Saturday, May 20, 2006

Game 39: We Hit 'Em Hella Deep

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, Philadelphia Phillies 3

Yay, dingers!

Oh long ball, how we love you. The first game of Boston’s interleague match ups for this year might have been in the City of Brotherly Love, but the offense was all about knocking things around: three dingers out of tiny Citizen’s Bank Park put the Sox on top from the second inning and gave Matt Clement his fourth victory of the year. Matty even helped himself with a single in the fifth that led to a run with jack number of three of the night, a second deck shot by Ortiz.

I admit I was a little worried about how things were going to turn out tonight. Robin reminded me yesterday that Jon Lieber was one of the Yankees’ more effective weapons against Boston in 2004 and even though he’s had a mixed career in Philadelphia in 2005 and 2006 (it seems like a fastball pitcher might have a tough time Philly if he doesn’t make his pitches), that certainly wouldn’t stop the offense from taking an inopportune night off. It didn’t help that Clement had a hiccup in the first inning where he loaded the bases with a double and two walks, only to escape with unscathed a flyball out. Fortunately, we have Mike Lowell, the man who hits doubles. Give him a fastball that stays up and take away the Green Monster and not surprisingly, we have a double double, scoring Manny and seizing the lead, two to nothing. Good stuff.

Clement mostly settled down after that and boosted by a solo Varitek shot to right made it to the fourth inning before giving up a home run himself to Shane Victorino (who?). He ran into more trouble in the sixth, putting two men on before getting out of the inning, but by that point, the Sox had knocked Lieber of the game after he fed Ortiz one of those sweet inside pitches that just doesn’t go inside far enough. Ortiz knocked it into the second deck, of course, because that’s what he does, scoring Clement with what turned out to be the winning run.

The only big flaw of the night for the Sox came in the seventh, when the wheels finally came off Clement’s train for the night. Matt seems to go from cooking to cooked very quickly this year and tonight was no exception – he put the other Alex Gonzalez (what, did the two of them switch leagues in the off season?) and Jimmy Rollins on base with two outs, then surrendered the ball to Foulke. Foulke very nearly gave up a home run to Chase Utley, who had to settle with a two run double instead. Foulke gets the final out the seventh, Timlin and Papelbon are perfect for two innings and “Dirty Water” is ringing through the heads of RSN members everywhere.

Tomorrow night, Beckett and Myers square off for game two. I’m a little nervous about this game, too: the first time I saw Josh Beckett pitch in person was last year at Citizen’s Bank and he had one of those really bad first innings. Of course, he also had blister problems last year and so far, we’ve been blessed by their absence. GO SOX!!!