Duel To Disappointment

The marquee match-up of Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens, a combined 85 years of age, was just as advertised. The two heavyweight fighters both dug down deep to out-duel each other and when the smoke cleared their efforts had earned them a stalemate. That is until Derek Jeter stepped into the batter?s box in the top of the eighth inning. Prior to Jeter?s eighth inning at bat we were looking at a one to one ballgame, but what more could you expect with these two guys going at it in the middle of the Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry?

Now I know exactly what you?re thinking right now, ?Why did Francona leave Schilling in that long??. Well, big Schill at the time had a pitch count in the high seventies to low eighties, this was not the fault of Francona in the least bit. With runners on second and third and first base open, the Red Sox elected to pitch to the dangerous contact hitting Derek Jeter. While Derek Jeter isn?t exactly a home run threat, he does have a flare for the dramatic and has a thing for clutch hitting against Boston. Schilling?s best option would have been to put Jeter on and take his chances with Bobby Abreu. The worst that could have happened would have been a base hit scoring two runs at most, thus making the third run scored off of Rivera in the bottom of the ninth a tie game.

The rubber match of the three game set against the New York Yankees got off to a great start as what seemed to be a night that Roger was going to take a licking from his former team. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the first with a fly ball to left that Johnny Damon found far too difficult to catch. The error put the speedy Ellsbury at first base with a chance to score on anything with his speed. Mike Lowell began his night of taking on the Yankees single-handedly by driving in Ellsbury to what seemingly began the process that was intended to shake up Clemens. But being the big game pitcher that he has been his entire career, the Rocket kept his composure and mowed down the Red Sox the rest of the way.

Mike Lowell had two hits off of Clemens tonight, which at the time were the only two hits that the Red Sox had in the entire game. When Schilling went out for the eighth inning something just didn?t feel right to me. The crowd was not as energetic as they had been in previous innings, almost as if to say ?alright we got 7 strong out of him, why are we risking an eighth inning here with the best bullpen in baseball??. As I mentioned previously, it would have made more sense to put Jeter on in that situation. It would have put the double play ball back into effect and taken the bat right out of the clutch hitting Yankee captain?s hands. Schilling?s final pitch of the night was a ringing shot that Jeter launched into the Monster seats. The ball seemed to still be rising as it crashed into the back wall on top of the Green Monster seating area.

The Fenway Faithful went silent, you could have heard a pin drop in Fenway Park. Derek Jeter seems to have that effect on us Red Sox fans sometimes unfortunately, but not when you are smart about how you approach him. Derek Jeter, in my opinion, was not approached with enough caution in this at bat and it certainly proved costly to Curt Schilling and the Boston Red Sox. Refusing to roll over and die to their most hated rival, Mike Lowell blasted a home run off of Joba Chamberlain to put the Red Sox back within two runs. The solo homer hit by Lowell was the first run Chamberlain has relinquished so far in his miniscule Major League career.

The bottom of the ninth brought more of that Red Sox/Yankee drama that we have all become addicted to once again over the past few seasons. It wouldn?t be an entertaining ninth inning without our good ol? pal Mariano. There was no ?Enter Sandman? played at Fenway, but you can guarantee that every fan in Fenway Park knew who was coming on in the ninth. About four years ago many would head for the exits in an attempt to beat the traffic as Mr. Automatic was coming out of the bullpen to shut down shop, not so much anymore. The ?new Mariano? if you will, was the Mariano that showed up once again tonight to try to shut the door on the Sox.

Jason Varitek started the inning by working Mo to a full count and then to the crowds approval, taking ball four. Eric Hinske then followed up by grounding out to first base while advancing Jason Varitek to second. Coco Crisp then grounded out weakly to Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano advancing Jason Varitek to third base. If the game were to continue the Red Sox were going to need something from shortstop Julio Lugo. Lugo came through by coudlbing on a line drive to center scoring captain Tek from third. Jacoby Ellsbury then came to the plate with the chance to become a hero, those chances quickly diminished (just for tonight) after being hit by a pitch. During a long and hard fought at bat, Rookie of the Year to be, Dustin Pedroia worked a walk that loaded up the bases for the most clutch hitter in Red Sox history.

The excitement, the nervousness, the anticipation, the bottom of the ninth inning at Fenway Park is unlike any other when the Yankees have a one run lead and the one man that stands in the way of a Red Sox victory is Mariano Rivera. If the Red Sox were able to hand select not only any player on their team, but any played in Major League Baseball to be at the plate in this situation to win the game, David Ortiz would have been standing right where he was standing. Unfortunately, due to the laws of probability, David Ortiz was unsuccessful in his attempt to turn Fenway into a madhouse by hand delivering a Red Sox win against the Yankees. What looked as if though it could have been a motivational win for the Sox, turned into a crushing defeat. They may have won this battle, but they will not win the war of the division.

-Jared Carrabis

2 comments

  1. wanfischer@earthlink.net

    Jared–Once again, I am impressed with your insightful commentary on a very exciting game. Although heartbreaking, this game showed baseball at its finest, the Red Sox vs. the Yankees in September. As Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Bucholz are the future of the Red Sox, I see you as the next Gordon Eades or Bob Ryan (sorry that you’ll have to leave your pitching career at TC Field behind!).

    Wanda

  2. carwei724@yahoo.com

    I, as a Yankee fan, naturally hate the Red Sox and Red Sox fans, but after reading this i’ve somewhat realized that I may not be a Yankee fan if there was no Yanks/Sox rivalry because it just wouldnt be as interesting…from one diehard fan of NY to another diehard fan of Boston, I hope you well

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