September 19, 1999
Let’s go quite a few years back, and check out a game from a playoff stretch run. This game is from late September1999, a year that the Red Sox would win the Wild Card, and make it to the ALCS before Pedro could carry them no farther. Let’s see how this one played out!
My favorite part about this card is the pitchers box. Check out Derek Lowe doing his best Andrew Miller impression. He entered the game in the sixth inning, and finished the game from there. He struck out three, while only allowing one baserunner. Not a bad performance at all.
The second thing I notice is the number three hole in the line-up. Not only is it weird to see Jason Varitek in that spot, it’s weird to see him wearing #33. Well, weird at the time. This is the first game I scored where Varitek wasn’t wearing #47. Does that make this card more valuable?
I know I say it every time I do a 1999 game, but I still can’t get over the rest of the line-up. Pedro really did carry this team all by himself, didn’t he? Damon Buford in the two-hole? Scott Hatteberg at DH? Wow.
But it worked, because the Sox had one inning big enough to seal the deal. The four-spot in the second was all the pitching would require in this game. The Sox added on three more just for fun to make sure Tim Wakefield could cruise until Lowe finished it off.
The player of the game? Tempted to go with Wilton Veras and his key bases loaded single. But, I’m giving the nod to Nomar Garciaparra and his insurance two-run homer. The Tigers had just inched their way closer by scoring a run in the fourth when Nomar got it right back.
The Goat? Everyone on the Red Sox got a hit in this game, so there’s nothing super-obvious. But, the aforementioned Damon Buford was the only player not to drive in or score a run. His 1-5 in the second spot wasn’t the sort of production you’re looking for. His strikeout in the second was particularly annoying because the first six batters in the inning had reached base before him.
But, of course, it didn’t matter. The Sox pounded out seven runs despite his best efforts to the contrary. The pitching did its job to seal the deal. Another convincing win from the hometown boys.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.