Sunday, September 17, 2006

Redemption Song:Sox take 3 of 4 from Stanks

Coco's HR-robbing catch & 9th inning bunt propel Sox to face-saving series win

After his pathetic 1-19 performance in the Boston Massacre II, in which he was outplayed in the field, at the plate and on the bases by the Demon he was hired to replace, Coco Crisp had to be feeling pretty down. He had already faced a major obstacle in his debut season with the Sox when he suffered a broken finger 1 week into the season and missed 42 games. Then he couldn't get his rhythm back at the plate, lost his leadoff job, and was ripped in the media & RSN for his poor OBP and girly arm.
Well last night Coco proved how valuable he can be when his two huge plays made the difference between a big win and another disheartening defeat for the Sox.

Boston had scored 2 runs to tie the game at 4 in the top of the 8th on a single by Tek and a wild pitch by Mike Myers,but the Stanks came right back in the bottom half and threatened to swipe the win right out from under them. Giambi singled off of Javier Lopez, and then Georgie Posada hit a towering blast to deep centerfield that seemed destined to land in the fabled monument area with the force of a sucker punch to the Nation's underbelly.

But our man Coco was all over it; he tracked the ball all the way to the fence, timed his leap, jumped up and snagged it as it was falling over the other side. It was a breathtaking play, Coco's 3rd or 4th like that this year, and one that the Demon himself would have been hard pressed to make at this juncture of his career.

Having escaped a certain demoralizing 2-run homer, the Sox rallied immediately in the top of the 9th, and little Coco was a factor again. Carlos Pena led off with a clutch double off flamethrowing reliever Kyle Farnsworth and was lifted for pinch runner Alex Cora. Coco stepped in and in an attempt to get the runner to 3rd laid down a bunt that dropped right in front of Georgie. But Coco's blinding speed forced Posada to make a wide throw, pulling Andy Phillips off the bag, and Coco was safe at 1st while Cora scampered to 3rd. Wow. Two dazzling, clutch plays in the span of about 6 minutes for the guy. When Loretta hit a sac fly that scored Cora thanks to Bernie's worm-killing 8-hopper to the plate the Sox had the 5-4 lead and would hold on for the win as Tired Arm recorded his 3rd save of the series. He had a taste of redemption as well.

Although they will not make the playoffs thanks to the bludgeoning at the hands of the Bronx Bastards in mid August, taking 3 of 4 in this compacted weekend series had to provide a small bit of satisfaction for the Sox: the Stanks couldn't clinch the division right under their noses, Demon was held in check (3-11, 2R), Papi hit his 49th bomb, and Coco crawled out of the hairy shadow left by his predecessor.
In two weeks he will get a clean slate and hopefully play a full season next year.
Let's see how he measures up to Judas then.

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