Sunday, October 14, 2007

When Bullpen Arsonists Strike

OK, it won't be a sweep.

An epic postseason game turned really ugly in the wee hours this morning, as the old friend Trot Nixon broke a 6-6 tie in the eleventh inning as the Cleveland Indians scored seven runs in the inning and knotted the ALCS at one with a 13-6 win.

It was a night when the starting pitchers didn't last until the fifth, and it would be a battle of the bullpens. Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell both hit homers for the Sox in back-to-back fashion, and Grady Sizemore and Jhonny Peralta both connected for Cleveland.

At first the Red Sox pen did a fine job. Manny Delcarmen gave up a run in the sixth that tied it, but Hideki Okajima, Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon shut Cleveland down through the tenth inning. Then, Terry Francona had a tough decision to make. At the time I thought it was the right one.

At Professor Thom's, the overflow crowd generally moaned at the sight of Eric Gagne coming in for the 11th. He started off strong by fanning Casey Blake. But Sizemore singled and he walked Asdrubal Cabrera on four pitches. This left Francona no choice but to go to Javier Lopez to face pinch-hitter Trot Nixon. As everyone knows, Trot has a tough time with lefties (his lifetime average versus southpaws is .218), but jumped on the first pitch and singled in Sizemore.

And it got truly ugly from there. Lopez wound up giving up three runs and Jon Lester gave up a mammoth three-run shot to Franklin Gutierrez to complete the carnage, and send the series back to Cleveland.

And at the bar, as it got ugly in Boston, it nearly got ugly at Thom's too. Two obnoxious Yankee fans (or anti-Red Sox fans) nearly started two fights, as the Red Sox throng was pretty pissed off at the turn of events. They got a "We're Still Playing" chant from us. (I'll never get these idiotic fans. They have their choice of 5,000 bars in Manhattan to watch games like this and not have to worry about Sox fans, and yet some can't resist coming in and making trouble with Red Sox fans, many of whom have had more than a few adult beverages. Fortunately, no punches were thrown in either incident, just some pushing and shoving, and the staff acted quickly to diffuse the trouble.)

I'd also like anyone to give me one good reason why Eric Gagne should be on the World Series roster should the Sox advance. He couldn't resist doing his tightrope act in Game 1, as the Sox led by 7 in the ninth on Friday and he struggled, and last night he began the inferno that led to a full scale five-alarm fire that wound up evening the series. It was clear last night Tito has no faith in him and only went to him in desperation. I only hope we don't see him with a ball in his hand in any kind of close situation in this postseason again.


Anonymous said...

That's too bad about Thom's. Unfortunately it's the reason I am avoiding it for the playoffs so far. I've seen too much of that behavior there.

BklynSoxFan said...

Fortunately, the times I've been there the crowds have been mostly well-behaved. I can only hope we won't see any more dustups in the near future.

The Angry Tech said...

The Yankee goons were in there by chance, not to start trouble or be pains in the arses. My guess is they're part of the usual weekend B&T riffraff that infest the place every weekend all year. During the regular season and the off-season it's no problem, as the Sox crowd doesn't show up in such great numbers on the weekends.

But like a Catholic church on Easter, everyone who's evah been ta the nawth end suddenly becomes devout, and there's a culture clash between two groups, each of whom thinks they're on their home turf.

You won't have this problem during the week, only on Fri & Sat nights.

Did Chris hit anyone with an Ortiz-signed bat? I'd have liked to see that.

BklynSoxFan said...

Good post, Rob...

No, there was no physical violence, as the Ortiz-signed bat and cricket bat were not needed.

Jeff Faria said...

In baseball inexplicable things sometimes happen. What in the world happened to Chuck Knoblauch when he joined the Yankees? How come Kenny Rogers was a bust for the Yanks, but a Tiger with the Tigers?

Gagne is a similar mystery. He was fine - until he came to the Sox. Because the Sox gave up something substantial for him, and because he has stunk out the place in his time with them, they are both in a situation where the free agent Gagne may be with them still next year! WHereas, had he been able to shine, he might be out the door.

The Sox can take their chances with him - next year. For the rest of the playoffs/series, he's probably used up his last chance. But I give Tito major props for setting the example and not kicking the guy when he's down. Pedroia, too, went out of his way to be a booster. Class acts. For now, though, putting Gagne back out there is NOT doing him a favor. His head is wired to fail right now. Whether that can be put right is a question for another time.

MA said...

aren't you glad that

1. even though i was there i wasn't THAT kind of a fan
2. i wasn't there for the 11th?