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Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Imperfect Schedule - Games 152-162

The final regular season installment of our program (I’ll keep it going for the post-season) features lots of champagne, partying and some wonderful memories for me and I hope for you.

Game 152 - Indians 8 at Sox 9 - 2000 - I remember this one fondly.  It was the day half of a day-night doubleheader and my father and I were set to be in attendance.  He got stuck in traffic and arrived after the top of the first.  No biggie except Roland Arrojo had put the Sox in a 7-0 hole and the old man considered saving the parking fee.  Anyway, the Sox roared back with 2 in the first, 6 in the third and 1 more in the fifth.  Eventually Derek Lowe earned his 38th save and reliever Steve Ontiveros had his final career win.
Game 153 - Sox 11 at Yankees 6 - 2018 - Having lost their first two attempts to clinch the division in the Bronx for the second time in three years the Sox found themselves in a 6-4 hole after four.  No problem, after a run scoring double play and a JBJ homer tied it Xander plated two runs on a sac fly when Hicks threw the ball away and then in the 8th Mookie Betts put the capper on his MVP season with a three run bomb off Aroldis Chapman. When Kimbrel fanned Stanton the Sox spilled champagne in the visitor’s clubhouse at the Stadium…not for the last time that year.
Game 154 - Blue Jays 3 at Sox 12 - 1986
- Oil Can Boyd got the ball for the Sox and got the support of an offensive explosion.  A little dribbler by Buckner got thrown away at the plate and a two run hit by Baylor made it 5-0.  Owen, Boggs and Barrett drove in four more in the fourth and when Kelly Gruber popped to Bill Buckner the Sox first baseman leapt into the air in celebration and it was time for Roger to take a horsey ride as the Sox celebrated their first division title in eleven years.
Game 155 - Blue Jays 3 at Sox 6 - 2013 - This one started weird with Blue Jay centerfielder Colby Rasmus leaving the game when he was struck by an errant throw during warm ups in the first inning.  Jon Lester had it going on allowing one run over seven and Mike Carp drove in three.  Junichi Tazawa allowed a two run homer to make it 5-3 but Pedroia singled home Middlebrooks for eighth inning insurance and Koji Uehara did what Koji did striking out Brett Lawrie and the Sox partied for an unexpected division title.  Better parties were ahead.
Game 156 - Sox 2 at Tigers 0 - 1985 - This one went ten innings and Bob Ojeda pitched the first nine allowing just four hits.  Back to back homers in the top of the tenth by Glenn Hoffman and Dwight Evans made him a winner and Steve Crawford notched his 12th save of the season.
Game 157 - Blue Jays 6 at Sox 7 - 1990 - I was driving home as the Sox kicked away a 4-0 lead in the 7th. Tied at 4 I was struck driving around the streets of Westford for the next hour or so anxiously listening to Joe Castiglione and Bob Starr.  Back to back errors by Kelly Gruber put the Sox up 5-4 but Jeff Reardon surrendered a homer to Junior Felix in the ninth and it was 6-5.  Depressed I drove home to watch the bottom of the ninth with my parents.  Two walks wrapped around a sac bunt by Carlos Quintana gave the Sox life.  Ellis Burks singled and Dwight Evans singled to tie it.  That brought Jeff Stone to the plate for his first Red Sox at bat.  Stone stroked an 0-1 pitch to right-center and the living room on the corner of Beaver Dam and Brookview Drive erupted (Fenway probably did as well) as the Sox had a massive victory.
Game 158 - Sox 9 at Tigers 2 - 1997 - In the middle of a bunch of pennant race games on this list comes this meaningless game.  Two mediocre teams faced off an played a game with that no one paid any attention to.  The star of this game was Scott Hatteberg with three hits, scoring and driving in two.  In the ninth Hatteberg was deprived a chance for a four hit day by first year skipper Jimy Williams.  Williams instead tapped a player acquired in July in a trade for his MLB debut.  While those of watching likely said “who is this guy?” Jason Varitek singled and then caught the first of what would be a Red Sox record 1,488 games.
Game 159 - Blue Jays 4 at Sox 5 - 2005 - With the Sox and Yankees in a division chase (and White Sox and Indians rounding out the Wild Card chase) this was a big game.  The Sox trailed 4-3 after 7 largely due to regular Red Sox killer Frank Catalanotto (3 RBI).  But the Sox had David Ortiz leading off the 8th and before anyone else batted it was 4-4.  The Sox kept grinding and after rookie Jonathan Papelbon finished off 2.2 innings of shutout relief they rallied in the ninth.  A single by Damon and a walk by Renteria brought Ortiz to the plate, the count went full and Ortiz ripped one against the 2005 version of the shift through the left side. Damon raced home with the win.  My friend called me and was greeted by me screaming at the top of my lungs into her ear.
Game 160 - Sox 2 at Indians 4/Brewers 1 at Athletics 7 - 1988 - Huh?  OK, the Sox’ magic number was one and they sent Roger Clemens to the mound.  A double by Indian first baseman Terry Francona started a three run uprising in the first and the Sox never overcame it.  But at 10PM Eastern the Brewers were set to face the A’s in Oakland and an Oakland victory would get the job done.  This was 1988, not 2020 and you didn’t get to see every game.  For some reason that night NESN was able to show the Brewer game (I think it was the Brewer feed).  Dave Stewart held off the Brewers (winning on a night Roger lost, imagine that) and about 1 AM the Sox were division champs.  As my parents slept I jumped around the living room like they crazy 18 year old I was.  Finally around 2 or so I wrote my parents a note on the white board in our kitchen (Sox are division champs!) and went to bed exhausted but looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday. I was awakened by my mother screaming like a loon at 7 AM.  I got a good apology breakfast out of it though.  Just some insight into mom, she got her first (and only) tattoo at age 59, a Sox logo on her ankle a week after that glorious night in St. Louis in 2004.
Game 161 - Astros 3 at Sox 6 - 2017 - The Sox were struggling to get that final victory that would lock up the division and turned to Drew Pomeranz.  The Sox battled their way to a four run lead with Hanley, Devers, Benintend and Moreland delivery hits.  David Price put out a 7th inning fire and despite allowing a solo homer Craig Kimbrel finished the job for the Sox’ first repeat division title in club history.
Game 162 - Other Sox 1 at Sox 3 - 1990
- My mother came through again, this time with last minute tickets.  Technically obstructed view but we were behind the plate on the third base side with a perfect view down the right field line.  Oh did that turn out to be useful.  A misplay by rookie right fielder Sammy Sosa and a botched run down triggered a three run second.  Mike Boddicker made it stand up allowing a seventh inning run but on the play Greenwell threw out Sosa at the plate to end the frame.  Joe Morgan turned to Jeff Reardon battling through injury.  After a two out double by Fisk he fanned rookie Frank Thomas on a nasty slider down and away and to this day the explosion of noise is the loudest I’ve ever heard at Fenway.  Before the ninth I sent my 11 year old brother two rows ahead of me to sit with my parents (I didn’t want responsibility if we went crazy) andtwo quick outs had the Sox on the brink.  A single and a walk brought Ozzie Guillen to the plate.  Fenway was roaring and then went silent as Guillen slammed one to the corner by the Pesky Pole.  Tom Brunansky sprinted over and from my vantage point I could see he had a shot, he dove…AND CAUGHT IT! We went insane.  A gigantic guy with a 2013 style beard and a Harley Davidson vest started hugging me like a loon (I was hugging back in equally loony fashion) and chaos was on.  Boggs brought out a Roger Clemens jersey to salute Roger who was in Toronto in the event of a playoff game the next day.  Leaving the park I was jumping on railing screaming at the top of my lungs.  I assume I slept that night but I can’t confirm it.

Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 17, 2020 at 09:08 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. plink Posted: September 19, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5977672)
Despite following the Sox closely then, I always forget that they didn't clinch in 1990 until game 162.

I'm partial to this Game 162:
   2. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 19, 2020 at 05:12 PM (#5977683)
I was at that one with my brother. We left after the second rain delay. It was a miserable day at the park. I've still never seen a no hitter in person.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: September 19, 2020 at 07:16 PM (#5977692)
Excellently composed edition of this series. Thank you, Jose!
   4. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 19, 2020 at 08:54 PM (#5977702)
Glad you enjoyed it. Obviously a lot of personal memories on this one.
   5. karlmagnus Posted: September 20, 2020 at 11:40 AM (#5977756)
Most enjoyable series, I agree. I have to say that it makes me feel old that Game 162 of 1967, another where the Sox clinched on the last day, is now relegated to the sepia-tinged past as if Tris Speaker had played it.

(I wasn't aware of it at the time, either, being in England, although I was the right age at 17, but the aftershocks of it were still all over Boston when I became a fan in 1971-2. I must have at least 10-12 books about that season.) The 1990 one, on the other hand, I missed altogether -- third pennant in 5 seasons, didn't lead to anything further, and I was back in England again trying unsuccessfully to make my business work. I saw a spring training game that year, though -- very impressed with Carlos Quintana.
   6. plink Posted: September 20, 2020 at 01:27 PM (#5977767)
Indeed -- thanks for putting this together, Jose!
   7. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 20, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5977769)
I saw a spring training game that year, though -- very impressed with Carlos Quintana.

That was the first time I ever went to Spring Training. My father and I came away convinced that Quintana was going to be terrible but he wound up being really good over there.

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