That's right, the Red Sox offense remains fast asleep. I was at the game on Tuesday, and I did notice a suspicious character roaming around outside Fenway with a long black hooded cape, carrying a basket of nice shiny apples. My friend got a glimpse under the hood and swore it looked like Hank Steinbrenner. But why would Hank be hanging around the players' entrance with nice shiny apples? Hmm, I wonder...
Well, a few things have remained constant these last few days; the weather is brisk, the bats are sound asleep, the pitching is dependable, and the games are close. Last night, Tim Wakefield pitched a fine game against a team that generally hits him well. He lasted 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, 4 walks, and no strikeouts. The bullpen held up their end with Aardsma pitching a scoreless 8th, and Lopez and Timlin combining for a scoreless 9th.
But, the Sox could only muster 4 hits, 2 of them from David Ortiz (breaking out of his slump). So, the Sox' streak of inept offense stretches to now stand at:
54 straight innings with only 5 runs scored!
The other worry for the Sox is health. Last night both Jacoby Ellsbury and JD Drew were unavailable. Jed Lowrie played shortstop, giving Julio Lugo a rest. So, let's see who was available off the bench last night...Jason Varitek and Julio Lugo. That's it! Luckily Ellsbury should be available soon, perhaps as early as tonight, and JD Drew should be available this weekend. Now, before you feel too bad for us, it looks like Yankees' young star of the future, Phil Hughes, will be out until at least July with a cracked rib. So, the Yankees have A-Rod, Posada, and reliever Bruney all out with injuries. So, maybe the Tampa Bay Rays will win the East after all?
The game went along without too much drama until the 9th inning. In the top of the ninth, with no outs and runners on first and second, Alex Rios attempted a steal of third, only to get gunned down by Kevin Cash. Probably saved a run with that play. In the Sox half of the inning, things got strange. Let me paint this for you...
There were two outs, the Blue Jays holding a 3-0 lead, Toronto closer BJ Ryan pitching and Brandon Moss at the plate. Good time for nervous drivers to head for their cars for that all-important head start. But wait, Brandon Moss walks to keep a glimmer of hope alive and Coco Crisp steps into the batter's box. Die hard fans start fantasizing ahead (if Crisp gets on and Lowrie walks, Varitek could pinch hit and hit a grand slam walkoff homerun...). But wait, let's watch Coco's at-bat first. Coco sees a pitch he likes and take a big cut, but fans' arms droop as the ball lofts easily into the outfield and is caught for out number three. So, the players begin to jog off the field, and the Rem Dawg is about to wrap up the game when...
Suddenly the players head back onto the field, and Toronto manager John Gibbons flies into the face of the second base umpire and begins chewing his nose off. Even Remy is confused - why is the manager arguing with the umps - the game is over? Well, the game is almost over. Umpire, Bruce Dreckman, has called a BALK on BJ Ryan! That nullifies the pitch - so Crisp's out does not count, and it sends Moss to second base. Crisp gets another chance, and Gibbons gets to be the first Blue Jay to his car as he is ejected for yelling "Frankly Two" in the umpire's face (I've been practicing reading lips - pretty cool, huh?). Now, that fantasy of Varitek hitting a walk-off slam begins to take shape again as fans return to their seats, confused, but with renewed hope. Sure enough, Coco Crisp takes advantage of the second chance and lines a single to right center field sending Moss to third base. Now, all we need is for Jed Lowrie to get on base, and the fantasy will come true!
Well, that's the end of our story. Oh, yeah - Jed Lowrie was called out on strikes to end the game - and moments later BJ Ryan's head turned beet red and blew off as he let out his emotions.
Fear not Red Sox faithful! I have been to three games so far this year, and have nearly single-handedly buoyed the team to three victories. I am going to the game tomorrow and I am bringing 6 of my closest friends, and we will wake those sleeping bats - I promise you! (In the photo below, I'm bringing up the rear!)