Friday, July 08, 2005

Game 84: B List

Final Score

Boston Red Sox 1, Baltimore Orioles 3

A combination of a very late night (flight problems in Atlanta) and rain ruined Sox hopes yesterday, as the game was called in the seventh inning due to inclement weather with the Orioles on top. The late night (the plane didn't land in Baltimore until 5 AM yesterday morning) led Tito to rest Damon, Renteria, Varitek and Manny and the early ending of the game meant that none of those four hitters had time to come off the bench and make a difference in the final score. Especially frustrating, since Cabrera was nowhere near efficient - 106 pitches by end of the fifth, with five walks to go with his eight strikeouts. A friend of mine was at the game and said it was pretty obvious the game was going to end after the sixth, which makes me wonder why Francona didn't send his sluggers out for the top of the inning against Cabrera's relief, Tim Byrdak. Instead, Byrdak faced what my friend refered to as "David Ortiz and the PawSox" and saved the game.

Even more frustrating was the ending to the rally in the fifth, when, with two outs and the bases loaded, Nixon took a bit too much of a lead off second base and was picked off by the catcher, Sal Fasano, ending the inning. Nixon, being who he is, took all the blame for the screw-up and I'm not going to bash the guy; it seems to be another piece of last night's bad luck. Joy of Sox seems to feel that Nixon,
compared to Manny, doesn't get enough attention from the media for these screwups, but I think there are two reasons why that doesn't happen: first, with Manny it's almost expected and his reactions are so amusing that people want to focus on it. Nixon just gets pissed and looks like he wants to break something, which scares attention away. Second, Nixon is the walking highlight reel and he's been so for a few seasons now. His incredible plays very quickly make up for his mistakes, as I'm sure they would have last night if the game had continued.

Continuing the three ring roster circus:
  • The Sox designated Jay Payton for assignment yesterday and sent him on a plane back to Boston after he had a confrontation with Tito in Texas about his playing time. There's a rumor going around that he'll be traded to Oakland for extreme submariner Chad Bradford, who is currently at the end of a DL stint for back surgery. Theo has confirmed he'll be traded, but said details will be announced after the All Star Break.
  • Boston traded Ramon Vasquez to the Indians for Alex Cora. Since Cora is supposed to be something of a Pokey Reese-lite and Vasquez wasn't helping the Sox on either end, the move makes decent sense - pull something useful out of a pretty useless player. Cora will most likely be used as a defensive replacement for Bellhorn, but started last night at shortstop, where he went 0 - 3 with two strikeouts. There's a rumor that he wasn't happy as a utility player in Cleveland.
  • To replace Jay Payton on the roster, the Sox called up rule five pick Adam Stern and started him last night in center, where he went 0 - 2 but was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Stern's activation means that he will not be returned to the Braves. He's reputed to be speedy (the way Payton wasn't) and a have a good glove anywhere in the outfield.
  • The Sox sent Lenny DiNardo back to Pawtucket, probably just for good measure. It's starting to feel Theo's trying to pull some sort of ninja smoke screen here with his roster moves.
  • Keith Foulke's surgery went well and he's expected to come back in six weeks.
Guns and Corn against Sidney "Pontoon" Ponson tonight in a cage match battle for the ages. Also it's been raining straight down, diagonally and sideways here in New York, the rain has stopped in Baltimore, the starters are well rested and the beatings of the birds can begin. GO SOX!!!

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