Friday, May 30, 2008

Game 57: Totally Necessary

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 5, Baltimore Orioles 2

You hate to see a team lose a game because of costly errors. Stupid, unsightly errors (three in one inning!) and sloppy base running (Kevin Millar! Embedded Red Sox! Incidentally winning the game for us once again!) by the other team just make you feel like you've been cheated out of a hard-won victory, that the baseball gods, in their fickle fashion, have granted you something you don't deserve out of spite or caprice.

Who am I kidding? The way the Sox have been hitting lately, I'll take a win any way I can get, three unearned runs or no, particularly when the regulation portion of tonight's game - and its bevy of missed opportunities - are factored in. Eleven men left on base: that's the total of tonight's blown chances to score runs against an increasingly wily Daniel Cabrera, who's either finally gained effective control over his fastball, or is extracting his vengeance on me for dropping him from my fantasy team like a hot potato back in April.

Fortunately, the entirety of the pitching corp, from Beckett to Papelbon, pitched the like the pros we've all been pretty sure that they are. Beckett - with the exception of a wild sixth - was the strikeout pitcher we know and love, complete with misplaced pitch that wound up over the fence and six innings of two run lock down. Okajima was his charming self for an extremely helpful two innings, while Craig Hansen pitched a phenomenal inning and two-thirds where he not only kept men from scoring, but even killed off an inherited runner. It was like I'd died and gone to bullpen heaven.

Both sides will hope for long outings by their starters tomorrow, but what I'm hoping for even more is that by capitalizing on tonight's opportunities - even if the Orioles eventually had to offer them with double-dipping exaggerated courtesy on a silver platter (three errors in one inning!) - Boston's bats will finally wake up and score runs. It might well be totally necessary.