First things first: I didn’t see any of last night’s game. Instead, I was careening 37,000 feet above the earth, praying to any deity I could think of to get me home safely to my wife and kids. And amid disgusted looks by my fellow flyers at my choice of the three-way Cincy chili for lunch, I pondered the fate of my beloved Sox. Finally, terra firma. I kiss the ground at TF Greene and run to the nearest television, and to my delight, see 6-1 in the eighth. That told me the two things I was hoping for: the bats stayed somewhat hot on a cold June night, and my man Bronson had returned to pre-suspension form.
Driving home, I was able to hear Foulke make quick work of the ninth inning, striking out the side after allowing a flare single. Not a save situation but still more positive mojo. After the game came a bonus – an interview with Dave Ortiz. I don’t know why, but that deep, powerful voice that is somehow so gentle and filled with an underlying happiness, laced with Dominican accent, soothes me. I want to hear him read Shakespeare aloud or perhaps the Gettysburg Address before a Clement start. Even better, I would like him to read me a bedtime story as I drift into the sleep of the righteous fan whose team has just swept.
And what a sweep. The Red Sox outscored the Reds 23-4 in the series. The Red Sox starting pitchers combined for just 13 hits and 4 runs in 22 innings. Oh, and 22 strikeouts. Throw in Wake’s gem that kicked off the current winning streak, and you’ve got 4 wins all anchored by the starting pitching.
And back to last night’s starter for a minute. Remember that kid in high school, kind of scrawny, but still a wiseass? You always thought he’d get his head dunked in the toilet regularly or that you’d find him hanging from a locker by his underwear, but it never happened. And even when the stoners or the jocks got on him, he never backed down, always wearing that I-know-something-you-don’t-so-f**k-off look on his face. And inevitably there’d be a throwdown, and everyone would find out what it was he knew – usually some form of martial arts or boxing – and nobody found it out harder than the guy who finally pushed things too far. Arroyo is that kid, grown up. And what he knows that the opposing sluggers don’t expect by looking at him, is that he can get them out. His secret weapon is his sweeping curve ball and his pinpoint location. And when he is on, batters find out about him the hard way. Last night to the tune of 8 K’s.
Friday, we start the weekend with Wade Miller pitching against Pittsburgh. This is a series that should prolong the building momentum. If you’re going Sunday, you may want to hang on to that broom…