A more descriptive blog tonight - not sure how many people stayed through to the 1.30 finish.
The Sox had Lowell out again tonight, so Youkilis played at 3rd, Ortiz worked on his 2007 position eligibility over at 1st, and Gabe Kapler played LF, with Manny DH'ing. I guess I was a little surprised that Wily Mo wasn't playing RF given the lefty starter (Moyer) for the M's, but Francona stated that the Sox are easing him back in gently.
The Red Sox did their scoring early... and a little late - and you have to question the bums hitting in the 2, 6, 7 and 8 spots that weren't able to get a shot out of the park in the first five innings... ;-)
After Ortiz's solo HR in the first, it seemed that the Sox decided to take steady aim at their own bullpen in left field, and ball after ball ended up in that location - Alex Gonzalez continues his torrid run of hitting, delivering a 2 run shot in the third, Varitek dumped a solo shot in the 4th, before Youkilis and Manny added two run shots in the 5th.
I doubt that I will ever be fully comfortable sitting down to watch any Kyle Snyder start, but he again looked... ok (damning him with faint praise..!). He again ran into trouble on his third pass at the lineup, although he wasn't helped by two errors in the bottom of the 5th. Then, during warm-up pitches for the 6th, he pulled up and quickly waived to the dugout for medical help - it is a sign of how thin we are that his loss is a worry - however, the FSN Northwest announcers passed on that it was a muscle cramp - if that is all it was (and that is a big if) he should be ok to take his turn in Oakland next week.
Both Hansen and Delcarmen made things interesting in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings - but while Hansen was charged with 2 runs, no one was hitting either of the guys hard, it was more a case of ground balls finding holes, or plays that fielders just couldn't make.
The Sox added another run in the top of the 9th as Coco slapped a ball to LF and Manny slid home ahead of the ball, and Timlin came in to finish the game in 1-2-3 fashion - a nice win, and the lead in the East climbs back to 3.5, and the Sox own the 2nd best record in the majors all on their own as the White Sox fell to the Rangers.
One aside to explain the difference between UK baseball watching and US baseball watching - FSN Northwest played a highlight clip from the Sox - Mariners game from 6 years ago that finished in the 19th inning - a game that I was able to follow the end of in the office the day "after" UK time.
I guess like many UK baseball fans the first thing I always did was switch on the PC in the morning to catch up on the overnight action - when I saw that the Sox game wasn't a final, I just assumed that there was something wrong with the Yahoo scoreboard, until I saw movement in the count! In then typical Sox style though, I started watching, and they lost within a few minutes!
Neil M vented about E-Rod's play yesterday, and I think when he watches the condensed game later today, he won't be that happy with him again.
He will enjoy the 450th HR, and the simultaneous 2,000th hit, but again his defense hurt his team. I wouldn't criticize him at all for failing to get the foul pop up in the 1st, the sky was tough at that stage, but I was surprised that he didn't get to Johnson's grounder earlier in the inning that started things off. Clearly he is going to catch more flack for the 4th inning throwing error that pulled Andy Phillips off the bag - and helped switch the momentum again to the Jays after his HR had appeared to pull the Yankees back into the game.
As anyone that reads this blog will know, I am no E-Rod fan, and certainly no A-Fraud apologist, but I do think the criticism of E-Rod is getting way, way over-blown... not that that makes it any less funny in a schadenfreude kind of way. Without question, he is being held to a materially different standard from other Yankees, and I really don't understand the relish that the NY and national (read ESPN) media are chasing his blood.
There seems to be no leeway offered for his gaudy hitting, and more importantly, no leeway offered for the fact that the best SS in baseball agreed to move to a position that he had never played professionally to help his new team - if he was making all these errors at SS having forced Jeter to 3rd or CF then I would have more sympathy for the critics - but he is still playing out of position for the benefit of the team and just has nowhere to hide at the moment.
I am sure that the response to that argument will be "he is getting paid $252m" or "he effectively forced the trade out of the Rangers", but I just don't buy it - I really don't like the guy, but I would never accuse him of not busting his ass on the field, or doing everything he could to help the Yankees, but that doesn't seem to be enough - but keep booing Yankee fans, it is music to Sox fans ears!