Thursday, October 16, 2003

Red Sox vs. Yankees - Game 6 Game Log

Well, I started this to chart how the Red Sox were doing offensively in this, the biggest game of the season. But then the game got really exciting and I wasn't able to think about stuff like pitch selection and hitters counts. So I got my Sports Guy juices flowing and decided to put together a game log. So then, with all due respects, here goes....

Bottom of the First Inning
I felt badly about John Burkett starting the biggest game of the season for the Red Sox until I heard that Mark Redman is going in Game 7 for the Florida Marlins. Ouch. He used to play for the Tigers. That's not good.

John Boy pitched Giambi very effectively in previous starts with fastballs under his hands. He tries that same approach here and the ball gets too much of the plate. Gone. Oh well. Tim McCarver exclaims "Giambi CRUSHED that ball" even though it fell into the first row of the shortest right field porch in all of baseball. Giambi crushed that ball like I crushed my Yale Acting School Audition. Giambi crushed that ball like "Dickie Roberts" crushed modern box office records. Giambi crushed that ball like Tim McCarver crushes objective sports analysis.

Yankees 1, Red Sox 0

Top of the Second Inning
This is where I started to get serious with AB analysis because the Sox started to throw some real stinkers up there.
  • Ortiz: Bails out on a cutter on the outside corner. Flailing swing. Strike Out.

  • Millar: Ahead in the count, Kevin goes after two fastballs high and out of the zone. K. Millar has never played a 162 game season before, and right now it's showing like a bald head.

  • Trot: Ahead 2-1, Trot waits for a pitch he can drive, right? Nope. Half-hearted swing at an outside curve, taps back to the pitcher. Yippee.

Yankees 1, Red Sox 0

In promo #5,742 for Fox’s “Joe Millionaire: Xenophobe 2003” we hear the French girl remark, “He’s rich, it is sexy to me.” Viva la France.

Top of the Third Inning

On the second pitch he sees, Varitek goes to town on a slow curve from Andy Pettite. Jason Varitek, Jason Varitek. Tie Ballgame. Very important to tie this game up as early as possible. Takes the crowd down a notch and brings the team up. All of a sudden, whether it’s Pettite losing confidence or the Sox gaining it, great at-bats are abound. Damon battles his way on with a walk. Walker looks terrible on a 2-0 fastball, then singles to right. Manny lays off a borderline 1-0 fastball that he could’ve hit but couldn’t have hit hard, and ultimately gets on base. Then Ortiz is up and everyone’s a little concerned. Pettite flips an outside cutter, the exact pitch that got Tiz looking-like-O’Leary in the second, and David slaps it THE OTHER WAY for a couple of RBI’s. Lefties are going the other way, all is right with the world. Millar follows this by hacking on a high 1-0 fastball and fists a single to center. Terrible pitch selection and a ball he normally misses. But because things are going good, it drops. Sox take a 4-1 lead, and Boston fans everywhere quietly begin calculating how long it will take Wakefield to get warm. I’ve cowboyed up all over my trousers.

Red Sox 4, Yankees 1

Bottom of the Third Inning

Do you think Soriano has ever swung at a throw over to first?

Red Sox 4, Yankees 1

Top of Fourth Inning

Everyone is a big fan of the stylings of Home Plate Umpire Angel Hernandez. He has made at least 8 questionable calls and it’s only the top of the 4th. Luckily he’s been equally bad for both sides. Joe Buck goes out on a limb and notes, “hard to say for sure what a strike is today.” Didn’t Angel used to play bass for Los Lobos?

Varitek swings at a ball out of the zone on a hitter’s count. Terrific. That’s not how we hit homer’s, Jason. On the next pitch he grounds one through the Buckner hole on Aaron Boone into left field. Safe at first on the error. In the booth, Brother Brett is awkwardly silent. Unfortunately, Damon turns in a Nomar Special and pops up the first pitch he sees to let the Yanks off the hook. Hey Johnny, at least it was a strike! Tim McCarver celebrates by stealing Jerry Remy’s material.

