Games 39 & 40 - Red Sox
Red Sox 5, Philadelphia Phillies 3
Red Sox 8, Phillies 4
As Whit noted earlier this week, timing is everything. He has no idea how right he is on that count, though today's MLC-related action affirmed his genius.
2 major league baseball teams took 4 run leads into the clinching half of the 9th inning today. 1 of those teams closed out their opponent in 1-2-3 fashion, and the other plays in Queens - and played like queens in the last 3 frames. The Sox are doing their part, systematically dismantling the reeling Phils in the first 2 of their set. With Lenny Dinardo on the hill tomorrow for the Sox, my guys need their pals to step up - I'm looking at you, blue and orange.
I had a slightly different vantage point that my friend for the Mets/Yanks tilt, though I appreciate the explanation of his afternoon travels, as it explains why he didn't answer the phone when I tried to call and ask "What the fuck?!?!" We're having some landscaping done, and the architect was in my dining room as Wagner melted down. I'm not sure he appreciated the fact that my attention was oddly divided between choosing patio finishes and the Mets' closer self-immolating, but I'm about to stroke him a pretty big check, so I figure he'll get over it. For what it's worth, Whit, you're really better off not having seen that inning. It drove me batshit, and I'm not a Mets fan.
On the other side of the coin, fun doings tonight in Philly. Josh Beckett pitched 7+ strong innings, and would have gone 8 if not for J.T. Snow's "defense" and Citizen's Bank Park's extremely friendly confines - that park is tighter than a Kennedy at 2:00 am on a Saturday morning. In addition, and much more interestingly, the duck-legged righty went 2 for 4, driving in the Sox' first run, scoring their second, and hitting the first homer in 34 years by a Boston pitcher. Caused me to blurt out a "Holy Shit" in front of my mother. When Alex Gonzalez went deep in the following inning, she said the same thing, which tells you how bad A-Gon's been A-going of late. (Editor's note - that last sentence might be slightly embellished for literary purposes.)
Back to the timing thing, this evening offered yet another example of how 1 play, 1 inch, 1 moment changes everything in baseball. Phils starter Randy Myers had held the Sox to 1 hit through 5 innings, and when he struck out Wily Mo Pena to start the 6th with Gonzalez and Beckett to follow, it sure looked like he was well on his way to a dominant performance. Then, in the blink of an eye, Jimmy Rollins airmailed a routine throw from short to allow Gonzalez to reach 2nd, Beckett singled to right center to tie the game, and the floodgates swung wide. The Sox tallied 4 in the 6th, 2 in the 7th, and 2 more in the 8th to end the shouting. Every time the camera swung to Rollins, the Phils' terrific shortstop looked like he wanted second base to slide aside to reveal a hole into which he could dive.
In all likelihood, Billy Wagner'd be there to greet him.