|Game 109: July 30, 2008|
|Angels||9||W: Joe Saunders (14-5)||67-40, 3 game winning streak|
|Red Sox||2||L: Josh Beckett (9-8)||61-48, 2 game losing streak|
|Highlights: The Angels firmly entrenched themselves as the class of the American League with their sweep of the Red Sox while on the road.|
In the rush of activity and emotions around the trading deadline I didn’t realize I forgot to post about this game.
Teams love to unveil their new acquisitions at Fenway. The Yankees did so with Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte on July 26 and the Angels followed suit by placing Mark Teixeira in the in the three-hole. The switch-hitting slugger was 0-4 with two strikeouts and a walk, but his addition will further strengthen the AL West titans.
The Red Sox played the field like a troupe of clowns but without the facepaint or joviality. J.D. Drew was charged with an error in the fourth on his throw to home on Garret Anderson’s single, but perhaps the fault should be laid at the feet of Josh Beckett, who failed to back up home plate.
The sixth inning was like an interpretive dance of the turmoil surrounding Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox were not in sync on defense whatsoever. The leadoff walk to Torii Hunter and subsequent homer by Anderson set the stage for the aimless play of the defense.
Beckett threw a pickoff wildly with Jeff Mathis in the box, allowing Howie Kendrick to advance to third. The starter surrendered a double to Mathis and then a single to Chone Figgins, knocking him off the mound.
The pitching change to a fresh Manny Delcarmen did not improve play. Jason Varitek fired the ball into center on his attempt to stop Figgins from swiping second, allowing the Angels’ catcher to tack on a run. Jed Lowrie was given the error instead of Varitek, however.
After a sac fly by Maicer Izturis, Kevin Youkilis committed his fourth error of the season when Teixeira’s grounder clanged off his glove into shallow right.
Maladroitness proved contagious. Vladimir Guerrero dropped a fly ball into shallow center with Coco Crisp, Lowrie, and Dustin Pedroia all converging futilely. Youkilis didn’t rotate to second because he had been holding Teixeira at first. Perhaps Mike Lowell could have moved up to second but then if the threw came to the infield no one would be in position to cut it off nor defend third. Delcarmen didn’t have the wherewithal to commandeer second, so Crisp had to run in the ball from center.
It was as if the team were holding up a mirror to Manny: this is what we would look like if we put forth the effort on defense that he had recently shown on both sides of the ball. The team and the fans deserve better than that.