Here’s a card of a very early game in the 2003 season. This is the team that would go on to lose crushingly in the ALCS. It’s also appropriate, given actions this spring, that both Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek saw action in this game. Let’s see what else we can find out.
The offense is missing one key member. Shea Hillenbrand is manning first base, while Kevin Millar is clogging up the DH spot. That means there is no room for David Ortiz. It would be a few months before Hillenbrand is tossed overboard to make room for Big Papi. But, the line-up is actually pretty solid. Nomar and Manny make for a pretty potent 3-4 on their own. And, Nomar’s home run ends up being the game winner. The number 8 guy, Bill Mueller, would end up winning the batting title. The rest of the guys play off each other nicely. No wonder this team scored so many runs.
They also had some pitching. Derek Lowe spun a gem. He won, so we can say he scattered five hits over seven innings. Wakefield earned the save with two innings of work. I notice that they brought Mirabelli in before they brought in Wake. They allowed Varitek to drive in that insurance run first, though.
So, player of the game? I’ll give it to Lowe. Sure, Nomar had the home run. But, his next three trips to the plate were fairly pathetic. Lowe gave the Sox everything they needed. Sure, it was against the Orioles, but that’s still all I need from a pitcher. The goat? I’ll have to give it to many and his 0-4. At least Damon reached base, and stole one. In general, though, pitching ruled the day.
So, the Sox pulled out a close won. They got great pitching, timely hitting, and nice base running. We can remember the juggling act that took place before Ortiz claimed his spot full-time. It was a solid victory early in a great season.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.