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Home  >  Red Sox Diary  >  2004  >  July

Friday, July 2, 2004

Recap of 7/1 Red Sox vs. Yankees and 7/2 Red Sox vs. Braves

With the team spiraling downward with two straight losses to the Evil Empire, the Red
Sox face the Yankees in the Stadium with Pedro going against some guy named (Admiral)
Halsey. This was the game that looked like an easy win to salvage the 3rd game of the
series. But not to be.

Pedro gives up two early home runs, one to Tony Clark who seems to be mad at the Red Sox
for his horrible season with them, and is only too happy to nail them with a home run
every chance he gets. The Sox tie it with a Manny two run homer after an error, then a
double play grounder.

It's on to sudden death, and what a game. Both the Red Sox and Yankees have
opportunities. The Sox load the bases with no outs against Rivera among other
opportunities. The Yankees get a leadoff triple and cannot score. The Sox are pressing
so hard for a base hit at the right time. This will make or break the season. It's 6
1/2 or 8 1/2 game deficit riding on this game.

Finally, in the 13th, Manny cranks a homer to give the Sox the lead. There it is. The
win we've been waiting for. We're on the 2nd line pitching now for both teams, so the
Sox rest their hopes on Curtis Leskanic. Two quick outs, and I'm floating. We're
finally going to win one. But no!! Ruben Sierra seeing eye single, Miguel Cairo a
double that Millar can't outrun and flails at to tie the game. Already tied (after two
outs and no one on, sound familiar?? '86??) the game is over shortly after that as old
Sox backup John Flaherty drives the dagger in our heart with a game ending double.

Ok, I promise myself I won't go through that same agony again as they start a series
with the Braves in Atlanta. I'm not paying attention. I'll check the score in the
paper the next day. Ok, just one little peek in the 2nd inning. Wow, 2-0 Sox. With
Bronson Arroyo we'd better hope for more than 2-0. Before I know it it's 2-2 and I'm
glued to UPN 38 again. Excellent chances for the Sox to go ahead and bring in Foulke
for the win. We all hope, pray, wish with everything we've got for a big clutch hit.
Ortiz hits a shortish fly to left with a runner at 3rd Youkilis, and they hold him.
Ortiz is clearly agitated that he couldn't score. We're clearly agitated that Ortiz
couldn't have hit one of his rockets instead for a little short fly ball.

It's extra innings, and Manny again comes through with a big hit to drive in the go-
ahead run. Naturally an insurance run would be nice, but Nomar 3 hits so far chooses
now for a nice double play grounder.

Alas, we've got Foulke to get the win. No problem, and we really needed this win. It's
in the bag. Sorry folks. Foulke gives up a leadoff double, then a horrible non-call on
a foul bunt called a wild pitch brings him to 3rd. Sac fly, plenty deep enough, and
it's tied. 2nd line pitching battle again. The Braves bring in some guy who's fastball
and curve break about 2 feet, and the Sox cannot touch him for two innings. The Sox
have Anastacio Martinez, who goes one good inning, then single, double, 3 run homer the
next inning and it's another excruciating defeat.

4 1/2 hours last night, 3 1/2 hours tonight. These were the two most excruciating
defeats short of the Buckner and Grady Little games. I am needing in the worst way to
break up with this team. They are killing my summer. With plenty of talent, they are
just not performing. And Terry "everything's ok" Francona is not helping. Only 4
losses in a row, but horrible defeats they were.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Red Sox at Anaheim
Derek Lowe vs. Jarrod Washburn

First - a status report. The Sox roared back to win 5 of 6 at home against Oakland and
Texas. They almost came back for the 6th win against the Rangers. The Sox are well
back of the Yankees tonight, but 1 game ahead in the wild card. Manny and David Ortiz
play in the all star game, and hit home runs, as the AL hammers the NL so this year
again if we miraculously get to the World Series we'll have home field advantage.

The big rage right now is Randy Johnson. Arizona is in last place and has made it known
he is available. Of course the Red Sox want him. Of course the Yankees want him, as do
the Angels and a few other teams. The Red Sox would even give up Nomar for him in a 3
way deal it is rumored. Can the Red Sox miraculously trade for him? Is Curt Schilling a
help or hindrance? Can they keep him out of the Bronx?

The Yankees getting RJ will just be another dagger in all that is wrong with baseball.
A salary cap would eliminate all of this Yankees 200M payroll nonsense. The only team
that wants this the Yankees, but the players association (don't call them a union!)
won't budge. So year after year we have to watch the Yankees either pluck up or
threaten to pluck up all the best players in the offseason and at the trading deadline.

I hate these west coast games. Watching the whole game tends to ruin the next day as
you're up 'till 1:00 minimum. Tonight looked like a game for a while, as Lowe got out
of a few early jams. Defense lets him down again as Millar lets a pop fly drop for a
run. But soon the Angels are knocking him and the relievers around for an 8-1 lead.

This is going to be a tough stretch. 18 of 24 games on the road. Will they still be in
playoff contention after the 24 games? And will Randy Johnson tip the balance for some
team? Check back after July 31.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Red Sox at Anaheim
Pedro Martinez vs. Kelvim Escobar

Here we are again with another early morning west coast game. Why can't I let it go and
get the results in the paper? It only makes it that much more imperitive that we win
this one. Pedro pitches tonight, with the controversy being why didn't he start last
night to set him up for the Yankee series. Francona dodges the question with a good
deal of double talk.

