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Home » May 2008 Game CommentsMay 2008 » Iced


Game 30: May 1, 2008
WinBlue Jays 3 W: A.J. Burnett (3-2)
H: Jesse Carlson (2)
S: B.J. Ryan (3)
12-17, 1 game winning streak
Red Sox 0 L: Tim Wakefield (2-1) 17-13, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: A.J. Burnett is the pitcher’s version of J.D. Drew: often injured but capable of sparks of brilliance from time to time. Last night was one of those times for Burnett (but not for Drew, who is still resting his left quadriceps).

David Ortiz used every ounce of brawn to break the shift against him last night. In the fourth he led off with a liner over the heads of three infielders and in the sixth he englished a grounder past Aaron Hill. But the only other Red Sox player to tally a hit against A.J. Burnett was Mike Lowell, who doubled into no-man’s land between Vernon Wells and Alex Rios in the second.

The home team had the opportunity to convert Burnett’s five bases on balls into scores but failed to do so. The paltry hitting conspired to hold the team scoreless for just the second time this season (the first time was in Tampa on April 27 with Josh Beckett on the hill).

With Wakefield on the mound I was reminded of the Red Sox Trivia Question from Tuesday’s game: Name three players in uniform who were members of the 1995 American League East Champion Red Sox. Of course Wakefield was the first and most obvious answer; the other two were Luis Alicea and Matt Stairs.

That year the 28-year old Wakefield led the team with 16 wins, 29-year old Alicea turned in a passable performance at second base (.270 BA, .367 OBP, .375 slugging), and 27-year old Stairs played 39 games and had a triple and was caught stealing once. Given the former outfielder’s physique (which isn’t much different from the body he inhabits today) both events must have inspired raucous laughter. Alicea looks younger than all of them while Stairs looks as if he should be lining up for the early bird special at Century House with a minivan full of retired men in Bermuda shorts hiked up over their bellybuttons.

The crispness of the evening imbued the players with exceptional defensive reaction time. In the top of the fourth Manny Ramirez scrambled to the wall to chase down Rios’s swiftly falling fly ball. The bases were loaded and a miss would mean at least two runs on the board. But the left fielder stretched for a last-second snag for the final out.

Not to be outdone, Aaron Hill snared a rope of a shot off the bat of Brandon Moss in the bottom half of the same inning with a cat-like lunge. Ortiz, pushed to second thanks to a five-pitch walk to Ramirez, was handily doubled off when the Blue Jays’ second baseman trotted to the keystone bag to complete the unassisted, inning-killing double play.

John Gibbons must have thought that the MLB officiating crew was surreptitiously replaced by NBA referees in the bottom of the ninth. B.J. Ryan compiled two quick outs and appeared to have induced a game-ending fly out to Rios, who came into shallow right to catch Coco Crisp’s pop-up.

NESN flashed the final score on the screen and Ryan prepared to high-five his teammates when Bruce Dreckman halted the celebration. Ryan swiveled his body about as best he could, given he has no neck, to figure out why the game wasn’t in the history books. The festivities were premature as the second baseman umpire called a balk on the no-necked closer.

Moss advanced to second and with his second chance Crisp smacked a single into right. Rookie Jed Lowrie took the box and came on the short end of Gerry Davis’s ball and strike calls.

It is not known if Davis’s crew will be assisting in what will probably be another skewed officiating session in Atlanta this evening for Game 6 of the Celtics’ first-round playoff series.

I’ll be at tonight’s game hoping that the weather and the Red Sox hittters’ bats heat up.

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