Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Game 7: Stand on Ceremony

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, Toronto Blue Jays 3

Playing hooky today? You are not alone! It is opening day at Fenway and the truant officers are busy all over New England (here as well because the Mets and Yanks started early). Everyone called in sick to see Josh Beckett take on Josh Towers and the Jays. I heard that the loser of this match up will be referred to as “Joshua” for the rest of the season, spreading shame and added vowels to his family and loved ones.

Before we get to the actual baseball however, we need to sit through the presentation that never ends. Introductions for every player and coach (followed by “DUH DUH” increasing in pitch to the point that when it got to the bat boys, only dogs could hear the tones), the Canadian National Anthem sung by a children’s choir and Adam Stern (must have been a hazing thing), a Jimmy Fund kid signing the American National Anthem (I will go to hell for even THINKING that was funny), and the surviving members of the 1946 Pennant winning team driving on the field in classic cars to throw out the first pitches. By the time the A-10 aircrafts did the fly-over I think the ceremony had been going on for 7 hours. I lost track of time and feeling in my legs.

Anyway, it seems that I was not the only one driven to distraction by the morning events. Beckett gave up a single and walked 3 (one with the bases loaded) to start off the game. Luckily a well timed double play ended the threat and we were treated to a flurry of fist pumps and high fives. The following 6 innings he looked like a different guy. Only 2 more hits and a walk for the rest of the game. Will someone let me know if Beckett is going to start off shaky and then be amazing till the 7th inning of all his starts? Cause if he is it would be nice to make that common knowledge. Might decrease the chance I have a mental collapse every fifth day.

The defense helped him again in the 4th with one of the more amazing double plays I have EVER seen. Molina hits a line drive to a jumping Loretta who just manages to tip the ball to Gonzo who touches second and then fires to first. Amazing, but I think they could have dropped the ball, dusted it off and walked it to first base. Molina has cat like speed, but it’s Garfield the cat.

Meanwhile, Towers got roughed up by some of the newer guys. Lowell went 4-4 with 3 doubles (not a typo), Stern had a steal and a 2 RBI double and Youlk was 2-4 with a RBI. Big Papi added a solo shot in the 7th off reliever Chulk, but most of the damage was done to Towers in the 2nd inning. The bad news is that Manny looked completely lost, Gonzo has infield power, and Wily Mo (who didn’t even start) had an all around horrible day.

Wily was replacing Nixon who hurt his groin in fielding a ball in the 2nd (they are calling it a minor sprain). He swung at every pitch he saw and looked like he was in a hurry to get some lunch after the game. Unfortunately, his hitting WASN’T the worst part of his afternoon. In the 8th Foulke came in with a 5-1 lead and after a single by Russ Adams, left fielder Frank Catalanotto hit a DEEP fly ball to right. Wily went back… over the bullpen wall… and… it bounced out of his glove for a 2 run homer. Ugh. Well if Trot is going to miss some significant time over this groin thing, Wily will get some more practice. It looks like he needs it.

Papelbon slammed the door in the 9th with another strikeout to keep his ERA at a lofty 0.00. I love this guy (check out his Weird Mitigating Factor score)! Another save for him and another win for Beckett. A nice finish to a day of gilded lilies, pomp and circumstance.

Tomorrow, lock up your snack foods. David Wells makes his 2006 debut and he is hungry for a win… and just plain hungry. GO SOX!!