Friday, July 22, 2005

Game 95: Two Hands

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Chicago White Sox 5

"Two Hands, Joe."
- Text message from Alan after Manny's ninth inning home run

I was expecting a bit more of a pitchers duel, but I was right about the close score. Go me. Still, because of the uncertainty and the back-and-forth nature of the contest, this game was a lot of fun to watch. A few observations:
  • I had a feeling Mark Buerhle would not be at his sharpest when Edgar (3 for 4 with two runs, an RBI and a walk) got his first hit in the first. No one was able to advance him and Boston immediately ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning when Carl Everett hit his two run home run, but it was a start. It reminded me of a comment that someone (either one of the players or one of the commentators) on ESPN made at the start of the Home Run Derby: getting the first one is the hardest part. I think by proving that Buerhle was hittable last night, Renteria made it a lot easier for the rest of the offense to start getting hits and scoring runs.
  • Jerry and DO announced in the first inning that Joe Crede had a streak of 50 games without an error. With the Red Sox needing every advantage they could get, I thought, "well, let's see if we can change that tonight." Of course, having that error come with Manny at bat, giving him a second chance to crank the ball and prevent the game from going into extra innings makes it all that much sweeter.
  • On the subject of streaks, last night was the first time in 26 starts that Buehrle did not last seven innings. An incredible streak in itself, but breaking that streak makes the victory that much more impressive - Boston forced Ozzie Guillen to go into his bullpen earlier and forced him into a position of uncertainty by figuring out his starting pitcher and coming back from a 4 - 1 hole to take the lead so that he couldn't use his very effective closer to finish out the game and snatch away the victory. Having a start like this one is a great way to get momentum going for another tough pitcher tonight.
  • Curt Schilling seems to be as susceptible to pressure as anyone else: this is the second time he's come out of the bullpen in a high intensity situation and given up an important run. Fortunately, he's come a long way since his outing against the Yankees on the 15th and was not only able to get out of the inning without any further damage, but came out in the ninth to get a 1-2-3 inning with two strike outs.
  • Matt Clement's mounting home run total is worrisome. Six home runs all year up until July 5th and now seven home runs in his last three starts. That said, he did have another cluster of home runs in early June: one on 6/2, two on 6/7 and one on 6/13, so maybe this pattern will break after this start. He did have a lot of high fastballs last night (a problem he shared with Buehrle) so maybe it's a mechanical problem he needs to work out before his next start.
Tim Wakefield and Jon Garland tonight at 8:05...pray for favorable winds and a dancing knuckleball. GO SOX!!!

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