Tonight Pedro pitches well but so does the other guy and we have a skinny 3-2 lead in
the 7th inning. The umpire behind the plate has been dreadful all night, very
inconsistent annoying Pedro and the hitters. Finally David Ortiz gets called out on
strikes and he just snaps. He's restrained by Francona barely from attacking the ump as
he gets thrown out of the game. Just as the announcers say he'll avoid suspension, he
chucks two bats onto the field in a terrible display of loss of control.

Still a 3-2 game, Gabe hits a 3-2 hanging curve out for an insurance run. Two run game
for Foulke who has been in a slump lately. The bottom of the 9th starts out as many
nervous games start with a liner to left that looks like a hit. But Gabey playing left
instead of Manny comes in and makes a diving shoetop catch. Foulke gets the final two
outs easily and we have a tidy 4-2 win.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Red Sox at Seattle
Bronson Arroyo vs. Ron Villone

I'm really hating these west coast games. This is the last west coast night game until
September. I say it will be worth it if they can come out with a win so I stick with it
and refuse to go to bed. Tonight they are killing me again.

A 4-2 lead with one out in the 9th and Foulke in there. Looks fine. Varitek hits a 3
run homer and has all of the RBIs. Bronson Arroyo pitched a beautiful game giving up
just one run in 7 innings and striking out 12. I'm willing to forgive a huge error in
the bottom of the 8th leading to a run. Then - back to back dingers, the game tying
homer from old nemesis Edgar Martinez, who is so bad this year he doesn't even start.

So here we are in the bottom of the 10th, and it's 1:20 AM. Nothing doing. Bottom of
the 11th we're down to the scrubs for pitchers. Curtis Leskanic again, who couldn't put
the Yankees away in that horrible game a couple weeks ago. Tonight he makes it easy.
Single, walk (on attempted sacrafice!), sacrifice, intentional walk, walkoff grand
slam. Game over and it's 1:45 AM. The only victory tonight would be to have not stayed
up.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Yankees at Red Sox
Curt Schilling vs. Jon Leiber

This game has spanned all the emotions, but once again it looks like a loss. We're
going to the bottom of the 9th with the Yankees leading by a run, and you know what that
means.

The Sox take a 4-1 lead on the strength of homers from Mueller and Millar. Then, with
the score 4-2, the Red Sox have a nightmare of an inning with some defensive lapses
aiding in a 5 run inning to help the Yankees to a 7-4 lead. The Red Sox tie it
miraculously with two more solo home runs from Millar. Problem is, 2nd and 3rd with one
out, Varitek and Ortiz up, and they both strike out.

7-7 going into the 9th. It's like going to the dentist. You know the Yankees will
score and bring in Rivera, even against Foulke. Double by Sheffield, single by A-Rod.
Then Rivera, 1-2-3 without even a ball being hit remotely hard by Ramirez, Nomar, and
Nixon. Tie game in the 9th against the Yankees - root canal - you take your choice.

The Yankees are so professional. They foul off pitch after pitch. They get big hits
with runners on. Their relievers bend but don't break. They make great defensive plays
when it counts. Rivera is like a machine. This is a terrible time to be a Red Sox
fan. They may still be in the lead for the wild card, but who cares. The Yankees have
their number right now.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Tonight, Derek Lowe vs. Jose Contreras. Both pitchers have been inconsistent, Contreras
horrible against the Red Sox, Lowe horrible against everyone. Both pitchers are shaky
in the first inning. Red Sox defense is shoddy again as they allow an easy pop to drop
trying to keep a runner at 3rd from scoring. It's 2-2 after 1.

Red Sox bats get it going, with Damon getting a Pesky Pole 3 run homer, and Sox bats
getting it going for a 9-2 lead. Why don't I feel safe with a 9-2 lead against the
Yankees? I was there when they blew a 9-2 lead against the Marlins last year. I've
witnessed too many Yankee comebacks for my tastes.

Well, the Sox and Yankees do it to me again. Lowe is still in, pitching beautifully.
Top of the 7th starts with an error by Bellhorn. It's so annoying even with a 9-2 lead
that we have to give away outs. Two quick outs, and I'm relaxing again. Then he walks
A-Rod and pitch count Tito comes out to get him. Timlin walks Posada, and of course I'm
counting runs that will come in on a homer. Matsui, there it goes. Grand slam, and
it's 9-6. Did you think we could really cruise to this win?

Is this the first 9-6 game which I think is completely lost before the other team even
gets one of the runs back? Here we are, they bring in newcomer Terry Adams, who strikes
out the first guy, then gives up a walk and a double. Tito goes right to Foulke. I
cannot believe it. First batter is Jeter. He hits a comebacker right off Foulke's
leg. It bounces up. Mirabelli holds the runners and throws to first, and it bounces
off of Jeter into right field. Ahhh! It's 9-8! But no, we get a huge break. The
umpire calls interference! Jeter is out, and the runners have to go back! Still not
out of the woods, we have Sheffield to deal with. He hits a rocket to left field, but
it hangs up for the ever so calm Manny and he stabs it for the 3rd out. 9-6 lead is
preserved with 3 outs to go.

Can you believe it? Foulke gets the 3 outs easily without even a hard hit ball. The
Red Sox are back. The Yankees are still way ahead at 7 1/2 up, but the Sox have now won
3 of 4 and are right in the thick of it for the wild card.