Thursday, September 23, 2004

Games 150 & 151 - Red Sox
Queer as Foulke (Alternate title: Freaking Drama Queens)

Red Sox 3, Orioles 2
Red Sox 7, Orioles 6 (12)
Record: 91-60

I suppose that I could look at the Sox' last two games as tipping points, sure to be discussed from the future as the games that really cemented this team's identity and offered proof positive of their heart. I could do that...if I could stop hyperventilating and get my own heart to stop racing. For the love of all that is holy, boys, how about winning an easy one tonight?

Two nights in a row the Sox take 1-run leads into the top of the 9th inning. Two nights in a row, Keith Foulke offers up 3-2 meatballs to Oriole batters to lose those leads. And two nights in a row, the Sox bats pick Foulke and the team right back up. (And, for what it's worth, two nights in a row, the Mariners beat the snot out of the Angels, reducing the Sox' playoff magic number to 5. Seattle is the anti-Baltimore.) Last night it was Orlando Cabrera atoning for his inability to win the game in the bottom of the 9th (bases loaded, 1 out, and the O-Cab bounced into a forceout at home on a wickedly fine play by Melvin Mora, who barehanded Cabrera's chopper and threw to Javy Lopez to force speedy Dave Roberts. Helluva play.) by blasting a Rick Bauer offering into the Monster seats to end the game. Cabrera's game-winner was made possible by Doug Mientkiewicz and Pokey Reese, who bookended a terrific 3-2-4 double play to end a Baltimore rally in the top of the 12th. So that's what a good defensive team looks like. Interesting.

Note that I used the names Roberts, Cabrera, and Mientkiewicz in that last paragraph. Had I been forced to use Kapler, Garciaparra, and Millar, the Orioles win that game going away. I'm just saying.

Tuesday's game offers a glimpse of the depths to which my insanity goes as it concerns the Sox. My youngest daughter took a tumble that required my wife to take her to the emergency room (she's more than fine, thanks for asking, but you can send donations to me, just in case). As I watched Foulke put the final touches on Curt Schilling's iron-willed effort (8 IP, 3H, 14K), my wife called me from the hospital. She told me that the little one was okay at precisely the moment that Lopez drilled Foulke's 2-strike, 2-out offering over the Monster. I managed to muffle my expletives - really don't know how, to be honest - and complete the conversation before throwing the phone through the wall. She called back about 20 minutes later, right as Mark Bellhorn ripped a gapper to plate the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the inning. This time, I couldn't contain myself, shouting with glee and cutting her off as she was explaining the doctor's advice. "Sox win", I told her. "That's nice. Do you want to hear how your daughter's doing?" Um. Yeah. Sorry 'bout that.

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