Sending Out An S.O.S.
Sunday, July 3, 2016 – Fenway Park, Section 42
Red Sox 10, Angels 5
After a personal 5-0 record in May games, I went a dismal 0-5 in June, so I was happy to turn the figurative page to July. But mostly I was happy that I didn’t have a ticket to Saturday night’s game, a brutal 21-2 loss in the middle game of a series with the last-place Angels. As awful as things seemed at the end of that game, the sun rose on Sunday morning after all, and I made it in to Fenway early on a bright, sunny day. Neither team took batting practice, as per usual on a Sunday morning, but some infielders were fielding grounders and a couple of pitchers were throwing long-toss in the outfield. Steven Wright was throwing a bullpen session between his starts.
Red Sox pitching was so battered on Saturday night that outfielder Ryan LaMarre had to pitch the ninth inning. (And he was the only pitcher who didn’t allow a run.) They were going to need a good start today if they wanted to take the rubber game of the series. Journeyman Sean O’Sullivan had made a couple of starts earlier in the year, and was called up for this start after Eduardo Rodriguez was sent down.
O’Sullivan was up to the task. He pitched five strong innings, something that the others in the rotation had struggled to do in the month of June. It turns out that his initials S. O’S. might stand for Save Our Season.
It was hot in the bleachers and with every seat full there was no breeze. I was fine as long as my water bottle held up, but the game was slow-paced and I needed to refill it at the end of the fourth. Rather than climbing all the way back to my bleacher seat, I opted to go to the standing room area behind the right field grandstand. I found an empty space there, and while the view wasn’t as good, it was cooler and there was a nice breeze. And better still, it turned out to be a lucky spot when the Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth.
(It got a little scary, though, when Matt Barnes and Junichi Tazawa let the Angels score five runs in the sixth and seventh.) During the seventh inning stretch I moved around from the right field standing room to a vacated row in the loge boxes on the third base (shady) side of home plate. I don’t normally like to sit behind the netting because it’s hard to take pictures, but I do like to get different perspectives. The view certainly is great there, and I found that the manual focus setting on my camera helped.
The win was personally satisfying because I hadn’t seen them win in person since May, plus it was a nice way to bounce back from the horror of the night before. At the half-way point in the season, they have 44 wins, and when Baltimore’s loss went final a couple of hours later, the Sox stood in second place, 3 games back. It’s up to the pitchers to step up and save the season, but it’s definitely possible to get Big Papi back to the postseason one last time.