Sunday, April 09, 2006

Game 5: Cold As Ice

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 2, Baltimore Orioles 1

You know that you are…

Just like the Foreigner ballad, it WAS chilly in Camden Yards. The rain finally let up after a 1 ½ hour delay and we had a ballgame where mittens and sweaters were not an uncommon sight. It was about 44 degrees at game time (that’s Fahrenheit for all you metric using nerds) and it only got colder as the innings progressed. The fans were bundled, the players were bundled and I think I saw a memorabilia collector using his signed Rafael Palmeiro bats as kindling. To reiterate: IT WAS COLD.

And yet the Sox pitching was still red hot. Schilling (now 2-0) gave up 3 hits and one earned run (a Matos solo shot) over 7 strong innings. Again, he looked like the guy from 2004. He has the stuff to win 20+ games as long as he remains healthy. And like before, he was real fired up to strikeout Conine to end his performance. A dominating show. Timlin also had a good showing in the 8th. He allowed a single but no more and he too looked like he was at the top of his game.

Unfortunately, the Sox bats were as cold as the weather. Sure they had 7 hits and 6 walks (it seemed like they were going to hammer Bruce Chen in the 6th) but they only ended up with 2 runs and left the bases loaded twice. “Leave em on” Lowell stranded 4 all by his lonesome and Wily Mo (getting the start against the lefty Chen) looked AWFUL with 2 big strikeouts. There were also some base running blunders. In the 3rd, Crisp with his blinding speed stole second and immediately had aspirations on third base. Chen saw him and gunned him down like a clay pigeon. His late and awkward slide was as poor as the attempt itself. Nice idea… poor execution.

After all this talk about temperatures, I must say that the coldest thing in the park wasn’t the air or the hitting. It was the blood coursing through Jon Papelbon’s veins which must be at Absolute 0. Just 100% lights out. When he trotted in from the bullpen in the 9th he looked as if he were jogging in to pitch BP. Tejada: pop out, Gibbons: pop out, Millar: a WICKED K. He was throwing heat the whole time (94-97) and looked as if he could go 2 more innings. Not since Foulke was in his prime in 2004 (and maybe Tom Gordon in 1998) was I this confidant in a closer. He looks as if he could do this every day.

1:35 tomorrow is the final game in the series and the last game before the home opener on Tuesday. Tim “Bard is not ‘Bellie” Wakefield will face Rodrigo “Sox Killer” Lopez. Could someone PLEASE inform Mr. Lopez that he is a mediocre pitcher and NOT the Cy Young candidate he looks like when he faces us? Thanks…