Game 133 – Red Sox
Yankees 4, Red Sox 3
It’s been quite a while since my wife actually left the room because she couldn’t stand to be around me during a Red Sox game. Roger Clemens taking a no-hitter (even a relatively bogus no-hitter) into the 6th inning against the Sox tends to make me a little bit of a raving wackjob, as it turns out.
Both of the first 2 games of this series have served as microcosms of the Sox’ season to date, with the pitching staff doing a solid to quite solid job (holding this Yankee offense to 9 runs in 2 games counts as an accomplishment in my book), the offense failing to deliver when it matters, and J.D. Drew flailing ineffectually. Josh Beckett fought his ass off last night, shaking off terrible situational fortune and his own self-inflicted wounds to give the Sox more than a fighting chance to win. And I’ll give the offense a bit of a break – the rumors of its’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. Hell, the Sox still have the best record in the league. Drew, though, makes me want to commit various unpleasant acts.
Among the non-Texas Con Man things that irritated me the about last night’s game was the Sox reversion to, well, to just damn dumbness on several occasions. For a really good team, they tend to space out way too often at the plate, on the basepaths, and in the field. Exhibit A last night was Dustin Pedroia’s attempt to bunt for a basehit with Julio Lugo on 2nd and 1 out in the 3rd. Pedroia’s been pressing a bit in this series, but he’s still a dangerous bat and he’s not proven himself terribly adept as a bunter. Predictably, his bunt turned into an easy play for Clemens and gave the Yankees an out on an evening where Clemens was struggling with his command.
Beckett’s wild throw to first in the bottom of the 2nd was another example of valor getting the better of discretion on this team. As Derek Jeter’s swinging bunt squibbed up the 3rd base line, Beckett ran to the ball, then turned and fired a submarine-style tailing bullet past Kevin Youkilis at first. Only Johnny Damon’s inattentiveness kept the Yankees from scoring on the play.
Finally, Coco Crisp made a terrific effort on Hideki Matsui’s 3rd-inning fly to left center, diving fully extended…and missing the ball by 4 feet. There’s that whole discretion/valor equation again – one that the Sox have completely mangled. Crisp’s misplay (truthfully, one of very, very few such occurrences this season) turned Shemp’s double into a triple, though Beckett was able to pitch out of it.
In all 3 cases last night, the Sox didn’t pay for their boneheaded acts, a series of fortunate events that balanced at least a slightly the extreme good fortune that shone upon the Yankees. Four infield singles contributed to the Bomber hit tally, and none of the 6 walks issued by Yankee pitchers came around to score. That stuff tends to even itself out over a season – not sure if today’s sample size will be large enough to count on a quick regression to the mean.
Fortunately for my wife (and somewhat unfortunately for my employer) today’s game starts at 1:05, so my lunacy will be muffled by my ostensibly more professional environs. Worst case, the Sox limp out of the Bronx with a 5-game cushion. I don’t want worst case.