Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Game 70: Big Papi's House

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 9, Cleveland Indians 2

"Right now it's Ortiz: four, the Indians: nothing"
- The Cleveland TV broadcasters after David's second homerun

Guns and Corn was on last night for his second start in a row and its looking like he's recovered from his post-suspension funk. Seven innings, four hits, one walk, four's going to be a real tragedy if he has to be sent bullpen-side when Schilling comes back. Of course, with the exception of Miller, who's still shaky, the starters have been solid gold ever since the last game against the Cubs. Assuming Curt's progress is as good as he thinks it is, he should be back in full form the game before the All Star break, so decision time is looming. In a way, that will make Wade Miller's start tonight that much more important - if he can start getting not only wins (three out of his last four starts) but lowering that ERA, he's got a better chance of not being bullpen bound.

But all of Arroyo's pitching would have been as wasted as Wakefield's performance last Saturday if not for the offense, led by Big Papi: a two run homerun, a solo shot and sacrifice fly all off Kevin Millwood, who gave Ortiz two outside fastballs that ended up over the wall in the deepest part of the park. And let us not forget Manny, who took an inside fastball that just wasn't inside enough and drove it off the signs in left field for a two run rocket in the ninth. The Latino Longball League strikes again.

In the eighth, John Halama came on to hold the 7 - 1 lead and got an out before giving up three singles. With the bases loaded, Ben Broussard comes up to try and spark a rally. Halama gets a 0 and 1 count before giving him a low inside fastball that Broussard crushes to right...and Nixon makes an INCREDIBLE Michael Jordan-style leaping catch, slamming into the wall and saving the ball from going off the wall, if not over over the fence. The Indians get a run on the sacrifice, but Halama finished out the inning without any further trouble. A walk from Mantei in the ninth was the last chance the Indians had and then it was all over. Even though a grand slam would not have tied the game up, it could have sparked a potentially larger rally (like, say, what the Yankees pulled last night) and at the very least forced Mike Timlin to come on and put out the fire instead of resting his arm, so the psychological value of that catch was huge.

Tonight the Sox go for their second sweep in three series and try for their ninth win in the past ten games with Wade Miller against Cliff Lee. Lee's had two starts against Boston in the past, going 1 and 1 with .189 opposing average. Rob Zeitz has a pretty good line on this game, although I doubt Francona will start Mirabelli just because of his bat. Tek is still batting about .430 against lefties and is Miller's normal catcher. Changing that might throw Miller off his concentration, which would be far more disasterous than Varitek not hitting well tonight. We'll see if it's the five inning or the seven inning Lee who shows up tonight. GO SOX!!!