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Home » May 2008 Game CommentsMay 2008 » Virescent


Game 46: May 18, 2008
Brewers 7 L: Carlos Villanueva (2-5) 20-24, 5 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 11 W: Josh Beckett (5-3) 27-19, 3 game winning streak
Highlights: Jim Rice was in rare form in the pre-game show. When asked about Jason Giambi’s gold lamé thong and his penchant for sharing it with his slumping teammates, he said, “I like my teammates, but I don’t like them that well.” The crowd chanted “We want Gagne!” as the score tipped heavily into Boston’s favor and the bullpen options thinned. Yesterday pitchers were handing out home runs like the sign-wielding evangelist on Brookline Avenue hands out pamphlets: indiscriminately but with determined vigor.

For Milwaukee, J.J. Hardy, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Braun (twice) all added to Josh Beckett’s earned run average with home runs of various heights and lengths but all equally infuriating to the Texas native. On the home side, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and David Ortiz (also twice) notched four-baggers of their own.

Beckett put on a clinic on how to allow longballs, and sophomore Carlos Villanueva and freshman Mark DiFelice took to their elder’s teachings well. In fact it was DiFelice’s first day of class and Pedroia stole his Pee Chee folder while Ortiz took his lunch money and threw it into the seats just beyond the visitors’ bullpen.

DiFelice did maintain a whit of dignity by striking out Manny Ramirez in just four pitches, but the damage had been done.

Frankly I was glad for the wide margin between the teams since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals began when the Red Sox had the game in hand. The duel between LeBron James and Paul Pierce has already been likened to Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins’s classic 1988 face-off. Twenty years ago Wilkins scored 48 and Bird 34, but ultimately Boston triumphed.

In keeping with tradition, James scored 45 points to Pierce’s 41, but the Celtics prevailed 97-92 (coincidentally, the speed of Beckett’s fastball and change-up, respectively). With a minute left Pierce muscled a jump ball that danced from the tips of Zydrunas Ilgauskus’s and through several Cavaliers’ hands until Pierce made a career-defining lunge to regain possession of the ball, the game, the series.

With seven seconds left Pierce iced the game with two free throws. The first bounced three feet off the rim before dropping straight through the net and Pierce smiled knowingly. After the game Pierce said Red Auerbach tipped it in.

How do I think the Celtics will do? Pierce’s number is 34. That’s all I need.

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