Dateline: Hook Road 2
On a beautiful, picture-perfect Spring evening, the Red Sox started a home stand against the O’s. Garrett came off the injured-reserve list and started on the mound. He gave up a few hits, but settled down and retired the O’s after only three runs. The Red Sox started chipping away at the lead immediately. A catchers interference call sent Jared to first, a walk to Matt moved him to second. He then stole third. Coach Grossman sent Jared home on a wild pitch, but as many fans are noticing, Coach Grossman misjudged the play and Jared would have been out by a mile at home. Coach called him back and Jared ran back to third. The catcher overthrew third and Coach sent Jared home (again) and he scored. After one it was 3-1 O’s.
Michael F. came to the mound in the second and dominated the O’s on three quick strikeouts. The Red Sox led off with a single by Jack, a walk to William and Jack scored on a wild pitch. William also scored on a wild pitch and after two it was tied 3-3.
Using a full pitching staff, Coach Grossman sent Chris to the mound in the third. He walked two batters, but settled down to strikeout the next two. The O’s scored two runs on some wild pitches. In the bottom of the third, Justin hit a line drive to short, but the shortstop made a nice play and caught the ball. Chris walked and went to second on a walk to Ben. Chris stole third and scored on a wild pitch. After three it was another thriller at 5-4 O’s.
Matt came on to pitch the fourth. The leadoff man walked, the next hitter walked. With no out and runners on first and second the O’s tried to steal third. They had not scouted Ben’s arm at catcher. He made a nice stop and rifled the ball to Kyle at third who make a great catch and calmly applied the tag at third. The league will think twice about running on Red Sox catchers. With one out, Matt settled down and quickly struck out the next two batters.
The Red Sox down only a run in the fourth led off with a walk to Corey. He moved to second on a walk to William. With one out Corey stole third and Coach Grossman sent him home on a wild pitch and the O’s got him on a thrilling play at the plate. With two outs, TJ walked and moved William to second. William stole third and again Coach Grossman with the itchy trigger finger sent William who was out at home. In a one run game, losing two runners at home is not what the Red Sox faithful expect out of their third base coach. This reporter spoke to several fans after the game who pointed out this poor base coaching is one of the reasons they are happy that Coach Grossman is signed to a very short term contract. Rumors abound that the Red Sox search committee has quietly started discussions with other coaches for the ’05 season.
In the fifth, Matt held the O’s on three quick strikeouts. With darkness looming, it was decided the Red Sox would have a final chance to try to score a run. Kyle walked to put the tying run on first. Jared took a called strike three and there was one out. Justin hit a smash to the pitcher who fired to first, Coach Grossman sent Kyle around to third and he slid in safely just ahead of the tag. When the dust cleared the Red Sox were only sixty feet away from the tying run. Chris walked to bring up Matt. With two strikes, Coach Grossman reached deep into his bag of tricks and sent Kyle on a delayed steal as the pitcher was walked back to the mound. Kyle raced home with the tying run and the Red Sox cheered. Matt struck out to end the game, but it was a tie at 5-5.
Coach Grossman said “What a day of ups and downs. I wish I had those two runs back in the fourth and I really sort of hate to use that delayed steal tactic as it tends to annoy other coaches, but I thought it’d be fun for our guys. Our pitchers looked great. That is the first time we’ve ever used four pitchers in a game and it worked wonderfully. Our fielders looked much more alert. Now, with the impending legalization of sunflower seeds, I want to work on getting our bench in order. Too many guys were sort of wandering around and playing in the dirt. Its time to just chew on a sunflower seed and watch the game.” Coach Goldstein said, “Great comeback! Great work by our pitchers and catchers. We’ll work on the wild pitch play with our catchers in tomorrow’s practice.”
The Red Sox play the tough Expos on Saturday, coached by Tom Nelson, the only coach in the league who has more AA experience than Coach Grossman. It should be a thriller. It will be nice and hot at 1:00 so fans are encouraged to drink lots of water during the game.”