Friday, September 02, 2005

Game 132: Back In The Saddle...Again

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 7, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4

Call him Older Dude.  Call him Magic Helmet.  Call him whatever you want; last night he was the hero and author of the latest Red Sox comeback.  Once again, a Red Sox pitcher (Arroyo) struggled out of the gate; in Arroyo’s case, he gave up 2 runs in the second and 2 in the fourth before settling into a groove for his last three innings, taking inspiration from Wakefield’s efforts Wednesday evening.  With Manny on a manager-imposed break to rest his legs, Millar was in left and Olerud at first.  Millar went 2 for 4 with a double and a run, while Olerud tied up the game in the second with a two run homer into the bullpen and then put the Sox on top in the sixth with a 3 run bullpen shot.  He also added an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI double.  Olerud, now batting .467 with 11 RBI since returning from the DL and .333 over the year, attributes his success to work he had been doing on his swing to fix a bad habit he picked up in Seattle.

Jonathan Papelbon came on in the eighth and struck out the side, but came out in ninth in favor of Mike Timlin after Papelbon gave up hits to the first two batters he faced.  Papelbon, distracted by the damage of Hurricane Katrina and its potential effects on his family in the Louisiana area, blamed himself for not being able to pull through and close the deal.  Based on what I’ve been reading about the hurricane (and I’ve been avoiding a lot because of how horrific the reports are), I can’t really blame him for having his mind somewhere else.  Timlin gave a rare surprise when he stranded both inherited runners and went on to pick up his fifth save and get Arroyo his eleventh win.  The Red Sox now have the third best record in the majors and have climbed back to .500 (26 and 26) against AL East teams.  If the season ended today, the Sox would win the AL East by 3.5 games and host either Oakland or Anaheim to start the ALDS.  I’m happy.

Lenny DiNardo will be starting tonight’s game, joining Matt Perisho and infielder Alejandro Machado, just named this year’s AAA Rookie of the Year as post-September 1 call-ups.  The Sox also activated Keith Foulke and Chad Harville and expect to call up Manny Delcarmen, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Kelly Shoppach.  The future is here, folks, especially if the Sox can maintain their lead in the AL East.  Perisho went 2 and 0 with a 2.09 ERA in 13 appearances and seems like a solid left-handed option to use along side Mike Myers, although unlike Myers, he’s much, much stronger against righties.  Craig Hansen will start long tossing again today and will probably pitch again on Tuesday.  From the looks of it, the organization is down-playing the extent of Hansen’s dead arm to avoid panic about the prospect’s future (not like that ever happens), but they’re not entirely sure if he’ll be making an appearance in a Boston uniform this year.

DiNardo versus John Maine at 7:05 for the first of a three game set against Baltimore.  Maine is a rookie facing Boston for the first time (bad for Sox) and although he’s yet to make it past 6 innings, has thrown well – 2.70 ERA, 1.26 WHIP.  DiNardo’s never made a start before – but that’s what we have the extended bullpen for.  GO SOX!!!

tags: baseball | red sox | keith foulke | tim wakefield | kevin millar | bronson arroyo | john olerud | craig hansen | matt perisho | jonathan papelbon