Red Sox 4, Yankees 1

Bottom of the Fourth Inning

Wait a second, whoa! Joe Buck has just anointed John Burkett an “outstanding” Game 6 starter, based on 9 outs of work. That’s terrific, thanks a lot Joe. What, did McCarver write that down on a piece of paper and ask you to read it over the air? Sure enough, the floodgates open. Nick Johnson, who’s a hell of a lot better than most people realize, rips one into the gap. Same pitch Burkett threw to Giambi. Terrific. The Yankees are knocking it all around and I’m annoyed. But then again, we’ve got to admit we sort of expected it. It’s John Burkett after all. Karim Garcia trots to the plate sporting a large silver cross around his neck. Do you think Jesus ever cut his hand open hitting another man in the mouth? Decent chances. Nomar muffs a grounder up the middle that would’ve gotten the Sox out of it. Two more come in, Sox trail. MVP anyone?

Yankees 5, Red Sox 4

Does anyone know what a Hemmy is? Does my '88 Ford Escort have one?

Top of the Fifth Inning (9 Outs til Rivera)

Nomar gets on and takes an excellent lead on Pettite. This is how it’s done. For all of you who sniped at Grady for trying to hit and run on Andy (who has a nasty move over to first), take notice. You can still get a respectable lead off Pettite, you just can’t lean towards second. A two and a half step lead is PLENTY of time to get back to the bag even if you are badly fooled by his move. Just don’t lean! If your weight’s going the other way, and he catches you, you’re toast. But gingerly going one foot off the bag is too conservative, and will get you killed -- especially when your Manager has put the hit and run on. Someone wake Gabe Kapler up.

Manny puts on another beautiful at-bat, taking strikes that he knows he can’t drive. Has to be done. Hopefully Nomar brought a pad and pen out with him to first. Angel Hernandez strikes again, calling David Ortiz out on a curveball that was never in the strike zone - mostly because he likes the sound of clapping. Kevin Millar follows by swinging at ANOTHER fastball up and out and fouls it back. Oy. After he singles up the middle (we need more of that from him), Mueller K’s. Bill Mueller is swinging and missing a tremendous amount lately. Thoughts?

Yankees 5, Red Sox 4

Bottom of the Fifth Inning

Tim McCarver informs us that Bronson Arroyo’s first name is Charles, making him Charles Bronson Arroyo. That might be the first interesting thing McCarver has ever said. Ah press notes. How many kids do you have to have before you finally name one after Charles Bronson? 50? 75?

Woman: You want to name our son what?!
Man: You know, Charles Bronson, like the star of Death Wish.
Woman: Death Wish?
Man: Yes.
Woman: Have you seen even Death Wish?
Man: Well, no. But Bill said it was really good.
Woman: You’re a moron.
Man: I know.

Come next year, when Bronson is our 5th starter to the stars, he will have trouble getting lefties out. His slider comes right into their zone, so he can’t really use it. So he just sticks with a lot of fastballs away. Oh, did I say next year? I meant right now. Posada goes yard.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 4

Top of the Sixth Inning (6 Outs ‘til Rivera)

Jose Contreras is on in relief. He’s good, but he’s still an 8 million dollar set up man.

A confused Karim Garcia notices a man in the stands wearing a hat and handing a Yankee fan a hot dog. Enraged, Karim hops the fence, charges the man and repeatedly pummels him in the mouth. The man, later identified as a “hot dog vendor”, was sent to the emergency room with cleat marks on his face, back, and abdomen. Praise Jesus.

A quiet rustling is heard in the booth as Brett Boone wakes up from his mid-game nap.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 4

Bottom of the Sixth Inning

It’s Game 6 of the ALCS. You’re down 3 games to 2, your season is on the line, you’re already trailing, and who are your pitchers? John Burkett, Charles Bronson Arroyo and, ladies and gentleman, Todd Jones. Todd friggin’ Jones. Uh, Grady? This is a guy you were afraid to use for the entire last month and a half of the season, and all of a sudden he’s getting a major appearance in the playoffs? You didn’t use him before because he stinks, and guess what, he still stinks. Good thing Rudy Seanez isn’t on the roster. Jones faces three batters, two of which reach base.

