The Red Sox lost by a mile last night after the Yankees scored 13 times in the first three innings. But tonight, the Sox lost by mere inches. There was otherwise stellar Sox starter David Pauley letting a grounder up the middle roll juuust under his glove in the 7th, with two out, to extend the inning. Then there was reliever Rudy Seanez, who came in with the bases loaded and the game tied. He worked the count full against Jason Giambi, but juuust missed with a breaking ball and walked in the winning run. Then there was Melky Cabrera juuust snatching Manny Ramirez’s game-tying homer out from behind the fences in the next inning. Manny, who was already rounding second by then, just stared in disbelief. (Ramirez also had a Manny moment when he tried to turn a routine single into a double on the strength—or rather, lack therof—in Johnny Damon’s arm. That was not a play of inches. Manny was out at second by a mile.) All in all, one of those games where every single judgment and each little foible seems magnified in retrospect. The Boston radio ranters will be full of recriminations tomorrow morning, for sure.
But considering that Pauley was expected to pitch rather, well, DiNardo-nically (or, if you prefer, Cla Meredith-ically), it’s quite heartening that the 22-year old went 6.2 innings with 2 earned runs and 2 walks. He had two K’s and scattered 8 hits. I mean, he came up from the Portland Seadogs (a double-A team) and gave up six runs in four and a third against Toronto—and then dazzles the Yankees for almost 7 full innings? I’m especially chuffed about Pauley’s performance since Red Sox Nation was in meltdown mode over Pauley’s facial expression at last night’s game. Take your valium, my fellow Faithful.
Also, in case you haven’t noticed, he’s adorable. And he shut out the Yankees for the first four innings! What’s not to like? Even his little chin quiver, when Terry Francona took him out, was kinda cute.
And proving that we are meant to be together, this is what he just said in a post-game interview: “It was basically I just didn’t get the glove down far enough and [the ball] scooted underneath it, and it was just inches. That’s the game of baseball, it’s a matter of inches to make a difference.” David Pauley, call me baby!
Update! Sox color-commentator Dennis Eckersley during the post-game show, regarding Andy Phillips, the Yankees until-now beleaguered first baseman: ”When you’re going bad like that, it’s a game of inches, it really is. That double play ball that Nixon hit [snagged by the Yankee 1B]? One way or another, that’s a ball down the line and a run scores, so it’s a game of inches. And he did a nice couple reaction plays. But when things are going good, [that ball's] a line-drive double play.” Eck, you can also call me. I know you have a ‘stache and your 70s-era hair is allllmost a mullet (a game of inches, a game of inches, my friend) but you are still damn cute.