It’s funny how, even after The Magic of 2004, I’m so quick to write off this team when things go awry. In the first inning, Beckett gives up a home run to Cabrera — and, seriously, I could watch this guy hit home runs against us all day long, my love for him is such — then plunks Vlad the Impaler and gets himself a warning. “So here it comes,” I figure, in between chomps of steak and swigs of Labatts. “The implosion hath begun.”
But Mr. Tweeden proves me wrong. He shakes it off, tucks it away, hikes up the big pants and goes a full 6, striking out 5 and whittling the ERA to a paltry 1.50.
That spoke volumes to me. And it makes me feel that he may well become the lynchpin that we so desperately need him to be this year. The sure thing, the proven commodity. The guy whose name we put an imaginary W next to before each start. Because we just know.
Of course, when the offense is putting up a 6-spot in the first, the load on your shoulders is considerably lighter. The bats were rolling throughout this set with Anaheim; Lugo, who so far seems every bit the agent provocateur he was billed as at the start of the line-up, went 6-for-13 through the series, while Ortiz went 6-for-12 with two home runs. Christ, Eric Hinske had three hits spread across these games as well, telling you everything you need to know about how things are going.
Interestingly, Wily Mo got the start over Coco, and promptly struck out twice, going 0-for-3 on the afternoon, and giving me the sneaking suspicion that if we ever got a full week of watching WMP in the line-up, we’d have planes towing “Play Coco” banners flying over Fenway Park.
But the highlight of the game — the reason you wanted to TiVo it and keep it on hand for those long winter nights — was Remy and D.O., as is typically the case. On a cold, drag-ass day and a game that was essentially over by the second inning, they kept the good vibes flowing, the bit for the vault being when the duo — using techniques that the Warren Commission would have envied — identified some nimrod who chucked a piece of pizza at a fan reaching for a foul ball. It was like NESN’s own version of the Zapruder film and it was easily one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen with my two eyes. If the folks at NESN aren’t submitting that tape to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for Emmy consideration as I type this, they’re just not doing their job.
Update: The pizza incident, now on YouTube: