First off, a bit of armchair management: If I were Tito, I would have made it a point to get the Hebrew Hammer into yesterday’s line-up against Brett Myers. Considering Myers’ recent wife-belting and how much Mazel Tough has thrown into helping battered women — including his Kapler Foundation — it would have been spectacular drama to pit the two against each other.
But when you’ve got Ortiz on your side, it almost doesn’t matter who else you’ve got in your line-up. Seriously, if you’re a major league manager, are you ever gonna pitch to Tizzle with a game on the line? I mean, ever? Why would you do it? Yesterday, the Phillies did, and he made ’em pay, sweeping us all up in his utter majesty and prompting the musical question, “What the f–k did we do for entertainment in this town before David Ortiz?” The sight of Papi being mobbed at home plate by his teammates has become as ubiquitous as those Bob’s Discount Furniture ads, but it still gets me as hyped as a hot kiss on a first date.
Ortiz may have pushed us across the finish line, but a lot of folks helped keep us in the race. Like Schilling, who settled down after coughing up two early runs, striking out 10 across six innings. And Lopez, who was dropped into a most precarious situation — bases loaded, one out, tie game — and got the double play ball that everyone from Marblehead to Pittsfield was praying for. And the Papel-Bot, who has become baseball’s equivalent of a chloroform rag, snuffing out any last ounce of hope an opposing team might have had. In the ninth, he worked us out of a bases loaded jam with a nasty strikeout of Pat Burrell, but it was exactly what we knew he was going to do. He’s so mind-bogglingly overpowering that you almost feel bad for the other team, knowing what he’s going to reduce them to. This is clearly what Yankees fans must have felt like during Mo Rivera’s salad days, and I gotta admit, it feels pretty good.
Eight in a row. And I ask, why does it have to end? Why not 10? 11? 22? Yesterday, Mother Nature continued to wallop much of the area around Boston while Fenway remained surprisingly dry. Let’s hope the same can be said for today, when Timmeh takes the hill at 2:05pm.
See you there.