Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Game 20

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 4, Baltimore Orioles 8

All was pretty much woe in the Riviera last night. Some pretty poor umpiring at the plate (the inside part of the strike zone seemed to be drifting, especially where Sox pitchers and batters were concerned), TWO sprained ankles/feet (Wells and Mantei), Ramon "Somehow I Was Two For Two With A Walk Despite Being Singlehandedly Responsible For Two Oriole Runs And Breaking Up A Boston Rally" Vasquez, a decent outting by one Bruce Chen and lack of air flow in the Riviera made for some tough baseball.

It all started well enough. Robin, paranoid about not getting a seat down in the sports bar section, showed up at 5:45. I arrived about 20 minutes later and we commenced the eating and drinking. Nikki showed up at around 6:30, game began at 7:05...life was good. From where we were sitting, I had a good view of several TVs with the Sox game, plus a TV with ESPN on mute (indeed, the experience of being surrounded by TVs broadcasting NESN was pretty cool). The NESN broadcast was piped through the speakers, the main TV in front of me was large enough for comfortable viewing (although the closest thing they got to a big screen was somewhere between 27 and 32 inches and wasn't anywhere near where I was sitting...very disappointing). Game started up and from the beginning it would look like it would be a back and forth slugfest...and then the Boomer sprained his right foot while getting in position to backup a throw, the Orioles lineup jumped all over him and it turned into a five inning slog. Blaine Neal came in and put out the fire, giving up one run over two and a third, then Mantei came in, lasted for two thirds of inning, then sprained HIS ankle, also while backing up a throw. Meanwhile, despite a Varitek homer and a three for three (with two walks) night for Damon and a three for four night for Ortiz, the Sox couldn't string together an effective offense. Part of it was the umpiring, part of it was Vazquez attempting to stretch a wall-ball single into a double and being thrown out by a mile (all the while NOT hustling to second), part of it was the atmosphere of the game. Also on the subject of Vasquez: the man pretty clearly isn't meant to be playing third base; not only only did he mess up a pickoff throw from Varitek that ended up scoring a run, but he made what would have been an excellent throw to first...if first base was ten feet closer to third. Instead, the ball bounced and the runner reached and I believe went on to score.

Back in the Riviera, our prime TV had been taken away by another party sitting in front of it to watch the Mets/Braves game...even though we were there watching the TV first. I was forced to switch to a smaller, much higher TV, craning my neck in the rising heat and humidity as more people came into the bar. We left after the eighth inning; it was pretty clear nothing more was going to happen that night and the place was stiffling. Needless to say, that's the last time I go to the Riviera. Robin has heard of a Red Sox bar called the Hairy Monk somewhere uptown, which we may try to hit up at some point.

So, oddly enough, it's April and we're reaching for the scrubs because of injuries. Wells is on the 15 day DL, Halama will be starting and Lenny DiNardo has been called up from Pawtucket to fill the extra spot on the roster. Meanwhile, Manny played DH last night to rest his sore quad, which put Millar in left field (freak out) and Ortiz at first (slightly smaller freak out). As mentioned, Vasquez is at third, because Bill Mueller still doesn't feel well. I have to wonder (and we did wonder last night) why the Sox have a subpar player like Vasquez (who's hitting .167 or so and isn't an every day player) on the bench instead of Kevin Youkilis, who would be perfect in a situation like this one.

Matt Clement versus the Nemesis (Rodrigo Lopez) tonight. Here's hoping that we're not looking at the beginning of a skid and that the Sox can score some legitimate runs off this guy. GO SOX!!!