For anyone who thought winning a World Series would lessen the passion and intensity of Red Sox fans; apology accepted. The fans at Fenway the past two nights, for two regular season games in September, have rivaled the noise and exuberance of any post-season game. On a night Mike Timlin was given the 10th player award, the fans were robbed. One look at the Sox home record, and the manner in which they win a lot of those home games, tells me the fans are the real 10th player.
David Wells, keeper of the cake, shrugged off a shaky first inning to go seven strong. Chad Bradford started the eighth and got a very quiet Gary Sheffield to ground out. Francona, who clearly out managed Torre in round 1 (more on that in a minute) went immediately back to the pen to have Myers face Godzilla. On the eleventh pitch of the at-bat, Myers struck him out. Back to the pen for Timlin, and Posada is down on three pitches, the bat never leaving his shoulder.
In the ninth, Timlin K’s Sierra and Williams on a total of 8 pitches. Obviously, the Sox decided not to wait for the playoffs to switch the regular Mike Timlin (inherited runners, blown saves, blah, blah, blah) for the Ultra-Timlin, the guy we saw last October. The next batter, Cano, singled before Captain Intolerable grounded out to end the game. And after 160 games, we’re all even.
Terry Francona deserves a lot of credit for his use of the bullpen. Especially when you consider Papelbon was not available. And here is why he out-managed Joe Torre: Jason Giambi. In the sixth inning, Giambi led off with a single. The score at the times was 2-1. Torre elected not to pinch-run, and Giambi ended the inning standing on third while a pinch-runner would have scored on Matsui’s double. In the bottom of the inning, Giambi’s throwing error led to two unearned runs. For all of the games Giambi has won for them during his latest cycle, last night he cost them, and he probably should have been on the bench at that point.
A few obscure moments of the game that I enjoyed…
The sub-plot of the MVP race. Round 1 goes to Papi: 1-for-2 with an RBI ,two walks and no strikeouts. A-Rod went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and an error.
Manny’s running catch on the warning track. If that gets by him…
Watching Bill Mueller play defense. The man is money. He makes every tough-hop play and somehow throws off-balance across his body to get the out.
The look on Torre’s face when Wang walked in a run. It was the look of defeat.
Bring on the Unit. Bring on October.
Oh, by the way, the Yankees were 19-8 in September going into last night’s game. Where have we heard that number before…