Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Kid Stays in the Picture

Game 35 – Red Sox

Red Sox 5, Tigers 0
Record: 22-13

Freddy Dolsi got up yesterday and called his parents back in San Pedro de Macoris to tell them that he was going to the show*. He arrived at Comerica Park, awed by the gleaming ironwork and the too-green grass. He stretched in the outfield, shagged the still-white BP balls, and took his seat in the bullpen when the game began, trying to avoid the spittle flying from Todd Jones’ mustache every time the grizzled veteran grunted.

Then, in the 7th inning, after Nate Robertson gave up a homer to David Ortiz, Jim Leyland trudged from the dugout and lifted his right arm. As he made the long jog to the mound, Dolsi hoped his parents were watching.

Then he looked in to get the sign from Ivan Rodriguez, realized that Manny Ramirez was standing in the batter’s box and silently hoped that maybe crazy Tio Pablo knocked out the satellite again, or that his parents could wait until the next batter to tune in. Mike Lowell, while formidable in his own right, isn't Manny Ramirez.

He took a deep breath, reared back and fired the fastball that got him 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings in Lakeland this season. It took roughly 2 nanoseconds for him to realize with certainty that there are no Manny Ramirez’ in Lakeland, and 3 more for Dolsi’s first major league pitch to land well over the centerfield wall.

While not exactly the stuff of The Rookie, Dolsi did manage to settle down and retire 4 of the next 5 batters he faced. Happy ending for all involved, at least from this corner of the world – Tim Wakefield goes 8 innings and allows 2 hits and no walks (see, Daisuke, it’s a simple game), the kid saves a little bit of face, Tio Pablo sleeps off the hangover, the Sox extend their winning streak to 5, and baseball’s eternal cycle renews and refreshes. It’s a beautiful thing.

* - I’m aware that he was actually brought up on Saturday. It’s called poetic license.

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