Tougher than the rest
The walk from the visitor’s dugout to the clubhouse at Fenway Park takes you down a damp, dank hallway that still has mildew from 1937.
That walk always reminds me precisely what I love about Fenway Park. It has that “feel” you can only get here and at Wrigley Field. While I understand the rationale behind the hoopla surrounding the final game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, spare me any mention of it being the same park where Babe Ruth hit No. 60 in 1927 or Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the World Series, because that park was basically obliterated in the renovations of 1974-75.
Forget the 33-year-old Yankee Stadium. Give me Fenway. Give me the Pesky pole, the Green “Monstah,” the lone red seat in the right-field bleachers that marks Ted Williams’ longest home run, and the coffee stain in the visitor’s clubhouse that was probably left by Tony Lazzeri.
Give me all this, and I’ll give you tonight’s lineups…
INDIANS (79-77): CF Grady Sizemore, 2B Jamey Carroll, LF Shin-Soo Choo, SS Jhonny Peralta, 1B Victor Martinez, DH David Dellucci, C Kelly Shoppach, RF Franklin Gutierrez, 3B Andy Marte. LHP Cliff Lee (22-2, 2.41).
RED SOX (91-65): RF Jacoby Ellsbury, 2B Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz, 3B Kevin Youkilis, LF Jason Bay, SS Jed Lowrie, 1B Sean Casey, C Kevin Cash, CF Coco Crisp. RHP Tim Wakefield (9-11, 4.18).
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Josh Beckett hit three guys last night but said he didn’t have bad control. Uh, sure. “I don’t think I had control issues,” said Beckett. “One guy had gigantic body armor on the whole [expletive] left side of his body.” That guy would be Ryan Garko, who shrugged off Beckett’s complaint. Manager Eric Wedge added, “So what?”
- Thanks in part to Beckett, the Indians are now one hit batsman from tying a Major League record (100) set by Houston in 1997.
- Jhonny Peralta is just the 12th shortstop in history to record 40 doubles and 20 homers in a single season.
- With a win tonight, the Indians would equal their best record of the season (three games over .500).
- Brian Slocum, one of the forgotten men in the Indians’ expanded clubhouse, will have minor elbow surgery performed Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic. A small inciscion will be made to remove tissue that has been causing him pain. The surgery shouldn’t affect his offseason throwing program.
- Cliff Lee hasn’t lost in 78 days. If he wins tonight, he ties the club record for wins by a left-hander, set by Vean Gregg in 1911, and becomes the first Major Leaguer to win 23 since Randy Johnson and Barry Zito did so in 2002. Lee is also on pace to have the highest-ever winning percentage for a 20-game winner.
- Shin-Soo Choo’s second-half OPS is 1.046, which is the highest in the AL among those with at least 200 plate appearances.
- The Indians have scored the same number of runs as the White Sox this season (772), despite having 57 fewer home runs. The Sox have played one less game than the Tribe.
- The line of the week, already, is as follows, and it shall remain anonymous: “Hey, did you say hi to Kenny Lofton? He’s still standing on third base.”
Lastly, I hope you all did something special to celebrate Bruce Springsteen’s 59th birthday. Hopefully you didn’t blast “Jessie’s Girl” on your Ipod.