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October 2, 2005
"This is awesome," said Manny Delcarmen has he took an explosion of champagne right in the eyes. "MAN! This stuff burns. I didn't think it was going to be like this, but I'm pretty excited to be here right now. I'm just happy to be here right now. This is awesome. You can't beat this."
"This is pretty neat," said Kelly Shoppach. “We should do this every time we win. This is cool, I mean, you come up here for the first time, you play a little bit but knowing you are a part of a team that accomplished something in the highest regard of baseball is a pretty neat feeling. I,m not a [man] of many words, but this is pretty cool."
"I'll tell you what," said PawSox manager and Sox bench coach Ron Johnson, "I was sitting in the dugout in the middle of the game, I'm not managing the game, but the adrenaline flow is like you're playing. It's unbelievable. Then, to come into this and you're celebrating with the World Champions as they are ready to make another run, does it get any better than this? I don't think so."
"Obviously you don't want to back in," said Sox' Tony Graffanino. "But, as long as we got in is all we cared about. It was great that we went out there and played well and got the win."
Posted by Joe McDonald at 6:39 PM | Permalink
The Sox are in!
At exactly 4:06 Sunday afternoon, the final out was made in Cleveland, cementing the Indians' 3-1 loss to the White Sox and at the same time ushering Boston into the playoffs as the American League's wild-card entrant for the third year in a row.
As the Sox were preparing to bat in the bottom of the fifth, Red Sox ownership, seated next to the Boston dugout began exchanging celebratory hugs.
The sellout crowd was let in on the good news at 4:08, when the final score was posted on the scoreboard, prompting a loud roar and a standing ovation. So it was official, even as the Sox were leading New York, 6-0, in the bottom of the fifth, that Boston will have a chance to defend its World Series crown.
The Red Sox will open in Chicago on Tuesday, and Matt Clement will oppose Jose Contreras.
Posted by at 4:07 PM | Permalink
Chacon working relief
Shawn Chacon has been brought into the game in order to get a little work in. He probably would have tossed a side session today.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 3:51 PM | Permalink
Wright's pitching line
Yankees starter Jaret Wright's final line reads: 3 1/3 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs (three earned) 5 walks, 1 strikeout and 1 home run. He threw 75 pitches (36 strikes).
Posted by Joe McDonald at 3:46 PM | Permalink
Derek Jeter was removed from the game for precautionary reasons after suffering a bruised right knee.
The Yankees shortstop lined a single off the Monster to lead off the game and attempted to turn the base hit into a double. He was thrown out by Manny Ramirez and bruised his knee on the head-first slide. Jeter stayed in the game until he was removed after three innings.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 3:39 PM | Permalink
This and That, Game 162
The home run for Bill Mueller in the fourth Sunday was his first in 47 at-bats and 10th for the season. He has hit 41 homers in three years for the Red Sox, in double digits each season . . . The pinch-hit homer for Doug Mirabelli in the sixth was the third of his career and the Red Sox' first of the seasn. Trot Nixon connected for Boston's last pinch-hit homer, on Sept. 14, 2004, against Tampa Bay . . . Kevin Youkilis got into a game for the first time since suffering a fracture of the tip of his right index finger on Sept. 18. He replaced Bill Mueller at third base. He walked on four pitches in the sixth . . . By the top of the seventh, the Sox' lineup had a spring-training flavor to it, with reserves at third (Youkilis), catcher (Mirabelli), shortstop (Hanley Ramirez), second base (Alex Cora), left field (Alejandro Machado) and designated hitter (Kelly Shoppach). As the teams were warming up for the seventh, Boston manager sent Adam Hyzdu out to center field to replace Johnny Damon, giving Damon a chance for a nice curtain call from the crowd.
Posted by at 3:33 PM | Permalink
Bellhorn playing shortstop
Former Red Sox second baseman Mark Bellhorn has been inserted into the game, replacing Derek Jeter.
Bellhorn, who fell from grace earlier this season with Red Sox fans for his sub-par performance, sheepishly grinned when asked on Friday if it would be rewarding to beat the Sox at Fenway Park the final weekend of the season.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 3:23 PM | Permalink
With his single in the top of the fourth inning, Hideki Matsui will finish the regular season with a seven-game hitting streak. His longest of the season was a 12-game streak from June 8 to 21, batting .488 with 12 runs, 5 homers and 17 RBI. . .
