Short take: Someone wake up Gandhi
Turn out the lights, Sox Fans. In a season filled with titillating
second chances for our team, here finally was the Big One that beaned this
brain-dead outfit straight in the head. The Sox catch lead in the
cranium, shot from the bat of Jim Thome in the eighth inning. The Sox
stumbled forward into the ninth and collapsed like every Sox Fan knew they
would, a two-out rbi double ends the game and the Sox season. We lose
8-7. 85 years and eternity still await us.
It could have been a lot less painful. Starter Gary Glover got
lit for a grand slam the very first inning. Our Sox could have gone
quietly the remaining eight innings. Nope, this team loves teasing us
and tonight was no exception. So the Sox roar back for six runs in the
next inning, keyed by a three-run dinger by Josh Paul and a pair of rbi-doubles
by Magglio Ordonez and Paul Konerko. The Sox took a 6-4
Jose Canseco added a solo homer in the fifth. That was the
last Sox run of the game. We were ripe for the taking and the Tribe took
it. They went to work the very next inning.
Glover settled in and pitched four scoreless innings after the nighmarish
first, but the sixth has been his downfall and tonight was no exception.
A solo dinger made in 7-5 Sox. Alan Embree and Kip Wells
kept the Tribe off the board through the seventh.
That set the stage for the fateful eighth. Whatever was going through
the minds of Jerry Manuel, pitching coach Nardi Contreras, and
set up man Bob Howry is anyone's guess. With a runner on second,
two out, and the league's leading homerun hitter coming to the plate, lefty
Jim Thome, conventional baseball wisdom dictates walking the guy and taking
your chances with righty Marty Cordova or whatever pinch hitter Cleveland
Nope. Whatever Contreras told Howry on the mound, the topic of
avoiding a fat pitch down the heart of the plate apparently was not
discussed. Howry quickly fell behind 2-0 and then served up the biggest
watermelon of the 2001 season. It shot through the stale air of
Cleveland so fast, Sox Fans half-expected to hear a sonic boom.
What was Jerry Manuel thinking? If he wants a walk, why risk
anything near the plate in such a no-win situation? First base was
open! If he hoped Thome would be anxious and take an ill-advised swing
at something away from the plate, don't you leave strict instructions for
Howry to keep the ball low and away even more so the last two
And if Manuel did intend to pitch to Thome, why is he managing a major
league baseball team? Mental midgets like Don Zimmer don't have major
league managing jobs for making just these sorts of stupid "I had a
hunch" strategic blunders. That's inexcusable, especially given the
importance of the game.
The game was tied and the inevitable collapse around the corner. Keith
Foulke pitches the ninth and hits Travis Fryman in his baggy shirt with a
two-strike pitch. Gee, that hasn't happened too often this year, has it
Sox Fans? Next Kenny Lofton doubles home the winning run, running on
contact since it was two out.
Nothing compares to the hurt felt by Sox Fans at the end of that game in
Minnesota last June, but this one comes awfully close.
The three-legged mongrel that this Sox team has become is finally given a
mortal wound. Time to wait for somebody else's magic number to count us
out. Then it's wait till next year.
Sox Fans, eternity is a hell of a long time.
Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner
|3 for 5
with a run scored. A double and a stolen base, the Sox score lots
of runs when Durham gets on base.
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