THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO, PART 11 ...
IT'S TIME TO "COWBOY UP"

Pedro, Timlin and Kim shut down the Tribe

September 21, 2003 ... The baseball firm of Martinez, Ramirez, and Kim all combined to help lift the Red Sox out of the morass of a humiliating 13-4 defeat the night before by stinging the Indians, 2-0, before 27,655 at the Jake. The victory staked the Sox to a 2 1/2-game lead in the wild-card race over the Mariners (12-0 losers to the A's) as Grady Little's lads winged home to begin their final seven games of the regular season.

Martinez, Mike Timlin, and Kim did the honors on the mound, while Ramirez provided the only run the Sox needed when he knocked in Todd Walker with a fourth-inning double. After Ramirez advanced to third on a throwing error, he scored an insurance run on Kevin Millar's ground out.

Martinez wasted few of his precious bullets as he blanked the Indians on four hits and a pair of walks over seven innings, helping the Sox improve to 13-6 in September on the way to posting their best monthly ERA of the season. By the time Timlin pitched a scoreless eighth and Kim set down the Indians in order in the ninth, the Sox improved their ERA in September to 3.41, pretty impressive considering the bullpen's lingering woes.

Pedro was predictably Pedro, picking up his fourth victory in as many starts as he improved to 14-4 with a league-best 2.25 ERA. He fanned 11 to top 200 strikeouts in a season for the seventh time and increase his league lead in Ks to 204. And he tightened his grip on the league lead in opponents' batting average (.215), among other categories.

While Timlin generally has been tough this season in the clutch, he responded splendidly with little margin for error when the Sox needed him as much as ever. Then Kim helped to settle the nerves of the team's anxious fandom by recovering smoothly from his latest lapse Friday, when he plunked two Indians in a row in the ninth and was pulled in the Sox's 2-0 victory. Kim, who was in danger of losing his job as closer, picked up his 15th save.

Hours earlier, Little chose to smile rather than squirm over his beleaguered bullpen as he jokingly suggested he was ready to employ a novel way to search for an effective reliever in the bunch. He also joked that the team held two pregame chapel sessions, with one exclusively for the bullpen, presumably a longer, more prayerful gathering.

In any case, Martinez was the savior-in-chief. He toyed with the Tribe until they waged their only serious threat in the seventh. With one out, he walked Ben Broussard and surrendered a single to Victor Martinez to put runners at first and second. A batter later, Martinez thought he fanned pinch hitter Josh Bard on a 1-2 curveball for the final out, only for plate ump Bruce Dreckman to rule it a ball. Martinez walked Bard, loading the bases for former Sox infielder Angel Santos. At that, Martinez gave the Cleveland partisans hope by firing two straight balls to Santos. But then the Sox ace clamped down, uncorking three straight fastballs, of which Santos fouled off the first two and fanned on the third to end the inning. The last two pitches were 95 miles per hour, the only pitches Martinez fired faster than 93 in the game.

As the Sox turned homeward for their final regular-season series in the Fens, they knew the wild card was within their reach.

 

at Jacobs Field (Cleveland) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

 

2

4

0

CLEVELAND INDIANS

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

0

4

1

W-Pedro Martinez (14-4)
S-Byung-Hyun Kim (15)
L-Cliff Lee (3-2)
Attendance 27,655

2B-Ramirez (Bost), Gerut (Clev)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Johnny Damon cf 4 0 0 .274  

 

Nmr Garciaparra ss 3 0 0 .306  

 

Lou Merloni 2b 0 0 0 .275  

 

Todd Walker 2b 3 1 0 .280  

 

Damian Jackson 2b/ss 0 0 0 .252  

 

Manny Ramirez dh 4 1 1 .323  

 

Kevin Millar 1b 4 0 2 .275  

 

Bill Mueller 3b 3 0 0 .329  

 

Jason Varitek c 4 0 1 .274  

 

Trot Nixon rf 3 0 0 .307  

 

Gabe Kapler lf 2 0 0 .266  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Pedro Martinez 7 4 0 2 11  
  Mike Timlin 1 0 0 1 0  
  Byung-Hyun Kim 1 0 0 1 0  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2003 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees 97 58 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 91 64 6

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 81 74 16

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 69 85 27 1/2

 

 

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 60 95 37

 

 

2003 WILD CARD STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 91 64 -

 

 

Seattle Mariners 89 67 1 1/2

 

 

Minnesota Twins 87 69 3 1/2