Posted by Joe McDonald at 3:20 PM | Permalink
It's not unusual to see players icing down after games. In fact, it is routine. But, Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams brings new meaning to receiving treatments. After almost every game, especially at this point of the season, he is a walking ice berg. From head to toe, he is covered with ice packs and it is amazing he can still play center field the way he does.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, Sox' Trot Nixon lifted a high, fly ball to right-center field. Fighting a blinding sun, Williams finished his all-out sprint with a tremendous sliding catch for the second out of the inning.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 3:11 PM | Permalink
Ramirez Racks up another assist
Manny Ramirez certainly won't win a Gold Glove -- he had made seven errors heading into Sunday's game -- but he will wind up the season leading the American League and possibly the majors in outfield assists.
The Red Sox left fielder gunned down Derek Jeter trying for a double after slugging the first pitch of the game off the wall in left. That accounted for Ramirez's 17th assist of the season. Toronto's Vernon Wells and Kansas City's Terrence Long each had 12.
The Mets' Cliff Floyd was leading the National League, with 15.
Posted by at 2:13 PM | Permalink
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada did not play on Saturday as John Flaherty has become Randy Johnson's personal catcher.
Posada, who went 0-for-4 on Friday, entered today's game with one hit in his previous 16 at-bats. He doubled to lead off the top of the second inning to post only his eighth hit in his last 32 at-bats.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 2:10 PM | Permalink
A hardy congratulations
New York manager Joe Torre received a phone call from owner George Steinbrenner after Saturday's victory. According to the skipper, it was a quick conversation with The Boss offering his congratulations.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 2:06 PM | Permalink
Torre will use Gordon and Rivera
New York manager Joe Torre said prior to today's game that he will use reliever Tom Gordon and closer Mariano Rivera if needed. Torre explained that both pitchers are not overworked, and with Monday off, he will not hesitate to use them.
"It is important to win today," said Torre.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 2:01 PM | Permalink
Even though the Yankees won the American League East title on Saturday, New York is still battling for home-field advantage. If the Yankees win today and the Angels lose, then New York will host Los Angeles at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 1:55 PM | Permalink
Is Wright all right?
Yankees' Mike Mussina was originally scheduled to start today, but that scenario changed after New York clinched the division yesterday. Jaret Wright (5-4, 5.97 E.R.A) gets the nod instead and this is an important start for the right-hander. He has been bothered by a right-shoulder strain for much of the season and today he will attempt to prove to Torre that he's ready for the postseason.
"This is a big start in a lot of ways," said Torre. "He is certainly in our postseason plans, but we want to make sure physically that he is capable. If he is not and if we are lucky enough to get past the first round and on to the second round, then there’s a lot to find out."
Posted by Joe McDonald at 1:41 PM | Permalink
No rest for the weary
New York manager Joe Torre and his coaching staff spoke with several key players after Saturday's division-clinching victory over the Red Sox about a possible lineup for the season finale. And, besides Jason Giambi every player wanted to be in today's lineup.
Torre asked outfielder Gary Sheffield again today when he arrived at the ballpark and according to the Yankees skipper, Sheffield said "we need to win this game, I'm playing." Torre also said that Giambi physically needed a day off, so Tino Martinez was penciled into the No. 9 spot in the order and is playing first base.
Posted by Joe McDonald at 1:38 PM | Permalink
Friendly hello, but no good luck
In 2001, Boston manager Terry Francona served as a special assistant to Cleveland Indians general manager John Hart.
Mark Shapiro was an assistant general manager back then, soon to be named GM, with Hart leaving for the Texas Rangers. While with the Indians, Francona grew close with Shapiro, which makes this weekend interesting on personal and professional levels for Francona.
Boston entered Sunday's game hoping to hold off Cleveland for the wild-card playoff berth.
