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October 5, 2005
Boston starter David Wells will never be called svelte, nor is he likely to win many races, especially since he has been bothered by a balky right knee late in the season.
But in the fourth, the rotund Wells raced over to first base to take a feed from first baseman John Olerud, who had made a diving stab of a ball hit down the line by Scott Podsednik.
Wells, who at times this year has cost himself by not getting over to the bag on balls grounded to the right side, beat Chicago's speedy leadoff batter to the base for the first out of the inning.
Posted by at 8:06 PM | Permalink
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This and That, Game 2 of ALDS
Edgar Renteria has hit a first-inning double in each of the first two games of the series . . . Johnny Damon has proved in his career that hitting when he is behind in the count is no big deal. He had a pair of 0-and-2 hits in each of his first two at-bats, squirting a grounder past third baseman Joe Crede in the first and lining a single to left in the third . . . Manny Ramirez still seemed to be in a hurry at the plate. In Game 1, Ramirez made outs on the first pitch (two grounders to third) twice and saw only eight pitches in four at-bats, going 0 for 4. Wednesday night, Ramirez crushed a first-pitch two-run double in the first and then, after being intentionally walked in the third, he grounded out to third on the first pitch he saw in the fifth . . . Tony Graffanino made only three errors in 51 games for the Red Sox after being obtained from Kansas City, and two of those came in one game. He hadn't made an error in 18 games before allowing Jose Uribe's slow potential double-grounder up the middle to roll between his legs, fueling a White Sox rally in the fifth that netted Chicago five runs and a 5-4 lead . . .
Posted by at 7:31 PM | Permalink
Change of heart costly to Chisox
During Monday's press conference, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen discussed his strategy regarding the Red Sox' two sluggers, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.
Guillen said he would not let Ortiz, a left-handed hitter, beat Game 1 starter Jose Contreras, that he would take his chances in that game with Contreras against Ramirez, a right-handed hitter.
Contreras, a right-hander, easily handled Ramirez in Chicago's Game 1 14-2 win.
Guillen also said that, with left-hander Mark Buehrle on the mound for Game 2, he wouldn't let Ramirez beat the pitcher, preferring a Buehrle-Ortiz, lefty-lefty matchup.
In the first inning of Game 2, Buehrle whiffed Ortiz with runners at second and third and none out. That brought Ramirez to the plate with first base open.
Guillen, though, didn't have Buehrle pitch around Ramirez, opting not to issue an intentional pass that would have filled the bases with one out. Instead, Buehrle challenged Ramirez, and lost the challenge.
Ramirez ripped a first-pitch two-run double over the head of left fielder Scott Podsednik, giving Boston a quick 2-0 lead.
Guillen didn't want to make the same mistake twice. In the third, again with runners at second and third with one out, Guillen called for an intentional walk, filling the bases.
That strategy didn't work for Guillen, either. Jason Varitek drilled an RBI single to right and Trot Nixon hit a run-producing bouncer to first, putting Boston on top, 4-0.
Posted by at 7:18 PM | Permalink
A call from Venezuela
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez may not be the most popular man in his home country or around the world, but his call to Venezuela native Ozzie Guillen was appreciated by the Chicago White Sox manager.
``I was honored,'' said Guillen Wednesday afternoon. ``Not too many people like the President, but it's an honor to talk to him. It's fun when you've got 25 million people looking at you and wishing you the best. And the conversation I had with the President was big news over there.
``To me, to make my country happy about (the White Sox' success) is something I look to with a lot of pride. We have so many problems back there when you do a little thing to make people happy, and you talk about your success, it's something I can give back to my country,'' he said.
Posted by at 6:09 PM | Permalink
Go jump in the pool
Boston manager Terry Francona found a way to relax after the 14-2 pasting his Red Sox absorbed Tuesday in Game 1 of the ALDS.
He went swimming, finding a pool in a nearby hotel.
``I need to do things like that heath-wise. I feel like I'm a different person when I do that,'' said Francona.
``It's just not very comfortable walking on Michigan Avenue in shorts, being stopped and signing autographs. My bow legs were all over Michigan Avenue,'' he said.
Posted by at 6:03 PM | Permalink
The best of bad first-base options
Boston manager Terry Francona opted to start John Olerud at first base Wednesday night in Game 2 of the ALDS even though the White Sox were starting a left-handed pitcher (All-Star starter Mark Buehrle).
Numbers didn't help a whole lot when Francona was choosing between Kevin Millar and Olerud. Millar was a woeful 1 for 18 (.056) against Buehrle, and Olerud wasn't much better (1 for 11, .091).
``We'll go with defense,'' said Francona on the reason for Olerud over Millar.
That was a wise move. Olerud stole a leadoff extra-base hit from Scott Podsednik on the left fielder's hard bouncer over the bag in the fourth. Olerud made a backhanded diving stab, rolled over and fed pitcher David Wells for the out.
In starting Olerud, Francona doctored his batting order a bit, batting the switch-hitting Bill Mueller seventh, between left-handed hitters Trot Nixon (sixth) and Olerud (eighth) to make bullpen matchups for the White Sox a big more difficult.
Posted by at 5:53 PM | Permalink
Lineups -- Game 2, ALDS
The starting lineups for Game 2 of the ALDS:
Posted by at 5:49 PM | Permalink
Clement to the bullpen?
After his disastrous start Tuesday in Game 1 of the American League Division Series in Chicago, there was concern amongst fans, and possibly the Red Sox themselves, as to whether Matt Clement would be handed the ball for a decisive Game 5 start, also in Chicago, if the series went to the maximum number of the games.
To that end, Boston manager Terry Francona seemed to be saying Wednesday that Clement keeping his regular turn in the rotation is not a lock.
Francona said prior to Wednesday night's Game 2 that Clement, who was cuffed for eight runs, not to mention three homers in only 3 1/3 innings of Boston's 14-2 embarrassment, would try to be available for duty out of the bullpen for Friday's game in Boston, which is Game 3 of the series.
He did not rule out Clement, an All-Star pitcher this year who faltered down the stretch (0-4, 8.90 last six starts, including the playoff game) as a Game 5 starter. Other options would be Bronson Arroyo, who was taken from the rotation and put in the bullpen for the series, or David Wells on three days' rest.
Then again, Francona didn't even want to address a Game 5 situation.
``We don't go ahead that far,'' said Francona. ``That's not advantageous for us to do. We're just trying to leave every option available to us so we can win.''
Francona said Clement was called into the office and it was explained to him what the Red Sox had in mind. Clement then went out to throw, trying to get the blood flowing again in anticipation of possible bullpen use in a few days, duty he has not been called upon to perform this season.
Complicating things a bit is that Clement was smoked with a liner stung by Carl Everett in the third inning of Game 1. The ball struck Clement's left wrist and left thigh, leaving him with a contusion on the wrist that wasn't as painful as the bruise on his thigh.
Francona said that if Clement, after throwing a bit on the side, and taking the bruises into account, wasn't comfortable being available out of the bullpen, the Red Sox wouldn't go in that direction.
Posted by at 5:36 PM | Permalink