The Sox stopped the Halos 10-1 tonight in a game closely contested until the eighth.
My how times have changed. Bill James' theories about CLOSER BY COMMITTEE were ridiculed. The basic premise didn't involve the need for TALENT, but the time to use it in the critical juncture to win the game. And Terry Francona showed that he hadn't forgotten to read the manual. He brought on Jonathan Papelbon with runners on the corners with one out in the eighth, Sox leading by 3, facing the dangerous Vlad Guerrero and Garrett Anderson. Papelbon fanned the Angels rightfielder on four pitches and got Anderson to line out.
Mike Timlin came in for the garbage time action as he gets back into his rhythm.
John Lackey looked like he had studied Felix Hernandez for four innings, but the Sox got to him in the 5th, as Doug Mirabelli homered into the Sox bullpen.
The Sox have to hope for a break in the weather to get the rest of the series with the Angels.
Over on the Sox newsgroup, a poster asked whether the knuckleball moves differently in cold weather. As a pitcher who threw the knuckler in New England springs, I don't have much of an opinion on this one. The weather NEVER got warm enough to know. And I always used it as a complementary (change of speed) pitch. It clearly made a big difference which way the wind blew however, as wind in your face helped a lot. But of course, when the hitters got a hold of it under those conditions...
One computer simulation of the season showed the Sox winning a 100 games.
Tim Wakefield's effort extends the Sox 'quality starts' run on the homestand, with Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Wakefield all turning the trick. The Sox lowered their team E.R.A. to 3.12 with tonight's effort. For anyone who doesn't know, you can calculate E.R.A. by multiplying the earned runs allowed by nine and dividing by the number of innings pitched. But you knew that.