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Home  >  Red Sox Diary  >  2002  >  July

Friday, July 5, 2002

Tigers at Fenway
Frank Castillo vs. Mark Redman

Today was marked by the passing of one of the greatest Red Sox - Ted Williams. I
attended Fenway tonight. Before the game there were all sorts of tributes to "The Kid"
along with the moving moment of silence.

Ted would have been sick watching this game against the lowly Tigers. Castillo hasn't
been good or bad lately and here was another game where he pitched poorly enough to lose
but not poorly enough to be yanked immediately. It was the rest of the team that made
this one ugly. In the 3rd, Bryant Nelson boots a grounder, and George Lombard follows
with a single. Then in the classic Little League play with 1st and 3rd, the runner on
first goes on the pitch and stops, hoping to get in a rundown to get the runner home.
The Sox throw through and get Lombard in a rundown, but then Nomar muffs the throw
allowing the runner at 3rd to score. Next inning, Ricky doubles, goes to 3rd on an
infield single, but is cut down at the plate on a short fly to center, a questionable
play to go with just one out. Next play is a wild pitch so the run would have scored.
It gets worse. Next inning after a homer by Mirabelli to make it 2-1, Nixon singles, but
is picked off of first by the catcher. Nelson follows with a double and Merloni a
single, so the pick off costs them another run.

In the 6th, Castillo clearly with nothing left gives up 4 straight hits. Why Little left
him in that long is beyond me. So with bases loaded and no outs, Wakefield comes in and
strikes out the first batter. But then he gives up two straight singles to bring in 3
more runs and it's 6-2. Nixon is later thrown out at 3rd on what appears to be a
terrible call killing a potential rally. And to add insult to injury, with the score 7-
4, the Tigers get 1st and 3rd, and on a hard grounder to Merloni, he throws home and
overthrows Mirabelli by a few yards, allowing another two unearned runs.

A truly ugly game for a team that pretends to be a playoff contender. They won't beat
the upper echelon teams this way.

Tigers 9 Red Sox 5

Monday, July 15, 2002

Red Sox at Detroit
Rolando Arrojo vs. Jose Lima

This is threatening to be the low point of the season. To set the stage, the strike
threat is hanging over baseball now with every passing day. The Sox just dropped 3 of 4
to the lowly Blue Jays, including a heartbreaker yesterday where they tied it up in the
9th only to lose it on a first pitch homer against Urbina.

Tonight they jump out to a 3-0 lead against the lowly Tigers, only to have it 3-2 in the
9th with Urbina out there again. This time, Sox killer Shane Halter bangs a triple to
right-center, and Brandon Inge hits a fly to right just deep enough to get the run home
on a close play. With the Yankees coming back against Toronto, this one is fast going
from an easy pick up a game on the Yankees to a lose a game to the Yankees. Stand by for
the result.

Well the result was ugly. Into the 11th inning it goes as Garces pitches a scoreless
10th but no more. Wayne Gomes comes in. He walks two batters, the wild pitches the
runner to 3rd with one out. They get the 2nd out on a little grounder to 3rd, but
Brandon Inge hits another slow grounder between short and 3rd, and Hillenbrand can't make
the play as the winning run crosses. The Yankees do not come back against the Blue Jays
so the lead is still 3 games.

Tigers 4 Sox 3

Friday, July 19, 2002

Red Sox at Yankees
Pedro Martinez vs. Mike Mussina

Who could ask for a better pitching matchup. And both pitchers are up to the task
tonight. Pedro has his strikeouts going and Mussina just gets people out. The Sox play
small-ball to get their first run across. Damon singles, steals 2nd, sacrificed to 3rd,
and comes home on a popup that Johnson and Soriano get tangled up on after
the catch. They scratch across two more runs to lead 3-0 in the 8th and we're breathing
easier.

But the Yankees never make it easy, and tonight is no exception. A walk, an infield hit,
and a double, and it's 3-1 with the tying runs on 2nd and 3rd just like that. Grady
takes Pedro out. Haney gets a groundout and they let the run come in for 3-2. Urbina
comes in and whiffs Posada (his 4th whiff of the game). The Sox get a triple from
Varitek and with one out and do get the run home on a well placed grounder by
Hillenbrand. Urbina does his Rivera imitation and gets the Yanks 1-2-3 in the ninth and
the Sox have an exciting victory in game one.

Sox 4 Yankees 2

The lead is now 2 games. Now to get the sweep or at least 2 of 3 in the weekend series.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

A recap of the 2 games against the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday, and a day-night
against the Devil Rays on Tuesday -

This is really getting ugly!

The 2 games against the Yankees were gut wrenching and they lost them both - by an
identical score of 9-8 in the Yankees' last at bat. I was mercifully away so I didn't
suffer through the Saturday game. The Sunday game was one they fell behind 4-0 within
the first 4 batters. But they came back with 5 homers and had the lead 8-7 with Urbina
on the the 9th to save it. Giambi was the first batter. He fouled off many pitches and
came back from an 0-2 count. Finally he checks his swing and grounds it to 3rd but with
the shift on it's a single to left. Then Bernie Williams singles to right, and Nixon in
his haste to get it back in lets the ball slip under his glove. The runner at first
scores and Williams makes 3rd. Suddenly it's 8-8 and the winning run is at 3rd with no
outs. The Sox go within a minute from an 8-7 advantage to an almost impossible
situation. Grady Little does the desperate but logical move of walking the bases loaded
and using 5 infielders to try to cut off the run. But after all of that, Posada fouls
off a few tough pitches and works a walk to win it. Just like that. Ugh!

Yankees 9 Red Sox 8
Yankees 9 Red Sox 8

The day-night against Tampa Bay looked like two easy wins. The first game was an
blowout, with Nomar hitting 3 homers and 8 RBIs for a 22-4 win. In the nightcap, they
had a 4-0 lead into the 9th. Easy, right? They load the bases against Haney with no
outs and Little panics and puts in Urbina, fresh off of blowing the save against the
Yankees. Just like that, he gives up a double and a home run and it's 5-4 Rays! The Sox
get two runners on in the 9th, but Manny strikes out to end it and the Sox let it slip
away.

Red Sox 22 Devil Rays 4
Devil Rays 5 Red Sox 4

Sorry folks - I've just about given up. The Sox have blown so many games lately it is
just not going to be. And they don't deserve to be in the playoffs. They've got to
finish these games off. The schedule gets hard in August. They've blown July when they
had the easy teams. August will bring the AL west teams back. Unless they turn it
around quickly, this season is over.

2002 will likely go down as another season where the Sox start out fast, then fold it up
mid to late season. So many games that should have been won against the poorer teams and
against the good teams. Too bad.

Of course, 2002 is likely going down as a strike year where we again lose the World
Series. Nothing has happened lately to make us think a strike won't happen. And if it
has a chance of fixing things, I say it's a good thing.