Brunell Takes the Loss, Sends Sox down 9.5 Games

I apologize to Red Sox Nation. I lost the game for us. Not Millar, Schilling, Foulke, or any other goat you can think of. The onus is on me. Why? Read on…
FIRST INNING
The only blemish on this inning was Gary Sheffield’s poke into the Monster Seats. It was a curveball that Sheffield drove down the line. The crowd did not react at all until it went out, then we each looked at each other in wonderment. That ball looked like it was very softly hit, but it carried. Not much reaction from the fans.
We did nothing the bottom of the first. After that, two Coast Guard helicopters flew over the stadium (with no fanfare which means it was unexpected) to the applause of the fans.
SECOND INNING
Schilling is on, and we pay him a favor when Trot Nixon rifles a shot down the right field line to bring in Nomar, and Mueller knocks Nomar in with a no-question about it laser past the bullpen in right field. We’re up 3-1 and Schilling is cruising. Ricky Gutierrez and Johnny Damon end the inning by grounding out. When Gutierrez was up, he took a hearty swing and lost control of his bat. It was flung into the Yankee dugout, which elicted a standing ovation from the crowd. Welcome to Boston, Ricky.
THIRD INNING
Enrique Wilson has a .256 OBP. This is ridiculous. The third goes by quietly, and so does the top fourth as Schilling is ON.
Here is Player A: .224 AVG .361 OBP .408 SLG 11 HR 36 RBI
Here is Player B: .276 AVG .355 OBP .408 SLG 7 HR 28 RBI
Player A is Jason Giambi, Player B is Millar. I’d much rather have Millar than Giambi, thank you.
FOURTH INNING
Millar pokes one into the Monster to make it 4-1.
FIFTH INNING
Schilling starts wavering as Lofton rips a single down the right field line that Millar just misses. Nixon gets the throw and fires home, the umpire calls him safe. The crowd doesn’t really know if he was safe or out (on our side anyways, the first base side), so we watch apathetically as Varitek and Francona argue their case. It’s a different story at home now, seeing it on the replay. Posada was clearly out.
We are pathetic in the bottom of the fifth.
SIXTH INNING
Schilling falls apart as the Yankees plate five runs. My co-worker wonders why they did not bring in Embree to face Matsui. At that point, one run had scored and there were runners at first and second. Matsui sent a ball to Millar who got Posada at second, bringing the runners to the corners. Ruben Sierra tapped a high ball to Millar, who had no play, nowhere. No one was covering first – not Schilling, not Gutierrez. I blamed Millar initially, saying he should have thrown home. Now that I’m home and have a chance to review, though, I see Varitek steps off home plate because there is no play. So now we’ve got first and second with Kenny Lofton up. He doubles, two runs in. Francona pulls Schilling, bringing in Timlin.
Bernie rifles a double, bringing in Cairo (pinch-runner for Sierra) and Kenny Lofton.
This is where I save the Red Sox. In disgust, I take off my (prescription) glasses, and replace them with my brand new (prescription) sunglasses that I had just picked up before heading to the game. Why? Needed a change of scenery – didn’t want to watch the bloodshed.
Timlin gets two out.
Millar homers in the Green Monster again. Not bad, we’re now down by two, 7-5.
SEVENTH INNING
Timlin stifles the offense.
Jason Varitek doubles in Johnny Damon. One run game, suckers! I notice in amazement the great timing of me putting my sunglasses on and our success. Coincidence? Nah. Keep the sunglasses on, and we will win. We end up settling for one run as Joe Torre uses his relievers – a lefty matchup to get Ortiz out. Heredia replaced Quantrill after Quantrill (who came in after the fifth) allowed Varitek’s double. Heredia walked Ortiz, and Torre brought in Tom Gordon, who gets a double play, hits Nomar, then induces Nixon in a flyout.
EIGHTH INNING
Curtis Leskanic looks good. Quick and efficient inning.
Millar homers.
Okay, wow. Three homers in the game, all no-question shots to left. The crowd goes insane, and DEMANDS a curtain-call. We are still hollering as Mueller is safe on a throwing error by Tony Clark, and Gordon attempts to stifle the crowd by continually checking on Mueller at first. Realizing Millar isn’t coming out (guess who’s holding a grudge…), the fans sit. Gabe Kapler runs for Bill Mueller. (?) Gordon retires the side.
NINTH INNING
Keith Foulke comes in. My co-worker says he has no faith in Foulke. Neither do I. In his first 22 games, he had a 0.8-something ERA with 0 blown saves. After this game, he has a 3.3-something ERA with 5 blown saves in his last 21 games. Ouch. Jeter flies out, Sheffield doubles, A-Rod doubles, and then Foulke gets two out – a little too late. Hmm, I wonder, what’s with that? My sunglasses were working so well. I realize in horror that my sunglasses were DIRTY! I hurriedly clean them and pray it’s not too late.
Ramirez flies out to right. We thought it was gone.
Nomar proves my prediction right, and grounds out.
Millar is on-deck.
Trot Nixon fouls out to Jorge Posada, and the game is over.
My apologies.
Now, it wasn’t really a demoralizing loss. It was a great game that was marred only by a poor performance by Schilling, who never could get into a rhythm all night. If Schilling had been on, we would have won. But he wasn’t, and we lost. But I think this was a “moralizing” loss for us. Millar seems to be clicking, running on grudges. (“Real Red Sox fans wouldn’t boo me.”) Sorry, Millar, but real Red Sox fans WILL boo you if you don’t get the job done. Our hitting other than Millar didn’t seem too top-notch, but I would like to see this lineup again tomorrow (albeit with Bellhorn at second, not Gutierrez. Bellhorn did pinch hit for Ricky, but I want Bellhorn starting), as I am intrigued by the Varitek-batting-second concept. It has promise.
Sorry this post doesn’t have more meat, but it’s 2 in the morning, and I’m tired. So tomorrow we see Bronson Arroyo oppose Tanyon Sturtze. If we lose this one, now that will be a crusher.