Friday, August 25, 2006

Game 127: So This Wily Mo Guy...You Say He Plays Defense, Too?

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 2, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1

The funny thing about pivotal moments, especially in a game like this one where there was so much well-played baseball, is that their significance can sometimes pass you by. This game had two of pivotal moments; one obvious, one not so much. The first one, where Weaver left a pitch up in Papi’s wheelhouse so fat and sweet that it would have been criminal not to crush it, was an obvious turning point. Breaking the scoreless tie on a night when both pitchers were dealing was big enough, but making Weaver look human again on the way to his first loss was enormous. I think the psychological boost Beckett got from having that one piece of support from his offense made his pitches even sicker, if possible.

The second one wasn’t quite so apparent until I really thought about it: by the time Wily Mo Pena saved the win for Beckett by gunning down Juan Rivera at the plate with a bullet from left field, it was the seventh inning, the Sox were up 2 – 0 thanks to a Wily Mo RBI single and I was juiced and anxious about the game getting over with Boston on top. But in retrospect, it was obvious: Pena doesn’t make that throw properly, at the very least the score is tied until (hopefully) Boston finds another opening to score and possibly even worse: everyone on the East Coast is up until 2:30 because of the tie, someone in the Sox bullpen blows the game and we all wake up angry. It’s the little things, like preserving my sanity, that really make the difference.

Anyway, take that, Jared Weaver. You and your perfect record can go suck it, because Josh Beckett pitched out of his gourd tonight and he’d probably still be throwing nasty strikes if one of those nasty little blisters hadn’t derailed his night in the seventh. Then we’ve got Timlin to give us an inning and two thirds of miracle ball (the Angels got one hit, with the game literally on the line the whole time). I kid you not, I think Timlin had an epiphany on the mound last night about where his career was going after that set against the Yankees. Either that or the hex he called down on himself by blaming the hitting for losing games suddenly evaporated, like it was on a time fuse or something. The man was guns in the saddle good. Hell, all of the pitching was good, a pleasant change of events from recent history: after Josh and Mike showed ‘em how it was done, Paps wrapped it up with another four out save, acquiring the rookie record in the process.

I’m starting to get a little excited here. Sure, there hasn’t been much hitting (not that there would be against Jared Weaver), but the pitching seems to be coming around and the pitching, as we all know, is most of what’s needed right now for the Sox to have a prayer at making the playoffs. Hell, we won a series against the Angels, which I wouldn’t have thought possible as recently as earlier this week and we’re riding high into Seattle. GO SOX!!!