Monday, May 23, 2005

Games 41 - 43

Final Scores:

Game 41: Boston Red Sox 4, Atlanta Braves 3
Game 42:
Boston Red Sox 5, Atlanta Braves 7
Game 43:
Boston Red Sox 5, Atlanta Braves 2

"I think there should be a deal in place where every time Keith Foulke gives up a run, he has to make a $1000 donation to the cardiac care center at Mass General"

Here's how the weekend went: on Wednesday, my buddy Alan called me to see if I wanted to come with him down to Baltimore on Saturday to see the first day of the NCAA lacrosse championship quarterfinals, held at Johns Hopkins. 'Sounds cool,' I thought, so we made the plans. He showed up on Friday night, just in time for the end of the Sox game. I had been listening to the broadcast on the radio, forgetting that, because TBS and the Atlanta Braves are both owned by Ted Turner, the Braves broadcast their games on TBS, meaning I could be watching the game. Alan kindly pointed this fact out when he arrived and we watched Timlin and Foulke close out the game. Boston got their scoring done early: a triple by Damon and a ground ball out to first base by Renteria got one run in the first and when I turned the game on in the second, The Cap'n smacked his ninth home run of the season. He was followed by a single by Millar and Bill Mueller's first homerun (a Peske poll shot) to make the score 4 - 0. Mueller's homerun means that every starter finally has a home run. I'm not sure how often this situation happens/doesn't happen on other teams, but I suppose when your team stands in the shadow of the '03 and '04 run scoring behemoths, you look for every offensive marker you can. Of course, this 2005 team is lacking in other offensive categories, so maybe that's why such a big deal was made of the homeruns. Eight men left on base for this evening and two more double plays hit into by the anti-klutch kids.

In any case, Wade Miller was once again indomitable, even though he felt that this outting was the worst of the three he's had so far in terms of pitch placement. Coulda fooled the Braves, though; they only scored when a Brian Jordan double and a Raul Mondesi groundout set up a run scoring situation. Otherwise, Miller's yet another physical manifestation of Theo's genius. And he's got a sick curveball.

Mike Timlin, who seems to rediscovered his "I don't give up runs, I don't give up hits, I don't give out walks, I just strike people out" persona from 2003 did terrible things to the Braves bats in the seventh and eighth innings, throwing sixteen pitches over an inning and two-thirds and getting three strikeouts. CRAZY. Then Foulke came on for the ninth and we had a bit of cardiac fun, as Keith gave up two runs before getting the double play I had asked for only seconds before to end the game. Wade Miller gets his first win in 11 months.

Instead of waiting until early Saturday morning to head south, Alan and I decided to leave on Friday night, which was probably just as well, because they were doing funny things to the bridges in Staten Island on Saturday morning. By mid-day we were at Hopkins with Chris, preparing to watch two games: Hopkins versus UMass (rooting for UMass) and Navy versus UVA (rooting for Navy). Gorgeous day, plenty of sun...but the favored teams weren't winning. Down 0 for 2 for the day, we headed back to Chris's place and sure enough, watched the Sox lose to Atlanta's rookie pitcher, Kyle Davies, making his first start. It was a wet, nasty night in Boston, with the wind blowing in, flattening out Wakefield's knuckleball. Wake did get five strikeouts, but gave up six runs and four walks in his five innings of work. The infield committed three errors. The offense left ten men on base and of course, grounded into another double play. The wind even conspired to dampen the Sox bats, knocking down a number of potential hits, including a fly ball by Varitek that would have hit the Monster in normal weather, killing the Sox rally in the ninth and ending the game.

Yesterday Alan and I drove back up to New York, leaving around 1:00 and not getting back to Brooklyn until around 5:45 because of traffic in Delaware and New Jersey. We missed the Sox game entirely as a result, settling for Pedro versus the Yankees at Shea Stadium instead and making me wish that I had one of these little gadgets. Pedro did really well against a Yankee lineup full of substitutions, but lost a chance for a win when his bullpen blew the game in the eighth. The Sox, meanwhile, had an excellent day behind Matt Clement, who finally got his fifth win in a four hit, two run, seven strikeout
complete game, pitched on an economical 110 pitches. Besides some trouble in the fourth inning, Clement had no real problems the whole game and although the Sox stranded another thirteen men and hit into their fourth double play of the series, they were able to capitalize on enough of John Smoltz's mistakes to drive the Atlanta starter out of the game in the fifth. Manny hit his 11th home run, a two run blast in the sixth and Kevin Youkilis broke open an 0 for 8 runners in scoring position drought in the fifth with a line drive single.

Sox and Tigers play today in the annual Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown. Not entirely sure who's pitching, but it's exhibition so it's probably going to be like Spring Training anyway. GO SOX!!!