Thursday, September 06, 2007

Game 141: Clay Buchholz Doesn't Like the Orioles

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 7, Baltimore Orioles 6

Somewhere, in the wilds of Ballmer, where the signs on the benches, buildings and barrels say Believe, where the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is publicly venerated, where someone forgot to tell the Orioles that this season wasn't their chance to escape from fourth place in the AL East, someone is planning to kill Clay Buchholz. Probably in a slow and painful fashion, perhaps something elaborate involving torture. But you know someone's out there thinking about it.

And really, how could they not? Clay's quickly becoming an Oriole nemesis, another page in the book of 2007 injuries that already includes the Mother's Day Miracle and the biggest one day beat down in the past 50 years. Things were bad enough with the shutout, but tonight...well, that's just cruel.

You gotta hand it to them birds, though: they put up a real fight. Wearing Black Sox uniforms to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the championship of the Negro League team of the same name, they supervised one of Tim Wakefield's worst starts of the year, a six run, nine hit shelling over 3.2 innings that left him with his first no decision of 2007. Baltimore's pitching kept giving the lead away, but their offense kept winning it back, the two teams tossing the lead back and forth like a hot potato over the first two thirds of the game. Then Clay comes in, for his first-ever relief performance. Maybe Baltimore learned something from last time, because they combo up and load the bases with no outs for Miguel Tejada, which seems like the baseball equivalent of trapping a person inside a fuel depot and tossing in a live hand grenade.

Clay has other plans, though: with two strikes he drops a curve into the strike zone that Tejada hot shots down to third, setting up the oh-so-rare 5-2-3 double play. Throw in a Millar strikeout to end the inning and you're looking at the perfect gut punch, completed for final effect when Coco Crisp and a pinch-hitting Varitek combine for the go ahead run in the ninth against Danys Baez. It was tough, it was sweet, it was completely satisfying and it makes a reason for Orioles fans to hate Clay Buchholz just a little more.