What a brutal loss. Brutal. I was there, and I thought the mojo from the previous two nights were to carry over. Alas, it did not. After the game, my throat was sore, my back was killing me from standing so long, my legs were jello, and my hands were numb from clapping so much.
The game included a couple of near-miss homeruns in Bill Mueller and David Ortiz’s bats (more on David’s at-bat later…) and an improbable two-run double by a .186/.210/.322 hitter (in 59 AB – career 202 AB .228/.266/.327) off of lefty specialist Mike Myers who struggled to find the strike zone.
Derek Lowe had flashes of brilliance and flashes of not-so-brillance and departed after five innings with the score knotted at 5-5. Terry Adams came on and blanked the O’s for two innings as he makes his case for being put on the postseason roster. Unfortunately, John Parrish and Todd Williams also did their thing, so the score was still 5-5 headed into the seventh. Normally dependable Ramiro Mendoza was off from the start and departed with runners in scoring position. Myers came in, only throwing 50% strikes, and got lucky on the last hitter where he threw a bevy of strikes to up his strike percentage. Buddy Groom and Jorge Julio shut down the Sox in the bottom frame, and Byung-Hyun Kim returned to the Red Sox with a two-run lead.
Kim quickly got Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada, the dangers O hitters out, but struggled after that, ending up with an inning thus:
Melvin Mora popped out to pitcher.
Miguel Tejada struck out swinging.
BJ Surhoff singled to right center.
Javy Lopez walked, BJ Surhoff to second.
Larry Bigbie singled to center, BJ Surhoff scored, Javy Lopez to second.
Geronimo Gil singled to center, Javy Lopez scored, Larry Bigbie to third, Geronimo Gil to second on throwing error by center fielder G Kapler.
Jose Leon popped out to second. (Courtesy ESPN)
In case you didn’t notice, Geronimo’s hit was the killer. Let’s check out his career line, okay?
.239/.288/.347 in 660 career at-bats. He has 11 AB this year (well, he did before tonight) with a .273/.333/.364 line. Granted, he was an AAA All-Star, but frankly, Jose Leon and Geronimo Gil should have had their butts on the pine. But they didn’t and it cost us. But we didn’t go out quietly, like most Red Sox fans did. Fortunately, there were plenty of hardcore fans that stuck around. (I know, I know, every fan that left had a reason for leaving, traffic, getting late, etc. but I’m just saying.) They saw, again courtesy ESPN, this:
Kevin Youkilis hit for Doug Mientkiewicz.
Kevin Youkilis struck out swinging.
Bill Mueller singled to left.
Ellis Burks hit for P Reese.
I knew immediately when Ellis walked out who he was, so I started cheering prematurely. But when the rest of the legion caught up, it was near bedlam, a tribute to a great hitter who was supposed to have a great homecoming and a great send-off into retirement. He batted seven times in April and became injured, and today was his return.
Ellis Burks singled to center, B Mueller to second.
Ricky Gutierrez ran for E Burks.
Now it was bedlam. We gave Ellis the send-off he deserved, and he gratefully tipped his helmet. With that single, I think Ellis earned himself a couple more at-bats.
Gabe Kapler struck out swinging.
Orlando Cabrera singled to left, Bill Mueller to third, Ricky Gutierrez to second.
Manny Ramirez singled to left, Bill Mueller and Ricky Gutierrez scored, Orlando Cabrera to second.
Orlando! He comes through again! And Manny, I was kind of dissapointed that he didn’t hit a HR. No offense, David, but I have more faith in Manny than you. I knew David would make it tough, but I thought Manny had the best bet to win the game.
David Ortiz flied out to right.
Ohhhh, man. Insane. Ortiz absolutely launched the ball, and the entire crowd thought it was out. It was caught on the warning track. I’m telling you, if he had hit it out … sheer bedlam.
And goodness, but there was about five broken bats hurtled at position players, it was crazy. Never seen that many broken bats go so far in the infield.
So, the series with the Yankees is next. I polled several people, and the general consensus is that we have to take two of three if we want any hope of catching the Yankees. Personally, I think we really ought to sweep to have a real chance. This is something important to talk about, because the Red Sox have to decide whether or not to keep firing on all guns to try to get the division title, or if they need to hang back and start setting up their postseason starting rotation, get people on the bubble for the playoff roster the at-bats/innings pitched they need to show that they are deserving of a playoff shot.
If we are 3.5 games behind, that’s pretty much impossible to overcome since we will end the season with three games against the Devil Rays and four against Baltimore, and the Yankees with three against Minnesota and three against Toronto. Let’s assume we leave the series 3.5 behind, and they drop three straight versus Minnesota. They are still .5 games ahead and basically will sweep Toronto. We on the other hand will have seven games left and will have to win all seven to have a prayer. While winning seven straight is possible, I just don’t think it would happen. If we are 3.5 out coming out of the Yankees series, we need to cast an eye to the playoffs. We can still keep an eye on the Yankees-Twins because I mean, it IS possible the Twins could sweep the Yankees and the Yankees could spiral down and lose in Toronto. But 3.5 out of the Yankees series is pushing it. I think to KEEP THE PRESSURE UP, we need to sweep this series. Hopefully they can; I will be attending today and I finally won my fifth attempt at an eBay auction to pick up Sunday tickets. We shall see what will transpire…
The following pictures were taken by my great friend, Zoe, who went to the game with me. She saved the day with her camera phone while my digital camera is in the shop. So, without further ado: