Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Game 93: A Good, Clean Kill

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2

Robin: Wow...goodbye Embree...
Mike: Yeah, designated for assignment
Mike: Middle relief is so so so hard to predict
Robin: Hello again Adam Hyzdu
Mike: That guy is like a rash you just cant get rid of
Mike: In fact I think Ill call him Adam "the STD" Hyzdu from now on
Robin: AND THE NEW Tony Graffanino...which SOUNDS like a rash: "You got to get some cream on the nasty Graffanino you got there"
Mike: Haha
Robin: I hate it when I get Graffanino all over my Hyzdu

A damn satisfying win. Arroyo, who's been the subject of trade rumors involving AJ Burnett, did an excellent job: two runs, five hits, one walk and three strikeouts over seven innings. Manny, who may the goofiest active player in the major leagues, had one of those days: he was late to come out of the club house, tripped on his way out to the field, missed the first fly ball he ran after, kicked the ball across shallow center, then walked twice, scored two runs and hit a high speed rainbow in the Monster Seats for home run number 25. The offense jumped on Casey Fossum after the starter's leg cramped up in the fifth, getting the third run of the day and grabbed two more off of Lance Carter (a.k.a. the jerk who threw at Big Papi's head) in the eighth with a fielder's choice, a ground out by Olerud and a clutch single to right by Mueller that had Varitek scoring from second.

In the field, Alex Cora proved his value as a defensive replacement with several clutch grabs at second. Carl Crawford hit a double off Mike Timlin to lead off the eighth. After striking out Lugo, Timlin and Cora pulled off a perfect pick-off at second to nail Crawford flat-footed. The pickoff turned out to be particularly clutch, as the Sox were unable to turn the next two infield hits into outs. With trouble looming, Timlin struck out Travis Lee to end the eighth.

"Alex has done that to other teams that I've played against, so you have to be ready for it in any situation. Frankly, Crawford wasn't ready for it. Crawford didn't move, so I just spun. It played out to be a pretty good-sized play."
- Mike Timlin
In the ninth, Curt Schilling came on for his second save opportunity since his activation from the disabled list, converting with a flawless inning (one strike out and two fly outs) for the first time since 1992. He looked very impressive on the mound, hitting 94 with his fastball; Jerry Remy and DO commented on how it looks like he's getting a better push-off from his leg. The signs seem to be pointing towards a complete recovery and a return to the starting role. The question now becomes when.

In the fifth inning, the Sox announced that they had traded minor leaguers Chip Ambres and Juan Cedeno to the Royals for Tony Graffanino. Graffanino, who's got experience at all four infield positions, is projected to play second base - but for how long is a good question. The Globe feels that Graffanino will have the job as long as Mark Bellhorn is out, but if Graffanino's slumping bat (.100 AVG in the past seven days) picks up, Bellhorn may find himself out of a job.

The Graffanino pickup suggests that Theo is going to stay with 11 pitchers, but there's another rumor: the Twins are supposedly shopping left-handed reliever J. C. Romero and the Sox have expressed interest. The purported deal involved Bill Mueller, but last night in the seventh Kevin Millar came out of right field for Adam Stern as a defensive replacement, even though Millar was due up that inning. Andrew at 12eight thinks that Millar's removal might be a sign that Millar is going to the Twins instead, although as he points out, Stern quickly came out for Nixon, who came out for Hyzdu, so it might just be managerial wackiness from Tito. With a lefthander on the mound today, Nixon is on the bench, Hyzdu is in right field and Millar is at first. Hyzdu, the eternal AAAA player, will be Pawtucket-bound after Gabe Kapler works his way back up through the minors in the next two weeks or so.

Golden Buddha on the mound against Mark Hendrickson today at 1:05 to try and pull off the series win and get some momentum before Boston goes off to Chicago. GO SOX!!!

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