CURSE, PART 1
THE NOMAR ERA BEGINS
Nomar and Mo rip the Angels
April 30, 1997 ... For
a couple of weeks, he did more talking than hitting. There were a few
whispers that maybe the Mo Vaughn had better muzzle himself until he
unwrapped the power swing that had blasted 44 home runs a year ago.
But none of that bothered Vaughn, who has become the voice of wisdom
as well as reason in the Sox clubhouse. Surely, the hits and the home
runs would come as soon as the warm weather arrived.
with the game-time temperature in the mid-70s, Vaughn and the Red Sox gave a
sneak preview of what summer fun can be like at Fenway as they pounded hits in
an 11-2 romp over the Anaheim Angels. Included in that offensive assault were
three hits by Vaughn and a pair of RBIs that indicated the Hit Dog might be
ready to make some serious noise.
been times the last few years when Vaughn has felt the burden of being The Man
in terms of the Red Sox offense. Tonight, at least, that changed.
A crowd of
20,322 saw the Sox drill the Anaheim Angels. Boston collected 13 hits, all in
the first six innings, marking the 16th time in 25 games it's reached double
figures. The primary victim was Jason Dickson, who had pitched a 2-0 shutout
against the Red Sox in the second game of the season April 3rd and had won all
four decisions in April.
the Sox chased him after four innings, by which time they'd built a 7-0 lead
capped by back-to-back homers by Darren Bragg and Nomar Garciaparra in the
fourth. The beneficiary was Chris Hammond, who turned in his second straight
strong start (five innings, five hits, one run) in place of the injured Tim
Wakefield and earned his first American League victory. Eight Sox starters had
at least one hit, and Jeff Frye contributed a sacrifice fly.
Nomar Garciaparra was again sensational, banging a pair of doubles and a home
run from the leadoff spot. Third baseman Tim Naehring ripped a two-run double
off the left-field wall. Right fielder Troy O'Leary was lofting chip shots off
the wall, and center fielder Darren Bragg was hitting line drives and home runs
deep to center.
All of which
turned the game into an exhibition early and persuaded manager Jimy Williams to
give Vaughn the last two innings off. Despite the brilliance of Garciaparra, who
is winning games with his bat, his glove, and even his feet, Vaughn is still
expected to lead the way as the Red Sox move into the heart of the season.
important for the Red Sox is that they are coming out of April with their pride
as well as their record intact. A year ago, they stumbled to a 7-19 start and
never really got on track until too late. This year the holes the Red Sox dig
for themselves have been shallow, and they have climbed out quickly.