Two runners on, one out, Giambi coming up, Grady gets Embree. Alan is perfect for this situation because he’s not great against lefties and rarely gets a ground ball! Terrific. Am I the only one who is wondering why Scott Sauerbeck is on the roster if you have no intention of ever using him? Come to think of it, I probably am. The two baserunners are allowed to steal for no apparent reason and we have 2nd and 3rd, one out. A run scores here and it’s over. 3 runs in 3 innings is not likely, especially when Rivera is pitching two of them. This is the end of the season folks, staring us in the face. This is it. What does Embree do? He brings the gas, big time. He’s hitting 97 like he’s still a Padre, and then spinning a few decent sliders up there for good measure. He takes down Giambi and gets Bernie to line to Bill Mueller. Nice play by Billy. HUGE pitching from Embree, who is starting to look more than one flew over a cuckoo’s nest, if you know what I mean. We’re still alive baby.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 4

Top of the 7th (3 Outs til Rivera)

Contreras opens the inning and Nomar scorches one to center. It looks like Nomar has finally found his stroke, laying off the inside heaters that he can’t catch up to and getting the bat head on the ones he can. The only question is, is it too late to matter? The wind probably helps the ball over Bernie’s head and it rolls over to Matsui, who gallantly picks it up and tosses it directly into the stands. Matsui is Japanese for “Hit it to Bernie”. Unfortunately, Bernie is Venezuelan for “Where’s my guitar?”. Nomar, on third after the triple, is given home on the error. Sox within one, fans going insane. Yankee Stadium is so quiet you can hear Zimmer’s gas.

Before we even know what’s happening Manny rockets a ball off the center field fence. Ramirez is on second and Contreras is losing it fast. Ground ball-Fly ball and we can tie this puppy up – something that seemed impossible about twenty minutes ago. Ortiz steps to the plate and Contreras immediately split-fingers his way to the backstop. Manny advances, tying run on third – NO ONE OUT. Needless to say there is a great deal of cigarette smoking going on at this point. So here is the big AB. David Ortiz, who has been struggling coming into today, against Contreras who, well, has not. Jose hangs a splitter in the middle of the plate that had upper deck written all over it, but David, because he’s a discerning customer, lets it pass. Good thinking Dave. But then the big O manages to lay off the pitch that has killed him all postseason, the high heat. Not once, but twice. 2-1, Dave is in a hitter’s count. Daddy like. Jose, because he’s down in the count, goes with the gas - and David rips it down the line! Off the bag at first, Ramirez scores! Sox have tied it up! It’s a new game in the top of the seventh!

Joe Torre has apparently taken a liking to Grady’s managerial style, as he has no one warming up in the pen. Millar flies out, then Mueller puts on his best AB in September (could he be back too?) and singles up the middle. Trot has a disappointing whiff against Heredia, and then they walk Tek to load the bases. Sometimes this play works, sometimes it doesn’t. Some pitchers can’t seem to handle that pressure. Sorry Felix, guess you’re one of those. Damon walks on four pitches and all of a sudden everyone loves Angel Hernandez. I believed in him all along, you know. The Sox take the lead, which is so crucial. A tie is great, but the lead is what you need. If you come from behind in the late innings you have to come ALL THE WAY back. If you leave it at a tie, somehow the momentum seems to evaporate and the opponent often jumps back on top. But get out in front right away, and the game just might be yours…

Red Sox 7, Yankees 6

And well, we all sort of know what happened from here. The next forty-five minutes or so were terrifying and exhilarating all at once. I spent the entire time chain smoking, jumping up and down, and teetering dangerously on the verge of cardiac arrest. At one point I even drank out of a week old beer can which had been deemed “lucky” because of its use during Game 5 in Oakland. I’ll pay for that one. Embree pitched a nasty inning and then came Timlin who went 1-2-3. Be careful about him in Game 7 though, he didn’t look sharp. He got the outs, but he hung some sliders and didn’t have real precision. The workload might be getting to him. Anyway, in the top of the 9th , Trot went all sorts of upper deck on Gabe White and someone pooped in my pants. We had the three run lead, and Williamson’s cold sore pitched a flawless ninth. Outstanding. Bring on game 7.

Some things to watch for tonight:

-What does Pedro have? I’m not too concerned about the crowd, and if anything I think it will pump Pedro up more, but he looked bad on Saturday. Shockingly bad. How many quality innings are left in that arm? If the Yanks get to him early, will the momentum be too much to overcome?

-Did we really break out of our slump last night? Hard to say, but Mueller, Nomar, and Ortiz looked especially good. That could be huge, and in general, I like our hitters vs. Clemens. If we’re hitting, we’ll be tough to beat, but you never know if we’re really out of it.

-How much does Wakefield have left? I’m worried about Timlin and we’re not sure what Pedro will bring to the table. Wake is getting into this game, sooner or later. Can he bring the magic again?

-Is it good, bad, or indifferent to be happier than you’ve ever been as a result of a baseball game?

Let’s Go Red Sox. Clap Clap ClapClapClap.