Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Game 112: Survivor

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 8, Texas Rangers 7

"I don't think Bottalico sounds like the name of a cheap cologne...I think it sounds like the name of a dive bar. Like the sort of place you'd wear Remlinger to."
- Alan

When I got back from seeing The Dukes of Hazzard last night (seen without any expectations, it wasn't half bad), the score was seven to two in the seventh. Matt Clement had pitched a masterful six innings, giving up two runs on six hits, walking two and striking out six, limiting the dangerous Texas lineup to a mere whimper of offense. He came out in the sixth only because a ground ball struck him in the back of the leg and although he struck out Barajas to end the inning, Boston decided not to take any chances. New Red Sox acquisition Mike Remlinger was coming on to make his first outing in a Boston uniform. Meanwhile, the Sox hitters were on the ball, with RBI-man Petagine picking up two more to start out a five run fifth, Johnny Damon extending his hit streak to thirteen games (he's also gone an incredible fifty games with a hit or a run), Manny being Manny (two hits and an RBI) and Bill Mueller's second home run in twenty at-bats. 'Well,' I thought, 'I'll turn this on, but it should be a pushover - no way Texas mounts enough of a come back to make this one interesting.'

Foolish me.

As Robin has put it several times this season, the 2005 Red Sox are the team where no lead is safe and vice-versa.* Remlinger went on to give up four runs (two earned) on two hits and a walk, without getting an out. A controversial call, one of many this series,
** left Remlinger with the bases loaded, just as a fan was taking a daredevil plunge fifty feet out of the Upper Deck in Yankees Stadium into the backstop net (unrelated yes, but odd timing all the same): on a double play ball to third with the overshift on, Mueller tossed to Renteria, who dropped the ball on the transfer. The umpire disagreed, saying Renteria had some how held the ball but missed it entirely, giving Renteria his second error of the day. Bradford and Myers went on to get Boston out of the dreadful inning, but only after Bradford had blown the save with two more hits.

The Sox couldn't get anybody past first base in the next two innings - once because the first base umpire called Kapler out at first even though Teixeira was pretty clearly off the bag in the replay, prompting Francona's second explosion of the night - but Timlin and Schilling picked up the slack, cruising through the eighth, ninth and tenth with a combined one hit and three strike outs.*** In the tenth, Texas reliever Kevin Gryboski, who was about all Buck Showalter had left to throw at Boston besides closer Francisco Cordero, gave up a single to left to Bill Mueller. Alex Cora followed up with a beautiful sacrifice bunt that dribbled right in front of the batters box, putting Mueller in scoring position. After Gryboski fell behind Damon two and zero, Texas chose to intentionally walk the centerfielder. Up came Renteria, looking for vengeance and a chance to make up for those costly errors. After working a three and two count, Renteria smacked a double past third baseman Hank Blaylock (who's hit, ironically enough, was the source of Renteria's last error), scoring Mueller and winning the game. And it was good.

After Kevin Millar made a comparison between himself and Tom Brady - not a lot of runs/points, but full of intagibles - Theo Epstein made a poster-sized blowup of the Globe article and put it, along with Brady's full uniform, in Millar's locker. Millar chose to wear it, along with a "Theo" head band, to batting practice. The Idiots live on.

Turns out neither Mini Manny nor Gonzo is Pawtucket-bound just yet - instead, the Sox put Wade Miller on the fifteen day DL with reaccuring shoulder stiffness, using his roster spot to pick up Remlinger. Because the Sox, with the day off, don't have to worry about having a fifth starter until next Tuesday against Detroit, the Front Office hasn't announced who will fill Miller's spot, but Tito made it clear last yesterday that it won't be Schilling. My guess is that Gonzo might be heading back into the rotation for a game or two - he's already started for the Sox once this year (back in the West Coast trip against Oakland) and he's on the active roster, so no moves would have to be made. The other two options, Abe Alvarez and Jon Papelbon, both have their own problems: Alvarez still hasn't proven himself majors-quality material and Papelbon is back in Pawtucket learning how to be a reliever. Going back to my thoughts on fifth starters yesterday, I'd say Gonzo's got the goods - he's proven he can pitch innings in long relief, even though he's not the most intimidating presence on the mound.

Tony Graffanino hurt his pinkie sliding into home during Monday's game. He was listed as day-to-day and was out of the lineup last night; I have a feeling he'll be back tonight.

The Sox traded Jose Cruz, Jr. to Los Angeles (the real Los Angeles team, not Anaheim) for a player to be named later.

Sox go for another sweep tonight, Guns and Corn versus that asshat The Gambler. With any luck, the boos should distract him even more than the Red Sox bats teeing off on his cameraman-tossing ass and the terrible streak of Sox errors will end. GO SOX!!!

* - Yes, no safe is lead. Apparently one of my close friends is Yoda in disguise.
** -
The umpiring in this series has been so bad that NESN did a quick recap of the bad calls made to both sides...and then went on to examine every bad call made the rest of the night. It was pretty terrible. I really hope that someone sits the whole umpiring crew down after this series and points out every single mistake they made.
*** - One of those outs was a trademark
Manny over-the-shoulder catch, the kind that makes your heart stop momentarily. There's nothing funnier than hearing D.O.'s reaction to those catches - they ALWAYS catch him by surprise.

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