Friday, April 14, 2006

Comfortably Numb

Game 9 - Red Sox

Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 6
W: Lilly (1-0)
L: Clement (1-1)
Sv: Ryan (3)
Record: 6-3

I caught the final 3-4 innings of this one in a beer-soaked stupor after spending the afternoon with Whit and others at first the Nationals/Mets game and then a succession of watering holes in the Greater Washington metropolitan area. By the time Whit and I reached my living room, the Sox trailed 8-1 and I didn't really care all that much.

While the result obviously doesn't thrill me, my mood was improved by the performance of the Sox' bullpen after Matt Clement's 4-inning self-immolation, and I was further cheered by the lads' refusal to buckle under after Toronto took a 7-run lead into the 7th inning. Keith Foulke turned in 2 scoreless frames to lead the pen's 5-inning, 4-hit, 1-run effort.

The Sox plated 2 in the bottom of the 8th on the indomitable Papi's 4th homer of the year, a laser that would not have reached the seats in any other park in the majors (though it would have been a wall-rattling extra-base hit). Fenway giveth.

As Kevin Youkilis came to the plate with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the 9th, I turned to Whit and said, "If they give Papi a chance, yikes". A Youkilis gap-shot double and a Mark Loretta flare single later, and Ortiz came to the plate as the tying run, prompting Jays' skipper John Gibbons to bring in B.J. Ryan to close out what should have been a laugher. Though Ortiz' first-pitch skyscraper of a fly ball settled easily into Alex Rios' glove provided a serious anti-climax, the Sox showed some onions in a losing effort. For what it's worth, Ortiz' game-ending fly probably would have been out of 50% of the parks in the league. Fenway taketh away.

It's really way too early to stress over a 2-game losing streak, especially since the Sox showed some heart in both losses. Might not be too early to stress over the weakness of the 3-5 slots in the pitching rotation, but I'll give Messrs. Wells and Clement a few more outings before I commence fingernail gnawing. Schilling does have his first big stopper opportunity of the season tonight against the Mariners.

As for the more enjoyable portion of my day, I must say that the Metropolitans are for real. They may not go 161-1, as the volume of media ballwashing may imply, but I'd be shocked if they don't cruise through the poop-laden NL East. The Nationals, handcuffed by "ownership" issues and a real lack of talent, compounded those negatives by showing less sack than a herd of eunuchs - I hope Frank Robinson tore Jose Guillen's still-beating heart from his chest or at least upended a postgame spread after that flaccid effort.

Still working on my postgame hangover, so signing off here and hoping that I don't pass out in my office.

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