Monday, June 12, 2006

Big Comebacks

The Sox carried over the offense from Sunday night's 9th inning and beat the Rangers tonight 8-3. The Sox may not have won Sunday night, but by finishing the game strong with 6 runs in the ninth they were able to carry some momentum into the start of their seven game road trip.

Sunday night's loss reminded me of a similar comeback by the Twins in September 2003. The Sox were on the winning side of that game but on the losing side of the momentum shift. I think most Sox fans would remember this as the Jose Paniagua Game.

The Sox took a 8-2 lead into the ninth of that game. The Twins scored 4 runs off Paniagua and actually brought the winning run to the plate before Tom Gordon struck out Michael Cuddyer for the final out.

This would be the only game Paniagua would pitch for the Sox and the last game he pitched in the majors. He earned his release by getting ejected in the game and then flipping off the umpire as he walked off the field.

At the time, I was just happy the Sox pulled the game out as it moved them 2 games in front of the Twins with just 3 weeks left. Losing it would have been a disaster.

In the end, it wouldn't matter. While the Sox were able to hold on to their lead in the ninth they were not able to hold off the Twins down the stretch. They would go on to lose their last five games against the Twins and finish four back in the standings.

How much did this comeback effect the Sox? It's hard to say. But I think the fact that baseball teams play a game on a daily basis and the play same team three or four times in a row makes these momentum shifts more pronounced than what you might find in other sports.