Monday, June 30, 2008

Tonight looked ever so close to becoming a disaster. The Red Sox managed to mount a disconcerting ninth inning rally, closing a 5-2 deficit to 5-4 and having two runners in scoring position with 1 out in the ninth. It took all of the hidden talents of Jason Varitek and Julio Lugo to kill said rally before it could become a catastrophe.

It got me thinking, though, or more precisely, reminiscing about an event that occurred in Tropicana Field about two years ago now. Tonight, Brandon Moss hit what looked like it was going to be a routine fly ball, albeit one probably deep enough for Mike Lowell to tag and score from 3rd. But the strange configuration of Tropicana Field intervened. The ball hit the catwalk and landed in fair territory. Moss got a double, Lowell scored and Youkilis advanced to third on the play.

Two years ago, during a three game sweep of the Red Sox at the Trop, Kevin Youkilis hit a ball off the catwalk in left. There, the Red Sox were not quite so fortunate. Carl Crawford tracked the ball off the catwalk and caught it before it could hit the ground. Because of the ground rules, Youkilis was called out, causing him to throw a fit. Terry Francona at the time referred to it as "putt-putt golf stuff."

I remember this because I blogged about it at the time, back in the day when Sedition in Red Sox Nation used to blog about baseball from time to time. I ripped Youke and Francona for that at the time. I ripped them because it's beat to whine about something like that when it hurts your team but consider it one of the amusing little novelties of the game when it boosts your team.

Perhaps it is unfair of me to rip Varitek as a rally killer when he did manage to drive in a run with a sac fly in the ninth. That said, I have no real interest in being fair to Varitek, noted archdouche that he is. And had he gotten one of his base hits, which occur about as frequently as papal conclaves these days, he probably would have managed to tie the game. Of course, in order to do that, he would have to stop sucking and/or being a giant douche. And I'm not sure I'm believing in miracles this week.

Before I move on, I do need to rip into the Remdawg and his partner. After Troy Percival came up lame and had to leave the game, they were all excited at Francona's brilliance. Because Terry hadn't announced a pinch hitter to take Lugo's spot in the order, he didn't have to remove that offensive Juggernaut when JP Howell came in to finish the ninth. True, Lugo is a righty and Howell is a lefty, so conventional wisdom says that match up favors Lugo.

However, conventional wisdom would also tell you that Lugo sucks. Better to have any lefty up there than a guy who is a weak hitter to start with and is 0-3 (with one RBI, to be fair) in his career against Howell. I don't know why I'm complaining, after all Francona played the percentages right into a loss which put the team 1 and 1/2 games behind the Rays in the AL East.

Of course there is the possibility that MLB might be looking to overturn the result of the game and award the win to the Red Sox. After all, Papelbon was warming in the pen when the game ended in case the Red Sox managed to take the lead in the top of the ninth. And we all know that Papelbon is the greatest closer of all time, and would have shut the door on the Rays. So by the transitive property, even though the failed to score the amount of runs necessary to win the game outright, the Sox still won, at least by Red Sox fan logic.

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