Game 70 - Red Sox
Red Sox 4, Braves 0
Jumping in here between meetings to throw a little praise Ebby Calvin's way, gasp at Coco's defensive wizardry and celebrate Manny being Manny.
Beckett's rapidly transitioned into the garter-wearing version of his namesake, spinning 6 scoreless innings last night to run his record to 10-1. He even doubled to left-center to score the Sox' second run. He didn't let Brian McCann's bullshit gamemanship distract him when the Braves catcher twice called for (and was granted) time while Beckett was in his windup. As questions swirl regarding Curt Schilling's arm, Beckett becomes that much more important to the Sox' chances.
Coco made perhaps the best catch of his short Sox career last night, blazing from right-center to the left-center gap before diving full-out to snare Tim Hudson's bid for a double. I had Coco's leaping snare of David Wright's gapper in Fenway last season in the top spot before last night, but the amount of ground he covered combined with the perfect timing and shortstop Alex Cora's premonitory arm raise (as if he knew/expected that Crisp would make the eyepopping play) elevate this most recent effort. Coco's still a liability at the plate, but there's growing noise around the league signalling that he's the game's best defensive centerfielder. His catch last night, juxtaposed as it was with Atlanta's Andruw Jones and his failure to secure Cora's drive into the gap in right-center, will serve as Exhibit A in the case for him. (And as for Jones, man is he costing himself some cash money during one of the worst free-agent seasons I can remember.)
Finally, during the middle innings, Manny went back on a ball hit over his head, reaching it and making a relatively routine grab at the warning track. Instead of turning and throwing like nearly every other player in the league would have, he seemed bummed out that he didn't get to crash into the wall, so he took an extra step and half-jumped/half-pirouetted into the padding before whipping around and flinging the ball to the cutoff man. The bewildered Edgar Renteria failed to advance from second to third during Manny's impromptu walkabout. No harm, no foul, and one more on the pile for the game's goofiest savant.