagged a bit. He walked Alex Rios on five pitches and served a gopher ball to Vernon Wells after battling through a half a dozen pitches.

Despite the longball Beckett returned in the bottom of the fifth to handle the wraparound of the lineup. He did so well enough, striking out fan favorite John McDonald and inducing a ground out by Shannon Stewart. But Aaron Hill, who recently received a contract extension, singled to center. Rios, who was also locked in by the Blue Jays with an extension of his own, walked after a strenuous nine-pitch confrontation. Wells took advantage of the fatigued Beckett by waiting out four off-target balls for a free pass.

Do I need to go into the grand slam or Julio Lugo’s three errors?

There were a few positives to come out of the win: homers by Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, and J.D. Drew come to mind. In the fourth Manny Ramirez reveled in his status as Toronto’s public enemy number one: he circled around Frank Thomas’s mammoth shot like a raptor spying its prey, leaped, improbably snared the ball, and rebounded his body off the outfield wall, arm outstretched with orb displayed for those jeering him to observe.

Thankfully the eighth-inning collision between McDonald and Wells was not nearly as cataclysmic as that of Johnny Damon and Damian Jackson in Game 5 of the 2003 ALDS, but any incident that is even vaguely reminiscent of that accident is worrisome. Both Toronto players shook off the cobwebs and stayed in the game.

The Red Sox will have to do the same to face the winless Detroit Tigers back in Fenway. The fourth season opener will hopefully be the charm, Japanese superstition about the number four aside.

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