``I called (Shapiro recently) and talked to his secretary,'' said Francona jokingly. ``I told her to tell Mark I called. She chuckled. I said `I didn't say I was wishing him luck, but just to say hello,' ''
Posted by at 12:49 PM | Permalink
Craig Hansen, the Sox' 26th pick in last spring's draft, has three big-leagues innings under his belt after earning All-American status at St. John's and pitching for a month or so in the Sox' minor-league system.
In four appearances the 22-year-old right-hander has allowed two runs in three innings, for a 6.00 earned-run average. He has fanned three and walked one. Not a bad debut, but hardly the lights-out type of performances that many Sox fans might have been expecting.
Not that Hansen has been a disappointment by any means in his first taste of the majors. But his future likely is brighter than the present for Hansen, who had to be shut down in Portland (Double A) for a while because of a tired arm.
``I don't think we've seen his best baseball by any stretch,'' said Boston manager Terry Francona. ``He had issues in Double A, got brought up,coming up here, it was a lot to ask. He handled it very well emotionally. I think physically he'll get better. He's got electric stuff and we saw it at times. But (he can be better), especially with his breaking stuff.
``But I think (pitching in the big leagues) has been good for him,'' said Francona.
Posted by at 12:40 PM | Permalink
Sox' Pitching Rotation
If the Red Sox were to clinch a postseason berth Sunday, Boston manager Terry Francona said he would start Matt Clement Tuesday in Chicago in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Clement would be pitching on a normal four days' rest. That would set up David Wells to pitch Game 2 in Chicago, also on a normal four days' rest.
But if the Red Sox were forced to host Cleveland Monday in a playoff showdown for the wild-card berth, the Sox would be facing the specter of three straight days of having to use a pitcher on three days' rest, provided, of course, Boston made it to the postseason in the first place.
That would mean Clement Monday against the Indians, with Wells Tuesday and Tim Wakefield Wednesday in Chicago.
Wakefield, who had pitched Saturday on three days' rest, coughing up seven runs in five innings, said yesterday he was aware he'd have to come back on short rest if circumstances dictate.
``I'll have to,'' said Wakefield Sunday morning.
Wakefield said he was no more sore or tired Sunday than he is after a start on normal rest.
Posted by at 12:32 PM | Permalink
Lineups -- Game 162
The Red Sox
Posted by at 12:30 PM | Permalink
Manny Ramirez has been on another tear at the plate.
His two homers Saturday and his three-run shot Sunday gave him 9 homers and 19 RBI in the last 12 games. Going back even further, Ramirez had bashed 12 homers and driven in 27 runs in 22 games.
Ramirez's torrid season-ending stretch is remarkably similar to a streak he had from mid-June to early July. Back then, the Red Sox left fielder clubbed 8 homers and knocked in 22 runs in a 12-game span from June 12-26, and his totals were 11 homers and 33 RBI in 20 games from June 12-July 5.
His latest surge has come on the heels of a cold snap. Ramirez, who had 44 homers heading into Sunday's game, went 73 at-bats between homers number 33 (Aug. 21 in Anaheim) and number 34 (Sept. 10 in Yankee Stadium).
There have been a couple of technical adjustments that have made the difference, said batting coach Ron ``Papa Jack'' Jackson.
``Manny hasn't taken batting practice for maybe three months. We've been working in the cage, doing soft toss. I think that's helped him stay strong down the stretch,'' said Jackson.
``He's gotten a little closer to the plate and finally got his hands up a little higher. I think that's helped him. He's locked in. And when he's locked in, he can carry you,'' said Jackson.
``That's a pretty good stretch,'' said Francona of Ramirez's recent explosion. ``(But) I don't quantify it. It just doesn't matter. It's not revelevant to what we're trying to do, except that I hope he hits two (homers) today.
``But when Manny gets hot, he doesn't hit singles,'' added Francona. ``That's very encouraging for the ballclub.''
Ramirez authored more encouraging news with his blast into the center-field seats Sunday, expanding Boston's lead to 6-0 in the fourth as the Red Sox attempted to nail down their wild-card spot.
It was Ramirez's 45th homer of the season, tying his career high, established for Cleveland in 1998. It also is the fourth-highest home run total in Red Sox history.
Posted by at 12:14 PM | Permalink
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