Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sox WHOMP Tigers. Twice.

First off, 12:35pm?! What kind of start time is that for a WEEKDAY game? Seriously, some of us are gainfully employed in high profile jobs. But I was lucky to get out a little early, listening to the middle innings on radio, and watching the last three on NESN. But totally missed the pre-game show. Scoff, if you will, but I like to watch the pre-game show. It gets me in the proper Soxian frame of mind. Plus, I like the shenanigans.

Those radio guys are pretty good but there was a bit of Batshit Love going on. Not the "Manny Being Manny" type of Batshit Love.
More like McCarver's "Jeter Love." There was quite a bit of talk of Tavarez being a great teammate, great family man, and getting a bad rap. Apparently, Tavarez and his Batshit Ways are growing on all us in Red Sox Nation. Thursday, he was directing traffic in the infield with the finger points, as usual, a habit he indicates he "doesn't even realize he's doing." (As quoted by Sox radio announcers.) But even more than the random quirkiness, I enjoyed Tavarez' seven innings of one-run ball. Okajima and Papelbon held the Tigers scoreless the rest of the way, and the Sox had another victory, 2-1.

From 4pm to 6pm (a whole, dark, desolate two hours!), NESN had no live Sox content. A prime opportunity missed. They could have televised the between-games Sox foosball tournament, won by Dustin Pedroia. Or Manny and Julian spending time together. Or Jonathan Papelbon listening to, and critiquing, Amalie Benjamin, as she prepared for her Thursday PM lecture at M.I.T. (Subject matter: Quantum Mechanics) Some NESN bigwigs dropped the foosball here.

But they made up for it with a strong pre-game effort for the second game. It included Dave McCarty speaking about the time he dressed as Wally, the Green Monster. (I like McCarty, they should keep him around.) But the highlight, undoubtedly, was RemDawg playing the air guitar before a live spot, falling off the table he was "performing" on, and then being unable to control his laughter afterwards. I suspect we'll be seeing that clip a few times in the future. (A clip is currently available on Expect RemDawg to be associated with Guitar Hero III, in some manner. He has too much obvious talent not to be.

Curt Schilling was a bit sloppy in his start in the second game, allowing eight hits in six innings of work. All eight of the hits were for extra bases (seven doubles, solo HR), and he threw 118 pitches. But he somehow kept getting out of trouble, stranding eleven Detroit runners, and only allowing two runs. A gutsy display of veteranosity from Boston's Premier Blogger.

But I must confess I missed some of Curt's performance, as I was also watching the season finale of The Office. Which was, in fact, brilliant. In might be the Garelick Chocolate Milk talking, or the vertigo-inducing high of Sox Superiority, but that might have been the greatest hour of (non-sports) programming ever. (Which would place it in 467,543,768th place overall.)
In baseball terms, it was a good as a matchup between Papelbon and Hamels, both as starters, where they each struck out the side on nine pitches. In each of the first 47 innings. While playing chess against each other from laptops in their respective dugouts. Then, after agreeing to draws in both baseball and chess, they go out together, onto the streets of Boston to fight crime. (Because Chase Utley has already rid Philadelphia of crime.) The Office was that good tonight. (That's what she said.)

Back at Fenway, reserve outfielder Eric Hinske took matters into his own hands, as pretty much everyone was expecting him to do. First, he made an outstanding, diving catch in RF, in which he embedded his face into the dirt near the foul line. (Tiger RF Magglio Ordonez was quoted after the game as saying he could "still see Hinske's face (carved) in(to) the dirt" and it was "creeping him (Ordonez) out.") Hinske's catch was ESPN's "Top Play of the Day", which would be a greater distinction if ESPN acknowledged the sport known as "hockey." To get an idea of how the catch must have felt, you'd have to have a buddy fill a shovel with dirt and then WHOMP you in the face with it. (For best results, choose Wily Mo Pena as your buddy. And make sure you stand still- don't change speeds, or curve, or anything like that when waiting for the WHOMP.)

Next, in an effort to separate himself in the competition for playing time with oft-injured J.D. Drew, Hinske demonstrated his tremendous pain tolerance by staying in the game. In fact, not only did Hinske stay in the game, he hit the eventual game-winning HR. If was Hinske's 1st of the year, one fewer than Drew has, in 80 more ABs. Okajima closed out the win in the 9th inning, as Papelbon was unavailable due to an injury sustained in the Foosball Tournament Finals against Pedroia.

I was WICKED PSYCHED to see the Sox renew their eons-old rivalry with the arch-nemesis Atlanta Braves tonight, but they have been rained out. Devern Hansack will need to wait at least another day for his next no-hitter, in Saturday's split doubleheader. The weather is quite dreary and gloomy right now. Not unlike the hearts of Tigers fans.

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